C. Peter Wagner, the man who helped revive the Latter Rain cult of the 1950’s and later dubbed it the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), died last week. Being that Wagner was the Grand Poobah of the NAR, this is a huge loss for this growing movement. In a piece I wrote entitled Religious Right uniting with Religious Renegades I brought to light that Wagner was the NAR founder. Wagner was not happy about that and sent AN URGENT MESSAGE FROM PETER to his mailing list categorically denying that he was the
ring leader founder. He wrote:
The NAR is not an organization. No one can join or carry a card. It has no leader. I have been called the “founder,” but this is not the case. One reason I might be seen as an “intellectual godfather” is that I might have been the first to observe the movement, give a name to it, and describe its characteristics as I saw them.
When he died, Charisma News penned a piece saying that Wagner had “passed into glory.” Richard Haas couldn’t disagree more so he voiced his view of the man over at Pulpit & Pen, as he felt the truth wasn’t being reported. In his piece he asked, “Is it harsh or judgmental to say that C. Peter Wagner has not passed into glory as Charisma News, and others would lead us to believe?” No, says Haas, “it is not judgmental or insensitive to speak the truth.”
Sadly, in a piece he wrote for Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research–the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention–held back the truth that Peter Wagner was seen by many in the Church as a wolf in sheep’s clothing who spent the latter part of his life leading the sheep astray. (Read more on this here) Stetzer wrote that he and his long time friend had disagreements, that he was controversial, and that he was a “fascinating and brilliant man… and he loved the Church.” Stetzer may believe that Wagner loved the Church. However, many people believe otherwise. There are a large number of Christians who happen to believe that the man who dubbed himself “Presiding Apostle” of the NAR as well as the “Convening Apostle” of the International Coalition of Apostles was largely responsible for leading the Church into apostasy.
So, let’s listen to Richard Haas speak the truth about C. Peter Wagner. He writes:
Just recently on Friday, October 21st at 2:30 pm false apostolic teacher C. Peter Wagner passed into eternity. One of Wagner’s best friends, “apostle”Chuck Pierce, confirmed Wagner’s death on his Facebook page Friday. In honor of Wagner’s death, longtime friend Ed Stetzer wrote an article at Christianity Today entitled “C. Peter Wagner (1930-2016), Some Thoughts on His Life and Passing” highlighting their friendship. While death can be a sad occasion for those here on earth as they face the lose a close friend, family member or leader. It is an even more woeful thought that the one who died, C. Peter Wagner, is spending eternity in hell. Even more disheartening is that a prominent face in evangelicalism, Ed Stetzer is leading many astray and right into the welcoming arms of the debaucherous neo-evangelical movement by honoring Wagner’s death. Stetzer is essentially aiding in leading people to the same false christ that Wagner worshiped by paying tribute to Wagner’s death. The death of Wagner should not be celebrated, but be used as a lesson to show where false teaching leads — to hell.
Is it harsh or judgmental to say that C. Peter Wagner has not passed into glory asCharisma News, and others would lead us to believe? No, it is not judgmental or insensitive to speak the truth. Many may criticize me or Pulpit & Pen for striking while the proverbial iron is still hot, but there is no better time in which to speak truth. Truth is not a respecter of time, emotions, people’s states of mind or what the public deems as proper etiquette. Truth only knows one thing–that it must be proclaimed. As Christians, apologists of the faith once delivered, and polemicists, we must be ready always to speak the truth; no matter the minute, the hour, or the day the truth must go forth. From where do we gather our truth? We receive our final authority, our truth, on all matters from the sufficiency of the closed canon of Scripture — God’s Word.
The biblical truth is that C. Peter Wagner is not in “Glory” today, unless he repented last moment of his false teachings and heresy, putting his faith in the Christ of the Bible and not the one of his choosing. Yes, that is correct. Wagner worshiped a different Jesus, not the one of the Bible. Wagner praised the “christ” of the NAR, the “christ” of extrabiblical revelation, the “christ” of modern day Montanism–a different “christ” altogether.
