VOLUME 22 - NUMBER 1 (April 1999)
THE WORLD CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT
EVANGELISM VS. EVANGELIZATION
By Albert James Dager
Please support Media Spotlight with your donations. Send to: PO Box 290, Redmond, WA 98073-0290For false Christs and false prophets shall rise; and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. (Mark 13:22)
The idea that the world can be turned to Jesus Christ is a fabrication of the dominionist mindset of the World Christian Movement's leadership. And, again, it is nullified by the Lord's own words:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
This last verse, especially, spoken by our Lord Himself, does not allow for the world ever being won to Christ. It is the qualifying verse for all hose that are stated above, and all others that speak of the condition of the world during all time until His return.
All Scriptures that speak of events leading up to the Lord's return offer no hope for the vast majority of mankind. Contrary to what is heard in the "Christian" media, and promoted by mystical, feelings-oriented movements that abound today, there is not going to be a revival that will bring the world to Christ. The world is, by God's design, under the rulership of Satan, and will remain so until the Lord returns. It is our task to win those individuals who will be saved through the preaching of the Gospel, but it is not our task to insert into every people group a nominal Christian presence. The "revival" being touted today is not the result of preaching the Gospel, but of emotional pleas for people to let God do good things for them, including saving them from hell.
Since we know from God's Word that evil will abound toward the end and that few will be saved, we must reject out of hand the pleas of those within the WCM who would commandeer our time, energy and finances to further their religious agenda based upon the dominionist concept that Christ cannot return until the Church has established dominion over the nations.
That dominion theology is at the heart of the WCM is evidenced by its leaders and those whom they cite for justification of their work. In an editorial, Ralph D. Winter states:
Don't worry, all of my ideas relate to missions directly or indirectly. But that only seems to be true if you have followed the breadth of the mission we are talking about-the depth and breadth of the arresting phrase in the Lord's Prayer: "Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth."...
Missions isn't just "over there" on the "mission field." It is not as if Satan prowls the whole world but stops at the U.S. border. Indeed, missions is essentially the restoration of God's kingdom and rule and power on this earth. It involves the reestablishment of His glory, of His honor of His control of things....
This means that we must realize that our mission is a global mission not just a "foreign" mission. We must realize that stopping evil wherever it is found is part of that mission. (81)
God's kingdom and rule and power over the earth do not need to be reestablished. He already has all rule and power over the earth, and His Kingdom exists throughout the universe. What Winter and the WCM want is to establish the visible manifestation of God's Kingdom on earth. This means they must "clean up" society. But that visible manifestation will not be realized until Jesus returns. Man's attempt to do for God what God has not authorized man to do is presumption and sin.
The dominionist agenda of the WCM is further revealed in Winter's railing against the government for not spending enough on cancer research, and against the evils of gambling, tobacco and cocaine, as if the Church could somehow alleviate these problems.
Out of the Lausanne movement, which formed the basis for the World Christian Movement, has sprung the University of the Nations (UofN), whose goal is to disciple the nations for Christ. On the website for the UofN, can be found the strategy for that organization headed by Loren Cunningham of YWAM:
The seven spheres of influence described below will help us shape societies for Christ. God gave us these handles to use in carrying out Matthew 28 and discipling the nations for Him. We believe He is wanting all His people to see the importance of these seven areas and work in them to extend Christ's reign throughout the earth. (82)
The seven spheres of influence follow:
One of the purposes of the UofN in Europe is to counteract the influence of these philosophies, promulgated here on this continent, which have led the whole world on a path away from God. We want to put God back into the centre of higher education. And into the centre of the influential sectors of society, including the family, the Church, education, government, the media, the arts, entertainment and sports, and commerce, science and technology. Our goal is not to just make individual disciples, but to disciple the nations, to bring God's presence and ways into these influential parts of society in every country.
In order to train Christians to minister effectively in these seven influential sectors of society, we have organised the University of the Nations into seven Colleges/Faculties,
- Christian Ministries - covering the Church
- Communication - covering the media
- Counseling and Health Care - covering the family
- Education - covering education,
- Humanities, and International Studies - covering government
- The Arts - covering the arts and entertainment
- Science and Technology - covering science and technology (83)
The World Christian Movement has a convoluted concept of what Christ requires of His disciples. By claiming that we are all to become engaged in these fields in order to capture them for Christ, the stage is set for guilt on the part of those who fail to live up to the demand. It also sets the stage for pride in those who do. But so, too, is the concept of Christ's sacrifice convoluted by some within the movement. Under the heading for The Media we read:
Pick your least favourite news reporter. Get his or her face firmly in your mind. Then realise that this is a person for whom Jesus Christ hung on the cross-this is an individual worth the sacrifice of the Son of God. (84)
Did you catch it? This is the basis for the neo-evangelical gospel: that all men are "worth" the sacrifice of God's Son. But if we are all worthy of His sacrifice, where does God's grace come in?
No one is worthy of Christ's sacrifice. We are all unworthy; that's the essence of the Gospel: that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
We were alienated from God, worthy of death and destruction, not worthy of His dying for us. The neo-evangelical gospel is at the root of dominion theology as espoused by the World Christian Movement.
As we look at the various organizations involved in the WCM we find that many are youth oriented, seeking to mobilize teenagers to accomplish their goal of world dominion. One such is TeenMania, a charismatic outreach known for its "Acquire the Fire" conventions, headed by Ron Luce.
