Spiritual warfare, church growth and gifts

Spiritual warfare, church growth and gifts
Posted by in Facebook's Pentecostal Theology Group View the Original Post

With regard to church growth, spiritual warfare has a great importance for Wagner. We will now
turn to examining how spiritual warfare affects church growth and how spiritual gifts serve of
spiritual warfare and church growth. Spiritual battle, also FDOOHG ³VSLULWXDO ZDUIDUH´ RU ³VSLULWXDO
PDSSLQJ´389 is based on Wagner¶s world view,390 justified by him in terms of cultural
anthropology391 and Pentecostal theology.392 Wagner also calls the cultural anthropological
FRPSRQHQW RI VSLULWXDO EDWWOH ³SKHQRPHQRORJ\´393 Resane interprets this term to mean that
subjective experience is judged by the individual leader or by individual Christians. Resane argues
incorrectly ± because the process is not automatic – that phenomenology leads to relativism in
LQWHUSUHWLQJWKH6FULSWXUHV ³$VWKHworld of meaning changes, so God¶s revelation to his chosen
RQHVFKDQJHV´394 Van der Meer argues perceptively that Wagner¶s theology of spiritual warfare is
built upon older assumptions about spiritual warfare found within Pentecostalism, assumptions
which Wagner incorporates into his own theology. These assumptions include the idea WKDW³GHPRQV

get a point of entry in people through sin, trauma, idolatry, occultism, heredity and curses.´395
Wagner, however, goes beyond the individual and applies these assumptions to people, groups, and
territories.396 Indeed he justifies his view of spiritual warfare by also referring to the Great
Commission.397 Wagner is accused of adopting a good-versus-evil dualism in relation to nonChristian
religions, but this dualism can be interpreted as consonant with the first Commandment.398
Comparing some of the literature of mainstream Pentecostals to that of Wagner, Van der Meer
argues that Wagner incorporates mainstream Pentecostal doctrines into his spiritual warfare
theology. These include, for example, praise and worship as spiritual warfare and prophecy as a
channel of God¶s leading and speaking.399 The influence of the Dispensationalist spiritual warfare
theology of Mark Bubeck which talks about territorial spirits and binding the strongman400 in city
Crusades, is also discernable.401 Holvast notes, that Wagner uses Patristic sources not only as
anecdotal references, but to confirm his theory of spiritual mapping. Wagner cites Gregory
Thaumaturgus, Martin of Tours, Benedict of Nursia and Boniface in order to cite historical
precedents for the power encounter.402 I interpret Hall¶s research to mean that referring to the
church fathers (as Wagner does) is not rare in dispensationalist theology.403
According to Wagner, the Christian has spiritual weapons and authority over the evil spirits which
he must exercise. He puts it ³,I&KUistians did not exercise their µauthority in Christ¶, evil could
RYHUWDNH WKH 86´404 An individual also has a responsibility to fight against the demons and to
overcome them. Wagner argues that to win the spiritual battle, the Christian¶s relationship with God
has to be ³sufficient.´ The criteria for sufficient relationship with God include: being born-again, a

regular prayer life and being filled with the Holy Spirit. To achieve these criteria a Christian must
confess all his sins, search for inner healing for his continual sins, allow others to evaluate his
spiritual life and in addition his sanctification must be ³sufficient´ for using the gifts.405
Wagner¶s view of spiritual warfare against territorial spirits, dominating particular geographical
areas is based on his interpretation of deities, mentioned in the Bible as demons, beings which have
power to control geographical territories. ³7KH%LEOHWHDFKHVWKDWWKHWKLQJVZHWRGD\FDOOµterritorial
spirits¶ do exist. A key passage is found in Daniel 10 where the µprince of Persia¶ and the µprince of
Greece¶ DUHPHQWLRQHGVSHFLILFDOO\´406 Stevens points out clearly that these angelic princes do not
rule over geographical areas. For example the Archangel Michael protects the people of God rather
than a territory. He concludes that in the same way the princes of Persia and Greece protect sociopolitical
rather than geographical areas.407 In the Letter of James, Wagner discovers confirmation
that Elijah¶s prayer was specifically ³warfare prayer´ (Jas 5:17-18), although there is no mention of
the term in the passage in question.408 Wagner seeks cultural grounds for the notion of territorial
spirits in the studies and findings of certain cultural anthropologists that in some cultures (for
example Zimbabwe) geographical areas have their own dominating spirit.409 Hart goes too far
suggesting that WKLV³HPSLULFDOGDWDDQGXQELEOLFDOVRXUFHV´FDXVHDserious problem for theology.410
Miller argues properly that Wagner emphasizes human control in the battle against demons.
$FFRUGLQJWRKHUWKH³3UD\HURI&RPPDQG´PHDQVthat a Christian is able to exercise his authority
over evil.411 :DJQHUGRHVQRWKRZHYHUUHIHUWRKXPDQDXWKRULW\EXWWR³GHOHJDWHGDXWKRULW\´IURP
Jesus to a Christian.412 Van der Meer, citing Lowe, interprets warfare prayer as an aggressive and
militant tone on the part of Wagner. This criticism seems exaggerated, however, because Wagner¶s
battle of prayer is directed against forces of evil, not human beings.413 The essential principle in

