New Apostolic Reformation Conspiracy Theory Debunked | God TV

New Apostolic Reformation Conspiracy Theory Debunked

New Apostolic Reformation Conspiracy Theory Debunked
New Apostolic Reformation Conspiracy Theory Debunked

Have you heard of the New Apostolic Reformation or NAR? Some people say it’s a nefarious organization of heretical, charismatics, who are scheming to take over the entire world. The conspiracy theories surrounding the NAR, range between mere speculations, to full-blown “Illuminati” type accusations. However, after talking with those actually accused of being a part of the NAR, I realized they had never even heard of the group, and were shocked to find out they were among its “members”. So, what exactly is going on here? Well, after hearing questions about the NAR come up multiple times from our listening audience, I took several months to research this subject, to be certain I had the full picture. Then I decided to share what I discovered, in a recent episode of my new podcast, called, Daniel Kolenda, Off the Record. During the podcast, I play audio recordings and published quotes from the accusers, addressing each of their accusations head on. I will summarize my findings below, however, if you’d like to hear the whole story in detail, I encourage you to head over to my podcast. https://askdk.com/ You can also find this episode on my YouTube channel. https://youtube.com/c/DanielKolenda

Back to the story. I received a question from one of my podcast listeners named Max, all the way from Germany. He had heard rumors about the New Apostolic Reformation within his congregation, and was shocked to hear that I had been named as one of its members. Max wrote, “At some point, I read that Daniel Kolenda is a part of this movement and that he would believe that himself. My first thought was, definitely not! After everything I’ve read and heard from you, I can’t even imagine that you believe that even in part. But since statements from some of these ‘members’ find their way into our congregation, I would be very interested in what is this New Apostolic Reformation all about, and what exactly are the goals of this organization/movement. Also, to what extent you agree with these statements, or whether you also reject the ‘little gods’ theology. Thank you again for your ministry. You inspire me in the way I preach. … Grace and Peace, Max.” I appreciate Max taking time to write me with his questions. The first question is about what is known as the New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR, for short. Some people just say “NAR”, which sounds really scary, doesn’t it? The second question is about some of the more specific doctrinal issues that are often associated with the NAR. Now, as you read on, you’ll discover there are actually no doctrinal positions for the NAR as such, because the NAR is not an organization or any kind of formal group—but I’m getting ahead of myself.

You may be wondering where the term, “New Apostolic Reformation” originated from. The term was coined by Peter C. Wagner. Unfortunately, Wagner passed away in 2016, so he is not around to address the matter now. However, he lived long enough to see the beginnings of a snowball effect that he unintentionally started. He gave a public response, explaining the reasons for which he coined the terminology, in an article published on August 24, 2011, by Charisma News magazine.

“The NAR is not an organization. No one can join or carry a card. It has no leader. I have been called the ‘founder,’ but this is not the case. One reason I might be seen as an ‘intellectual godfather’ is that I might have been the first to observe the movement, give a name to it, and describe its characteristics as I saw them. When this began to come together through my research in 1993, I was professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary, where I taught for 30 years. The roots of the NAR go back to the beginning of the African Independent Church Movement in 1900, the Chinese House Church Movement beginning in 1976, the U.S. Independent Charismatic Movement beginning in the 1970s and the Latin American Grassroots Church Movement beginning around the same time. I was neither the founder nor a member of any of these movements, I was simply a professor who observed that they were the fastest growing churches in their respective regions and that they had a number of common characteristics. If I was going to write about this phenomenal move of the Holy Spirit, I knew I had to give it a name. I tried ‘Postdenominational’ but soon dropped it because of the objections of many of my friends who were denominational executives.  Then, in 1994, I tested ‘New Apostolic Reformation.’ ‘Reformation’ because the movement matched the Protestant Reformation in world impact; ‘Apostolic’ because of all the changes the most radical one was apostolic governance, which I’ll explain in due time; and ‘New’ because several churches and denominations already carried the name ‘apostolic,’ but they did not fit the NAR pattern. Other names of this movement which are more or less synonymous with NAR have been ‘Neopentecostal,’ ‘Neocharismatic,’ ‘Independent,’ or ‘Nondenominational.’ I am rather fascinated at the lists of individuals whom the media glibly connects with the NAR. I’m sure that some of them wouldn’t even recognize the term. In many cases, however, they would fit the NAR template, but since the NAR has no membership list, they themselves would need to say whether they consider themselves affiliated or not.” – Peter C. Wagner[1]

