War planners at the Pentagon discussing the war in Afghanistan have repeatedly stressed two essentials of accurate intelligence – the identity and whereabouts of the enemy and the use of superior warfare technology. The apparent reason that our forces have succeeded where the Soviets failed is that we have superior intelligence from both satellite imagery and intercepts and we have an array of smart bombs. Combining intelligence with overwhelming force we have been very effective in destroying the enemy.
Current Warfare Evangelism relies on these same two warfare principles – specific intelligence of the spirit world and new spiritual methodologies which purport to neutralize or destroy enemies in the spirit world. All of this is designed to ensure victory in evangelism and to establish God’s Kingdom upon the earth.
C. Peter Wagner is the architect of Spiritual Warfare Evangelism and has become its recognized leader. 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 is ready to launch his own version of Operation Desert Storm … He believes … there must be an “Air Force” that provides protection as well as strategic information about spiritual enemies. 
As we noted in the last issue of Plumbline, the germinal idea behind this movement came about in the Latter Rain Revival of the 50’s. C. Peter Wagner, however, was not involved in that revival at all. His journey into Latter Rain spiritual warfare took a different route. For Dr. Wagner it was his commitment to and teaching of Church Growth Principles that prepared and finally led him to his current views of warfare evangelism.
The Church Growth Movement began with the ministry and writings of Donald McGavran. As a missionary to India in the 30’s, McGavran called for the reversing of missionary ineffectiveness by employing certain principles of sociology and cultural understanding. Cultural awareness needed “bridges” to find the cultural or sociological keys to presenting the Gospel more effectively. During my early years as a missionary in Vietnam this church growth road map literally changed the thinking and planning of missionaries around the world. Donald McGavran established the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological Seminary and hundreds of missionaries and national leaders were schooled in Church Growth principles. C. Peter Wagner, a missionary to South America with the Latin American Mission, became the successor to McGavran and authored numerous books on Church Growth. Church Growth thinking always was looking for reasons why a church was growing or not growing hoping to find a strategic planning key to reproduce this growth elsewhere. Wagner noted that certain Pentecostal groups were growing in Latin America and one of the things he deduced from this was that miracles and signs and wonders must be the key.
At this point, John Wimber (founder of the Vineyard Movement) enters into Wagner’s life. Wimber himself had been a church growth consultant in the American church growth scene. The Wimber story is too long to tell here except to say he had burned out on his church growth ministry and through the influence of certain people in the early California Charismatic Renewal, became a Charismatic Renewal activist and espoused a signs and wonders world view of evangelism. Wimber was invited by Wagner to become an adjunct teacher at Fuller and they began to develop the concept of signs and wonders evangelism. They, along with the wider charismatic renewal, were not content to remain within biblical boundaries. They began to experiment in laboratory sessions on confronting demons and getting information from them, etc. Early on an unbiblical view of demonology and signs and wonders began to be practiced. Wagner was told, prophetically, the reason for his headaches was a “demon of headache” that needed to be exorcised. These and other increasingly extreme views propelled both Wimber and Wagner on a journey that took them both into the uncharted waters of Charismatic extremes.