Acquire the Fire is a mega-gathering of thousands of teenagers throughout North America, who have a burning desire to change the world. At Acquire the Fire conventions, teens and adults alike are challenged to live radically on the edge of Christianity throughout their teen years and the rest of their lives! Acquire the Fire conventions present the gospel in a relevant format that will radically change the lives of all those present. Prepare yourself for a live praise & worship band, live comedy sketches, video roll-ins on huge, mammoth video screens and pyrotechnic "bombs" igniting throughout the convention!
This year, more than 125,000 teens are expected to attend ATF conventions. Don't be left out, this convention is intense!85
This is how virtually all youth-oriented "ministries" present their form of gospel: flash-bang, emotion-driven attempts to garner "decisions" for Christ and for entering into the organization's "ministry."
In order to enter into the ministry laid out for them, teenagers must take oaths such as TeenMania's WorldChanger 2000 Oath:
I am determined to have passion for the Almighty God and to use that passion for His cause.
I will love all, honor all, and lead all I can to Him.
I am determined to keep my relationship with Jesus alive by keeping my quiet times.
I commit to defend God's cause by being active in Bible Study, my church, and my youth group.
I commit my mind to God and my courtship to purity.
I am determined to honor my parents and to be accountable to Godly friendships.
I refuse to live in slow-motion because I am determined to live a life of worship and holy actions.
I commit to reach out through missions while I am a teenager.
I will start a revolution in my hometown.
I am determined to stand up, shout loud, sweat hard, pour out, give all, love, live, breath, and die if I must for the one who died for me.
I am a WorldChanger. (86 )
This one-size-fits-all oath is a recipe for disaster, disappointment, humiliation, guilt and pride. Scripture forbids us to take oaths, but that doesn't stop those bent on manipulating others to further some religious agenda. And not even the elders of the Church are expected to do all that is required of these kids; how much less teenagers who have not even reached the point of full understanding and maturity?
No one can determine to have passion for God; either he has it or he doesn't. A momentary response to an emotional plea means nothing. And God has not called children to "start a revolution" in their hometown.
As far as honoring one's parents, that's fine. But what if one's parents don't want him involved in this movement? How does one honor his parents and disobey them? Suppose one's parents don't want him to go to the mission field while he is a teenager? Yet that is part of the oath according to "The Ten Challenges of a WorldChanger":
A WorldChanger goes on a mission trip while he is still a teenager.87
TeenMania is not merely an organization unto itself, but a network of youth ministries from around the United States, touching many churches through their dynamic use of youth-oriented attractions. It also links with other similar organizations designed to mobilize youth for the "Cause of Christ": Christian dominion over the nations.
Kaleidoscopic Global Action Plan
Out of the Lausanne GCOWE has also come a think tank called a "Working Group on A Kaleidoscopic Global Action Plan" that was formally commissioned by the GCOWE 2000 conveners in September 1988. Out of that working group there was developed the "Kaleidoscopic Global Action Plan," a document "compiled from the writings, statements, positions, conversations, discussions, suggestions, proposals, ideas, and interactions" of its members.
The members of the Working Group were: David B. Barrett; Jay E. Gary; H. Vinson Synan; Todd M. Johnson; Leslie Brierley; Patrick J. Johnstone; Gary K. Clark; John S. Mbiti; Tom Forrest, CSsR; James W. Reapsome; V. David Garrison; Lamin Sanneh; and Manuel J. Gaxiola.88
Tom Forrest is a Roman Catholic priest heavily involved in the ecumenical deception of the Vatican. H. Vinson Synan is a well-known ecumenical charismatic. Jay Gary is an ecumenical proponent of the United Nations whose beliefs closely align with New Age philosophy. John Mbiti, from Kenya, is working with Global Mapping International to compile African proverbs for integration into evangelization efforts. All in the Working Group are ecumenical toward the Vatican and/or liberal "Christianity," several leaning toward social reform as essential to their plan.
To demonstrate the influence of these men, it is stated in the Kaleidoscopic Global Action Plan (KGAP):
All the members of this group were widely-experienced theologians, missiologists, or church or mission executives. Each of them has written or published extensively on and around our subject for a total of 280 years (an average of 21.5 years each).89
The Kaleidoscopic Global Action Plan consists of "109 ideas or concrete proposals for overcoming present barriers to world evangelization."90 The formulators for the KGAP state that they are not proposing a new global plan from scratch, but are building on the current status and existing plans of 78 global mega-plans and 33 global giga-plans, as well as the rest of some 2000 plans in total, as sketched out in the book, Seven Hundred Plans to Evangelize the World: the Rise of a Global Evangelization Movement (Barrett and Reapsome, pub. by New Hope, 1988). In the Introduction to the KGAP list of goals, we read:
If we are to have any impact on the complex world revealed by our diagrams and statistics, we must target and focus on a small number of sharply-defined, reasonably achievable, concrete goals.
We propose that the Great Commission decision-makers think in terms of a short list of 200 global goals. Listed below is a selection of 186 or so such goals. You the reader, with your own interests, can add the remaining 14 or so from your own immediate concerns and priorities. Don't forget to ensure that the goals you add are each actually achievable (if we really tried) by AD 2000!
