(Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash)
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
In the last post, I introduced you to NAR, the New Apostolic Reformation, but didn't tell you much about what it is. NAR is a worldwide movement gaining more and more influence. C. Peter Wagner coined the term in 1994 and continued teaching and writing about it until he passed away in 2016. Most people have not heard of NAR, even some who align themselves with the teachings and doctrine.
The New Apostolic Reformation is made up of thousands of churches and organizations that are governed by apostles and prophets and share the same theology. Many of these churches and organizations have joined apostolic networks and are under the covering of an apostle. An example of an apostolic network would be Harvest International Ministry which is a network of over 12,000 churches and organizations under the leadership of NAR Apostle Che Ahn.
Apologetics Index had this to say about the movements tremendous growth:
Despite its lack of name recognition, the movement’s growth is staggering. The NAR movement is responsible for much of the explosive church growth occurring in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Leaders of many of the world’s biggest churches promote present-day apostles and prophets, including David Yonggi Cho (Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea with one million people), E.A. Adeboye (Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria with five million people), Sunday Adelaja (Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations in Ukraine with 20,000 people), and César Castellanos (International Charismatic Mission in Columbia with 60,000 people).
Though the NAR movement has seen the most growth in the Global South, it has also gained considerable influence in the West. In Australia, the NAR movement has taken over an entire denomination, the Assemblies of God in Australia. In the United States, approximately three million people attend NAR churches — that is, churches that overtly embrace NAR teachings.
Influential NAR churches in the United States include Bethel Church in Redding, California (pastored by apostle Bill Johnson), Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California (pastored by apostle Ché Ahn), and MorningStar Fellowship Church in Charlotte, North Carolina (pastored by apostle/prophet Rick Joyner). In fact, NAR churches can be found across the United States, in virtually every large city and small town.
Many churches have not joined apostolic networks but have been influenced by their teachings and doctrine. So what is their doctrine?
RESTORATION OF APOSTLES AND PROPHETS
NAR believes God has restored the governmental offices of apostle and prophet to the church. NAR leaders claim that God intended for it always to be this way, but was not followed through with. Instead, Protestant churches governed by pastors, elders, and the leaders of denominations.
Prophets receive new revelation from God and apostles decide what to do with it. C. Peter Wagner is one of the movements most influential leaders since he is both an apostle and a prophet. He has received much new revelation and implemented it. One of the primary tasks of the NAR movement is to fulfill the Great Commission to take dominion over the seven areas of society referred to as the Seven Mountain Mandate.
Apostles are the highest office and prophets are the second highest those some leaders would say these two positions are equal. Prophets are not expected to be right 100 percent of the time, but those under their leadership are expected to follow 100 percent of the time. Two examples of prophets who got it wrong, but are still considered to be true apostles are Kim Klement and Rick Joyner. Many prophecies are too vague to know whether they are true or false.
This ministry is based on Ephesians 4:11-13 which says:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (NIV)
NAR Apostles interpret this to mean that all five offices are still in effect today. They will remain in effect until the church reaches maturity and unity. Unity is achieved by submitting to the teaching and leadership of the apostles and through ecumenism, mainly reconciling and uniting with the Roman Catholic Church. Maturity will be reached when they have developed enough miraculous abilities to gain control of the earth. They believe that people will come to the Lord through the seeing of signs and wonders. When those under the apostle heed his new revelation, they will gain more and more miraculous ability. There is also a considerable emphasis on the love of God and not God's other attributes.
SEVEN MOUNTAIN MANDATE OR KINGDOM NOW
It's also known as dominionism or the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Gospel of the Kingdom is said to be a more complete gospel than the gospel of salvation because it makes provision for taking control over the earth and bringing in the kingdom of God. Leaders teach that we lost dominion in the garden when Adam and Eve sinned, but now God is looking for a people to reclaim what was lost at the fall. NAR leaders claim that this is taught in the Lord's prayer when it says "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matt. 6:10)
NAR leaders are not talking about influencing society, but taking it over through seven areas of society: government, media, family, business/finance, education, church/religion, and arts/entertainment. Today you will see NAR leaders in all these areas.
Some of the top promoters of the Seven Mountain Mandate in the US include Lance Wallnau and Johnny Enlow. C. Peter Wagner was also a well-known leader promoting dominionism and the Seven Mountains. He passed away in 2016.
STRATEGIC-LEVEL SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Strategic-level spiritual warfare is the NAR strategy for spiritual warfare. They believe there are territorial spirits that need to be cast out that rule over neighborhoods, cities, states, and nations. Also over institutions and areas of society. Demons will also be cast out of believers when one is detected. NAR leaders use Daniel 10 to support this doctrine.
Some of the practices used to accomplish strategic-level spiritual warfare are:
Spiritual mapping--conducting research into the history of a specific area that is believed to have a territorial spirit. This helps them determine how they should proceed in casting it out. Not all who engage in spiritual mapping are doing it with territorial spirits in mind
Warfare Prayer and Warfare Worship--This kind of prayer and worship is seen as spiritual weapons. It is often combined. It is used to combat territorial spirits and to cast down judgment on unbelievers. An unbeliever can be someone who questions NAR teaching or speaks out against it. IHOP is an example of a ministry that engages in this type of strategic-level spiritual warfare
Prayerwalking--You can go alone or with a group of people to walk neighborhoods, cities, or anywhere that is believed to have a territorial spirit ruling, with the intent of warring against that spirit. Some have walked across nations or even a continent. Prayerwalking is also used by people who are not a part of NAR, and their purpose is not to cast down territorial spirits but to focus on specific areas and people they are praying for. Others say they pray better when they are walking. This also is not NAR
The next post we will continue to talk about NAR doctrine and teachings.