The early Church Growth teaching of McGavran was needed and helpful to missionaries. Many of the cross cultural concepts however, were already being practiced and it did help to think culturally before presenting the gospel on the mission field. Even though Church Growth thinking was obviously helpful, there came with it a hidden and deceptive change of focus. It became tempting to rely primarily on methodology and church growth principles for evangelism. Phil Newton, pastor of South Woods Baptist Church in Memphis TN, tells of his despondency when he heard well respected denominational leaders promote church growth as the end-all for pastors. He observed the lemming-like rush of church leaders who seemed to abandon all else in the chase after the new paradigm. In desperation he enrolled at the Fuller Seminary in the Church Growth Track. Newton studied with Wagner and others and began to look at everything with “church growth eyes.” Rev. Newton makes the following comments:
Much of what I learned is simply common sense. Details regarding church parking, building the right staff, maximizing use of facilities, training lay leadership, utilizing spiritual gifts and diagnosing weaknesses can be readily found in Church Growth materials …. While I found many helpful ideas in studying church growth, I also found myself wrapped up in a “mentality” that proved costly. Building a church along “church growth principles” meant an adherence to pragmatism rather than biblical Christianity … As a pragmatist I was interested in discovering what methods and devices worked to produce growth … Though I had always believed in expository preaching, I found myself going light on exposition and heavy on appealing to the felt need of the community. All of this justified, or so I thought, because I was going to be growing a large church … The pressure placed upon ministers to grow large churches, bring in great numbers and produce a multitude of conversions spurs many to imbibe everything from the wells of the Church Growth Movement …. He (the pastor) will scurry from one technique to another, grappling for every new idea that comes from the proponents of Church Growth …. Someone may wonder of me, “Do you believe in church growth?” Sure I do! I long to see growth that has been engendered by the work of the Holy Spirit and the faithful proclamation of the Word of God. If the Word and the Spirit cannot produce it, then I don’t want it! 
Church Growth ideas became the catalyst for the technique-driven methodologies of seeker sensitive churches employing marketing and managerial paradigms so popular in the mega church movement. In turn, Wagner took the pragmatic concepts of church growth thinking a step further and applied them to the spirit world. He took the same pragmatic perception but removed the battle from earth to the heavenlies in what he calls Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare (SLSW), his name for battling territorial spirits. Unknowingly, borrowing from Latter Rain concepts, he saw church growth as dependent on defeating territorial spiritual rulers. The way to make a church grow is not primarily appealing to the felt needs of the people but rather in devising a pragmatic strategy to defeat territorial spirit powers. If these entities can be destroyed or neutralized, the church growth we all desire will be assured. In fact, old fashioned preaching will hardly be necessary once the hindering spirits have been vanquished. Rather than doing market surveys (ala George Barna), church growth, for Wagner, depends on mapping the spirit world, discovering what territorial spirits are in charge of any given locality and then devising spiritual technologies and practices which will render them ineffective in keeping people groups from responding to the Gospel. Spiritual warfare then is pursued as the first step of any evangelistic endeavor and the precursor to the great harvest that Church Growth has always promised.
The technique driven mentality of Church Growth principles, whether in the current marketing paradigm or Wagner’s spiritual warfare techniques, both put the focus on man instead of God. If you find the right marketing technique, then you can make your church grow. Likewise if you prophetically can learn the territorial spirit’s name and if you organize a prayer walk, you can grow a large church. Notice how the focus is no longer on God and the power of God’s Spirit and the preaching of the Gospel, but rather on the brave new pragmatist who knows how to make it happen. God seems to be relegated to an interested cheerleader on the sidelines applauding the implementation of the game plan organized in the mega church conference rooms or in the spiritual Pentagon and war room in the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs.
Wagner, more than anyone else, is responsible for creating the idioms and symbols of modern military terminology and nomenclature for spiritual warfare evangelism.
In the continuum developed at Wagner’s International Spiritual Warfare Network, spiritual warfare is distinguished according to the nature and rank of the demonic beings confronted. Ground level spiritual warfare refers to personal deliverance ministry. Occult level spiritual warfare is related to occult witchcraft and Satanism. Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare (SLSW) takes place in the heavenlies as the real significant action against the stronger principalities and powers. Wagner asserts:
God, I think, is in the process of choosing an expanding corps of spiritual green berets such as Eduardo Lorenzo, Cindy Jacobs, Larry Lee Carlos Anaconda, John Dawson, Edward Salvoso or Dick Bernal, who will engage in the crucial high level battles against the rulers of darkness and consequently see measurable increases in the numbers of lost people who turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. 
Spiritual warfare evangelism coupled with another Latter Rain theme of restored Apostles and Prophets is, in Wagner’s view, reforming the global church for the new millennium. In a brochure advertising a conference with C. Peter Wagner in Brisbane, Australia, the following was written:
The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit that is changing the shape of Christianity globally. It is truly a new day! The Church is changing. New names! New methods! New Worship expressions! The Lord is establishing the foundations of the church for the new millennium. 