Wagner¶s view of warfare prayer is the emphasis on quantity, which leads to an emphasis on prayer
as a technical requirement. ³«,VXJJHVWSDVWRUVDQGRWKHU&KULVWLDQOHDGHUVDJUHHWKDWDPLQLPXPRI
PLQXWHVSXVKLQJ IRUKRXUDGD\EHRXUQRUP IRUGDLO\SUD\HUWLPH«,WLVPRUHDGYLVDEOHWR
start with quantity than quality in daily prayer time. First, program the time. The quality will usually
IROORZ´414 This mechanical aspect and adopting an exact strategy of prayer are not based on
Scripture itself, but on a theology based on commercial ideology and the principle of quantity. As in
the business world the quantity of investment is related to the results, in Wagner¶s theology as well
WKH TXDQWLW\ RI SUD\HULV UHODWHGWRWKH VL]H RIWKH EOHVVLQJ³,I \RXDUH VWDUWLQJ IURP VFUDWFK XVH
short-range goals and plan to increase the time gradually. If this sounds quite demanding to you, try
VWDUWLQJ ZLWK PLQXWHVWKHQLQFUHDVHLWWR «4XDOLW\ ZLOO FRPH RYHUWLPH , RQFH KHDUG0LNH
Bickel say that if you set aside 60 minutes for prayer you may begin by getting 5 good minutes. But
tKHQWKHEHFRPHWKHEHFRPHDQGWKHTXDOLW\LQFUHDVHV´415
4.4. Factors affecting the distribution of the gifts
Wagner interprets many gifts psychologically. He associates a number of temperament and
personality traits with certain spiritual gifts as John Stott does.416 The gifts of leadership and faith ±
which are essential for the pastor of a growing church ± are related to personality who dares to take
the risk of failure. The possessor of the gift of pastor does not do this, because of his temperament.
In giving him a cautious character God has determined him to be a pastor of a small church. Thus
Wagner¶s understanding of spiritual gifts becomes psychologized.417 Certain personal
characteristics can be inferred from the spiritual gifts that an individual has received. Humble
behaviour is not psychologically suitable for one with the gift of leadership; rather he must be a
³OHWWHUKHDG´418 Wagner argues that a service-oriented weak leader may even cause the decline of a
church¶s membership. He interprets psychologically the parable of the servants and the talents their

character for Dominion theologians as can be seen by the names of the intereceived in the Gospel of Matthew (25:14-30). Wagner says that the problem of the servant with
one gift was basically psychological: negative thinking. Thus Wagner associates spiritual success
with positivity and failure with negativity.419 Having linked the principle of positive thinking to his
theology, he arrives at the conclusion that negative thinking is sinful. This interpretation, which in
my view is partly psychological, can be seen as well as in his understanding of the gift of prophecy.
According to him individuals with the gift of prophecy are pessimistic in their preaching. From his
perspective of positivity, pessimism and criticism are problematic, because they are to be avoided
and not always be taken into account. On the other hand, in the scriptural view the gift of prophecy
of a pessimistic nature is meaningful, because it is found in the Old Testament. As a result of the
polarization of these two principles, psychological pessimism related to the gift of prophecy may
exist because of the Scriptures, although it has no meaning from the perspective of ideology of
positivity.420
Wagner also distinguishes the spiritual gifts by gender. Although he writes that the gifts belong
equally to women and to men, their distribution, however, appears to emphasize the man¶s
dominant position. This distinction is based on the different psychological characteristics of each
gender. According to Wagner the gift of leadership requires the ability to take responsibility, which
for him is a characteristic of men, because the possessors of the gift of leadership tend to be men.
Wagner¶s idea (based on quantitative estimates) that the gift of leadership is rare among women
seems fatalistic and even chauvinistic. However Wagner ties this idea to creation and to the equal
worth of the different charismas. Women, says Wagner, are not often leaders but they possess other
valuable gifts. He states explicitly: ´:KLOHVRPHZRPHQFDQWDNHFKDUJHWKHSHUFHQWDge who can,
DQGZKRDUHDOORZHGWRE\WKHLUFRQJUHJDWLRQVLVFRQVLGHUDEO\ORZHUWKDQIRUPHQ´421 The offices
of leadership (in the United States) are male-dominated.422 Another gift which Wagner understands

