Have you heard the new name NAR proponents have come up with for their movement? Yes, the new New Apostolic Reformation (a term coined by the late C. Peter Wagner), is now hoping to go by "INC."
INK is the acronym for “Independent Network Charismatic,” also known as Signs and Wonders, 7 Mountains, Kingdom Now, and a host of other names. The movement has been re-branded a number of times to distance itself from the original: Latter Rain Movement. But don't kid yourself; it's the same old ancient lie
Recently an article over at Christianity Today (not recommended as a discernment source), featured an interview with the authors of an NAR book, The Rise of Network Christianity: How Independent Leaders Are Changing the Religious Landscape. Brad Christerson and Richard Flory explain this movement as a "Quiet Revolution" that has attracted millions of followers with promises of direct access to God through signs and wonders.
In the interview, the two explain how “INC” Christianity, has become one of the fastest-growing faith groups in the United States. Apostles like Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, and Ché Ahn claim millions of followers. They’re also aided by an army of fellow ministers who fall under their “spiritual covering:”
"Many of these apostles run megachurches, including Bethel Church in Redding California, HRock Church in Pasadena, and the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. But their real power lies in their innovative approach to selling faith. They’ve combined multi-level marketing, Pentecostal signs and wonders, and post-millennial optimism to connect directly with millions of spiritual customers. That allows them to reap millions in donations, conference fees, and book and DVD sales. And because these INC apostles claim to get direction straight from God, they operate with almost no oversight.
Christianity Today: "How do the people in this group identify themselves? Are they Pentecostals? Charismatics? INC Christians?"
Christerson: "They would use the word prophetic or apostolic—or they would align themselves with one of the apostles. They would say, “I am a follower of Bill Johnson,” or Mike Bickle, or Cindy Jacobs. People would tell us, “he’s my apostle” or “he’s my prophet.” The other term we hear a lot is “spiritual covering”: There’s this idea that you are under spiritual covering of your specific apostle or prophet. A related term is “impartation.” The apostles basically impart their power to you. If you are under them, the power that they have straight from God trickles down to you.
"They consciously avoid any kind of formal organization or denomination. They see the strength of weak ties—it allows them room to experiment and to work with all kinds of different people. They can focus on putting together these big events—they don’t have to support a staff or donate to a seminary. They can just go straight to the marketing activities.
The authors say that if you want to be an apostle, you can easily do that - if you have the right amount of influence. It's sort of like counting the number of "friends" you have on Facebook and making that a litmus test. The more connected you are and the more people you can reach, the better chances you have of becoming an apostle:
"It’s all sort of self-appointed. Leaders in the moment would say that people are recognized as apostles because of the influence that they have—not only over your own congregation but over other leaders. But there’s definitely a good deal of self-appointing going on. Peter Wagner, a leader in the New Apostolic Reformation movement, referred to himself as a “super apostle,” because he was influential with a bunch of other apostles."
Impartation by laying on of hands
This is how the apostle "anointing" is passed along from super-famous "apostles" to regular folk, according to the book:
"We went to a conference where a number of apostles were speaking and Bill Johnson was doing a Bible teaching. He had probably talked 20 or 30 minutes, and you could feel the restlessness in the room. He said, “I know you are just waiting for me to stop preaching because you want the power. But just hang with me here.” People weren’t there to listen to him. What they wanted was for him to lay hands on them.
"After he finished, people came up to the stage, and they were being slain in the spirit. People were falling down and getting healed. That’s what they are there for. They don’t want to sit and watch other people. They want to access the power themselves to make a difference in the world." Read the rest here
The question remains, will the term, INC Christianity become the new name for NAR? Will it stick?
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“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”
— Galatians 1:6-9