The Last Hurrah!
It’s no secret Peter Wagner and his associates have been trying to implement a new government in the Church, promoting new apostles and prophets as needed for the last days church.
Peter Wagner has written a new book called the Second Apostolic Age, (this article is excerpts of a promotional release of his book-Chapter Eleven History Makers[ his quotes in italic]). http://www.regalbooks.com/2nd_age.pdf )
He writes in his book “If you are a believer, there has never been a better time for you to make history. “In the Second Apostolic Age, we are already living through the most radical change in our way of doing church since the Protestant Reformation.”
Wagner says at the end of the chapter My purpose in this book (2nd Apostolic Age) is to help us change our minds so that we can be history makers, not mere maintainers of the status quo. God has given us the power to overthrow the spirit of religion. Greater is He who is within us than he who is in the world (see 1 John 4:4).
Do you want new wine? Do you want to fulfill God’s destiny for you in this life? If you do, I recommend that you tune in to what the Spirit is saying to the churches, resolve to catch the wind of the Holy Spirit and agree to pay whatever price is necessary to become an active part of the new wineskin-including renewing your mind. The new wineskin is the Second Apostolic Age. If you are a part of it, you can count yourself in the company of history makers!
Wow, what a sell, an advertising agency could not have done better. Using the current genre he appeals to our desire on making an impact. Who wouldn't want to be part of this new wineskin. But is this our commission, to overthrow the spirit of religion? As we will see he is talking about the church not the other religions of the world.
Immediately questions spring up from what Wagner is offering. Are we to tune in to new words the Spirit is speaking to the church. Or should we hold to what Jesus already speak to the 7 churches in the book of Revelation through John the last living apostle? Is this adding to the word of God?
What he is proposing is something new and it is delivered through the new apostles and prophets.
Jesus introduces his admonishment to each church saying, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Paul specifically warns “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). These would have to be ignored to hear the new things “the Spirit” is saying to the church by the new apostles and prophets. Are we to read what the Spirit already delivered or what the Spirit is saying now? Obviously the emphasis is on what is new.
Wagner appeals to us to be history makers, If you are a part of his new apostolic movement. A 2nd apostolic age sounds so significant. This certainly is makes one think they are important, it is an appeal to the flesh to be significant. (1 Thessalonians 2:5-7: “For neither at any time did we use flattering words”). It’s God who raises someone up and will use them how he chooses, no man or any organization can decide this. In fact where does the Bible say there will be a second apostolic age? Can you find it?
Catch the Wind is an accepted cliché. The wind is blowing strong but Wagner is mistaken; it is the winds of doctrine (Eph.4:14) that are tossing people back and forth. As each new wave blew the church a was exposed to new things unheard of before, unbiblical practices and experiences. There is no teaching to catch a wind. The Holy Spirit when He first came to birth the church came as a mighty wind but this event was never repeated nor is He spoken of in this manner.
His claim of new wineskins is the Second Apostolic Age is a misapplication of Scripture. To suggest that if you do not join his company of history makers gives the impression that if you are not with him then you are not going to have part of God’s end time plan and will not be significant (a “history maker”). Is he able to decide this?
Wagner says, Old wineskins are strongly appealing. They offer a great deal of comfort and security. Jesus said, “No one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says ‘The old is better’” (Luke 5:39). Therefore, the majority of people will never desire to move into the new wineskins of the Second Apostolic Age.
Consequently, they will never join the ranks of history makers. Why do they resist? Moving from an old wineskin to a new wineskin seems to be too much of a risk!
Is this what Jesus meant, joining a another (2nd) apostolic age? What second apostolic age? The Bible says absolutely nothing on this. It is a risk of unprecedented proportions to have a completely new way of doing church, a church that has no basis on the apostles teaching that was already delivered. To speak like this to those who resist his new move smacks of heavy shepherding, Nicolatianism, and just plain intimidation.
At one time Wagner said, “I don't condemn the old networks,” Wagner says. “But people are now realizing that they have spent 30 or 40 years trying to pour new wine into old wineskins. They are attempting the impossible.” (Charisma Online News Service, 2/24/04; Giant in the Faith' Theologian Encourages Pentecostalism)
Wagner says “the whole movement based on prophets and apostles that has now emerged as the new wine skin that God is giving to the body of Christ is called the new apostolic reformation” (National School of The Prophets Mobilizing The Prophetic Office Wagner May 11, 2000)
As Bill Hamon one of the apostles/prophets under Wagner presents “A New Church Is Arising That the World Has Never Seen!” That would mean a church that has no connection to the one the apostles Jesus appointed to start. Something that everyone should pause and consider before they join this new apostolic age.