You see, there is no organization, ministry, or denomination called the NAR. Wagner simply coined a phrase to describe a very real phenomenon that he had seen happening all over the world for the past 50 years or so. He noticed the shift because, for most of church history, there were basically one or two main Christian denominations, but then thousands of non-denominational church movements began exploding all over the world! Some of these church movements have grown so large, they have literally dwarfed the mainline denominations in some regions. This isn’t just a Pentecostal or Charismatic movement either. It’s a significant trend that crosses over into all sectors of the church at large. This is why he described it as, “independent”, and he was right! Had he gone with the term, ‘Post Denominational’, as a title for the movement rather than the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’, there probably never would have been any backlash over it. Instead, the critics have grabbed hold of his term and taken full advantage of Wagner’s innocent, albeit unfortunate, attempt to describe this type of church growth. It has become clear to me that the critics have done this in order to push a nefarious agenda of their own. Here’s how one website defines the New Apostolic Reformation:

“The New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR, is a Dominionist movement, which asserts that God is restoring the lost offices of church governance, namely the offices of prophet and apostle. Leading figures in this seemingly loosely organized movement, claim that these prophets and apostles alone, have the power and authority to execute God’s plans and purposes on earth. They believe they are laying the foundation for a global church, governed by them. They place a greater emphasis on dreams, visions, and extra biblical revelation, than they do on the Bible, claiming that they’re revealed teachings and reported experiences. For example, trips to heaven, face to face conversations with Jesus, visits by angels, cannot be proven by the old scripture.”[2]

The New Apostolic Reformation refers to a spectrum of conjectures, depending on where you receive the information. Some of the more calculated accusations surrounding the subject, have been made by people like John MacArthur. John MacArthur is known for his criticism and angst towards Charismatic ministers in the body of Christ. He routinely twists the facts to suit his own anti-charismatic narrative. MacArthur said,

“The latest wave of this, I’ll just give you one illustration, the latest wave of this that is gaining traction, and has entered into the sort of national news, is a new form of Charismania, bringing reproach on the Holy Spirit, called, the New Apostolic Reformation, NAR. The New Apostolic Reformation. It is not new, it is not apostolic, and it is not a reformation, by the way. It is like Grape Nuts, it’s not grapes and it’s not nuts, it’s like Christian Science, it’s not Christian and it’s not scientific. Well, the New Apostolic Reformation isn’t new, it isn’t apostolic, and it isn’t a reformation. But it is a rapidly expanding movement being generated by some of the same old troubling false teachers and false leaders that have been around in Charismania for decades, always dishonoring the Holy Spirit, always dishonoring the Scripture, always claiming miracles, signs, wonders, visions, dreams. Peter Wagner, the Kansas City prophets, Mike Bickle, Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, and on, and on, and on, it goes. In fact, this is exploding so fast that they have a 50-state network that are now involved in this.”[3]

There is also an entry for the NAR on Wikipedia. Here’s what they give as a definition for the NAR:

“The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a movement which seeks to establish a fifth branch within Christendom, distinct from Catholicism, Protestantism (which includes Pentecostalism), Oriental Orthodoxy, and Eastern Orthodoxy. The movement largely consists of churches nominally or formerly associated with Pentecostal denominations and Charismatic movements but have diverged from traditional Pentecostal and Charismatic theology in that it advocates for the restoration of the lost offices of church governance, namely the offices of prophet and apostle.”[4]

