Abstract: The Transformations doctrine is further promoted in South Africa and raises false hopes of revival based on ecumenical demonstrations of unity. A true revival cannot be achieved in this way.
In the light of the tremendous spiritual and moral decline of our time it is imperative that true Christians should be involved in an opposite process of increased holiness and dedication to the Lord. The result of this move will be greater spiritual polarization in society since there is also a rising tide of sin and iniquity in the end-time:"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; en my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Rev. 22:11-12).
Christians who are not perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7:1) are in danger of being pulled down by a degenerating world: "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Mt. 24:12). The Lord Jesus calls these spiritually cold and depraved people to repentance and rededication:"I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence though art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Rev. 2:4-5).
The congregation in Ephesus did not heed this warning and lost their candlestick. Spiritual darkness prevailed because of their backslidden nature and they eventually disintegrated and closed the doors of their church. The reason for their spiritual decline was the false teachings that were introduced by their elders. They ignored all warnings and accepted the "new teachings" to their own detriment and ruin:"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:28-30).
We find ourselves in the same situation: many false prophets have gone out into the world and are deceiving many people. The doctrinal falling away in [formerly] evangelical churches has progressed far because they listen to various forms of deception by false prophets.
We will now review five aspects of the current Transformations revival, which is spreading fast in South Africa.
1. Revival through unity
Churches are called together for joint actions by first convincing the local pastors to come together and join forces for the spiritual transformation of society and to pray against demonic strongholds in their town, city, province or country. From this ecumenical forum mass meetings are arranged for church members, which may take the form of street marches, meetings in sport stadiums or ecumenical prayer meetings to pray about their common problems.
The idea is generally propagated that Christian unity is a precondition for revival in a particular area. Ecumenical ties are also fostered in local congregations by exchanging pastors – even among [reformed] Protestant and Roman Catholic congregations! In this way bridges of unity are built between estranged sections of "the body of Christ!"
2. Redemption through spiritual warfare
Strategic spiritual warfare in ecumenical mass meetings, in prayer meetings and in prayer walks is practiced as a redemptive act. On these occasions the predetermined demonic strongholds and control by territorial spirits are broken down and the areas or cities taken over on behalf of the kingdom of God. The devil is driven away and his strongholds cast down. These strongholds have allegedly been established where people worshipped foreign gods, committed immoral acts such as prostitution and gambling, instituted oppressive ideologies, and also on historic battlefields where they killed one another and consequently gave rise to hostile feelings, racial intolerance and the despising of other groups. In various places in the country evil strongholds of this nature have been identified by way of spiritual mapping. They must now be broken.
After the victory has been gained through spiritual warfare, gatekeepers are appointed to guard the various access roads to towns, cities and the entire country against the re-entrance of evil influences. Fort his purpose people pray on the roads, at harbors and airports to keep evil spirits from entering again and contaminating the liberated areas.
Some people also practice this "spiritual security service" at their homes. The doors and windows are anointed with oil while the inhabitants pray against any invasion by enemy forces.
When the strongholds in a country have been cast down, praise marches are organized, as well as public worship services at the same time, to rededicate the liberated country to the Lord. Through this act the remaining strongholds will be broken and God's millennium will dawn for us. This strategy will also be followed in neighboring countries.
3. A cleansing strategy for South Africa
Since February 2001 the office of NUPSA in South Africa (dr. Bennie Mostert's Network for United Prayer in Southern Africa) was busy with countrywide preparations for a project called "Cleansing South Africa." Representatives and teams from every town and city were trained to participate in a program for the national repentance and cleansing of the land.
From 6 to 18 August individuals and groups repented from the sin of bloodguilt. These are bonds that were allegedly placed on them by their ancestors who committed certain sins or entered into covenants with the spirit world by worshipping the spirits and practising witchcraft. On 20 to 26 August 2001, sins of immorality were confessed and forsaken on behalf of entire communities. Broken covenants with God were confessed from 27 August to 2 September and idolatry from 3 to 22 September. After all sins have been confessed, services of national repentance were held countrywide in participating churches.
