Saturday, June 11, 2005

The JoCo

"Their greatest joy is plundering the wealth of the world for their lord." -Bob Fraser, director of The Joseph Company



Part 1 -- The Church..."Left Behind"

The Joseph Company is less about "ministry in the marketplace", and more about a provisioning scheme for the end times. It this manner it differs little from the Y2K schemes that plagued the church just a few years ago. A simple review of the vision statement provided by the Joseph Company will confirm this to be true.

click here for full copy

The premise of this concept is that there will be a great end-times judgment (there will) and the emergence of "the (left-behind) Bride of Christ" to release "abundant supply." In this manner, the Joseph Company distances itself from the pre-tribulational viewpoint held by many (most) Protestants. Although it is often confused and contradictory, the theology of the Joseph Company, and many charismatic churches today, is post-tribulational and something Mike Bickle calls "apostolic pre-millenialism" which almost seems a variant of post-millennialism. 15 years ago most charismatic churches were pre-tribulational. The theological shift is significant. They now believe that the church will not be raptured.

The usual response is that such talk is devisive. Can't we all be friends?

Friends discuss the bible together. Consider this:

It is unknown how "the bride will be the epicenter of supply and sanctuary" without taking the mark of the beast, as all commerce during the end times will be regulated by the anti-Christ. This theological slant is worth noting simply because few proponents of the Joseph Company have thought this through.

As bait for the bigger picture, they emphasize the "ministry in the marketplace" (lay ministry) aspect of this program. It is far more than the simple model promoted by organizations such as the ICWM. The JoCo organization, and parent church (Kansas City Fellowship) has its roots in Kingdom Theology (Dominion Now!) and this can been seen in their vision statement. In extreme versions of this warped theology Christ never makes a physical return to the earth, but the body of Christ somehow morphs into Christ himself, negating the need for a physical return in the end times.

The usual response is that such talk is devisive. Can't we all be friends?

Ok, just for drill let's pretend that theology is not important. Let's talk about wealth. Any fool (outside the church) knows that gold corrupts. Let's "follow the money."

Part II -- "the power to get wealth"

"This plan must surely stir every member of the body of Christ to step out and play their part in this plan and plunder the ungodly of their wealth and pass it on to the extension of the Kingdom."

click here for full copy The "Great Transfer of Wealth" (GTOW) is another hallmark of this program. Seen by many names, the concept is the next logical progression from the now-stale Charismatic prosperity gospel.

The concept behind GTOW is that God will ordain the transfer of wealth (from the wicked) to the Godly. As explained by Latter-Rain theologian C. Peter Wagner, the GTOW looks more like a multi-level marketing scheme than anything God would have in mind. Really!

click here for full copy
Which fits right in with the Joseph Company, if you review the internships offered for seemingly exorbitant sums of money.

Mention of this has (wisely) been removed from the JoCo website(archive), but the deal is this- if you "qualify", you could be invited to invest into business incubator-type programs. Presumably, the "qualification" is gullibility and a thick checkbook. The investment-scheme flavor of this program should make anyone with an IQ above room-temperature uncomfortable.

click for entire form

Joseph Company founder Bob Fraser calls those who take money from the wicked the "treasure bringers" ("providers" in Wagner's scheme shown below). According to Fraser, "The Treasure Bringers are those with an anointing from God to facilitate this massive wealth-transfer." "They are spiritual 'Robin Hoods.' Their greatest joy is plundering the wealth of the world for their Lord." Now that's a religion that's easy to sell. link


adapted from the chain of wealth shown in the Wagner article previously cited
The GTOW concept is not new. Here is another explanation of this concept:

The bible sets forth a divine plan of God that as we draw near to the second return of Jesus, his Kingdom will grow through out the world and his kingdom will draw in the wealth of the ungodly and will use it to bless and bring the Kingdom to the poor and lost and the last and the least. This plan must surely stir every member of the body of Christ to step out and play their part in this plan and plunder the ungodly of their wealth and pass it on to the extension of the Kingdom. link

The key verse quoted by JoCo and others is Isaiah 60:11 which is often quoted "so that men may bring you the wealth of the nations." Interestingly, KJV says "the Gentiles", which describes most Christians today. I might mention that Isiaih 60 talks about the Glory of Zion- so this third-wave interpetation is made by those who do not believe in a literal restoration of Zion, but believe instead that God is finished with Israel and that the Church has become the spiritual Israel. Not all of us are convinced.

