Peter Wagner has long held to the heretical Latter Rain position, denying pre-millennialism. Those under his leadership are in complete agreement, as they are working in the capacity of a new apostolic leadership to govern the church and establish the kingdom into the world before Christ comes. Many now believe this is an accurate teaching found in the word of God.
In this chapter of his new book it reveals much of what the apostolic movement is about and how his views have changed. These are excerpts of the most important portions on this subject from his book…
The Church in the Workplace, by C. Peter Wagner
Let’s Take Dominion Now!
“Social transformation, as I have been saying, is one of the strongest words that the Holy Spirit is clearly speaking to the churches today. But before many of us would be prepared to accept that statement at face value, we would need to be assured that what we think we might be hearing from the Holy Spirit is truly biblical. We are sure, for example, that saving souls is biblical, but how about transforming society?
I know this is a crucial question, because for years I would have said that working toward social change should not be considered a part of our Christian duty. I was taught that the world was supposed to get worse and worse, and the more it did, the closer Christ’s second coming would be. I believed that at some low point in history, all true believers would be snatched out of the earth and that those left behind would go through seven of the worst years of all, just prior to the Lord’s glorious appearing. Meanwhile, our job was to spread the gospel and get as many souls saved as possible so that they would be taken up with us in the rapture whenever it might come, and the sooner the better. However, I am now certain that there is a more accurate and a more biblical way of understanding God’s mission for us, which I’ll try to explain as convincingly as I can in this chapter.
Having said that, my hope is that not too many readers who happen to love the famous Left Behind series of books will decide to shut the book at this point and go no further. I will go on record as saying that I personally have read every one of the Left Behind series, and if more books come out, I plan on reading them as well. I have enjoyed each of them greatly, keeping in mind that they are fiction, pure and simple.” (Underline mine)
Wagner’s view may sell better than the left behind series because Bible prophecy is not being taught accurately, or taught hardly at all in the church. In its place is personal prophecy. But look carefully how he starts out- with new revelatory words, that carries the concept that is foreign from the scripture “Social transformation.” And throughout this chapter he is using his basis of new revelation to support his theory of a church triumphant on earth before the return of Christ.
As if the Bible does not say the world will not get worse preceding Christ’s coming. Is there not a Great Tribulation ahead? For Jesus said it would be like “In the days of Noah” this certainly is not a good thing, violence was predominant and people abandoned God, only eight obeyed and were saved. Are we not living in a world characterized by crime, murder, lawlessness and violence that is increasing. An era where Paul described as Perilous times prophesied in 2 Timothy 3:1-3.
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). Jesus said unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved, that is how bad it would be.
Wagner changing his mind on his former eschatological viewpoint was not a recent one, it can be seen when he was with John Wimber.
Whether the left behind series portrays doctrine that is in the Bible accurately or not, is not the issue. It is not where we learn true doctrine? This is like arguing there are no horses because we do not have horse drawn carriages in the street. Did Jesus tell the truth? What it says is plainly what it means. One cannot use a personal gnosis of what they think “the Holy Spirit is clearly speaking to the churches today” and have it replace what is written on what the Holy Spirit is speaking to the churches. What the Spirit says to the churches is what Jesus already said to the churches recorded directly to John in his book of revelation
The rapture does NOT prevent the gospel from going forth afterwards. The Bible tells us that in the Tribulation period from a small contingent of Jewish believers, 144,000, we have more people harvested than at any other time in history. This goes against the inaccurate views of dominionist et.al C. Peter Wagner.
One of the true apostles Jesus appointed (Paul) tells us to “… to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead -Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Though there are different types of wrath mentioned, the tribulation is called the wrath of God (Rev.6:16,17, 18;14:10;15:1:16:1.) Certainly this is what is meant by Paul when he says the son will come from heaven to rescue us.
Back to the Beginning
“An excellent starting point to explain the mission God gave us is to go to the story of creation itself. We are told in Genesis 1 that God created the earth and everything in it in five days, and then on the sixth day He created Adam and Eve. He created them, male and female, in His image. When He did, He blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28).
You may notice that I included that word “dominion” in the title of this chapter: “Let’s Take Dominion Now!” Why? Because the first words God spoke to humans, as recorded in the Bible, includes the mandate to “have dominion.” It wasn’t just Adam and Eve who were to have dominion; it was the whole human race that would “fill the earth” after Adam and Eve began being fruitful and multiplying. Apparently, having dominion over the rest of creation is something built into God’s original design for us humans; it is not an afterthought. To the extent that humans fail to have dominion, they also fail to live up to the fullness of their divine destiny.