After the national repentance, 40 days of the dedication to God of our cities, towns, townships and rural areas was done. Prayer walks were organized on streets, highways and district roads to dedicate our schools, businesses, parks, etc. to the Lord. On 3 November 2001 a national gathering was held of at least two representatives from every city, town and rural area to dedicate the whole South Africa to the Lord. On Sunday 4 November worship services were conducted in churches throughout the country. The country was then (supposedly) redeemed from the Evil One, cleansed from all filthiness and dedicated to God.
In the past, cleansing exercises of this nature were embarked upon. In 1999, the migration routes of the first inhabitants of South Africa, the San Bushmen, were followed to pray and repent form the covenants that they made with the spirit world. Through their worship of the spirits they allegedly established a stronghold of idolatry in this land, which influences and blinds all the successive generations. This stronghold must now be pulled down and replaced by the worship of the true God.
As part of the repentance from the Bushmen's ancestor worship, prayers were said at rock-paintings in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia. God was asked to forever silence the voices of the ancestor spirits at these rock-paintings by virtue of the atonement of Jesus, and to make these rocks His footstool (Heb. 10:13). In this way, a land must be healed that was associated with the spirit-world by its first inhabitants. The dark powers that were invited by the San Bushmen must be removed and replaced by the service of the only true God. In a similar way, God must be asked to break the bonds of ancestor worship and witchcraft that were introduced by the black cultures, that people may be able to see the light.
4. Leadership through prophets and apostles
The new, ecumenical style of worship that flows from this "revival" will contribute toward the breaking of barriers among denominations. In this way, C. Peter Wagner's "post-denominational church" of the 21st century will be founded. This church will predominantly be Word of Faith oriented and based upon the teachings of "prophets" such as E.W. Kenyon, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Rick Joyner, Bennie Hinn, John Wimber, George Otis, Bill Hamon, Ted Haggard, Cindy Jacobs, Paul Cain and Mike Bickle.
The revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as signs and wonders, will function strongly; consequently prophets will emerge to give doctrinal leadership to the church and to guide congregations in deliverance ministries, spiritual warfare, worship and evangelization. Apostles will function under their leadership, who will give directives to pastors and evangelists.
An increasing number of colleges, theological seminaries and even university faculties train people in this new style of worship and spiritual warfare. The emphasis is on short courses of mostly a year, to produce enough leaders who can be used operationally to spread the new teachings.
The Theologos University is operated from Kempton Park and offers a one-year Certificate in Christian Counseling and Ministry. They have full-time, part-time and correspondence classes supplemented by seminars and video training. The University is under the leadership of Dr. Sarel van der Merwe, and its doctrinal approach corresponds with that of NUPSA. The diploma course is composed of the following six modules: (1) Spirit Dynamic Life, (2) Emotional Healing, (3) Spiritual Warfare, Demonology and Deliverance, (4) Physical Healing, (5) Marriage Enrichment, and (6) Counseling Techniques and Prayer Therapy. They have various prescribed books, among which are works by Ray McCauly, Dirkie van der Spuy, Wilfred Kent, Peter Wagner, Bennie Mostert, Neil Gibson and Kenneth Hagin. Hagin is a well-know World of Faith teacher.
Everywhere in the world there is great haste to train enough counselors and evangelists for the present transitional phase. According to a prophecy by Wagner's "Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders" the church in the world will be in a transitional phase between 2000 and 2003. According to them, it is imperative that a governing body of apostles be established by 2003 in as many cities as possible to be ready for the great transformations that God wants to release.
