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A Blog by Steven Kozar
If you've been a part of a church that adheres to some of the "New Apostolic Reformation/Signs and Wonders" teachings, there's a good chance that you have nagging doubts and concerns that keep popping up from somewhere in the back of your mind.
That's actually good.
For example, you've been told something like this: The Christian who gets baptized in the Holy Spirit, speaks in tongues and then... jumps aboard the hyper-charismatic NAR/Signs & Wonders bandwagon, will get a bunch of things that "regular" Christians don't have. You've gone to a lot of services, conferences & revival meetings so you can get "the anointing," and you've read a lot of "anointed" books and watched a lot of "anointed" TV and video presentations. And now you're supposed to have more. More blessings; more power; more prosperity; more confidence; more effectiveness; more intimacy with God... on top of that you've been taught to keep asking God for more because God is waiting to see how hungry and desperate you are before He does anything more.
But admit it, you don't really have more of those things. In fact, you probably have more questions, more confusion, and more doubts.
- You've heard these teachers prophesy about things that didn't come true at all.
- You've been promised things that you didn't receive.
- You've "sowed financial seeds" into ministries with zero results.
- You've used the "power of your words" to claim things that you never got.
- You've been given "prophetic words" that were basically just cheap fortune-telling tricks (without the crystal ball).
- You've tried to "speak things into existence" with zero success, but you're afraid to say anything because you've been taught that you'd be making things even worse if you speak about it.
- You've been told that God really really really wants to make all your dreams come true. Really.
- You were supposed to have something "activated" (faith; understanding; miracles; anointing...) but nothing actually happened. Nagging doubts are all that got "activated."
- There was supposed to be a "shift in the atmosphere" but you're not even sure what that means.
- You've been told about the gigantic new "move of the spirit" that's right around the corner... for a decade or two (or three) now.
- You've been told that being a Christian is all about finding your Destiny So You Can Change The World. How's that working for you? Are you exhausted and disillusioned yet?
- You've been wondering why the people on stage have all of these amazing stories to tell, but God hasn't done those things in your life. "What's wrong with me?" is a common thought of yours.
- You've got a stack of books and/or DVDs that claim to give you the magic formula that leads to more. But only the person selling those things got more... of your money.
On top of these personal difficulties and inconsistencies, you've watched men and women who were supposed to be great spiritual leaders prove themselves to be regular sinners with all of their divorces, financial scandals and confusing teachings that seem to get made up on the spot. These are the people who claim to have great power because they get "built up in the Holy Spirit" by speaking in tongues, and they know the secret key to "resist the devil" and get radical results. Bill Johnson even claims that he can change the atmosphere of a room just by walking in the door. They know exactly how to brag about their amazing walk with God while maintaining a facade of humility.
But lets be honest. These are people just telling stories on a stage; they're really professional speakers. They have little to no proof of all the amazing things they claim to have done. All the miracles happen somewhere else (and nobody takes a video). These people are very good at telling compelling stories. They are very good at sounding humble as they attract and retain more followers for themselves. "Aw shucks, it's all the Lord; but He works through me a lot more than He does through you" is the overall attitude.
- These kind of false teachers have to keep propping each other up with endorsements and guest speaking invitations for each other.
- They have to keep talking about the new and better thing (that they just invented), so that you'll continue showing up for the next meeting or conference.
- They have to use and repeat spiritual sounding catch-phrases, in order to replace the sound teachings of scripture.
- They have to have yet another "greatest conference ever" (until the next one) so that they can make money by selling more tickets and books.
- They require an audience full of gullible and emotionally dependent people. "Just Trust Us" is the underlying theme to everything they say and do.
- They have to promote all this stuff with very expensive and manipulative video commercials that constantly tug at your heartstrings.
- The one thing they can't have is this: you realizing that your ears are getting tickled, while your soul is being drained.
It's a house of cards.
You've been tricked. You've been sold a bill of goods. You've been bamboozled.
Now it's time to move on and find rest. Rest in the true freedom that comes from the unaltered Gospel: Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins. You've been forgiven of your sins, not because of anything you've done, but because Jesus took your place on the cross. You can stop trying to be more desperate to show God how serious you are (yet again). You can stop trying to be more passionate than you were the last time you mustered up a bunch of passion. You can stop trying so hard to feel something to convince yourself of God's presence. You can stop wondering why you still haven't gotten your "breakthrough." You can stop trying to get a "fresh word from the Lord." You can stop trying to figure out your Destiny so you can Change The World.
