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Marks of Abusive Religious Groups
By Rev. Keith Gibson

Often in cult ministry we focus on groups that deny central aspects of the Christian faith such as the Trinity, deity of Christ, salvation by grace etc. Many Christians believe that if they simply look at a doctrinal statement, they will be able to spot potentially harmful organizations. Such may not be the case. There are many groups, such as University Bible Fellowship and International Church of Christ which look very good on paper but are involved in practices that can prove spiritually damaging. Our Kansas City office has recently become involved with one such group. It is important that believers are able to move beyond the doctrinal statements to recognize other telltale signs of danger.

Elitism. Abusive religious groups see themselves as a cut above all others. Whether this manifests in a belief that they are the only true church or merely that they are the most dynamic and committed, other churches are viewed with suspicion and disdain.

Manipulation. Following closely on the heels of the elitism are subtle practices of manipulation. Most of the time, this is accomplished by limiting options. An easy way to understand this concept is to picture a rat in a maze. Though no one physically touches the rat to move it in a particular direction, the choices the rat is given are so limited that its course is essentially predetermined. Similarly, alternatives are presented to the member in such a way that only one choice is really possible. For instance, “Do you want to be wholehearted for Jesus or continue to love the world and run track?”. Obviously no one wants to be thought of as loving the world. But the thought is never allowed that the member might be able to glorify God by using God-given athletic abilities. By presenting the alternatives in this way, the leader of the group is able to conform the behavior of the members into his/her ideal. At the same time, the member feels like he/she is the one who made the decision. Thus it is not uncommon for members to protest that they are not being coerced. “I chose to quit track. No one made me do it.” Technically, they are right. However, the pressure applied made conformity inevitable, especially if one has already bought the message that this is the only true church.

Commitment to God = Commitment to Group. In abusive groups a subtle switch is made that causes commitment to the activities and beliefs of the group to equal commitment to God. This may be extremely difficult to spot at first because most of us express our commitment to God through faithfulness and ministry in our local church. The difference is one of degree. Imagine a student in college. Abusive groups may ask the student to lead small-group studies on multiple nights of the week. Other nights may be consumed with gatherings of the entire group and leadership training. On weekends the group has evangelistic outreach activities and of course there are regular special emphasis weeks. The student may find that their class work or family life is suffering under the burden. However, if he questions the amount the group is requiring he will be told he needs to stop loving the world and go wholeheartedly after God. Never is the thought allowed that God may actually want him to study or spend time with his family.

Rigidity. In abusive groups everything is black and white. There are few areas of conscience in which Christians can legitimately disagree. Related to this is a heavy emphasis on works. These groups rob members of intimacy with God for one can never do enough, sacrifice enough, follow the rules close enough to be sure that God has been satisfied. Many of the members of these groups live in a morbid self-reflection, consumed with worry over whether or not God can accept them today. Some members of the group, especially those who are new or close to the leadership, may actually feel that they ARE keeping all the rules. These members tend to become very judgmental of others in the group they perceive to be weaker. One young man, when I questioned why he had pressured another member to cut his hair a particular way, responded coldly, “Well I was worried about _____ because it didn’t look like he had left enough behind to me.”

Much more could be said including the use of guilt, milieu control and a host of other characteristics but the sample above should give the discerning Christian a foundation for recognizing the practices of spiritually abusive groups. Paul Martin has called these signs, “the footprints of the wolf”. In order for us to protect ourselves and our families one thing is certain, we must look deeper than the doctrinal statement.

Rev. Keith Gibson

http://www.arcapologetics.org/articles/article12.htm

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Dominionism: The New Christian Fascism? Is it ultimately that different from Islamic Fascism?
by Sandy Simpson, 6/29/07

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My answer to the above is “no”. I will prove that in a moment. C. Peter Wagner, as the head “horizontal apostle” (allegedly the modern version of James) has finally admitted that the goal of his “New Apostolic Reformation” based on heretical Latter Rain teachings, is to take dominion over every aspect of human life in His creation.