The listing is a collective compilation of final goals put forward by agencies and protagonists, in most cases separately. A certain number appear secular or are goals of secular organizations but are being pressed by top executives in them who are committed Christians. Each goal is considered to be a final closure goal to complete an aspect of world evangelization by AD 2000 and to keep it completed beyond. In most cases, the phrase "by AD 2000" can be understood to mean "By AD 2000 and Beyond. Each goal therefore is based on a different or even unique definition of what it would mean to complete the unfinished task of the Christian world mission. Each represents a statement of what closure means in one or more of the 300 different and distinct dimensions of the concept "evangelization" and how it is measured and quantified. Together these goals take aim at the same overall target, expressed in the watchword "World Evangelization by AD 2000 & Beyond."...
Christians can react to these goals in a variety of ways. We have 2 recommendations:(1) that we Great Commission Christians decide, announce and proclaim that all of these goals are our legitimate goals, and that we intend to press for the implementation of all of them; and(2) that individual Christians, groups, churches, organizations, or agencies select one or more of the goals and concentrate on implementing just these, in collaboration with other Great Commission Christians and agencies which have similar goals.91 (emphasis ours)
We cannot disagree with all of the goals set forth in the KGAP, but many of them reach far beyond what the Lord has commanded and are even ominous, revealing the liberal social consciousness of many in the WCM. The overall tenor of these goals is dominionist, some being secular, some being spiritual, focusing on prayer, praise and worship, such as:
1. Establish 15,000 prayer movements by 1995 in every city over 50,000 population and on all 15,000 university campuses, evangelizing the urban and academic worlds by. 2000.
2. Enlist, by AD 2000, 30 million Christians to pray fill-tune every day for world evangelization, through a globally organized network of young pacesetter intercessors to cover all countries, cities, peoples, topics, needs, and persons....
4. Enthuse all prayer-oriented or contemplative brothers and sisters, monks and nuns, to regain past monastic enthusiasm for world evangelization and to rededicate monasteries and convents worldwide by 2000 to prayer support for the Great Commission task....
10. Link the world's 350 million Christian-owned computers by AD 2000 into one single global giga-network to facilitate Great Commission information exchange.
This ambitious proposal (#10) seems harmless enough even desirable. Imagine how the Gospel could be furthered through such a network. However, consider that among the "350 million Christian-owned" computers are those that are in the hands of aberrant "Christian" religions and movements. Many belong to the Roman Catholic Church, and only the Lord knows to whom else.
13. Support research and development of alternative energy sources including solar power.
This is fine for individuals, but should the resources of the Body of Christ be used to advance technological achievements as part of a perceived mandate for "evangelization" of the world?
16. Pursue systematic region-by-region dialogue with the world's organized atheists, agnostics, non-believers, and nonreligious, as well as with the great non-Christian world religions and newer cults and religious movements, so that all may genuinely understand each other's position and the full message of Christ may be fully understood in all these contexts by 2000.
Again, dialogue is a two-way street. Why is it necessary to "genuinely understand" each other's position? We already know that they are lost without Christ. If it is to convert them, dialogue isn't going to do it. Nowhere in Scripture are we encouraged to bring false belief systems together for understanding. This is a New Age concept designed to bring about "unity in diversity." And how can the full message of Christ be "fully understood in all these contexts"? The message of Christ is not understood in any context but the Word of God. This proposal reveals the WCM's belief that the Gospel is found in all the world's religions. Only here it is extended to atheism and agnosticism!
20. List all negative factors holding up world evangelization, target them, and make it increasingly difficult for them to continue uninterrupted.
This is one of those ominous proposals. Since the WCM can't possibly interfere with Red China's (or any other major power for that matter) hindrance of evangelization, it stands to reason that the WCM must focus on lesser elements that they believe are hindering the attainment of their goals. Perhaps they might make it increasingly difficult for individuals and small organizations to continue uninterrupted? And how might they go about that task?
22. Redistribute the great majority of Christian resources of manpower, money, and methods across the world's unevangelized peoples and cities strictly according to need by 2000.
How might the WCM redistribute our physical efforts, our money and our methods to the unevangelized peoples and cities? Why cities? It appears as if the WCM has a socialist agenda in the works. It is not up to any organization or movement to "redistribute" anything that belongs to someone else. We must each stand before the Lord to account for what we do with what He has given us. His Word forbids compulsion as an incentive for giving. Understand that, according to the WCM, "Christian" means anything that is nominally Christian. The United States is a "Christian" nation because the majority of its citizens claim to be Christian. Therefore, the resources of the United States must be redistributed to the governments of unevangelized peoples. This proposal fits well into the plans of the New World Order for redistribution of wealth.
23. Monitor and encourage a final massive attempt by AD 2000 at the promotion of human development in all its forms worldwide as an integral part of world evangelization.
This is another secular, New Age proposal. Human development "in all its forms" includes psychological wellbeing, self-actualization, high self-esteem, and myriad other psychological attainments that have nothing to do with holiness and genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
The liberal social proposals go so far as to encourage dialogue and cooperation with other religions, environmental groups and the United Nations:
25. Feed and nourish the world's 600 million persons on the verge of starvation both now and up to and during the year 2000 and see that they continue to live nourished lives thereafter.
