Transcript of C. Peter Wagner Interview with Voice of America
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Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:42:50 PM EST
Following is the transcript of the September 7, 2011 interview of C. Peter Wagner with Jerome Socolovsky for Voice of America.  
Interviewer - Jerome Socolovsky: All right, so let me first ask you, very generally, what is the, the New Apostolic Reformation? What differentiates it from other, I guess, movements in charismatic Christianity?

C. Peter Wagner: Okay, the New Apostolic Reformation, which actually has come to public view only recently, is not a new, is not a new phenomenon, even though the word new is used. But we can trace the roots of it back to 1900 to the African independent church movement. But mostly in the last 40 years or so, , it has, it has, it has blossomed to become the largest  megablock of non-Catholic Christianity in the world, so it's not a, a small unit. And also, it's the fastest-growing megablock of Christianity. It's the only megablock growing faster than the world population and Islam. So it's a very, very important movement. And, most of the, most of those who would be associated with the New Apostolic Reformation are found in what's called the global South. And that would be sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and large parts of Asia. It's here in North America, however, but not in the numbers in the parts of the world I've just described. And what is happening [01:34] is that God has begun to do a, has begun to bring a new season into the [whole?] movement of Christianity. And these, these various movements around the world have common characteristics. And what I did back in 1993 was to notice that, notice these characteristics, then I had to give a name to the movement, and the name that I came up with was the New Apostolic Reformation. And, so, this, this is a widespread movement of God. And I think one of the major characteristics is that this is the most radical change in the way of doing church since the Protestant Reformation. Now I do not I'm not referring to the theological change, because the theology of the New Apostolic Reformation is, is theology of traditional mainstream biblical Protestantism. But the way of doing it, the way of carrying it out, brings some differences, some very major radical differences, [02:48]  to this form of Christianity.

Interviewer: So, you're by saying that, that, that, God is bringing a new season in Christianity, you're saying this is God's will, that this, that Christianity takes this form. And, and I understand that, that in this form we have apostles and prophets who are, am I correct in saying that they, they can reveal God's will somehow?

CPW: Yeah, well, yes, that's, that's the biggest difference to traditional Protestant Christianity, is the recognition of the offices of apostle and prophet. Because Ephesians 4:11 says God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, and we, I was a part of traditional Christianity for many decades and, and we're used to recognizing evangelists, pastors, and teachers, but somehow we shied away from apostles and prophets. But in the New Apostolic Reformation [03:48] we believe that apostles and prophets are ministering in the church today. And, and we believe that in terms of hearing the voice of God, we believe that every Christian should hear the voice of God, we believe that prayer is two-way. We speak to God and he speaks to us. [04:04] And, but, in terms of, in terms of the big picture, the members of the church, the members of the body of Christ that are most designated for hearing the voice of God are the prophets, and the prophets who are properly related to the apostles, apostles and prophets form a team, and they hear from God, and they can hear directions from God how he wants the,  the church to move forward.

Interviewer: So, I understand that, that you and people from the NAR feel that you need to reclaim control over government and society, and that there is this concept of the Seven Mountains. Can you explain what you mean by that, and why you need to have this control?

CPW: Yeah, that's a good, that's a good point. We actually don't use the word "control," that's a little too strong for us. We would rather use the word "influence." But, [05:03] here, here's the thing. All of this goes back to Jesus telling us that one of the ways we should pray to God is "your kingdom come, your will be done, here on earth as it is in heaven." And so that's what we want to see. We want to see the values and the prosperity of the kingdom of God manifested here on earth. So we want our cities and states and nations to be better and better, and they will be better as, uh, as as the blessings of the kingdom of God come to each one. So, yes, we believe that people of God whom God has assigned should rise in, in terms of influence in all the seven mountains, and then society as a whole, to bring about whatever changes can be brought about, to see more of the kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven.

Interviewer: So, in order for this to be done, does, does [06:09] everyone in America have to align themselves with this movement? Wouldn't that be contrary to the ethic of religious freedom, separation of church and state, that, that we have in this country?

