C. Peter Wagner Concocts Another New Doctrine
In a letter from Global Harvest Ministries (Global Link, 11/1/05), C. Peter Wagner, chief architect of the "Second Apostolic Age" and inventor of many new doctrines spreading like leaven throughout evangelicaldom, wrote about his latest book Freedom from the Religious Spirit. In this book he invents yet another doctrine about demon possession by a "religious spirit."
"In my recent book, Freedom from the Religious Spirit, I pointed out that the chief tactic of this clever demon is to use religious devices to preserve the status quo. If it is successful, the spirit of religion can prevent us from moving into God's new times and seasons.
"However, as I watch what is happening in Global Harvest, I must say, with some pardonable degree of satisfaction that the religious spirit does not appear to have much of a stronghold around here. It seems that God is constantly moving us into new times and seasons. He is pouring out new wine, and we are trying to keep up by developing as many new wineskins as we can. And every time we taste the new wine, we get more enthustiastic than ever about moving fowards in the next effervescent stream of the Holy Spirit." [emphases added]
Wagner is one of the chief proponents of the "demon-behind-every-bush" theology. His core theology teaches that Satan was not defeated by Jesus' shed blood on the cross, but rather needs to be continually defeated by a believer's activities. (For more information on this point, see the many articles pertaining to Wagner and his new doctrines at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com.) In his book Wagner describes this "spirit of religion." He says that it is "an agent of Satan assigned to prevent change and to maintain the status quo by using religious devices." (p. 12) [emphasis added]
Because the next move of this Apostolic movement is potentially very controversial, and may have a hard-sell in mainstream America, Wagner is heading off opposition at the pass by declaring in advance that anybody speaking out against this "new thing" that God is supposedly doing has a demonic "religious spirit." So any pastor or godly saint speaking biblical truth in opposition to C. Peter Wagner's new doctrines and activities will simply be dismissed as demon-possessed with this "religious spirit"! Of course, the "status quo" that Wagner is referring to above means traditional biblical theology.
Contrary to Wagner's assertions that God is doing a "new thing," Scripture is clear:
"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us." (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)
And contrary to the neo-charismatic emphasis on "new wine" (which has been used to justify every wacky and bizarre new doctrine and practice for the past two decades), not every reference to "new wine" in Scripture is positive:
"The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merryhearted do sigh." (Isaiah 24:7)
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD. Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart." (Hosea 4:6-11)
In the New Testament the proper emphasis on "new wine" has to do with the New Covenant, accomplished by Christ's blood shed on the cross. The book of Hebrews, particularly chapters 8 and 9, teach this doctrine, as well as the words of Christ Himself on this topic in the four Gospels.