27. Support WHO (World Health Organization) goal of safe drinking water for every soul on Earth by 2000 and beyond.
29. Abolish the global state of absolute poverty (per capita daily income of under US$1) by AD 2000 through massive redistribution everywhere of national and international wealth, certainly by all Christian denominations and agencies, also by secular organizations persuaded by Christian activists within them.
30. Raise the physical quality of life of all disadvantaged peoples of Earth to a livable level by 2000 and even higher levels beyond.
31. See the establishing of an international system of environmental accounts leading to positive action to improve the human condition.
32. See in each nation by 2000 the creating of plans for the sustainable use of its land.
33. Aid bodies working for reduction in rates of fossil fuel use to reverse global warming and environmental degradation.
34. Support WHO goal "Global Health for All by the Year 2000."
36. See every nation by AD 2000 reduce its infant mortality rate below 25 deaths per 1000 live births, its population growth rate to less than 1% per year, and increase its life expectancy to over 70 years.
37. Support UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Education Fund) goal to halve child deaths (38,000 a day in 1988) by 1997, then continuing to decrease by 2000 and beyond.
Other secular pursuits include:
- Supporting WHO goal to increase worldwide immunization to 100%
- A final negotiated settlement to end the homeless status of all refugees
- Eliminate poverty housing
- Support UNESCO goal to increase adult literacy to 100%
- Monitor the status of human rights in every country
- Articulate and support codes of ethics for international business and other spheres affecting world evangelization. _ Monitor, with the aid of Amnesty International and others, the status of state-sanctioned police/military torture in all countries
- Abolish tobacco use
- A massive worldwide Christian movement opposing and outlawing all war, warfare, mass-destruction weapons, militarization, para-militarization, arms sales, arms traders, death squads, and all indiscriminate mass killings
- Throw the whole weight of Christian motivation behind the environmentalist goal of halting global warming by planting 15 billion new trees on Earth each year from 1990-2005
All noble pursuits. But they essentially require that God's people join hands with anti-Christ organizations such as the UN to accomplish them. This reveals the influence of Working Group member Jay Gary, whose ties to the UN and New Age philosophy are revealed in our special report Celebration 2000. And how can these goals be accomplished unless the WCM's movers and shakers are heading up the governments of the world or, at least, are influential in those governments?
Poverty, starvation and their attendant evils are not economic problems. They are problems of governments that keep their subjects in poverty in order to justify their requests for foreign aid. That foreign aid is then used to further bolster the government's power and keep the elite living a lavish lifestyle. These and all such problems with governments will not be solved until Jesus returns to establish His rule over them.
That the World Christian Movement believes that it has God's mandate to alleviate the world's problems is a testimony to how far it is removed from the purity of the Gospel.
Along the spiritual vein, the KGAP reveals its bent toward the charismatic "signs and wonders" movement:
109. See the decade of 1990-2000 close as having been the greatest decade in Christian history for signs and wonders, miracles, conversions, evangelism and evangelization; with the greatest sign or wonder being Christians loving one another and gathering in unity everywhere.
110. Enable 300,000 itinerant charismatic evangelists to target unevangelized cities, countries, and peoples by 2000, demonstrating power evangelism (John Wimber's term), power healing, power intercession, and power encounters.
112. Deliberately exercise power evangelism in the world's least evangelized and most hostile environments so that by AD 2000 power Christianity (gifted ministries of signs and wonders) is not enjoyed solely in Christian lands.
This is John Wimber's agenda which has gained a foothold among a vast number of churches beyond the Vineyard movement. (For an expose' of Wimber's false theology and methodologies see our special report The Vineyard.)
There are many other proposals in the Kaleidoscopic Global Action Plan with which we find strong disagreement. These few are enough to make any discerning Christian think carefully before involving himself in the World Christian Movement.
THE WORLD PRAYER CENTER
Of late the focus on the WCM's dominionist agenda has spread from U.S. Center for World Missions in Pasadena, California, to The World Prayer Center, affiliate of Global Harvest Ministries, headed by C. Peter Wagner in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The World Prayer Center (WPC) is headed by C. Peter Wagner, Ted Haggard and Chuck Pierce (whom Charisma magazine calls "God's Generals"). It is touted as the "Pentagon of modern Christianity," "God's Air Command," and other militaristic nomenclatures. According to the World Prayer Center Web site:
The World Prayer Center is a communications center, serving the Church throughout the world by linking prayer requests, practical needs, and reporting evangelistic breakthroughs. It will collect and compile requests from every continent as national prayer centers re port what God is doing and how His people ought to pray. Dr. Peter Wagner says, "We see our task as getting people in touch with one another to form interactive, human web networks that are properly equipped to wage effective spiritual warfare."
The physical facility, located in Colorado Springs, will include the latest telecommunications system. It will also contain interactive touch screen monitors, prayer rooms, a spiritual mapping repository, classrooms, a large auditorium, and a bookstore containing the world's largest collection of prayer and spiritual warfare material....
Never in the history of the Church has it been possible to link believers throughout the world. The coordinated prayers of God's people will be concentrated on His objectives. The World Prayer Center will provide daily reports that will help prayer teams respond to rapid changes throughout the world and to mobilize believers in effective global intercessory prayer....
