Fundamental Evangelistic Association
WHAT IS THE FASTEST GROWING religious movement in the world today? The Charismatic movement. What movement is attracting and deceiving more Christians within evangelical and fundamental churches than any other? The Charismatic movement.
What individual has exercised the greatest degree of influence in persuading non-charismatic evangelicals to accept the false teachings and practices of the Charismatic movement? John Wimber, founder of Vineyard Christian Fellowship and head of Vineyard Ministries International.
What supposedly evangelical theological seminary (founded by a fundamentalist) has become a springboard for the worldwide indoctrination of students, faculty members, pastors, missionaries, and key national leaders from many countries? Fuller Theological Seminary of Pasadena, California, founded by the late Dr. Charles E. Fuller. This dear brother's fundamental messages on the Old Fashioned Gospel Hour Broadcasts endeared him to thousands of faithful believers during his lifetime.
Who are the two most active and effective promoters of charismatic doctrines in non-charismatic evangelical groups today? John Wimber (already identified above) and his disciple, Dr. Peter Wagner who is professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission.
Why is this article necessary? Why do these men and the institutions they represent pose such a grave danger to all non-charismatic believers? The correct answer to these questions requires a careful consideration of the history of Pentecostalism which originated in 1901; the Charismatic movement which began in the 1960's; and the current infiltration of Pentecostal/charismatic errors and practices into evangelical and fundamental churches and groups under a new, different label. As this article will clearly reveal, this new, supposedly evangelical, non-charismatic approach is not only a dishonest way of promoting Pentecostal/charismatic teachings, but it is actually promoting some doctrines and practices which are so extreme that even some historic Pentecostal and charismatic people are repudiating and protesting even though most of their leaders either participate or remain passive and silent.
The preceding analysis is in no way the expression of a personal bias, but is fully supported by the writings and recorded messages of both John Wimber and Peter Wagner as well as others who have been; directly influenced by their teachings. Neither Wimber nor Wagner try to hide the doctrines they teach. However, they completely disarm evangelicals who are unfamiliar with their overall ministries by claiming that their only desire is to become more Biblical in their doctrine and practices. The truth is .d that they have become less Biblical. They have not only adopted many of the basic errors of the Pentecostal/charismatic movement-they have added error upon error.
Both Wimber and Wagner do admit to being part of a movement now often referred to as "The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit." What is this third wave? In Signs & Wonders Today, one of the many books written by Dr. Peter Wagner, he gives his own definition: "There is no question that a new and exciting era has come upon Christianity in the twentieth century. It started with the Pentecostal movement at the beginning of the century, a movement which continues to multiply under God's blessing. It was joined by the Charismatic movement soon after mid-century. And now in these latter decades the Spirit is moving in what some o f us like to call the third wave where we are seeing the miraculous works of God operating as they have been in the other movements in churches which have not been nor intend to be either Pentecostal or charismatic."
It is abundantly clear that all three of the so called waves of the Holy Spirit are moving in the same direction--the wrong direction!
From what basic roots did this new third wave movement grow? A careful review of books written by John Wimber and Peter Wagner reveal the amazing manner in which Wimber, an evangelical pragmatist, and Wagner, an evangelical scholar, influenced each other in the late 1970's and early 1980's On page XIX of the introduction in John Wimber' 1986 book, Power Evangelism, he tells how Wagner'; book, Look Out! The Pentecostals are Coming changed his own thinking. Wimber wrote:
"I had always avoided Pentecostal and charismatic Christians, in part because it seemed that often controversy and division surrounded their ministries. Also, my judgment of their ministries was colored by a presupposition that charismatic gifts like tongues, prophecy, and healing were not for today. (As a dispensationalist, I believed the charismatic gifts ceased at the end of the first century.) But in Dr. Wagner, I encountered a credible witness, an accomplished missionary and dean of Fuller Theological Seminary's School of World Mission, who wrote that healing and deliverance from evil spirits were happening in South America today. Further, he proved that these miraculous encounters resulted in large evangelistic harvests and church growth. His book forced me to reconsider my position on the charismatic gifts, though I was still skeptical of their validity today."
