The Apostolic Congress (a.k.a. Apostolic Coalition & Apostolic Initiative)This section was added to provide the reader with some information concerning an organization called the Apostolic Congress (note: this is an archived shot of the website as it is now no longer owned by them), a politically motivated group reported by some to be associated with the United Pentecostal Church and appears to be associated with other apostolic church organizations. The Village Voice has described them as, "...part of an important and disciplined political constituency courted by recent Republican administrations. As a subset of the broader Christian Zionist movement, it has a lengthy history of opposition to any proposal that will not result in what it calls a "one-state solution" in Israel."
It appears that Stan Wachtstetter in 1981 was able to open a door for Apostolics to have some form of communication with the White House and the Apostolic Congress grew out of these encounters. He was an adviser to the Executive Board of the Apostolic Congress while Robert G. Upton was the Executive Director. Upton became involved in the group several years ago after meeting Wachtstetter and was later elected as director. It cannot be determined from their web site who else may have been involved in the Apostolic Congress. Neither Wachtstetter nor Upton are listed in the 2004 United Pentecostal Church Directory as holding license with the United Pentecostal Church. In 2014, Stan Wachtstetter wrote a book on Apostolic Pentecostals in the twentieth century titled The Century of the Name.
Sometime in 2005, the Apostolic Initiative was formed and there was a website, theapostolicinitiative.org & .com, but those are no longer in operation and Wayback does not have a screen shot, but another has a cached page. However, a Facebook page for it has been available since 2011, but has not been updated since April 2013. I found a mention of what happened in the description for Wachtstetter's book as follows, "Rev. Wachtstetter turned the work of Apostolic Coalition over to other men as his schedule in foreign countries escalated but in recent years the White House and many Apostolic ministers began to ask him to restart the work he had done with the Coalition. He prayed about it with his family, and his son-in-law, Rev. Greg Harris agreed to do the work if Rev. Wachtstetter would serve as his senior advisor. This would allow Bro. Wachtstetter to continue the mission work in Russia and the Ukraine. Bro. Wachtstetter agreed to this and co-founded the Apostolic Initiative with Rev. Harris. Rev. Harris now carries this load."
On their web site they claim to be a pro-life and pro-family organization that "informs Christians in America about abortion issues and family values" as well as "a Spirit-filled, purpose driven movement representing the heartbeat of the Apostolic Community on a national front." They are "sponsoring a grassroots campaign in support of Israel." The group feels they are "affecting policy in Washington, and bringing about real change in America." The Congress believes they provide "a consciousness to the political structure of our nation, by meetings, dialogues and on-going communication."
They claim to work closely with the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. as well as other organizations in the city such as the Christian Coalition. Their seal is very similar to the presidential seal. They've received a fair amount of negative press, mainly due to their end time beliefs as well as teachings which differ from mainstream Christianity.
On their web site, they have a gallery section, with photographs of a handful of government officials, as well as ones with people such as Jerry Falwell and the Rod Parsleys. Upton is in almost all of these pictures.
They have a link to a message President George Bush gave via video to the 2003 UPC General Conference meeting as well as a page set aside for information about President Bush. It appears Upton is doing his best to show his picture with President Bush, and posts a couple pictures with himself in the foreground and the president somewhere in the background.
As of late October 2004, the web site had a calendar section with important dates that do not show any events, including election day. Their event page is outdated, only listing one past event in May of 2004.
The site offers a free bumper sticker as well as an e-mail list notifying supporters of events. They also encourage contributions to allow them "to continue to be your Apostolic Voice in our Capitol."
Robert Upton was raised in Connellsville, Pennsylvania and graduated from Connellsville Area High School in 1979. Upton married at age 16 while a senior at high school in 1978 and has three adult married children. He graduated from Belmont University in Nashville and is said to be working on a theology degree from Liberty University. He pastors the Bible Church of the Living God on 760 Power Street in Clarksville, Tennessee. In December of 2003, he and a select group of religious leaders and delegates were invited to dinner with President Bush and his wife.
By his own admission in early 2002, he is a big fan of The Andy Griffith Show and has met most of the cast. He says Jim Nabors was a big fan of his music. He claims a successful career as a Gospel recording artist and that he established two churches in the former Soviet Union and has churches in Belize, Central America, and in Crimea Ukraine.
Note: As the website is no longer in operation, I do not know if the following information is still valid. The Apostolic Congress may be contacted at: P. O. Box 2175, Clarksville, TN 37042; phone 931-920-8809 (also is the church phone) or they may be contacted at P.O. Box 2988, Washington, DC 20013; phone 202-547-4799. Their e-mail is ApostolicVoiceDC@aol.com. Robert Upton's e-mail is PastorUpton@aol.com. He is not to be confused with the author, Robert Upton. Later under Harris, the address changed to 23336 Highway 6 E, Batesville, Mississippi 38606.
Upton now appears to be involved in the (internationalchristianleadershipcoalition.com - no longer around) International Christian Leadership Coalition. "In 2010 Bishop Frank Munsey and Bob formed the International Christian Leadership Coalition, to represent Christians in every corner of the Globe and bring the good news of peace and love and share our prosperity with the less fortunate and bring them hope, teaching them to lead. After Bishop Munsey passed in 2011, Upton has carried on the work as Executive Director, and is traveling around the world as a humanitarian."
