C. Peter Wagner, Demon Hunter

Charisma Magazine is profiling C. Peter Wagner, the man whose teachings probably inspired General Boykin’s statements about Muslims and photographs of demons last year (although no one seemed to pick up on this connection). The profile notes that:

Unlike many academicians who write at a tedious college-reading level [!], Wagner is a populist who tries to reach average laypeople. None of his books ever hit a best-seller list, but total sales of all his titles is more than 2 million copies.

Considering that many of his books are used in seminaries, Bible colleges and independent church-training centers and are available in 25 languages, Wagner’s impact seems staggering.

Indeed, and someone like Wagner deserves as much attention as the likes of Pat Robertson  – perhaps more so.

Wagner’s major contribution to humanity is his views about Spiritual Warfare and its relation to the “10/40 Window”, the area on the world map which covers North Africa, the Middle East, China and South Asia. These areas are the most resistant to Christian conversion, and Wagner reasons this can’t be because the people living there simply have their own way of life which they prefer: it must be because of “Territorial Demons”, which needed to be overcome by what amounts to exorcisms of whole countries.

Wagner managed to gain prominence by harnessing an interest in demons created by This Present Darkness, a Fundamentalist novel in which demons try to control the inhabitants of an American town by teaching its inhabitants about environmentalism and Eastern religions. Also, with the revelation that so many “I survived Satanism” books were fraudulent, Wagner provided an alternative view that was just as black and white but required less evidence. At one point, he was teaching at Fuller Theological Seminary and his ideas were being vigorously promoted through his friend John Wimber in both the USA and the UK, with Wimber’s books providing a chunk of the reading material on the Alpha Course.

Wagner’s influence has peaked now in the West, as has the Charismatic movement, which provided a way for conservative Protestants to ease themselves out of their rather dour sub-cultures into something more cheerful (see Steve Bruce). Wimber is no more, and the Alpha course has been de-Wimberised. Charismatic “Spiritual Warfare” is also less popular following several sexual abuse scandals. Also, by providing a supernatural explanation to explain why Charismatic ideas are failing to spread more successfully, Wagner keeps members of the movement busy with stuff irrelevant to actually getting converts.

However, the “25 languages” part above shows where Wagner’s legacy really lies: in Africa and parts of Asia where an indigenous and heavily-supernaturalistic Charismatic movement really is going from strength to strength.

12 Responses

  1. […] Church of England to espouse the “deliverance” ideas of the likes of Derek Prince or C. Peter Wagner. According to one report derived from his booklet Explaining Deliverance, Dow believes that […]

  2. […] another pastor, John Wimber. Wimber’s “power evangelism”, along with his friend C. Peter Wagner’s teachings on demons (which I think quite likely inspired General Boykin), was particularly popular […]

  3. […] from Fuller Theological seminary, where it looks like (based on his theology) he studied under C. Peter Wagner, who promotes an interesting worldview based on constant “Spiritual Warfare” against […]

  4. […] John Piper. But against this, his dramatic views on spiritual warfare are attractive. According to C Peter Wagner (quoted here): God at War raises the current discussion of spiritual warfare to a new and […]

  5. […] Oyedepo contributed to a book about the global significance of Nigerian Christianity edited by C Peter Wagner, the influential American Charismatic who promotes “spiritual warfare” ideas. The […]

  6. John Paul Jackson’s book: “Needless Casualties of War” is the most pointed critique of Peter Wagner from within charismatic circles. Bottom line – when you think you are dong damage to evil powers by ‘binding’ territorial spirits, you actually lose spiritual protection and come under spiritual attack. I agree with Jackson’s thesis. Respected teacher, Leane Payne also warns against binding principalities – a practice that it is wise to avoid like the plague. See the book review in her latest newsletter re a misguided focus on the demonic. She says: “For the last three decades we in PCM – her teaching school on prayer – have had to deal with the extraordinarily grievous effects that misguided practices of spiritual warfare have had upon Christian leaders, communities, and families, and most particularly upon children growing up in homes where an all-consuming focus on the demonic has crippled the formation of their minds and imaginations. To see evangelical leaders such as C. Peter Wagner and others dress up these unscriptural ideas and methods in pseudo-technical language and then give to them a universal platform has been and continues to be for us among the gravest of concerns. (We need to) call for nothing less than a return to a Christian worldview, and to the wisdom and knowledge that come with the empowering of the Holy Spirit.” Peter Wagner in teaching ‘spiritual warfare’ by binding high level evil power is misguiding many along a path filled with danger.

  7. […] with two young female parishioners over a 13-month period.”) His People is also one of C. Peter Wagner;s “New Apostolic Churches“, and so one can assume the group focuses heavily on […]

  8. […] are also voting in the spirit realm, and the voting demons (Sheets is close to Peter Wagner, as if you couldn’t guess) may upset God’s own candidacy. The prophet goes on to warn […]

  9. C. Peter Wagner must make a whole lot of money selling all his books and seminars and videos. I have seen the waste of spiritual focus on following all his formulas. People should concentrate on conquering the evil in their own hearts first and foremost.

  10. […] belief” this is hard to say, and in the 1998 book The Apostolic Churches (edited by C Peter Wagner) Broocks writes that None of us at Morning Star think we are in the same league as the original 12 […]

  11. […] his teachings about demons and the need for Christian “deliverance”, and I profiled him here. The link between Shaw and Olangi raises an important issue: it’s clear that social upheaval has […]

  12. I agree that most so called Spiritual Warfare teaching is not only scripturally incorrect but can be deceptively dangerous. I have a friend who has taught on Spiritual Warfare for over 17 years (before it was popular) but his teaching is all scriptural based. He came out of the occult in 1985 and found very quickly he had to learn what the bible was saying when he was being attacked demonically. He often tells me and others that he feels C Peter Wagner and the other followers of the kingdom now theology are anti-christs setting the church up for the apostate teachings that we are now seeing. He wrote a book called Spiritual Warfare: Win or Lose You Choose! and it is available through amazon or Xulon website. His name is Gary S Hooper. He is a bible believing, God fearing, God loving preacher.

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