5. Christian reforms in the community
By the end of 2003, extensive Christian reforms will be evident in the world. Many societies will have been transformed and Christians will occupy key positions in society. Intensive spiritual warfare is conducted now to expedite the process of deliverance. A person who plays a leading role in America is Dr. Cindy Jacobs, the president of Generals, an organization aimed at coordinating prayer and spiritual warfare. Their aim is to restore the Lord's foundation, walls and gates in 105 countries (Is. 55–62). Cindy has been credited with the "Third Day Church Revelation". She cites all the things that happened on the third day in the Bible and believes the church is living in the third day because we are moving into the third millennium. She had this revelation because 2 Peter 3:8 it says that a thousand years is as a day to the Lord.
Cindy is closely associated with the Word of Faith revival from which the Toronto, Brownsville and Pensacola movements of holy laughter and new wine meetings (being drunk in the spirit) evolved. She published a long prophecy about the future of Canada.
The future course of the church will not be determined by the Bible, but by the guidance of prophets who will claim to have received their messages directly from the Holy Spirit. Meetings will be strongly charismatic, being dominated by signs, wonders and revelatory gifts. A central hierarchy of spiritual leaders will occupy a position of supremacy over the church on earth, and nobody will dare to oppose them. In the new world that they are creating now, man will be the master of his own destiny.
The above-mentioned five key aspects of the spiritual transformation process that are presently followed in the world, must be evaluated in terms of God's Word to test the spirits which are behind them. When we thus judge these new teachings it soon becomes evident that we are confronted with a clever plan of deception aimed at perverting evangelical churches. Biblical comments are made under the same five headings quoted above:
1. Revival through unity?
What kind of unity does Wagner, Otis and their followers have in mind? Does it comply with the criteria for Biblical unity, or does it deny these principles?
In His highpriestly prayer Jesus asked: "that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee" (Jn. 17:21). The unity which Jesus envisioned for His followers has its analogy in the unity of the Godhead: unity of purpose, unity of activity, and unity of character. Bu it must be more than unity within the group; that would create its own fluctuating, and eventually deteriorating, standard. It must be a unity with God the Father and God the Son. Otherwise it would be a false unity, for of itself unity is not a virtue unless it centers in a worthy norm. This prayer for unity has been used as a strong argument for the uniting on churches in the interest of ecumenicity, without complying with the high standards that the Bible sets for unity. Many church leaders only propagate structural unity without a clear theological definition of unity. That was not the purpose with the prayer of Jesus. True Christian unity must be founded on the confession of the divinity of Jesus Christ, the sufficiency of His work of atonement, and also on the holiness that God expects of His disciples. This implies unity on the doctrines of justification and sanctification, in the same way as the early church that continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine (Acts 2:42).
Doctrinal unity, and therefore unity of purpose, unity of activity, and unity of character, has since the days of the early church not prevailed among all Christians. It is a futile exercise to try and promote it now by way of ecumenical prayer meetings and mass meetings. The doctrinal differences among ecumenical groups are so big that they are irreconcilable. They have no doctrinal integrity. Their unity is a false unity, which only opens the door to greater spiritual deception. They do not move closer to the pure Biblical doctrine, but become further removed from it as they determine their own standards and objectives for a man-made revival.
There is only one way to promote the Christian unity, brotherhood and love of which the Lord Jesus speaks, and that is to conduct doctrinally sound evangelistic campaigns. There, people will be called out of darkness into God's marvelous light and be born again. As new persons they will experience the wonderful spiritual bond and brotherly love with fellow Christians, and continue to proclaim the message of salvation in the community.
Ecumenical mass meetings are not the ideal places for true evangelistic work, as the horizontal bond among people receives stronger emphasis than the individual's vertical relationship with God. At such gatherings it is also highly unlikely that all people will agree on the evangelical doctrines of salvation and holiness; consequently the foundation of their spiritual solidarity will be questionable. In order not to offend others, all present will be regarded as born-again Christians – which may not be the case at all!
2. Redemption through spiritual warfare?
It is a completely unbiblical practice to drive demons from their strongholds over towns, cities and countries. The domain of demons and evil spirits is in the air. They are called the rulers of the darkness of this age [or dispensation] (Eph. 6:12). Jesus called Satan the prince of this world (Jn. 14:30), and John said that the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one (1 Jn. 5:19). Paul says that Satan is the god of this world who blinded the minds of men (2 Cor. 4:4). That is the reason why people, as individuals, must be delivered from this present evil world (Gal. 1:4).
