C Peter Run

kinnon —  August 26, 2008 — 19 Comments

Alternate Title for this post: The Dissembling of the apostles

Barb, at her blog A Former Leader’s Journey, points to the latest missive from self-declared 72% accurate C. Peter Wagner. Barb quotes from it but doesn’t provide a direct link – you can read the whole thing here, if you have the stomach. The missive is as fine a piece of prevarication and dissembling as you will ever read – written with equal parts arrogance and disdain.

It is said that the victors are the ones who get to write history. C Peter desperately wants to be seen as a victor in this situation as he writes,

I hope this is the last time I will have to address the past. It is now history. But as history is written, I feel that I have some responsibility of helping to have history be written accurately, especially since I have turned out to be a lightening rod for a number of severe criticisms.

Please note. We are not talking about ancient history here. We are discussing something that occurred but two short summer months ago.

It is here, in the re-writing of history section of C Pete’s missive that he tells us of this accuracy stats,

Closer to the Lakeland I situation, I have a private list of no fewer than 18 high-profile Christian leaders starting from the 1970s until Bentley for whom I took risks. For each one of them I took serious criticisms and in some cases personal hits even much more serious than I have received in this current case because I endorsed or partnered with or provided alignment for them. Some were typified as “crazy!” However, I can pretty much discern winners, although not always. My track record for the 18 is 72% emerged as real winners (you would know most of them), 17% ended up losers (including Bentley), and 11% indecisive. I’m sorry for the losers, but they prove I am not perfect.

I’m crushed. Petey’s not perfect but at least he’s “sorry for the losers“. Allow me to repete repeat the gist of my snarky comment at Barb’s blog where I suggest, with this kind of predictive accuracy the pompous twit might be better off in Vegas. Please note how Bentley, now thrown under the bus by Dr. C Pete, is a loser. Barb comments,

This paragraph made my heart hurt and my eyes tear up. Todd is not a loser. The story is not written yet. But even if it ended here the cross ensures that he is no loser. You all have said over and over that the Apostolic gifting that you hold allows you to “Father” the church. Fathers don’t call their kids losers no matter what they go through. Fathers are patient and believe the best. They don’t gloss over sin but neither do they declare their sons losers.

Now. Let’s return to Wagner’s truthiness. He claims,

I want it understood that I did not go to Lakeland on June 23 for Todd Bentley. I had never met him personally. I had no knowledge of and little interest in his ministry. I went because I received an apostolic plea to help bring order to the confusion and chaos that was sweeping through the body of Christ worldwide because of the television. I went strictly for the body of Christ at the invitation of the host pastor of the Outpouring I.

The final question is: Was it successful? Looking back, I praise God for using me and others to help bring order to confusion, which is one of the chief biblical tasks of an apostle.

But wait. The night of the apostolic oversight alignment commissioning service during Outpouring 1 (as C Pete now calls it,) a little more than 60 days ago, Dr. C. Peter Wagner, Presiding Apostle of the International Coalition of Apostles, President of Global Harvest Ministries, Chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute and all round swell guy according to his wife and fellow apostles, says this

This commissioning represents a powerful spiritual transaction taking place in the invisible world. With this in mind, I take the apostolic authority that God has given me and I decree to Todd Bentley:
· Your power will increase.
· Your authority will increase.
· Your favor will increase.
· Your influence will increase.
· Your revelation will increase.

In the letter C. Pete sent out to his apostolic network, two nights after the commissioning service, he said this,

I am writing this from Lakeland. The night before last Doris and I attended the meeting in the tent along with 10,000 others, the largest crowd yet since meeting in the tent. It was the 82nd day of the Outpouring. Todd Bentley used his speaking time in giving the most detailed testimony so far of the “dark night of the soul” that he experienced for 18 months 2005-2007. It was a very remarkable and transparent confession of his pride during the ten years previously and details of the wilderness that God took him through to break the pride. He was very clear about his lack of discipline, his emotions out of control, his rejection of God, his dislike of reading scripture, public meltdown on the platform, memories of childhood rejection, loneliness, sexual abuse, his marriage on the brink of divorce, etc. He was so burnt out he cried 4 hours per day for 21 days straight.

When it was over, God restored everything related to his staff, his marriage, his ministry, and his newly-refined personal character. This was a very remarkable and touching presentation. There was no hint of victimization or wanting a pity party. It was a confession of his own sin and the consequences he paid for disobedience. Doris and I were very touched by this, and we were thankful to God for a window on Todd’s character that we didn’t expect to be so wide open to us.