Apostles and prophets the foundation of the Church and, um, I identify as James an apostle as my function as a horizontal apostle to bring together the people of the body of Christ not only can I do it, I love to do it. Yesterday I was the apostle with a group of about 15-20 prophets we met all day long, and these prophets many of whom are going to be speakers in this conference come under my guidance, coordination and leadership as an apostle. They each have apostles in their own networks but I mean they are under spiritually. But I’m the one that brings them together and when I bring them together things happen. (C. Peter Wagner, National School of the Prophets – Mobilizing the Prophetic Office, Colorado Springs, CO, May 11, 2002, Tape #1)

Our theological bedrock is what has been known as Dominion Theology. This means that our divine mandate is to do whatever is necessary, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to retake the dominion of God’s creation which Adam forfeited to Satan in the Garden of Eden. It is nothing less than seeing God’s kingdom coming and His will being done here on earth as it is in heaven. (C. Peter Wagner, letter, May 31, 2007)

Islam also holds to a very similar Dominionist theology as espoused by the likes of C. Peter Wagner.
Whoever seeks other than Islam as his religion, it will not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he will be with the losers … Slay the idolators (non-Muslims) wherever ye find them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture (the Koran) as believe not in Allah nor the last Day … Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! (Sura [9:5,29,41], paranthetical material mine)

During a mass rally in Gaza this week, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said, Islam will enter “every house” and become the dominant religion across the entire planet. Zahar was previously the Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister. He spoke at a rally held for the late Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin, and his comments were translated by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) organization. (Mahmoud al-Zahar, Lekarev Report, 6/07)

This is the “real battle” between the Shaitan and man. Although Allah … dominates every creation, as He … is the Creator, he also wants the believers to dominate earth. They can then influence people so that kufr (unbelief) has no influence over Muslims to change their beliefs. (Allah’s Governance On Earth, The Official Website of The al-Khattab Family, The Official Website of The al-Khattab Family, Unite & Conquer!!, http://www.al-buruj.com)

Iran’s radical President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on Thursday in Malaysia that Islam will be the dominant power in the “near future”, the official state news agency reported. (Iran’s President: Islam to dominate world in “near future”, Free Republic, Iran Focus, 3/2/06)

Perhaps if Islam and false Christianity join forces they can accomplish their goal more quickly.

You might say: “Wagner is not advocating death to unbelievers as are Islamic Fascists”. At this point that is true. But doesn’t his statement “our divine mandate is to do whatever is necessary” leave that door open? We will examine the ultimate state of the coming (and already present) world religion which includes the apostate “Christian” church in a moment. For instance, that the Catholics have stated the Muslims worship the same God, that Evangelicals have signed on with Catholics, that many Bible societies use the name Allah in place of YHWH in Arabic Bibles, and that the WCGIP is advocating a world religion is a well known fact. But first we have to understand that our “mandate” as believers is NOT to achieve world domination at any cost.

Job 38:33 Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth?

This is God speaking to Job. The answer is that no one can set the ordinances of heaven or their dominion over the earth. Even Satan cannot do this. He has only been given temporary “power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). Yet the new “apostles” claim they can legislate in the heavenlies.

“It is time for the apostolic leaders of nations to rise up and proclaim into the heavenlies of the nations where they have apostolic voice and authority to speak and legislate in the heavenlies.” (Tommi Femrite, Open Memorandum Addressing the Twin Towers War released on 9/12/01 by C. Peter Wagner)

“We are no longer to ask God to do what he put us here to do. Rather, it is a time to make clear declarations that will change the atmosphere of our nation.” (Marty Cassady, Open Memorandum Addressing the Twin Towers War released on 9/12/01 by C. Peter Wagner)

God has established governments to set policies and execute strategies in the visible world. He has established the church to do likewise in the invisible world. (C. Peter Wagner, Open Memorandum Addressing the Twin Towers War released on 9/14/01 by C. Peter Wagner)

We must not and cannot legislate dominion in or from the heavenlies. We wait upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to excercise His dominon over the earth at His second coming.

Ps. 49:12-15 Nevertheless man, though in honor, does not remain; He is like the beasts that perish.

This is the way of those who are foolish, And of their posterity who approve their sayings. Selah. Like sheep they are laid in the grave; Death shall feed on them; The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; And their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. Selah

Our dominion will come “in the morning”. That is when the new day of the Lord has dawned starting in the Millennium (2 Pet. 1:19). For now we are to complete the Great Commission (Mt. 28:19), not take over the systems of government, businesses and social platforms of the world.

