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The Persecuted Church


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The "Peter Principle" of Spiritual Warfare

Most of us have heard of “The Peter the Principle”: The theory that an employee within an organization will advance to his or her level of incompetence and remain there. (American Heritage Dictionary).

We can see this played out in nearly everything today, especially behind the pulpit. Those who have little or no Biblical training of Scripture become teachers for large congregations or for universities and multiply their ignorance through their students. This most evident  when  using unbiblical strategies with manmade philosophies and claim to demolish Satan’s kingdom.

This is "Peter" Wagner's principle being disseminated to all.

Chuck Kraft states:

Our assumption is that God has not revealed all there is to know in the spiritual area any more than he has in these other areas. We, therefore, need to experiment in this area and, like scientists who work in other areas, develop and test theories in order to gain greater understanding’ (quoted on p.25 “The Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare Theology of C. Peter Wagner and its Implications for Christian Mission in Malawi” by ErwinVan Der Meer).

The Wimber philosophy was the same as his church became a laboratory for experimenting in signs and wonders, and so was Fuller theological as Wagner taught the course on signs and wonders with him. The double “E” experience and experimentation. If they find that it works they use it. As Wagner has held "... we ought to see clearly that the end DOES justify the means.  What else possible could justify the means?  If the method I am using accomplishes the goal I am aiming at, it is for that reason a good method.  If, on the other hand, my method is not accomplishing the goal, how can I be justified in continuing to use it?"  (C. Peter Wagner, "Your Church Can Grow - Seven Vital Signs Of A Healthy Church", 1976, pg. 137. emphasis in original)

As with all those who are unable to teach expositional from the word they always venture into these areas and up in the same place. Eventually the bible is no longer their authority or means of truth. They continue to experiment and develop theories on the basis of their experiences, believing the Holy spirit is leading them in new revelation.

When we come to Spirit warfare, a value change of mission work by the gospel gives way to a necessary pre cleansing technique for it to work. To arrive at this one must have some assumptions. Peter Wagner writes, "…This story leaves no doubt that territorial spirits greatly influence human life in all its sociopolitical aspects" (“Warfare Prayer,” 1992, p. 66) ‘The real battle for both world evangelisation and social justice is a spiritual battle and our principal weapon of spiritual warfare is prayer’ (quoted in: p.124 The Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare Theology of C. Peter Wagner and its Implications for Christian Mission in Malawi by ErwinVan Der Meer)

One should be aware that When Wagner speaks of prayer, in his context it is not prayer to God, and having faith in his control, to wait on his answer, it is prayer AGAINST Spirits over territories. God is hindered, even unable to release people without this being done.

“Warfare prayer is not an end in itself, but a means of opening the way for the Kingdom of God to come, not only in evangelism, but also in social justice and material sufficiency" (C. Peter Wagner, Warefare Prayer excerpt, http://www.christian-faith.com/articles/citytaking-peterwagner.html)

Wagner launched his first Spiritual Mapping efforts with Ed Silvoso: ‘We agreed to

run a large-scale experiment of strategic-level spiritual warfare in Resistencia’. This

set in place one of my major courses for the decade of the 1990s ….’

According to their new model, an invasion of demons is everywhere, taking over the planet. This has focused the church on the demonic which can only be overcome by the right spiritual techniques offered by Wagner and friends. These new methods have been practiced, exchanged and adjusted for 20 years. But, there are lot of people that have felt uncomfortable with these new methodologies introduced into their church. But they went along with it because others were, they did not know enough to have reason to reject them. Hopefully these articles will help.

To offer these “new methods” that originate outside the bible or rearrange interpretations from the Bible is neither advantageous nor a solution, instead they compound the problem.

Let me give some basic examples of their interpretation which is used in their spirit war: John Dawson writes on p.44-45 “Even the name of the city speaks of its destiny. Los Angeles Ok Spanish for "The Angels." As we have already learned angelos in Greek means “messenger”. God wants LA to be a messenger communicating the good news in the midst of end time harvest.”

They often interpret the real world with mystic meaning found in words and numbers.