419 Wagner 2005as masculine is teaching.423 On the other hand, there are also several clearly feminine gifts. In
addition to the gift of pastor these are the gifts of intercession and evangelist.424 According to
Wagner¶s studies as many as 80 percent of the persons possessing the gift of intercession are
women.425 Wagner¶s specificity here is reflected in the gender contradiction between the gift and
office of pastor. According to it the clear majority of individuals in pastor¶s office are men, but the
gift of pastor is explicitly female-dominated.426
It can be concluded that in Wagner¶s theology the abilities corresponding to some gifts can also be
produced by a person. A good example of this phenomenon is the gift of leadership. Leadership
ability can also be obtained by other means than the spiritual gift given by the Holy Spirit. Wagner
notes that a capable church leader does not necessarily have to possess the gift of leadership. An
individual can also learn leadership. Learning in this case may mean modification of personality
through therapy. Here Wagner appears contradictory. He argues on the one hand that only the Holy
Spirit, not any human being, distributes the spiritual gifts. On the other hand he argues that the
capability which replaces the gift can be obtained through the works of therapists and a motivated
Christian. Therefore, pragmatism is essential to Wagner: it does not matter whether the gift of
leadership or an acquired skill is used, as long as a church grows.427 In Chapter Five we will see that
Wagner has also other theological focuses that only church growth.

24 Comments

  • Troy Day
    Reply September 13, 2019

    Troy Day

    here we go Isara Mo again As I am polling Paul L. King Robert Borders and others with experience in warfare I am reposting the case study by Joe Absher in a more orderly way under this post asking the questions

    1. spiritual warfare – do we fight such or do we live
    2. can we accept and allow just any such without deeper review just to justify church growth initiative
    3. which gift has more weight – knowing the spirit or gift of wisdom in action to operate in the situation and protect the flock

    I’ve seen many cases where the person gets slammed at the church door arrested by the Holy Ghost who does not permit them to enter the sanctuary all and while church folk aint got a clue no more

    Its the old question can a Christian have a demon. Been tossed back and forth here for years.

    A lady, 6 months ago comes to church –
    The Holy Ghost slams her at the door – she never entered the church sanctuary. starts jerking – her husband says its seizure’s but it was clear it was a demon.
    she never shows up again. until months later – all dressed up – asks for the mic right off the bat to testify.
    Say’s she was oppressed not possessed because Christians cannot be possessed.
    but she could feel the demon spirit. She was always depressed. never wanted to come out of the house. for months.
    friends went to visit a week ago – prayed anointed her with olive oil – she has been saved for 30 years but never filled with the spirit FELT she was filled with the spirit right then.
    testified in church prayed for people laid hands jumped all over the place screamed at the alter saying revival has already come. should she be allowed to do that?

    • Paul L. King
      Reply September 14, 2019

      Paul L. King

      Demon, mental illness or both. I have seen them all. We had an incident in our church just a few weeks ago. A young man came in, was worshipping the Lord, hands raised, holding a Bible, then fell, hitting a table, then starting shouting the Lord’s Prayer, then as he was being escorted out of the church by a male nurse an an EMT in our congregation, he was shouting he was a prophet of God. An ambulance carried him off. Didn’t have opportunity to minister to him, but later found out he has some drug background and his brother died 6 weeks earlier, so it appeared to be a combination of drugs, psychotic break, and demonic.

    • Isara Mo
      Reply September 15, 2019

      Isara Mo

      Paul L. King
      There must have been such a presence of God to kind of ” arrest” the person.
      Most of the times we dont see what takes place in the spritual realm but we see this kinds of incidents and know the Lord is faithful to His promise of Mark 16:20…” the confirmation of His words..

  • Joe Absher
    Reply September 13, 2019

    Joe Absher

    Most church folks vote with their feet. So this is an important subject. But church growth is secondary to good order as you state. It must be very tough for a pastor at times waiting on God seeking deliverance for his people and encouraging personal growth. Such as it is.
    We all want the glory cloud and the shouts of hallelujah. Unfortunately more often than not its tears and heartaches and setbacks and slow work. I can’t fault the pastor anybody else. Some you have to take your hands off of things and put them in God’s hands. He will move quickly and decisively. But sometimes it seems we want what we want over wisdom grace and that meekness that God honors.

