Doug Giles’s Brother-in-Law Wants Men to Fight Demons

World O’Crap explores Rev Doug Giles’ latest sermon for Townhall, a bizarre exegesis on Adam and the Garden of Eden. Apparently the Garden was a wild place where Adam was hunter, killing antelopes with rocks and living among “giant lizards”; the Fall was his failure to live up to God’s masculine ideals by not mastering the serpent (and he means that literally, lest you are thinking Freudian). As we saw previously, Giles makes a living from a message of Christian masculinity and dominion. But where did he get it from?

Neo-Pentecostal pastor Dutch Sheets recounts the following story of Giles’s early years:

Some dear friends of mine, Mell and Paula Winger, have seen many family members come to Christ as they have faithfully interceded for them through the years. The testimony regarding Paula’s younger brother is especially powerful:

Doug Giles had an extremely ungodly lifestyle and was living in total rebellion. He hated the gospel message and was so repelled by our faith in Christ that he would leave the house when we came for dinner. We began devoting one night each week to pray and fast for Doug’s salvation. We did this weekly for a year and a half, praying that he would be able to see the truth of the gospel, binding the spirit of rebellion that was controlling him and asking God to soften his heart so that he might be drawn to Him. Then, although we were no longer setting aside every Monday night to intercede for him, we continued to pray these and other principles for Doug during the next six years. Finally, one night while attending a Christian concert, he received Christ as his Savior. That was 17 years ago, and today Doug has a powerful evangelistic ministry based out of Miami, Florida.

Giles’s brother-in-law Mell Winger (or “Mel Winger”) has a doctorate 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 demons. He is currently district pastor at New Life Church near the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, working under Ted Haggard (see below). Previously, however, he was a pastor at Trinity Church in Lubbock (now run by a follower of Kenneth Hagin) and the director of the Bible Institute of El Shaddai Church in Guatemala City (1).

Winger has an interesting take on Guatemala’s socio-economic problems, clearly based on Wagner’s demonology. Discussing the town of Almolonga:

About 25 years ago, the Church was small and weak, the fields were undeveloped and the city was characterized by an alcohol-induced lethargy – the fruit of serving an idol named Maxirnon.  This perverse idol is associated with the vices of smoking, drinking liquor, and immorality.  Maximon is a 3-foot idol consisting of a clay mask and a wood and cloth body.  He receives the kisses of the faithful who kneel before him.  Placing at his feet bottles of liquor purchased with their meagre earnings, they hope against hope that their offering will bring blessing and healing.  The priest   offers lit cigars to the idol, and taking a mouthful of the liquor offering, spews it over the devotees.  The followers leave expecting a blessing, perhaps receiving a demonic display of power, but nonetheless slipping deeper and deeper into an abyss of oppression.

But following mass conversions, exorcisms and a resurrection from the dead, all is now well, with Godliness and (nod to Max Weber and David Martin) a new work ethic:

This work ethic has produced an economic renewal, an incredible dimension of community transformation throughout Airnolonga.  There is no evidence of the unemployment, the beggars, the drunkards asleep in alleyways, or the loiterers that so often characterize similar places.

Winger, like Giles, sees spiritual warfare in masculine terms: he has a book entitled Fight on Your Knees: Calling Men to Action Through Transforming Prayer. According to the blurb:

For the Christian man the battle rages in unseen realms, and he’s got to wield God’s mighty weapon for warfare. He’s got to pray. Instead of “Stand up and fight,” his war cry must be “Kneel down and pray!” He understands that spiritual battles require godly tactics. He wrestles until he wins the war.

Fight on Your Knees inspires and equips men like you to pray for families, churches, cities, and nations—and to guard and strengthen yourself against the enemy’s onslaughts. This book compiles writings by fourteen men of various ethnic and professional backgrounds, Christian leaders such as Bill McCartney, Steve Shanklin, Ted Haggard, Dutch Sheets, and Dale Schlafer. Their words will challenge and encourage you to enlist in the growing army of intercessors. God is calling men to war through prayer, and you can join them. You can fight on your knees and win.

Winger also promotes the idea of the “prayer shield“, and headlines Exodus 15:3: “The Lord is a man of War: The Lord is his name”.

Winger’s boss Ted Haggard is head of the National Association of Evangelicals, where his promotion of Wagner and other Charismatic and neo-Pentecostal figures has annoyed the “sola scriptura” fundamentalists. It seems that C. Peter Wagner is as popular as ever, with a huge influence on the new generation of conservative Christian leaders. Winger has developed these ideas to emphasise the importance of masculinity, and this masculine posturing appears to provide the only idea that his brother-in-law Giles has any use for.


(1) El Shaddai was set up by a pastor close to TL Osborn, and has had links with members of the global neo-Pentecostal “A-List”, such as the Korean Pastor Formerly Known as Paul Yonggi Cho (now David) and (the late) Nigerian Benson Idahosa. Serrano Elías, Guatemalan president from 1991-93, was a member.

9 Responses

  1. Just want to register my admiration for this brilliant piece of bloggery. This is the form at its finest. I’ve read only your essay, but I look forward to following all the links, and perhaps writing something of my own about Haggard.

  2. […] last October Oyedepo was speaking at a revival conference convened by Wagner at Haggard’s New Life Church in Colorado. Perhaps a financial accountability conference should be next on the agenda? Possibly […]

  3. […] I noted on this blog back in May, Giles’s sister Paula is married to Mell Winger, a Charismatic who pastors at Ted Haggard’s […]

  4. […] the way, Sheets was my source linking Doug Giles to Mell Winger, who is also based in Colorado, at Ted Haggard’s megachurch. Sheets praised Giles’s […]

  5. […] noted previously, Giles’s views on masculinity derive from both the Charismatic and Reformed traditions. His […]

  6. […] She seems to be on the up; only 8,0000 “Commanders” are mentioned in an advert for a conference here, where she will be speaking alongside some characters we’ve met before: Chuck Pierce and Dutch Sheets. […]

  7. […] (A couple of other cross-references: Blumenthal has also clashed with Geller, as I blogged here; the above video also features Hannah Giles, who is now more famous than her father, whom I used to blog about way back) […]

  8. Wow. I knew the Giles’ and Wingers years ago at Trinity in lubbock. Way off in left field for sure. They both were certain that I was demon-possessed.

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