Please note: This is an excerpt from an article entitled The Willow Creek Dilemma: Why Our Association With Them Is Wrong, by Chris Carmichael. It was part of a report presented to an overseers committee at his local Christian Church in the Fall of 2001 in an effort to confront the church leadership about their increasing involvement with the Willow Creek Association and their Church Growth Movement principles. The article can be read here http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/hybels/dilemma.htm
C. Peter Wagner
Peter Wagner is a radical Pentecostal/Charismatic who came from the academic halls of Fuller Theological Seminary and has strategically placed himself into the middle of an international network of "Christian" activities to help implement, organize and dominate a Global Church within the coming New World Order. (If this sounds disturbingly New Age, then your feelings are correct.) Currently, Wagner is President of Global Harvest Ministries whose main objective states: "From day one we have joined hands with Jesus of whom it was said, "The Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil" (1 Jn. 3:8). Our mandate is to weaken the "god of this age" that he will no longer be able to blind the minds of men and women who are lost. We know that you are ready for war!" (Doesn't Scripture say that Jesus Himself will destroy the devil, not any effort by Global Harvest?)
Through Global Harvest Ministries and it offshoots, Wagner Leadership Institute and the World Prayer Center (WPC), Wagner is training future Christian leaders, tracking thousands upon thousands of churches by computer, and creating a "New Way" in which the Holy Spirit is working in this age. Dr. Wagner says, "We see our task as getting people in touch with one another to form interactive, human web networks that are properly equipped to wage effective spiritual warfare." The WPC is "a fully equipped nerve center with data and information about prayer needs throughout the world [which]... networks prayer ministries, denominations, churches and cell groups. This creates a united prayer front that will end Satan's attempt to divide and isolate believers, and to blind so many to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (These are quotes from the World Prayer Center website. My emphasis.)
For anyone who has studied the current push in today's headlines for a One World Order and a unified Global Chuch, Wagner's agenda conjures up an endtime scenario straight out of the Book of Revelation. My question is, as this WPC network becomes stronger and more powerful, how will it be used to identify Christians who don't agree with Wagner's global, ecumenical One World Church? Will WPC label them as part of "Satan's attempt to divide believers" and make war with them? Let's hope not.
InPlainSite.org Note. Actually there is a distinct possibility that they will. See Footnote on Dominion Theology
So what specifically is Wagner doing? As part of his networking plan, he recently founded the idea of the "New Apostolic Reformation" where apostles and prophets are rising up to take control of the Church. Dr. Wagner recently proclaimed himself "presiding apostle" of a coalition of 200 "true" apostles by forming the "International Coalition of Apostles." Their mandate, of course, is to build and usher in the Kingdom of God. Wagner and his apostolic brethren purport to speak for our Lord and they claim to hold the greatest authority over the direction of the Church and the lives of God's people. These apostles & prophets are the people that the majority of the other leaders in the charismatic movement look to for new insights, revelation, and vision for the future of the Church.
For the last fifteen years, Wagner's Apostolic Conferences all over the country are boldly proclaiming in their advertisements that God is "shifting and establishing His governmental foundation." They urge, therefore, that we must all come under their apostolic authority. (Source: Inner-City Discernment Ministry.) Among his Apostolic buddies are Ted Haggard, Bill Hamon, Cindy Jacobs, John Eckhardt and Chuck Pierce. (Pierce, who oversees Wagner's World Prayer Center, has said he has the "authority to gain the keys..." and often gives unbiblical first-person revelations from God to "entire tribes and nations." --- C. Peter Wagner's Prayer Track News, 1997.)
See Footnote on Dominion Theology
The most disturbing thing about Peter Wagner is that he is never really in the forefront of the Apostolic network and their adjacent false movements, and he is very shrewd about not being in the limelight. On the contrary, he merely aligns himself with this specific group of questionable Christian leaders, "apostles and prophets," and allows them to blatantly spread their false gospel, while he quietly supports them in the background. At all these "Apostolic" conferences, Wagner is called the "convener," which clearly reveals him as the power behind the movement. In fact, he describes himself as a "horizontal" apostle, which means that he is the behind-the-scenes apostle who organizes and empowers the "vertical" apostles within his loose knit organizations who deal with God's message. (Global Harvest website.) Wagner's true colors, however, are exposed when you see the list of his closest associates, which include the late John Wimber, James Ryle, Jack Deere, Mike Bickle, Paul Cain, and more. Some of their false doctrines, movements, and organizations include Vineyard, Latter Rain, Manifested Sons of God, Cleansing Stream, Holy Laughter, and being Slain in the Spirit. [See Detailed Article on Slain in The Spirit]
Wagner is also involved in Spiritual Warfare, or what I call, "demon-chasing." In a 1997 memo to participants in Wagner's International Spiritual Warfare Network, Wagner urged members to do spiritual battle against a demonic entity known as the "Queen of Heaven." There is no Biblical basis for this, but apparently, Wagner and others are actively working to uncover the "seat" of this Queen of Heaven and destroy her influence there. They are using extra-biblical revelations from some of their operatives and are also using bizarre, mystical interpretations from Scripture to track this demonic influence in the world and "take that land back for the kingdom." This, unfortunately, is all part of Wagner's belief that the main reason people do not accept Christ is because of demonic, territorial spirits, and not because of people's sinful natures. (John Hart's Review of Peter Wagner, Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Spring 1997.) Much of Wagner's teaching points to the devil, but very little on the Person of Jesus Christ.
