Lance Wallnau on Occupy Wall Street #OWS

Lance WallnauLance Wallnau has just released a new video (21 minutes) on the front page of his website, entitled Seize This Moment in Time. In this video he touches on the Occupy Wall Street situation, while also sketching and referring to his Seven Mountains picture. Here is my transcript (slightly tidied up) of the relevant part of the video (starting at 18:13):

This is the reason why when I started looking at social transformation, and I became frankly fatigued with the realisation that most believers still don’t have a handle on how it happens. Well, you just take a look at what’s going on with the Occupy Wall Street situation. What you have is you have the government creating policies that help to produce a problem in the mortgage market. You have them doing it and then you’ve got the business mountain over here and the banking and the Wall Street deal over here. These business guys fund the politicians. The politicians are helping make these people money.

You know, the people in the streets are actually picking up with a sense of outrage that there is an element of dysfunctional self-interest going on. Where? In the high places of these systems that it’s in a sense taking the rest of the country for a ride it should not be on, over a precipice, a financial collapse.

But we that are the believers have to be able to pray for government and pray for business and start to raise up champions in these areas who can begin to influence these systems, because over here in the church realm, if you’re going to be in the church, in the religion compartment over here, and you do not raise up believers that are in proximity to the tops of these systems, then you wrap these systems up and you give them to the enemy. This is what I have been saying for years.

But never before have I seen so conspicuously the power of media. Now look at this. Government, politicians that are even capitalising on economic unrest, media which is capitalising on the opportunity to get viewership over the phenomena, and economics which is the issue of where our whole system is going – where those three come together, government, media and business, you have the tipping point of the entire dialogue going on in our country right now. Media has the spin control, economic engines are the issue, and government is the legislating player that is trying to capitalise on it.

I say it is time more than ever for believers to get together here and start invading all seven [mountains]. I say take all seven into a new realm, because we are in those mountains, it is time to mobilise and go up those mountains.

Is this “dominionism”? Well, it is certainly better than when “you wrap these systems up and you give them to the enemy”. His final point here is an important one: as Christians we are already in the mountains, because we are in the world. God has sent us into the world, and we shouldn’t seek to be taken out of it, but to be protected in it (John 17:15,18). So it cannot be wrong for us to seek to succeed, to climb to the top, on whichever mountain God has placed us on.

How much power does Satan have in the world?

I was rather surprised by a reaction I received to my post Lance Wallnau’s Apocalyptic Vision of the Kingdom. Rod of Alexandria, who usually posts at Political Jesus, chose Joel Watts’ blog Unsettled Christianity for his post, addressed to me, Thanks, Peter! More Evidence Dominionists Reject Christus Victor.

Rod of AlexandriaIn this post Rod looks at an issue which was not at all in focus in Lance Wallnau’s video or in my post about it, and jumps to an unjustified conclusion about Wallnau’s view of the Atonement. He then compounds his error by generalising this view to “Dominionists”, that extremely ill-defined group who, if Wallnau is to be included, must include anyone who accepts that some Christians should be involved in politics. I wrote more about this in comments on Rod’s post.

My main point here is rather different. It springs from what Rod wrote in his post and his own comments on it. In the post he expounds his own Christus Victor view of the Atonement. He writes that in this model

The Devil is defeated, he has no ground to stand on … Satan is defeated and is stuck here, with only the ability to lie. … Satan is in retreat—this is the message of hope of CV atonement; he cannot hide, he has been exposed.

I would totally agree, although I am not as committed to a specific model of the Atonement as Rod seems to be. And I am almost sure that Lance Wallnau would agree. Although I summarised part of his teaching as “Satan taking his last stand on earth”, I did not mean to suggest that Satan has firm ground on earth on which to take this stand.

But Rod claims that Wallnau’s “views of Satan … contradict the claims of Christus Victor”. When I objected he responded by linking, indirectly, to a YouTube video of Wallnau saying something like “Satan Hand Picks Our Government Leaders”:

Here are some of Wallnau’s actual words in this video (length 2:34):

Satan determines which ones he is going to get the most out of and promotes them to the top (1:10). … And the false prophets and counterfeit priesthood of Satan isn’t necessarily wearing clerical robes. They’re dressed in suits and they have Gucci briefcases, but they are his priests in many cases, because they were hand picked for that assignment at the top of the mind moulders, because he gives it to whom he wills (1:53).

“Right Wing Watch” who posted this seem to expect viewers to be shocked by it. But to me it looks as if Wallnau is hinting at much the same as the Occupy protesters, attributing the ills of our society to a few people “dressed in suits and they have Gucci briefcases”.

Rod seriously misunderstands Wallnau here:

Wallnau also believes Satan has the power to determine who is in power: … he totally is anti-everything Christus Victor, if not a dominionist. No CV affirming Christian believes the Devil has that sort of power.