Mr. 10:42-45 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. “And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Christians, and particularly those whom God has given as overseers of the Church, are NOT to lord it over anyone, especially God’s flock. But there is a day approaching when there will arise false apostles and false prophets who will try to rule, not only the churches, but the whole world. That time has already come.

What is the end result of this Christian fascism? Ultimately it will be the same result as Islamic Fascism, Nazism and any other totalitarian structure based on religious fervor.

Mr. 13:12-13 “Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

This is in reference to “Christians”. In the end times they will turn against each other, led by gangs of power-hungry heretics, and this will ultimately result in “Christian” terrorism and persecution. There is an apostate world religion coming.

Rev. 17:6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

This is the “woman” who tries to ride the beast of world governance into dominion over the planet. In “saving the planet” for God they will trample the true saints. The Holy Roman Empire trampled true believers as did the Inquisitions. Israel did this to the true prophets. There is really nothing new under the sun … only the labels. Make no mistake. This push for world dominion will succeed for a short time just as Satan’s dominion is short lived.

Re 13:7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.

But are the true saints overcome in the ultimate sense? No way! We are called to be overcomers in the face of persecution and death in preparation for the end times.

Re 21:7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

For the meantime the temporary authority and power will be given to the enemy and those who follow him, including the apostate global “Christian” church lead by the false apostles.

Rev. 17:7 & 13 But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. … “These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.

If you doubt that the programs of the New Apostolic Reformation, the P.E.A.C.E. plan of Rick Warren and countless other Dominionist agendas are in league with the globalist agenda, then you need to read the NAR and Church Growth sections of my site. I need not belabor or prove that point again here. They are teaching Dominionism in direct opposition to what the Word of God says. Suffice it to say that a great apostasy is underway at this time and it will end in a strong delusion and the death of true believers.

2 Thes. 2:3-112 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

One of the lies those who follow heretics are believing today is the lie of Dominionism. This false theology gets believers to focus their attention on what God has NOT ordained. Then they are swept away in the pantheistic mysticism that has taken up residence in many churches, relying on their feelings to guide them. At that point they are already following the enemy and don’t even know it. If they would search the Scriptures daily they would know they are a tool of the enemy. But rather than repent they continue down the path of heresy, carrying out the ridiculous edicts of false apostles, the false prophecies of self-proclaimed “prophets”, and passing along the fables false teachers make up daily to tickle the ears of their followers until their consciences are branded with a hot iron and they can no longer discern truth from error. At that point they have given in to delusion. When God allowed Pharaoh many chances to repent and he hardened his heart, God finally hardened it for him. God will do the same when He ultimately sends a great delusion on those who no longer have a love of the truth. These deluded ones will end up being the same type of Fascists as their counterparts in Islam.

Re 18:24 “And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.”

The promise for true believers is that even though Satan and his masquerading apostles (2 Cor. 11:12-15) will have “dominion” over the earth for a time, in the end that “dominion” will be taken away from them.

Da. 7:25-27 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time. ‘But the court shall be seated, And they shall take away his dominion, To consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’

Victory is assured those who do not try to take dominion over the earth now, but wait patiently for the Jesus Christ to take dominion over the earth in His millennial Kingdom!

http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/christianfascism.html

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 The Last Hurrah!

It’s no secret Peter Wagner and his associates have been trying to implement a new government in the Church promoting new apostles and prophets are needed for the last age.

Peter Wagner has written a new book called the Second Apostolic Age, (this article is excerpts of a promotional release of his book-Chapter Eleven History Makers). http://www.regalbooks.com/2nd_age.pdf )

He writes in his book “If you are a believer, there has never been a better time for you to make history. “In the Second Apostolic Age, we are already living through the most radical change in our way of doing church since the Protestant Reformation.”

Wagner says at the end of the chapter My purpose in this book (2nd Apostolic Age) is to help us change our minds so that we can be history makers, not mere maintainers of the status quo. God has given us the power to overthrow the spirit of religion. Greater is He who is within us than he who is in the world (see 1 John 4:4).

Do you want new wine? Do you want to fulfill God’s destiny for you in this life? If you do, I recommend that you tune in to what the Spirit is saying to the churches,

resolve to catch the wind of the Holy Spirit and

agree to pay whatever price is necessary to become an active part of the new wineskin-including renewing your mind.

The new wineskin is the Second Apostolic Age. If you are a part of it, you can count yourself in the company of history makers!

