Sunday, May 12, 2013

book review--On Earth as it is in Heaven by Peter Wagner

Everybody wants to rule the world

Or, at least, Peter Wagner and those like him do.

Wagner's books is interesting, at least in an academic sense; after all, it's rather helpful when those who want to be our future overlords give us their game plan, along with their motivations.

Concerning motivations and reasons, bibllically, I can't buy into what Wagner is trying to sell. "Hunter, to the contrary, says, "Most Christians in history have interpreted the creation mandate in Genesis as a mandate to change the world."" (Kindle Locations 455-456). Not sure why we should accept the word of this Hunter guy, or what evidences he gives to support that claim. But concerning this suppose "mandate to change the world", you can find it Genesis 1, "28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Notice, please, first that this mandate was given before the Fall. Notice, again, that nothing is said in that mandate about changing the world, or people having dominion over each other. It is all about mankind having children and filling the earth, and mankind having dominion over fish and birds and animals.

The other big way he tries to find dominionism in the Bible has to do with a few words in Jesus' prayer. "My basic premise is that God's kingdom should come and that His will should be done here on earth as it is in heaven. This is clearly a Christian principle because, as I have said, these are the very words that Jesus taught His disciples to pray every day in the Lord's Prayer." (Kindle Locations 89-90). Now, are the words in the this prayer suppose to be a covert command for the Church to take charge of the world? Considering that no place else in the Bible hints at such a thing, that Jesus never told the Apostles to try to gain control of the world, that no epistles tell the churches to act in such a way, I think we can safely be skeptical of Wagner's spin on this phrase.

But, as the book makes plain, Wagner is all about power. Christians should be in charge, Christians should take over the supposed seven mountains of society. And how is that done?

"The second pillar is the great transfer of wealth, which God has been promising through His prophets for several years." (Kindle Locations 192-193). Yeah, that's right, money. Or, as Wagner rather crassly put it, "If you check back through human history, you will find that three things, more than anything else, have produced social transformation, namely violence, knowledge and wealth. The greatest of these is wealth!" (Kindle Locations 2200-2201), and "One of the apostles present said, "If you want to take a city, you need to buy it! Own businesses, property, and whatever other opportunities you can find to build wealth."" (Kindle Locations 2233-2235).

Wow. You know all that stuff the Bible says about the dangers of wanting wealth, about being content with what we have? Oh, but Peter Wagner is sooooo much smarter than those fuddy-duddy biblical writers! Who needs contentment, when Peter Wagner wants to rule the world! There have been modern-day prophets, whose prophetic accuracy rate has probably been much less than the biblically required 100%, who have been going on about a transfer of wealth! People like Joel Osteen tell you that God wants to your life to improve, God wants you to be prosperous! Who are you going to believe, the Bible or Joel Osteen!!!

"Apostle Pat Francis of Kingdom Covenant Ministries in Toronto say that her goal is to help every member of her church become a millionaire." (Kindle Locations 2323-2324). Wow, why didn't the Apostle Paul, or any other biblical Apostle for that matter, think about that? Their main concern was preaching the Gospel of Christ dying for the sins of people and rising again, and that the Christians should live holy and godly lives. Why, if they'd told them to become millionaires, or whatever the equivalent was at that time, just think about what the church would have been like.

There's more weirdness in this book, such has Wagner's claim that we are in some kind of Second Apostolic Age, which the Bible says nothing about, or his claim that Rick Warren and Joel Osteen are apostles (even if they don't use that title for themselves), which is simply hilarious.

I will thank Wagner for one thing, though. At one point, he writes this, "For example, one of my self-perceived badges of honor is to have had a whole book written to criticize my (and George Barna's) pragmatism!" (Kindle Locations 1927-1928). A footnote tells the reader that the book in question is Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur. I've read that book, since reading Wagner's, and found MacArthur's book to be orders of magnitude superior to the drivel in Wagner's book. I will recommend MacArthur's book to you, instead of Wagner's. You'll learn far more of biblical value in that book, as against Wagner's imaginings on how to take over the world.

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