A South African prayer ministry, Jericho Walls, organised an African Prayer Summit near Pretoria from 19 to 23 February 2007. The main speakers on this event were George Otis of the Sentinel Group in the USA and Graham Power, director of Transformation Africa in Cape Town. The event was staged as preparation for the Global Day of Prayer on Pentecost Sunday, 27th May 2007.
George Otis Jr.
During the past number of years since the release of his first two transformation videos, which also prompted Transformation Africa, George Otis was rightfully criticised by many evangelical Christians for the exaggerated portrayal of revivals and comprehensive societal transformations that allegedly occurred in places such as Cali in Colombia, Almolonga in Guatemala, Kiambu in Kenya, and Hemet in California. Subsequent events in these places, and also in the rest of the world, do not corroborate his claims and more often suggest an opposite movement.
At the prayer summit near Pretoria, Otis changed his approach of reviewing world-wide transformations and screened a short video which is introduced as follows: “The Sentinel Group presents a different angle film: Approaching fire.” This film contains clips from videos as well as footage from TV newscasts on the devastation caused by wars, terror groups and natural disasters around the globe. The scenes of a disintegrating world gave rise to a sense of hopelessness among world leaders who try to solve the serious problems of our time. Their diplomacy, wars and political solutions do not work.
Otis then concluded that the only hope for a troubled world is prayer. He quoted from the prayer of Jesus: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is heaven” (Matt. 6:9-10). He insisted that the kingdom of God should be manifested on earth exactly as it is in heaven – in all its divine authority, purity and productivity. That means that there should be no evil at all in society, as there is no evil heaven. He said that Lagos, Nairobi, Durban and all the great cities of Africa need a big revival and transformation in order to live in accordance with the kingdom of God.
Otis referred to scriptures such as the following to explain what transformation entails: “I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counsellors as at the beginning. Afterwards you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city” (Isa. 1:26). Traditional religions and witchcraft should also be renounced: “And many who had believed came, confessing and telling their deeds. Also many of those who had practised magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all… So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed” (Acts 19:18-20).
George Otis said that contrary to the film on human suffering, wars and natural disasters there are 500 communities in the world where revival is experienced at present. He said that prayer and fasting were critical activities in bringing about revival and transformation, which is the only way to overcome violence, crime and suffering. He said that when God is present in a community “everything snaps into place.” A transformed society is defined as “a neighbourhood, city or nation of which the values and institutions have been overrun by the grace and presence of God.” This calls for an invading supernatural power. Otis concluded his discussion on transformation by saying: “Kingdom values should be celebrated publicly and passed on to future generations.”
Comments: George Otis is renowned for his moral government theology in which a form of generic goodness of God is promoted without relating His forgiveness of sins to the atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross (see George Otis and his fallacious teaching). In fact, he never referred to the atoning death of Christ and its significance for the salvation of sinners. He only once mentioned the name of Jesus when he said that He prayed that God’s kingdom would come on earth. This is a very serious deficiency and lies at the heart of his false gospel. He strongly emphasises the subject of sin, and even devised a system of spiritual mapping to define and list community sins, but recommend confession and repentance without clearly indicating that Christ paid the price for our transgressions by giving His life and shedding His blood on Calvary. Many of the modern preachers are shunning the cross but are not rejected by their large number of followers because of their fatal delusion.
Dominion theology is the main emphasis of the message proclaimed by Otis. He favours Old Testament scriptures which describe Israel’s future position in the millennium after the Messiah has come. Even when he quotes from the New Testament, he does so to substantiate certain aspects of prayer and communal repentance (e.g. Acts 19:18-20). Why doesn’t he quote scriptures such as Acts 26:17-18, Romans 3:23-25, Ephesians 1:7 and 1 John 1:7?
As far as the kingdom of God is concerned, the Lord Jesus made it abundantly clear that His kingdom is not of this world (Matt. 18:36). For this reason, the world hates Him and His disciples (John 15:18-19). We are followers of the rejected and crucified Saviour who is still hated and despised by the majority of the people in the world (John 3:19). Those on the broad way to hell are far more than the Christians (Matt. 7:13-14). We must shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil 2:15) and fulfil our ministry without entertaining unbiblical expectations that the kingdom of God will descend upon entire communities, cities and nations during this dispensation. It is only after the coming of the King that God’s kingdom will be revealed in all its glory (Zech. 8:20-23; Isa. 2:2-4).
The grand schemes and expectations of the transformation movement are dispensationally completely out of place and will not be able to establish God’s kingdom in “this present evil age” (Gal. 1:4). Rather equip and fund evangelists and missionaries to go into the troubled and evil world to preach the gospel so that some may be saved.
The person who caused the biggest stir on the prayer summit was Graham Power of Transformations Africa. His talk induced certain members of the audience to withdraw from the Movement and even to resign from churches which still support this action.
In his talk Graham again reviewed the vision that he had of transforming South Africa, Africa and eventually the whole world. He devoted much attention to an experience that he had in February 2002 when he attended a prayer breakfast for men in Stellenbosch. The speaker was a 28-year old Coloured man of Khoi descent. He was a former gangster whose whole body is tattooed. The topic that morning was “The Holy Spirit.” Afterwards, the speaker invited the men to come forward and receive the Holy Spirit. One of them ran away but most remained behind to receive the “blessing” of being slain in the Spirit.