Wow, what a sell, an advertising agency could not have done better. Using the current genre he appeals to our desire on making an impact. Who wouldn’t want to be part of this new wineskin. But is this our commission, to overthrow the spirit of religion? As we will see he is talking about the church not the other religions of the world.

Immediately questions spring up from what Wagner is offering. Are we to tune in to new words the Spirit is speaking to the church. Or should we hold to what Jesus already speak to the 7 churches in the book of Revelation through John the last living apostle? Is this adding to the word of God?

What he is proposing is something new and it is delivered through the new apostles and prophets.

Jesus introduces his admonishment to each church saying, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Paul specifically warns “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). These would have to be ignored to hear the new things “the Spirit” is saying to the church by the new apostles and prophets. Are we to read what the Spirit already delivered or what the Spirit is saying now? Obviously the emphasis is on what is new.

Wagner appeals to us to be history makers, If you are a part of his new apostolic movement. A 2nd apostolic age sounds so significant. This certainly is makes one think they are important, it is an appeal to the flesh to be significant. (1 Thessalonians 2:5-7: “For neither at any time did we use flattering words”). It’s God who raises someone up and will use them how he chooses, no man or any organization can decide this. In fact where does the Bible say there will be a second apostolic age? Can you find it?

Catch the Wind is an accepted cliché. The wind is blowing strong but Wagner is mistaken; it is the winds of doctrine (Eph.4:14) that are tossing people back and forth. As each new wave blew the church a was exposed to new things unheard of before, unbiblical practices and experiences. There is no teaching to catch a wind. The Holy Spirit when He first came to birth the church came as a mighty wind but this event was never repeated nor is He spoken of in this manner.

His claim of new wineskins is the Second Apostolic Age is a misapplication of Scripture. To suggest that if you do not join his company of history makers gives the impression that if you are not with him then you are not going to have part of God’s end time plan and will not be significant (a “history maker”). Is he able to decide this?

Wagner says, Old wineskins are strongly appealing. They offer a great deal of comfort and security. Jesus said, “No one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says ‘The old is better’” (Luke 5:39). Therefore, the majority of people will never desire to move into the new wineskins of the Second Apostolic Age.

Consequently, they will never join the ranks of history makers. Why do they resist? Moving from an old wineskin to a new wineskin seems to be too much of a risk!

Is this what Jesus meant, joining a another (2nd) apostolic age? What second apostolic age? The Bible says absolutely nothing on this. It is a risk of unprecedented proportions to have a completely new way of doing church, a church that has no basis on the apostles teaching that was already delivered. To speak like this to those who resist his new move smacks of heavy shepherding, Nicolatianism, and just plain intimidation.

At one time Wagner said, “I don’t condemn the old networks,” Wagner says. “But people are now realizing that they have spent 30 or 40 years trying to pour new wine into old wineskins. They are attempting the impossible.” (Charisma Online News Service, 2/24/04; Giant in the Faith’ Theologian Encourages Pentecostalism)

Wagner says “the whole movement based on prophets and apostles that has now emerged as the new wine skin that God is giving to the body of Christ is called the new apostolic reformation” (National School of The Prophets Mobilizing The Prophetic Office Wagner May 11, 2000)

As Bill Hamon one of the apostles/prophets under Wagner presents “A New Church Is Arising That the World Has Never Seen!” That would mean a church that has no connection to the one the apostles Jesus appointed to start. Something that everyone should pause and consider before they join this new apostolic age.

Wagner redefines the Bible in what Jesus meant about wineskins. Now let’s see what Jesus meant. Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.” (Luke 5:36-37)

First, this is a parable not a prophecy. Second, Jesus was not talking about even newer wineskins – a 2nd apostolic age. What Jesus was speaking of was accomplished almost two thousand years ago. He was telling us that he is not extending the life of the law (the Old Covenant of Moses) but making a new covenant (the old was wearing out -Heb.8:7-13 referring to Jer.31:31). This is a bad argument for the “new thing.” What Jesus spoke on the new wine skins already took place and is not to be repeated. Jesus meant that He did not come to strengthen the law (the old covenant) but to bring people into a “new covenant” of grace. This was accomplished by Jesus and it is not a repetitive act throughout history. We don’t have a new, new covenant to practice as some are teaching.