Wagner is often referred to as the grandfather of NAR movement. It was Wagner that invented the term “New Apostolic Reformation” and then charged himself as God’s appointed leader of this new extrabiblical organization. It is through Wagner and his promotion of the heresy of Modern Montanism that the Charismatic window of heresy was slid open, mainstreaming it into today’s neo-evangelical landscape. Wagner had far-reaching influence on outer fringe sub-Christian sects that support such false teachings Dominionism; The 7 Mountain Mandate; Third Wave Revivalism. Wagner’s teachings had power over groups like The Latter Rain Movement; Joel’s Army; IHOP; Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church, The Hillsong Media Empire. In Wagner’s later years he became the patriarch of the heretical Church Growth Movement. It is due in large part to Wagner that many of these outliers and skeptical groups are now part mainstream Christianity which form this quasi-evangelical movement we see today. Continue reading
Check our our White Paper on the New Apostolic Reformation aka Dominionism
I shudder at the thought of where Wagner is now. What excuse could he possibly have told The Lord? Can you imagine the resounding echo of: “DEPART FROM ME, I NEVER KNEW YOU.”
If anything this should be a reminder and a wake up call to us! We need to reach the lost, quickly. Time is running out. Remember, The Lord does not take pleasure in the wicked dying, we must reach out even to the worst of the worst and pray for them! Even the Wagners of the world.
Let’s suppose C Peter Wagner did not go to heaven. From early reports it appears to me that he was a Christian and strayed. I am wonder if this supports the teaching that just because one thinks they might be saved they can lose their salvation as opposed to once saved always saved?
Part 1 of 2 entries responding:
I concur with Manny’s point and indeed tremble thinking of Wagner’s judgment. Wagner’s grossly errant Church Growth material were force-fed to me in seminary in the early 1980’s. It took a while for me to discern them, for what budding preacher wouldn’t desire a growing church? I finally rejected them all for the way they promoted the big was the only beautiful thing in God’s eyes, because evangelical church members had been wrongly seduced to believe God intended all churches to be what we now call “Mega-Churches,” and because of the Hybels/Warren heresies that’v e become so predominant today. Those teachings became common fare in the whole lineup of Fuller Seminary lies after the retirement/death of Lyle Schiller. That’s when Wagner began to chair Fuller’s “Church Growth Department. Then, Wagner reinvented himself to NAR infamy that Lord surely considers a work of iniquity. So thank you brother Manny for your comments and for this article my brother Bereans. But please allow me to clarify a point of theology among those correctly discerning the NAR mass of madmen (and women) and their teachings, and clarify a point true believes need to take to heart:
There is no scenario in the Bible where NON-believers leave their dead bodies and rise to stand before God in Heaven, only to be told to “depart” from there to Hell where they’re assigned eternally. While it’s understood that Jesus is in Heaven at the Father’s right hand, Jesus didn’t say “Depart from Heaven.” He said, “Depart from ME.” NON-believers will never hear those words in their ears. These words aren’t spoken to NON-believers, they’re spoken to believers who’ve fallen away from the Word and thus, into the errors of apostate doctrine, belief, practice and promotion. If one does their word studies, “apostasy” has to do with “falling away.” Both the Father and the Son hold true believers in their strong hands (Jn.10:, 28, 29). But those who ARE His, CAN fall away doctrinally, believe and practice what they come to consider “their” faith, and promote the same to others. When they do, they become “apostates.” No one can fall away from a Christ they’ve never been to. In like manner, “apostate” is a term describing errant beliefs among Christians, not the false promotions of NON-believers. Just as to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord for believers, so to be absent from the body for NON-believers is to be immediately in Hell. The Matt.7 passage our brother Manny quotes here is a Bema Seat judgment reference to BELIEVERS being judged for their service to God in the days of their faith, while in the Earth–not the NON-believers judgment at the Great White Throne in Rev.20. I know people struggle with the idea that “depart from Me” and “I never knew you” as something God would say to one of His redeemed. Let me explain:
First, the Sermon on the Mt. is addresses believers–followers of Christ in training–not the NON-believing world (see Matt. 5:1). Jesus is plainly teaching “his disciples,” in spite of the presence of others likely within ear shot. But note there that He, “…seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain, and when he was set, His DISCIPLES CAME UNTO HIM and He opened His mouth and taught THEM.” (vv.1 & 2). Unless understood that way, all the things Jesus said His followers should be and do would become pre-requisites for entering Heaven. E.g., one doesn’t have to be “persecuted for righteousness’ sake” and “be reviled by men” in order to reach Heaven when they die. They simply need to trust the finished work of cross by believing in Jesus to become a new creation with Heaven as their eternal home. Then, (and only then) do they have the indwelling presence and empowerment of the Holy Spirit within to help them go to work on incorporating the characteristics Jesus taught in His Sermon into their daily walk of faith. NON-believers have no walk of a faith to perfect.