Wagner redefines the Bible in what Jesus meant about wineskins. Now let's see what Jesus meant. Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.” (Luke 5:36-37)
First, this is a parable not a prophecy. Second, Jesus was not talking about even newer wineskins - a 2nd apostolic age. What Jesus was speaking of was accomplished almost two thousand years ago. He was telling us that he is not extending the life of the law (the Old Covenant of Moses) but making a new covenant (the old was wearing out -Heb.8:7-13 referring to Jer.31:31). This is a bad argument for the “new thing.” What Jesus spoke on the new wine skins already took place and is not to be repeated. Jesus meant that He did not come to strengthen the law (the old covenant) but to bring people into a “new covenant” of grace. This was accomplished by Jesus and it is not a repetitive act throughout history. We don’t have a new, new covenant to practice as some are teaching.
A major train of thought running through this book relates to the activity of the corporate spirit of religion. In order to refresh our memories, here is my definition of the spirit of religion: The spirit of religion is an agent of Satan assigned to prevent change and to maintain the status quo by using religious devices.
This is Wagner’s definition, but is it the Bibles? I looked this term and similar ones up, I could not find a spirit of religion or a religious spirit in the Scripture. This a new term that has been used to put people down who will not join in with the new thing.
Jesus did speak of the traditions of men which made the Pharisees religious, because it severed them from following the law of Moses accurately. Mark 7:6-8 Jesus said 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
“For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men.” They departed from what was written and substituted their own way of doing things, this is exactly what the new apostolic reformation is about. One only needs to read a portion of their writings to see this is what they are saying.
So if this change means to implement a new government under Wagner’s leadership then he needs to take a closer look at home for the spirit of religion. It is a departure from the word of God substituting new words of men.
In Wagner’s philosophy leaving the Bible behind and implementing new revelation as the course for the church is what the apostles and prophets are all about. Unhitching the church from the real apostles and prophets writings to the new apostles and prophets ways. He says this implicitly and so do his prophets
Chuck Pierce “you know when you come to a school of prophets, it's very important.Peirce states, “This is where you look at something and even though a city is flowing in a certain way, an individual is flowing in a certain way, a church is flowing in a certain way, you know God's redemptive plan over that, and you begin to prophesy.”
“...the first word is nabi, nabi or nabi, and that word simply means to bubble up and expound. So that when you're talking about a prophet and much of and much of what we'll be doing this afternoon will be linked with this and pastor Mary will discuss this further with us but that just means that within you you have a river and in the innermost being of you is rivers of living water and if you can ever get a bubbling then what's bubbling begins to speak, needs to bubble and speak.” (Chuck Pierce and Mary Crum #0005114P, tape #5 Thursday May 11, 2000)
Prophecy never came from within man but from God who sent the word to the prophets.
Pierce at the same conference with Cindy Jacobs stated “And the second thing I wanna do is ask forgiveness from the prophetic realm. There will come a time that we will be very, very accurate in days ahead. And I wanna ask forgiveness for immaturity and a lack of accuracy that has come to bring words into the Body of Christ that have not been accurate” (National School of the prophets Chuck Pierce/Cindy Jacobs Sat. May 13, 2000)
Is this what we are to look forward to in the 2nd apostolic age a promise to be more accurate in prophecy?
Wagner says, In most of this book’s chapters, I pointed out how the corporate spirit of religion attempts to keep leaders from moving into God’s new wineskins. In this concluding chapter, let me summarize what I have said.
The last thing that the spirit of religion wants you to be is a world changer. It would like you to be so comfortable with the past that, for the rest of your life, you would prefer to keep doing the things you have been doing.
How does the spirit of religion attempt to maintain the status quo in the Church today?
The spirit of religion would love to maintain the status quo of denominational leadership, which prevents apostles from ministering in their God-given apostolic authority. It does this by casting a spell that convinces denominational leaders that final decisions affecting what the Church does must always be made by groups, not by individuals. In many cases, it has succeeded in elevating the notion of democratic church government to a level usually reserved only for essential doctrines. (underline added)
Are we asked to change the world or bring the gospel to save people and see them change? What if what we have been doing is what God called us to do and we see his hand our life, are we to abandon this to follow Wagner’s new thing?