II. THE NEW METHODS OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE
A. Command and Control
The command and control are vested in the increasing number of new apostles and prophets being restored to the end time church. There are various levels of apostles, ranging from the International Coalition of Apostles to the Apostles to the Cities. I have written in some detail about this in a previous issue of Plumbline.
In SLSW, accurate information is needed regarding the enemy in order to be successful. Spiritual mapping is the process of gathering information regarding a region or a people in order to determine the identity and function of the territorial ruler. The accumulated data is later used in spiritual warfare prayer and intercession. “Team Orange” is an extension of Wagner’s United Prayer Track of “AD 2000 and Beyond.” They are a specially trained cadre of spiritual mappers. They gather information regarding any area to which they are sent. On their website , they call spiritual mapping “Night Vision Goggles” which enables them see, purportedly, into the darkness of a city. Spiritual mapping includes a study of the history of the region. Mappers see themselves like the spies of the OT spying out the land, looking for spiritual forces, where their camps are, what areas they control and what spiritual weaponry they wield. It is assumed that behind the prevailing sins of a region there is a demonic power that has used a particular sin to control a given area. Consequently, they search for certain common bondages of homosexuality, pornography and drugs, etc. The mappers interview people in these common bondage areas. One veteran mapper in what is called the “Battle Axe Brigade,” tells of answering an advertisement for an escort service. She was careful to tell the truth and said she was inquiring for a friend of hers (Jesus). When asked if she was into “bondage” the mapper answered truthfully that she had experience with bondage by which she meant her pre-Christian life of sin. So, you see, mappers are ready to do what it takes in order to gain spiritual intelligence. We are at war after all! It is a normal operating principle that the ruler demons have been in an area for a long time. One team learned, by research, that the earliest people in an area of the USA were Indians and so the research included discovery of the unique sins of that tribe. This will usually yield the functional understanding of a ruler spirit. Later, by prophetic revelation, the spirits personal name will be revealed as well. Another mapping team discovered, in an area, that the tribe had been involved in tattooing their entire bodies and considered this clothing. Today public nudity is a real problem in that community and there are many tattoo parlors as well.
Beginning in 1991, C. Peter Wagner taught spiritual mapping in his ‘Spiritual Issues in Church Growth’ course at Fuller. Approximately 800-900 ministry leaders, both in the USA and abroad, learned the fundamentals of spiritual mapping in his courses. Many students produced spiritual mapping reports as part of their course requirements. It was George Otis Jr. who later actually coined the term “spiritual mapping.” In 1991 George Otis established the ‘Sentinel Group’ in Seattle and he and his fellow mappers have carried the lead in spiritual mapping since then. Incidentally, George Otis Jr. is also known for his writings in which he rejects the substitutionary death of Jesus in favor of a “governmental view” of the atonement.
In lectures given to YWAM in Tacoma on Moral Government Theology Otis made the following statement: “Forgiveness … is the relaxation of a legitimate claim … it would be impossible for God to have, as one hymn put it, ‘paid the debt and forgave me all my sins …
Often spiritual mappers develop their craft on a sophisticated level. Mapping, however, can become a bit bizarre. A prayer network in Jakarta took a map and placed dots on the houses that escaped the riots in 1998. When they connected the dots, it formed a dove. This was heralded as the obvious success of spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare. Later, it was revealed that the reason the area was spared was because it was an area for rich people and they were able to buy protection from the government. 
C. New Combat Techniques
1) Prophetic Intercession
In prophetic intercession, groups of believers are encouraged to discover the particular demonic power in an area. The functional name, as well as the person name, must be determined and once the identity is known, prophetically, then confrontation is effected. It is here that “warfare prayer” is used to bind and defeat the spiritual ruler. The gift of prophecy is linked with intercession. This union of intercession and prophecy is called, “Strategic Level Prophetic Intercession.” This ministry can be long and arduous. Usually the intercessors proclaim that the victory has been won. Other times there are spiritual acts necessary to win the victory.
