Wednesday, October 05, 2011

C. Peter Wagner

Exhibit 1: "Revival and Transformation of Society – taking the Seven Mountains of Culture; Family, Education, Arts & Entertainment, Business, Government, Media, and Religion" [1]

"We are meant to transform cities and nations by our presence and prayer in every realm of our culture.... The Lord is speaking to the Church in this present day to transform these realms of influence with the light of Christ."[2]

Takes the kingdom message to NPR's "Fresh Air"

C. Peter Wagner, head of the New Apostolic Reformation, who has been so controversial in the news lately due to his Dominion teachings, was interviewed by Terry Gross on Monday (10-3-11) for National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" program. To read a summary and listen, go to this PAGE. The transcript is available HERE.

In this interview it is very clear that Wagner no longer teaches the biblical message of the Gospel of Salvation. In fact, had he truly believed the biblical Gospel, he would have jumped at the opportunity to take the real Gospel of Jesus to this show's vast audience of "unreached people groups" (a goal he once held as a global mission leader).

Sadly, he let that priceless opportunity go in order to deliver another message -- that of the 7 mountain kingdom he is now working on building here on earth. His comments reflect the extent to which he has bought into the marketing methodology that a paradigm can be shifted if enough critical mass is reached, especially by putting people of influence (otherwise known as "change agents") into positions of power in society. This is how he intends to build his 7 mountain kingdom, he says.

What he doesn't say is that most of his partners in kingdom building have also used extremely strident warfare rhetoric, calling for taking the kingdom by violence. But during the interview Wagner retreats back to the more socially acceptable "kingdom" message. This kingdom gospel is hitched on as a second part of the salvation message. In fact, it has now gained supremacy as the more important message. In this worldview, salvation is only a means to an end. Once people are "saved" (however that is defined), they then become citizens of the new kingdom that is being built on earth. If this sounds a bit like the old Social Gospel message, it is -- but revivified in a new context.

Using a marketing model, Wagner said he is looking for a critical mass in the pervasiveness of the "Christian faith," and for a key placement of individuals to "influence" society as an indicator of kingdom growth:

We believe that through the Christian faith, the blessings of heaven will come down upon whatever people accepts that. Now, that doesn't mean every Japanese has to become a Christian. But that means that the Christian faith - we're looking for the Christian faith to grow in Japan to a point where it has some influence on society, which right now it doesn't. [all emphases added]

Note the unorthodox use of language in the quote below. Wagner refers to a kingdom gospel, and he sees salvation is only one "part of that" message:

Well, first of all, I wouldn't want to give the impression that the NAR denies the plurality of religion. We honor each religion in a society like our American society. However, we feel that - believe in Jesus, and Jesus has told us to go and preach the kingdom of God, and part of that is the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. And people who do not believe in Jesus Christ are not candidates for the kingdom of heaven. So our desire is that everybody be a candidate....[all emphases added]

This is further illustrated when Terry Gross asks Wagner about the 7 mountains of Dominionism:

GROSS: One of the beliefs that unifies people in the New Apostolic Reformation is a belief in dominion, that God gave humans, through Adam and Eve, the responsibility of dominion. God gave man, quote, "dominion over the fish of the sea, over the foul of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." So since you see it as your responsibility of dominion, you've described - people of the New Apostolic Reformation have described this as taking dominion over the, quote, "seven mountains."

So this means taking over dominion over business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family and religion. How are we to interpret that? What does that mean, taking dominion over these seven areas?

WAGNER: Yeah. Well, that's a fair description of where we're coming from, Terry. In terms of taking dominion, we don't - we wouldn't want to - we use the word dominion, but we wouldn't want to say that we have dominion as if we're the owners or we're the rulers of, let's say, the arts and entertainment mountain.

What we strive to do, and our goal is to have people in the arts and entertainment mountain who are committed to the kingdom of God. So therefore, we use the adjective they're kingdom-minded believers, and we - our goal is to try to have as many kingdom-minded believers in positions of influence in the arts and entertainment mountain as possible. And the reason for that is to help bring the blessings of heaven to all those in the arts and entertainment mountain.
[all emphases added]

Aside from Wagner's sudden backpedaling from the term "dominion" (HUH? he wrote an entire book titled Dominion!: How Kingdom Action Can Change the World), note that a key part of this paradigm shift is where entire nations are made into disciples. He says this is spread through the "values of the kingdom," which means somehow mandating that people (both saved and unsaved) experience a worldview and behavioral change over to "kingdom" thinking:

WAGNER: Okay. Now, what I think will happen is that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached to all nations, that we will begin, as Jesus said to his disciples, begin making disciples of nations. We'll see the values of the kingdom of God spreading. I think the world is going to get better and better, not worse and worse. And I think that...

