Over the last decade, the Religious Right has evolved. Some of the more extreme beliefs of American evangelicalism have begun to take hold in the mainstream. Scholar Matthew D. Taylor pulls back the curtain on a little-known movement of evangelical Christians who see themselves waging spiritual battles on a massive scale. Known as the New Apostolic Reformation, this network of leaders and believers emerged only three decades ago but now yields colossal influence, galvanizing support for Trump and far-right leaders around the world. In this groundbreaking account, Taylor explores the New Apostolic Reformation from its inception in the work of a Fuller Seminary professor, to its immense networks of apostles and prophets, to its role in the January 6 riot. Charismatic faith provided righteous fuel to the fire that day, where symbols of spiritual warfare blazed: rioters blew shofars, worship music blared, and people knelt in prayer. This vision of charismatic Christianity now animates millions, lured by Spirit-filled revival and visions of Christian supremacy.
Taylor’s unprecedented access to the movement’s leaders, archives, internal conference calls, and correspondence gives us an insider account of the connection between charismatic evangelicalism and hard-right rhetoric. Taylor delves into prophetic memes like the Seven Mountains Mandate, the Appeal to Heaven flag, and the Cyrus Anointing; Trump’s spiritual advisor Paula White’s call for “angelic reinforcements”; and Sean Feucht and Bethel Music’s titanic command of worship styles across America. Throughout, Taylor maps a movement of magnetic leaders and their uncompromising beliefs—and where it might be headed next. When people long to conquer a nation for God, democracy can be brought to the brink.
The New Apostolic Reformation is one of the most influential and dangerous Christian nationalist movements in the United States – and beyond. Yet, until recently there have been scant resources by scholars who actually understand the historical and theological dynamics well enough to explain how and why the NAR has become a global phenomenon. Everyone talks about the NAR, but few actually understand what it is and where it came from. Matthew Taylor is the world’s leading scholar of religion on the New Apostolic Reformation. In The Violent Take It By Force he clearly and succinctly explains how the history of the NAR grew from the work of C. Peter Wagner and flowered into a present-day spiritual and political juggernaut. Taylor has the training to notice broad trends; to place the NAR in historical context; and to articulate its theological avenues. But he also has the patience to follow every NAR prophet and apostle to the corners of their ministries, locating them on the ground in congregations and communities across the world. This is what makes The Violent Take It By Force one of the most important books on religion to appear in the last several years. Every once in a while a book comes along that changes not only its field, but how many of us understand the past and future of the United States. The Violent Take It By Force is one of those books.
—Bradley Onishi, author of Preparing For War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism—And What Comes Next
As Matthew Taylor details in his fascinating and revelatory book, Independent Charismatic religious leaders, who twenty years ago would have been shunned by the mainstream Christian Right, are now front-line captains in the American culture wars, offering biblical rationales for the embrace of radically theocratic, authoritarian agendas. Taylor’s sensitively reported exploration is a vital contribution to our understanding of the crisis facing democracy.
—Katherine Stewart, author of The Power Worshippers
This astounding book is the inside story of the ‘theology’ that both undergirded and inspired the January 6 insurrection and has continued to grow into the greatest religious threat to democracy this election year. Beyond the importance of politics, we need to change the ‘faith factor’ at this urgent moment. Only a good theology of democracy can replace the idolatrous false worship of Christian nationalism which turns a distorted concept of spiritual warfare into political violence. Matthew Taylor’s brilliant work here is a great place to start in our understanding of how bad religion must be replaced by true faith.
—Jim Wallis, author of False White Gospel: Rejecting Christian Nationalism, Reclaiming True Faith, and Refounding Democracy.
In this critical book for this election year, Matthew Taylor gives us a harrowing tour of the once-fringe charismatic forces that have coopted and upended the contemporary Christian Right political movement, infusing it with an anti-democratic theology of spiritual warfare that is increasingly spilling over into political violence. For anyone who has been perplexed about the dangerous, carnivalesque marriage of Trump’s MAGA movement and Christian nationalism, this well-written book helps dispel the confounding mist.
