Heresy Hijack

Once we embrace an heretical idea, whether we realise it or not, it leads further into heresy. Once the church accepts heresy and ignores scripture then it swiftly opens the door to other heresies. Such is the case with the spiritual warfare ideas that have been spawned by C. Peter Wagner and others, with a blatant disregard for scripture. He tells us that there are spiritual strongholds over people, towns and nations, and these strongholds need to be demolished so that God's word can go out and billions will receive Jesus Christ as Saviour. This view is an insult to every evangelist in the last 2000 years who has gone out without C. Peter Wagner's theology and preached the gospel, and possibly even died for it.

Why, it seems, has almost everyone swallowed, hook, line and sinker Peter Wagner's ideas? And what heresies are now sneaking in, in order to fill the voids created? It proves what Paul wrote, Don't you know that a little yeast works its way through the whole batch of dough. 1Corinthians 5 v6. This should be a lesson to anyone, who thinks that since the Word of God was written 2000 years ago, it has little or no relevance to our lives today. The reverse is the truth, in that it does have real relevance today, as can be seen by the yeast of Wagner's heresy working its way through the Body of Christ, making way for ever more heresies. It may be that C. Peter Wagner was not the first, but he, along with his New Apostolic Reformation buddies, is clearly the most aggressive proponent of this brand of spiritual warfare.

Spiritual warfare as propounded by C. Peter Wagner, and enthusiastically built on by many others has absolutely no Biblical warrant whatsoever and constitutes a massive addition to God's word. It is worth noting at this point, that if we ignore Sola Scriptura, as in this case, then we give ourselves an insurmountable problem. How then can we determine what is and what isn't God's Word? If we say that something in scripture is not God's Word, or we need to add something to it, then we make him a liar. If God were a liar on one point, then he is a liar on all points and his word cannot be trusted. So we have demolished the Bible in one shot. Put bluntly, we have thrown out Jesus, salvation, heaven, original sin and the rest and would now be facing a bleak and unknown death somewhere in the future. Yet this is precisely where C. Peter Wagner and his fellow companions of the International Coalition of Apostles are leading everyone.

So what is wrong with C. Peter Wagner's spiritual warfare theology? A better question is: what is the scriptural view of spiritual warfare? Ephesians chapter 6 is usually taken as being the main passage for it. However, there are other passages which are as informative, if not more so. Paul writes: I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be towards some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10 vv2-5. Here we have Paul's complete definition of spiritual warfare. We are taking captive our thoughts! We are waging war against our own minds because sin can still work its evil within us, if we allow it. So where does spiritual warfare take place? It takes place in our hearts and minds.

The best example of spiritual warfare is provided by Jesus himself. A careful reading of all four gospels shows that not only was he tempted in the wilderness, but was almost continually tempted throughout his ministry. His own disciples tempted him. The Pharisees and lawyers harassed him with trick questions. The powers and authority of the day, in the form of the Roman Authorities and King Herod tempted him. The Roman soldiers tempted him in many ways, not least in trying to make him prophesy. Finally on the cross he was tempted: He saved others, but he can't save himself! Metthew 27 v42. So, where in the gospels does the Son of God "take authority over satan"? Where does the Son of God do a "prayer walk"? Where does the Son of God "take authority over the spiritual forces of darkness" over, say, Jerusalem? If we are his imitators then how can we use something which Jesus did not. We are no longer imitators; instead we are instigators!

True spiritual warfare is further substantiated by Jesus' own words: You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement. Matthew 5 vv21-22a. Or again: You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5 vv27-28. So, in Jesus' words there is a battle raging. Paul writes: Be imitators of God Ephesians 5 v1. So Jesus is our example and he is the one we should be imitating.

James says: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4 v7. So James outlines spiritual warfare. Paul also writes: The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4 v5. So satan has power over the unregenerate minds. A fertile imagination could be a dangerous thing! Likewise Peter says: Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in this world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 1Peter 2v11.

Finally and emphatically, Jesus said: What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person. Mark 7:20-23.

The Bible is quite clear: the spiritual battle rages within the mind of each born again Christian. We can go to sleep dreaming all kinds of thoughts or watch television allowing all kinds of corruption to enter our minds, and yet all the while temptation to sin is growing stronger. For instance, why are there so many teenage pregnancies today? Because young people have been given sexual ideas long before they are ready. These ideas are planted firmly in minds which have few restraining forces on them. It is said here that 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women, in America, are addicted to pornography. Why is this figure so high? One answer is that preachers have so swallowed Peter Wagner's spiritual warfare concepts that they no longer preach true spiritual warfare. The biblical spiritual battle is a battle of the mind. When we realise that we are straying, or being led astray then we have the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God Ephesians 6 v18a, with which to respond. When we respond we are demonstrating our true faith (hating sin and desiring righteousness), our true love for the Lord, and our obedience to his word of truth. In fact we are demonstrating that we are born-again.