2) Identificational Repentance
It is taught that often various territorial rulers have gained a legal right in a given area because of some sin or guilt that transpired in this territory. This may have happened years ago but now intercessors must represent the guilty and repent for them by proxy, thus breaking the legal right of the territorial spirit. Lynne Green of YWAM led a company of believers, who followed the path of the Crusaders through the Middle East and publicly repented for the atrocities of the crusaders, by proxy. Supposedly this broke the legal hold of spiritual rulers in the Moslem world. If it did, we have little proof of it in the real world.
3) Prayer Walking
This is bringing the warfare on site. Onsite praying is deemed to be a kind of “hand to hand combat” confronting the local spirits and thus much more powerful than other kinds of prayer.
4) Jesus Marches
In the early days of the Global March For Jesus, the March was seen as an extension of prayer walking. A woman named Barbara Pymm was given a vision of two angels over the city of London in May of 1987. The angel’s swords raised and crossed over the city were waiting for the ‘word’ to release them and their armies to fight against principalities and powers over London. Most marchers, when asked the question: “Why are you marching?” would probably say something like, ‘I am marching for Jesus.’ From its inception, the Global March for Jesus founders have seen these marches as direct geographical spiritual warfare against territorial spirits. Graham Kendrick, co-founder of the March For Jesus says explicitly,”…direct evangelism has never been the primary purpose of the marches.” 
5) Spiritual Expeditions
Sometimes a cadre of spiritual green berets goes onsite for an extended period of time. In 1997 an experienced team, led by Doris Wagner, journeyed to the foot of Mt. Everest. In the highest level (both topographically and spiritually) they prophetically did battle in what was dubbed “Operation Ice Castle” against the “Queen of heaven,” the chief principality commissioned by Satan himself to keep unbelievers in darkness. Some of the team prayed at Mt. Everest View Hotel at 13,000 feet. Others went on to the Everest Base Camp at 18,000 feet. They then performed a prophetic act. Let me quote them:
“God clearly showed us where we should go for our prophetic act by revealing a large brown stone formation, completely surrounded by walls of ice resembling a castle and shaped exactly like an idol of the queen of heaven. The seat of the Mother of the universe was 20,000 feet high and to get there we had to cross the ice fall of the most dangerous part of the Everest ascent with no guide but Him (God) and no help from other than angels. Very few knew that Operation Ice Castle was happening.” 
6) City Reaching
Often a particular city will be designated as a prayer target. After spiritual mapping revealing the spiritual entity that controls the city, prophetic intercession and target warfare prayer will be conducted. If identificational repentance by proxy is needed, it will be made and smaller prayer walks will finish in a Jesus march through the heart of the city, culminating in a large ecumenical gathering.
7) Prophetic Acts
We have already noted the prophetic act at Mt. Everest. Commonly people will drive stakes with scripture on them at the compass points surrounding the city.
Tommy Tenny and Pastor Bart Pierce explained how to secure the borders of Baltimore and to reclaim the city for the Glory of God . . . . Former Oriole pitcher Scott McGregor, Rev. Bart Pierce and other pastors and intercessors in Baltimore went to the flagpole in Camden Yard, Orioles baseball field and drove in the first stake. The pastors who may travel with intercessors and members of their church to their stake location will coordinate using cell phones and broadcast over a local Christian radio station . . . a shofar trumpet will be sounded and the stakes driven in … The enemy will be held outside your gates but also trapped within your city so that he can be destroyed. 
8) Transformation I and II
George Otis Jr. and his Sentinel Group have produced two videos. The thrust of these videos is to demonstrate that the new paradigm of Spiritual Warfare Evangelism works to such an extent that whole cities have been totally transformed. Since these videos have been promoted around the world, various groups have gone onsite to the “so called transformed cities” in order to verify these remarkable claims. One of the cities purported to have been transformed in the Transformation Video 1 is Cali Columbia. J.S. Malan and Ms. Louisa Coetzee have assessed the reliability of this claim:
Claim: Cali is a “safe” city, where a significant percentage of the population is now safe and revival flourishes. Instead of a city where people lived in fear, people now safely walk the streets.
