Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare (SLSW) Glossary
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 01:57:52 PM EST
Strategic level spiritual warfare (SLSW) is the ideology behind the growth of "prayer warrior" networks across the nation. SLSW is a relatively new concept introduced to the evangelical missions world in the late 1980s by charismatic leaders including: C. Peter Wagner, presiding apostle of the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA); George Otis, Jr., producer of the Transformation movies; John Dawson of Youth With A Mission (YWAM), and Cindy Jacobs, ICA prophetess and author of the Possessing the Gates of the Enemy, (subtitle shown in photo).  Following is a glossary of terms.
When a definition has been taken directly from one of the following sources, it is noted. George Otis, Jr. included a glossary in his 1999 book Informed Intercession, a text for the teaching of spiritual mapping.  Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare:  A Modern Mythology? by Michael S. B. Reid is a 2002 critique of SLSW which, interestingly, has a foreword by T.L. Osborne, a well known charismatic evangelist who has conducted revivals claimed to include faith-healings in places like Uganda (1957), and paved the way for some of today's spiritual warriors.  Note that my use of Reid as a source critical of SLSW is not intended as an endorsement.  Reid is the former head of Peniel Pentecostal Church in England which he left due to a serious scandal and he had his own methods for trying to gain political power. The use of Reid's book as a source is to demonstrate the controversy over SLSW, even inside the charismatic world.

In the foreword Osborne is concerned about "the demonic phobia that currently possesses so many pseudo-charismatic leaders who 'sound off' like public witchdoctors, with absolutely no solidity or valid information to support them."  Reid begins the book, originally written as a dissertation for his doctorate at Oral Roberts University, by noting that "Over the last twenty to thirty years, there has been a radical change in the whole perception of spiritual warfare within the Christian world, and the emergence of what has come to be known as Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare."

Terms are in alphabetical order following the definition of SLSW.

Stategic Level Spiritual Warfare

"A term that pertains to intercessory confrontations with demonic power concentrated over given cities, cultures, and peoples."  - Otis

According to C. Peter Wagner, there are levels of spiritual warfare.  Ground level spiritual warfare is  casting out demons from individuals. Occult level spiritual warfare is  confrontations with demons operating through witchcraft and esoteric philosophies (examples are Freemasonry and Tibetan Buddhism). Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare is the highest level dealing with confrontation of territorial principalities that control entire communities, ethnic groups, religions, and nations.

Binding the Strongman

"Neutralizing the deceptive hold or enchantment that demonic powers have over human subjects..." - Otis

Apostle Harold Caballeros points out that strongmen are not just demons, but also the people who harbor the demons. Apostle Mary Glazier describes taking on a "strongman" in the speech she gave at a 2008 convention, at which she also discussed Sarah Palin's participation in her prayer group beginning when Palin was twenty-four. (The audio starts at about 48 seconds into the video.)

City Gate

"Centers of political influence and authority, or portals through which new or important influences enter a community." - Otis
Portals and points of entry of demons are very important in this methodology.

Community Transformation

"A condition of dramatic socio-political renewal that results from God's people entering into corporate vision, corporate repentance and corporate prayer.  During these extraordinary seasons the kingdom of God pervades virtually every institution of human endeavor." - Otis

The transformation process and the work to take dominion over government and society is demonstrated in the series of Transformation movies produced by Otis and the resulting Transformation entities which are working in Uganda, Hawaii, Newark, and many cities around the globe.

Corporate Sin

"Group rebellion against God's law and purpose that typically results in corollary injury to a particular person or group.  The offending collective may be a family, clan, tribe, neighborhood, city, nation or church." - Otis

High Places

"Specific locations where a community or its leaders pay obeisance to tutleary deities and/or idolatrous philosophies." - Otis

Link to Killing Mother Teresa With Their Prayers for an example of a SLSW journey to attack the deities in high place.

Identificational Repentance and Reconciliation

"The term was originally coined by John Dawson and the technique is claimed to give Christians the power to heal the past.  It involves the recognition that nations and/or cities can and do sin corporately and if such sin is not remitted the iniquity can become worse in each succeeding generation.  This cycle can be stopped by corporate or identificational repentance which effectively removes the foothold Satan has used to hold populations in spiritual darkness and social misery.  It is claimed that this will open the way for the revival churches and an unprecedented harvest of souls."  - Reid

Demons are believed to take control of both the villains and the victims of corporate sin. The purpose of many of the "reconciliation" events that have been held by this movement are to remove barriers to proselytizing various ethnic and religious groups. It is believed that if there is corporate repentance, for instance repentance for the treatment of Native American Indians, then the demons are removed, opening the way to mass evangelism of these groups which are considered to be blocked from salvation by territorial demons.  