Dawson states: “The Old Testament prophets foresaw the empowering that would come to the followers of Jesus, the Messiah. And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;’ and he quotes (Joel 2:28-32).

Note the categories that are anointed for ministry during revival: sons and daughters, old men and young men, menservants and maidservants. We will be surprised at whom the Holy Spirit anoints for leadership in the coming revival. I believe that strong leadership will be provided by Korean, black and American Indian Christians and that prophets and evangelists will emerge who are of high school age or younger” (Dawson p. 66 “Taking our cities for God”).

Selectively using the text, he completely removes this from the context of the Bible and in its place gives the reader the Latter Rain perspective. The spirit being poured out on all flesh begins in Israel among the Jews. Peter in Acts 2 is quoting Joel 2:28-32. The verse before sets up the theme and context - Joel 2:27: “Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.” V.32: “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant whom the LORD calls.” Once the Scripture is quoted in context it cannot mean something else, especially in the way the Latter Rain promoters interpret it.

Here is another example that becomes the foundation for the spirit warfare. “The principle is still the same: We need To bind the strongman and gain a place- of Authority Satan before we will see the full fruit of our labors.”

Jesus said, "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or else how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house" (Matt. 12:28-29).

“If we are not using our biblical spiritual weapons, we are failing the people we are attempting to serve” (Dawson, p.70 ibid.)

In Mt.12 Jesus is referring to himself. In this event he had the leaders question by what power he was doing these miracles and blamed it on a unclean spirit, which Jesus said was the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. He is not teaching that we are to go around and bind the strongman first for anything to happen - especially in cities or geographical areas. Nor is he teaching us we have authority over demons on a worldwide scale. The Bible does not teach authority is a weapon - the word of God is.

Again lets read this in context: Matthew 12:27-29 "And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. "Or how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

V43-45: "When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. "Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. "Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation."

Jesus did teach about unclean spirits being driven out of PEOPLE (not territories, nations) and when they returned and found an empty house they brought seven worse spirits (Matthew 12:43-45). Why? Because the house needed to be filled; meaning to be inhabited by the Holy Spirit, which comes by an individual believing the Gospel. So it is about a person being saved, not about chasing demons away from certain locations. He uses this example to address the spiritual state of Israel which has been led by their leaders into unbelief.

But spiritual warfare promoters make this example into a method and the method becomes a model to be practiced for the church to advance her influence ignoring the actual gospel that is to be used.

Peter Wagner writes of their success, "Thousands of churches have installed prayer rooms, tastefully furnished rooms that include a phone line or two and perhaps a fax machine or a computer for e-mail. These rooms are occupied by intercessors 24 hours a day:" In many cases these are dedicated "strategic-level spiritual warfare" (SLSW) rooms manned by intercessors engaged in "warfare praying for the cities of the world."

This is why he planted a center on the grounds of new life church in Colorado. To be an information center on demonic activity and fight a spirit war all over the globe. From these rooms the battles of their new spiritual warfare methods are implemented.

Consider living each day waiting for the information on a given area of which demonic force to pray against. Some spend long arduous hours in prayer against these demons. What a waste of time, they are fighting a mirage. Thousands pray but it is never affecting the problem (they always need more people). It’s not effective prayer (Jms.) so they need to get closer to the spot. Like Ana Mendez at Mt. Everest, this movement is driven by their demonology, which has more to do with the occult than the Bible. What I mean is that they wait to hear instructions that are not in the Bible or even scriptural principled. Their supposed hearing from God is either their imagination or deceiving spirits, it certainly is not God. Because he does not contradict himself by giving new revelation; especially about demons, These people are self convinced by unbiblical experiences.

They also make you think you are not spiritual enough, because you are not hearing from God on how to do battle in spirit warfare as they do.

God created all things, including the heavenlies and the angels, both good and bad, He is in control of them – The battle does not involve the Church doing spiritual warfare in the heavenlies to help God out. The believers attitude towards these principalities and powers is to be one of respect even, if they are our enemy - not aggressive, militant warfare to identify them and pull them down.