Reality: Six of the cartel leaders were jailed. The drug cartel reorganized, with two of the original leaders still operating from Cali, one commanding his operation from prison. Other leaders of the drug cartel set up operations just outside Cali and in other parts of Columbia, and due to this decentralization, the organization is more resilient. The rebels (who protect the drug trade) are still attacking churches in Cali, shutting down many . . . . According to the newsletters of Ruth Ruibal, the widow of the assassinated pastor Julio Ruibal (who is mentioned in the film), the situation in Cali is “gross darkness,” a city where her church must hire armed guards and where the church must be protected by barbed wire (soon to be replaced by a 10-12 foot wall if permission is granted). 
After a perceived victory has been gained, “gatekeepers” are appointed to guard the various access roads to the city against the re-entrance of demon forces. Prophetic warfare intercessors are dispatched to roads, harbors and airports to ward off any returning spirits.
A Few Concluding Remarks
Obviously these technologies have no source in Scripture. Scripture, however, does inform us about demons and principalities and powers. Jesus and the Apostles were aware of the opposition of these foes in the spirit world but did not go into detail. If specific information about specific principalities and powers is indispensable to evangelism, and if prophetic intercession and warfare prayer can spell the difference between defeat or victory, why would not Jesus himself have used it and taught it?
When Paul went to Corinth, did he research the history of the city to find out the “strongman”? A quick check would have revealed the spirits of lust …. When Jesus revealed to John in the book of Revelation about the city of Pergamos, He told him exactly where Satan’s seat is. But did he say, “John, you can strike a blow for the Church. Come against Satan. Have a citywide meeting at Pergamos. Bring him down!” 
Wagner’s response to the lack of biblical support for SLSW is two-fold. He argues from silence that if we only knew everything that the apostles did, we would learn that they also practiced SLSW Nevertheless, Wagner suggests that there are a few glimpses of SLSW in Scripture. Wagner suggests that Peter engages in SLSW in confronting Simon Magus.  To establish this, Wagner makes and exegetical leap in the dark and assumes that since Simon had territorial influence, he must have been under the power of a territorial spirit. Wagner sees SLSW in many odd places. For example John Mark’s failure to continue in ministry with Paul and Barnabas is because he disliked high level spiritual warfare. 
Wagner suggests that Paul failed at Athens because he failed to engage in SLSW.  Wagner proposes that the apostle James command to “resist the devil” (James 4:7) is as an offensive aggressive invasion of Satan’s territory.16But the context of parallel passages, where resisting the devil is mentioned, opposes an offensive approach to spiritual warfare. To resist (wicked spiritual forces) in the evil day in Ephesians 6:13 is equated with standing firm (Eph 6:11,13,14) and to resist Satan in I Peter 5:9 is qualified in the verse as remaining strong in our faith.
So, the biblical defense for SLSW is either to argue from silence or to import SLSW into biblical texts where it does not exist.
The whole premise of SLSW is based on securing useable information about the spirit world, and using this to counter strategize against individual spirit entities. This knowledge of the spirit world is said to be attained by a combination of research and prophetic revelation. Wagner promotes gathering information from many sources. Wagner writes:
Nevertheless, certain people such as shamans, witch doctors, practitioners of Eastern religions, New Age gurus or professors of the occult on university faculties are examples of the kind of people who may have much more extensive knowledge of the spirit world than most Christians have. 
Isn’t this a boundary that Christians should never cross? Is Deut. 29:29 being violated? “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever…”
Pragmatically speaking, one of the dangers of SLSW is that it will deplete the energies of Christians. After all the prayer walks, marches, expeditions and stake driving ad nauseam, the Christian community will hardly have the energy to slog it out in preaching and teaching the gospel, which Paul said was “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:19) and which Hebrews 12: 4 states is “sharper than any two edged sword.” All the money and energy being expended by the Orange Team and the Battle-Axe Brigade and thousands of other similar spiritual warriors, hasn’t changed anything except that which comes by the entrance of the Word of God. It may be exhilarating to brandish swords in prophetic acts of warfare, but really is it not like children playing King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable?