We are not in a position of authority in the present, godless world as we are strangers and pilgrims (1 Pet. 2:11). We must shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, and enter the kingdom of God through many tribulations. We are not instructed to embark on conquering expeditions against towns, cities and countries – we must put on the armor of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and his deceiving spirits. Our battle against the enemy of our souls, as well as the present spiritual darkness, will continue and even increase in intensity until the Lord comes to take us away.
It is fallacious to extend the hope to people that now, after the world has been in the sway of the devil for almost 2000 years, whole communities can become Christian, Satan's control and influence over territories can be broken, and that sin, crime idolatry and other evils can suddenly vanish from society. Only the reconstructionists, kingdom-now and dominion theology proponents live in this imaginary world.
The Lord never instructed His disciples to arrange prayer walks to deliver their city or town from the power of Satan. The early disciples definitely did not do this when they were persecuted in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1); neither can we do it today. It is also of no avail to do prayer walks in Turkey in the hope that the strongholds of Islam will fall in that country. Muslims must be evangelized and won for Christ – one by one, or in small groups who respond to the gospel message. It is good to pray for missionary work in heathen countries, but we can do that at our own homes or home congregations. We do not have to practice strategic spiritual warfare in other countries by walking around and praying until the strongholds of Satan have fallen. In this way we will never win souls for Jesus.
Forget about the model for spiritual warfare advanced by George Otis and Peter Wagner. Continue with evangelistic outreaches in order that people [not territories] may be delivered from their sin and the works of the devil is broken in their lives. The result of such actions will be that society will increasingly polarize as the works of light and the works of darkness are incompatible (Eph. 5:11).
Many of the congregations in South Africa are seriously divided on the issue of spiritual warfare as this teaching has been actively proclaimed for a few years. The following is a translated excerpt from an article published by a women's quarterly magazine of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Free State in November 1998:"Spiritual warfare is a matter that receives much attention in our time. Courses and seminars on the subject are offered everywhere, and believers are flocking to these controversial but adventurous occasions. There seems to be no point of saturation. Theological candidate Johan Cilliers acquainted himself well on this topic and says the following about it: "So-called spiritual warfare had its origin in the charismatic churches. One of the foremost proponents of this doctrine, Peter Wagner, has published various books on this subject. He also offers spiritual warfare bootcamps to believers to equip them practically for the war against Satan. This method originated in deliverance ministries where authority over Satan is assigned to Christians in terms of the interpretation of Scriptures such as Ephesians 2 and 6. “Researchers and missionaries expressed the need that concerted efforts should be made to drive evil forces from cities and other strategic places. Various techniques were proposed and also applied to places like the Bermuda Triangle. The latter area is notorious for the many ships and aircraft that vanished there through the years without a trace. After missionaries conducted spiritual warfare there, the problem ceased. Experience, rather than doctrine, dictates people's views on this subject. “In South Africa, people such as Dr. Bennie Mostert introduced the whole spiritual warfare paradigm to believers. He says that he borrowed many of his concepts from charismatic churches as reformed theology has nothing to say about it. “Aspects such as territorial demons, the binding and unbinding of Satan's works, the rebuking of Satan, exorcising, spiritual warfare through prayer, spiritual mapping, prayer walks and power encounters, to name but a few, were emphasized. All these concepts are defended from the Bible and the belief is entertained that God revealed them to His church in the last days. That is why experience, visions, dreams, etc., have the final say. “Through their seminars, Bennie Mostert and others traveled through the whole country to disseminate the 'new information' to believers and to mobilize them for war. Everything is done in the name of prayer in order not to create the impression that they are preoccupied with the devil. The reason why I express myself so strongly is because I was involved with these seminars and witnessed the effect that they have. “It is interesting to note how a person can be indoctrinated by these teachings. The new ideas are described as something from heaven, while old convictions that refute them are summarily rejected and branded as unchristian. Mechanisms are also used to promote increased suggestiveness, resulting in strange ideas being accepted without critically evaluating them. “The spiritual battle is narrowed and Satan is mentioned as the only object in the war. However, the world and the sinful nature of man are also objects and enemies in the battle. Our instruction in the handling of Satan is to resist him, steadfast in the faith (Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9). Nowhere any mention is made of an authoritarian approach. The believer stands in the shade of his King as he prays in the name of Jesus Christ to God. He does not have personal authority but the authority of the victory in Christ. We remain humble and dependent on Jesus Christ, and therefore we pray to God to rebuke the devil (Zech. 3:2; Jude 1:9).”
