New Apostolic Reformation
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The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a title used to describe a movement that seeks to establish a fourth house within Christendom, distinct from Catholicism, Protestant Christianity and Orthodox Christianity, largely associated with the Pentecostal and the Charismatic movements. Its fundamental difference from other movements is the belief that the lost offices of church governance, namely the offices of prophet and apostle are being restored. Inspired by the G12 movement, it grows by discreetly recruiting pastors of independent congregations and nondenominational churches, by assimilating members from other churches through cell group meetings, and by frequent Church planting and rapid cytokinesis, including foreign missions around the globe. The churches spun out therefrom then form a loose network with a tightly knit history that serves as the basis of an otherwise informal and generally unadvertised far ranging governmental structure. With this strategy, it expects to rapidly overwhelm and dominate the preexisting Christian denominations in the world.
The New Apostolic Reformation is a title originally used by C. Peter Wagner to describe a movement within Pentecostal and charismatic churches. The title New Apostolic Reformation is descriptive of a theological movement and is not an organization and therefore does not have formal membership. Among those in the movement that inspired the title NAR, there is a wide range of variance on specific beliefs. Those within the movement hold to their denominational interpretations of the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit within each believer. Unlike some parts of Protestant Christianity, these include the direct revelation of Christ to each believer, prophecy, and the performance of miracles such as healing. This move has also been given the descriptive title, the Third Wave of the Holy Spirit.
Although the movement regards the church as the true body of saved believers, as most Evangelical Protestants do, it differs from the broader Protestant tradition in its view on the nature of church leadership, specifically the doctrine of Five-Fold Ministry, which is based upon a non-traditional interpretation of Ephesians 4:11. C. Peter Wagner writes that most of the churches in this movement have active ministries of spiritual warfare. As an example of this warfare he claims that God acted through him to end mad-cow disease in Germany. In an article responding to criticism of the NAR, Wagner notes that those who affiliate themselves with the movement believe the Apostles’ Creed and all the orthodoxy of Christian doctrine, so that the movement is therefore not heretical.
Wagner has listed the differences between the NAR and traditional Protestantism as follows:
- Apostolic governance – The Apostle Paul's assertion that Jesus appoints apostles within his church continues to this day.
- The office of the prophet – There is within the church a role and function for present-day prophets.
- Dominionism – "When Jesus came, He brought the kingdom of God and He expects His kingdom-minded people to take whatever action is needed to push back the long-standing kingdom of Satan and bring the peace and prosperity of His kingdom here on earth."
- Theocracy – Not to be confused with theocratic government but rather the goal to have "kingdom-minded people" in all areas of society. There are seven areas identified specifically: religion, family, education, government, media, arts & entertainment, and business.
- Extra-biblical revelation – There is available to all believers the ability to hear from God. "The one major rule governing any new revelation from God is that it cannot contradict what has already been written in the Bible. It may supplement it, however.
- Supernatural signs and wonders – Signs and wonders such as healing, demonic deliverance and confirmed prophecies accompany the move of God.
- Relational structures – church governance has no formal structure but rather is by relational and voluntary alignment to apostles.
The term "New Apostolic Reformation" traces its historical roots to late-twentieth-century American charismatic churches, and the earliest use of the moniker was by C. Peter Wagner which unintentionally prompted journalists to perceive him as spiritual god-father of the movement. The movement itself, previous to the title, started in 1900 in the African Independent Church Movement. Other notable examples of this movement in recent history are the Latin American Grassroots Church Movement and the U.S. Independent Charismatic Movement, both starting in the 1970s.
Though few organizations publicly espouse connection to the NAR, there are several individuals often associated with this movement including:
- Lou Engle – Founder of The Call
- Mike and Cindy Jacobs – Founders of Generals International
- Bill Johnson – Head Pastor of Bethel Church
- Rick Joyner – Founder of Morning Star Ministries
- John P. Kelly – Founder of John P. Kelly Ministries and Convening Apostle
- C. Peter Wagner – Founder of Global Harvest Ministries
- Mike Bickle – Founder of International House of Prayer
According to Wagner, “The second apostolic age began in the year 2001” when the lost offices of prophet and apostle were restored.
Forrest Wilder, an environmental issues writer for the Texas Observer, describes the New Apostolic Reformation as having "taken Pentecostalism, with its emphasis on ecstatic worship and the supernatural, and given it an adrenaline shot." Wilder adds that beliefs of people associated with the movement "can tend toward the bizarre" and that it has "taken biblical literalism to an extreme."
Al Jazeera called the NAR "America's Own Taliban" in an article highlighting NAR's dominionism as bearing resemblance to Islamic extremism in seen in groups such as the Taliban due to the NAR's language concerning spiritual warfare.
National Public Radio brought the discussion about the political influence of the NAR to a national audience with their 2011 article. One of the main researchers cited in the article was Rachel Tabachnick, an independent researcher and contributor to Talk2Action, an online news outlet concerned with watching the religious right. Lou Engle and Don Finto, who are considered to be leaders within the NAR, participated in a prayer event call "The Response" hosted by 2012 presidential nominee Rick Perry on August 6, 2011, in Houston, Texas. This event is cited as a sign of the influence of NAR beliefs on Rick Perry's political viewpoints. Other politicians that have been cited as having connections to the NAR are Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Sam Brownback, and Ted Cruz.
- Churchquake: The Explosive Dynamics of the New Apostolic Revolution ISBN 0-8307-1918-0
- The New Apostolic Churches ISBN 0-8307-2136-3
- The Apostolic Revelation – The Reformation of the Church ISBN 0-646-41849-1
- God's Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement ISBN 1-941-33708-2
- A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement ISBN 1-941-33703-1
- Wagner, Peter (24 Aug 2011). "The New Apostolic Reformation Is Not a Cult". Charisma News. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
- Wilder, Forrest (2 August 2011). "Rick Perry's Army of God". Texas Observer. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Wagner, Peter (2000). "Renewal Journal #15, The New Apostolic Reformation". Renewal Journal. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- Wilder, Forrest (12 August 2011). "As Texas Gov. Rick Perry Enters GOP Race, New Exposé Reveals His Close Ties to Radical Evangelicals". Democracy Now. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- C Peter Wagner, The New Apostolic Churches (Ventura CA; Regal, 1998), p. 18.
- Tabachnick, Rachel (19 August 2011). "The Evangelicals Engaged In Spiritual Warfare". National Public Radio. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- The "New Apostolic" church movement – Let Us Reason Ministries – (C. Peter Wagner Arise Prophetic Conference Gateway Church San Jose, CA 10/10/2004) Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- Rosenberg, Paul (28 July 2011). "America's Own Taliban". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Posner, Sarah (15 Jul 2011). "Rick Perry and the New Apostolic Reformation". Religion Dispatches. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
- "Rafael Cruz Declares Son Ted Cruz "Anointed King"".
- Generals International Official Website
- The Call Official Website
- The New Apostolic Reformation:Influence and Teachings
- Review at Let Us Reason Ministries Website
- Wagner Leadership Institute
- International Coalition of Apostles
- International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders
- European Coalition of Apostolic Leaders