This is such an old moot argument that I can’t believe someone wants to push this old cart up the hill again. God took mans dominion away when they disobeyed him and became sinful- and we remain sinful UNTIL the resurrection. And that does not occur until the rapture or resurrection (same event) of which Wagner seems to deny, and replaces it with his dominionist practices and goals.
The first words spoken to man are in Genesis 1:28: “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
Dominion means to maintain order, not make a government to rule over humans, but rule over other creatures. It was first given to Adam and his wife and was to be the for the whole human race (Psalms 8:6-8). When Adam and Eve sinned they were told to leave the garden and forbidden back into it, and this garden was destroyed in the flood. This was the area God first gave them to exercise their dominion over before it would spread. They failed and God has never renewed this policy to any people, nor has he given this mandate any sinful man to be their replacement. This was not passed down to their children.
This is also a denial of the curse that is still affecting mankind. God told Adam thorns and thistles would come from his work. Eve would have strain in childbirth. This does not sound like they had dominion but were now subject to the fallen world.
This wanting to rule over others (dominion) is from man’s fallen nature. God made man to serve just as Jesus gave us the example when he came as man to serve.
Daniel 7:7: “The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.” And the other beasts mentioned in Daniel are kingdoms that rule over mankind at different periods of history- they are not God ordained.
There is one that God does give his dominion to, the one who conquered sin and death- Jesus Christ and him only.
Daniel 7:14-- One like the Son of Man, “is given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.”
Daniel 7:27 “Then the kingdom Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.'” We have not had this kingdom delivered to us, we are to wait.
Paul spoke of this Kingdom in a future tense (1 Corinthians 6:9; 15:50; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5). 2 Peter 1:10-11 also speaks of the Kingdom in a future tense. The church has never been given a mission to socially engineer the world, or, what many call “Christianize it,” but rescue people out from it. It is not God’s plan for the Church to take dominion over this present evil world before He returns. We need to accept it as it is written.
Christ as the head of the church exerts his rule over His church in the world, but not the world. Christ will restore the earth in the Millennium and He has not given this authority over into the hands of any man.
”Your Kingdom Come”
Moving from the Old Testament to the New Testament, let’s look at
the Lord’s Prayer, an excellent starting point for understanding our
mission in the world. When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to
pray, He replied, “In this manner, therefore pray: Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as
it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:9-10).
As you can see, all of this can be summarized in the expression that we are using more than ever these days, namely “social transformation.”
We do not bring his kingdom to earth anymore than we make his will done. Jesus made it clear the kingdom will come with him as the king when He is present on earth to rule over not while he is in heaven. Of course he likes Hamon’s comment, Hamon’s position is Latter Rain dominionsim, it is his position (Hamon is under Wagners apostolic leadership). Our being called to be cultural architects has no reference to the Bible.
There is no command to have us rule over society or change the culture but to preach the gospel so that peoples lives, their purpose in living is changed. If ones affections of the world are not changed they cannot obey and respond to God. Clearly, Wagner is introducing a heavenly built society on earth without a heart change from the gospel.
Heaven is not some improved earth life, it is made for redeemed transformed men and woman from the gospel. Those who allow to have the Holy Spirit work in their lives until they are called to enter their heavenly citizenship.
Jesus made it clear when he answered, "My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:35-36).
So when does it become of this world? Not until he begins to overthrow the kingdoms of man in the Tribulation period.
Revelation 11:15: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" Revelation 20:6 “but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
Again, the lord must be physically present for any of this to happen.
A Long Road
“I’m sad to say that it took us evangelical Christians a considerable
amount of time to get to where we are today. It was too long a road. But
the good news is that we are finally arriving.
Then the Protestant Reformation came along in the sixteenth century, led by Martin Luther and John Calvin. Luther’s views of Scripture and of justification by faith produced one of the most positive changes in church history. However, he had a dualistic view of the church over against the world, and therefore he was never much inclined to push the church toward the mission of transforming society. Calvin, on the other hand, taught that believers are responsible for social transformation, and his followers began to believe that we have a cultural mandate (the mandate to transform society) as well as an evangelistic one (the mandate to save souls). One famous Calvinist, pastor and theologian Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920), lived this out, entered politics, became prime minister of the Netherlands and caused tremendous positive changes in society as a result.
Meanwhile, the modern missionary movement began around 1800, after William Carey went to India. While humanitarianism, such as starting schools and hospitals and orphanages, was a standard part of missionary ministry, overt efforts to transform the structures of society itself were few and far between. The evangelical missionary movement featured the evangelistic mandate, but not so much the cultural mandate.
Toward the end of the 1800s, a liberal element of the church began promoting what was called the social gospel. They ended up going to the extreme of advocating that transforming society was all that was necessary and that saving souls was an idea of the past. Naturally, Bible-believing evangelicals reacted strongly against this, and they went to the opposite extreme of rejecting social ministry altogether. Taking dominion? That was, to them, something for liberals who didn’t believe the Bible!