A major train of thought running through this book relates to the activity of the corporate spirit of religion. In order to refresh our memories, here is my definition of the spirit of religion: The spirit of religion is an agent of Satan assigned to prevent change and to maintain the status quo by using religious devices.

This is Wagner’s definition, but is it the Bibles? I looked this term and similar ones up, I could not find a spirit of religion or a religious spirit in the Scripture. This a new term that has been used to put people down who will not join in with the new thing.

Jesus did speak of the traditions of men which made the Pharisees religious, because it severed them from following the law of Moses accurately. Mark 7:6-8 Jesus said ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

“For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men.” They departed from what was written and substituted their own way of doing things, this is exactly what the new apostolic reformation is about. One only needs to read a portion of their writings to see this is what they are saying.

So if this change means to implement a new government under Wagner’s leadership then he needs to take a closer look at home for the spirit of religion. It is a departure from the word of God substituting new words of men.

In Wagner’s philosophy leaving the Bible behind and implementing new revelation as the course for the church is what the apostles and prophets are all about. Unhitching the church from the real apostles and prophets writings to the new apostles and prophets ways. He says this implicitly and so do his prophets

Chuck Pierce “you know when you come to a school of prophets, it’s very important. Peirce states, “This is where you look at something and even though a city is flowing in a certain way, an individual is flowing in a certain way, a church is flowing in a certain way, you know God’s redemptive plan over that, and you begin to prophesy.”

“…the first word is nabi, nabi or nabi, and that word simply means to bubble up and expound. So that when you’re talking about a prophet and much of and much of what we’ll be doing this afternoon will be linked with this and pastor Mary will discuss this further with us but that just means that within you you have a river and in the innermost being of you is rivers of living water and if you can ever get a bubbling then what’s bubbling begins to speak, needs to bubble and speak.” (Chuck Pierce and Mary Crum #0005114P, tape #5 Thursday May 11, 2000)

Prophecy never came from within man but from God who sent the word to the prophets.

Pierce at the same conference with Cindy Jacobs stated “And the second thing I wanna do is ask forgiveness from the prophetic realm. There will come a time that we will be very, very accurate in days ahead. And I wanna ask forgiveness for immaturity and a lack of accuracy that has come to bring words into the Body of Christ that have not been accurate” (National School of the prophets Chuck Pierce/Cindy Jacobs Sat. May 13, 2000)

Is this what we are to look forward to in the 2nd apostolic age a promise to be more accurate in prophecy?

Wagner says, In most of this book’s chapters, I pointed out how the corporate spirit of religion attempts to keep leaders from moving into God’s new wineskins. In this concluding chapter, let me summarize what I have said.

The last thing that the spirit of religion wants you to be is a world changer. It would like you to be so comfortable with the past that, for the rest of your life, you would prefer to keep doing the things you have been doing.

How does the spirit of religion attempt to maintain the status quo in the Church today?

The spirit of religion would love to maintain the status quo of denominational leadership, which prevents apostles from ministering in their God-given apostolic authority. It does this by casting a spell that convinces denominational leaders that final decisions affecting what the Church does must always be made by groups, not by individuals. In many cases, it has succeeded in elevating the notion of democratic church government to a level usually reserved only for essential doctrines. (underline added)

Are we asked to change the world or bring the gospel to save people and see them change? What if what we have been doing is what God called us to do and we see his hand our life, are we to abandon this to follow Wagner’s new thing?

What was the priority of the early church under the apostles? “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, in fellowship, breaking of bread and in prayers” (Acts 2:42) and “they continued steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine, having all things in common, and the Church increased daily.” The Apostles teaching was first and kept them in unity and increased their numbers.

Then the Bible says there will come false apostles and prophets that cause division by introducing new teachings that oppose the apostles teaching. When the apostles taught, there was no debating of whether it was correct. They were already recognized as God’s appointed leaders by Jesus to reveal God’s will for the Church. John, the last living apostle of those that Jesus chose, wrote that Jesus commended the church in Ephesus for testing “those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars” (Revelation 2:2). Are we testing them today?

What does Wagner mean preventing apostles from ministering in their God-given apostolic authority? What if a church is already following the apostle’s teachings in the Scripture, is that not enough? Jude said, “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 17). Jude does not mention any continuation of apostles in the Church. Jesus never said Jesus would continue to pick more apostles to do the same work they did in the first century. We are to listen to the Old apostles doctrine, not new ones who have new doctrine. Our apostles are in the Bible, they wrote the Bible, and tell us to keep to the writings of the Bible ONLY.

