In a podcast recorded by Charisma’s Steve Strang Mar. 13 and posted Mar. 18, Strang and his guest Cal Pierce of the International Association of Healing Rooms decreed that “in 10 days” the COVID-19 coronavirus would be vanquished in such miraculous fashion that the world “will acknowledge this turnaround to the glory of God.” Today is the tenth day since their decree, and yet the coronavirus continues to spread exponentially.
There is a movement within Pentecostal Christianity that is grounded in the belief that God has given modern-day “apostles” and “prophets” the same power Jesus gave his disciples to heal the sick and raise the dead. Leaders in this movement regularly “declare” and “decree” things which they say scripture gives them the power to do with the expectation that they will come to pass. Sometimes those decrees are punctuated with the pounding of a gavel to emphasize the “governmental authority” that God has given the ekklesia—the church.
In his conversation with Strang, Pierce explained:
What’s the will of God for this season? It’s Jesus came to destroy the work of the enemy. So, we have authority that Jesus has given us. He’s our head; we’re his body. He works through us, because we have authority. So, when we decree something which is the will of God or the Word of God, our decree or the sound of our voice becomes God’s will into the natural realm.
Charisma is a media and publishing platform focused on a Pentecostal audience. Charisma and Strang personally—through his podcast and multiple pro-Trump books—have energetically promoted the idea that President Donald Trump has been anointed by God. Strang promoted his conversation with Pierce with a blog post entitled “Why We Need to See COVID-19 From the Perspective of Spiritual Warfare.” In their podcast conversation, Pierce told Strang that the coronavirus is part of an agenda to take God out of the country just as God was making a move in America by “putting in Donald Trump as our president and beginning to bring the kingdom back into the nation.”
Pierce also described the pandemic as a test of whether God’s people would “walk in fear” or “walk in faith.”
We are the body of Jesus. He’s our head, and we’re filled with resurrection power, which gives us authority over all the work of the enemy. And I think God’s people have to begin to address the truth that makes us free, you know, and how do we walk in that truth? How do we walk in seasons like this? When the test comes, are we going to step up? Or are we going to give in? And that’s kind of where we’re at today, you know, so, if we’re going to see a great move of God and Great Awakening, it’s going to come through God’s people, and we’re the ones that bring it.
And we need to set our eyes on the things above and realize that God created the world for his kids, and put us here to fulfill what Jesus wanted to do to bring his kingdom on Earth. So, we have to begin to realize at some point, we’ve got to walk in the authority that God gives us. And that authority is over all the power of the enemy. Not some of it.
So, we have authority to turn this thing around. The virus is subject to us; we’re not subject to it. Because we have the king of glory in us. And greater is He that is in us than he that is coming against us, because we serve the king. He’s our king, and we are the bride of the king. So, this thing is going to turn around and, you know, it’s kind of risky to say 10 days. But, you know, I think it’s time for risk.
Strang said he had read a declaration that Pierce had posted on Facebook and asked him to pray and make some declarations. Pierce said he would release the decree as he wrote it out:
We, as the body of Christ, speak to the mountain of coronavirus, ‘You spirit of death and fear, be taken up and cast back into the sea of hell. You will stop now and leave Earth.’ We decree that in 10 days the world will acknowledge this turnaround to the glory of God. This is the will of God, established by the blood of Jesus, whose authority we must obey.
Strang agreed that it was time for boldness. “Who cares if the secular people, the unbelievers, don’t believe it? They don’t believe the gospel anyway. And we’re not trying to please them or get their permission if we can pray in the spirit,” he said.
Strang moved to “agree” with Pierce’s 10-day decree, a sort of spiritual version of seconding the motion:
We’ve got to be strong, and we need to decree, and I just declare that I agree with that prayer. Let’s all do what we can. Let’s pray, let’s intercede. And as brother Cal Pierce has said, let’s also decree and speak to this mountain of coronavirus and the spirit of death and fear that it be taken up and cast into the sea of hell. And that it will stop now and leave the Earth, and we decree in 10 days, the world will acknowledge this turnaround to the glory of God. That’s what it’s all about, for the glory of God.
Pierce and his International Association of Healing Rooms are based in Spokane, Washington. At the time they recorded the podcast, Strang noted, Pierce had said there were no known cases of the coronavirus in Spokane County. Whether or not it was true at the time, it is no longer the case.
Teachings about believers’ power to employ the power of heaven by decrees and declarations are anchored in interpretations of Bible passages, such as John 14:13-14, in which Jesus tells his disciples, “And whatever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it,” and Matthew 18:18, which reads, “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (King James Version). The theology expressed by Strang and Pierce is associated with the New Apostolic Reformation, whose leaders seek to transform Christianity, culture, and whole nations to align with their worldview.