Somebody Say Something! (More on the Queen of Heaven)

I need to begin this post with a few qualifiers. I am not a Pentecostal or charismatic. I have been formed in a Christian denomination that is intertwined with the history of Pentecostalism in Canada. I have very good friends and loved family members who attend, are even ordained in, PAOC churches.

I am an Anglican priest, serving in the Diocese of Algoma in Sudbury Ontario Canada. I need to say that for three reasons. First, because it means I really don’t have an axe to grind over the US political scene. That scene does interest me, but it does so from a distance. (Politically, in Canadian terms, I am an old fashioned Red Tory. Which in US terms, I think, makes me a Blue Dog Democrat–but I’ll let any American readers comment on that.) Second, it means I have a kind of complicated political life. Most of my parishioners and practically all of my clergy colleagues tilt center-left; I tilt center-right. For both reasons, no one should call what follows a hit-job on Republicans.

The third reason I mention my church and national affiliation is to highlight that I do come to what follows as a theological matter with ecclesiological and political significance. There is no hidden agenda. It’s all on the surface.

OK? OK.

I would be very grateful for Christians other than me or my friend, Greg Metzger to do something. But they need to be particular Christians. I am an Anglican; Greg is a Roman Catholic. That means the people who need to hear what we are saying aren’t listening to us. I am calling on people from Pentecostal and Charismatic backgrounds, or from backgrounds with sufficient overlap with those movements. Neither Greg nor I have a terribly large profile, either. So, I’m calling on people from those or similar backgrounds who have a higher profile than ours.

Here is what I am calling you to do:

For the sake of the Gospel, you really do need to name the New Apostolic Reformation, C. Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Sam Rodriguez and Harry Jackson as false teachers, who are not simply an embarrassment, but are actually doing great harm to the Body of Christ.

Not because they like Republicans. You may or may not find that problematic. Like I said, though, that’s not a debate that interests me at this juncture. You need to call them out on their false teaching because it is false.

I’ll give you a specific example: The Queen of Heaven “demon.” Among the more bizarre beliefs: this demon has had sex with the emperor of Japan; this demon lives in an ice castle in the Himlayas; Wagner’s and Jacobs’ prayers to overthrow this demon resulted in the death of (among others) Mother Theresa, who–like many Roman Catholics–worshiped her in the guise of Mary, the Mother of Our Lord.

So, what’s worse: that this is just plain dumb on its face; that it exults in the death of a woman who was, quite simply, an example of Gospel living, that it impugns the finished work of Jesus, who on the cross won the victory over sin death and the devil; who was shown to be the Victor by his resurrection and glorious ascension; that there is simply no biblical warrant for any of this (not even the encounter between Daniel and Gabriel comes close); that it comes within a whisker of inciting or justifiying violence against those who might demur?

I find it particularly alarming that folks like Rodriguez and Jackson get almost entirely positive coverage on the pages of Christianity Today, to say nothing of Charisma, which seems to know no end when it comes to the promotion of foolishness.

Please, will somebody say something?

7 thoughts on “Somebody Say Something! (More on the Queen of Heaven)

  1. I’m ordained in the PAOC. I’m not sure much needs to be said in our context. I have heard nothing about this group from lay people, although there was some chatter on Facebook among the Canadian Pentecostal Research Network group. But it seems the general response (when I have seen one), is that Wagner is just getting ‘out there,’ and so I doubt too many people in my circles are taking him seriously. None of my students had even heard of the group when I discussed them briefly in a recent course on Pentecostal History.

  2. Thanks for your observation Andrew. I am relieved to know that these guys don’t get much press in PAOC circles. I do know that PAOC has been opposed to “prosperity gospel” stuff for a long time and that is great.

    It may be that these guys get more press in the States, not least because they are so political. Which is why the positive press in reputable popular places like CT is so worrying.

  3. Wagner perhaps is not taken seriously in Canada, but his books are all over the world. In Russia I see many of his worst books have been translated and are being sold throughout the Charismatic/Pentecostal churches here. I try to refute his bizarre nonsense when possible, but he and his friends have infected the church in Russia.

  4. I deconstructed Peter Wagner’s views of apostles in lectures at Master’s College & Seminary during my time there (1981-2006). Since I returned to parish/pastoral life, I rarely hear of him. His star is waning.

    Garry

    Garry E. Milley
    Lead Pastor
    Church in the Oaks, London, ON

  5. Hi Garry

    This may be true of Wagner (though not necessarily in Russia–see the comment above), but I’m not so sure of his disciples–like Jacobs, Rodriguez and Jackson. The latter two in particular are often presented as post-partisan mainstream pastors who happen to be charismatic (see the coverage in CT).

  6. Garry, I would be fascinated to see your lecture notes. There has been precious little critical engagement with his ideas in US Christian circles. In terms of his star waning, I wonder if that is not a question of which part of the “Christian sky” we look at. THe roster of his International Coalition of Apostles (ICA) has former and current members that are in the major constellation of American charismatic community. For instance, if you look at this link you will see that the many of the major characters are or were either directly involved in ICA or have adopted similar notions of apostolic authority, spiritual warfare and charismatic dominionism. And of course we have the still yet unreckoned with fact that a former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Ted Haggard, was a major cohort of Wagner and with Wagner helped found a major and influential prayer ministry in Colorado after Wagner left Fuller. And his Wagner Institute’s operate in multiple countries. I would urge you, Garry, to try and publicize your critiques of him. Do not assume he or his ideas are marginalized within the global Pentecostal movement.

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