Monday, March 06, 2006

Oldie But Goodie #1: John Wimber & "Joel's Army"

Occasionally Herescope will post items from the past as an Oldie But Goodie (OBG). These items from our archives illustrate the heresies of the New Apostolic Reformation.

Today's excerpts come from a 1984 "Spiritual WARFARE!" Conference sponsored by John Wimber's Vineyard Ministries International. This conference would have taken place during the key time period when Wimber was a "project" of C. Peter Wagner's.

The conference brochure lists the "Purpose of the Conference." Note the military rhetoric. Note the Latter Rain cult doctrine that Satan wasn't defeated at the cross of Christ, that the "war is not over." Especially pay attention to the last two paragraphs, which speaks of punishing "covenant breakers."

"Purpose of the Conference

"The first century Christians often focused on military language to communicate the on-going Christian walk. Throughout the pages of the New Testament this terminology can be seen. They saw themselves at war with a real enemy. Jude tells his readers to 'fight for the faith' -- Jude 3. Paul tells his readers in Ephesians 6 to 'put on the whole armor of God'. He then lists their armorment: 'the breastplate of righteousness', 'the shield of faith', 'the helmet of salvation', 'the sword of the Spirit'. In this same passage he calls Satan's attacks 'flaming darts'. [emphasis in original]

"The period of Pax Romana throughout the Mediterranean was a time sprinkled with garrisons of Roman soldiers which gave a military atmosphere to all of life.

"While this reminder was there, it was a different kind of war of which the Christians spoke. Their weapons were not 'carnal' -- (2 Cor. 10:4). They did not fight against 'flesh and blood' --(Eph. 6:12). It was a continuing war against the evil one.

"We are in a war, a cosmic war. D-Day arrived in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The outcome was assured. But V-Day is yet to come. God planted His flag in the form of the cross of Jesus. The earth is His turf. He has over-thrown the enemy. The outcome is assured, but the war is not over. This is the major view of the New Testament.

"There is, however, a New Testament view which is often overlooked. Its intent is to answer the question: How do Christians who break God's covenant receive punishment? And what is the means of that punishment? [emphasis added]

"In light of all of this, the Church needs to be equipped to be God's army, and learn to continually assault the citadels of Satan, and advance the Kingdom of God. At the same time, the Church needs to understand its covenant with God and the consequences of breaking it." [emphasis added]

The illustration on the front of this 3-fold registration brochure is some sort of a weird eagle-man, appearing to be ready to land, with its talons drawn.

The Truth:

John Wimber's close association with C. Peter Wagner, and his later merger with the Kansas City Fellowship, formed the ground for the rise of what is now called the New Apostolic Reformation. See the 2nd edition of the Joel's Army booklet recently re-published by Discernment Ministries for additional information [].

The "advancing the Kingdom" doctrine is often found connected to the "army" rhetoric, and it is particularly disturbing to read it in the context of punishing covenant-breakers (however that comes to be defined). Make no mistake about it -- this "army" has nothing to do with the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

"And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21)

Matthew Henry's Commentary on these verses states: "The kingdom of the Messiah was to be a spiritual kingdom, not temporal. It has a spiritual influence. The kingdom of God will not change men's outward condition, but their hearts and lives. Therefore, look for the kingdom of God in the revolution of the heart, not of the civil government."