C. Peter Wagner explains why our focus should be on advancing, not escaping.
I can still remember prophecy teachers who tacked rows of charts and diagrams on the church wall and explained spell-binding details of the past, present and future. I cut my spiritual teeth on the Scofield Bible and devoured Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth. My seminary professors instructed me in pre-tribulationism and premillenialism. I quickly categorized anyone who disagreed as a “liberal.”
Now I look back on those days with a strange combination of regret and amusement. How is it that I was so wrong for so long? As I analyze my change, I can sum it up by admitting that I simply did not understand the kingdom of God.
Let me explain what I mean by starting with the Great Commission. The Great Commission has been central to my life. I committed myself to missions the night I was saved when I was 19. I spent my first 16 years of ministry as a field missionary and the next 30 as a professor of missions.
My heart’s desire was to help fulfill Jesus’ mandate to “make disciples of all nations.” However, the time came when I had to make a radical shift in the way I interpreted those words of Jesus.
Formerly, I thought my task was to go to as many nations of the world as possible and save as many souls as possible and plant as many churches as possible. Now I take the Great Commission more literally when it tells us not to make as many individual disciples as we can but to disciple whole social groups—such as entire nations. This is kingdom theology.
When God created Adam and Eve, He told them to take dominion over all His creation (see Gen. 1:28). This was God’s plan until Satan succeeded in persuading Adam to obey him rather than God. The result was that Satan usurped Adam’s authority and took dominion himself.
But Jesus came as the second Adam. He brought the kingdom of God to earth and sent His disciples out to preach the gospel of the kingdom. He has now commissioned us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to advance His kingdom, to push Satan’s kingdom back and to retake the dominion that rightly belongs to the human race.
This is the Great Commission. It still includes healing the sick, casting out demons, saving souls, multiplying churches and feeding the hungry, but it goes far beyond these activities. It is putting feet to the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
How has this played out? The human race is enormously better off now than it was when Jesus died and was raised from the dead 2,000 years ago! Satan is losing ground more and more rapidly.
Those who think the world is getting worse and worse are missing the big picture of human history. I now regard my former pre-tribulationism and premillenialism as escapist eschatology.
I do not plan to give any territory back to Satan or his Antichrist.Yes, there will be setbacks, but the advances will far outnumber them. Instead of an escapist eschatology, I expouse a victorious eschatology!
My favorite term is “dominion eschatology.” Why? Because Jesus did not give His Great Commission in vain.
The battle will be ferocious, and we will suffer some casualties along the way.However, we will continue to push Satan back and disciple whole nations.
We are aggressively retaking dominion, and the rate at which this is happening will soon become exponential. The day will come when “‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever’” (Rev. 11:15, NKJV)!
C. Peter Wagner is president of Global Harvest Ministries (globalharvest.org), chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute and presiding apostle of the International Coalition of Apostles. He has written numerous books, including Dominion! (Chosen).