—Robert P. Jones, New York Times bestselling author of The Hidden Roots of White Supremacy and the Path to a Shared American Future
Matthew Taylor has written an essential guide to the radical charismatic Christian movement that catapulted from the fringes of evangelicalism to the center of Republican politics in the Trump era. The Violent Take It By Force takes us deep inside this fantastical world of spiritual warfare by self-declared prophets with a vivid portrait of how these Christian supremacists market themselves to pews and politicians, and how their radical goals pose a dire threat to democracy.
—Sarah Posner, author of Unholy: How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency, and the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind
If you think you’ve already read everything you need to understand American Christian nationalism, think again. The movement is more diverse than many realize. And nobody knows its charismatic and violent elements better than Matthew D. Taylor. The cynical should pay attention. At the center of this movement aren’t politicians parroting empty rhetoric; they’re soldiers at war, with cosmic stakes. And these aren’t leaderless mobs of rioters; they’re organized, playing the long game. If you find this book disconcerting, you are paying attention.
—Samuel L. Perry, author of Taking America Back for God and The Flag and the Cross.
An essential book for understanding the role of religion in twenty-first century American politics. Matthew Taylor has written a page-turning account of a small group of leaders, hucksters, and activists who once were on the fringes of U.S. culture, but recently exerted influence on the highest office in the land – and may yet again. A thorough study and a thoroughly unnerving warning, The Violent Take It By Force should be required reading for anyone concerned about the future of our democracy.
—Peter Manseau, author of One Nation Under Gods: A New American History
The New Apostolic Reformation is filled with characters, and Matthew D. Taylor brings major figures of the movement – their spirituality, their political ambition, and their proximity to the January 6 Insurrection – to life in The Violent Take it By Force. Taylor’s work illuminates the NAR’s aim to shape religion and politics in the 2024 election cycle and beyond.
—Leah Payne, author of Gender and Pentecostal Revivalism: Making a Female Ministry in the Early Twentieth Century and The Rise and Fall of Contemporary Christian Music .
Since the January 6th insurrection, a growing number of Americans are realizing we need a better understanding of far-right Christian nationalism. And since most of us are not religious scholars, we also need an interpreter. Dr. Matthew Taylor provides that in The Violent Take It by Force, a meticulously researched, cogently explained translation of the often unintelligible language of this movement, including the shadowy networks of apostles and prophets that use strategic spiritual warfare, ancient symbols, and unique theologies to support an agenda of authoritarianism and global Christian supremacy. Whether you are a policy maker, a student of religion, or a citizen who simply values separation of church and state, you will find The Violent Take It by Force illuminating, authoritative and compelling.
—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA), Co-Chair, Congressional Freethought Caucus
Matthew D. Taylor’s work is a gift. He has given us an empathetic, fair-minded, highly intelligent, and eminently readable story that explains one of the most important religious movements in modern America. Most people don’t even know what the New Apostolic Reformation is, much less that it has been a driving force of Christian Trumpism. The Violent Take It By Force will change that.
—Jon Ward, author of Testimony and Camelot’s End
A timely insight into the New Apostolic Reformation, one of the most significant movements in the United States today. Thoroughly researched and highly accessible, The Violent Take It by Force is essential reading for anyone who wants to learn about the religious ideology and key figures that helped foment January 6, and how Christian supremacy is set to continue to shape the United States.
—Elle Hardy, author of Beyond Belief
Matthew Taylor shines a bright light on a dark corner of American Christianity, depicting its role in the ascendency of Donald Trump, the January 6th insurrection, and the “holy violence” it’s bringing to our political life. In brisk, engaging prose, he portrays the leaders and the followers of a movement that threatens to replace rational public discourse with strident demonology, endangering the future of our democracy.
—Anne Nelson, author of Shadow Network: Media, Money and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right
Matthew D. Taylor, Ph.D., is a Senior Scholar and the Protestant Scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies (ICJS), where he specializes in Muslim-Christian dialogue, Evangelical and Pentecostal movements, religious politics in the U.S., and American Islam. His book, Scripture People: Salafi Muslims in Evangelical Christians’ America (Cambridge University Press), offers an introduction to the oft-misunderstood Salafi movement in the U.S. by way of comparison with American Evangelicalism. He is also the creator of the acclaimed audio-documentary series Charismatic Revival Fury: The New Apostolic Reformation, which details how networks of extremist Christian leaders helped instigate the January 6th Insurrection.