What was the priority of the early church under the apostles? “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, in fellowship, breaking of bread and in prayers” (Acts 2:42) and “they continued steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine, having all things in common, and the Church increased daily.” The Apostles teaching was first and kept them in unity and increased their numbers.
Then the Bible says there will come false apostles and prophets that cause division by introducing new teachings that oppose the apostles teaching. When the apostles taught, there was no debating of whether it was correct. They were already recognized as God’s appointed leaders by Jesus to reveal God’s will for the Church. John, the last living apostle of those that Jesus chose, wrote that Jesus commended the church in Ephesus for testing “those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars” (Revelation 2:2). Are we testing them today?
What does Wagner mean preventing apostles from ministering in their God-given apostolic authority? What if a church is already following the apostle’s teachings in the Scripture, is that not enough? Jude said, “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 17). Jude does not mention any continuation of apostles in the Church. Jesus never said Jesus would continue to pick more apostles to do the same work they did in the first century. We are to listen to the Old apostles doctrine, not new ones who have new doctrine. Our apostles are in the Bible, they wrote the Bible, and tell us to keep to the writings of the Bible ONLY.
Wagner is saying that the old churches who follow the Bible are not getting on board with the new thing not only have the spirit of religion but are casting a spell, a term related to what Paul said to the Galatians because of their believing the Judaizers. To say the corporate spirit of religion prevents leaders from joining his ranks is in my assessment plain intimidation. Equating churches groups that make decisions (doing what the Bible says) as bewitched is certainly a derogatory remark. His solution is that individuals must make the decision, not a board. But Wagner neglects is that his apostolic government has a board, his decisions are made with many not by one individual. He also overlooks that the Bible always has a plurality of elder’s, not single leadership like the church of Rome. The first decision of the church was made by a council, by a group elders and apostles in Acts 15.
His group of self appointed apostles can gather together and decide they are local or international apostles and prophets, announcing themselves to the church as the new leadership and we are supposed to accept them because they say so?
In 3 John 9, John the Apostle names Diotrephes: “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. He would not accept the teaching of the apostles. He as an individual wanted to be recognized and spoke against them, bringing division in the church.
Thirty years of attempting to pour the new wine of the power of the Holy Spirit and of theological orthodoxy into decaying old wineskins of denominational structures has now been seen as a well-intentioned but fruitless effort. The spirit of religion would like reform-minded leaders to do the same for another 30 years, rather than take the bold step of moving and establishing separate apostolic networks. (Wagner/2nd Apostolic Age p. 3 of chapter 11)Seems as if Wagner is getting a bit teed off on the non-acceptance of his apostolic takeover. His take is that denominations are bad so he wants to replace it with an apostolic denomination (which he calls a government) that will rule over all denominations. This is a repeat of what the Catholic church did, except he wants this done with evangelicals, Pentecostals, fundamentalists etc.
In the past, family heritage has been one of the strongest factors in determining a believer’s church affiliation. Today, many church leaders are perceiving that affiliating with churches of other denominations in a given city can produce more effective ministry than restricting their contacts to those with their same heritage. The spirit of religion tries to discredit this change by convincing denominational power brokers that they should preserve the traditions of the elders at all costs.
Are those who have the old status quo the traditions of the elders now accepted if they work with other churches? Now he is saying denominations working together is an advantage. Which is it?
Are denominations that follow the Bible to be considered equal to the tradition of the elders? Certainly there is merit in that those denominations that have no intention in following the word and need reform but Wagner is generalizing the many. Unless those who depart from Scripture are teaching the doctrines of men as if from God, or false teaching this has no correlation. In fact it is his group of prophets and apostles that teaches new revelation as if it is equal to Scripture, which replaces the true revelation thus being guilty of this very thing.
Church leaders in the Second Apostolic Age are now looking beyond enlarging their congregations, although this remains important, to penetrating all levels of society with the values and principles of the kingdom of God. The spirit of religion attempts to keep this vision bottled up because it knows that if it is applied, Satan will end up with much less control of society and finances than he has now.
Seems as if Wagner is saying churches that do not go along with his new apostolic movement are aware of what they are doing and are demonized, not a very nice thing to conclude. Is this our mandate to go into society with kingdom principles? Are we to stop Satan’s influence in society or in people by giving the gospel. His view is a position typical of dominionism. That we go into the work places, the schools, the arts, the music etc. and influence them with Christian ways. Certainly we are to be salt and light but Wagner is proposing a social, civil taking back.
