New Apostolic Reformation and Revival!

I have been around many ministries connected with the New Apostolic Reformation[1]While coined by Peter Wagner, it reaches much wider than that because of the deep rooted belief in the great end time harvest. However, it has always been an odd relationship. Agree on one thing and disagreeing on many.

The issues concerning the movement and its’ marriage to politics flies right in the face of the very words of the Savior though. Jesus made it clear that we were not to develop a political vision for society but live (and die) for the cause of Christ. (Acts 1:6-8)

There is not one passage where the early church was friendly with the government nor where they given “favor” with the leadership of society. This is dangerously close to what people in the 1970’s taught and was known as the Kingdom Now movement.[2]Kingdom Now theology is a theological belief within the Charismatic movement of Protestant Christianity, mainly in the United States. Kingdom Now proponents believe that God lost control over the … Continue reading This has become popular again, especially among people following Bethel Church and Lifestyle Christianity.

Where there is no movement, no set leadership or anything; there is a set of values that hold them together. One of the problem is most of it has very weak theology at best and in some cases is more eastern religion that Christian. In many ministries, theology is a free for all.[3]Some ministries do not even have a theological statement

New Apostolic Reformation and Revival

The problem with this is in the details. How someone from New Apostolic Reformation circles will call anything and everything “revival.” (They grossly overuse the idea of the prophetic as well) Many of the churches involved talk about “building a revival culture[4]Revival Culture is more about “restoring all things.” This was done at Golgotha.” It is very unclear what they see as revival at this point. (Revival was never a culture but a return to biblical faith. Once you have returned, it is not revival anymore)

For me, revival is clearly defined.  It is a season of divine visitation from the Spirit which is marked by supernatural deliverances, dramatic healings and salvation en masse.  I like to say that you can have evangelism without revival but you can’t have revival without evangelism. I find this to be the case in the Awakenings, Azusa Street and even the Brownsville Revival.

Because there has not been a clear understanding of what revival is and is not, there has been several false revivals that were more driven by thoughtful marketing than the Spirit empowerment. In these, people claim thousands of miracles but can’t prove any of them with medical records.[5]Healing testimonies should be confirmed by records before testified. This is a concern.

One thing that many of these “moves of God” have in common is they do not preach the cross. They value experience over repentance. There is no testing of prophecy because of this. The preaching of the Cross is outdated to them. Yet, Jesus said if He is lifted up (Died of the Cross), He would draw all men unto Himself. (John 12:32) In other words, preach the cross and revival will come. 

The other challenge is most of the people in these ministries were saved when they came part of it. Evangelism is talked about much more than done. It also is more about winning people to their philosophy and political view than to the Cross of Jesus Christ.[6]Church transfer is not Church growth

What about end of the world?

Almost all the different churches that consider themselves part of this relational group has some very questionable Eschatology. Hardly anyone of them would agree with what the early church believed: The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the Church.[7]Taken from the Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God

They believe everything from Partial Preterist to Pre-Wrath Pre-millennialism to Amillennialism. What the people of the New Apostolic Reformation believes is hard to nail down but you can be sure of one thing: none of them want to believe like the people of the Book of Acts.

The question becomes how far from the biblical narrative will they go? In some cases, it is downright heretical with Joel’s Army and manifested sons of God.[8]Both of these come from the Latter Rain in the 1940’s In other circles it is being led by angels (Col. 2:18-19) and chasing new age experience calling it the “glory realm.” There is a very fine line between eastern religion and theology in practice among the New Apostolic Reformation. All in the name of “redeeming lost things.” (You don’t redeem devils, you cast them out.)

Probably the most dangerous teaching that is a departure from biblical theology is concerning inner healing[9]It has direct ties to Hinduism or “soul healing.” People  have build whole ministry around this erroneous teaching. In order to be used by God, you have to be “healed up.” This is probably the most outlandish doctrine of all. You are saved and baptized in the Spirit, you are ready for deployment for souls!

The Ostracizing of saints

Probably the biggest issue when someone holds up a bible and ask about the teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation. You will be ostracized, slandered and gossiped about. In my case, there was a full blown witch-hunt by a false prophet.

The gospel is one of inclusion but the New Apostolic Reformation has a practice of exclusion. They do not value people that do not advance their political goals and building their own kingdom through business. Anyone that does not buy into “funding the kingdom” must be removed from the “community.”[10]The ideal of community is closer to cult behavior

The odd thing is that this is done all in the context of “loving well.” They use this based on a questionable “trip to heaven” by Bob Jones[11]Personally, I think Bob Jones did hear from God but was deceived on many levels. and they talk about loving people but rarely actually do it. Love is based on  the benefit the person has for the ministry or to the person personally. Loving people unconditionally just doesn’t happen.

If one struggles to love people they disagree with, they do not love people at all. Love starts when it is a challenge. A complete disregard for the “unlovable” and “unreachable” is completely out of line. This is directly against the teachings of Jesus, Paul and James.

The treatment of modern Bereans is very telling of the people caught up in the New Apostolic Reformation. Sadly, I don’t see much change in the future.