GROSS: So you don't believe in the rapture and the tribulations.

WAGNER: I used to.

GROSS: But now?

WAGNER: But I don't - I don't see how it fits now into what God is showing us. That's a good question, incidentally. And so I don't - no, I don't believe in that. But what I believe is that I take very seriously, in the book of Acts, what Peter said. Peter said in a speech recorded in the book of Acts - and I've got my Bible. Let me just read that. It said: God may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before - we believe that means that God will send Jesus again - whom heaven must receive, where he is now.

And we believe that Jesus is at the right hand of God, the Father - whom heaven must receive until the times of the restoration of all things. And so what we believe is that God has sent us out to restore things to see his kingdom come, his will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. And then when that happens enough, Jesus will return, and he will return to very strong world, reflecting the kingdom of God, and not to a miserable world like much of our world is today. [all emphases added]

Observe that Wagner has placed the current revelation of his apostles and prophets over the Word of God. Elsewhere in the interview Wagner explains their role, and how they have "tremendous authority in the churches of the New Apostolic Reformation" and that they "get a lot of our guidance from God through them." Note the phrase "through them." It isn't coming from the Bible. It is their new words.

Wagner's eschatology is also based on marketing's "critical mass" theory -- he believes that when they (his NAR) "restore" this "kingdom" and enforce "his will be done on earth" that then the paradigm will shift. He says "when that happens enough, Jesus will return."

This is parallel to the esoteric (New Age) idea that there will be a cosmic spiritual shift where man becomes a co-creator in his own destiny, and a co-redeemer of the planet earth. Elsewhere on this blog we have written extensively about this view. In this eschatology the return of Jesus hinges upon everyone on the planet become aligned to the kingdom shift. The NAR's impotent Jesus is stuck in heaven. He can't act until we reach a planetary "critical mass." Which also accounts for the frenetic prayer warfare activity to try to bring heaven to earth.

The Truth:

In a recent report by Sandy Simpson of the Apologetic Coordination Team, titled "A Tale Of Two Kingdoms," he explains the paradigm shift of Wagner's kingdom social gospel :

Biblical Christians need to understand that many of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), Emergent Church, Church Growth, Word of Faith and other related movements are operating under a paradigm shift.  Because of that when they use the word "kingdom" they do not have the same biblical concept of that word that biblical Christians do.  Whether purposely or under the influence of the Zeitgeist, the "new breed" paradigm shifters use the word "kingdom" in order to lure people into their Dominionist/social gospel worldview.  They know that most Christians love to hear about the "kingdom" so they act like they are talking to them in the unity of the Faith.  But they are not.

This report, which includes a helpful chart, concludes with a basic illustration from ancient Rome New Testament times:

One argument KN [Kingdom Now] promoters make is that we are to be light and salt, therefore we must populate every aspect of life in order to accomplish KN/Social gospel.  They say that Christians must take over every aspect of life ... businesses, government, all leadership positions, etc.  But this is not only not taught in the Bible, how to live as light and salt in a fallen world was also practically demonstrated by the first century Church in Rome.  Here is an example of how the first century church were being light and salt to their generation.

The Romans, during that time, were becoming ever more immoral.  Because of the proliferation of prostitution and adultery in Rome, there were a number of unwanted pregnancies.  It became a practice for Romans to take their unwanted babies out to the rocks around the city and leave them there to die in the hot sun.  What did the first century church in Rome do?  Did they go to the authorities and protest?  Did they try to get laws passed to forbid this practice?  Did they try to get people of the government on their side?  Did they try to populate the government with Christians?  Did they protest in the streets and form public prayer meetings to "divorce Nero"?  Did they make claims that they would rid the land of this practice?  Did they try to "overthrow" the government of Rome?  No. They simply went out, got the babies off the rocks, took them home, nursed them back to health, and kept them as their own children.

Instead of addressing social amorality from the top, true Christians deal with the problem from the bottom because that is the only solution that actually works.  They live in the law of Christ, which is love, by demonstrating that in a practical way, thereby influencing people to find out what makes Christians different.  Ultimately the Gospel is demonstrated then taught and people get saved.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36)

1. Exhibit 1: "Harvest Rock Church -Revival and Transformation of Society – taking the Seven Mountains of Culture," paid advertisement, May 24, 2008. Speakers: Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Charles Stock, Lance Wallnau, Robert Stearns, Rob Deluca, Paul Tan, Che Ahn. 
2. Ibid. Text is from the advertisement. Emphases added.