God does not require these things from you, and He never has. You've been ensnared by the teachings of men.
So here's the bottom line to this article: If you're confused by all the stuff you've been taught, start reading your Bible again, and stop listening to all the people who've been telling you these things. Just take a little time off and see what happens. Here's a truly radical idea: read entire books of the New Testament all of the way through (most of them are really short). If God's Word is actually God's Word, then He will you use it to speak to you. Stop trying to hear God's voice in your constantly changing imagination; the Word of God is unchanging and it's outside of you, and that's a very good thing. Clear out all the false teachings that have cluttered up your mind and discover the simple Gospel message.
He's given you His Word, now simply read it and be free!
If you found this interesting and thought-provoking, you might also enjoy the following articles:
The false teachers who have invaded many of the Pentecostal and charismatic churches do NOT want you to know about The Charismatic Day of Infamy!
-This article by Steven Kozar
Dr. Michael Brown is a very smart man. He knows exactly what the New Apostolic Reformation is but, like fellow NARpostle Bill Johnson, he wants everyone to believe he's not really a part of the NAR. Instead, he wants us to believe it's a fictional movement that was invented by its critics (that's why he calls it the "so-called" NAR). In the following article, he is clearly shown to be a key player in the NAR:
The Word of Faith movement is the predecessor to the New Apostolic Reformation and the two movements share a lot of overlapping beliefs. The Word of Faith (WOF) movement developed in the 1940's & 50's under the teachings of E.W. Kenyon, Kenneth Hagin (who plagiarized Kenyon), Oral Roberts, A.A. Allen, T.L. Osborn, William Branham and others. Like the NAR, the WOF never had an official leader or official statement of beliefs, so it is difficult to determine exactly when it started or exactly what it taught. And like today's New Apostolic Reformation it has been a "moving target" that could morph and rearrange itself in order to avoid critical analysis. The WOF emphasis on guaranteed physical healing & prosperity and the "power of our words/positive confession" teachings are largely being continued by many NAR teachers. Perhaps the most prominent WOF teacher still active today is Kenneth Copeland, who learned directly from Oral Roberts and studied at (the then newly formed) Oral Roberts University in the 1960's. It could also be argued that Joel Osteen is the most prominent WOF teacher active today, since the core of most of his teaching is WOF doctrine. Joyce Meyer is another extremely popular WOF teacher (See article: Is Joyce Meyer Word of Faith?), as well as Benny Hinn.
In a nutshell, there is little practical difference between the older heretical teachings of Kenneth Hagin and Oral Roberts and the newer "Super Pastors" like Bill Johnson and Brian Houston; it's more a difference in style, approach & emphasis. In fact, Benny Hinn recently made a special appearance at Bill Johnson's church:
Here's a brief video showing Bill Johnson, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland and Todd White all teaching the WOF idea that Jesus needed to be "born again:"
False teachers are always dressing up their bad doctrine with new catch-phrases and new "direct revelations from God," but the resulting beliefs end up directing our attention away from the finished work of Christ and focusing on ourselves and the teachings of men.
Here's a really great summary of the Word of Faith movement in seven minutes:
If you want to understand all the false doctrine in today's "Pop Evangelical" churches (especially the New Apostolic Reformation), you really need to research the Word of Faith movement that brought us to where we are today. Here are a number of articles that will shed light on this important topic:
10 Ways the Word of Faith Movement Went Wrong (Written by a Charismatic pastor who still somehow loves the WOF teachers he studied)
Justin Peters has some of the best lectures on the history & teachings of the Word of Faith movement; here is one of his many YouTube videos:
This video (3 hours long), produced by Keith Thompson of Reformed Apologetics Ministries, documents the errors and origins of Word of Faith teachings:
-This article by Steven Kozar
One of the "New Apostolic Reformation" beliefs that should be completely rejected is the ridiculous claim that there are apostles living today that are equivalent to the original (real) Apostles from the New Testament. Here's a quick little WWUTT video on this topic:
Further reading on the apostolic/prophetic office today:
Here are a LOT of additional resources about The New Apostolic Reformation (this is probably the most extensive compilation of NAR material anywhere on the internet):
The New Apostolic Reformation Cornucopia of False Doctrine, Dominionism, Charismania and Deception (there are 30 links here to extensive articles, interviews and programs-do your homework!)