This is the ideology behind the ceremony in which Sen. Sam Brownback (in his capacity as U.S. Senator, he states),  repented to Native American apostles Niegel Bigpond and Jay Swallow at "The Call" Nashville, on 7/07/07, followed by apologies to African Americans and Hispanic communities. (Dutch Sheets introduces Sam Brownback in this video. )  The event was one of Lou Engle's regional "The Call" events leading to the Washington D.C. event on 8/08/08.

Divorce Decree from Baal (as part of Identificational Repentence)  

The apostle over one of the largest of the New Apostolic prayer warrior networks in the nation, describes one "sign of transformation" as the Native American Apology Resolution presented by Sam Brownback and passed in 2008 as part of the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act (S. 1200).  They claim this success followed "after we divorced Baal and Mammon," a ceremony of corporate repentance. Link here to an account of one of the divorcing Baal ceremonies in Texas in which participants, including Apostle Niegel Bigpond, claim to have smashed Indian artifacts which are believed to harbor demons.

The apologies appear quite sincere and result in multiethnic and multicultural partnerships.  However, the process of reconciliation is for the purpose of taking "Christian dominion" over other religions, ethnic groups, and belief systems. It requires renouncing of former cultural practice and artifacts which can not be absorbed in evangelical practice, as demonic.  The Transformations videos reenact a number of examples of destruction of native artifacts, and leaders have claimed that their prayers resulted in spontaneous destruction of buildings and icons of other religious practices.

Intercessory Prayer

"Petitions, entreaties and thanksgivings made of behalf of another.  Intercession also involves the act of standing between the object of prayer and spiritual forces."  -Otis
Note that intercessory prayer is a very old term that has been redefined in the context of SLSW and "warfare prayer."

Intercessory Unit

"A spiritual mapping team cell that is dedicated to petitioning God for guidance, favor, and protection.  Members are expected to carefully record and review specific promptings, warnings, and confirmations that are gleaned in the place of prayer." - Otis

Naming of Spirits

"This is based on the heathen practice of naming spirits (for example, Infertility or Lust).  Accordingly, SLSW encourages Christians to discover the name of demons in their territory (city or country) and bind them in the name of Christ." - Reid

Demons mentioned regularly in SLSW media include Baal, Jezebel, Prince of Persia, Prince of Greece, and also specification of the manifestation of  demons such as homosexuality, spirit of religion (which divides churches into denominations), etc.  The Queen of Heaven is considered to be one of the most powerful of territorial principalities and is claimed to block Roman Catholic and Muslims from converting to evangelical Christianity.

Neighborhood Reports

"A standardized, spiritual mapping product designed to sustain fervent corporate intercession until community transformation becomes a reality. The most common report features a specific town or neighborhood, although the definition is flexible enough to encompass school campuses, large companies, military bases, housing estates, and Native American reservations." - Otis

Prayer Expeditions

"Long-distance, trans-territorial prayer-walks along strategically developed routes.  Intercession is offered for entire countries and regions." - Otis


"The practice of onsite, street-level intercession.  Prayers offered by participatnts are in response to immediate observations and researched targets." - Otis

Prayer walking has now become popular among groups that one could assume may not fully understand the history and methodology behind the activity.

Principalities and Powers

"Demonic agents and structures that exert deceptive control over co-conspiratorial human political kingdoms and systems." - Otis

Spiritual Beachhead

"The first stage on the road to community transformation... In many instance these developments are sustained by intelligence gathering through cooperative spiritual mapping campaigns." - Otis

Spiritual Breakthrough

"The second stage on the road to community transformation, breakthroughs are characterized by rapid and substantial church growth." - Otis

Spiritual Mapping

"This technique is a key component in SLSW prayer strategy...This includes discovering the location of demons, their activities, their names and their power." - Reid

"Spiritual mapping gives us the `military intelligence' that we need in order to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom into an area effectively." - Jacqie Tyre, Georgia Apostolic Prayer Network

Note that the practice of spiritual mapping has now spread far beyond C. Peter Wagner's networks of apostles including groups like Repent Amarillo, who don't appear to be part of the NAR network.  (Their map with the camouflage pattern and sound of gunshots is not currently online, but their targeted entities can be viewed on this copy of their spiritually mapping product.)

Warfare Prayer

"The application of strategic-level spiritual warfare to evangelistic efforts. An uprooting of prevailing spiritual strongholds that hinder the gospel." - Otis

"It generally involves a high volume, high energy, prolonged challenge to taunt the spirits until they manifest in one way or another." - Reid

10/40 Window

"The 10/40 Window refers to an imaginary frame encompassing `some 95 percent of the world's unreached people' which Satan holds in his bonds.  In geographical terms it is located between the latitudes of 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator.  The Garden of Eden, Iran and Iraq, are `situated in the epicenter of the window.'  The SLSW focus has now shifted to the 40/70 window."  [In this definition from Reid, he quotes Otis from his book Lifting the Veil on Islam and the End Times.]