The following statements by Wimber in the same book on page xx are also very revealing with regard to the faulty doctrinal foundation upon which he constructed his theory of Power Evangelism and built the Vineyard Christian Fellowship. Now, these same unscriptural doctrines which caused a revolution in Wimber's theology are being spread around the world. Many are being deceived.
Wimber stated, "While my understanding and practice of evangelism, the Holy Spirit, and church growth were undergoing a revolution, I still lacked a biblical theology that integrated the three, a grid for understanding how they are supposed to work together and fulfill God's purpose on earth." Wimber then amazingly admits that "a solid, evangelical theology is the foundation on which all practice must stand," but sadly he chose the false theological foundation taught by Dr. Ladd. Wimber wrote: "I was already acquainted with Dr. George Eldon Ladd's writings (he was a Fuller Theological Seminary professor), but it was not until I read his book, Jesus and the Kingdom, that I realized how his work on the kingdom of God formed a theological basis for power evangelism."
On page XXI, Dr. Wimber continues his most revealing explanation of the theological revolution which was taking place in his own thinking: "So in 1978 I left the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth to become pastor of what is now called the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Anaheim, California. It was in this environment, a small group of fifty people, that "I first tested my theories of power evangelism." Note that John Wimber, the pragmatist, admits he was testing his theories, not expounding the Scriptures. Wimber continues this dangerous practice even to this day. He is continually trying to find out "what works" in the realm of healing, prophetic messages, casting out demons, etc., so that he can then teach it to others. Pragmatism is the exact opposite of faith. Pragmatism says, "If it works, I'll accept and believe it." Faith says, "What I accept and believe is based entirely upon God's written Word, the Bible."
In the concluding paragraph, John Wimber also reveals the unscriptural, ecumenical goals he envisions for his power evangelism theories. "In the final chapters I address the implications of power evangelism for conservative evangelicalism, Pentecostalism and the charismatic renewal in mainline denominations and the Roman Catholic Church. Though I write about power evangelism, the most powerful evangelism will come only when Jesus' prayer for Christian unity is fulfilled." The eventual unity of this incredible doctrinal diversity is a recurring theme found in the supposed prophecies coming out of the Third Wave. Could God possibly be the Author of any form of ecumenism where fidelity to the doctrinal Truth of the Word is abandoned? Absolutely not!
On the back cover of Peter Wagner's 1988 book, The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit, another very significant statement is made which documents the theological revolution through which he has come and the revolution he is continuing to fuel. We quote: "In The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit Wagner candidly recounts how God changed his mind and the minds of others around the world who were unable to grasp the connection between the kingdom of God and signs and wonders. Here Wagner describes the basic elements of the Third Wave and offers profound theological and biblical insights into the Spirit's work among us" Wimber wrote the forward to this book which closed with his full endorsement: "I highly recommend The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit if you want to learn how to fulfill the great commission in our generation."
Many of the leaders of all three supposed waves of the Holy Spirit have expressed the belief that the task of world evangelization in these last days can not be accomplished by the preaching of the Gospel unaccompanied by signs, wonders, miracles and healings. Such a view not only is a direct contradiction of the truth of Romans 1:16 but would also force the unthinkable, unscriptural conclusion that millions of people have been deprived of the full power of the gospel for nearly 2000 years. This supposed new or complete gospel is not the Gospel of the Bible!
No one can deny that the entire evangelical movement has been undergoing rapid and serious changes in recent years. This ever-weakening position is mainly due to three factors: (1) Compromise with ecumenical apostasy and Roman Catholicism (2) Acceptance and zealous promotion of the many modern Bible versions. (3) A changed attitude toward the false teachings of the Pentecostal/charismatic movement. The last two factors have also adversely affected many fundamentalists.