Wagner is saying that the old churches who follow the Bible are not getting on board with the new thing not only have the spirit of religion but are casting a spell, a term related to what Paul said to the Galatians because of their believing the Judaizers. To say the corporate spirit of religion prevents leaders from joining his ranks is in my assessment plain intimidation. Equating churches groups that make decisions (doing what the Bible says) as bewitched is certainly a derogatory remark. His solution is that individuals must make the decision, not a board. But Wagner neglects is that his apostolic government has a board, his decisions are made with many not by one individual. He also overlooks that the Bible always has a plurality of elder’s, not single leadership like the church of Rome. The first decision of the church was made by a council, by a group elders and apostles in Acts 15.

His group of self appointed apostles can gather together and decide they are local or international apostles and prophets, announcing themselves to the church as the new leadership and we are supposed to accept them because they say so?

In 3 John 9, John the Apostle names Diotrephes: “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. He would not accept the teaching of the apostles. He as an individual wanted to be recognized and spoke against them, bringing division in the church.

Thirty years of attempting to pour the new wine of the power of the Holy Spirit and of theological orthodoxy into decaying old wineskins of denominational structures has now been seen as a well-intentioned but fruitless effort. The spirit of religion would like reform-minded leaders to do the same for another 30 years, rather than take the bold step of moving and establishing separate apostolic networks. (Wagner/2nd Apostolic Age p. 3 of chapter 11)

Seems as if Wagner is getting a bit teed off on the non-acceptance of his apostolic takeover. His take is that denominations are bad so he wants to replace it with an apostolic denomination (which he calls a government) that will rule over all denominations. This is a repeat of what the Catholic church did, except he wants this done with evangelicals, Pentecostals, fundamentalists etc.

In the past, family heritage has been one of the strongest factors in determining a believer’s church affiliation. Today, many church leaders are perceiving that affiliating with churches of other denominations in a given city can produce more effective ministry than restricting their contacts to those with their same heritage. The spirit of religion tries to discredit this change by convincing denominational power brokers that they should preserve the traditions of the elders at all costs.

Are those who have the old status quo the traditions of the elders now accepted if they work with other churches? Now he is saying denominations working together is an advantage. Which is it?

Are denominations that follow the Bible to be considered equal to the tradition of the elders? Certainly there is merit in that those denominations that have no intention in following the word and need reform but Wagner is generalizing the many. Unless those who depart from Scripture are teaching the doctrines of men as if from God, or false teaching this has no correlation. In fact it is his group of prophets and apostles that teaches new revelation as if it is equal to Scripture, which replaces the true revelation thus being guilty of this very thing.

Church leaders in the Second Apostolic Age are now looking beyond enlarging their congregations, although this remains important, to penetrating all levels of society with the values and principles of the kingdom of God. The spirit of religion attempts to keep this vision bottled up because it knows that if it is applied, Satan will end up with much less control of society and finances than he has now.

Seems as if Wagner is saying churches that do not go along with his new apostolic movement are aware of what they are doing and are demonized, not a very nice thing to conclude. Is this our mandate to go into society with kingdom principles? Are we to stop Satan’s influence in society or in people by giving the gospel. His view is a position typical of dominionism. That we go into the work places, the schools, the arts, the music etc. and influence them with Christian ways. Certainly we are to be salt and light but Wagner is proposing a social, civil taking back.

The spirit of religion is strongly attempting to create a Christian antiwar movement, persuading believers that if they do spiritual warfare and attempt to confront the devil and his principalities and powers, they have a good chance of becoming casualties. Christian pacifists make the spirit of religion happy.

Are their new spiritual warfare concepts superior to God answering the prayer of a righteous man? I do not see any validity to this argument, again it is putting down many who have worked hard on the mission field and evangelizing other nations. What many are saying is that they are doing is not biblical spiritual warfare but teach a Gnostic pagan view that does absolutely nothing in reality but puffs up peoples minds, convincing them that they have become a powerful force chasing the devil away with his tail between his legs.

What does Wagner believe in spiritual warfare?