Graham said that when he was touched on his shoulder he fell down but rose again after a short while. He fell down two more times. The third time he lay on the ground for 1½ hours. He felt an electric-like current flowing through his body while having “an amazing experience.” He also heard a voice speaking to him, saying, “I am the spine,” (six times), “I am the head of the spine” (six times), “I am the king” (six times) and “I am the king of kings” (six times).
Immediately afterwards, Graham had an experience outside his body. He saw himself lying on the floor on his back with his arms stretched out in the form of a cross. He then saw Africa forming around his body with his feet in Cape Town and his head in Egypt. His hands pointed towards East and West Africa. He felt a strange sensation of pain rising from his feet and legs through his spine to his shoulders and arms. He interpreted this as a revival and transformation movement that will spread from South Africa to central Africa, and eventually to the whole of Africa. He also saw his arms becoming longer and reaching around the globe. This indicated that the movement that has started in South Africa would ultimately encompass the whole world.
Graham acted in terms of these mystical revelations and drastically expanded the scope of the Global Day of Prayer. He says that in 2006, 199 nations participated in this prayer event on the Day of Pentecost, and he hopes that all 220 nations of the world will participate in 2007. He quoted Isaiah 66:18 where the Lord says, “It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see my glory.” Graham then added: “God’s plan will start in Africa and encompass the whole world.”
He also quoted extensively from Isaiah 52:6-12, which actually refers to Israel in the millennial kingdom of Christ. God says, “My people shall know my name… How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who say to Zion, Your King reigns! … The Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem… And all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Depart! Depart! Go out from there [Graham added, ‘from the high places’] … for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”
Graham says that the true people of God should go to the high places, such as mountains, to pray that His kingdom will come. He then announced that he and a group of people will pray on top of Mount Kilimanjaro on Pentecost Day, the 27th of May 2007. From this highest point in Africa they will descend to be used by God as instruments of His kingdom blessings all over this continent. He asks that as many as possible people will join in the Global Day of Prayer, preferably on mountains and other high places, but also in churches.
A vision was shared with Graham Power by a certain person in South Africa, to the effect that he should make preparations for a big revival which will happen after two years. Graham accepts all visions that people have, and say that many of these have been communicated to him. They all allude to the expectations that revival lights will be lit across this dark continent to transform it into the glory of God’s kingdom on earth. From Africa, the revival will spread all over the world.
During his address Graham Power often talked about what God and the Holy Spirit are doing, but he never talked about Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) and will rule the world in righteousness after His coming.
Comments: Graham Power is a committed leader and organiser of the Transformation Movement. It is clear that he truly believes in the extra-Biblical revelations that he received during his mystical experiences. He obviously does not realise that his dominionist vision is at variance with the Bible as it clashes with the principles and nature of the church dispensation as laid down in Scripture. The verses which he quoted from Isaiah 52 to substantiate his kingdom vision are applicable to Israel in a future dispensation. Profs. Walvoord & Zuck (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 1106) say: “The joy Isaiah wrote about in 52:7-8 will be when Israel’s Messiah returns to Zion to reign. His reign will be one of peace.”
Graham and his associates apply the conditions for Israel’s national repentance in 2 Chronicles 7:14 to other nations. The majority support which the kingdom of darkness enjoys until Christ will come to destroy the Antichrist and his following, and to bind the devil in a bottomless pit, renders a situation like this very unlikely in any country of the world. In this dispensation, God works with individuals rather than nations.
Although many Christians with noble intentions support the Transformation Movement because they are deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Africa and the rest of the world, they are nevertheless pursuing a man-made vision of establishing God’s kingdom. They should investigate this movement to discover its serious fallacies and weaknesses. How can they associate with George Otis who does not explicitly base his plan for transformed lives upon the blood atonement of the Lamb of God? How can they expect the coming of God’s kingdom before the coming of the King? How can they ever imagine that a situation similar to heaven can prevail in a world where the vast majority of people are stubbornly treading the broad way?
Don’t they see the great falling away from biblical truth around us? (1 Tim. 4:1). These are surely end-time signs of a rebellious and spiritually hostile world that will be judged by God during the coming tribulation period when the Antichrist, as the man of sin, will rule the world. Lost souls should be plucked from the fire of the impending judgements to escape the coming wrath (1 Thess. 1:10). Those who say, “peace and safety” while dark clouds of divine wrath are gathering around the world, will experience sudden destruction in stead of the descending of God’s kingdom upon them (1 Thess. 5:3).
George Otis should rather extend his latest video of a troubled world and devise strategies for the saving of souls in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ who redeemed sinners on the cross, instead of vain expectations of God’s kingdom being revealed during this dispensation.
Graham Power’s idea that more power will be generated by prayers offered from the top of high mountains has been derived from the strategic spiritual warfare approach followed by George Otis, Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Ted Haggard and others. This type of prayer is aimed at pulling down demonic strongholds in heavenly places, but has no biblical foundation. We must revert to the basics of the gospel message, in which the major perspective is the counselling of sinners, preferably as individuals or in small groups. The transformation of entire societies will only occur after Christ has come to reward His saints and judge His enemies.