Note carefully John Wimber's comments as to the changes he observes in both evangelical and fundamental movements:
"The face of evangelicalism is changing and it is changing quickly. Fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals who are noncharismatic no longer can afford to ignore the first two waves of the Holy Spirit in this century. They are surrounded.... The fundamentalists, have insulated themselves from Pentecostals and charismatics. Most fundamentalists (though not all) stand outside of the first two great waves of the Holy Spirit, holding on to fifty-year old criticisms of Pentecostal excesses. As the move of the Holy Spirit grows around them, I believe many of them could become more vocal in their opposition to Pentecostals and charismatics, while some will be anointed and transformed.
The second group, the conservative evangelicals, is already beginning to show signs of being the object of a new wave, the Third Wave, of the Holy Spirit's work in this century. By conservative evangelicals I mean a subgrouping within evangelicalism that is noncharismatic but not necessarily anticharismatic. This is a group of which I was a part for many years." (From pages XXX and XXXI of the introduction written by John Wimber for the book, Power Encounters published in 1988 and edited by Kevin Springer, one of Wimber's closest associates).
One fact stands out very clearly. All three of the so-called waves of the Holy Spirit have done more than any other movement during this century to break down Biblical distinctions between truth and error, thus paving the way for the coming of the one-world harlot church of the Antichrist.
Before taking a closer look at some of the major heresies now being propagated by Wimber, Wagner and other third wave leaders, quotations from the book edited by Dr. Peter Wagner in 1987 titled Signs & Wonders Today with the subtitle, "The Story of Fuller Theological Seminary's Remarkable Course on Spiritual Power," are most enlightening:
"An accumulating body of missiological research is indicating that, worldwide, where the gospel is spreading most rapidly it is doing so with signs and wonders following. At the beginning of the decade of the '80's, I felt that God wanted me to concentrate on the relationship of supernatural signs and wonders to church growth during the decade. I am now amazed by what has been going on that I knew little about.
Evangelicals are changing. One thing that is surprising me is how open fellow evangelicals are to rethinking their position and opening themselves to new dimensions of God's power. Whenever I say this I need to avoid misunderstanding by making my position clear. I am not advocating that we all become Pentecostals or charismatics. I am a Congregationalist and do not intend to change. My belief is that God desires to work through all His people in powerful ways, leaving our denominational commitments intact.
It is now generally conceded that we are living in the time of the greatest harvest of souls the world has ever seen. Whether this indicates that the second coming of Christ is near, I do not know for sure, but it does seem like it. If it is true that the harvest is here and that signs and wonders constitute one of the dynamics which God is using for reaping that harvest, then God's people, no matter what their theological tradition should pay attention. And they are.
Many Pentecostals who have become somewhat nominal in their Pentecostal practices are now getting a new lease on life. Many non-Pentecostals are tuning into the 'third wave' and seeing God begin to use them in healings and deliverances. Traditional evangelical pastors are attending signs and wonders seminars led by John Wimber and others. Seminaries across the nation are taking seriously the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and introducing courses into their curricula which they would not have considered five or ten years ago. This book is the story of one of them, Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (pp. 23,24). "
Although many other examples which could be given to reveal the manner in which evangelical churches and groups have been infiltrated by Pentecostal and charismatic teachings, a statement made last year by another professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, Dr. Charles Kraft, is especially significant:
"But I am an evangelical and have been for nearly 50 years, and am real happy to report that the things that started happening in the-oh, the 60's or so in the charismatic movement are starting to happen now among evangelicals-and, among evangelicals who don't call ourselves anything else. I don't call myself a charismatic (some other people do), but I just like to call myself an evangelical who's a little more Biblical than I have been before. As Gary said, I teach at Fuller Seminary and so a lot of things I'll be talking about are things you wouldn't expect from a professor at Fuller Seminary."