A letter from C. Peter Wagner Unlocking the Supply
In that chapter, Chuck (Pierce) speaks of the keys of the kingdom and writes, “God is saying to us in this hour that He is ready to give us keys. These keys will unlock the supply we need to advance His covenant purposes” (p. 160). He says that in order to do this we must identify the “illegal domination of demonic structures from region to region” (p. 161), and then recognize that “apostolic authority must be established in a field if we are to reap the harvest in that field” (p. 162).

Apostles also have authority over the demonic rulers of a region. They have the ability to demonstrate supernatural power that draws a whole region to our life-giving God” (p. 164). From this I think that we can conclude that if full-stage spiritual warfare is to be done in a region, the generals of that warfare must be apostles.”

Wagner’s non biblical but innovative ideas such as praying on location for a community, region, or nation is seen as more powerful than praying at home. That one must bind these so called strong men and territorial princes to have any affect in our praying.

“Spying out the land is essential when warring for a city… Christians should walk or drive every major freeway, avenue, and road of their cities, praying and coming against demonic strongholds over every neighborhood…” (Engaging the Enemy: How to Fight and Defeat Territorial Spirits – C. Peter Wagner, Ventura,CA; Regal , p. 98)

Wagner labels this “occult-level spiritual warfare.” Spiritual mapping is a necessary strategy to “map out” the demons’ geographical activity with the help of individuals who, according to Wagner, have “gifts of prophetic espionage” or a spiritual “hunting instinct to track down the enemy’s manipulations.” Wagner explains that through the gift of prophecy and the gift of the discernment of spirits, “we can know what has and what has not been bound in heaven” (Wagner, Powers, p.155.

Despite the fact that research shows that traditional theological education does not necessarily produce competent church leaders, the spirit of religion persists in trying to make seminary and Bible school training a prerequisite for ministerial ordination.

Should not one pursue education in good schools? I agree that a wrong school can ruin ones faith and that God’s calling does not depend on ones education but should we have less education? Was not Paul educated? In fact, almost all the apostles, though they were mostly fisherman were far more educated in the Scripture than most are today. Does not Wagner have a Leadership Institute? Is this not like a school. The difference is that his school teaches all the new revelatory ways that are not found in Scripture of doing church for the 21st century apostolic church. What is he talking about? He is putting down the old and replacing it with His new, thus implementing a paradigm shift.

The unity of the Body of Christ is very important for the fulfillment of God’s purposes on Earth. It is no secret that differences in doctrine have contributed to a great deal of division. Doctrine, however, is becoming less divisive in the Second Apostolic Age, and the spirit of religion is trying to thwart this trend. (Wagner, 2nd Apostolic Age p. 4 chapter 11)

Wrong doctrine does harm and bring division and some right doctrine brings health buy its division. Real doctrine divides, Jesus gave true doctrine next to the Pharisees invention of laws and it divided. Truth divides, we are told to divide from those who do not hold to the apostles teachings (Rom.16:17). Does Wagner and his associates care for upholding the former apostles teachings or their new agenda- the New Order of the Latter Rain? Doctrine divides and brings harm when it is not the truth. Why does doctrine become less divisive in the Second Apostolic Age? They seem to be more about uniting in a human effort of strength to influence the world than maintaining the unity of the faith that was delivered to us (the saints) once for all. Doctrine we are told is necessary “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16). 2 John 1:9 “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God.”1 Tim 5:17 “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.”

Renewal of the Mind

Wagner’s remedy- The remedy for being under the spell of the spirit of religion in every one of the above scenarios is a new way of thinking. In chapter 1, I explained that the Hebrew word belaw characterizes the tactics of the corporate spirit of religion. This word means to wear out the victim in a mental sense. How do we defeat the enemy in this arena? We become transformed by the renewing of our minds as we are told to do in Romans 12:2. To move ahead, then, we need a paradigm shift.

This is not only the remedy for the spirit of religion but for every believer who is saved. However, Wagner’s renewing of the mind is to accept his new apostolic reforms, get on board but don’t check them by the Scripture or you may have a conflict and then you are labeled as the corporate spirit of religion (proof of this is in all the statements made by him and others under him)

Romans 12:2: states we are transformed by “the renewing of our mind.” This is done through the Word of God and by the power of the Spirit. This means the process to change us is not subjective but primarily objective, based on knowledge from the word and living it out. You can’t know God and His ways outside the Bible.

