Profiles on the Right: Dennis Peacocke

About Rachel Tabachnick

Dennis Peacocke

Dennis Peacocke, one of the leading modern-day apostles of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), and, interestingly, an alumnus of Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement (FSM) protests.

Dennis Peacocke was arrested in the 1964 protest and was one of the participants interviewed in a 1984 San Francisco Examiner series of articles on the veterans of the event.  The interview provides insight into his conversion from student activists in the Free Speech Movement to an authoritarian religious leader. Peacocke was already in a leadership role by the time of the 1984 interview in which Peacocke stated, “We do not believe that the Kingdom of God is democratic.”

Peacocke is one of the early pioneers behind the networking of modern-day apostles and prophets and continues as one of the leaders of the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA), now called the International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders.  (Lou Engle is one of the modern-day “prophets” in the NAR and has been part of the parallel Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders.) The NAR has been influenced by Christian Reconstructionism and its Dominion Theology, an offshoot from Calvinism, but it also has roots in a parallel brand of dominionism from the Charismatic/Pentecostal sector, sometimes referred to as Kingdom Now, and taught through the Latter Rain Movement of the 1950s and the Shepherding Movement of the 1970s and early 1980s. Following his conversion, Peacocke would become a disciple of Bob Mumford, one of the leaders of the Shepherding Movement.

Peacocke was interviewed for the six-day series of articles in the San Francisco Examiner recognizing the 20th anniversary of the FSM protests.  Peacocke is described in the 1984 series as not being typical of the FSM alumni chosen for the 20-years-later survey and as a minister in the “shepherding” movement.  The author continues, “It demands total life commitment from members. He calls himself ‘an extreme activist’ in the service of Christ.”

The following is a segment of that interview and the accompanying photo:

Peacocke had attended Cal on a football scholarship but suffered a disabling injury on the field.

He was 21 when he journeyed from the sunlit steps of Sproul Hall through a cultural looking-glass of radical politics, LSD and Eastern philosophy.

“I was a Zen Buddhist, took drugs—the whole shot,” he said, “It was a strange thing. If anybody had told me then I’d be a Christer, I’d say they were crazy.”

Peacocke said he still embraces the FSM legacy of political activism. It taught him, he said, that the church should lead the way.

Unlike the FSM, the shepherding movement is authoritarian.

Peacocke said, “We do not believe that the Kingdom of God is a democracy.”

Dennis Peacocke newspaper photoAs president of the Christian Covenant Fellowship based in the Bay Area, he oversees dozens of shepherds, who in turn oversee those lower in the movement’s pyramid.

“The church missed a golden opportunity to take a truly Christian posture and challenge people to change,” he said. “Today, I want the church in the vanguard, not the tail.”

He has helped set up “alternatives-to- abortion” counseling clinics I throughout the Bay Area. He worries about what he calls the deterioration of the family.

As for his fellow FSMers, Peacocke said he does not question their sincerity. But he disputes what he calls the premise of socialism, that the individual is largely produced by economic, social and political relations of the time.

“The great battle is about the two opposing views of man,” he said. “Is man a product of human engineering? Or of God?”

Real change, he said, begins with souls, not social institutions. “Jesus said it best,” said Peacocke, the man twice transformed into radical activism.

“Unless you are born again you can’t really change anything.”

By the late 1980s, author Sarah Diamond described Peacocke as “one of the most significant behind-the-scenes operators of the Christian Right.”  Diamond goes into detail in her books about the role Peacocke played in the Coalition on Revival (COR), a 1980s organization that worked to unify an array of leaders from different theological beliefs in support of a religo-political agenda of taking control over all “spheres” of society and government.  Peacocke, Bob Weiner of Maranatha Campus Ministries (also now an apostle), and others represented the Kingdom Now or Charismatic arm of the partnership while the  Christian Reconstructionist representation included Rousas Rushdoony, David Chilton, Gary DeMar, and Gary North.

One of the products of COR was  A Manifesto for the Christian Church, signed by participants in 1986, and a series of Worldview Documents describing the goals in each of 17 spheres including government, law, economics, business, education, science, technology, and more.  The apostles and prophets of the NAR would later simplify this concept as possessing the “gates” or “mountains,” packaged and marketed internationally as the “Seven Mountains Mandate.”

Peacocke brought Shepherding/Discipling Movement techniques to the COR along with serving as shepherd over some participants. Diamond reported that COR recommended application of these authoritarian tools to churches, including the use of small “cell groups” or pyramidal structures to hold members accountable for biblical obedience to leadership.

These authoritarian structures and ideology have been refined and toned down since the 1980s, but thrive and are being used in churches and ministries today through the growing influence of the NAR and neo-Calvinist churches.

Today Peacocke continues as a leader in training disciples for taking the “seven mountains” through his Strategic Christian Services, working in the U.S., Mexico, Europe, Asia, and Central America. Describing himself as a former Marxist before his conversion, today his emphasis is on the business mountain, describing economics as “truly the engine of dominion.”  Peacocke’s biblical economics is similar to that of Gary North and other Christian Reconstructionists, a Kingdom economics that looks like the marriage of Ayn Rand to Old Testament law.

Gary North dedicated his book Wisdom and Dominion, part of his series on biblical economics, as follows:

“This book is dedicated to

Dennis Peacocke

A revolutionary who switched sides”

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Rachel Tabachnick (PRA associate fellow) researches, writes, and speaks about the impact of the Religious Right on policy and politics including civil rights, education, economics, environment, foreign policy, and labor. She produces presentations and speaks on conservative infrastructure and the intersection of the Religious Right and other sectors of the Right, including “free market” think tanks. Rachel has been interviewed on NPR and other radio and print media across the nation on topics including the New Apostolic Reformation, Christian Zionism, and education privatization. Follow her on Twitter at @RTabachnick.