(Photo by madeleine ragsdale on Unsplash)
Now the Bereans were of more noble character
than the Thessalonians, for they received the message
with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures
every day to see if what Paul said was true.
In the last two posts; Part 1 and Part 2, we talked about what the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is and their doctrine. In this post, we will talk about Scriptures that NAR uses to support their theology of restoring the offices of apostles and prophets as well as dominionism. We will also look at how Christians traditionally viewed these Scriptures.
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,
This passage is used by NAR to support the doctrine of restoring apostles and prophets to govern the church. Traditionally, Christians understood these verses in one of two ways:
The first way says, as far as apostles and prophets, they were needed to establish the church, but not after. Therefore, we no longer have them today.
The second way claims we still have apostles and prophets today, but only for building up the church. An apostle is a missionary or a church planter, and a prophet is one who speaks to others for their strengthening, encouragement, and comfort as laid out in 1 Corinthians 14:3
The traditional evangelical belief is that there was a transition to elders and deacons to oversee the church and we see Paul giving qualifications for these offices to Timothy who was in Ephesus (1 Tim. 3:1-7) and to Titus who was in Crete (Titus 1:5-9).
NAR believes these verses teach that God never meant for the offices of apostle and prophet to end, but since they did, God is now restoring them in preparation for the coming of His kingdom to earth; that He is using modern-day apostles and prophets to lead the way.
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
The traditional view is that this verse refers to the establishment of the church and that today we can still say the church was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as the chief cornerstone, and what Paul is saying has nothing to do with the need for the offices today.
This is another verse that NAR uses to say the offices are still needed and in effect today. These offices are still necessary because God is giving the prophets new revelation which is then implemented by the apostles.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:28
And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
This is the third passage of Scripture NAR uses to support their doctrine of apostles and prophets, but notice nothing is said about them being offices; we only see that they are appointed by God and are first and second in His divine order.
It is reasonable to hold to the traditional view of these gifts still functioning today, without having to believe they are formal offices used to govern the church. The English word "apostle" comes from the Greek word "apostolos" and means "apostle, representative, messenger, envoy; often used in a technical sense for the divinely appointed founders of the church; he that is sent." NAR leaders seem to expand on this definition by saying apostles today have divine authority from God to pave the way for what He is doing now.
MATTHEW 6:9-13 AND LUKE 11:2-4 (THE LORD'S PRAYER)
This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
NAR leaders turn to the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray and say, "Look, Jesus says we are to actively bring His kingdom to earth; He is teaching that believers are to take dominion." But this isn't what this prayer says. By saying "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" believers are expressing their desire for God to establish His kingdom here on earth which He will one day do...through Jesus, not through believers under the leadership of apostles and prophets.
He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
This verse is used by NAR to teach that Christ cannot return until the earth has been brought back to its original condition before sin entered the world. Yet the verse says Christ cannot return until God is ready to restore everything. The traditional view teaches that Jesus will return to restore the earth when God decides the time has come. He will not use the church to accomplish what Jesus Himself will do.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:24-25
Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom of God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all authority under his feet.
Jesus remains in submission to the Father, and the Father has given all authority to the Son (v.27-28). Traditionally, this verse has meant that the end will not come until Jesus returns to destroy all his enemies and set up His reign on earth. NAR claims this verse teaches that Jesus will use the church to decimate His enemies before He returns to rule. But the church is never mentioned in this passage. It's all about the will of the Father and the supremacy of Jesus Christ.
These are some of the verses used by NAR to teach their doctrine. If you will remember, believing that the offices of apostle and prophet have been restored is an essential doctrine. And dominionism is widely taught in NAR churches too.
So how does NAR infiltrate evangelical churches who have traditional beliefs? How do they twist Scripture, including the verses cited above, to make it acceptable to mainstream Christianity? We will begin to explore this in the next post.