One must not lose sight of the fact that although Wimber, Wagner, Kraft and other leaders of the third wave refuse the Pentecostal or charismatic label, their close participation with Pentecostal charismatic leaders in major rallies and conferences refute their non-charismatic claims and document their duplicity.
Although there are minor differences in doctrine and practice, it is important to recognize that Pentecostals, charismatics, and third wave evangelicals all believe that all the spiritual gifts bestowed upon the early church are valid and should be operational today. There is no recognition on the part of any of them that the revelatory gifts ceased with the completion of the canon of Scripture. As a result, all three so-called waves of the Holy Spirit leave themselves vulnerable to deception on the part of those today who claim direct word from God through professed "spiritual gifts" such as dreams, visions, tongues, interpretation of tongues, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, etc.
Early Pentecostals insisted that speaking in tongues always accompanied the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Emphasis upon that teaching lessened when the charismatic movement came on the scene and Roman Catholic influences increased. Today, Wimber, Wagner and other third wave leaders do speak in tongues but do not make it an evidence that a Christian has been filled with the Holy Spirit. Other differences in emphasis also exist, but the same dangerous doctrinal errors are common to all three waves.
We are glad to report that many who were originally attracted to the Charismatic movement have now separated from it. As they studied the Scriptures, they came to see just how cleverly they had been deceived. Many who were in bondage to the false teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, went into the Charismatic movement, not realizing that they were in a movement which is leading unsuspecting evangelicals back to Rome. Now they see that they have been twice deceived-first by Romanism and then by the charismatic heresies.
We are greatly concerned about what is happening in the Pentecostal/charismatic movement and especially now in the Power Evangelism/Signs and Wonders third wave movement. The teachings of all these movements strike at the very heart of the Bible and the Gospel. Wimber, Wagner and those who follow their false teachings repeatedly claim that they have discovered that God can speak as well as write.
As a result, although claiming the Bible as their authority, they place greater emphasis upon and spend much time in their meetings in the exercise of their supposed gifts of prophecy or word of knowledge. Their deceived followers hang upon every word as they listen to the messages supposedly received directly from God. Wimber, who claims to have the gifts of both prophecy and word of knowledge has been experimenting with these "gifts" for the past two years.
At the Indianapolis conference in 1990, Wimber told them, "It was amazing and astounding to me when I found out that God also could communicate outside of the Scripture and directly to His children-astounding to me-and I have been exploring that paradigm (model) now for a number of years trying to work out the ramifications of that and trying to gain, not only a theological understanding of God's ability to communicate, but a practical understanding so that it can be taught and trained in other people's lives."
John Wimber, the evangelical pragmatist, is always looking for things that work, rather than things which are taught in the written Word of God-the only rule for faith and practice. This is a very dangerous, unscriptural approach. In the providence of God, we have been able to closely follow the words and works of both Wimber and Wagner since their third wave movement was launched. In behalf of Foundation, I covered and wrote a full report on the Academic Symposium on Power Evangelism which was held at Fuller Seminary in December, 1988. It was at that meeting that Wimber recounted his search to find a model for a healing ministry in the church. Where did he look? He said, "We visited 'high' church models, liturgical models, sacramental models. We went to tent meetings and brush arbor meetings. We watched Pentecostals do it . . . We are still thinking, we are still looking at models and trying new things; and we are still training people."
Thinking, looking, searching, trying-does this sound like the gift of healing given to some in the early church? Incidentally, it was at this same meeting that Wagner introduced his theory of "territorial spirits," a new classification of evil spirits not found in the Bible nor in church history. When challenged by one of the scholars on his presentation, Wagner said the intention of his essay was "not to arrive at conclusions but rather to suggest hypotheses." "And," he said, "I trust that the tentativeness of my research will be evident throughout."
Beloved, when any one goes beyond the written Word of God, they are left with no certainties-only theories and tentative answers. All three supposed waves of the Holy Spirit cannot be other than manifestations of a false spirit.