Let me remind you that Doris and I have been very close to other similar outpourings, especially the John Wimber signs & wonders phenomenon of the late 70s and 80s and well as the Argentine Revival of the 80s and 90s. We believe we have paid our dues in terms of the ability to discern truth from error and also in receiving severe and often painful criticism for some of the judgments we made in supporting those two movements. As we observed and participated in the meeting in the tent, we became very nostalgic about Wimber and Argentina, even noting some physical resemblance between Todd and Wimber. His accuracy in words of knowledge reminded us of both John Wimber in the past and Robert Henderson in the present. The worship time was similar to the worship we experience in Freedom Church in Colorado Springs except on a larger and more exuberant scale. We saw or felt nothing that would cross the lines we have previously experienced in high-profile revival. We have learned that God-driven revival is often messy, tending to pull some out of their religious comfort zones, but at the same time opening gates for new seasons of the movement of God.

Sixty some days ago, Todd reminded C Pete of John Wimber – including their girth. Today, C Pete says, “We no longer need to deal with Lakeland I and Bentley as such. However, we have a list of 24 serious issues that have emerged from that unpleasant experience which need to be thoroughly discussed with the conclusions circulated in the body of Christ.”

Dear Dr. Wagner,
Might I most humbly suggest that the number 1, most serious issue, you and your merry band of traveling apostles need to address is your complete lack of discernment – a gift the real apostles had in spades. And, as it will be a cold night in hell before you admit your multitudinous errors, henceforth I want you to address me as Pope William I of Toronto – an only slightly more ridiculous title than your’s of Presiding Apostle, International Coalition of Apostles.

Your anointed* servant,
Pope William I of Toronto

*Please note that non of “Chuck Pierce’s “Be Revived” anointing oil ” was used in my self-anointing as Toronto’s first Pope. That got all used up the night of the Bentley commissioning when Che Ahn personally anointed the “1,000 or so pastors as “carriers of fire” to their churches.” God help them all!

UPDATE: Read the Phoenix Preacher. Apparently Rick Joyner says, “The only thing that I have received from the Lord about this matter directly is that “those who rush to judgment will be exposed.” I’d suggest the “exposed” part would be accurate. It’s just Joyner won’t be happy with who and what is being exposed. Enough of these false prophets, already.

UPDATE 2: Rickard is a budy of mine who works with teens in a broken suburban context in Idaho. He’s a passionate man with a heart as big as today and tomorrow. Please read these two post of his, here and here. Also, please read his comment below and that of his dear wife, Lori.

kinnon

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

19 responses to C Peter Run

  1. I don’t care what people say- your title is one of the most clever blog titles I’ve read in a while. Nice!

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  2. I bet you’ve got gold teeth too, Pope William!! 🙂

    Thanks for this post.

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  3. Ditto on the clever title. I’ve met Pete before, and despite this silliness, he really is an all around swell guy. Sigh. He used to be more a voice of reason in the midst of the circus, but I’m afraid he’s had a little too much fun lately.

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  4. There is so much I could say, but you’ve said it so well. The harshness of his attitude regarding Todd is telling of the political instability in their ranks and the need to blameshift.

    The statement in this piece that made my hair stand on end was this…

    If you have seen Dutch Sheets’ recent “A Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland” you will get a glimpse of some of the things that we agree need to become standard operational beliefs and practices, particularly in our charismatically-inclined evangelical segment of the church.

    I was pretty sure that Dutch’s statement was more than just a simple apology. Apparently it was a prelude to their next missive to the church. More BS.

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  5. Oh most Holy Pope William I of Toronto,
    Surely you are the most wise of all popes. At least the best at giving your blog post a title. Sigh…to be like Bill.

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  6. I am truly sad to see this mess play out. I use to be heavily into all this charismatic craziness, and thank God (literally) I am no longer involved.

    Aside from all the funny quips and the titles (which they always are, thank you Bill) I think we all have to grieve for how warped this all is. As a young adult this makes me very nervous for my generation.

    I am just glad that Peter isn’t my “Father” lest I make a mistake and he labels me a “loser”.

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  7. From the letter:
    Lakeland Outpouring I, in which Todd Bentley was the main figure, is now history. Lakeland Outpouring II, in which Stephen Strader of Ignited Church is the main figure, has begun.

    Perhaps one day we’ll have an outpouring with Christ as the main figure, d’you think?

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  8. Curious to know what you thought of Dutch Sheets letter? It sounded much more gracious than C Petes?

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  9. Dutch Sheets writes:
    Should those who “aligned” Todd with spiritual fathers (which was a good thing and positioned him to receive help if he chooses to accept it) have realized to do so publicly was a mistake and could be interpreted by those watching in no other way than as a complete endorsement? Yes, they should have, especially when the event became a commissioning ceremony, complete with decrees and prophecies of going to higher levels, predictions of Todd’s increasing world-wide influence and leading a world-wide revival, emphatic and prolific endorsements of his character, etc.

    More gracious than Wagner’s? Definitely, but much more pointed. Sheets, for one, isn’t going to let Wagner off the hook so easily. Clearly there was more turmoil behind the scenes than we knew, and not just in Todd’s life. The whole thing makes me wonder whether God’s word to Wagner – “Alignment!” – was meant more for him than for Bentley, because his involvement and subsequent backpedaling sure seem bent out of shape to me.