Secondly, the passage does not speak of how to enter the Father’s House (Heaven–Jn.14:2, 3), but of how to enter the KINGDOM OF Heaven, which are not one and the same. Study it out-Heaven and Heaven’s Kingdom of not one in the same. The first is entered by grace through faith in the works done by Another (Jesus), with no works on the believer’s part to enter therein (Eph.2:4; 8-9). The second (The Kingdom), is entered by the WORKS of the believer, CO-LABORING TOGETHER WITH [the] GOD” they’e come to know through salvation’s gift of grace (1Cor. 3:9).
Reread Matt.7:21-23. Speaking specifically to believers/followers in training for ministry, Jesus said, “Not everyone [i.e., not every believer] who says to be ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter into the KINGDOM OF Heaven, but he that does the will of my Father who is IN HEAVEN,” (emphasis mine). Think of it: if one must do the Father’s will (outlined in the Sermon), in addition to placing simple faith and trust in Jesus’ sacrifice for their sins just to get into Heaven, then grace is no longer grace (Eph.2:8-9; Rom.4:1-4). We dare not oversimplify the text by saying “Well, it’s the Father’s will that everyone believes on Jesus and become saved!” Sure it is: but that’s not what’s being outlined in the 3 chapters of Jesus’ Sermon. Thirdly, the world “knew” speaks of knowing intimately, even as Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived…”. It is the depth and quality of “knowing” that is in view. The Septuagint uses the same Gk. derivative of “know” in Gen. 5:1-5 to describe the marital RELATIONSHIP ALREADY IN EXISTENCE between them, to the point that their marital “knowing” of each other produced another (a third person) in their own image. Thus, Eph.2:8-9 reminds that those saved by grace through faith, who’ve already received God’s free gift of salvation have no room to boast of anything THEY have done. Rom.12:3 states that God even gave them the necessary “measure of faith” in order to believe as He sovereignly called them to Himself. But Eph.2:10 reminds us that those “created in Christ Jesus” are “His workmanship,” supernaturally-created “unto good works, which God hath before-ordained, that we should walk in them.” They don’t perform those works to BECOME saved, they walk in them BECAUSE THEY’RE ALREADY SAVED. This speaks of the Christian’s faithful stewardship entrusted to them in Eph.1;13-14, not of how to become a Christian. It is thus, walking in those works and “doing the will of My Father who is IN HEAVEN” that Jesus said would qualify one to enter in the KINGDOM OF Heaven.” To cut the chase here for this format, “entering the Kingdom” speaks of those BELIEVERS rewarded w/ the privilege of ruling and reigning with Christ, for they have been faithful…they have “known Him” so intimately (spiritually speaking), that their “co-laboring together with Him” has brought into the family of God, another like themselves–i.e. another born again member of the faith. The believer has been a faithful and true witness to the power of Christ in his/her life, and God has worked where human eyes cannot see to perform His great miracle of new birth. Jesus said, “Without Me, you can do nothing.”
Now, before Wagner drifted so very far away from sound doctrine into false doctrine and become the father/grandfather of many more grossly errant doctrines, there was evidence that he was just another crazy Charismatic believer. For a while, he was even a “closet charismatic.” (Please, I’m not sticking up for the man or ANYTHING he promoted or taught. He’s literally lead MILLIONS astray). So I’ll let God decide where Wagner gets to spend eternity. But for the sake of promoting a true understanding of the Matt.7:21-23 passage our brother Manny used to prove Wagner was in Hell, let’s assume for the sake of argument that Wagner died a grossly errant, non-repentant heretic who rejected all attempts of others to correctly instruct him in doctrine and faith; but in spite of all that, he received Christ as Savior at some time in his life. If we can assume that (at least for the sake of this instruction), Wagner represents a believer who never built his spiritual “house” (1Cor.3:7-15), with proper materials, AFTER (assuming again, for the sake of our discussion that he was saved), and that the “foundation” of Christ was laid in his life (1Cor.3:10-11). In the words of Scripture, he did not “take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” As such, Wagner (or any similar person), will have their “works done in the body” burned disintegrate to ash at the Bema Seat of Christ before which all believers must stand (2Cor.5:10-11; Rom.14:6). The terror of the Lord’s judgment on all works not of Him, His character, His doctrine, etc., are turned to ash there–even those “many things” done “in His name.” There is no reward for good intentions for those “out there” doing their own thing in heresy-land, just because they “thought” they were doing it for Jesus.” Still, the context of Matt.7 is to BELIEVERS qualifying for the KINGDOM REWARD of entering into “the Joy of My Father,” which are clearly NOT synonyms for “Heaven” itself.