The 10/40 Window concept was developed as part of  the AD 2000 and Beyond to reach all the "unreached people groups" in the world  by the year 2000. As that campaign was drawing to a close, C. Peter Wagner moved to Colorado Springs to build the World Prayer Center with Ted Haggard and introduced the concept of the New Apostolic Reformation.

Territorial Spirits

"Demonic powers that have been given controlling influence over specific sites, peoples, and areas." - Otis

Concerns about this particular type of "spiritual warfare" were addressed in a Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism (LCWE) special working group consultation in 1993, which resulted in a statement on the pros and cons as seen by other evangelical leaders.  In the 1990s SLSW was widely taught through the AD 2000 and Beyond missions program, an offshoot of LCWE.  C. Peter Wagner headed the United Prayer Track of this worldwide missions effort and his International Spiritual Warfare Network evolved into today's "prayer warrior" or "apostolic global networks" working in each state under the authority of the apostles of the New Apostolic Reformation. He was aided by charismatic leaders like Jack Hayford of the International Foursquare Gospel and Ted Haggard, former head of the National Association of Evangelicals.

For more information see the Talk2action Resource Directory for the New Apostolic Refomation in the special focus box in the left panel.  It will be updated during August with a bibliography and other additions.


... be aware that there is a related "spiritual warfare" network in every state in the nation.  Since C. Peter Wagner's original networks in the 1980s, they have changed names several times.

Currently the major networks are the Global Apostolic Networks under the authority of Dutch Sheets and the Reformation Prayer Networks under Cindy Jacobs.  One umbrella group for a number of states is the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network under John Benefiel.  They claim that they played a role in the election of Scott Brown in MA, VA Governor Bob McDonnell, and others, through an action called "Join the Shift" designed to organize a "mighty army of worshippers that will arise, resulting in a righteous shift over our congressional leaders."

by Rachel Tabachnick on Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 02:25:10 PM EST

I think it is important to note that the term "Principalities and Powers" is Biblical in origin and has been interpreted in a number of ways by Biblical scholars over the centuries. During the 1980's Walter Wink, then Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary, wrote a trilogy of well-regarded books on naming, unmasking, and engaging the powers. Wink's project is to deepen understanding of the problem of evil and domination in the world and to advance a theology of Christian non-violence. That his language and thought are being co-opted to increase rather than to resist domination is indeed distressing.

by MLouise on Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 03:56:35 PM EST

Yes, several of these concepts are co-opted to mean something quite different than in the past.  Intercessory prayer is another old and common term which is taking on a completely different meaning in SLSW.

I fear this is one reason there hasn't been more alarm in other streams of Christianity and even naive participation in some of these events.  Many of the words are the same so there is not reason to suspect that this is a radically different movement, and one that teaches that a unified church is required for dominion. The movement is post-denominational and some leaders go as far as teaching that their movement will eventually conduct a civil war with the rest of the church which they view as apostate and controlled by the "spirit of religion."

by Rachel Tabachnick on Fri Aug 06, 2010 at 04:22:37 PM EST

Often people post to this site wondering what more can be done to make people aware of this kind of movement. Well, one thing would be to establish a repository of "watch words" if you will, much like the content of this article. That combined with current information about the names of organizations may serve to open some eyes. Then, if local groups, state level groups, etc. wish to bond together to watch local groups, who knows? Just some thoughts on this.


by rahilliard on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 02:20:36 PM EST

And I meant to say, thanks. Great article.


by rahilliard on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 02:22:47 PM EST

If you haven't seen the Resource Directory for the New Apostolic Reformation in the special focus box in the left column, be sure to take a look.  I tried to map out the major divisions of the movement and included some of the local/regional spiritual warfare networks and Transformations organizations. But there is still much work to do in the area of building public awareness.

Next I am hoping to map out the ways that spiritual warfare groups are working to impact elections.  Bruce Wilson has already done some work on this, particularly concerning Ed Silvoso's  International Transformation Network in Hawaii.  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Mon Aug 09, 2010 at 10:52:32 PM EST

Thanks Rachael. I think if people can be made aware of this activity and then actually see it in action via their local politics, schools, etc., there is a much better chance that they will realize it is real, it is in their lives, and it is impacting more than they probably thought possible!

by rahilliard on Wed Aug 11, 2010 at 10:19:07 AM EST

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