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.