Articles on the Apostolic Congress:
Praying With Presidents (Link no longer shows the article.) by Larecca Rucker - April 6, 2010: "Wachtstetter, pastor of Clinton's Bible Tabernacle Independent Pentecostal Church for 15 years, said his relationship with the White House began when he led a young man to God who later became former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's campaign manager and chief of staff.
"I stayed with him during Reagan's inauguration, and Reagan included me because our churches weren't represented," Wachtstetter said. "He shook my hand and personally thanked me for the work I was doing."
"Wachtstetter said he became close with President George Herbert Walker Bush."He did more for me than any other president," he said. "He made me part of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars."
The Jesus Landing Pad by Rick Perlstein - May 18th, 2004: "When Pastor Upton was asked to explain why the group's website describes the Apostolic Congress as "the Christian Voice in the nation's capital," instead of simply a Christian voice in the nation's capital, he responded, "There has been a real lack of leadership in having someone emerge as a Christian voice, someone who doesn't speak for the right, someone who doesn't speak for the left, but someone who speaks for the people, and someone who speaks from a theocratical perspective."
When his words were repeated back to him to make sure he had said a "theocratical" perspective, not a "theological" perspective, he said, "Exactly. Exactly. We want to know what God would have us say or what God would have us do in every issue." From the Village Voice in New York City.
Apostolic Delegation Hosted by White House by Steve Wilson- May 12, 2003: "The purpose of the meeting was to secure a voice for Oneness Pentecostals specifically, not just from the general mishmash of “Pentecostals.” Considering the continued growth of Apostolics throughout the United States, the strong bloc of Apostolics consists of several million people, with an increasing opportunity to affect national policy. Indeed, the Christian voice in Washington is very powerful when used, but many times we are too silent on the issues which affect our lives and our churches. We can only affect policy, however, if we get involved." From ninetyandnine.com and reprinted from The Apostolic Witness.
Christian Zionists, Jews & Bush's Reelection Strategy by Bill Berkowitz- June 3, 2004: "While it's no longer news that Bush Administration officials meet regularly with Christian fundamentalists, it was surprising to hear about this particular meeting because it was clearly meant to be kept out of the headlines." From Environmentalists Against War.
The Village Voice Goes Apocalyptic (Link no longer valid) by Douglas LeBlanc- May 21, 2004: "If Voice editors think a few representatives of the United Pentecostal Church are a crucial factor in Bush's Mideast policy, they are overly anxious about a church with just over 1 million domestic members." From Get Religion.
Action Alert- May 1, 2003: "The group leads a billboard campaign that petitions President Bush to honor God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The campaign reflects the growing concern within the Christian community that the "road map" for "peace" - introduced by the U.S. in conjunction with the European Union, Russia and the U.N. - will dictate the surrender of biblical lands promised to Israel- an affront to all believers." From Our Jerusalem.
Apostolic Leaders Given Exclusive White House Briefing by Robert W. Martin- April 12, 2004: "Several members of the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ (ALJC), United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI), and other Oneness organizations were present, including myself (Assistant General Superintendent for the ALJC) and Randy Keyes (Assistant General Superintendent for the UPCI). Approximately 30 people were in attendance." From ninetyandnine.com and reprinted from The Apostolic Witness.
Oneness Pentecostals Join Christian Zionists by Richard Bartholomew- May 8, 2004: Includes an alleged e-mail from Stan Wachtstetter saying in part, "There is no special attention given to us. In fact, I am locked out at this administration because I complained about care of our troops in the field. I have been told directly that I will never be invited. In addition, I have complained bitterly that they (this administration and the Congress) can seldom tell the difference between a Trinitarian Pentecostal and a Oneness. Because of their lack of concern, generally it is Trinitarians invited to honor us. Proportionally, Oneness people are not given fair invitations to events."
127 US Religious Leaders To Hold DMZ Rally to End Korean Nuclear Crisis- Upton Joins Rev. Moon Organized Event 2007 "The peace effort is coordinated by the Universal Peace Federation, founded by the Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and his wife Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, who have long played a significant role in efforts for North-South reconciliation. ...Speakers: Pastor Robert G. Upton - President of the Apostolic Coalition - Pentecostal Religious Association that represents 12,000,000 Pentecostals in the U.S."
This Pentecostal Pastor Is Herman Cain's New Secret Weapon by Grace Wyler - November 22, 2011: "To spearhead this effort, the Cain campaign has looked beyond the traditional ranks of the Religious Right, to the fringes of American Christianity. Business Insider has learned that the Cain campaign recently tapped Pentecostal pastor Robert Upton, a former Bush administration liaison with strong ties to the Oneness and Christian Zionist movements. Upton is a very strange pick to lead the Cain campaign's faith outreach - although this is perhaps unsurprising, given the former pizza titan's penchant for finding weird campaign staffers. ...In light of these beliefs, Upton's involvement on the Cain campaign could have significant implications for the candidate's woefully underdeveloped foreign policy positions." See also: Key People-Herman Cain.
Page added October 21, 2004 - Updated June 24, 2014
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