That history brings us up to the times that some of us living today can remember personally. I am among them. As an evangelical missionary in Bolivia during the 1950s and 1960s, I was of the persuasion that our task was to save souls, make disciples and multiply churches. Period.”
Professor Wagner is wrong on his observation of the early church. The Bible tells us the apostles turned the world (gentile cultures) upside down despite their being persecuted.
The “believers did not have the power to transform the society of the Roman Empire” because they were not mandated to do so, therefore they did not attempt to do so. The power of God was not available for this then or today. The Catholic church has tried to blend the culture with the church to create a holy society, a Holy Roman Empire and failed and the Calvinists did the same with force at times. But never mind this history, Wagner thinks where they failed he will succeed.
Taking dominion is not just for liberals/progressives — it is for a church that wants to disobey Jesus who told us to wait and pray until He brings it to fruition. James 5:7-8: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient.” They do not want to wait for Jesus so they are appointing people to the specific areas they may exercise rule under his authority.
Mark 13:8 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” Notice it does not say anything about God’s kingdom overcoming the conflict of the world’s kingdoms. This has been escalating since the first world war.
1 Corinthians 15:50-54:” “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Are we still flesh and blood? We must wait for the Lord to transform us. Paul then explains that “at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” When does this happen?
2 Timothy 4:1 The “Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom” This means his kingdom does not come before this except in a spiritual sense when one who believes submits themselves to His will on earth.
So if anyone teaches you that his kingdom is ruling here on earth through the church or by apostolic government etc. they are going against the clear teaching in the Word of God because he has not appeared not judged the living or dead.
The kingdom now teaching, todays dominionists are like the Montanists of the early church that did not pray for the kingdom to come but believed it had come, and just like the Montanists they think they are making it happen
Congress in Lausanne
“A significant change came in 1974 when the evangelical movement, led by Billy Graham, held the International Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland. At that point, evangelicals began reconsidering the place of the cultural mandate alongside the evangelistic mandate within the total mission of the church. This was a very important shift for those of us who now advocate social transformation. It turned out to be only a partial shift, however, in that the Lausanne Covenant insisted on subordinating the cultural mandate to the evangelistic mandate. Still, we evangelicals then began to have social responsibility on our radar screens, even though it wasn’t front and center.
One event that did help to move social issues to the front and center of our agenda, particularly among evangelicals who were tuned in to the charismatic movement, was the publication of John Dawson’s best-selling book Taking Our Cities for God in 1990. The concept of taking a city was a tremendous innovation.
After Dawson wrote his book, the literature expanded rapidly. He was joined by authors such as Ed Silvoso, George Otis, Jr., Ted Haggard, Jack Hayford, Frank Damazio, Alistair Petrie and others. The movement is concisely summarized in Jack Dennison’s City Reaching. Those who were involved experimented with a variety of terms such as “taking cities,” “reaching cities,” “prayer evangelism,” “reaching a nation,” “reformation,” “community transformation,” “revival” and “reconstruction.” By 2000, however, the most generally acceptable term became “social transformation.” In 2005, Luis Bush gave form to the movement by helping to organize a series of events called Transform World, with the first international meeting held in Indonesia.
This confirms that Wagner and other spiritual alchemists that wave their dominion wand towards the heavens to change the spiritual atmosphere took Dawsons mythologies of superimposing soul and life in inanimate areas as the field book to transform cities. Experimentation is the key word here. It was for Wimber when he and Wagner were friends, and it is for Wagner’s legion of “new” apostles.
Here a just a few quotes to remind us of what Dawson wrote in his book to understand how far a field he was from Biblical doctrine and what these men are accepting as valid.
Page 40: "A city is a human institution, and like all institutions it develops a creaturehood or personality that is greater than the sum of its parts."
This is attributing life to something that has none. Dawson teaching on ‘personifying’ the cities explains:
"I believe God has participated in the creation of our cities both in forming their personality and in stationing high-ranking guardian angels over each one."(p.40 taking your city for God)
This is the basis for their spiritual warfare of which Dawson claimed:
“During the summer of 1984 the Christians of Los Angeles briefly experienced the reality of a city free from spiritual oppression. The effect on the city was a tantalizing illustration of what could be achieve in he years to come as we continue in the battle. Everything in the life of the city is affected. People were friendly and cheerful. Even the summer traffic jams and air pollution failed to materialize. Instead of the expected crime-spree, the crime rate actually dropped” p.73)
I guess one can also convince themselves that a placebo is working on their ailment to cure them. It’s like the old saying when you smile the whole world smiles with you.
On page 70, he writes: “Unless you understand biblical warfare, you will be frustrated, angry, confused, and ineffective in your ministry to the city…We need to bind the strong man and gain a place of authority over Satan before we will see the full fruit of our labors.”