Wagner's interest in demonology seems to stem from his tendency to merge paganism and Christianity in a shocking but subtle manner. In "Territorial Spirits" p.179 he states: "In this way the Jews resolved the problem of the one and the many. There was only one God, and he was their god for ever. All other spiritual forces, be they good or bad, were ultimately of his creation, under his control and assigned as tutelary deities to other nations. ...The nations which ruled the ancient world were under the supervision of their angel-princes, who in their turn were under the ultimate control of Yahweh, the Lord of heaven and earth..." (Note that pagan ‘gods' and spirits are seen as under Yahweh, and acknowledged as "tutelary deities." Where does the Bible teach about a hierarchy of little gods under the control of one big god?)
Unfortunately, much of what Wagner uses to back up his claims are based upon extra-biblical sources, since none of his ideas have any connection to Scripture. For example, Wagner's spiritual warfare book, "Territorial Spirits," is a compilation of the writing of such people as Paul (David) Yonggi Cho, Larry Lea, Jack Hayford and others who accept the neo-dominionist doctrines. This book is an anti-biblical book which teaches that Christians can dispossess Satan's angels from their seats of authority over geographical areas. (Biblically, these spiritual entities will not be put down until Jesus Christ returns. [Revelation 19-20.] Wagner, again, has usurped Christ's authority.)
Wagner's obsession with demons and "signs and wonders" seems to have started at Fuller Theological Seminary where he was a "think tank" genius who created methodologies and strategies for the reintroduction of fake gifts and mission to the churches. He was the professor of Fuller's School of World Mission, and was a disciple and close associate of John Wimber. He co-authored the Fuller course MC510 Signs and Wonders with Wimber and took this course globally to every continent. He and Wimber were the implementers of the so-called restoration of the missing holy spirit to the Churches. [See More About John Wimber]
Because of this unbiblical belief in a "new and improved" holy spirit, Wagner has publicly affirmed many charismatic deceptions, like the "gold fillings" miracles in Latin America, where people have reported having regular fillings in their mouth changed to gold by the power of God. (Wagner's Confronting the Powers, p. 59.) His reliance on extra-biblical spirituality is so strong, in fact, that Wagner seems to indicate that occult practitioners have superior knowledge to Christians. He states in Confronting the Powers that "certain people such as shamans, witch doctors, practitioners of Eastern religions, New Age gurus or professors of the occult on university faculties are examples of the kind of people who may have much more extensive knowledge of the spirit world than most Christians have." He goes so far as to advocate that Christians attempt "first-hand research into the world of darkness" and chides those who are unwilling to listen to "independent expertise in demonology." (Powers, Wagner. p. 147.) This, however, is a direct contradiction of God's command not to attempt contact with the spirit world.
In mainstream Christian circles, however, little is known about his bizarre charismatic leanings; Wagner is mostly recognized as one of the founders and advocates of the "Church Growth Movement" that has heavily influenced Willow Creek and Saddleback Church. As a leader in the growth movement, Wagner has consistently pushed for extreme ecumenicalism as a way to bring forth a global church. On page 87 of Territorial Spirits, Wagner says a "spirit of religion" and its insistence on dogma is dividing Protestants, Catholics, and others. He says we must resist this "spirit" and "insist that everyone who names the name of Jesus Christ and holds that name as their only hope of salvation is our brother or sister." (Don't Mormons "name the name" of Jesus, too?) Unfortunately, Wagner does not differentiate between doctrinally-sound churches and those churches that proclaim Christ under a false gospel. As a result he preaches unity over truth and leads others to accept error for the sake of global evangelism.