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  10. Interesting standards, nothing about a word used a great deal by Jesus – servant.

    I don’t think Paul meant winning the race quite the same way these guys mean winning and losing, did he?

    Making those distinctions (winner/loser) it’s easier to understand the willful divisions of the super apostles.

    If you have a second, have a look.

    link to tinyurl.com

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  11. It isn’t for nothing that Jesus called us “sheep.” Sadly, none of this will go away, even if the “apostolic” movement itself splinters two or three ways. In fact, it will likely get sillier, because it serves to detract from economic pain, the pain of cultural transition, and the need to grow up.

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  12. Hey I’m curious… who made C. Peter Wagner an apostle? I didn’t realize he was old enough to have seen the Resurrected Christ personally.

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  13. Shane,
    C Pete’s as old as “them thar hill”. And, as Grace noticed, he looks a lot like Colonel Sanders, don’t ya think.

    Len,
    I truly hope that these are the death gasps of the NAR and this particular breed of charismania – but I fear you are right and there is more non sense to come. (Typo intentional.)

    Bene,
    Great link. Servant leadership!? How biblical of you. We will have none of that, puhleeze!

    J. Michael and Elle,
    I think Sheets is more a part of the problem than part of the solution – and he was awfully silent whilst thousands were being sucked into the Lakeland vortex (whether 1 or 2). I note that his “letter” is posted as a graphic so it can’t be easily copied. Further silliness from these misguided folk.

    Trevor,
    We can only hope… and pray.

    Elle,
    As I remember, you are hanging with some good folk who are doing their best to understand what the Kingdom of God is. I’m very glad that C Pete’s not your “spiritual father” too.

    Barb,
    Please address me as “your eminence” and kiss my ring. Thanks for your heart felt post that motivated this one.

    Grace,
    You’ve written more than most of us – and your post from today is superb. It’s a privilege to have you as blog buddy.

    Matt,
    I met and interviewed C Pete in the late ’80’s for an International March for Jesus video. The opinion I express in regards to his pomposity was partially formed then. A friend had a similar experience with C Pete’s high opinion of himself at a conference in Manila around the same time. It’s good to hear you experienced something different.

    Mark,
    I’m playing Steely Dan’s Your Gold Teeth in honour of your comment. De Pope’s teeth look good in gold, bra!

    Jamie,
    I care what you say! Thanks for the props – and, as always, the friendship. (Great post at your blog today, too.)

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  14. I don’t know why but the one thing that stood out to me (I haven’t follow Bentley) is that he cried for 4 hours a day for 21 days. And my thought was, did he have a stop watch? It just seemed like a strange comment.

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  15. Once upon a time, long ago, Christian maturity as well as authority was measured by scars not ego. Gifting recognized only through the lenses of character. Supernatural experiences filtered through Christ-likeness.
    The day I start recognizing and submitting to these present day apostles and prophets? The day I meet them in the gutters, serving prostitutes and tax collectors, loving the unlovable, preferring the marginalized. The day, they submit to us the church.

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  16. Amen Rickard!!

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  17. “Closer to the Lakeland I situation, I have a private list of no fewer than 18 high-profile Christian leaders starting from the 1970s until Bentley for whom I took risks. For each one of them I took serious criticisms and in some cases personal hits even much more serious than I have received in this current case because I endorsed or partnered with or provided alignment for them. Some were typified as “crazy!” However, I can pretty much discern winners, although not always. My track record for the 18 is 72% emerged as real winners (you would know most of them), 17% ended up losers (including Bentley), and 11% indecisive. I’m sorry for the losers, but they prove I am not perfect.”

    How self serving!!! I am sickened by the way the church throws their own under the bus. We will raise you up, put you on a damn pedestal and remark about how disgusted we are as we watch you fall to the ground. I wonder if Mr. Wagner thinks that King David was a loser as well?
    BTW Bill, love the title, very fitting 😉

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  18. Well … I’ve struggled with this thought for a long time now. Here it is for better or worse.

    Matthew 26:20-25 …

    When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”

    22They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?”

    23Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

    25Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”
    Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.”

    Then Jesus allowed the whole thing to happen. He went on to predict, without condemnation, Peter’s denial. I don’t see any language that looks anything like “loser” or “winner” there are no head counts in here.

    For people who hold themselves up as super-duper followers of Christ and leaders of men, I think we know who the real losers are. Methinks they doth protest too much … and are skewered on their own words.

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  19. Bill,

    I’m late to this most excellent post of yours, but I wanted to comment.

    Character matters. That too many people affiliated with Lakeland “are” characters rather than “have” character should bother us all, especially those of us who consider ourselves charismatics.

    I find the distancing from the anointers to be the most egregious part of all this. It’s despicable, pure and simple. If this doesn’t wake a lot of people up, I don’t know what will. Some of us have been decrying these shenanigans for years, yet the bus still had to go off the cliff before anyone would snap out of their revival reveries.

    Sad, sad, sad.

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