 

 

References

References
1 While coined by Peter Wagner, it reaches much wider than that
2 Kingdom Now theology is a theological belief within the Charismatic movement of Protestant Christianity, mainly in the United States. Kingdom Now proponents believe that God lost control over the world to Satan when Adam and Eve sinned. Since then, the theology goes, God has been trying to reestablish control over the world by seeking a special group of believers
3 Some ministries do not even have a theological statement
4 Revival Culture is more about “restoring all things.” This was done at Golgotha
5 Healing testimonies should be confirmed by records before testified.
6 Church transfer is not Church growth
7 Taken from the Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God
8 Both of these come from the Latter Rain in the 1940’s
9 It has direct ties to Hinduism
10 The ideal of community is closer to cult behavior
11 Personally, I think Bob Jones did hear from God but was deceived on many levels.

Can we bring revival? : Response to David Sliker

David Sliker is a leader at the International House of Prayer and in 2020, he released a book called The Nations rage: Prayer, Promise and Power in an Anti-Christian age. I know that Sliker is faithfully seeking to declare what he believes to be truth. Many Pentecostals, including myself, would be disagree with his eschatology that is the basis for the book, we also would find common ground on the need for intercession in the last days of the age of the Holy Spirit. (Church age.)

Personally, I look past disagreement on the timing of the rapture in most cases. I have many friends on both sides of the discussion. As long as you are Pre-Mill, you are good to go in my book.

On page 96 he says,

There is an unknown and profoundly sovereign dimension to revivals of any kind. No one can make God move or pour out His Spirit upon a region or a people….

This raises a question about the nature of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believers and corporately in the life of the local assembly. Is God letting people go to hell and keeping freedom from the believer waiting for a “good time to send revival” or is the issue on our end? If the problem is on our end, we can change that. If it is on His end, we can not.

As a student of revival, especially American revival; I believe the bulk of the evidence would point towards revival is not a sovereign move of the Lord but it is a response of free will to do what the Spirit has purposed all along.

Considering the Revivalists of Pentecost

I have on my desk books of revival from Reinhard Bonnke, Rod Parsley, Stanley Horton, Alton Garrison, David Wilkerson, Steve Hill, Michael L. Brown, Cecil Robeck, and John Kilpatrick. (There is over 150 books in my library on revival!) All of them seem to hold a similar view that revival is man’s response to own our sinful state than God saying, “I better show up, there has been enough to go to hell now.”

The Holy Spirit is able to make the Word as successful now as in the days of the apostles. He can bring in souls by hundreds of thousands as well as by ones and twos. The reason why we are no more prosperous is that we have not the Holy Spirit with us in might and power as in the early days. (Oswald J. Smith, The Revival we need, p. 33)

Smith was not a Pentecostal but understood the need for the mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit. He spend much time with a prophet of his day, A.W. Tozer who lived for the outpouring of the Spirit. He knew that the problem with revival was on our end; not the Lord’s.

There has been many voices that contend the revival is a result of man’s hunger for the things of the Spirit, not the Spirit saying, “Enough is enough.”

 

The Azusa Street Revival testimony

William Seymour stayed with Edward and Mattie Lee while waiting for finances to return to Texas. It was here that the prayer meetings started until they grew too much that they had to be moved to Richard Asberry’s house on Bonnie Brae Street. After that, it ended up on Azusa Street thus, the Azusa Street Revival.

There is something fundamental about the Azusa Street Revival that is important. Prayer was the driver. Prayer is not about changing the will of God but about bringing our will into line with the will of the Spirit. Revival is not about the Spirit coming alive; it is about men becoming dead.

The focus was on dealing with the flesh and becoming sanctified (as the holiness movement understood it), not waiting on God to say “It’s time.” They understood that prayer was the venue to death of the self so they could receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The testimony of the people of the Azusa Street Revival is the same today. Prayer is about your death and coming into agreement with the will of the Father. Living in a place of prayer is living the repentance based lifestyle of denying yourself and picking up your cross daily.

The story of the revival on Azusa Street is the only example. Revival has come time and time again when people rend their hearts and not their garments (Joel 2:13) willing to die to themselves so the Spirit is come in them, on them and through them.

 

So is David Sliker’s book any good?

The simple answer is YES! I do not agree with the eschatology of it but I think he does a good service to the faithful but discussing the parrells of coming trouble with revival. Before the rapture, there will be some hard days ahead. It won’t be signs, wonders and miracles every day all day even in the final moments of the age of the Holy Spirit. Martyrdom will increase. Suffering will increase. Corruption will increase.
Since at least the 1970’s, we have been warned that we will see serious struggles in light of the great end time harvest. A prophet named David Wilkerson gave us the stories of his open visions as early as 1973 that come in agreement with much of what David Sliker has to say.

Trouble is ahead between now and the rapture. Revival will over take the trouble but there will be some of both. (There is ALOT more trouble after the rapture too!)

The focus is on revival and the the best has been saved for the last. The ending of the age of the Spirit will be the greatest outpouring we have seen in the history of the Church. It will be one billion souls harvest and healing and deliverance will be at the center of it all. No disease will stand against the anointed Holy Ghost baptized anointed ones.

It is coming. It is close at hand. So is purification.

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