Eph. 3:10: “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” Paul explains how this is done in V. 8-9 to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.

actively bringing under dominion, authority and power that stands in opposition to God until

He has put all his enemies under his feet (1 Cor. 15:24-25). He is the victor, He is above all powers and authorities in the heavenly realms (Eph. 1:19-23).

The Bible does not speak of a spirit realm (look it up) but of three heavens; of heavenly places. It is a term[s] specifically used by Paul, for the dwelling of both angels (evil and good), for redeemed man and the Lord.

Eph. 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

Eph. 1:20; “which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.”

Eph. 2:6; “and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

Eph. 6:12: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

The Bible teaches us that Satan’s abode is not hell (not yet) but in heavenly places, our atmosphere.The Greek word is epouranios -above the sky: celestial,

1) existing in heaven a) things that take place in heaven b) the heavenly regions

1) heaven itself, the abode of God and angels as well as the lower heavens, used of the stars and our own atmosphere.

Elisha who knew what was there prayed for his servant to see so that he would have the same faith, it was invisible, it was right here in our own world; not some spirit realm.

II Kings 6:15-17 the enemy “surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, and said, "LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

This was a unique event, it was not something they were to always see (or us) but it has a purpose for this one time. The Syrians secret plans were known to Elisha, The Syrians came at night and surrounded Dothan, where Elisha stayed. His servant discovered the danger and made it known to his master. At Elisha's request the eyes of the young man were opened to see who protected them so that he would not worry. It gives us insight that there is an invisible war taking place and God is in control, our part is to have faith.

Eph 2:2-3: “In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience”

The air is the region they traffic in, it is not some 4th dimension or spirit realm. They are permitted to occupy this region, this may include the whole region between earth and the 3rd heaven. They live and reign in our world, invisibly. They do not want to be known. These beings possessing the nature of evil have mastery over those (the sons of disobedience) who do not know how to resist their influence nor have strength.

Eph.2:2: "prince"- Gr. Archon," means one first in authority and power, and is then applied to anyone who has the pre-eminence or rule. It is applied to Satan, or the chief of the fallen angels (from Barnes' Notes). The Lord has all authority in heaven and on earth; the devil has some power (by God's permission) in the lower region of the air.

Human history records the attempts of man to control the things around him. Some want to have more control than over their own lives, they want to control what they cannot see. In Eph. 6 Paul is not instructing the church to fight territorial spirits, but resist their influence that is constant, each and everyday.

Do they (spiritual combaters of demons) ever get their spirit info wrong? Yes, in fact it is nearly all wrong. Do they ever exaggerate about the results, yes, they claim cities and nations have changed because of their prayers.

Peter Wagner has said the use of their Spiritual warfare is dismantling the Devil’s Kingdom by their spirit warfare, claiming:

10 million Japanese will come to Christ by the year 2000; it helped to bring down the Berlin Wall and opened Albania to the gospel; it deposed dictator Manuel Noriega; it lowered the crime rate in Los Angeles and broke the power of demons over Japan (Breaking Strongholds in Your City, 1993, P. 25). Stories like these are abundant; we know God is working however we find these spirit warfare promoters taking credit. Nations have changed in the past BEFORE the invention of the spirit war against fallen spirits, so why should we accept that if something happened it is because of THEIR warfare prayers? How can they prove this? They claimed this for Cali in the “Transformation video”, but the actual facts showed nothing had changed. Their teaching on this has no weight; it has as much weight as the percentage of air on the top of Everest.

If the Bible does not teach this how do they use this as a major teaching for their practices? To make a doctrine and practice out of what they think works, to teach that we commission angels to be sent in the unseen battle is certainly going beyond what is written. The only other angelic battle mentioned in all of the Bible is future, a war in heaven, that results in Satan and all his demons forced to leave heaven (not put hell) and it is by Michael and his angels, not man. It is not left up to us to "cleanse the heavenlies", God is in control – not man. Rev. 12:7-8 “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.