Since prayer is the precursor to every great move of God, a fully equipped nerve center with data and information about prayer needs throughout the world will enable intercessors to pray intelligently. The World Prayer Center networks prayer ministries, denominations, churches and cell groups. This creates a united prayer front that will end Satan's attempt to divide and isolate believers, and to blind so many to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.92
The World Prayer Center was built largely through the contributions of Pastor Ted Haggard's New Life Church which neighbors the Center.
According to the "Generals," the purpose of the Center is to wage spiritual warfare against principalities and powers that control cities, states and nations. It is their belief that if enough Christians engage in their charismatic form of "spiritual warfare" the nations will be turned to God. About Wagner, J. Lee Grady, writing in Charisma, states:
If the World Prayer Center is a spiritual version of the Pentagon, then Wagner is the church's Norman Schwartzkopf. . . And now that his command center is built, he's ready to launch his own spiritual version of Operation Desert Storm.
Wagner's military strategy is calculated and convincing: He believes that in order to secure success for the "ground troops"-the missionaries, pastors and churches working on the front lines-there must be an "air force" that provides protection as well as strategic information about spiritual enemies...."I believe Luke 10:19 in a literal sense, Wagner told Charisma during a recent interview, referring to the verse in which Jesus says He has given the church authority over Satan. "Jesus has given us authority over all the power of the enemy, so I believe we have authority over all levels of the demonic."93
Wagner believes that, based on his understanding of this and other verses of Scripture, united Christian prayer will cause the demons to surrender, and victory over the nations will ensue.
Housed in a 55,000 square-foot building, the World Prayer Center is home to the Observatory Research Center, which houses an enormous "spiritual mapping" system. That system is designed to compile in its computers the largest collection of data on evangelization ever assembled.
Spiritual mapping is a term coined in 1991 by George Otis, Jr. Art Moore, writing in Christianity Today, says:
Spiritual mapping, says Otis, president of the research agency the Sentinel Group, is nothing more ethereal than creating a spiritual profile of a community based on careful research. It is a tool, he says, for intelligent prayer aimed at opening spiritually blind eyes to the gospel.
Otis poured seven years of global research into his new book, The Twilight Labyrinth: Why Does Spiritual Darkness Linger Where It Does? (Chosen Books). He has identified 15 "transformed communities," of which 14 incorporated spiritual mapping. Two factors present in all 15, Otis says, are "persevering leadership" and "united prayer." Commitment is the key, he says. "God didn't move in Hemet until Bob [Bennett] bought a burial plot in the city."
Otis has developed a 28-stage scale to measure the progress of a community from the "spiritual beachhead" phase to "spiritual breakthrough" to "spiritual transformation." Spiritual mapping does not begin until stage nine, Otis points out. "When you reach that point you have a core of intercessors in a community really petitioning God for a visitation," he says....
To explain the burial plot thing, a "World Christian" (someone involved in the WCM) must have a "commitment" in an area, such as a burial plot, home, job, etc., in order for God to work there.
Though it still raises many eye brows among evangelicals, spiritual mapping is gaining broader acceptance, as evidenced by the AD 2000 United Prayer Track's Spiritual Mapping Division, which Otis heads. United Prayer Track coordinator C. Peter Wagner teaches a class on spiritual mapping at Fuller Theological Seminary....
Many of spiritual mapping's detractors have less of a problem with spiritual mapping than with its most common applications, "strategic-level warfare"-defined by Wagner as discerning and praying against territorial spirits assigned to a community -and "identificational repentance."94
Spiritual mapping is nothing more than keeping data on the beliefs of people according to geographic areas. The purpose at the WPC, however, is to disseminate information to its constituents so that they may engage in unbiblical forms of "spiritual warfare."
A good account of spiritual mapping was reported by Damon Adams in the south Florida Sun Sentinel through interviews with local leaders in the movement:
In the hopes of removing sin's grip on South Florida, [Pastor Jonathan] Benz and others at Covenant Community Church in Palm Beach Gardens are waging spiritual warfare.
The name of their weapon: spiritual mapping, a practice of pinpointmg and praying over geographic areas considered Satan's strongholds. Though rare, it is gaining acceptance among more evangelical Christians.
Through newspaper clippings, local history and other research, a community's spiritual profile is compiled. Areas thick with crime and other problems are marked, sometimes with pins, as trouble spots. Once the area is mapped, the faithful pray for it, oftentimes going to the site for prayer."With mapping, you can identify where places of prostitution are, drug dealing, murders. When you look at that, it allows you to pray more strategically," said Benz, pas tor of prayer and outreach at Covenant Community Church. "It gives you an idea why darkness congregates in certain areas."
Believers say spiritual mapping is gaining worldwide interest, primarily with conservative Christians. In November 1997, more than 400 people attended the first International Consultation on Spiritual Mapping in Tacoma, Wash. Books on mapping, such as C. Peter Wagner's Breaking Strongholds in Your City, can be ordered on the Internet. And this year, the World Prayer Center, a hub promoting global prayer networks, opened in Colorado Springs to provide information on how to map."If you have more information about an area, you're able to pray with more clarity, direction, understanding and focus," said Derrick Trimble, curator of the spiritual mapping repository at the World Prayer Center."95
The World Prayer Center is giving spiritual mapping a tremendous lift through its database designed to provide the spiritual climate of not only nations, states and cities, but down to blocks and individual residences:
Thus we need help to network or initiate research efforts throughout the U.S. That will track people down to specific addresses, block by block.96
Through a spiritual census, then, it is planned that every home -first in the United States and then worldwide - will have its beliefs cataloged in the WPC's computers. Their computers are linked with those of Global Mapping International (GMI), founded by Robert Waymire in 1983 on the campus of the U.S. Center for World Mission. GMI is now also located in Colorado Springs.