Now, if you look at the source for this Wikipedia entry, there is only one citation for the definition of the NAR, and it points to the article, mentioned above, by Peter C. Wagner in Charisma Magazine from 2011. When you compare the Wikipedia entry to the source itself, you’ll notice it doesn’t support anything that the Wikipedia entry actually says, other than the part about advocating for the restoration of the offices of apostles and prophets. The rest is completely unsubstantiated. I mention this because I find this typical, not only for this Wikipedia entry specifically, but more generally for people who talk about the NAR – so much of what they’re saying is just pure and simple nonsense! It’s kind of like a spectrum. On one end, you have some truth and a few facts, even if they’re mostly misunderstood, and on the other end, you have these extreme full-blown Illuminati type conspiracy theories. There in the middle, where most of the NAR criticism lands, it tends to be pure speculation or exaggeration. Even when a critic raises a good point about a doctrine or a practice that is indeed questionable, when you dig down to the bottom of it, it has nothing to do with something called the NAR. It’s just simply a doctrinal issue that needs to be addressed. When you hear somebody talking about the NAR, you’ll notice they’re almost always critics who never have a clue what they’re talking about. They’re usually just using the term as a sort of catch all, generic label, to brand people they dislike as heretics. There may have been a handful of doctrinal issues that were typically associated with the NAR in the beginning, but that list has really morphed into anything and everything that the critics find distasteful in someone else’s theology. Recently, I saw on Facebook, someone criticizing Franklin Graham as being a part of the NAR. So, you don’t even need to be a Charismatic to be branded with that label. You just need to be on the Calvinist evangelical heresy hunters naughty list, for some reason, and they will banish you to the isle of NAR. How did the NAR become the new term for heretic? The answer to that question has two parts. First, there is the conspiracy theory part, and then there is, what I would call, the Charismatic connection part. The former being complete and utter nonsense, and the latter part, a mixed bag. The conspiracy theory started in 2011. Here in the U.S., we were gearing up for the 2012 Presidential elections, when Barak Obama was running against Mitt Romney. What was interesting about this particular election cycle was that during the primaries, there were several politicians who were Charismatic themselves, or closely connected with Charismatic preachers. It seems to be a relatively new trend in recent years, for Charismatics to be closely involved with American politics— especially on the Republican side. We saw this most obviously, with President Trump, having Paula White as his spiritual advisor. Whenever you saw pictures of Trump surrounded by praying clergy, they were almost always, exclusively, Charismatic ministers. I don’t believe this was a bad thing. However, the political scene has become extremely partisan in recent years, and the main stream media outlets have become toxic fountains of lies, spewing their propaganda all over the nation’s most-watched broadcasts. It seems almost every news story is skewed to fit their backwards narrative. One of the most popular techniques the media likes to use, is something called, guilt by association. For example, if a politician appeared with somebody in public, and they can find some dirt on that person, the media that’s hostile toward that political candidate, will try to make the dirt of that other person stick to the candidate as well. This happened when the Republican candidates of 2011 started appearing in public with various charismatic leaders. When the reporters did a little bit of research, they didn’t have to dig very far before they started coming across things that these Charismatic leaders believe and teach. Things like “prayer warriors”, “spiritual warfare”, “angels and demons”, and so forth, are concepts and doctrines that are difficult for an unbeliever to understand, much less accept. However, please understand, that even if you do not identify as Charismatic, they could just as easily attack any Bible believing Christian, based on our collective belief that the scriptures are true. The founder of our religion was dead for three days, then rose from the dead, and one day He will return on a white horse where He will rule the nations with a rod of iron. We not only believe Jesus rose from the dead; we believe all the dead will rise— it sounds like a zombie apocalypse at first glance. We also believe that anyone who does not put their faith in Christ is damned. This is why the bible says, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18) Christianity itself sounds foolish to outsiders. On top of this, if you have an anti-biblical agenda, you can word things to make Christianity sound even more weird. Then just apply the guilt by association technique to inflict damage on the person you dislike. The guilt by association fallacy has scaled to new heights with the rise of social media networks. It’s not only a tactic of mainstream media, but also a practice of these cessationist heresy hunter types. This has become such a problem in the evangelical world, that people are so afraid of being branded as part of the NAR, or just branded as a heretic, that they will associate with secular unbelievers before their fellow Christian brothers and sisters. This is all because they hold somewhat different theological views. Just a few weeks ago, I had an experience like this. I invited a non-charismatic reformed author to contribute to an educational series that our ministry is working on. The series is designed to help Christians share the gospel more effectively. The man I invited had written a book that was designed to help Christians navigate discussions about their faith. Despite some of our theological differences, I invited him to be part of the project because it’s something that would have allowed him to help tens of thousands, of mostly young people; a good percentage of which, by the way, would have been from his own camp! It would have also given him an opportunity to sell tens of thousands of books and get his life’s message out even more. But he refused. Now, I don’t know exactly what motivated him, but based on the response we received from him, I’m assuming that it is partly due to the fact that he knows if he associates with a well-known Charismatic ministry, he’s going to take a ton of heat from his fellow anti-charismatic heresy hunter friends. He knows that they are going to start accusing him of being a heretic, and maybe even being part of the NAR, through this guilt by association problem. Now, look, I reject Calvinism. I’ll just tell you upfront that I disagree theologically with this brother, the same way that he disagrees with me, but when it comes to souls, I will gladly work hand in hand, even with Calvinists to see people get saved! Now, imagine being so afraid of being socially stigmatized by your own people, that your fear of being associated with me is more pressing than your desire to win the lost and to get your life’s message out! How tragic!

