Networking for an Army
Networking the Church: Part 3
-- Summary of the P.E.A.C.E. Briefing for Mission Agencies, Nov. 06
“I can't tell you the number of times I've heard or read that the church is to be a hospital. I used to believe this myself. I mean how many times have we spoken the phrases 'Bind up the broken hearted' and 'comfort the afflicted,' etc? We have a very serious self-image problem, my friends. The church was never meant to be a hospital.
“. . . Wouldn't it be more appropriate for the church to be considered an army? Do you understand? We are to rule and reign with Christ, to war and gain victory in Christ, to take ground from the enemy and occupy until Jesus returns. Yes, we must have hospital units in our army. Of course we are to bind up the broken hearted and comfort the afflicted; but this is not to be the main focus of our mission and not our main objective!
“. . . For centuries church government has been out of order. . . [E]ach of the five-fold ministers has a different mind-set. They see things quite differently from one another. . . .
“[I]t was not the Lord's intention for His church (the larger body of believers within any given region) to be led by pastors. The Scripture clearly states that the apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church (Eph.2:20). They have a different (not better or worse) God-given mindset to see the larger picture. The apostles lead the corporate church to reclaim the ground the enemy has stolen. They, along with the prophets, hear from God and formulate strategic plans. The apostle is gifted to implement these strategies and advance the kingdom… and this will ultimately transform their region.”
-- Peter Whitehouse, “The Church is NOT a Hospital,” Weekly Journal, 2/22/07
“There is no doubt that God is bringing about these changes [the New Apostolic Reformation, ed.] to the Church to restructure its government and to reveal new strategies. In order to accomplish His objective of establishing the kingdom of heaven here on earth, God is restoring all the truths that have been lost. Those who refuse to accept this movement of the Spirit, with His new and marvelous strategies, in the end will cease to produce fruit and will disappear.
“It is necessary for the Church to continue in this process of change and restoration so that it can rise up and accomplish its mission of revolutionizing the world.”
-- Hector Torres, The Restoration of the Apostles and Prophets (Thomas Nelson, 2001), p. 15.
The Church is being restructured into a networking hierarchy. It represents a substantial paradigm shift in church governance – but for what purpose? Dominionism!
From the bottom up, the cellular structure looks like small groups, a pleasant and benign-sounding concept marketed to millions of believers who have experienced alienation in modern society and loneliness in mega-churches. From the top-down, the configuration is apostolic. The church is to be governed by a new elite – self-proclaimed, self-anointed apostles and prophets who claim to have extraordinary spiritual powers that equip them for leadership in the Church. When this happens, the Church will be formed into a “Joel’s Army” which will wield power and dominion on Earth.
This new church structure is based on a revolutionary interpretation of the “five-fold ministries” (Ephesians 2:20-21; 4:11-13) based upon the esoteric doctrines of the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God cult. In this evolutionary twist, the Church (as an organic whole) needs to come into full "maturity" by restructuring itself into networking cells that are governed by apostles and prophets. It is claimed that this will "activate" the Church to become fully operational as a body on Earth, unified to fulfill its manifest destiny (fulfill the Great Commission) -- a global army that heralds the return of “Christ.”
The apostolic networking structure, founded upon the apostles and prophets, has been illustrated like this:
EVANGELISTS PASTORS TEACHERS
This restructuring agenda has not been hidden! It has been boldly published for the past ten years by C. Peter Wagner and his New Apostolic Reformation cohorts, who have built apostolic networks vertically and horizontally for the purpose of dominionism. (See, for example, Wagner’s International Coalition of Apostles.)
Wagner is not a fringe charismatic cult leader. Rather, he has formidable credentials as a respected evangelical church growth/mission leader. He is credited with linking the signs and wonders charismatic movement (via John Wimber of Vineyard, whom he raised from obscurity and mentored) with the Latter Rain cult in the early 1990s. This fusion mainstreamed the obscure and esoteric “Joel’s Army” doctrines into neoevangelicalism, changing the fundamental nature of mission agendas worldwide. The fact that C. Peter Wagner also mentored Rick Warren gives new relevance to the quote at the top of this post.
What is the role of the prophets and apostles in governing the networking church? How will they rule and govern, and shift the church into an army? There are a vast multitude of sources we could quote from, but for the sake of brevity today’s post quotes from Hector Torres’ 2001 book, The Restoration of the Apostles and Prophets. This book, published by Thomas Nelson, includes an Introduction by C. Peter Wagner, in which he expresses the concern that “some parts of this book will be controversial” (p. xviii). It is quite possible that Wagner's concern was based on the fact that the book more openly acknowledges the hideous nature of the apostolic/prophetic top-down hierarchy, by characterizing obedience to these new masters as necessary to accomplish the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth.
Look again at the diagram above. Now tip the diagram upside down to get the real picture. This illustrates what is being called the Second Reformation (Rick Warren) or New Apostolic Reformation (C. Peter Wagner). It will look like this:
EVANGELISTS PASTORS TEACHERS
It is readily apparent that this networking cells/systems church model reverses the profound effects of the First Reformation which taught the individual priesthood of all believers. This restructuring creates a new ecclesiastical hierarchy. No longer can individual believers directly access Jesus Christ. They must go through a designated apostle or prophet. But more on that topic in subsequent posts, Lord willing. . . .
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)