3. A cleansing strategy for South Africa?
The Lord Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil in people's lives (1 Jn. 3:8). He delivers us from the Evil One and destroys his strongholds of sin in our lives when we are saved and sanctified. We must be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, and have no need of people practicing spiritual warfare in our town or city, or that inner healing is done for us to eradicate the curses that our forefathers have placed on us. If the Son has made you free, you will be free indeed – irrespective what your background is or how depraved your life is.
There is no evidence in the Bible that the people of this land are subjected to bonds and strongholds because of the spirit worship and witchcraft that was practiced by the ancestors of the Bushmen and the black people. Neither are we influenced by any bloodline curses because of the sins of our forefathers – unless we condone these sins in our hearts and continue them. Even then, we are only guilty of our own sins. Every person, also the blacks and the 'red' people, only need to confess his or her own sins and sinful nature to the Lord and He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9). He will remove our transgressions from us as far the east is removed from the west. We do not need to address demonic strongholds in the air by trying to pull them down and break their power.
In Christ, the devil is a defeated foe, but in the majority of unsaved people he is still the god of this world who blinds the senses of people (2 Cor. 4:4). These people love darkness more than the light because their works are evil (Jn. 3:19). In the war against the Evil One it is not territories, cities or towns that must be delivered from his power, but individual people who were slaves of sin. To them there is salvation in the name of Jesus.
According to the Bible, only a minority of people are saved (Mt. 7:13-14). For this reason, from a majority point of view, the world remains in the sway of the devil. This situation will prevail until the second coming of Christ, when the Antichrist, the false prophet and all their deceived accomplices will be condemned and destroyed (Rev. 19:19-21) while Satan who deceived the nations, will be cast into the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1-3). For the present, the battle continues and we must put on the full armor of God that we can stand against the wiles of the devil.
We should not be discouraged by the fact that iniquity and lawlessness will abound as we approach the end of this dispensation. The kingdom of Satan is preparing to reveal Antichrist as a world leader. He will be given power over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. He will also persecute the Christians and cause them to die as martyrs (Rev. 13:7).
Face these realities and stand firm in the Lord until He comes to take us away! The Bible says: "Neither give place to the devil" (Eph. 4:27). You should not give him any place in your life. You have no instruction to do 'gatekeeping' to keep the devil from your city or country! Rebecca Brown anointed the doors and windows of her house to keep the devils out. When they did enter to deceive a woman who was delivered, Rebecca said that she forgot to anoint the roof. According to her, the devil then entered through the roof! We must guard our hearts and lives against the devil and take our refuge with the Lord.
4. Leadership through prophets and apostles?
We must accept the full council of God in the Bible and refuse any extra-Biblical revelations through prophets, apostles, dreams, visions, tongues, voices, brainwaves or telepathic messages that we may receive. Do not abandon your freedom in Christ by exposing yourself to the guidance of prophets. This is a sure recipe for deception. Should anyone bring a message that contradicts the Bible in any way, he must be accursed (Gal. 1:8-9). Be steadfast and immovable upon the Rock Jesus Christ and resist the false prophets (Acts 20:29-30; 1 Jn. 4:1).