This is the Christian version of cancel culture, and the evangelical, especially Calvinist community, is going to pay a huge price for this. If they keep going on this downward spiral, they will end up creating such a toxic echo chamber, they will lose anyone who’s even somewhat reasonable, and be left with nothing but a bunch of online trolls. These trolls spend their lives calling everyone they disagree with a heretic, and part of the NAR. They’ve taken the guilt by association tactic to such an extreme, they don’t even seem to think they need to engage with the actual issues anymore. They simply bestow the NAR scarlet letters on anyone they disagree with, implying it automatically discredits that person, their ministry, and everything they believe and teach. They use the NAR terminology, as if it is a Trump card, that they just throw down to automatically win every debate—except it’s not a trump card. It’s not even the premise of a good argument— it’s a red herring. It’s lazy, dishonest, and such a cop-out for having any, real, worthwhile debate on any pressing issues dividing the church. When you look at the actual issues the critics have a problem with, without all the NAR sensationalism, you’ll find the typical boring, standard, theological differences. Meaning it wouldn’t get much attention at all, if it weren’t being framed as the dangerous sorceries of the NAR and super heretics, plotting to take over the world. This is precisely why the critics default to this inflammatory language, because it’s sensational. They know that if they can generate enough fear and suspicion, they will get the attention that they crave.

