Winter 2016

A New ‘Reformation’ That Many Don’t Realize They’ve Joined

Faculty/Alumni Book Excerpt

If you thought apostles and prophets only lived way back in Bible times and have long since disappeared, think again. Contemporary people calling themselves apostles and prophets have many followers. They are vigorously active in churches in the United States and throughout the world. Odds are, some are active in your own community. These men and women claim they have the God-given authority, divine strategies and miraculous powers needed to advance God’s earthly kingdom so that Christ can return. And they offer people a choice.

If you submit to their leadership, then you too will work mighty miracles. You’ll become part of a great end-time army that will bring about a world revival and cleanse the earth of evil by calling down hailstones, fire and the other judgments of God described in the New Testament book of Revelation.

If you do not submit to their leadership then, at the very least, you will miss out on God’s end-time plans. And if you actively oppose the apostles and prophets, then brace yourself for the fallout. Others must be warned that you are the pawn of a powerful demon, known as the “spirit of religion.”

This may sound radical and unappealing, but the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is growing rapidly. In the United States, it began taking off in the 1980s and 1990s, when prophets and apostles starting showing up in churches. Today, about 3 million people in the United States attend churches that openly embrace NAR apostles and prophets. And that number doesn’t include the many Pentecostal and charismatic churches that have not openly embraced these leaders, yet have been influenced by their teachings in varying degrees. People in these churches read bestselling books by NAR prophets — books like Rick Joyner’s The Final Quest or the apostle Bill Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth. Or they use a new, wildly popular NAR Bible, called The Passion Translation, produced by the apostle Brian Simmons, who claims that Christ visited him personally and commissioned him to release this new translation.

And we haven’t yet mentioned NAR churches in other parts of the world where the movement is growing most swiftly — Africa, Asia and Latin America.

NAR leaders call their new movement apostolic because they claim to be restoring apostles and prophets to the church. And they call it a reformation because they say it will completely change the way church is done — and its effects will be greater than the 16th-century Protestant Reformation.

That’s a bold claim. Yet many people who are part of this movement don’t know it’s called the New Apostolic Reformation. In fact, they may not even know they are part of a movement at all. And they may not be fully aware of all the extreme teachings associated with it. But they certainly know of — and follow the teachings of — men and women who believe they are apostles and prophets similar to the apostles of Christ and the Old Testament prophets.


Excerpted from God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement, by R. Douglas Geivett (professor of philosophy) and Holly (Peters ’99, M.A. ’05) Pivec, Weaver Book Co., December 2014. Used by permission of Weaver, www.weaverbookcompany.com. Geivett and Pivec are also authors of A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement, Weaver Book Co., December 2014.

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  • Bret Theis January 9, 2016 at 12:21 PM

    Definitely going to read this book.
    I've worried about this movement for quite a while and have personally witnessed some of its devastating effects. Bad trees, indeed, produce bad fruit.

  • Ryan King January 16, 2017 at 7:32 AM

    Thank you for this information. This sounds like another damaging belief system to mainstream Christianity and not biblically based.

  • Pastor keen July 6, 2017 at 6:47 PM

    Beware! my fellow believers this is the apostacy of the end that paul spoke of. Don't be a part of it.

  • Dean Agnor January 7, 2018 at 3:29 PM

    Fear mongering, slander, poor theology, and false representation is not good fruit, and it is unfortunately about 90% of the criticism when it comes to NAR. Culturally speaking, very few people who acknowledge the present office of "apostle" think of it as an equivalency of the original 12. When it comes down to it, the overwrought reactionary response amounts to nothing more than a jihad against an active, present Holy Spirit and a defense of status-quo boundaries protecting a luke-warm church.

  • Beth Cavete April 11, 2018 at 3:17 PM

    Dean Agnor, throw me your worst fear, slander, and ugliest representation, and I'll match it with personal witness of the horrors from within this movement. The realities are so much worse than anyone fears. The real question is, why is the warning only being sounded from such a small and unpopulated corner? Why hasn't the trumpet been sounded to alert the church from every corner? Eager to read this book.

  • MSHOTA ISAAC MEEKY June 23, 2018 at 1:13 AM

    But why so much confusion in Christianity? why so much misunderstanding? why can't churches accept each other. watch the basis of each and every one of these so called christian movements. Their major aim is well observed than told. therefore, if one wishes to know the true truth, let them watch and observe

  • Jaeson November 23, 2018 at 5:37 PM

    As someone who was involved in this atrocity for about 10 years, and whose relatives still partake of it's dastardly falsehood, I can concur with this article in it's entirety.