CPW: Oh yeah, that's a good question. There's, there's no thought of anyone that I know in the NAR of taking over society. Some people call that a theocracy, and, there's, there's no thinking of a theocracy. That is, that is a very poor form of government. Major theocracies in this world are the Islamic nations, and we wouldn't want to see that replicated. So, we don't believe, we don't believe in taking over a nation. But we believe in exerting as much influence as possible in every one of the mountains to see the values of the kingdom of God within a democratic society, within religious pluralism. I mean, we respect those of other religions and there's no, there's no idea of changing that. It's just, it's just that we believe that God will give us power to see more and more of the kingdom of God come, without, without forming a theocracy.

Interviewer: [07:23] How powerful is the movement now? Is there any estimate of how many followers you have? Or is the idea to have a few influential figures who are powerful in their circles?

CPW: Well, see, there, there, when we talk about the NAR as a movement, I think that's a very poor term for it. It's a movement of God, but it's not the kind of thing that there's an organization. It doesn't have a person or group who is the leader. It doesn't uh, have a newsletter. People don't pay dues. There's no membership to it. It's just a description of what God is doing. So it's not an organization. It's a, it's, it's a, what we're doing is reporting the movement of the spirit of God.

Interviewer: You've had a lot of attention since the Response prayer rally that was headlined by Rick Perry last month.

CPW: Right.

Interviewer: Do you think this is, the attention you've got is warranted? There's, there are a lot of people especially on the left who [08:32] who are worried about this movement. Do you think they are right that your influence is growing?

CPW: I think they're right that the influence is growing, and the influence was fairly strong at The Response meeting. And the, but yes, but what I see in the media is that critics of  conservative candidates like Rick Perry, are accusing him of doing something, accusing him of doing something bad by his friendship with people in the NAR. I don't know if Rick Perry would consider himself as a part of the NAR. But he had some people on the platform and in the audience who were part of the NAR. But I don't think there's anything worse about being part of the NAR than being part of the Southern Baptists, being part of the Catholic Church, being part of any other segment of Christianity.

Interviewer: Could I ask you to explain the concept of strategic-level spiritual warfare? What does that entail, and what does it mean?

CPW: [09:55]  Well, we begin the answer to that by stating that we do believe in Satan. We believe that Satan is a, is a personality, and we can go back to, to how Satan began. And that  with Satan there is a huge number of demonic forces, demonic personalities that, that he controls, one way or another. And so this is the force of darkness over the earth. It started in the, actually in the Garden of Eden. And  Satan now has titles in the Bible, such as the Ruler of This World, or the Prince of the Power of the Air. And uh, so Satan and, and, and his [garbled] are very powerful. Now attached to that, there are many different levels, but strategically we feel that Satan sends certain demonic forces, and these are, would be high-ranking ones, to bring darkness or evil to segments of society such as cities or neighborhoods or regions or nations. And and so strategic spiritual warfare is an attempt to identify these spiritual forces that are bringing darkness, and moving them back with the power of the kingdom of God, so that they will not have influence in society, but rather the blessings and the light of the kingdom of God will have the influence.

Interviewer: So can, can you be specific? What does Satan have control over? Which neighborhoods and which peoples are  we talking about? I've heard that the Democratic Party has been alleged to be, you know, under Satan's control. Is any of this--or, not Satan, but Jezebel, I think. Is, is any of this being preached at all?

CPW: [11:57] Some people might preach that. That's not, I don't think that's a widespread belief. When I say Satan dominates, I'm talking about society, like dominating a city, or a section of a city, and everybody who lives in that city whether Christians or Muslims or atheists are suffering from things like crime and poverty and injustice, racism, those kind of things. And God doesn't bring those. Satan brings those. So our desire is to push them back. So in a certain segment of society there's no poverty, there's peace, there's no corruption, no crime, no racism and I think most people would really enjoy living in a situation like that.

Interviewer: [12:53] So, you've been called the founder of the movement but I understand that that's not true, as you said before. You're, you are--

CPW:A reporter.