There are presently many false prophets in the world that give directives to their apostles. In terms of these revelations the apostles guide the preachers and evangelists who accept their authority.
5. Christian reforms in the community?
Radical Christian reforms will only be introduced to the whole world community after the second coming of Jesus. The devil will then be bound, incarcerated in the pit and therefore unable to deceive the nations (Rev. 20:13). Jerusalem will be the capital city of the world and the saints will rule with Christ in the world (Rev. 20:4). "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart" (Jer. 3:17). "…for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Is. 2:3-4).
The reforms that the reconstructionists and the kingdom-now teachers would like to see taking effect in the church age are, according to the Bible, only meant for the dispensation of the kingdom after the King has come! All human efforts to change the nature of the present dispensation contrary to the counsel of God by removing the devil from his domain and binding him, is based on human ideas and doomed to failure and disillusionment.
We can defeat the devil in our lives through the grace of the Lord, and help many other people to be plucked like brands from the fire. We live in the great apostasy of the last days and should, through the power of the Holy Spirit, be the light of a dark world and the salt of a corrupt earth.
A wrong concept of sin
Rev. Guy Thornton said: "At the root of every heresy, be it ancient or modern, is to be discovered an inadequate conception of what sin really is." This also applies to the transformations and spiritual warfare revival. Sin is not explicitly related to the sinful nature of humans that must be changed through regeneration and sanctification, but to the influence of territorial demons, demon-possessions of saved and unsaved people, bloodguilt due to the covenants of the forefathers with the spirit-world, and also demonic bondage on a land because of the sins committed by the members of previous generations. The solution to these sins is purification rituals based on Wagner and Otis' ideas of ground-level, occult-level and strategic level spiritual warfare. In this way, evil strongholds are broken while individuals experience an occult form of inner healing by being delivered from curses and ties of bondage inherited from their ancestors.
The Bible does not teach this futile spiritual "therapy." Every person must confess his or her sins to the Lord, irrespective of what is done in the rest of the land, and regardless of what his/her ancestors did. The Lord will then break the bonds of sin in that person's life and set him or her free. It is the obligation of the saved person to witness in society so that other people can also be saved and sanctified. Everyone is accountable to the Lord for his or her own sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us all the sins that we confessed and forsook, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Answer to the Critics
Since the distribution of our first article on the transformations revival, a small number of negative reactions were received. However, the vast majority of readers strongly appreciated the exposure of this form of deception. For the sake of those who do not fully realize the dangers inherent in this doctrine, this second article has been written.
Research for this article was done from credible sources, which are accessible on the internet to anyone who wishes to verify them. Our evaluation of the transformations movement concurs with that of well-known evangelical researchers such as Dave Hunt and Bill Randles of the USA, as well as various other fundamentalist writers and analysts.
A few negative reactions came from people in Cape Town, who deny that the mass meeting on the Newlands rugby stadium had anything to do with the transformations movement initiated by George Otis Jr. and C. Peter Wagner. This statement refutes the true facts of the matter and needs to be tested.
Every visitor to the Newlands meeting was, at the gates, presented with a copy of a special edition of the Today Magazine. On page 2 the program of the meeting is reflected. The item at 13h20 was a video excerpt from the newly released Transformations 2 video that was produced by the Sentinel group of George Otis.
On page 8-10 is an article, "The road to community transformation" by George Otis. In this article he says, among other satements, the following about strategic spiritual warfare:“Beachheads are small plots of ground (often a beach) that serve as stage areas for invading military forces. Because of their strategic potential, defending armies will fight vigorously to prevent them from being established. Beachheads can also be established in the spiritual dimension. Like their counterparts… they serve as strategic areas in which intercessors and evangelists can amass sufficient strength to launch breakthrough assaults on enemy strongholds… “Where believers are united in their desire to see a community transformed by the power of God, spiritual mapping can provide the kind of revelatory focus that sustains fervent and effectual prayer. When this intelligence is carried into spiritual warfare, God provides an ‘open door’ for ministry.”