The true nature of the spiritual battle is now largely ignored because people are chasing after fantasies. Should we be finding out where the demonic strongholds are, as in spiritual mapping, and then believing that we can demolish these strongholds? The answer is no. Should we be beating the bounds, prayer walking, laying out stakes to claim the land back from satan? The answer is no. Should Christians be concerned about generational curses? The answer is no. Has God said: demolish the satanic strongholds before preaching the gospel? The answer is no. Can we make a town or city a better place by demolishing spiritual strongholds. The answer is no. In every case the answer is no because the Word of God is silent on these issues. If God wanted this done then it would be in the Bible. By doing these things we are actually entering into disobedience! The result is a straying from scripture into fantasy and heresy. So what now fills the gap?

Firstly, there is the problem that holiness is not being addressed. Contemplative prayer has arrived to fill this gap. We find preachers like Peter Scazzero here saying: Integrate contemplative practices and rhythms (e.g. Daily Office, Sabbath-keeping) to slow down my life. Luke 5:15-16; Ps.119:164; Deut.5:12-15. A great problem in Western culture today is our crammed schedules, endless to-do lists, and general busyness. Powerful, often demonic forces, keep us distracted and adrift spiritually. We affirm God's call to order our entire lives in such a way that the love of Christ comes before all else. Recognizing our humanity and our limits, we choose to observe contemplative practices in order to slow down to be with God, ourselves, and others. He even manages to describe true spiritual warfare but his answer is to use contemplative practices. So instead of using the biblical means to overcome our busyness, Peter Scazzero offers contemplative prayer, which originated amongst Eastern Religions and entered the Roman Catholic Church through the desert fathers. It leads into universalism.

Secondly, there is the loss of demonstrating our love for the Lord. So we have the "intimacy with God" theology of Mike Bickle in which the Song of Solomon suddenly upstages the four gospels. Mike Bickle also follows the modern trend of, dare one say: heavy worship. This might involve long periods of worship, very loud worship and music better fitted for the pop charts. God responds to this, supposedly, with such things as "the father heart of God", "God's love letter" and an emphasis on "God's love" whilst ignoring his holiness. All this again leads us straight to universalism. After all God loves us so much no one will go to hell! Will they?

Thirdly, there is the need to demonstrate our obedience. Responding to an altar call appears to be regarded today as an act of obedience. Services and meetings are now often geared to this end with little true gospel content. If people go forward it is assumed that they are "saved", presumably because they are obedient. Attending all church meetings can be another demonstration of obedience. There are also those who, like Bob Jones, believe that we should ascend into heaven regularly. Is this what God wants, so we should be obedient?

Fourthly, there are those who are happy to see this yawning void in the true christian faith and proceed to rewrite scripture. Here we come full circle back to the contemplatives with the so-called Emergent Church. The Emergent Church could be regarded as a conversation, but it is a conversation moving away from scripture. It consists of fine christian apostates like Brian McClaren, who declares here that: I don't think we've got the gospel right yet. What does it mean to be 'saved'? and Doug Pagitt who says here: there's going to be no difference between the way God's going to interact with you when you die and the way God's going to interact with a Muslim when a Muslim dies. If a man is not "saved" then how can he preach the gospel? The Emergent church seems happy to relegate the importance of Jesus' death on the cross and as a consequence it is heading towards the heresy of universalism.

Fifthly, there is a doctrinal gap. This is being filled today by the likes of Rick Warren and his purpose driven madness. According to the title: The Purpose Driven Church, so the Body of Christ from Warren's perspective has a head called "Purpose"! So Rick Warren offers you a forty day journey through the christian life instead of living that journey for the rest of your life. This is coupled with a lack of doctrinal principles today, so the Bible becomes horrendously mutilated by translations such as "The Message" by Eugene Peterson and yet few people object to all this doctrinal abuse.

Finally, there is C Peter Wagner and his merry men of the International Coalition of Apostles. Having embraced a heretical form of spiritual warfare, they also embrace a heresy known as Dominionism or Kingdom Now theology. Using spiritual mapping, the entire world is now being mapped for fantasy spiritual hotspots. These will all be dealt with along with all non-christian governments in order to bring Jesus back for his bride! Those not joining their heresy may find themselves, being persecuted, not by the world but by supposed fellow christians. Now that really would be imitating of Jesus!

In every case mentioned here and a countless number of others, a void of the truth has been created and in every case it has been filled with heresy. The usual destination seems to be universalism, whereby everyone is saved regardless. This simply ignores Jesus' words: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7 vv13-14.

C. Peter Wagner believes that he has a God-given apostolic credibility greater than that of the Apostle Paul, and therefore he can add to scripture, oblivious to the amount of damage he is doing. Forty years ago he would have been regarded as the leader of a dangerous cult. Yet pastors today will give him, and every paid up member of the Internationl Coalition of Apostles, their pulpits. In fact they may ultimely give up their churches to them. The sad fact is that whilst we follow such pied pipers as C. Peter Wagner, rather than taking responsibility for our own lives, the church moves deeper into heresy and further away from the Bible. The church and biblical doctrine have both been hijacked by these people. Where are the leaders today, who will say "Enough, with this unbiblical nonsense!"

2nd October 2010

Home page Index of Articles