New Apostolic Reformation

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This term was first used by C. Peter Wagner. According to him, the roles of apostles and prophets, which had been lost after the first century, were restored in 2001.

He explains in an article [1] that all he did was to observe what was happening and look for a name to call the movement by. The first name that came to his mind was “post-denominational,” but due to the opposition of friends of his who held positions in certain denominations, he decided himself for New Apostolic Reformation (Wagner, 2011).

Among the apostles recognized by the movement are found [2] (conference speakers):

  • C. Peter Wagner
  • Che Ahn
  • Rodney Howard-Browne
  • Bill Johnson
  • Heidi Baker
  • John Arnott (Toronto)
  • Lou Engle
  • Mike Bickle (International House of Prayer)
  • Todd Bentley

Among the prophets (conference speakers):

  • Randy Clark
  • Mahesh Chavda
  • Patricia King
  • Rick Joyner

Core beliefs

  • Jesus still calls apostles and prophets today (not to be mistaken with spiritual gifts). These apostles are similar to those who accompanied Jesus, having the same authority and the same powers (miracles). It is them who lead churches, and pastors are submitted to them. The members of the churches, for their part, are submitted to the pastors. According to them, a church or a Christian cannot “enter their destiny”  unless they are under the leadership of an apostle and a prophet. Those apostles and prophets enjoy a special relationship with God. They can thus reveal God’s specific plans to the Church and the individual Christian and what He has in store for them. Ever since the Christian era began, some have sought to gain authority by becoming self-proclaimed apostles; Revelation 2:2 tells us, “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.” There is nothing new under the sun.
  • Strategic spiritual warfare: according to them, demons reign over specific areas of the world. They are called “territorial spirits” because they control areas such as cities and countries. Strategic spiritual warfare is based on the belief that the gospel cannot advance before those spirits are cast out. Upon their casting out, entire nations will respond to the gospel, which will result in a great awakening of the end times in which over a billion people will turn to Christ. Apostles are the only ones who can cast those demons away.
  • Dominionism“: when Jesus came to earth, he brought down the kingdom of heaven with Him and is waiting for Christians to take control (again) over the world, snatching it from Satan’s hands. They have to bring peace and prosperity to the world; only then will Jesus come to be crowned. Check out the post on this topic.
  • “Theocracy”: closely linked to the preceding point, Christians are to gain control over the seven “spheres” (called “Seven Mountains” by C. Peter Wagner).

The Seven Mountains:

  • Religion
  • Family
  • Education
  • Government
  • Media
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Business
  • Extra-biblical revelations: they are available to all believers; they cannot contradict it, only supplement it. The only restriction is thus the contradiction with the Bible, but there is no need for those revelations to be aligned with the Word. The Bible is the Word of God, but nothing indicates that it only comprises 66 books, and it can thus be supplemented with revelations given to the apostles and prophets.
  • Supernatural signs and miracles: physical healings, the resurrection of the dead, and the casting out of demons happen as God moves and are available to all Christians (who are all able to operate these miracles), while according to 1 Corinthians 12, there are varieties of gifts, and each person is given different gifts to build the body of Christ.
  • Schools are teaching how to operate those miracles
  • Relationship-based structure: the leadership of the Church has no formal structure; rather, it aligns itself on the principles of the movement and the submission of the churches to their apostles.

How does one become an apostle?

Certain apostles of the NAR are involved in the International Coalition of Apostolic Leadership (ICAL). Here, the link between the ICAL and NAR theology is made evident.

This coalition, created in 2000, was directed by C. Peter Wagner, founder of the New Apostolic Reformation, from 2001 to 2009.

The list of the apostles was public for years but is no longer so. For information only, here is the list of 2008. Given that the NAR is an ideological movement, it seems logical that other “apostles” are following the same ideology or parts of it without being members of that coalition.

How does one join this coalition?

As a rule, an applicant needs the recommendation of two current members and to fulfill the definition of an apostle according the coalition:

An apostle is a Christian leader gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church.

Source: icaleaders.com/membership

They add that since apostles exercise their ministries in different manners, the ICAL is open to “vertical,” “horizontal” (e.g. covering a specific territory) or “workplace” apostles.

Money rules

As can be expected, these exists a third condition for someone to become a member of the International Coalition of Apostolic Leadership: the payment of an annual fee. In the movement, nothing comes free of charge.

Additionally, the coalition requires that the apostle join an apostolic network. Joining such a network will usually require the payment of tithes and/or first fruits to that network.

The churches and Christians have to give money to those apostles and apostolic networks as well.

Here is an example of C. Peter Wagner explains (summary):

  • that those who do not tithe steal from God and cannot expect blessings from Him;
  • he distinguishes:
    • tithe –> for the church
    • offerings (beyond the tithe) –> free choice of recipient
    • first fruits –> for the apostle with whom the giver is spiritually aligned
  • He then gives detailed examples of first fruits; judge by yourself whether these descriptions are accurate:
    • if you receive a pay raise, you are to give the difference of the first month’s pay as first fruits (and of course the tithe on the rest);
    • if you work in real estate and make a profit, this is not to be considered as income but as capital to be reinvested. You do not tithe it, but you give around ten percent to the apostle as first fruits;
    • if you are on social welfare, you tithe and give a small extra amount to the apostle with whom you are spiritually aligned;
    • etc.

Many leaders in the movement are very wealthy (a blessing from God, in their view). They don’t have any problems driving around in an Aston Martin (e.g. Bill Johnson) while accepting the first fruits of church members on social welfare.

Major “business” can be observed:

  • schools (e.g. of supernatural ministry)
  • books (mandatory reading of 15 books during the first year of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry; most of these books are published by the people who teach in it)
  • conferences
  • gatherings
  • Sozo
  • sermons for sale
  • etc.

The wealth of the movement’s leaders is not hidden; rather, it testifies to God’s blessings. Prosperity gospel is widespread within the New Apostolic Reformation.

New version of the Bible

NAR leaders are currently in the process of publishing a new “translation” of the Bible in order to support their teachings. A few books are already available, such as the Psalms, Proverbs, Paul’s letters, the gospels according to Matthew and Luke, and Acts. Verses are distorted so as to correspond to the teachings. More information hereLes versets sont altérés afin de correspondre à leurs enseignements. More information here.

For a few examples, click here.

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