The question is if Dawson himself understands what true spiritual warfare is or has he made up his own spiritual model for our age. Dawson ends Chapter 4 on a prophetic note: "God will pour out revelation concerning His redemptive plans for the city"(p.44-45).
Well we are still waiting for the results these men claim will take place, I assure you-- they will not happen before Jesus returns.
Dawson “Determining your city's redemptive gift is even more important than discerning the nature of evil principalities. Principalities rule through perverting the gift of a city in the same way an individual's gift is turned to the enemy's use through sin” (pp. 39, 40.) This unbiblical concept not only introduces a new model for spiritual warfare but also accompanies it by presenting to believers a Gnostic concept of cities and countries having a soul, what he calls a redemptive gift. He further states: “What message would an angel of the Lord bring concerning your city? Would God reveal a divine purpose? On the other hand, Satan will do anything in his power to accuse your city, to malign its redemptive gift” (p.41).
I have not seen anywhere in the bible where cities are accused, the believer, yes, but cities! Using biblical words applied to cities and nations takes one away from the biblical meanings in the Scripture.
Let’s take a pause in addressing Wagner’s views to address this spiritual nonsense. On the former apostle Ted Haggard’s New Life church grounds is found Peter Wagner’s Spiritual Warfare Center. This center is supposed to be gathering information on demonic activity throughout the world so they can pray against the evil spirits and change the atmosphere over areas. Recently before 2007 ended a distraught YWAM’er went to a nearby YWAM base and tragically killed several YWAM missionaries. 12 hours later he showed up at the New Life church grounds, and kills several more until he is taken out. My mentioning this is not to make light of those who were tragically killed by a disturbed man but only to point out that their spiritual warfare and dominionism is unable to work. Why did their prophets not know evil was coming? Why did they not gather the intel; they had 12 hours. They did not even need to rely on their prayer insights as this tragic event just took place. Their spiritual warfare insights saw nothing, their prophets saw nothing. It happened on their own grounds. Their leadership cannot protect the sheep from both physical or spiritual harm- their spiritual gifts? They were not functioning-- they have only empty words.
Of course Dawson writes- God has “gifted” the end time’s churches with to help us establish the kingdom of God here in our cities: “It is now a season for the restored prominence of the ministry of apostles and prophets who will lay the foundations for the coming move of God” (p. 111). No wonder Wagner used this book as a model. This certainly is seen in Wagner's dominionism in the church and the church taking over the world model he is using with his spiritual warfare.
Dawson “Man is a warrior race, made in God’s own image and destined to rule beside Him.” “We are destined to rule with Christ” (p.128, Taking Our Cities For God, John Dawson). Actually we to rule under Jesus as our head not beside him and the difference is quite significant.
None of this is new- it comes straight from the Latter Rain teachings that have survived even after the AOG churches rejected it as heresy in the late 40’s (which unfortunately many now accept).
“God's people are going to start to exercise rule, and they're going to take dominion over the Power of Satan. They're going to bring diabolical princes down. The dark powers that hover over the Parliament buildings of the nations are going to be paralyzed by the corporate prayer of an authoritative community. As the rod of His strength goes out of Zion, He'll change legislation. He'll chase the devil off the face of God's earth, and God's people together, doing the will of God, will bring about God's purposes and Gods reign " (Ern Baxter, National Men's Shepherds Conference, Kansas City, Missouri, September, 1975
Peter Wagner has stated “In a global sense, each generation faces Satan in the form of the spirit of Antichrist or world domination. This is the spirit behind those who have had ambition to rule the world such as Napoleon or Hitler. They would usurp the place that belongs only to God. The earth is the Lord's and all its fullness (Psalm 24:1)”(Engaging the Enemy, Introduction by C. Peter Wagner Regal Books, 1991).
The earth is the churches according to Wagner’s dominionist model, and I fail to see the difference with the dictators… except for the fact he is doing it in the Lords name; but the concept remains the same.
While all these unbiblical teachings and concepts have taken on a life of their own in today’s neo-Pentecostalism which is now heavily influenced by Wagners apostles. We should note, that that all these different tributaries lead back to the same place- man takes his dominion over the sinful world without Jesus Christ coming back to remove evil. Thus it becomes an evil unto itself, being divorced from the truth of how events will actually take place according to Jesus it is man exalting himself to exercise godlike rule.
After more than 15 year of experimenting with these concepts, methods and non biblical ideas there is not a shred of evidence of any country becoming Christian (in the true sense of how the Bible describes it). Not a city where Christ alone rules in the peoples hearts. So how long should we give these concepts to work, the longer we wait the more the church will be led astray in its experimental wake.