When the Pentecostal movement came on the scene, the emphasis was upon the fact that the special power manifested in the lives of certain believers came as a result of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Tongues, prophecies, healings, etc., were gifts-not something to be learned. But, with the coming of the Charismatic movement and even more so in the Power Evangelism movement, the claim is made that the full use and exercise of these spiritual gifts can and must be taught and/or caught. In the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, Wimber is trying to teach many others how to heal, how to hear God's voice, how to prophesy, how to receive and communicate words of knowledge, etc. Wimber's false thesis is that the disciples not only heard Jesus' words but they learned how to do His works by being with Him, etc. From that false foundation, Wimber leaps to the false conclusions he teaches concerning the impartation and use of spiritual gifts today.
From January 28-31, 1991, John Wimber and his Vineyard Christian Fellowship held a big conference at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California with the theme "Revival Fire." We covered this meeting with FOUNDATION press credentials, and more information concerning the same will be forthcoming in future issues. So many significant things were said and done there that a more complete report will have to await a review of my notes and tapes of the messages. I can assure you, however, that I came away from that meeting, convinced that this third wave movement is even more deceptive than the previous two. I cannot recall ever having attended another conference through all these years which more deceptively mixed truth and error. Nor can I recall any previous meeting where it appeared that more people were blindly following unscriptural leadership. The Third Wave is captivated by the idea that in these end times, God is supposedly re-establishing the offices of prophet and apostle with the power and authority beyond anything experienced by even the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles.
God's people need to know how several pastors who claimed the special gift of prophecy and became known as the Kansas City Fellowship convinced John Wimber of their supernatural prophetic gifts and, subsequently, how they placed themselves under Wimber's tutelage when so many inconsistencies came to light as to their abuse of prophetic gifts The result is that these false prophets can continue their unscriptural ministries under the Wimber mantle which gives them "evangelical" status and supposed theological legitimacy. Now they can, together, spread their false teachings around the world
Wimber's Revival Fire conference in Anaheim revealed the manner in which false spirits are operating in the name of the Holy Spirit. All the main meetings began with the use of what is often mislabeled as "Christian Rock." Sometimes the music was deafening and produced all kinds of body gyrations on the part of many of those present. At other times, the beat would slow and the sound was reduced almost to a whisper. It obviously was possible to move in a matter of seconds from fleshly demonstration to supposed piety.
At various points in the service, usually near the end when the supposed gifts of the spirit were in operation, several people would begin sobbing loud and uncontrollably. At others times, some would break out in hysterical laughter. On several occasions, people would make animal noises and jump around on the floor. On such occasions, the leader usually John Wimber himself, would quietly say "That's all right-the Holy Spirit is at work." Finally he would shout out - "Come, Holy Spirit-Come," and he would command the Holy Spirit to help or heal and would command Satan to leave. One of the speakers said the Lord had revealed to him that there were a large number of those present who were practicing witchcraft and/or were drug users He invited those who wanted prayer for deliverance to stand up. A young woman who was seated directly in front of me and who had been participating in an apparent reverent manner in all the worship segments, stood up as a public acknowledgment of her sin. She began weeping as did many others in the audience as the speaker "bound Satan" and proclaimed deliverance. Yet, all or most of those present were supposedly already Christians and members of Vineyard Fellowship Churches.
Many contradictions are repeatedly found in the statements of leaders who claim the leading of the Holy Spirit. For instance, John Wimber spoke of the possibility of Christ's return at any moment. But, later he gave an invitation for childless couples to come forward for prayer, saying God had used him in the past to help many such couples have children. Many rushed forward; he prayed for them; then told them the children which would be born as a result of this special gift from the Lord would need special parental attention and care since God had told him that these children would see the coming of the Lord.
