Friday, October 7, 2011

What Is The New Apostolic Reformation? (And Why Should We Be Concerned About It?)

Posted by Christine Pack


We all know about pandemics, right? The World Health Organization will often track a virus that is in pigs or birds or some other known animal carrier.  The virus being tracked could stay within its animal group for years, not causing problems for humans, but sometimes, for unknown reasons, the virus will unexpectedly "jump" from its animal group......to humans.  That's what the scientists are always concerned about, and when that happens, they sit up and take notice, and start churning out public service warnings, because they know this previously harmless virus could potentially turn into a very dangerous, and deadly, pandemic.

In somewhat the same way, a new movement - with some pretty strange beliefs - inside of Christian evangelicalism called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has gathered lethal momentum very unexpectedly.  This movement had up until recently only been taught and believed inside the hyper-charismatic movement (think IHOP, Kansas City Prophets, Mike Bickle, etc.). But now, having somehow "jumped" from its normal carrier, rather than being "contained" as a strange belief system that would only impact a limited number of people, it suddenly began to go viral when big names on the political right began to align themselves with the big names from the charismatic Christian side.

Why exactly has the NAR, which makes alarming use of militant "warfare" language and talks of "taking dominion" over the world "one mountain at a time," gotten so big, so fast, and with so many big political names attached? In my view, it's because there are many on the political right, who, despite their moralistic stance, have a tendency to be more invested in political strategy, power and numbers than in sound doctrine and biblical truth. Thus, to the political right without discernment, Numbers = Power. And I suspect this is what happened: they looked out over the landscape of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement (which is an extremely large segment of professing Christians), decided this was representative of "Christianity," did the math, and then jumped on board.

The 7 Mountain Mandate
But let me back up here and give a little background information about the NAR. The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), as I noted, is a movement that has its roots in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements (Latter Day Rain, Kansas City Prophets, International House of Prayer-IHOP, Joel's Army). This movement is loaded with self-appointed "apostles" and "prophets" (who take Ephesians 4:11-13 out of context to to defend the idea that the office of apostle and prophet are still valid today). The leaders of this movement believe and teach that Christians have a mandate to reclaim "for Christ" Seven Mountains of influence, which they have designated as:
1 - Business
2 - Government
3 - Family
4 - Religion
5 - Media
6 - Education
7 - Entertainment 
This movement and its 7 Mountain Mandate has been very enticing to Christians who hold to a Dominionist view, which is the idea that the church's role is to "take back" dominion of the earth from Satan. This is based on a faulty understanding of Psalm 8:6 and Genesis 1:26. Dominionists assume (wrongly) that the dominion God gave to Adam and Eve extended to the spiritual realm (not just the physical realm), and that they therefore had the power and ability, when they sinned, to give the world over to Satan. Dominionists think that they are mandated by God, through these misinterpreted Scriptures, to take back all these spheres of influence, thus reclaiming the world spiritually for God, and then Christ will return. This view has also been extremely seductive to the Conservative Right, because hey, the idea of knuckling down and working hard is what America is all about, right? So there you have it: combine the errant "doctrine" of Kingdom Now/Dominionism from the Pentecostal/Charismatic camp with the moralism of the Conservative Right, and you've got one dangerous pandemic, because both groups, in their own ways, are tremendously influential and powerful.

Who are the players in the NAR movement? It's a long list that is growing longer by the day, but below are some of the names currently associated with the NAR. And please note that the presence of a name on this list does NOT mean that the person in question showed up only one time on a random list somewhere or attended one NAR conference, and then disassociated themselves. Each person on this list has had repeated associations and/or dealings with the NAR, and without any record of concern over the heretical theology of the IHOP/New Apostles aspect of the NAR. Now having said that, this doesn't necessarily mean that all who are on the list are high level movers and shakers in the NAR......I do think that some could be somewhat innocent as to the core theology they've become yoked with. So my article is not an attempt to smear or slander anyone, but to highlight some repeated associations that are causing concern:

 Pentecostals/Charismatics/Christians 
C. Peter Wagner 
Bill Bright 
Mike Bickle 
Rick Joyner 
Chuck Pierce
Pat Robertson 
"Joel's Army"
"Latter Rain" 
"Manifest Sons of God" 
Cindy Jacobs 
Mike Jacobs 
Lou Engle 
Ché Ahn 
Todd Bentley 
Dutch Sheets 
Jim Garlow 
Os Hillman 
Paul Cain  
Chuck Colson 
Lance Wallnau 
Loren Cunningham 
YWAM 
Bill Johnson 
George Otis, Jr. 
Ed Silvoso 
Jack Hayford 
Tommy Tenney 
Charles Kraft 
John Eckhardt  
Bill Hamon 
Gabe Lyons

 Political Right 
The Tea Party Movement 
Texas Governor Rick Perry 
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin 
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell 
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli 
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty 
Senator Jim DeMint 
Senator Sam Brownback 
Michele Bachmann 
Mike Huckabee 
Glenn Beck 
Jim Garlow 
David Barton 
Newt Gingrich 
Gary Bauer 
Frank Gaffney 
Chuck Norris 
Janet Porter
Friends, the NAR is a dangerous and rapidly growing movement that is, sadly, capturing the hearts and minds of many conservative Christians who have been enticed with the idea of "saving" America though Christian activism. In truth, Christians are not ever, anywhere in Scripture, promised easy lives, or even the "right" to live in freedom. But please note that the siren lure of political activism is nothing new. Do we not remember that even Jesus's disciples repeatedly jockeyed for position in the earthly kingdom they wished for and desired for Jesus to institute?
"They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest." (Mark 9:33-34)
And even after Jesus's resurrection, they were still questioning Jesus about the earthly kingdom they hoped for:
"So when they met together, they asked him, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?'" (Acts 1:6)
The NAR teaches that, through the advancement of medicine, science, technology and the gospel, this world is getting better and better. That through strategically "capturing" each of the designated "mountains," we will set up Jesus' earthly kingdom, and that once we have accomplished this, Jesus will return as the glittering jewel in the crown of his earthly kingdom. But is this true? Is this what the Bible teaches? Let us let Scripture lead us on the matter of Jesus' kingdom:
"Jesus answered, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.'" (John 18:36, my emphasis)
The life of a born again Christian is not complicated. Become reconciled to a high and holy God through the shed blood of Jesus, share the gospel, be persecuted, and die. But the seductive lure of an earthly life in which we (the Christians) control the earth and all that is in it, is a dream that dies hard. And now the NAR, with its utopian vision of heaven on earth, has once again showed us that very few people are willing to do as Jesus taught us, and that is to "Count the cost" (Luke 14:25-35) and "Take up your cross and follow me"(Matthew 16:24). Flee from this movement, my fellow Christians.
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." (Prov 14:12)
A Personal Note: Please send this article to your loved ones so that they can be on the look-out for this dangerous movement sweeping through Christianity. I consider this to be one of the most important articles I have ever written. And please understand that I have only scratched the surface in this article. Unfortunately, the NAR is such a massive movement, with so many tentacles, and so many people involved, that it was almost impossible to talk about it concisely. It is almost unfathomable to me how many people have been affected by this dangerous movement. Hardly a day goes by that I don't hear from at least one person who has personally had to flee a once solid church because this teaching has suddenly swept in, or someone who has watched a loved one be seduced by it, or someone who has even been unwittingly swept up in this movement themselves. [UPDATED: Please note that John MacArthur addressed the New Apostolic Reformation in his book Strange Fire.]

photo credit: alexperuso via photopin cc

 Additional Resources 



What Is Dominion Theology? (Pastor Gary Gilley)