But Wallnau says nothing about “power to determine” anything at all. Yes, he uses the word “determines”, but in the context he is clearly using it in the sense “decides, chooses”. He clarifies this later with “hand picked”. In other words, he is teaching that Satan chooses which of his followers, his “priests”, are fit for promotion to the top of one of the “seven mountains”, of which, we must remember, government is only one.

Rod clarifies his objection to this teaching of Wallnau by denying that Satan has “the power of election, to choose who is in control of the world”. But he accepts that Satan has “the ability to lie”, and this is the only power that the evil one needs to put his chosen people on the mountain tops – if his followers are in the majority, or even if they are a minority but the others keep out of politics or retreat into monasteries. This is because Satan, the great deceiver, is also the great persuader. He only needs to get a few key people behind him to persuade those who pull the strings of power in our world, or even a whole electorate, to choose his candidates for the highest offices. By the way, here I don’t want to imply that any specific office holders, or potential ones, are Satan’s candidates.

To support his claim that Satan’s power is limited, Rod quotes Hebrews 2:14, in an anonymous version which reads, in part,

so that through death [Jesus] might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.

This reads rather differently in NIV:

so that by his death [Jesus] might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil.

Hebrews 2:14 (NIV)

The Greek verb katargeo, rendered “destroy” in Rod’s version, is probably better understood as “make powerless”, hence NIV’s “break the power”. But if it does mean “destroy”, it is clear from other Bible passages that this destruction was not already accomplished when Jesus died and rose again. The cross may have made Satan’s final annihilation inevitable, but it is apparently only at the very end that it will actually happen, when he is thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).

Meanwhile, as the apostles specifically teach and as I commented on Rod’s post, Satan is alive and active in the world, in our current “church age” after the Resurrection and Pentecost:

Peter: Satan can fill apparent Christians’ hearts (Acts 5:3);

Paul: Satan can scheme and might outwit Christians (2 Corinthians 2:11);

Paul: Satan can block Christians’ way (1 Thessalonians 2:18);

Peter: The devil prowls around and might devour Christians (1 Peter 5:8);

John: The evil one controls the world (1 John 5:19).

Now Rod is correct that Satan has

a power to deceive and over the lives who believe his lies, but nothing more.

But he doesn’t need anything more to exercise his control over the world.

However, the situation is not quite as bleak as I have painted it, because we Christians are in the world. The apostle John writes to us that

the whole world is under the control of the evil one

1 John 5:19 (NIV)

but also that

the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

1 John 4:4 (NIV)

Indeed Satan has no power over us, because he can only tell lies and we know the truth. We need to recognise his lies, but we have no reason to be afraid of him. By the power of the Holy Spirit we can proclaim this truth, refute Satan’s lies, and expose his deception. But we can’t do this by hiding in holes in fear. Instead, like Jonathan and his armour bearer in 1 Samuel 14:1-23, we need to boldly climb the mountain, confront the enemy, and take back the world for God.

Is this “dominionism”? Maybe. But surely it is better than letting Satan rule the world through his chosen candidates.

Lance Wallnau's Apocalyptic Vision of the Kingdom

Lance WallnauLance Wallnau sent me a link to an interesting new video (19 minutes) outlining some of his teaching: Increasing Access to Peace and Glory in Every Shaking. (Sadly the “embed” feature doesn’t seem to work in WordPress, but this link does.)

Lance is infamous in some circles for the leading role he takes in promoting the Seven Mountains Mandate. This has been accused of being “dominionism”, but, as I have argued before, it is nothing of the sort: it is just Christians being urged to play their full part in whatever field of human activity they find themselves in, including politics.

In this video Lance shows how his Seven Mountains teaching fits into a wider picture, an almost apocalyptic vision of the kingdom of God coming to earth. He starts to present this at about 6:53 in the video. He starts by agreeing with N.T. Wright that the future hope is not us going to heaven but heaven coming to earth. Indeed he sees heaven, which he identifies with the kingdom of God, as currently coming near to earth. As a result “we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28, NIV).

One small issue I found in this video is that Lance uses the word “literally” about the movements he sees, starting at about 8:45. I am sure he wouldn’t really claim that his third heaven is above the earth, with the second heaven in between, in one of our real physical dimensions. Rather he is talking about movement in some kind of spiritual dimension. In this case it might have been better to avoid the word “literally”.

The result of this process of heaven invading earth, Lance says, is chaos but also new possibilities. He sees Satan taking his last stand on earth. As Christians we are in a place, the kingdom, that cannot be shaken, but to remain unshaken through this we need to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The believer’s edge, advantage for life in this world, is to live in the authority which this gives us, the authority to plunder the strong man’s house.