There was a great deal of talk at Anaheim about anointed preaching, teaching, praying, witnessing, etc., and special emphasis was given to anointed music. The obvious implication was that the Vineyard musicians were under God's anointing and that everyone must realize what an important part music would play in world evangelization. A well-known country singer sang and gave his testimony. He explained that through his anointed music he could bring the gospel into the bars and other places of worldly amusement where the gospel would not otherwise be tolerated or heard. He received high praise from Wimber, himself a jazz musician before his supposed conversion. Several times statements were made from the platform which I didn't fully understand until several days later. These statements were to the effect that 'we missed God's anointed music the first time He gave it and we must not make the same mistake when he restores that anointing." It wasn't until later that I discovered that this supposed original anointing of music and musicians involved the infamous Beatles.
Was the Beatles' music "anointed of God"? No discerning believer would have any hesitancy about answering such a question with a resounding, "No'!
But, believe it or not, one of the many new false prophets of our day recently claimed that both the Beatles and their new music were the result of; special anointing of the Holy Spirit; and, that although God had to withdraw that anointing from them when they later misused it, God is now looking for others upon whom He can place that anointing supposedly to bring about a worldwide revival through music.
The false prophet who made this astounding claim is James Ryle, one of the growing number of supposed modern prophets associated with John Wimber and his Vineyard Christian Fellowship. Ryle claims that he was instructed by God to give these new "revelations" to the church. The following in formation and excerpts are from a tape recording of Ryle's self-proclaimed revelations given publicly last November at the Harvest Conference in Denver Colorado:
"The Lord has appointed me as a lookout and shown me some things that I want to show you and tell you . . . The Lord spoke to me and said What you saw in the Beatles-the gifting and the sound that they had-was from Me. It did not belong to them. It was my purpose to bring forth through music a worldwide revival that would usher in the move of my Spirit in bringing men and women to Christ ... Now, I'm looking for those who I can place that anointing back upon. And, as surely as I place it upon them, they will come forth with a sound that is distinctive that will turn the hearts of men and women and capture their hearts."
Then, referring to a notable telecast of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show years ago, Ryle said "Do you remember when the camera went off the Beatles into that balcony? . . . Do you remember the people pulling their hair and screaming? Do you remember what they were screaming?-John, Paul George & Ringo! Do you know I saw in a vision this same balcony scene again. I saw the same emotion, the same devotion. I saw the same earnestness on the faces of the people sitting there; but, this time they weren't screaming-John, Paul, George and Ringo-this time they were screaming one name, Jesus,-that's what they were doing. There's a sound coming forth-an anointing upon music that, when those in our midst who are musically gifted begin to employ their talents in the anointing of the Lord, an awesome move of the Spirit of God is going to happen and countless multitudes are going to be thrust into the loving embrace of the Lord Jesus...."
Ryle's statements clearly reveal the Satanic delusions under which he and other so-called modern prophets are ministering. John Wimber and others associated with him in the Vineyard Christian Fellowship are deceiving themselves as well as others. 2 Timothy 3:13-17. The Beatles and their music were clearly of the devil and so is Ryle's false prophecy that millions will be saved through a re-introduction of the "anointed music" originally given through the Beatles. Such a prophecy could not possibly have been from the Holy Spirit!
One of the main teachers at the Revival Fire Conference was Dr. Jack Deere who has become a key figure in the Vineyard ministry. He formerly was a faculty member for 12 years at Dallas Theological Seminary and, along with Dr. Peter Wagner, is one of the top theological leaders of the Power Evangelism movement. However, when you read the following report of what Deere had to say concerning his understanding of the Gospel, you will be shocked as we were.
Deere's remarks were made during a visit of Wimber and his team to Sydney, Australia as reported in the April, 1990 issue of The Briefing. a publication of St. Matthias Press in London, England. During a question and answer session following one of the seminars taught by Deere, he was asked, "What is the Gospel?" Since his answer seemed vague and evasive, a man by the name of Graham Banister questioned Deere further on this matter in a personal interview afterward. We quote his report:
"Let me briefly explain the background to this interview. The Thursday workshop provided a time for questions and during this time I challenged some of Dr. Deere's teaching. In the ensuing dialogue, he asked me what I thought the gospel was. I replied that it was about Jesus Christ who died for our sins and was buried and raised on the third day and that it is this gospel by which we are saved (1 Cor.15). His reply was that this was not the gospel. Somewhat confused, I decided to take up the matter at a future time, hence the following revealing interview.