Interviewer: A reporter? Or you've, you've given the name to the movement.

CPW: That's right, yeah.

Interviewer: ...and you've followed it. Do you think there, there's something new in, in the gaining of adherents now? And, in particular, abroad, because as I understand it, you said before there are many more adherents abroad than in the US. Is that, is that correct?

CPW: [13:36] Yes. This is I'm just talking about demographically now, statistically: This is the fastest-growing uh, segment of all of Christianity. And I will repeat it's the only segment that is growing faster than the world population, and faster than Islam.

Interviewer: And what will happen, or what would happen if, I mean, how, what would be the scenario if all seven mountains are, I don't know if the term is right, conquered or achieved? How would--I mean, would that just by itself lead to all these problems being solved? Wouldn't you need any kind of policies that are based on scientific principles and social experience from policy prescriptions in the past?

CPW: Well, we're not talking about those kind of things. We're not talking about changing the way we live, or the way we have, the way our culture is, or the way we set up our government or the way we elect our officials. But we're talking about getting people in place where they can, [14:56] where the decisions they make in society eliminates injustice for example. And the decisions that they make eliminate poverty. We feel that the final, the final indication that society has been transformed according to the model of God is the eradication of systemic poverty. And  if  we see that happen we will be very happy and the world will be happier than it is now.

Interviewer: Okay, and one final political question. Uh, there's a lot of debate over how much overlap there may be between the Christian Right as a whole in this country and the new Tea Party movement. Is there any overlap between the Tea Party and the NAR at all?

CPW: [15:48] [long pause]  I would think that the, I think they're separate. I don't, I don't, I haven't seen or wouldn't anticipate any official connection. But I would, I would think that many Tea Party members would also say that they are affiliated in one way or another with the NAR or churches that are a part of that. But I've never seen any research on that, so I don't have those statistics.

Interviewer: So are, are there similar values there?

CPW:[16:23] There are similar values in terms of righteousness and justice in our government and, and some of the details that the Tea Party have I think are details which would be optional in the New Apostolic Reformation. Some would follow their ideals and some wouldn't. And that, that point of view would have nothing to do with whether they're still in the NAR or not. So the NAR has no official political posture.

Interviewer: And someone told me that there's, in the NAR there are these ceremonies that, that are designed to cast out demons from certain geographical, from the the geographical areas that you speak of. What do those ceremonies actually involve?

CPW: [17:15] Yeah, that's true, we would call them, we have different names that we would call them, prophetic acts, but that's all part of what we talked about earlier, in the strategic-level spiritual warfare. And, we feel that when, that when certain demonic forces are identified that are bringing evil and misery to a certain area or certain population, that God has given us the insight or the power to do that. So we have certain individuals among us, not everybody will do this but we have certain individuals among us that have developed a good bit of expertise in doing what the Bible says, binding these principalities and powers so as to reduce the power that they have over segments of society and open the doors for the blessings of the kingdom of God. And these ceremonies vary. You can have people find a place where there's been a lot of murder or been bloodshed or broken covenants, we do that a lot with the Native Americans, and, and they have the insight to know where and when and  how to do this. The ceremony is, is basically a very high-intensity prayer meeting.

Interviewer: I understand that, that there, it's not only secular liberals who've criticized the movement, but also, within the conservative Christian community in this country. What do you think of their, their criticism?

CPW: [18:58] I think that their, their, well first of all I think their criticism is diminishing. I think there's less and less than there has been. And, this is a big paradigm shift for those of us in Christianity. And, and most of us leaders who are associated with the NAR have, have put in our, put in our time with traditional Christianity so we have a lot of expertise in that as well. But this is a big paradigm shift for us. And paradigm shift always pulls people out of their comfort zones. Some of them get over it faster than others, but those that don't get over it and are uncomfortable with it, yes they do, they launch criticisms. And, I can understand because it's just too much of a, of a change for them. But that's where, that's where we get our opposition. And, and we don't fight back. We just, we believe that we're making progress, and that, that changes are coming.




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