This picture may not be the same as many of you may be used to. I would accept that some of the details need to be worked out more fully. But I hope the video is enough to show you all that Lance Wallnau is not pushing the “dominionist” message of legalism but has a totally different vision of Christians living the life of God’s kingdom in our world.

Taking over mountains from the grass roots

The Guardian, the UK’s top left-leaning newspaper, has an excellent article today Could this be the church to calm our secularist outrage?, written by the sceptical agnostic (his words) John Harris, and an accompanying video. The article and the video feature Frontline Church in Liverpool, 15 miles from my home, and its project among prostitutes in the area: not open evangelism but “a weekly operation in which a handful of volunteers take food, tea and condoms to the city’s sex workers.” The agnostic reporter is clearly impressed, and muses on the response to this, or lack of it, from militant secularists.

Nic HardingWhat the church is doing is impressive. But I want to look more at what the church is saying – at least at the words of its pastor Nic Harding, who is seen preaching in the video. In fact he writes about his struggle preparing this sermon in a post on his own blog. Following this in the video, John Harris interviews him.

Here is the video, followed by a partial transcript:

(04:09) Harding (preaching): Our calling is out there … Social justice, education, health care, politics, government: these are all areas that God says “Who is willing to claim that mountain?” … How can we make a difference? How can we challenge the prevailing attitudes of money being the bottom line for everything? How can we add value to what we do? How can we touch the lives of people, even though we are dealing with products or commodities or services? …

(04:56) Harris: If the people here took over all those mountains and ran the show, what would society look like? …

(08:39) Harris: You see I think about these things politically, about the ideal way the society should go. I think in terms of it being more equal, less individualistic. You know, the structures of society should change. Are we talking about the same thing?

Harding: I think we probably are. But we probably are approaching it from a different starting point. Because politics tends to look at things from a top down model. It tends to see … You start to change society by changing how you run society from the top, from political systems, whether it be capitalism or socialism, whatever it might be. Whereas Christianity starts at grass roots. It starts with individuals’ lives changing. It starts with families, broken families coming together and reconciling. It starts with children being raised by parents who care about what happens to them. It starts with parent governors in schools making a difference in their local school. It starts with people who go into work with a different attitude and mindset. It’s a bottom up thing.

Harris: But you know where you’re going? Because if you ask me I will tell you. I would like a society where the rich are less rich and the poor are less poor. How would you feel about that?

Harding: I think a society where people are generous with what they have got would be fantastic, where people are willing to share their goods, their possessions, their time, their energy – not in an enforced way, because I think once you enforce it you take the whole spirit out of it, but on a completely free will basis, because people’s hearts have been changed.

In the sermon extract, Harding seems to be alluding to the Seven Mountains Mandate popularised by Lance Wallnau among others, which encourages Christians to seek

to gain influence over the “mountains” of government, church, education, family, media, arts, and business.

Now according to Joel Watts these seven mountains are the same as the ones in Revelation 17:9, over which the Beast reigns. I’m sure this point has not escaped Wallnau and friends. Joel writes:

Stay with me for a minute –

  • Wallnau identified seven mountains and one to rule over them.
  • John writes of seven mountains/hills with one to rule over them.

Anyone? Anyone at all see anything wrong with this whatsoever?

No, Joel, nothing wrong. Wallnau and John agree that the enemy temporarily rules over the seven mountains. Wallnau teaches that Christians should bring them under the rule of Jesus, the kingdom of God. John also teaches, in verse 14 of the same chapter, how Jesus and his armies will defeat the enemy and conquer the mountains. Where is the difference?

Joel also considers that the Seven Mountain Strategy is all about “Dominionism”. Well, as Wikipedia says,

The use and application of this terminology is a matter of controversy.

Nic Harding certainly isn’t talking about Dominion Theology as described in this Wikipedia article, and I’m pretty sure Lance Wallnau isn’t either. Neither of them envisage setting up a kind of Christian Sharia Law to replace secular law. There also seem to be quite a few differences from Wikipedia’s “Dominionism as a broader movement”. There may indeed be influences from Kuyper and Schaeffer, but not from Rushdoony. Harding is explicit that what Christians should do must be “on a completely free will basis, because people’s hearts have been changed”. Society is to be transformed according to Christian principles not by imposition from the top but by Christians working up from the grass roots.

Is this something from the right or from the left? If this is “Dominionism” from the Christian right, why is it so appealing to the Marx-quoting agnostic from the left-wing Guardian? Militant secularists may rage, but the label doesn’t matter. What does matter is that people that the world, and the secular government, ignore or reject are being accepted and provided for by Christians. This is the love which can turn the world upside down.

Thanks to Phil Ritchie and the Evangelical Alliance for their links to this article.