If you’ve heard of the New Apostolic Reformation, you’ve heard of many strange ideas. One of those may be the “Seven Mountains Mandate.” What is that exactly? Well, the Seven Mountains Mandate is an idea that originates in a vision that Loren Cunningham (founder of YWAM) and Bill Bright (founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, or Cru, and author of The Four Spiritual Laws) both had in 1975 (read about it here and here and here and here). The idea was that there are seven spheres (circles of cultural influence) that were the key to world evangelism; if a person could “reclaim” each sphere, they would establish Christianity across the globe and finish the great commission (and as a side benefit, usher in the second coming). Cunningham was told (by God, no less), that he had to infiltrate each sphere to successfully evangelize the world.
What were those seven spheres?
The spheres were:
5) Celebration (i.e. whatever culture celebrates – entertainment, sports, etc).
Cunningham claims he got the term “sphere” from 2 Cor. 10:13-16, but the rest of it was from God. Cunningham then told all the young people under him to enter those “spheres” as missionaries. He then talked about how Caleb requested the “mountain” in Joshua 14:12, so the “spheres” were re-named “mountains”. Loren Cunningham then opened a university in 1978 to attempt to train people to conquer those seven mountains. YWAM alone is currently training over 25,000 people a year to take over these “mountains”.
Here’s a little video that summarizes the idea:
Here’s a long video where Loren Cunningham explains the idea in detail:
Now in one way, this stuff sounds like Christians simply wanting to seek out places of influence to make positive change. I wish that were the case, but it never stays there; it quickly gets into crazy spiritual warfare stuff (Peter Wagner doesn’t hold back in this interview and this is also informative as is this) as well as illuminati-like attempts at machinating politics.
I know multiple people who have tried to “take the mountain.” They were spiritually unprepared to face the temptations and pressures of Hollywood; taught to be spiritually arrogant by foolish teachers who were highly incompetent with the Scriptures. Armed with a few misunderstood scriptural “promises” and the power of positive thinking, these folks tried to exercise their spiritual authority over their mountain. Most of them left the church and, spiritually speaking, are in the intensive care ward. Sadly, some are bloated corpses floating in the pool of depravity that is Western popular culture.
But that’s okay, since the Charismatic Movement is the fastest growing movement in all the religions of the world. There’s no shortage of fresh meat to toss into the grinder of the Seven Mountain Mandate. It’s a cultural experiment in idiocy worthy of Field Marshal Haig.
This is also why the New Apostolic Reformation is a Prosperity Gospel movement. They want a lot of money: they need it for the sort of “influencing the people with money” sort of work they’re chasing. At the end of the day the Seven Mountain Mandate results in people gaining money, power and influence in the secular world for the purpose of (eventually) using a fraction of it for the promotion of a false gospel. This would be the point where the lessons of Mark 4:18-19, 1 Tim 6:8-9 and Luke 12:16-21 come in.
Anyone who admits that they’re chasing money and power but think it’s okay since they’re doing it for righteous ends are fooling themselves. The people who chase money and power under the guise of “using it for God” tend to end up in the same place…
Oops. I went on a rabbit trail there because I hate the prosperity gospel.
I hate it a lot.
Also, it’s worth noticing that the whole Seven Mountain Mandate started because 2 fellows didn’t believe in the sufficiency of Scripture. Instead, they gained propositional revelation from a vision and based a rather large component of their lives on it. That’s really foolish, especially given what the Bible teaches about trusting in dreams and visions rather than God’s inscripturated word.
Speaking of Scripture, does anyone believe that the whole “seven mountains” idea comes from 2 Cor. 10:13-16 + Joshua 14:12 and not Rev. 17:9? I mean honestly. Given the eschatological fascination of the movement and the fact that the phrase appears only in Rev. 17:9 (where the Harlot sits on “seven mountains,” from which she controls the world), who does Cunningham think he’s fooling?
Finally, and on the topic of eschatology, consider this: Loren Cunningham started a university with the goal of training up a whole army of henchpersons in order to sneakily take over the world for the purpose of instigating the end of the world.
That kinda makes him sound like a…well…
Yeah. That about sums it up.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “Ernst Stavro Blowhard” Unger
26 thoughts on “Quick Thoughts: What is the “Seven Mountains Mandate”?”