See Theology and Doctrine:
In part, thanks to apostate, so called "Christian" leaders like Paul Crouch, all too many Christians seem to be under the impression that "theology" and "doctrine" are of minimal importance. They are not only widely misunderstood, but brushed aside by Christians, some of whom believe that theology and doctrine have little relevance to their religious life and practice. Other seem to think that these five dollar words are best left to those who have spent years poring over dusty tomes, or spent at least a year or two in in the halls of academia, and have a string of letters after their names. Perhaps the words "theology" and "doctrine" gets Christians on the defensive, because they have been taught to believe that their faith must be based in the heart, therefore all that is important will be "experienced". Or perhaps they want no challenges to their shallow 'easy Christianity', which requires no intellectual effort, and allows people to coast along, never being stretched, or using their God given brains. The fact is that both theology and doctrine are crucial to authentic Christian faith
Nonetheless, Bill Hybels has been indoctrinated by Wagner's work through the Church Growth field, and continues to follow his teachings. Hybels' books frequently quote Wagner as an expert, they have spoken together at Schuller conferences, and in Christianity Today, September 8, 1989, there was a picture of Hybels with Schuller and Dr. Wagner at Schuller's Crystal Cathedral. As of July 2001, Wagner had a best-selling book, Finding Your Spiritual Gifts, in Seeds bookstore at Willow Creek.
It is not hard to see Wagner's influence on Willow Creek as a ecumenical organization that has linked up with thousands of other churches through the WCA. Willow Creek is the perfect Wagnerian prototype megachurch and has definitely set itself up to be at the forefront of Wagner's vision for a global church.
Unfortunately, (our church) has allowed itself to be put in the Wagner database through WCA.
(NOTE: As early as 1996, (our church) has favorably cited both Robert Schuller and C. Peter Wagner. Both men are referenced often in (our church)'s Leadership Community Retreat Handbook of April 1996. This was the church's first such "leadership" event in its history, and the handbook exclusively used quotes from Schuller or Wagner as a guide for (our church)'s future vision. Though the quotes are void of controversial theological content, their inclusion was certainly an indirect promotion of these men's false teachings among (our church) leadership. Just seeing these quotes in (our church) publications can only lead our congregation into believing that Schuller and Wagner are men to be trusted and revered as solid Christian leaders.)
The basic Beliefs, Origins and Spread of Kingdom Now theology in today’s world.
At its root, Reconstructionism/Dominionism is a militant Biblicism… a revival of the holy war theology of the Hebrew Bible under the guise of Christianity. They think they have the answer which is simply a return to Mosaic Law wish which, by the way, failed to transform mankind on the first go around. What exactly they hope to accomplish this time is anyone’s guess. But that simple logic has not stopped The Coalition on Revival (COR), Pat Robertson, Promise Keepers, The Vineyard, Youth With A Mission (YWAM),The Salvation Army, and American Vision (among many others) from sticking their fingers in the mud.
In an unprecedented display of delusions of grandeur, the dominionist leadership believes they, the Manifest Sons Of God, are the last-day apostles and prophets… that they are a company of overcomers who when the mantle of Elijah falls on them, will be transfigured just as Jesus was transfigured. This will not only make them and their cohorts greater than Elijah, Elisha and all the prophets of the Old Testament, but their glory will actually exceed that of Jesus on the Mount. They also believe that they hold the key to Jesus’ return.
A preoccupation with mystical phenomena such as visions and dreams characterizes much of the Third Wave. Third Wavers are persuaded that merely preaching the gospel message will never reach the world for Christ and unbelievers must experience the supernatural in order to be brought to full faith. In fact one gets the impression that no Christian outside of the Third Wave/Signs and Wonders/ Dominionist system is even regarded as a bona fide member of the Kingdom of God. They also believe there are territorial spirits or satanic strongholds over cities, countries and communities which must be pulled down before the weapons of the Word and the Spirit are effective.
Another teaching that seems to be gaining ground is that there are geographic locations on Earth, or Portals that possess super-spiritual access to the heavenlies and that intercessors can open up these portals or doorways by cleansing geographic areas of demonic spirits, including ancestral or territorial powers and principalities. In other words they can align the gates of Heaven and Earth.
The Stated purpose of the Manifest Sons of God/ Apostles and Prophets/ Ravening Wolves is that they are to be instruments of God’s Wrath… God’s great end-time army being prepared to execute God’s written judgments. However, believe it or not, those Christians that do not agree with their dangerous delusions have been identified with the antichrist. Christians who use their brains, check everything by the Word of God, reject any doctrine that is not based solely on Scripture and dismiss all extra-biblical revelations and visions that do not conform to the Word of God have become the enemy. Further more, you will be forced to take one side or the other in a battle that will be fought between Christians and other Christians and after the time of bloodshed the Lord will heal the breach. The scary part of all this is that they take their own inventions very seriously.
For a few years now, so called “prophetic ministries” around the world have been supposedly shown by God that they would soon see the rise of "Joel's Army". Many of them have obviously interpreted this to mean an army of anointed ministries that God will raise up to bring in the great last-days "harvest" of souls. In other words, they will do “great things”. (Joel 2:20) Unfortunately they haven’t done their homework. The Hebrew word translated “great” is not very complimentary when used of man, and they forgot to read what the Scriptures say the ultimate fate of “Joel’s army” is. See Dominion Theology... The Stench And Foul Smell Of Joel’s Army