Part III - "Cities of Habitation"

Finally, it is worth noting the Latter Rain concept of "cities of habitation" promoted by the Joseph Company as noted in the vision statement. This is a central theme in the third-wave movement (see "The Third Day Church" sections 5 & 6). It is hard to differentiate this concept from cult-like communities such as the Branch Davidians. Indeed, little is said about this, but according to testimony from the late 80s, it in fact has been the intention with the Bickle crowd from the start:

"We also asked him in a congregational meeting about the so-called JosephCompany, which we had heard about. This was to be a community that he was beginning, which would be totally independent of all outside needs, such as electricity, water, etc. . ..Mike denied that such a plan existed. "While in his church for a meeting, they passed out literature asking for electricians, builders, etc., to help in building this community, the Joseph Company." link (see page 50)

The concept of "Cities of refuge" or "Cities of habitation" is common within the third-wave movement; Rick Joyner has been embroiled in controversy in North Carolina with county officials who are seeing their tax-base eroded as more and more property becomes exempt.Charlotte Observer

The Jo-Co concept of "Cities of Habitation" with "self-government" should alarm localities even more. As stated earlier, "It is hard to differentiate this concept from cult-like communities such as the Branch Davidians." Hard, because in a practical sense, you cannot.

The Sum of the Parts

click for more on the Crusades Eschatology is important, even if many do not want to discuss it. I think it is interesting that the last time the church was involved in plundering was when it thought that the millenium was finished. In 1095, a thousand years after Christ, the Church started a series of holy wars known as the Crusades. A prominent feature of the Crusades was the plunder of wealth from the ungodly.

Now we have a church that thinks, once again, that things are coming to an end, and that we must somehow by brute force (Joel's Army) establish His kingdom on earth. The call to plunder, ultimately to finance the "cities of habitation" is the natural evolution of such a mindset. In King James, the word "natural" is typically rendered "carnal." It is.

Originally posted June 11, 2005

Footnote: A good discussion of the last-days viewpoint of the Kansas City Fellowship and its confused eschatology is here.

6 comments:

  1. To look on the surface of the Joseph Company.....why would a Christian not want to be a provider? Go see the ant of Proverbs, how she stores up her goods for lean times. There is conflicting thread that permeates the Joe's Co. All this provider training is actually "training for reigning".....quoted from their own book. These Joseph's are "annointed" to become the next level of "super saints". You pays your fee, get your training, along with your secret decoder ring and your key to the "special saints" wash room. It smacks of another scheme to suck Christians in, fleece them, and then leave them even more disallusioned than before. Where is the Word of God in their organization? In many respects they make up annointed words and then wash them up kingdom word speak and then hide the truth.

    posted for anon.

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  2. Interesting stuff. I'll definitely look more when I get more time. Seems like we're doing similar things. I've got family that's "on staff" at IHOP and it's really been a concern of mine since coming out of the charismatic movement.

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  3. Trying to keep links on this article current; they are dropping like flies.

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  4. I think we have all experienced Christians who exploit. I do not know Bob F. well enough to speak entirely on his character, but I can say that the point of his conferences is not focused on getting other people's money.

    I think there will be wealth transfers (not motivated by greed) and it is an assumption to suggest that antichrist's regime will control all supply on the earth or even necessarily the majority of it. In the spheres of his control there will certainly be this though. The question is how far and wide is that control? And what will God be doing for his saints for provision in spite of it?

    Solve those questions Biblically first.

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  5. The Joseph Company concept and Cities of Refuge really only work from a postmillennial (NOT post-tribulational or dispensationalist) perspective.

    After the Summer of Mercy in Wichita in 1991, when there were no abortions performed because 30,000 Chrsitans showed up in the city to pray for two months, I had a word (or an inclination) that there would be these "Cities of Refuge" throughout America -- regions where there is no shedding of innocent blood and where the ground is prepared for Revival.

    Several pro-life leaders also told me that God had showed them that what happened in Wichita in 1991 would happen in cities all over America and it would be the beginning of the Third Great Awakening. At the time, it was the 250th anniversary of the First Great Awakening that began in New England in 1741. The iron curtain had also just fallen and there was a revival of sorts in eastern bloc countries. In fact, I was with Christians Youth International in Moscow when the Summer of Mercy was happening in Wichita.

    I was living in Orlando at the time. I interviewed Keith Tucci, the director of OR in 1993 and found he was moving to Florida to begin a strategy in six cities called "Cities of Refuge."

    This also is a concept that has been touted by the "prophetic movement for the past 20 years. I agree in part, but their version of it is affected by their dispensationalist eschatology.

    While I don't think we can ever know if we are in the end times, I agree that Christians ought to be about the business of securing through prayer, fasting and the public proclamation of the Gospel, regional zones throughout the world where we can be governed by the Law of God -- not man's law.

    The problem with the prophetic movement is that they are riddled with antinomianism and bizarre eschatological theories within their ranks. Not all the leaders are antinomian, but several key leaders certainly despise God's Law.

    Only a Law-based theology that sees God's covenantal blessings and sacntions playing out in a long-term postmillennial view, in which repentance of sin follows after grace, can correctly fuel the Revival movement we need to restore America.

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  6. Jay,

    Thank you for your ocmments. Interesting to note that Bickle is historic pre-mill (what he calls "apostolic pre-mill).

    The cities of refuge that they talk about seem to be a different concept (eschatological differences).

    BTW, I'll try to get the graphics restored to this article; that server has gone away.

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