George Otis's Geographical Heresies
The previous Herescope posts noted the odd new doctrines and practices arising out of the New Apostolic Reformation which are in some way connected with geography of the land. Three of these new heresies were examined in the previous post. Today's post will explore several more.
This term was coined by George Otis, Jr., of The Sentinel Group and producer of the "Transformations" video series, a close associate of C. Peter Wagner. This term has everything to do with geography, spirituality, and -- disturbingly -- ethnicity.
In his 1991 book, The Last of the Giants: Lifting the Veil on Islam and the End Times (Chosen Books), Otis included a chapter on "Spiritual Mapping," in which he introduced this new concept. He defined spiritual mapping in esoteric terms as a "new way of seeing. It involves superimposing our understanding of forces and events in the spiritual domain onto places and circumstances in the material world." (p. 85)
There are two components to spiritual mapping. The first is esoteric. Otis commended C. Peter Wagner in a section subtited "Spiritual Territoriality and Human Systems," in which he noted that "Wagner has written a book on the subject suggesting that Satan delegates high-ranking evil spirits to control nations, regions, cities, tribes, people groups, neighborhoods and other significant social networks." (p. 87) Indeed, without Wagner's extensive writings on these new doctrines of demonology, and "confronting the powers" of dark spiritual forces, Otis's spiritual mapping wouldn't have had a leg to stand on.
While Otis carefully made the disclaimer that "[t]here is not evidence that satanic powers have any natural predilection for particular geographical areas of ethnic groupings," he then noted that "demonic activity is more pronounced in certain regions and among certain peoples today." He attributed this to what he calls "spiritual beachheads" set up by a previous generation which "welcomed evil spirits to dwell among them." (p. 89)
He explained that the "trick is determining precisely where" these spiritual centers of power are "concentrated. For Christians the focal point is nothing less than satanic command and control centers. . . ." (p. 93)
Otis gave credence to the occult belief of "sacred sites" (i.e., geomancy -- see previous Herescope posts). He stated:
"Although it is not easy to do so, spiritual strongholds should not be confused with the thousands of sacred sites -- such as Australia's Mt. Uluru and Sweden's Gotland -- that lie scattered across the global landscape. While such sites are often located within strongholds, the two are not synonymous. Sacred sites (which are visible) represent meeting points between the material and spiritual domains, while strongholds (which are invisible) represent the dwelling places, command centers, and workshops of unclean spirits." (p. 94)
DATABANKING: The second aspect of spiritual mapping has to do with census-taking, profiling, assessment, and databanking. In his excellent critique of the new doctrines emerging from the New Apostolic Reformation, Al Dager devotes an entire chapter to the topic of spiritual mapping. According to Dager [The World Christian Movement (Sword Publishers, 2001)]. "Spiritual mapping is nothing more than keeping data on the beliefs of people according to the geographic areas. The purpose at the WPC[World Prayer Center], however, is to disseminate information to its constituents so that they may engage in unbiblical forms of 'spiritual warfare.'"
Dager cites the World Prayer Center, which is connected with NAE head Ted Haggard's church in Colorado Springs, which "is giving spiritual mapping a tremendous lift through its database designed to provide the spiritual climate of not only nations, states and cities, but down to the blocks and individual residences." (p. 133) Dager explains:
"Through a spiritual census. . . it is planned that every home -- first in the United States and then worldwide -- will have its beliefs catalogued in the WPC's computers. Their computers are linked to those of Global Mapping International (GMI), . . . on the campus of the U.S. Center for World Mission. GMI is now also located in Colorado Springs." (p. 134)
Spiritual mapping has been widely utilized by the mission groups worldwide. Much of this activity has been documented in Mission Frontiers, a technical journal for global neo-evangelical mission activities. (This journal also articulated the emerging new doctrines to justify these unconventional and even bizarre new practices.) In particular, the Joshua Project and other entities began databanking the "unreached people groups" by ethnicity, going back 4 generations. Note: these mission groups have emphasized ethnicity, as opposed to language, which would be the logical imperative if the spreading of the Word of God was paramount. But substituting for old-fashioned evangelism are the new tools of spiritual warfare, in combination with the high-tech methodologies of assessments and monitoring.
The rationale for this disturbing global mapping practice is a new doctrine concocted by C. Peter Wagner. It is called IDENTIFICATIONAL REPENTANCE. Databanking by ethnicity is said to be a crucial step before one can proceed to abolish demonic strongholds. If one's ancestors participated in unholy or demonic activities, one must repent of them. In other words, "identificational repentance" teaches that one must confess the sins of one's genetic ancestors. Dager notes that "the idea of identificational repentance is to stand in the gap as a substitute for a corporate people in order to nullify so-called 'generational curses.'" (p. 125)
Again, a teaching from the occult is being incorporated into Christianity. The blood that Christ shed on the Christ, and the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying the believer, is nullified by this concept. Human bloodlines are emphasized instead.
This new doctrine has given rise to a "Reconciliation Movement," i.e., an "apology movement" in which various ethnic and religious groups have apologized to one another for persecutions and abuses that may have occurred hundreds of years ago. This "identificational repentance" is seen necessary to breaking down spiritual strongholds in geographic regions where these abuses may have happened.
Al Dager summed up the whole mess by noting,
"With all the hoopla, sweat, screaming, wailing and jumping up and down that have gone on over the spiritual plight of cities these past several years there isn't a single one that has been won to Christ. And there won't be any. These efforts create nothing but black holes that suck up Christians' time, energy and money while exalting leaders as God's anointed apostles and prophets." (p. 134)
A "nutshell" description of the New Apostolic Reformation and these beliefs can be found at: http://www.agetwoage.org/ApostolicJustFacts1.htm. An excellent brief history critique of the spiritual warfare doctrines can be found at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/orrel8.html.
A disturbing parallel to the ethnic databanking can be read about in Edwin Black's groundbreaking history entitled IBM and the Holocaust (Three Rivers Press, 2001).
"But evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou has learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou has learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:13-16)