It is the goal of the WPC and GMI to link all 330,000 churches in North America to their databases, and then all the churches in the world. Thus far, over 100,000 are linked. Eventually, churches working with the WPC will provide information on their members to aid in global spiritual mapping. What will this mean in terms of the WCM's design to identify and remove obstacles to its idea of evangelization?
The concept of spiritual warfare in which the leaders of the WCM and the WPC engage is fantasy, largely influenced by the fiction of Frank Peretti, whose This Present Darkness is among the all-time best-sellers. (See our special report, This Present Darkness: Spiritual Warfare Fact or Fantasy?)
With all the hoopla, sweat, screaming, wailing and jumping up and down that has gone on over the spiritual plight of cities these past several years there isn't a single one that has been won to Christ. And there won't be any. These efforts create nothing but black holes that suck up Christians' time, energy and money while exalting the leaders as God's anointed apostles and prophets.
Some point to the recent decline in crime statistics in the United States as proof that the Church's prayers are being effectual. But the nation has had such declines in the past without all the clamoring we hear today. Recent news on the reduction in crime statistics make this claim a joke were it not grounded in the tragedy of abortion. Two widely respected researchers into the declining crime rate in the U.S. have come to the startling conclusion that legalizing abortion in the 1970s has reduced the number of potential criminals in the 1990s. Their findings, summarized in a report entitled "Legalized Abortion and Crime," resulted from three academic workshops at Harvard, the University of Chicago and Stanford.
The authors emphasize that their findings do not constitute an endorsement of abortion, and say their research was motivated by a desire to discover the forces responsible for reducing crime.
In particular, they said, they hoped that research into the reasons for the decline in crime would avert needless public spending on ineffective programs.
But they concede their paper may be attacked as suggesting that abortion has a beneficial social effect or that certain groups should be encouraged to have abortions, an idea they insist they do not advocate....
When told of the paper, David O'Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee in Washington D.C., called the thesis bizarre."You mean killing unborn babies in the '70s led people in the '90s to do less shoplifting?" O'Steen asked.
However, the findings are not that simplistic.
In their 45-page analysis, the authors detail the following findings:
The timing of the crime drop in the 1990s coincides with the period roughly 20 years after the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 decision in Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion nationwide. Thus, the children who would have been born if the pregnancies had not been terminated would have reached the peak ages for criminal activity, roughly ages 18 to 24, in this decade.
The five states that legalized abortion in the three years before the Supreme Court decision experienced drops in property crimes, violent crimes and murder before the other states.
Places with high abortion rates in the 1970s experienced big drops in crime in the 1990s, even when accounting for a wide variety of forces that influence crime, such as income, racial composition and incarceration levels. Both individual states and multistate regions with higher abortion rates in the first three years after Roe vs. Wade later saw greater decreases in crime.... Every 10 percent increase in abortion in the years they studied later led to about a 1 percent decrease in crime, the authors found.97
While the dominionists wish to point to the decrease in crime, they must also admit that abortion - once a crime itself-is no longer counted in the statistics. How many multi-millions of crimes would we have to add to the list if they were counted as murder?
Most of the "proof' offered as evidence that the charismatic prayer program is changing cities is centered on the enthusiasm generated by the leaders of the movement within the hearts of their church members:
- The building of the WPC
- The number of spiritual warfare conferences being held
- The increase in publications devoted to prayer and fasting
- Prayer walks
- Houses of Prayer
- More Christian intercessors
- Reconciliation of pastors to pastors
- Reconciliation of pastors to members
- Charismatic-non-charismatic reconciliation
- Ethnic reconciliation in the churches
- Male-female reconciliation
This last one is evidenced by the fact that women are becoming more equitable partners in ministry (female pastors and teachers) In truth, some of the "proofs," if traced to their end results will be found contrary to God's Word.
WHERE ROMAN CATHOLICISM FITS IN
The dominionist mandate of the World Christian Movement is not a new thing. It is the same mandate claimed by the Roman Catholic Church, whose head, the pope, is believed to be the "Vicar of Christ" on earth. This title is not given to one who merely represents Christ on earth-all true believers do that. No, it is given to one who it is believed replaces Christ on earth.
By this I mean that the pope is said to replace Christ as the visible head of the Kingdom of God over the nations of the earth. According to Roman Catholic teaching, Christ's Kingdom resides in the apostolic succession of the pope, believed to be the spiritual descendant of the Apostle Peter. Since Jesus told Peter that He was giving to him the keys to the kingdom of heaven, the Catholic Church claims that those keys reside with every pope throughout the centuries since.
This is played down in today's ecumenical climate. But the evidence is found in the fact that the Roman Catholic Church is the only religious body whose headquarters is recognized by virtually all nations as an independent political state, and to whom they send their ambassadors. The Vatican was given its independence by Mussolini for the Papacy's promise not to interfere with his rise to power.