On page 43 of the magazine distributed at Newlands, is a book review by George Otis. He discusses the book City Reaching by Jack Dennison and emphasizes the ecumenical objective of this book as follows: "This book also champions the concept of the city church." That is Wagner's post-denominational church that must be established in many countries of the world during the next 2½ years!
The Newlands magazine also has an article by C. Peter Wagner about the 'prayer cave' in Kiambu, Kenya. In this article he emphasizes the critical importance of spiritual mapping and spiritual warfare against enemy strongholds as preconditions for the type of revival proposed by him and Otis: “Thomas was no stranger to the devices of Satan. He was an experienced intercessor and in his evangelistic work he had confronted the enemy in power encounters on a variety of levels. He had learned that the devil assigns certain specific demons over towns, cities and nations, as well as families.”
The magazine also carries an article by Graham Power who was one of the major sponsors of this ecumenical meeting. He was also one of the sponsors for the meeting of the Parliament of the World's Religions in Cape Town in December 1999. On page 42 of the magazine an address is mentioned where the Cape Town Transformation video can be ordered.
The strong theological influence of George Otis on the two transformations videos, his book on spiritual warfare, the articles that he wrote, the activities of his Sentinel group, as well as his world-wide tours to promote city transformations, have clearly also impacted the Cape Town transformation action. To deny this fact is an irrational act which ignores all the facts about the matter.
Deception by Otis
We must thoroughly examine the origins of the transformations revival, for if the roots are rotten, the fruit will also be rotten to their core. They may appear good from the outside but that is deceptive. In the previous article (Otis, Wagner and the transformations revival) we offered quotations from the theology of Otis which indicate that he completely denies that Christ bought us through His atoning death by paying the ransom for our sins. According to him, God is not vindictive and bloodthirsty. He forgives our sins because of His forgiving nature – not because Jesus died in our place.
This is a critically important matter about which no ignorance or misapprehension can be afforded. A revival can definitely not be built on a false foundation! Because of the seriousness of the matter we further investigated the theology of Otis and present the material in the article: George Otis and his Fallacious Teachings.
No Christian church or organization can associate with a plan for revival that was conceptualized and set up by Otis. It is not enough to only refrain from proclaiming his theological deception – his transformations videos and books must also be rejected as false and avoided. If that is not done, as now in South Africa, various aspects of the theological and methodological deception of Otis and Wagner will sneak in.
The primary deception of the Transformations movement is that the establishing of ecumenical unity, coupled with strategic spiritual warfare against demonic strongholds in society, will lead to a spiritual revival, prosperity, and a drastic decrease in crime, violence, divorces, poverty and the adherence to anti-Christian ideologies. We as humans can, therefore, accept a formula and institute a plan for positive community transformation. We have the ability to make it happen.
Denial of the message of the cross
The biggest single problem with the transformations video is the absence of a Biblical plan of salvation, which is based on the atoning death of Jesus by shedding His precious blood on the cross for our cleansing. In the light of Otis' open denial of the redemptive significance of Jesus' death on the cross it is no wonder that nowhere in his video there is any reference to the cross of Jesus where Satan was defeated (Heb. 2:14).
As evangelical Christians we believe that we were redeemed from our vain conduct "with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Pet. 1:18-19). In Him "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph. 12:7). In the future life of the believer the blood of the cross remains highly significant. That is why John says that "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us [continually] from all sin" (1 Jn.1:7). During the coming great tribulation, that will not be averted by the present program for spiritual warfare, the Christian martyrs will overcome the Antichrist "by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony" (Rev. 12:11). In heaven, the glorified church will sing a new song to the Lamb, saying, "thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev. 5:9).
