Andrew Wommack Urges Followers to ‘Take Over’ Colorado City
In 2014, Andrew Wommack moved his ministry from Colorado Springs to the nearby city of Woodland Park to launch Charis Bible College. Now, he would like his followers to run the city and the surrounding Teller County.
“Man, as many people as we have in this school here, we ought to take over Woodland Park,” said Wommack during an April Citizen’s Academy that was hosted by the 501(c)4 political organization he founded in 2017, the Truth & Liberty Coalition, and was designed to help believers get involved in politics. “This county ought to be totally dominated by believers.”
Wommack said local believers needed to quit focusing on their personal relationship with Christ, or simply praying for the nation, and begin getting involved, starting with the local school board.
“We have enough people here in this school we could elect anybody we want,” he said. “We could take over this place.”
Wommack operates a network of ministries that brought in $68 million in 2019. (The ministry hasn’t yet released its 2020 financial report.) The ministries employ nearly 500 people, and Charis has a student body of around 600.
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In addition to Truth & Liberty, Wommack seeks to “make a difference in this nation” through Charis’s School of Practical Government, and he helped found the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, designed to “bring lawmakers together in support of clear biblical principles.”
“Some people think, well, we shouldn’t be flexing our muscles,” said Wommack. “Well, we should.” Among the urgent reasons for acting now, Wommack cited Colorado’s government.
“We now have a homosexual governor, we have a Senate and House that are controlled by the Democrats, and they are ramming through ungodly legislature at an unprecedented rate,” he said.
Wommack said public schools now use textbooks and graphics to teach fourth graders how to have anal sex. “They’re showing you how you can have homosexual sex. It’s now in the curriculum in our schools. If we got two or three Christians on the school board, we can stop this. There’s only 25,000 people in our whole county,” he said, “and often, school board elections will be won by 100 people.”
Wommack teaches that Christians should have dominion over unbelievers through the Seven Mountains of influence: religion, family, education, government, media, arts and entertainment, and business. He also teaches that Christ’s Great Commission calls for Christians to disciple nations and governments, not just individuals.
“Revival is not coming through the prayer closet,” said a speaker at last June’s Truth & Liberty Conference. “Revival’s coming through the ballot box.”
Or as “Trump prophet” Lance Wallnau said on one of Wommack’s Truth & Liberty broadcasts, “It’s about how to storm the cockpit and take over the plane of a nation.”
The debate has spilled over into the pages of the local paper, The Pikes Peak Courier. Some residents aren’t welcoming Wommack’s proposed theocratic takeover.
“Teaching tolerance is not the same as teaching a lifestyle,” wrote one local resident. “Get educated before judging. Want influence? Pay your fair share to support our community, then perhaps Charis has a right to put their thumb on the scale.”
Charis, and most other Wommack-related ministries, are tax-exempt.
Rodney Noel Saunders, a retired United Methodist pastor, said he had warned local officials about Charis, saying, “The people of the town and county would one day be sorry they ever helped it to exist as it does. I think it is a cult-like group, and cult-like groups want to control everything they can.”
Richard Harris, Truth & Liberty’s executive director and pastor of Grace and Faith Bible Church in Woodland Park, responded, writing, “Retired Rev. Rodney Noel Saunders blasts Andrew Wommack for the very things that Jesus commissioned His Church to do,” citing Christ’s Great Commission in Matthew 28.
“Exhorting Christians to get involved in government can only be considered cult-like if the majority culture has moved so far from its biblical roots that it no longer recognizes the Judeo-Christian values upon which our country was founded,” Harris said.
Over the last year, some local residents have lost patience with Charis’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Wommack has downplayed the virus—once claiming it would disappear by March 2020—and sued the state over mandated caps on public gatherings that it repeatedly violated. Events at Charis led to two major COVID outbreaks, which sickened dozens of people.
Wommack claims he and other true believers should be immune (“I have zero fear of this. If a germ touches me, it dies.”). He called local and state health officials the “Gestapo” in one Truth & Liberty broadcast.
Wommack asked Liberty Counsel to sue Colorado Governor Jared Polis over the restrictions, saying he is “openly homosexual and anti-Christian.” But Focus on the Family President Jim Daly praised Polis in a May 15 blog post entitled “Colorado Governor Jared Polis is Exhibiting Civility and Common Sense in the Midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Daly wrote, “Governor Polis and I disagree on many significant issues, but I have respected his leadership through this crisis.”
Locals have also had a chance to see a graduate of Charis’s School of Practical Government in action. Robert Zuluaga was elected to the City Council in 2020.
Last year, Zuluaga voted against Woodland Park hiring a firm to update its comprehensive master plan. He questioned the integrity of the firm that had proposed doing the update, and claimed that the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that comprehensive plans infringe on private property rights. “It gives authority to government employees to set the future for the citizens, and I just don’t support it,” he said.
Local paper The Mountain Jackpot News said Zuluaga has contributed to division in the council. “Verbal sparks continue to ignite at Woodland Park City Council meetings, even over the most mundane subjects,” wrote reporter Bob Volpe.
Another Charis graduate filmed himself inside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack by Trump supporters. “I’m probably going to lose my job as a pastor after this,” said Tyler Ethridge, who was fired from a small congregation in Dover, Florida, led by another former Charis student.
“I don’t want to say that what we’re doing is right,” said Ethridge in his Jan. 6 video. “But if the election is being stolen, what is it going to take?”
Charis released a statement saying it does not “condone or teach insurrectionist practices.”