There are a number of different ways that people regard history:
- Some ignore history.
- Some read and study history for the enjoyment of knowing more about the past.
- Some analyze history with the goal of deriving lessons from the past which can be applied to the future.
- Some love history and try to relive it.
- While others make history.
I want to be a history maker, and I know that there are many others out there who agree. If you are a believer, there has never been a better time. In the Second Apostolic Age, we are already living through the most radical change in our way of doing church since the Protestant Reformation.
Chapter after chapter, this book has highlighted and analyzed a number of these changes in some detail. As I conclude it, I want to summarize what we have said and attempt to restate some of the major thoughts in a simple and concise way.
A biblical analogy that I have used throughout to help us to understand our history-making task more clearly is Jesus' picture of old wineskins as over against new wineskins.
Old wineskins are strongly appealing. They offer a great deal of comfort and security. It is a fact of life, therefore, that the majority will never desire to move into the new wineskins of the Second Apostolic Age. Consequently, they will never join the ranks of history makers. Why do they resist? Moving from an old wineskin to a new wineskin is too much of a risk!
However, history makers have always been risk-takers. Those who hear what the Spirit is now saying to the churches get excited about change. World changers will not tolerate the status quo.
The Corporate Spirit of Religion
A major train of thought running through this book relates to the subversive activity of the corporate spirit of religion. In most of the chapters I pointed out how the corporate spirit of religion attempts to keep leaders from moving into God's new wineskins.
Here is a concise definition of the spirit of religion: The spirit of religion is an agent of Satan assigned to prevent change and maintain the status quo by using religious devices.
I'm using the term "religion" in the common sense of the word, namely beliefs and activities involved in relating to superhuman or supernatural beings or forces.
Knowing what we do about the invisible world of darkness, we can surmise certain things. For example, there certainly must be many spirits of religion, not just one. Consequently, our term "the spirit of religion" should be understood as a generic term, embracing however many of these demons there might actually be.
Now I am going to use my imagination a bit. In doing so, I am identifying with Paul, who said at one point concerning a certain matter: "I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in His mercy has made trustworthy" (1 Cor. ). Here, then, is my hypothesis.
The Luciferian Department of Religion
Let's imagine that Satan's kingdom has a Luciferian Department of Religion. If it does, there might well be two divisions: (1) The Division of Non-Christian Religions and (2) The Division of Christendom.
The issue for the spirit or principality controlling the Division of Non-Christian Religions is allegiance. To whom does an individual or a group give allegiance? Keep in mind that the spirit of religion always attempts to preserve the status quo. In this case it uses religion to keep people from switching their allegiance to Jesus Christ. In other words, it devises strategies to keep Muslims committed to Allah or Japanese to the Sun Goddess or Thai people to Buddha or the Aymaras of the
Let's also assume that there are at least two offices in the Division of Christendom. The first could be an Office of Personal Religious Security. This would primarily target individuals, and the central issues for it are either salvation or fullness. The spirit of religion's first strategy here is to promote the idea that belonging to a Christian church or doing religious things is what saves you. It succeeds if it can, for example, persuade Catholics to think that they can be saved by lighting candles to Mary or Baptists to think that they can be saved by going to church every Sunday carrying a Bible, or Lutherans to think they are saved if they have been baptized and confirmed.
If the personal spirit of religion cannot prevent an individual from believing in Christ and being saved, it then tries to keep that believer on dead center. It does not allow believers to move on to the filling of the Holy Spirit or to freedom in Christ or to enter into God's true destiny for their lives. Paul specifically warns that the devil, by his craftiness, can and does corrupt minds and keep them from "the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3).
The second Christendom-related office could be an Office of Corporate Church Structure. Here the spirit of religion primarily targets the religious power-brokers who determine the destiny of whole organizations, such as denominations. The central issue is God's new times and seasons. The demonic strategy is to preserve the status quo through adhering to the traditions of the elders.
Specifically, this corporate spirit of religion appears to be a major force of the enemy to discourage people from moving into the new wineskin of the Second Apostolic Age. Unlike a personal spirit of religion, it is not the kind of demon that invades individuals like a spirit of rejection or a spirit of trauma or a spirit of lust, all of which need to be cast out of its victims. Rather, the assignment of the corporate spirit of religion is collective. It works on groups. It casts a spell over the leaders of whole segments of God's people. This, for example, is reflected in Galatians 3:1: "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth?" The Galatians were under the spell of the corporate spirit of religion. They hesitated to move into God's new times and seasons for them.
Renewing Our Minds
The remedy for this is a new way of thinking. In Chapter 1, I explained that the Hebrew word, belaw, characterizes the tactics of the corporate spirit of religion. It means to wear out the victim in a mental sense. How do we defeat the enemy in this arena? We become transformed by the renewing of our mind as we are told to do in Romans 12:2. To move ahead, then, we need a paradigm shift.
My purpose in this book is to help us change our minds so that we can be history makers, not mere maintainers of the status quo. God has given us the power to overthrow the spirit of religion. Greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world.
Do you want new wine? Do you want to fulfill God's destiny for you in this life? If you do:
- Tune in to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
- Resolve to catch the wind of the Holy Spirit.
- Agree to pay whatever price is necessary to become an active part of the new wineskin-including renewing your mind.
The new wineskin is the Second Apostolic Age. If you are a part of it, you can count yourself in the company of history makers!
Used with permission from The Spirit of Religion, by C. Peter Wagner, Regal Books. For more resources by Peter Wagner, visit Faith and Work Resources.com by clicking the link to the right of this page.