    I have to admit I’m often concerned for the condition of God’s house but if it shuts down the old man and enables that new man to wait and roll that care over on God its better.
    Since this is my second or third effort on this “case study” the best I can say is 1. Unless you’re pastor or elder its not your decision. 2. Unless you have a specific direction and instruction from God watch and pray. 3. God will make his will known in the matter if you seek him. 4. Anything you do will have consequences and are you able to bear that cost if you’re wrong. 5. Even if you’re still working with person 2,3,4,5 or twenty years from now and they enter the pearly gates? Worth it. 6. I’ve often said you can tell a lot about a man by the people God gives them to work with. He must have a lot if love and confidence in you. He must think you’ll get it right. Maybe I told you about the pastor won a man every week. Patiently went through the Bible verses and won that same man every week for months. That’s a gift. Not everybody can do that. 7. Ask yourself who or what is compelling me.
    And lastly when God judges be grateful. Even when the judgment falls on you. Its better to be judged in this life and find mercy than stand before him “awares”
    So I’ve tried to think this through hope it helps in some way.

  • Troy Day
    Reply September 14, 2019

    Troy Day

    Isara Mo nowhere to be found again on this one

    • Joe Absher
      Reply September 14, 2019

      Joe Absher

      – try one of your so called “doctors of divinity”

    • Isara Mo
      Reply September 15, 2019

      Isara Mo

      Troy Day
      Brother Troy so sorry for being late in class.
      Blessed be bother Joe and Doctor King for always keeping afloat such a very important subject…
      Warfare and church growth are intricably wooven…
      The 3 questions posted above and the case studies of Doc King and Brother Joe show that a person has a responsibilty for their own spritual.growth which is foundational for the whole church growth.In the process of personal growth fights” an own warfare…I think is a very important part of getting to a higher level of ” fighting” warfare OUT OF HIM..or battling the forces of evil in the spritual realm.
      A lifestyle of personal holiniess and divine knowledge and impartation of the same to other members would see the involvement of church in spritual warfare.
      Lifestyles only are not enough .There need to fight.There is cause to fight but as you have posted the question of HOW TO FIGHT remains elusive.
      We might have many many schemes and plans and “strategies warfare” teachings which are ” human.based or quasi spritual” which may have no effect at all against the kingdom.of darkness.
      So it boils down to the third question posted…Whither best GIFT?
      An overview of the Book of Acts of the Holy Spirit not of the apostles show that ALL SPRITUAL GIFTS ARE NEEDED…in the spritual warfare..and church growth..
      Yes a church CAN GROW without any shots fired ie without any spritual wars…There are many very many duch chiurches ..they are called mega churches.
      Human visions and goals and strategies has done this not THE HOLY SPIRIT(My opinion dont shoot me)I am talking of ” numbers” or membership.
      Church membership can be increased through human self effort but a genuine church of the living God is increased by the Holy Spirit Himself…
      So there is no singular gift which is neccesary for warfare but ALL the GIFTS..

  • Louise Cummings
    Reply September 14, 2019

    Louise Cummings

    I think that was great answers The Bible also tells us. If we like Wisdom , to ask. And he would give wisdom. Sometimes we just have to lean on God. Well all time we are to lean on God.

  • Troy Day
    Reply September 14, 2019

    Troy Day

    Joe Absher I am still wondering WHY Isara Mo is still NOT picking up this topic with us? Makes me wonder somewhat

    • Joe Absher
      Reply September 14, 2019

      Joe Absher

      Sorry i wouldn’t know.
      Maybe he don’t want to get roped into a no win situation. Where’s the leadership on this? Did revival break out or did it get killed. Will it “blow over?” was it a real deliverance?

    • Troy Day
      Reply September 15, 2019

      Troy Day

      Joe Absher is IS a NO win solution for the church

  • Isara Mo
    Reply September 15, 2019

    Isara Mo

    Good read

    • Troy Day
      Reply September 15, 2019

      Troy Day

      lets keep it real – what is your take on the demonized lady that wants to take over the church – case study by Joe Absher

    • Isara Mo
      Reply September 15, 2019

      Isara Mo

      Troy Day
      Joes case study didnt indicate the lady had ANY ILL MOTIVES and perhaps she didnt even know she had demons but by what happened at the door I might politely say the “things inside of her” ie the powers of darkness in her might have been very malicious such that God had to block her before she mixed herself with the congregation.
      Strong witches do have covers for themselves and only the Lord or the really annointed servants of God can arrest or expose such as these..
      Some demons are very smart and depart their victims when enter church and wait until.they leave church to re enter them.
      Possibly the lady in Joes case study didnt know they had reached the militarized zone..😁

    • Joe Absher
      Reply September 15, 2019

      Joe Absher

      Ministry in the raw.