Are Los Angeles, San Francisco or Miami any better off since the late 80’s, or early ’90’s when there were warfare conferences in each city directed against specific principalities . . . show me one city that is ‘cleansed of demonic activity’ by spiritual warfare. 
The Pentecostal and Charismatic and some of the Evangelical Church has a new attitude. We are ‘mighty warriors’ now. We don’t have to be wimps, we now serve Satan notice, we are taking back our cities. Even our worship services are more like military pep rallies with more emphasis on making war in the heavenlies and tearing down principalities than the “Old Rugged Cross,” or “I surrender all.” Kind of reminds me of the crusades, zealous, yes, but severely misguided and based on false premises. 
Pastor Dick Bernal of San Jose rented rooms on the top floors of hotels, or assembled on the tops of hills and rooftops. He had researched and found that the California Gold Rush had given opportunity and legal right for a spirit of Greed to gain control. Bernal states:
“We were concerned that the San Francisco/San Jose/Oakland area sits alone as the only major metropolis in the U.S. never to experience a major revival. Quickly the principality of ‘self’ was identified as dominant.” 
In response to this, Bill Randles replies:
“Oh, now I get it! Self is a spirit, a principality! Cast self out and you have no more greed? Rent the 13th floor of a hotel, pray against” ‘Self’, out there”, bring it down from the heavenlies. What a deception! This is actually self-exalting, not self-denying! “We brought down “Self” last night! Praise God!” No, this is deception. “Self” is not out there, it is in us and you can’t cast him out!” 
A favorite passage for SLSW advocates is II Corinthians 10:4,5. They simply assume that “strongholds” in this passage refer to territorial spirits. Nevertheless, a simple reading of this passage leaves no doubt that “strongholds” are reasonings “(logosmos) of the unbelieving mind that exalts itself above the knowledge of God.”
Rather than focusing on territorial spirits, the Apostles preached the Gospel and “tore down” arguments and high thoughts that hindered the truth of the Gospel message. Mapping the spirit world and its internal organization is not the assignment of the church. The great commission is not, “Go into all the world and bring down principalities — but rather “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15.
Our choice is very clear! We must follow the teachings of Jesus, and the practice of the Apostles as recorded in Scripture!
l J. Lee Grady, “God’s Air Command,” Charisma, May 1999, p.72
2 Phil Newton, “My journey Through the Church Growth Movement.” Founders Journal, (Spring 1997): 30.
3 C. Peter Wagner, “Warfare Prayer,” Ventura, CA, Regal Books, 1992, P. 58
4 Brochure for Brisbane, 2000
5 http://home.dfl.rr.com/ teamOrange/mapping.htm
8 Kendrick, Coates, Forster and Green, “March For Jesus,” Kingsway, 1992
9 Wagner, “The Queen’s Domain,” p. 37
10 David T. Jehl, “Baltimore Stakeout,” http://www.banner.org.uk/res/StakeOut.htm
11 http: / / www.geocities.com/kasih_indonesia/geowag.htm
12 Bill Randles, “Making War in the Heavenlies,” p. 52
13 Wagner, “Confronting the Powers,” Ventura, CA, Regal Books, 1996 pp 175-176
14 Ibid pp. 190-195
15 lbid pp. 206-207
16 Ibid pp 231-232
17 lbid p. 148
18 Randles, “Making War in the Heavenlies,” p. 28
19 lbid p. 14
20 Wagner, “Engaging the Enemy,” Jubilee Christian Center, pages 22-23
21 Randles, “Making War in The Heavenlies,” p. 47
The Truth of False Teachings
For more about the “whistle blowing” ministry of 4 Truth Ministry, please see our About page as well as our False Movements page which lays out several false teachings/teachers found within evangelicalism.
Another great “whistle blowing” ministry is Christian Research Network.