Rom 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

So how does our mind get renewed? Jesus prayed in John 17:17 “Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.” He repeated himself many times that we should know. Twice Jesus specifically said, “blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (Luke 11:28 also 8:21) John 14:24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” Hebrews (4:12) states the “Word is living and powerful and Jesus said if “… continue in my word and you will know the truth and the Truth will set you free.” “Your word is truth” (John 17:17) “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 1 Timothy 4:6 Paul writes for us to be “nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.” To “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine,” We are to be “Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught” (Titus 1:9). Paul continually asserted this: “That you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3).

Many other Scriptures can be used, yet Jack Deere who is onboard with Peter Wagner states about finding what the apostles did in their ministry “You know I’m gonna look up every reference to teaching in the Bible. so I just punched it in my computer concordance, looked up every single reference ‘taught, teacher, teaching,’ every single reference in the New Testament and its astounding. Did you know not one time, not one time does it say that Jesus taught the Bible?.. isn’t that interesting not one time does it ever say that. It says He taught about the kingdom, taught about God, preached the Gospel of the kingdom, and the Good news. Not one time does it ever say He taught the Bible … I looked up all the references with the apostles and did you know that with only one possible exception, it never says the Apostles taught the Bible?…Here’s the last verse in the book of Acts, verse 31. Here’s how it ends with what Paul’s doing. V.31 “boldly and without hindrance he preached” not the Bible, the kingdom of God. And he taught, not the Bible, but taught about the Lord Jesus.” (National School Of The Prophets Mobilizing The Prophetic Office May 11, 2000 11:30 AM tape #3)

Deere could not find that Jesus or the apostles taught the Bible!

Gal. 6:6 “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.”

Titus 1:9 “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”

Jack Deere you contradict! And the words we have written is what we are to teach today. You look it up and wee what you find.

Here is what the last verse of Acts actually says Acts 28:31 “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”

If you don’t think that Paul taught the Old Testament and what pertains to the Messiah then you have not read your Bible well.

The reformation brought the word of God to everyday people; it affected the common people, the laity. Without a reformation that goes back to the word of Scripture people will continue to try and catch the wind.

Peter Wagner and those under him promote his innovated methods; a rhema word that has precedence over the logos word. “The rhema is regarded as a more immediate word from God which we do not find in the 66 books of the Bible” (Engaging the Enemy, by C. Peter Wagner. (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1991), pp.15-16)

Paul admonishes in 1 Corinthians 4:6 “do not go beyond what is written” Proverbs 30:6 tells us, “Do not add to his words lest you be rebuked and found a liar.”

Jonathan Edward’s wrote of the Bible “The devil has ever shown a mortal spite and hatred towards that holy book, the Bible: he has done all in his power to extinguish that light and to draw men off from it: He knows it to be that light by which the kingdom of darkness is to be overthrown…. He is enraged against the Bible and hates every word in it: And we may be sure that he never will attempt to raise persons’ esteem of it or affection to it.” (Works of Jonathan Edward’s, Vol. 2, p.260)

Since when does the church need a paradigm shift that will take us away from what the bible says to hold to. The paradigm shift was popularized by Wagner’s good friend John Wimber. It is a new age term to mean a new way of looking and doing things. Wagner says that he was told “you are being called to reshape the face of Christianity” (National School of The Prophets, Mobilizing The Prophetic Office Wagner May 11, 2000 )

This whole movement is a challenge to Biblical based ministry and (status quo as stated) are convincing people by the old shepherding methods to accept a paradigm shift to the new apostles (ala Wagner) and prophets to be the government of the church; which he now calls the 2nd apostolic age.

Wagner says, “I myself, for example, would rather not have people call me a Charismatic, I do not consider myself a Charismatic, I am simply an Evangelical Congregationalist who is open to the Holy Spirit working through me and my church in any way He chooses ”(C. (Peter Wagner, cited in Charismatic Chaos – Part 5, Does God do Miracles Today? 1991, by John F. MacArthur, Jr.)

The fact is Wagner and almost all his associates under him are teaching Latter Rain doctrines. They instead call it 3rd wave so it is not recognized. They can call it what they want, it does not change what they are.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=peter+wagner&emb=0&aq=f#q=peter%20wagner&emb=0&aq=f&start=10

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