    • Joe Absher
      Reply September 15, 2019

      Joe Absher

      Lots of men on the board of trustees try to take over the church of Jesus Christ. Its no less malicious or corrupt. Faulting a poor woman for acting out isn’t really my role.
      I think you can take it from here since you’ve apparently got a pony in this race

    • Troy Day
      Reply September 15, 2019

      Troy Day

      Isara Mo do you think the lady should be allowed to prophecy in church so soon? after being arrested by the Spirit

    • Isara Mo
      Reply September 15, 2019

      Isara Mo

      Troy Day
      The Gifts are in a person and if it is a genuine gift I dont think anyone can STOP the Holy Spirit from prophesying thru the lady..
      Prophecy is not activated by human will but by God..But you have sharp soldiers like Joe around with spirit if discermet so nothing can go.amiss.
      if she prophesies as a false prophetess, there would be a double arrest….sure
      Three years ago we were in a mid week service in a certain church.
      .We were about six people during the service and the pastor was leading us in praise and worship.
      We had a young girl barely sixteen who had accepted Jesus a week before and in the midst of our clapping hands in praise and worship the power of God came upon her mightly and she began to prophesy…
      So I dont think the church it is advisable to stop the lady from prophesying so soon as you say.. ..

    • Troy Day
      Reply September 15, 2019

      Troy Day

      Isara Mo but HOW are we sure IF the spirit was not dealt with in the congregation and NO one there could witness that it has been dealt it Do we take the prophecy as it comes? What if its false and misleading for the church ? Would you allow a demonized person to prophecy over you? Maybe Link Hudson can comment if prophecy is subject to human will or not

    • Isara Mo
      Reply September 16, 2019

      Isara Mo

      Troy Day
      You talk as if the congregation is the standard mark or the standard measurement.
      It is very possible that within.and in the congregation people have their own demons so the witnessing isnt human but of God.
      Because prophesy has become rare nowadays and ” mimickry” of the gift is welcomed with awe…wholly as it comes deception has become the norm.
      The hard thing in this gift is that if some goes from low gear(praying with understanding) then leaps to overdrive(praying in the spirit) the possibilty of most pro drivers taking the prophesy as it comes to be TRUE is very very great.
      As a result we have false and misleading prophecies in most cases not all and people get used to it and accept it…
      You need to be really bonkers to go to a person who is “prophesying” and interupt them…What if it is true God is speaking thru them?
      A continual observation of the person and their prophesies will eventually establish whether they are genuine or not.
      Nowadays some people are so used to false prophets and false prophecies such that it has become an ” addiction” to them.
      A service is not a service until ” papa” prophesies…
      I dont see such stuff in the Bible ..
      Arent false prophets demonised persons who prophesy over peoples lives Troy?
      I personally wouldnt allow a demonized person to prophesy over me but how can you know THEN that the person is demonized?
      Remember it Paul took time to recognize the slave girl.who was prophesying over them had a spirit of divination.
      That was just a slave girl giving correct information about the anointed men of God..
      What if it is an educated man clothed in a tux like Troy Day speaking in tongues?…esp if he has an accolage of Bible College to his name.?
      It is not easy to shift grain from wheat in this area of prophesy..unless you really have a genuine spirit of discernment.
      Jesus said you will know them by their fruit..It needs time to observe this that is why i said above that continual oberservation of the persons prophesying will establish if tgey are genuine or not..

    • Troy Day
      Reply September 17, 2019

      Troy Day

      Isara Mo the congregation seems to lack the understanding which Joe Absher has gain via practice

    • Joe Absher
      Reply September 17, 2019

      Joe Absher

      Dreams? Are you a doctor in a maternity ward or a butcher in the slaughterhouse?

  • Louise Cummings
    Reply September 16, 2019

    Louise Cummings

    Do we have a paragraph to point us in the right direction?

  • Troy Day
    Reply September 17, 2019

    Troy Day

    Isara Mo Joe Absher WHO called who moon now? Isara Mo I am re-reading your last batch of comments under this post Are you saying the women is FREE to prophecy in church by all means? I;d like to know your stance before commenting further

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