At a certain point in the tribulation Satan and all the demons are located only on earth. V. 9 “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” In a similar fashion when Jesus came to earth in his incarnation demonic activity was increased (Rev.12:4). When it occurs this next time every demon will be located on earth, not just some.

God has called Satan the prince of this world (ruler). He has allowed Satan to blind the eyes to not believe. Satan also deceives those who can actually harm the advance of his kingdom.

Demons try to influence important people to do what is wrong. He does this by having them focus on him instead of God so they fight him in the flesh instead of resist him in the Spirit. He can make them think they are successful by using methods that are not working. Consider the new revelation streaming in to the prophets each day on a spirit war.

We are told by the promoters of the new revelation of spirit warfare” if we put the devil’s kingdom on the run (removing the principalities) the atmosphere over our homes, cities and countries will change; people will be free to hear the gospel. Can anyone point to where these spirits that are cleansed go? They cannot be removed from earth, this is why it is about removing them from people, not regions.

But their model practiced is prayer directed at things, cities, principalities and powers instead of petitioning God. the Bible does not instruct us anywhere to use prayer to battle directly against these beings. There is no example in the Bible of a believer confronting territorial demons or commanding demons to give up their territory in their prayer. When the apostles entered a city to evangelize, their prayers were not of pulling down strongholds or verbal rebukes of the territorial spirits. Jesus didn't go into Jerusalem and address the evil spirit that caused unbelief of the people. He held them accountable, as individuals they were responsible for believing or not believing the message, not a principality. Paul did not do spirit warfare as they do today when he went into a place of immense idolatry – like Athens, in Acts 17.

2 Peter 2:10-11 “and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation.”

Well known Christian leaders challenge and curse Satan and his demons yet the Bible warns us NOT to do this. I have been to spirit warfare seminars and have heard them scream and rail against them firsthand, completely ignoring the Scriptures instructions. People are trained in what words to speak directly against the Devils kingdom in places located all over the earth. Some travel long distances to make a stand against them (as Ana Mendez did to Mt. Everest). They have laid claim to revival from Argentina, central America to Asia as a direct correlation to their praying against these principalities and powers.

Look what the Bible says about God’s angels not accusing fallen angels. Jude 1:9-10 “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.”

Look at the contrast Jude makes of Michael who defeated the prince of Persia (if one takes the position he is an angel) withholding any verbal rebuke against the Devil. Jude says people who revile these angels are like animals who corrupt themselves. Jude is giving a contrast of Bible knowledge and acting of the flesh. In other words, they have no spiritual understanding. They claim knowledge of spiritual matters but are ignorant, they only understand what they perceive or feel by the senses.

The angels of God, who know these spirits by name, did not dare take a presumptuous position of authority, or an aggressive attitude against the principalities, powers, thrones, and rulers of the darkness of this age. God has allowed them to still have places of authority through this age, until it ends. Their time of ruling is coming to an end, but not by our hand.

The believer's attitude toward principalities and powers is to be one of respect, even if they are our enemies. We are not to be aggressive, like militant warriors, and run around trying to pull them down, curse them, bind them and supposedly throw them into the pit of Hell. As believers we have authority over our lives but we don't have that power over other places. Only Jesus does.

Ask yourself. if these men truly bring freedom or bondage. Do they deliver on their promises. 2 Peter 2:18-19 “For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.

This is what the spiritual warfare promoter’s promise, whole geographical areas, people groups being set free, but they don’t deliver.

Col 2:18 “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind”

They speak of things from their imagination. Their pursuit of Investigations into a spirit realm is from assumptions based on a wrong theology that is continually fed by new revelation. If you pray like this. it is not being answered and it is preventing you from speaking the gospel to rescue people.

By doing Evangelism you are engaged in spiritual warfare, not by praying against demons over territories.

1Thess 2:2: “But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.”

Even as bold as Paul was he asked for prayer to be bold to speak (2 Thess. 3:1). The church needs to learn the gospel and be bold enough to speak it to others when the opportunity presents itself and not rely on man made feel good methods that exalt us instead of God.


Pt.3 The art of “spirit” War - the comparison of Scripture to their new methods.


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