    Moreover from personal experience I can attest that this movement is entirely false and horrible. There is blatant disregard for God and disrespect for the Holy spirit. Instead you get false prophecies, false signs, false supposed "wonders" and no teaching. Their "pastors" give nothing more than personal experience stories and no Biblical teaching. As a result I've seen everything from porn addicted ordained people, members having sex outside marriage, and dozens of deceived people wanting power. It is horrible, disturbing, and produces Biblical illiteracy and foolishness. It is a cult. If you question their false prophets or false apostles you are considered a less than, a non chosen. They want to take over culture and put themselves in charge of a grotesque antichrist theocracy. I heard them preach this from the pulpit. Please run if your church is involved in this.

  • E December 10, 2018 at 1:56 PM

    My family and I were involved in this type of church for several years before we finally got out. In addition to “kingdom building” theology, total disregard for the gospel, and scripture-twisting, we witnessed spiritual abuse, narcissism in leadership, and an “anointed” pastor unfit to lead. We were instructed to lie at times to protect the leaders, and were lied to many times ourselves. Instead of discipleship and proper Christian counseling, the church heavily pushed a program called Restoring the Foundations for members in crisis or church staff who questioned the pastors. The scary thing is that we thought it was just a contemporary non-denominational church embracing modern church models. Instead it was a full-blown NAR establishment that slowly introduced its true doctrinal alignments. To this day there are many people there who have no idea that the church believes in five-fold apostles and prophets. They never witness speaking in tongues or attempts at healing by touch because those things are only for those “on the inside.” They will never see people try to cast demons out of other congregants or blame low attendance on a demonic “spirit” that someone allowed to enter the building. I could go on and on. We made a terrible mistake and it took years to get out. When my husband tried to resign his position there, he was told that bad things would probably happen to his marriage and family because he was leaving to spend more time with us. They tried to send him to the Restoring the Foundations program to fix him. He was told that he did not follow Matthew 18 properly to confront the pastor. He was personally attacked, called ”unpastorable” (a big insult in the NAR movement) and was told his life outside of this particular church ministry would be meaningless. Then, in a hilarious attempt at retroactive prophecy, the pastor exclaimed that his prophetical wife knew my husband would have diabetes even before he was diagnosed but didn’t say anything because they weren’t in a “proper pastoral relationship.” After the resignation was official, the pastor had an email sent to the worship and media teams implying that my husband needed prayer for “healing in his marriage.” That was news to me! After we left, we found out my husband was just the latest in a long line of abused staff at that church who all keep silent and aloof after the smear campaigns. We are now called “an assignment from the enemy” against the church and “deceived” for thinking the pastor was spiritually abusive. NAR churches are full of these types of pastors. They are CEOs, slick car salesmen, “leaders,” not shepherds. They simply facilitate and indoctrinate, never do they preach the true Bible.

  • Grace January 22, 2019 at 2:22 PM

    Many of my family members are involved in Bethel. I do believe God heals people and gives us spiritual gifts, yet my gut- my spirit says NOPE to the NAR movement.

    When I was 13 y/o, I was alone in my bedroom crying out to God to be closer to Him. I felt overcome with love and I was given my prayer language, I spoke in tongues. At that time I went to a non-denominational church and most people did not speak in tongues, but it was not discouraged. It's been confusing, to say the least, all the different denominations and variations of belief about gifts. Being rejected by other believers because of the gift of tongues was hurtful but undaunting.

    Over the course of my life I struggled with faith in Christ. At one point I got involved in the occult + New Age movement. This opened dangerous doors my life and led me down a path of Lucifarian ideas-- elevating myself to a goddess status, working for enlightement and relying on signs and rituals. Yet the Spirit in me continued to testify of Jesus and the power of His name.

    Throughout this battle for my soul, I was never able to deny that God was real. I would pray and my spirit language was always there. It edified my spirit and testified of Christ undeniably.

    At 36, I've been powerfully drawn back to Christ who had been purifying me and leading me through deliverance. His presence is so sweet and I am filled with awe and reverence. I do not want to be deceived or seek signs and "proof" above the compete work that Christ did on the cross.

    Its clear to me that some of the teachings of the NAR church resemble occult practices. Christians must understand that seductive spirits and false teachings can take hold of us even though we have the Holy Spirit abiding in and with us. Born-again believers can be deceived.

    Some of the ways I see demonic influence are: equating signs, wonders and lack of struggles in one's life to the level of "anointing" one person has. Our works are not meant to create levels of hierarchy or pride in our own abilitues. Jesus said we would struggle and in no way endorsed great financial wealth with blessing or holiness. He did quite the opposite. Gifts are simply for supporting The Body, especially financial ones. They are not to divide or to elevate us personally. The Bible clearly says this. We must not allow pride and cravings for power to cloud our focus of walking by faith- not by sight.

    I found a church I absolutely love, which is of continualist theology. I am growing so much, but I'm very cautious still because I need to be so careful after being deceived by the occult and having experience with the beautiful/light side of the demonic realm.

    The Gospel is simple and solid and does not need a bunch of extras. The Lord is enough. I don't need gold dust and hype. I just need my beautiful, triumphant Jesus. Anything He adds to my life is wonderful, but It is not the main thing.

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