The spirit of religion is strongly attempting to create a Christian antiwar movement, persuading believers that if they do spiritual warfare and attempt to confront the devil and his principalities and powers, they have a good chance of becoming casualties. Christian pacifists make the spirit of religion happy.
Are their new spiritual warfare concepts superior to God answering the prayer of a righteous man? I do not see any validity to this argument, again it is putting down many who have worked hard on the mission field and evangelizing other nations. What many are saying is that they are doing is not biblical spiritual warfare but teach a Gnostic pagan view that does absolutely nothing in reality but puffs up peoples minds, convincing them that they have become a powerful force chasing the devil away with his tail between his legs.
What does Wagner believe about spiritual warfare?
A letter from C. Peter Wagner
Releasing Wealth in Apostolic
Times - Unlocking the Supply
Apostles also have authority over the demonic rulers of a region. They have the ability to demonstrate supernatural power that draws a whole region to our life-giving God” (p. 164). From this I think that we can conclude that if full-stage spiritual warfare is to be done in a region, the generals of that warfare must be apostles.”
Wagner's non biblical but innovative ideas such as praying on location for a community, region, or nation is seen as more powerful than praying at home. That one must bind these so called strong men and territorial princes to have any affect in our praying.
"Spying out the land is essential when warring for a city... Christians should walk or drive every major freeway, avenue, and road of their cities, praying and coming against demonic strongholds over every neighborhood..." (Engaging the Enemy: How to Fight and Defeat Territorial Spirits - C. Peter Wagner, Ventura,CA; Regal , p. 98)
Wagner labels this “occult-level spiritual warfare.” Spiritual mapping is a necessary strategy to “map out” the demons’ geographical activity with the help of individuals who, according to Wagner, have "gifts of prophetic espionage” or a spiritual “hunting instinct to track down the enemy’s manipulations.” Wagner explains that through the gift of prophecy and the gift of the discernment of spirits, “we can know what has and what has not been bound in heaven” (Wagner, Powers, p.155.
Despite the fact that research shows that traditional theological education does not necessarily produce competent church leaders, the spirit of religion persists in trying to make seminary and Bible school training a prerequisite for ministerial ordination.
Should not one pursue education in good schools? I agree that a wrong school can ruin ones faith and that God's calling does not depend on ones education but should we have less education? Was not Paul educated? In fact, almost all the apostles, though they were mostly fisherman were far more educated in the Scripture than most are today. Does not Wagner have a Leadership Institute? Is this not like a school. The difference is that his school teaches all the new revelatory ways that are not found in Scripture of doing church for the 21st century apostolic church. What is he talking about? He is putting down the old and replacing it with His new, thus implementing a paradigm shift.
The unity of the Body of Christ is very important for the fulfillment of God’s purposes on Earth. It is no secret that differences in doctrine have contributed to a great deal of division. Doctrine, however, is becoming less divisive in the Second Apostolic Age, and the spirit of religion is trying to thwart this trend. (Wagner, 2nd Apostolic Age p. 4 chapter 11)
Wrong doctrine does harm and bring division and some right doctrine brings health buy its division. Real doctrine divides, Jesus gave true doctrine next to the Pharisees invention of laws and it divided. Truth divides, we are told to divide from those who do not hold to the apostles teachings (Rom.16:17). Does Wagner and his associates care for upholding the former apostles teachings or their new agenda- the New Order of the Latter Rain? Doctrine divides and brings harm when it is not the truth. Why does doctrine become less divisive in the Second Apostolic Age? They seem to be more about uniting in a human effort of strength to influence the world than maintaining the unity of the faith that was delivered to us (the saints) once for all. Doctrine we are told is necessary “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16). 2 John 1:9 “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God.”1 Tim 5:17 “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.”
Renewal of the Mind
Wagner's remedy- The remedy for being under the spell of the spirit of religion in every one of the above scenarios is a new way of thinking. In chapter 1, I explained that the Hebrew word belaw characterizes the tactics of the corporate spirit of religion. This word means to wear out the victim in a mental sense. How do we defeat the enemy in this arena? We become transformed by the renewing of our minds as we are told to do in Romans 12:2. To move ahead, then, we need a paradigm shift.