After introducing myself, I said to Dr. Jack Deere, 'I wonder if you might tell me why you felt my explanation of the gospel was defective yesterday?' To which he replied, 'I'm not really very prepared to talk about that.'
I must admit that I was a little surprised at this initial response, considering he had just finished speaking to five and a half thousand people on false teachers. Added to this was the fact that two days earlier he had informed us of the many ancient languages in which he had become proficient in order to fully understand the Bible. I wouldn't have thought some one with such impressive credentials would need to do all that much preparation for a friendly discussion on the content of the gospel.
Given his lack of preparation, I then asked, 'Well, just off the top of your head, what do you think the gospel is?' Jack Deere replied, 'I'm not prepared to make a formal statement about that.' . . . My next question was, 'Could you perhaps tell me informally what you believe to be the gospel?' Jack Deere answered, 'I'm not sure.' Somewhat stunned, I said, 'I find that quite surprising-that you are not sure what the gospel is.'
Jack Deere then commented, 'I used to be just like you . . . thinking the gospel was simply justification by faith.' I responded, 'Are you saying that the gospel is more than justification by faith?' 'Yes,' he said. 'What would you add to it?' I asked. 'Deliverance,' he said. Then I asked, 'What do you mean by Deliverance?' He explained, 'Things like demons and healing and ....'
Pausing for a deep breath, I said, 'So, let me get this straight. You would add as an essential part of the gospel things like the exorcising of demons and healing?' He nodded. 'Sort of like what John Wimber was saying last night at the evangelistic rally that it's the complete package-the word and the works of Jesus?' 'Yes,' he said. 'But you're not sure exactly what should be included?' I asked. 'No,' he said, 'not yet.'
Not sure of what to say next, I asked, 'Would it be fair to say that you're in a state of flux since you joined the Wimber thing?' He quickly responded, 'We're always in a state of flux-you are too ....' 'But on the gospel message?' I said. 'Surely that's one thing we should have worked out ... Don't you think we can reduce the gospel to some sort of summary statement like Paul does in say 1 Corinthians 1 and 2 or 1 Corinthians 15 or 1 Thessalonians 4 or Romans 5 or...' There was no response except a shrug of the shoulders.
Continuing to be amazed, I said, 'Are you saying that you couldn't go back into that pavilion and tell those people the gospel?' He replied, 'No not yet.' I responded, 'When do you think you could do it?' And he said, 'maybe five years, maybe ten....'
After this we chattered on about a few other things but I remained stunned that one of the leading minds, if not the leading theological mind in the Signs and Wonders Movement, did not know what was the gospel."
How could any true believer not be stunned by such statements? But, John Wimber and other power evangelism leaders apparently were not stunned nor even concerned. Why? It appears that this power evangelism third wave movement has spent so much time trying to hear God speak (prophetic messages) that they are ignoring what God has written (the Bible).
When Pentecostalism (the first wave of the Spirit) declined in influence, it was rejuvenated by the Charismatic movement (the second wave.) When it was rocked by the Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart scandals and appeared to be on the down grade, along came Wimber and Wagner with the so-called third wave of the Spirit. With their seemingly more evangelical approach (but with the same false teachings of the Pentecostals and charismatics) multitudes are being taken-in who would have had nothing to do with the first two "waves"; even fundamental churches are noticing a sinister pull on their people-Believers, beware!
[By M.H. Reynolds, reprinted from
FOUNDATION magazine, Vol. XII, Issue 1]Fundamental Evangelistic Association
P. O. Box 6278-Los Osos, California 93412