Otis does not proclaim the blood gospel, which is based on the atoning death of Jesus on the cross for our sins. In its place he offers a doctrine of self-redemption through spiritual warfare against imaginary strongholds of the devil, while moving God through prayer to unite people and change their community life for the good. Another researcher on the transformations revival, Olympia Barczynska, makes the following, very relevant remarks about the video of Otis:“Possibly the most startling thing about this video can be best stated in the question – ‘Where is the Lord Jesus in it all?’ Indeed, where was He? Constant reference was made to the principalities and powers, and strongholds of darkness, etc. Satan and his hordes were certainly given the limelight. The issue of sin was not mentioned at all. Obviously, sin was not considered the root of all the problems experienced by these communities. The emphasis instead was always on principalities and powers being the cause of the evil, and prayer, fasting and unity being the agent of salvation. “This brings us to the whole modern teaching on spiritual warfare and territorial spirits, which Transformations promotes. New and extra-biblical revelations are the foundation to this. What is more, techniques and strategies need to be followed in order to see the desired result. The collective formula is known as strategic spiritual warfare.”
In the article it is indicated that "in all four cities video clips spanning many years were patched together to give what could be a very biased story. One can show anything in sequence on film and present it as a documentary to be believed by gullible Christians." Facts that do not fit in with the general revival theme are not mentioned: “Scenes in Cali, Colombia, are shown of mass rallies, prayer meetings and several hundred pastors taking a covenant of unity. Subsequently, details of the assassination of Julio Ruibal are shown and a moving testimony from his wife concerning his death. It should be noted here that Julio was killed because of a property dispute, not because of his religious endeavors.”
These factual inconsistencies which are discussed in more detail in our previous article, are, however, not as dangerous and deceptive as the erroneous theology of Otis. Another of the strange statements that he makes in the video is that the kingdom of God descended upon Cali. The kingdom of God is not of this world and will only visibly be revealed after the second coming of Christ. Spiritual transformation occurs in the hearts and lives of believers, and results in conflict with the unsaved world that adheres to the principles of the kingdom of darkness. That is the reason why the Lord Jesus said that we would have tribulation in the world. We are not of the [evil] world and that is why the world hates and persecutes us (Jn. 15:19-20).
It is difficult to comprehend how people can show this video and initiate similar transformation projects for revival, while it is so manifestly in conflict with Biblical principles and doctrines. It is evident that Satan has devised a clever plan to infiltrate evangelical and charismatic Christian groups to lure them to a road of deception. Many evangelicals were hauled in by this plan because they did not investigate the credibility of the Sentinel group, Otis' Moral Government of God theology, Wagner's strategic spiritual warfare, as well as the nature of his city churches that will function under the leadership of prophets and apostles. Naïve Christians were taken for a ride by the idea of a great revival and support this movement to promote the long awaited revival. Some of them are realizing that they were deceived, but many others stubbornly deny that anything is wrong with this movement.
Should evangelicals state that they have nothing to do with the deception of Otis and Wagner they should refrain from promoting and distributing the two transformations videos, selling their books, publishing their articles, using their terminology and implementing their unbiblical strategies. If evangelicals are involved in these activities they are inevitably associated with the transformations movement.
Unfortunately, many people are not open to other convictions on this matter regardless of how many facts are submitted to them. A highly negative attitude prevailed in the Pretoria office of NUPSA when a lady cancelled her order for two transformations videos after having read our article on it. People whose deception is exposed never feel good about it! But facts remain facts. We will continue to proclaim Biblically-based truth – regardless of whether it makes us less popular in certain circles. We are not looking for the praises of men.
How different was the revival in the time of Andrew Murray, which started among small groups of dedicated Christians! They did not win their whole town for God; neither did all the congregations of their own [Dutch Reformed] denomination open their doors to the message of the revival preachers. Nevertheless, the Lord continued with a great work of revival in the hearts of Christians who truly humbled themselves before Him and confessed their sins of carnality and worldliness. The condition of God was not ecumenical unity among all churches, or the mixing of all cultures and language groups, but broken and receptive hearts among His children. The revival eventually spread to large parts of the country where many people were saved and also experienced sanctification as a second work of grace. The fruit of this revival continues to this day as many people still read Andrew Murray's soul-searching books on salvation and holiness.