For centuries the Roman Catholic Church was the most visible representative of what passed as Christianity. Its power over governments, inherited through the military power of the Roman Empire kept it entrenched as the authority over the heads of Europe and their colonized nations. With the 16th century Reformation that power was greatly weakened. Since that time the Roman Catholic Church has sought to reestablish its authority over the earth's governments. But first it must reestablish its authority over the earth's professing believers in Jesus.
Having failed to accomplish this through pogroms of persecution, torture and death, and having lost its political power to a great degree, the Roman Catholic Church has for some time sought to woo what it calls its "separated brethren" back into its fold through a more benevolent approach its ecumenical outreach developed through the Vatican II Council.
To begin, we should review what Vatican II says about ecumenism:
Bishops should show affectionate consideration in their relations with the separated brethren and should urge the faithful also to exercise all kindness and charity in their regard, encouraging ecumenism as it is understood by the Church.98
The key phrase in this statement is "as it is understood by the Church." How the Roman Catholic Church understands ecumenism is different from how others might understand it:
The term "ecumenical movement" indicates the initiatives and activities encouraged and organized, according to the various needs of the Church and as opportunities offer, to promote Christian unity.99
To the papacy the purpose of the ecumenical movement is to benefit the Roman Catholic Church (by bringing the "separated brethren" under papal authority):
This sacred Council urges the faithful to abstain from any frivolous or imprudent zeal, for these can cause harm to true progress toward unity. Their ecumenical activity cannot be other than fully and sincerely Catholic, that is, loyal to the truth we have received from the Apostles and the Fathers, and in harmony with the faith which the Catholic Church has always professed, and at the same time tending toward that fullness in which our Lord wants his Body to grow in the course of time. 100
This is no secret among non-Catholic leaders who give the impression that Roman Catholicism is just another Christian denomination. There have been many expose's on the subject; it has been explained to them. So why do we see the World Christian Movement treating Roman Catholic missions as valid elements of their movement?
Thomas Wang, writing in Perspectives, lists several evangelistic efforts through which he finds encouragement. Among them are: Charismatic Initiatives, "attended by 30 charismatic leaders from a wide spectrum of denominations including Roman Catholics, from many parts of the world"; Evangelization 2000, headed by Tom Forrest, the Redemptorist priest; and Pentecost '87, "A National Satellite Celebration of Catholic Evangelization" which took place in June, 1987.101
Also writing in Perspectives, R. Pierce Beaver champions the "great and courageous innovators of the 17th-century, the Jesuits." He speaks glowingly of how Catholic priests "supervised" Christian Indians in the New World, "christianizing" folk festivals, and introducing "Christian" (read, Catholic) feasts and fasts to them.102
Kenneth Scott Latourette follows suit with his contribution to Perspectives. Speaking of the rise of Christianity during the first five centuries, Latourette credits Roman Catholicism with a noble attempt to instill conduct along the lines that Jesus taught:
By its discipline the Catholic Church as well as some of the bodies which dissented from it attempted to bring the conduct of its members towards an approximation of what Jesus had taught. As hundreds of thousands flocked into the Church and, in spite of the efforts of many zealous clergy, the lives of most Christians were not much if any better than those of the adherents of the surviving remnants of paganism, monasticism arose.103
Latourette also credits Roman Catholic theology and liturgy with stimulating piety among the faithful after the rise of pragmatism in the West:
Although it suffered losses, some of them serious, in general Christianity rose to the challenge. The Roman Catholic Church displayed features which had characterized it in the nineteenth century. Many of its hereditary constituency had their allegiance weakened or dissolved, but those who remained were more nearly consolidated under the Papacy. The See of Peter had a succession of able, upright men. There was fresh intellectual activity, especially in theology. The liturgical movement, Eucharistic congresses, and other developments stimulated piety.... Through the Ecumenical Movement it developed an expanding fresh approach towards Christian unity. 104
Notice that Latourette validates the Roman Catholic Church's claim that its oversight is "the See of Peter"! If he is not a Roman Catholic, he is certainly a good candidate to become one.
C. Peter Wagner credits the Catholic charismatic movement with revival Latin America:
Traditionally, the message of the Gospel in Latin America has appealed to the working class. But changes have begun to take place, and many middle and upper-class people are now opening their hearts to Jesus Christ. Some of this is happening through the Catholic charismatic movement.105
What Wagner doesn't tell us is that the Catholic charismatic movement in Latin America (and elsewhere) prays to Mary "in the Spirit," opposes true evangelical Christianity, and keeps the people bound to the false gospel and idolatry of Romanism. Throughout the Perspectives Reader Winter equates Roman Catholicism with Christianity and extols its virtues, particularly the monastic structures:
... the monasteries were uniformly the source and the real focus point of new energy and vitality which flowed into the diocesan side of the Christian movement. We think of the momentous Cluny reform, then the Cistercians, then the Friars, and finally the Jesuits-all of them strictly sodalities, but sodalities which contributed massively to the building and the rebuilding of the Corpus Cristianum [the Body of Christ, the network of diocese, which Protestants often identify as "the" Christian movement.
At many points there was rivalry between these two structures, between bishop and abbot, diocese and monastery, modality and sodality, but the great achievement of the Medieval period is the ultimate synthesis, delicately achieved, whereby Catholic orders were able to function along with Catholic parishes and diocese without the two structures conflicting with each other to the point of a setback to the movement. The harmony between the modality and the sodality achieved by the Roman Church is perhaps the most significant characteristic of this phase of the world Christian movement and continues to be Rome's greatest organizational advantage to this day. 106
Notice, in this glowing report on the Roman Catholic system, Winter credits it with being part of the World Christian Movement. Is it any wonder, then, that Roman Catholic influences over nations and individuals is not deemed a target for spiritual warfare?
