Dominionists Portray California Health Restrictions as Sign of End Times Persecution of Christians 

California-based pastor Ché Ahn is a leader of the New Apostolic Reformation network.

New Apostolic Reformation leader Ché Ahn is one of several religious-right figures challenging California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s restrictions​ on public gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19. ​Ahn, whose church is being represented by the anti-LGBTQ religious-right legal organization Liberty Counsel, talked about the lawsuit in a four-part appearance on the Charisma podcast network ​last week with his longtime associate Larry Tomczak, who serves as an adviser to Liberty Counsel and a board member of the pro-Trump Intercessors for America.

In a post ​on Charisma Monday, Tomczak charged, “Leftist politicians, media, celebrities, educators and heretical religious leaders are all being manipulated by demonic forces to try and thwart advancement ​of the gospel of the kingdom at the close of the age.” He portrayed California’s restrictions on churches as “a foreshadowing of what is coming the way of Christians in these end times prior to the return of Jesus Christ.”

During the podcast, Tomczak portrayed restrictions on churches as “part of a demonic strategy” to thwart the church as the 2020 elections approach. He claimed that leftists in the U.S. are trying to shut down the proclamation of the gospel just as communists have done in Cuba and China.

Ahn portrayed current trials as “a time of purification” and “a divine discipline for the church,” which he said has not been preaching the “full counsel of God” on issues like same-sex marriage and abortion. “I do feel we’re in a battle for the soul of America,” he said.

Ahn said that God told him to have his church start meeting on Pentecost Sunday—May 31 this year—and to be strong and courageous like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill taking a stand against Nazism and totalitarianism. Ahn said his church has been ignoring restrictions on the size of gatherings and on singing as part of worship. (Singing, which can spread aerosols further, has been linked to super-spreading events.)

Ahn encouraged pastors to “get away from a dualistic mentality that we have to just separate church and politics and government.” Ahn added, “No, we’re to be salt and light, and we’re to occupy until he comes, and we’re to influence government.”

“Jesus is not just Lord over the church. He’s Lord over all the nations,” Ahn​ said. “I’m not for theocracy,” he claimed, but added that believers are to bring “biblical values” into the public arena and that the U.S. “is the best nation in the world because of the values that this nation was founded on—Judeo-Christian values.”

Ahn​, who has supported President Donald Trump, encouraged listeners to “register and vote biblically and with biblical values.” He added, “And of course, 99​ percent of that would be those who are Republicans because the Democrats have gone so way off having a pro-choice platform, a pro-LGBTQ platform​, that are not biblical. And so, I’m resigned to vote for Republicans—gladly do so because many of them are fine Christians.”

In addition to Harvest Rock church in Pasadena, ​California, Ahn runs the dominionist Harvest International Ministry​, abbreviated HIM. In December, HIM sponsored an “Awakening California” event with Christian nationalist political operative David Lane. A Facebook post promoting the event said that Lane would “impart a vision to empower leaders for government involvement mobilizing towards a movement of Kingdom transformation.” Ahn has previously supported Lane’s efforts to “transform” politics in California.

Ahn was designated a successor by Peter Wagner, considered a founder of the New Apostolic Reformation, a network of self-proclaimed “apostles” and “prophets” that sees itself as a movement to transform both Christianity and the nations of the world. Ahn also carries the title of international chancellor of what is now called Wagner University, whose faculty includes Trump-promoting ​dominionists Cindy Jacobs, Lance Wallnau, and James Goll.

HIM’s 2020 “Global Summit” begins Wednesday evening.