Tuesday, February 14, 2006

George Otis, Transformation & Spiritual Mapping

Whenever you hear the word "transformation" you need to keep George Otis and his new uses of this term in mind. Global church transformation is inextricably connected to George Otis and his "Transformation" video series. The nutty new doctrines and unorthodox methods that this man has promulgated have had widespread influence far beyond the confines of the New Apostolic Reformation. These "Transformation" videos were behind the Global Day of Prayer, which began as an African initiative, and were later picked up by Rick Warren and others to create a 5-year global "transformation" event.

An excellent article by Professor Johan Malan was recently posted at the Discernment Ministries website http://www.discernment-ministries.org under the new AFRICA WATCH section. [ http://www.tinyurl.com/c2dxw] Below is a brief excerpt from Dr. Malan's article, entitled "George Otis and His Fallacious Teachings." This particular excerpt is on the topic of the history of the new heresy called "spiritual mapping" and how it spread so rapidly across evangelicaldom.

"World-wide propagation of spiritual mapping

The following major events during the past twelve years are the driving force behind the rapid spreading of spiritual mapping all over the world. Otis played a key role in the process:

· In 1989, John Dawson of the International Reconciliation Coalition published his pioneering book, Taking Our Cities for God. Unity is a key concept in the book. Dawson is a fervent advocate of racial, ethnic and cultural reconciliation.

· In 1990, George Otis coined the term “spiritual mapping”. In 1991, he published his book The Last of the Giants in which he further expounds the concept.

· In 1993, Tom White’s Breaking Strongholds was published, as well as a book by Hawthorne and Kendrick, Prayer-walking: Praying On Site With Insight. This exercise is offered as a prerequisite to radical city transformation.

· Also in 1993, the Sentinel Group of Otis conducted the first North American Consultation on spiritual mapping in Washington.

· In 1994, Otis accepted the role as coordinator of the Spiritual Mapping Division of the AD 2000 United Prayer Track. In the same year, spiritual mapping was presented at the first International Conference on Prayer and Spiritual Warfare in Anaheim, California.

· In 1995, George Otis introduced spiritual mapping to hundreds of delegates at a Prayer Track plenary session during the Global Congress of World Evangelism (GCOWE 95). In the same year, Disciple a Whole Nation (DAWN) began teaching spiritual mapping principles in CitiReach seminars. In Ted Haggard’s book, Primary Purpose, published in 1995, it is said that the spiritual climate in your city can be changed to such an extent that it will be hard for people to go to hell from that city.

· Also in 1995, Strongholds of the 10/40 Window was published by the Sentinel Group to assist journeyers in their effort to pray on-site with insight.

· In 1997, Peter Wagner’s Breaking Strongholds in Your City was published, and also The Twilight Labyrinth by George Otis. In the latter, insight into the spiritual darkness in cities is given, as well as methods to map and confront the powers of darkness.

· In 1998, the spiritual mapping repository at the Observatory opened at the World Prayer Centre in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Also in 1998, the Sentinel Group initiated the Ancient Pathways project in Lynnwood, Washington.

· In 1999, the “Transformations” video of Otis was first shown in the United States and then throughout the world. In it, a survey of four communities is presented as tangible proof of the success of united, intercessory prayer and strategic spiritual warfare.

· Also in 1999, Otis published his book Informed Intercession with a guide on how to transform your city or region for God. In the same year, Jack Denison’s book City Reaching was published and strongly recommended by Otis. The idea of the city church is discussed in this book.

· From 1991 to 1999, Dr. Wagner taught spiritual mapping as a critical element for effective missions in his MC551 course at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission. Approximately 800-900 pastors, ministry leaders, and lay persons received the fundamentals of spiritual mapping through Fuller courses.

· In 2000, new spiritual warfare practices were introduced in association with spiritual mapping. The most significant of these, and also the most controversial, was the activation of the gift of prophecy and the role of prophets and apostles. Prophecy enables the church to see beyond data collections and demographics. Prophets hear the secrets of the Lord and declare His timing while apostles are sent out to mobilise the church.

· In 2001, the “Transformations 2” video was released by the Sentinel Group of Otis to give further credence to the strategies of spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare in breaking demonic strongholds and promoting revival, unity and socio-economic transformation in societies around the globe.

(The above list of events was derived from Trimble [1997:4-7] and further updated)."

The Truth:

Be sure to read the entire article posted by Dr. Malan for a more thorough understanding of the new "transformation." In particular, the charts near the end of this article are very helpful for sorting out truth from error.

"Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." (I Timothy 4:16)