The "New Apostolic Reformation" is a loosely knit association of churches and ministries with no absolute statement of beliefs or specifically defined doctrine. In this regard, it is true that the NAR is not a global conspiracy that is secretly holding meetings and making plans to dominate the world. On the other hand, there are millions and millions of people around the world who are unaware that their church or favorite ministry has all or most of the characteristics of the NAR. There's a good chance that a person holding to all, or most, of the NAR beliefs doesn't know that they've subscribed to those beliefs because they think it's just "ordinary Christianity."
C. Peter Wagner (1930-2016) invented the term "New Apostolic Reformation" and then pronounced himself God's appointed leader of it:
“I needed a name … For a couple of years I experimented with ‘Post denominationalism’. The name I have settled on for the movement is the New Apostolic Reformation.” (Source: C. Peter Wagner, The New Apostolic Churches, Ventura CA; Regal, 1998, p. 18.)
Wagner presided over the commissioning ceremony of fraudulent preacher, Todd Bentley, at the "Lakeland Revival" in 2008. This is the day that the New Apostolic Reformation was at its most glorious and self-congratulatory peak. This day turned out to be The Charismatic Day of Infamy, and all of its "Super Apostles" were proven to be incompetent, unqualified and full of hot air.
This loosely knit association of churches and ministries has much in common with the Latter Rain movement and the Word of Faith movement. Supernatural Signs & Wonders; Dominionism; Joel's Army; The 7 Mountain Mandate; Third Wave Revivalism; Mike Bickle's IHOP; Bill Johnson's Bethel Church, The Hillsong Media Empire, Rick Joyner's MorningStar Ministries, Todd White's Lifestyle Christianity, Che Ahn's Harvest International Ministries, Randy Clark's Global Awakening, Lou Engle's The Call, John & Carol Arnott's Catch the Fire/Toronto Blessing,... these ministries share much of the same theology and so they all a part of this shape-shifting movement in one way or another. It is gobbling up churches and deceiving millions around the world.
Some key beliefs of the NAR are:
We've entered a "2nd Apostolic Age" that is marked by increasing Signs & Wonders. In order for the Church to accomplish its mission, we need to be under "Apostolic Alignment," which means that God will fully function once the new instructions from these new apostles and prophets are obeyed.
Christians should somehow take over the world in a way that's never happened before; the "7 Mountain Mandate" is the means for this to happen. Christians now have a great "Destiny" to achieve as royalty on the earth. We are to "Bring heaven to earth."
The Holy Spirit has introduced new demands that aren't taught in the Bible; fresh "Revival" is His new emphasis, so ongoing meetings, conventions and lengthy worship sessions are needed with rock bands, smoke machines and emotional speakers (who tend to yell a lot). The institution of the Christian Church is not nearly as important as this new move of God. We are told to constantly ask for more: "More Lord... more." (One thing for sure: there are always more and more conferences to attend.)
Jesus is the example for us to duplicate-in fact, we should literally be doing "greater works than Him." This means we should all expect to raise the dead and heal anyone we want to at anytime. There are no leaders in the NAR who are actually doing these things, but they make great claims of having extraordinary power and ability. And if you buy their books/DVDs/conference tickets they promise to give you the "secret formula." This is the Theology of Glory, as opposed to the Theology of the Cross.
A great end time harvest/outpouring will occur once we battle enough demons, perform enough miracles and unify under these new Apostles, (who tend to yell a lot). There is supposed to be a "billion soul harvest" according to many in the NAR, although the Bible only speaks of an end time falling away defined by great signs and wonders.
Although God is giving new revelation to his Prophets/Apostles they will make many mistakes in the process and that's okay, but following the Bible too closely makes you a "religious" and narrow-minded Pharisee. In the NAR, using your mind is generally bad but having a mystical and subjective experience is very good.
In this new movement, we are to give people an Encounter with God, because the simple Gospel message is not enough. People need to see the power of God with their very eyes in order to believe (this is why we should be supernatural acts for people all the time). They do not need to understand the nature of their sin and their need for a Savior, however, as much as they need to know their identity as "sons and daughters of the King." So, fundamentally, conversion is a matter of finally understanding how special and lovable we are, not understanding how our sin deserves the wrath of God which Jesus took upon Himself on the cross.
Here are a number of different articles from different theological and denominational backgrounds that all agree that the "New Apostolic Reformation" isn't new, isn't apostolic and isn't a reformation:
This article by Steven Kozar; check out his new and improved: The Messed Up Church website!