Lyndon – Thank you for posting this. I could only skim the article because of time restraints but this info alone should cause us to ponder and be warned, “Cunningham was told (by God, no less), that he had to infiltrate each sphere to successfully evangelize the world.” — I don’t see that in The Word.
You got it.
The great commission doesn’t have a hidden formula, only made known to two people 19 centuries after it was given, for guaranteed success.
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging and commented:
Sounds like a marketing plan…
We don’t need this nonsense.
The Mandate or my writing about it?
Do you need 7 grains of mustard seed faith to remove said 7 mountains? …
This is serious stuff. One of the bigger 7MD guys in Texas is TX Attorney General Ken Paxton. He is a giant Ted Cruz supporter and Ted Cruz’ endorsement of Ken is largely what got him recently elected to AG. He took office in January 2015 and seven months later was indicted on first and third degree felonies. More charges are expected to follow. Undeterred and unencumbered by ethics, Ken Paxton is using his new position of authority over this 4,000 person law firm with a budget of $573 million a year, to conquer the “mountains”. He recently hired not one, but two lawyers from The Liberty Institute and put them in the two highest positions in that office: Hiram Sasser was hired as Chief of Staff and Jeff Mazeer as First Assistant Attorney General. The former First Asst AG, Chip Roy resigned so that he could become the Executive Director of Ted Cruz’s Keep the Promise Super-PAC. Paxton is a supporter of that Super-PAC and was present at the big Ted Cruz secret Wilks Bros rally.
Roy was placed by Paxton – inappropriately – on paid “emergency leave” through June 10, 2016 (Roy makes $200,000/yr) so that Roy could double dip. It is illegal for a paid state employee to take paid emergency leave then work at a different job, regardless of compensation. Emergency leave pay is a rare exception and is reserved for extreme situations such as an untimely death of an immediate family member.
Paxton also replaced his Director of Communications with a pastor from Jack Graham’s Prestonwood Baptist Church, Marc Rylander. Pastor Marc’s predecessor, Allison Castle, was also the Communications Director for 7MD former TX Governor and presidential candidate, Rick Perry. Castle is also still being paid by Paxton, despite her having resigned in early March. It is illegal to give severance pay to TX state employees. Pastor Marc was a worship leader, a missionary and then a campus pastor. He has no qualifications for this highly technical and sensitive position, which is the most visible position in that giant office. This is how 7MD works.
Liberty Institute spends their time using the Texas and United States Courts to take over the Mountains of Education, Business and Government. Now tax-payers get to help fund their efforts and the lawyers will have unprecedented access to state funded resources. Texas paves the way for many other states seeking to move towards 7MD, so what these men do and the new policies, laws and legal precedents they establish, will matter to the rest of the country.
Robert Morris (a “dear friend of Ken Paxton”), likewise, runs his own Church of Foursquare University called The King’s University (TKU). TKU has 10 campuses in 4 different states plus one in China and they are in the process of trying to expand to every major continent. Like Cunningham’s University of the Nations, one of TKU’s primary stated objectives is “reclaiming the 7 Mountains of Culture”. TKU students receive federal financial aid, so like Ken Paxton, taxpayers get to help subsidize their own take-over.
The 7MD movement is bigger than people realize and it is growing faster than people suspect. Thank you Lyndon for covering this.
AWMI is teaching this in Colorado. Poor students, they just wanted the Gospel I’m sure. Andrew thinks it’s a great thing! He doesn’t have a clue. According to him, God keeps telling him to “build,”and that he is thinking “too small”. Of course it’s not biblical but it doesn’t matter, God tells him everything in his heart so he never pays attention to scripture. Best thing we can do is follow the Word and never give them money, ever! may slow them done a little.
Too many weird stuff out there. Sigh.
This stuff isn’t the tip of the iceberg; it’s an ice cube sitting on the northern coastline of Antarctica…
The 7 Mountain Mandate is an New Apostolic Reformation project and has the involvement of a rather frightening number of people of influence…but I don’t write about that stuff.
That stuff sounds so tinfoil hat I don’t want to even bother.
