Tommy Barnett is the senior pastor of Phoenix First Assembly of God (an Assemblies of God megachurch in Phoenix, Arizona), and chancellor of something called Southeastern University (Lakeland, Florida), sometimes partner of Joyce Meyer and Ted Haggard (Barnett was part of his “apostolic oversight team” after his fall), and author of multiple books. He is, in fact, a pretty influential figure on the, shall we say, more radical end of religious fundamentalism in the US.
Barnett is, for instance, deeply involved in various strategic level spiritual warfare projects. His Master’s Commission programs, initiated in 1985 by him and Lloyd Zeigler, is now an international program for post-high school students with a curriculum in discipleship, evangelism, and spiritual warfare. In June 2008 Sarah Palin was the keynote speaker at the Master’s Commission graduation ceremony at the Wasilla Assembly of God, and the graduates were given samurai swords to “help” in the aforementioned war.
With his son Matthew he started the Los Angeles Dream Center, a Pentecostal Christian Church mission in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. There are now 130 of these Dream Centers which combine urban social services with “city transformation,” missions, and spiritual warfare – like the efforts of charming groups such as Repent Amarillo. With the New Apostolic Reformation (though somewhat more lowkey) the Dream Centers are involved in “spiritual mapping” of areas to combat demon infestations. As the one in Atlanta says: “We take teams out on to the streets of down town Atlanta to cast out demons, heal the sick, and demonstrate the power of God … We have seen many people get healed from aids and broken arms and legs restored [as well documented as Cindy Jacobs’s claims to have raised dead children in Africa, of course]. We also do outreaches at churches and schools. Our goal is to bring unity to the church through God’s power and healing. We go out at least three days a week to invade the streets with the Kingdom, while living a lifestyle that is surrendered to our King.”
Diagnosis: Barnett himself is relatively lowkey, but the extremist fundamentalism he promotes is a serious cause for concern. Dangerous.