So, my point is that Wagner likely heard those mind-shattering words, “Depart from Me…I never knew you,” in the sense intended in the text. But that didn’t send him from Heaven’s shores, just outside the Pearl Gate and off to Hell. That simply shunned Him from the Lord’s blessed commendation and His immediate presence. (“Depart from Me” is not equal to “Now, you go to Hell.” If that shunning is based on the examination of the believer’s works, how can this context be about getting into Heaven, which is entered without and works meriting reward for believer’s efforts? But as it’s BELIE VER’S works that are in view, Heaven itself, and entry thereinto, can be the issue at hand. If works don’t get us into Heaven, one cannot be asked to exist a Heaven they’ve just arrived at on the basis of works. Again, such a scenario is non-existent in Scripture.
Yes, Wagner was a “worker of iniquity” in the sense that he fell pray to his over-inflated, egotistical importance, Self-named “lead Apostle” and a truckload of false doctrine. Worse, he became the “prophet” and promoter thereof to millions of others. My guess is most of his band of NAR heretics will follow him right into this same sad scenario. COULD Wagner and the Todd Bentley, Rick Joiner, Cindy Jacobs, Francis Frangipane, Dutch Sheets, Mike Bickle types and all the rest of their “type” be lost? ABSOLUTELY! It’s easer to learn to”play Christian” inside a movement based on false doctrine, where “the Lord said to me in a vision” is lifted to the same level of inspired Scripture. But anyone who’s read behind some of these writers for research purposes knows that many of them seem to get “grace salvation” correct. I believe we have to let our Lord decide who’s in and who’s out relative to entering Heaven.
However, entering (qualifying for) the KINGDOM “OF” (within) Heaven, Heaven’s Kingdom, is an entirely different doctrinal matter. The KINGDOM admits only those found faithful AS BELIEVERS because they’ve lived their lives under the Dominion of the King (in submission to the Lordship of Christ). For the coming KINGDOM is the “King’s Dominion.” And while we await it’s arrival when Jesus returns to bring it (as opposed to men building it for Him), only those found faithful at the Judgement Seat of Christ (the “Bema”–2Cor.5:10), enter into it for the purposes of ruling and reigning with Him in the Millennial Age and beyond. In other words, not all believers will be crowned or hear “Well done, thou good and FAITHFUL servant.” One has to be tested and proved truly “good and faithful” to hear those words. One has to first be a servant by being born again. Then, the believer must progressively grow in his/her faith to become a “good and faithful” servant. “Good and faithful” is defined as one who learns to know and do His Heavenly Father’s will. That is the true teaching and application of the Matt.7 passage; the entire Sermon on the Mount, and indeed, the entire Bible. “Not everyone that saith unto Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the KINGDOM of Heaven, but he that DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is IN HEAVEN.” When seen in proper context, “everyone” implies application only to every BELIEVER,” not to everyone in the who wide world; for He is putting this teaching directly to “His DISCIPLES” who have left the multitude and come to Him where He has “set.” “When He was set” is not a casual reference to Jesus sitting down as in a restful position. It is a word depicting the placing of a judges throne for judging cases brought to him. Yes, Jesus is the “Judge of the living and the dead (2Tim.4:1), but that’s another issue. [end installment one, Part 2 to follow].
Perhaps you can address what the “good works” are that the believer is to do–counter to the false teaching of the dream/destiny/vision that the church growth movement has spawned? My understanding is that good works consists of being a good neighbor (loving your neighbor as yourself) to your spouse, child, employer/employee, actual neighbor, etc.–in addition to sharing the gospel and making disciples.
Thank you Pastor Greg,
I will pray for guidance on this, I have never heard it out this way.
God bless you and yours.