Man…I wouldn’t even know how nutty the NAR if you didn’t write this…
When I first learned about this seven mountains nonsense, it shed light on some of things from my involvement with Crusade that seemed a bit off but I couldn’t identify the root at the time. For example, when you’re a college ministry, students are looking to graduate and go to work. So there was stuff about working to God’s glory, being a witness to Christ and seeing your job as a missions field, etc, which is well enough.
But then there would be occasional talk from the higher ups at conferences about how vital it was for the church to have us in corporate leadership, and… what scripture teaches that, again? It was easy enough to hear it as not despising secular work as opposed to ministry, how useful those resources could be, what kind of doors are opened, etc. But knowing about the seven mountains casts that in a different light. It’s no longer “if you attain this kind of position, use it to spread the gospel and fulfill the great commission.” Instead, attaining that kind of position and bringing the corporate world under Christian dominance is *part of* the great commission. Which is terrifying.
I still haven’t figured out how this relates to every single YWAM worker I’ve ever heard over the past 30 years telling exactly the same miraculous healing story, though.
What’s the healing story?
I wonder if I’m thinking of the same one?
I’ve heard it from about six different ones over a 25-ish year span, the last time from someone who probably wasn’t born, let alone on mission, when I first heard it.
A group of YWAM folks were in Japan. They got word that a family member was deathly ill. They wanted to heal, but being so far away, what could they do? Then they remembered from Acts how Paul could touch a handkerchief or cloth and send it to a sick person, and they would be healed, and decided to try it. They didn’t have a handkerchief, but one of the girls had a makeup compact (always a makeup compact) with a little pad thingy. So they all laid hands on it and prayed, and sent it to the sick person. Later they got word that the person was immediately healed when he touched the makeup pad thingy.
I’ve heard that one too! A makeup compact?
Healing stories are like fishing stories…
I would beware of going from gullibility in believing testimony to healing from charismatics or similar church flavours to a kind of cynicism that healing never occurs.
I can think of two healings in the charismatic evangelical church I used to be in (a very long time ago!), where the condition was medically diagnosed, prayer was made and healing was given, and the healing also medically verified. On one occasion by the consulting surgeon. In both instances the condition happend to be serious defects to the back, so this was not a case of ‘I prayed for my cold to go, and in just 7 days I was completely healed’! This was genuine physical healing, more or less instant, and permanent.
I’ve not seen very much of this kind of thing, but in evangelical non-charismatic churches it almost never occurs because the theology taught relegates this to ‘back then’ in the first century, or prayer for healing is (if we are being honest) couched in unbelief that anything is likely to occur. It is good not to be presumptious, healing cannot be claimed, but a lack of expectation is often the result of this.
Anyway, that said, I agree with the gist of your article here on extra-biblical mandates being given. To ‘reclaim’ the culture? I didn’t think the culture had ever really been Christian in the first place, more Christian influenced in the past perhaps.
If you think I believe that healing never occurs, you’ve wildly misunderstood me.
I’m a Christian, and thereby, a supernaturalist. The same God who caused a blast furnace to have no effect on Daniel’s three friends is still around. The example of healing you give is something done in a way befitting the rightly understood teaching of Scripture. Properly diagnosed physical illness was instantly and permanently eradicated in response to prayers made by faithful saints on behalf of the sick.
I say that while all the while being a staunch cessationist.
The easiest way to summarize this would be to say that the spiritual gift of miracles passed away when the apostolic era was over, but the God who gave the gift of miracles still performs miracles, as he wills, throughout the church era.
As Christians, we can pray and God may respond in miraculous ways. He has done so in the past and will do so in the future. We don’t count on it since God’s normative pattern of behaviour does not involve the miraculous (although the regular orchestration of his providence is no less amazing, only less ostentatious), but we also don’t rule it from the realm of the possible.
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I’m curious as the the Campus Crusade angle in all this. Since there are missionaries my church supports in that organization, i’ve tried to alert the leadership to it’s contemplative/mystic/RCatholic ties – and, well, would like to know more.
Hey M. Flanegan,
The only reason I mentioned Bill Bright and CRU is because Bill claims to be one of the original recipients of the 7 mountain mandate vision.
Beyond Bill’s own claims at being the source of the thing, I haven’t dug much into the role of CRU in this all. I don’t encounter them ever, anywhere, and so since they’re not on my radar, I don’t have any reason to check into them.
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