The idolatry of other religious systems make those systems targets for the World Prayer Center's "strategic warfare." But the idolatry of Roman Catholicism is regarded as acceptable, not needing the attention of these ''prayer warriors."
The real dichotomy in the World Christian Movement is its insistence that Christians must make the Gospel relevant to the culture to which it is taken, even to the point of incorporating pagan ritual by "christianizing" it. Yet is insists that it has discovered the means to overcome spiritual darkness: spiritual mapping and concentrated prayer. At the same time, it embraces the darkness of Roman Catholicism, which is bent on world conquest. In fact, Wagner accepts Roman Catholic countries as "Christian":
Probably the first Asian nation to become predominantly Christian will be Korea (with the exception of the Philippines which is already about 85 percent nominal Catholic.) 107
Wagner credits Paul Yonggi Cho with spearheading the move of Korea toward Christian nation status.
It is evident that the World Christian Movement is largely controlled by charismatic elements whose trust for victory is in the signs and wonders movement, and other spiritual deceptions. Yet as sinister as many elements of the World Christian Movement sound, we cannot neglect the fact that there is a definite zeal, however misdirected, among the grassroots populous involved. Many genuine brethren are following the only course set before them by their leaders. It would be good to see as much zeal among those who recognize the errors of the WCM, yet do nothing themselves to reach out to the lost. We can certainly take heart that God uses even the works of the flesh to accomplish His purposes in the hearts of those whom He has chosen. Let's not lose sight of the fact that many souls will be genuinely saved through the efforts of some involved in the WCM. Yet we cannot remain blind to the fact that there is a great deception underfoot, as prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24:24.
For such a deception to take hold, it is necessary that it appear not only Christian, but biblical in most respects. It is a deception that will lead many into the anti-Christ's lap, largely through the efforts of his false prophet.
I am convinced that there is a Vatican Fifth Column at work within the Christian community. Those involved present themselves as Protestants or other types of Christians, but they are working for the Vatican's counter-reformation efforts.
Do not be deceived by outward evidences of signs and wonders, calls for Christian unity, or even the extolling of the virtues of Jesus.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)
You, if you are involved in any of the movements associated with the World Christian Movement, are you absolutely certain that you are serving God in truth, and are not being led into deception? And on what are you basing your judgment? On the perceived "holiness" of its leaders? On the "good works" to which they testify? On the results (if it works it must be of God)? Or are you sufficiently versed in Scripture to be able to discern truth from error?
Think about it. As Jesus said about the great deception, "Behold, I have told you before." *
81. Ralph D. Winter, "Reflections on World Missions," Mission Frontiers, May 18, 1998
82. "Discipling the Nations, Seven influential sectors of society hold the keys", UofN Lausanne. http://www.uofn.ch/lausanne/society.htm
83. "What is the University of the Nations" UofN Lausanne, http://www.uofn.ch.lausanne/uofn.htm
84. "Discipling the Nations," Op. Cit.
85. "Welcome!" Acquire the Fire Convention website, http://www.Acquirethefire.org/
86. "WorldChanger Oath", http://www.teenmania.org/wc2000/oath.html
87. "The Ten Challenges of a WorldChanger,' http://www.teenmania.org/wc2000/tenchallenges.html
88. Kaleidoscopic Global Action Plan (1990 Global Evangelization Movement).
92. "What is the World Prayer Center?", World Prayer Center Website, http://www.wpccs.org/
93. J. Lee Grady, "God's Air Command, Charisma, May, 1999, p.72.
94. Art Moore, "Spiritual Mapping Gains Credibility Among Leaders," Christianity Today, January 12,1998 Vol.42, No.1, Page 55.
95. Damon Adams, "Ministries using prayers to wipe sin off the map," South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 26,1998.
96. Mission Frontiers, Jan-Feb, 1996, p.18.
97. Karen Brandon, "Drop in crime is linked to legal abortion, scholars say," Chicago Tribune, reprinted in the Seattle Times, August 8, 1999, p. A1.
98. Vatican II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Austin Flannery, O.P., ed. (Northport, NY: Costello Publishing Co., 1975), p.573.
99. Ibid., p.457.
100. Ibid., p.470.
101. Thomas Wang, "By the Year 2000: Is God trying to tell us something?, Perspective's on the World Christian Mouernent, A Render, Revised Edition (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1981,1992), pp. D-27-28.
102. R. Pierce Beaver, "The History of Mission Strategy," Ibid., pp.B.60.61
103. Kenneth Scott Latourette, 'By Way of Inclusive Retrospect," Ibid., pp. B-22.
104. Ibid., p. B-29.
105. C. Peter Wagner, "Look at What God's Domg!, excerpt from On the Crest of the Wave (Ventura, CA: Regal Books. 1983).
106. Ralph D. Winter, "The Two Structures of God's Redemptive Mission,' Perspectives, A Reader, Op. Cit., p. B-51.
107. C. Peter Wagner, "Look at What God's Doing!", Op. Cit.