Religious Revolt: New Christian Sect Battles Demons, Raises the Dead, Campaigns for Sarah Palin
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Within two decades, Third Wave Christianity encompassed over four percent of humanity. It is a seismic change.
In his book Churchquake!: A Look at the Dramatic New Movement That Will Affect the Future of the Church, C. Peter Wagner states that the editor of World Christian Trends, David Barrett, told Wagner that by 1996 Barrett had over a thousand apostolic networks in his global research database, representing well over 100 million Christians. How many Christians are in apostolic networks over a decade later? We can only guess. C. Peter Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation has pulled together those apostolic networks, into what might be, for all we know, the biggest Protestant "nondenominational" (or postdenominational) denomination on the planet.
The Wagner Leadership Institute is currently offering, for free, a one-hour lecture by Wagner, session number 4 of WLI course AP825 (the "AP" stands for "Apostles and Prophets"). For getting a basic understanding of the movement Wagner refers to, and has played a key role in catalyzing, one probably couldn't do much better than to watch this lecture. C. Peter Wagner is a seasoned, professional educator... who aims to transform the biggest religion on Earth. (It probably doesn't hurt that Wagner bears a considerable resemblance to former fried-chicken mogul ‘Colonel' Harlan Sanders.)
Kicking off his lecture, Wagner tells the class:
OK, first of all, I want to repeat something. You don't have to write it down, because you already have it in your notes. But I want to remind you that the New Apostolic Reformation is the most radical change in the way of doing church since the Protestant Reformation. That's what we're dealing with.
X number of megablocks of Christianity, each with Y millions of Christians. Categories of Christianity zoom from the left onto Peter Wagner's huge blue WLI classroom screen, bouncing slightly for effect as they hit the right edge of the screen before rebounding to center. There's one little block of 20 million or so, explains Wagner, which includes Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. He typically just ignores this block in his presentations, explains Wagner, because they're "cultic."
The biggest megablock outside of the Catholic Church, and the fastest growing of all? The postdenominational block, 385 million strong by 2000. Wagner calls this block "neo-Apostolic." It's bigger now than in 2000, he says, and Wagner notes that it's the only megablock growing faster than the earth's population and faster than Islam.
Wagner's cell phone rings mid-lecture; a Hank Williams ringtone. The class laughs. In fact, it's probably an act designed to loosen them up. A pro with five decades of public speaking under his belt, C. Peter Wagner is the "convening apostle" of the International Coalition of Apostles. He's also the presiding Apostle over a prayer network originally formed, in 1990, as the "Spiritual Warfare Network," now called the Global Apostolic Prayer Network. Sarah Palin joined Wagner's new network the year it was formed, in 1990.
How many Christians worldwide are in Wagner's various networks? Few know, and Peter Wagner doesn't seem to be forthcoming with the information. He doesn't like to boast. But one thing is clear: Christianity is changing.
Editor's Note: This article was reprinted from <a href=" http://www.religiondispatches.org/">Religion Dispatches.</a>