This is not only the remedy for the spirit of religion but for every believer who is saved. However, Wagner’s renewing of the mind is to accept his new apostolic reforms, get on board but don’t check them by the Scripture or you may have a conflict and then you are labeled as the corporate spirit of religion (proof of this is in all the statements made by him and others under him)
Romans 12:2: states we are transformed by “the renewing of our mind.” This is done through the Word of God and by the power of the Spirit. This means the process to change us is not subjective but primarily objective, based on knowledge from the word and living it out. You can’t know God and His ways outside the Bible.
Rom 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
So how does our mind get renewed? Jesus prayed in John 17:17 “Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.” He repeated himself many times that we should know. Twice Jesus specifically said, “blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” (Luke 11:28 also 8:21) John 14:24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me.” Hebrews (4:12) states the “Word is living and powerful and Jesus said if “… continue in my word and you will know the truth and the Truth will set you free.” “Your word is truth” (John 17:17) “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 1 Timothy 4:6 Paul writes for us to be “nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.” To “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine,” We are to be “Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught” (Titus 1:9). Paul continually asserted this: “That you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3).
Many other Scriptures can be used, yet Jack Deere who is onboard with Peter Wagner states about finding what the apostles did in their ministry “You know I’m gonna look up every reference to teaching in the Bible. so I just punched it in my computer concordance, looked up every single reference 'taught, teacher, teaching,' every single reference in the New Testament and its astounding. Did you know not one time, not one time does it say that Jesus taught the Bible?.. isn’t that interesting not one time does it ever say that. It says He taught about the kingdom, taught about God, preached the Gospel of the kingdom, and the Good news. Not one time does it ever say He taught the Bible ... I looked up all the references with the apostles and did you know that with only one possible exception, it never says the Apostles taught the Bible?...Here’s the last verse in the book of Acts, verse 31. Here’s how it ends with what Paul’s doing. V.31 “boldly and without hindrance he preached” not the Bible, the kingdom of God. And he taught, not the Bible, but taught about the Lord Jesus.” (National School Of The Prophets Mobilizing The Prophetic Office May 11, 2000 11:30 AM tape #3)
Deere could not find that Jesus or the apostles taught the Bible!
Gal. 6:6 “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.”
Titus 1:9 “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”
Jack Deere you contradict! And the words we have written is what we are to teach today. You look it up and wee what you find.
Here is what the last verse of Acts actually says Acts 28:31 “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”
If you don’t think that Paul taught the Old Testament and what pertains to the Messiah then you have not read your Bible well.
The reformation brought the word of God to everyday people; it affected the common people, the laity. Without a reformation that goes back to the word of Scripture people will continue to try and catch the wind.
Peter Wagner and those under him promote his innovated methods; a rhema word that has precedence over the logos word. “The rhema is regarded as a more immediate word from God which we do not find in the 66 books of the Bible" (Engaging the Enemy, by C. Peter Wagner. (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1991), pp.15-16)
Paul admonishes in 1 Corinthians 4:6 “do not go beyond what is written” Proverbs 30:6 tells us, “Do not add to his words lest you be rebuked and found a liar.”
Jonathan Edward’s wrote of the Bible “The devil has ever shown a mortal spite and hatred towards that holy book, the Bible: he has done all in his power to extinguish that light and to draw men off from it: He knows it to be that light by which the kingdom of darkness is to be overthrown.... He is enraged against the Bible and hates every word in it: And we may be sure that he never will attempt to raise persons’ esteem of it or affection to it.” (Works of Jonathan Edward’s, Vol. 2, p.260)
Since when does the church need a paradigm shift that will take us away from what the Bible says to hold to. The paradigm shift was popularized by Wagner’s good friend John Wimber. It is a new age term to mean a new way of looking and doing things. Wagner says that he was told “you are being called to reshape the face of Christianity” (National School of The Prophets, Mobilizing The Prophetic Office Wagner May 11, 2000 )
This whole movement is a challenge to Biblical based ministry and (status quo as stated) are convincing people by the old shepherding methods to accept a paradigm shift to the new apostles (ala Wagner) and prophets to be the government of the church; which he now calls the 2nd apostolic age.
Wagner says, “I myself, for example, would rather not have people call me a Charismatic, I do not consider myself a Charismatic, I am simply an Evangelical Congregationalist who is open to the Holy Spirit working through me and my church in any way He chooses ”(C. (Peter Wagner, cited in Charismatic Chaos - Part 5, Does God do Miracles Today? 1991, by John F. MacArthur, Jr.)
The fact is Wagner and almost all his associates under him are teaching Latter Rain doctrines. They instead call it 3rd wave so it is not recognized. They can call it what they want, it does not change what they are.