Warfare Prayer: How To Seek God’s Power and Protection in the Battle To Build His Kingdom. By C. Peter Wagner. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1992. Cloth, $14.99.
The title of this book reveals its central thesis-the way to effectively build God’s kingdom is through “warfare prayer.” According to Wagner, warfare prayer involves taking the offensive, in prayer, against the demonic principalities and powers which are at war with God’s kingdom. Supposedly, this is best effected by identifying-through prayer-the spirits which have territorial jurisdiction where spiritual problems are most evident. And then, these demons are to be cast out (of territories, buildings, objects, etc.) through “warfare prayer.”
The emphasis given to prayer and holiness is commendable. Also laudable is the author’s exhortation that we must take seriously the fact that we are involved in spiritual warfare and, because evangelism treads on the enemy’s turf, it must be accompanied by fervent prayer in order to produce great results.
But let the reader beware: the argument of this book is not built on sound exegesis. In fact, much of the basis of “strategic level spiritual warfare” (which includes “power encounters” with demons) is based on supposed pragmatism-what Wagner sees as that which works. Though he cites some Scripture references and biblical illustrations, many of these either have no contextual relationship to the subject at hand or are clearly wrong interpretations of those references. This means that the book is primarily based on experience; to validate that experience, more experience is cited. This is a dangerous way to formulate theology!
But the occasional misuse of Scripture and the emphasis on experience are not enough for the author in attempting to prove his position, so he also incorporates the use of false syllogisms into his argument. For example, he establishes that territorial spirits do exist (citing Daniel 10) and that demons are behind idol worship. From there he makes an unfounded leap to claim that demons inhabit houses and objects, and wreak havoc on individuals who happen to be in the vicinity of those habitations. Unfortunately, this kind of argumentation is all too common in this work.
There are other areas in this book that cause concern; these emanate from the author’s approach. There are even parts of the book which teeter on the ridiculous. Suffice it to say that although this work has a laudable emphasis on prayer, there are many other works on prayer which are much more theologically accurate and more highly recommended by this reviewer.
Candlelight Bible Church
Houston , TX