One of the main doctrinal issues that can get you branded as being a part of the notorious NAR, is a concept known as “dominion theology”, or sometimes “kingdom now” theology. There are various ways this is taught, but the common denominator, is the idea that as Christians, we’re not supposed to be just barely holding on until Jesus comes and rescues us all out of this God forsaken world. No, we are called to be salt and light. We are here to make a real difference. Part of our job as the church, is to influence society and culture through our gifts, our talents, and our lives in general. Now, I would bet that most Christians reading this would completely agree with what I’ve just stated. Well, you might be surprised to know then that this could get you branded as an NAR heretic by the critics. How do I know? Because I’ve been branded as a heretic, and branded as a part of the NAR. Yet, as far as “dominion theology” goes, what I just described to you is what I believe and teach. Now, a more radical view of dominion theology is post-millennial eschatology, which is the belief that Jesus is going to return to set up His kingdom after the millennium, instead of before. Critical to this eschatological system, is the idea that the church is going to usher in the return of Christ by essentially taking over in leadership. People like Charles Finney, John Wesley, and Jonathan Edwards, who the Calvinists usually revere, were all very post-millennial in their eschatology. So, just think about this. Have these evangelical heresy hunters accused Jonathan Edwards of being a heretic, or being part of the NAR, or being someone who believed in dominion theology because of his post millennialism? Of course not. He’s one of their heroes. Yet, they call charismatics “NAR heretics” on the basis of less radical views on the same exact subject. How is that consistent? How is that fair? Now, let me just clarify, that to my knowledge, no one, even the ones teaching the more extreme version of this; no one is advocating for some kind of a theocracy. No one is looking for some kind of forceful takeover. They want to change the world by influencing it positively, not by force. They want to see the world transform through the preaching of the gospel, through loving people, through feeding the poor, through prayer, and through the gospel. There’s also the element of voting for your convictions, pushing for legislation that is favorable to Christian principles, and contending for godly influence in culture, entertainment, and so on. Honestly, this is what the political left are worried about, but again, no one who’s a Christian should find any of this objectionable. This is simply what every Christian should be doing, no matter what their particular eschatology. Now, about what they’re calling, “the seven mountains”, which they refer to as, the home, the church, education, media, government, the arts, and commerce. Is there any true Christian, who believes the gospel, who thinks their Christian lives should not affect their home, or their church, or their opinions on education, or what they expect from media, or what they want from the government, or the world of arts or commerce? You see, this is really not that radical folks. In fact, the seven mountains teaching was actually put forward about 50 years ago by Dr. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ—hardly a crazy NAR charismatic person or organization. Around the same time, it was also being taught by Lauren Cunningham, who incidentally, is a dear friend of mine, and also the founder of Youth With A Mission (YWAM). Again, a very seasoned, respected, and Orthodox leader in the body of Christ. Now I understand that it might be concerning to people, especially if you’re on the political left, that Christians want to influence society, culture, the arts, entertainment, and politics, instead of just being quiet and staying in their churches while everyone else shapes the world. But look, Christians have just as much right to stand for what they believe as anyone else has. And again, there’s no plan to establish a theocracy.  We will simply vote for people that we believe represent our interests. That’s our right. And if that scares the lefties, so be it. Honestly, I don’t understand why these evangelical heresy hunters are so against this. I understand why they might differ with certain points of dominion theology, but the way they’ve made this term into a big bad boogeyman issue is so strange to me. I completely understand why the leftist, anti-Christ media, hates the idea of Christians influencing the world, but why are these evangelicals standing against their Christian Charismatic brothers and sisters in Christ? Why are they choosing instead, to support a secular agenda that wants to scrub Western culture of every vestige of godly influence? If you’re one of the critics, and you’re reading this, you might be thinking to yourself, “I don’t support a secularist agenda”, but in effect you do. I know you think that you’re some highly discerning theological warrior for truth, but actually, you’re like Saul of Tarsus. You think you’re fighting for God, but you’re actually persecuting people who love Jesus, and many who are working very hard to spread the gospel throughout the earth, just as Jesus commanded us to do in His word. I believe that Jesus is returning to set up his kingdom on earth one day because the Bible says so. I believe there are apostles and prophets, because the Bible says so. I don’t believe that only the apostles know what Jesus wants, or that he’s giving them some secret plan to get the world ready for his return— nothing like that. Until His return, I don’t want any theocracy, including a Christian one. And I would vehemently oppose anyone who taught or promoted doctrine to the contrary. Yes, we want to influence society, culture, government, business, and entertainment— but not from a position of physical force or violence. That’s what the jihadists do. No, we want to influence the way Jesus taught us, by example. Thinking and acting like Jesus, His teaching, His humility, His self-sacrifice, His love, His compassion, and the call to follow Him. When we adopt His way of thinking and living, that is when we have the most effective, far reaching influence. Christianity that has real world implications might be radical to nominal, in name only, type Christians, but not to anyone who takes Christ and His commandments seriously.

Now, the second part of the whole NAR conspiracy is the Charismatic connection. This part is pretty easy to understand, because evangelical heresy hunters have always hated Charismatics. Why? Well, a lot of it, just boils down to jealousy. The Bible tells us that even Jesus was delivered up by the Pharisees because of jealousy. It’s not difficult to understand why the critics are jealous. All of the biggest movements in the world are Charismatic. The popular worship music is all Charismatic. Most of the large churches in the world are Charismatic. There’s energy and excitement, and more importantly, there is the abundant evidence of fruit in the Charismatic camp. Meanwhile, the critics rot away in their boring, depressing, dying churches, while slowly being eaten alive by jealousy. What’s more, is that the Charismatics expose their complete and utter spiritual bankruptcy. You see, if what the Charismatics are experiencing is indeed authentic, then what does it say about their critics? Well, it makes them look really, really bad. It makes it look like they’re missing out on something really important— and they are! But rather than repent and seek God, it’s a lot easier just to just attack Charismatics, accuse them of heresy, and claim that everything they’re doing is counterfeit Christianity. That way they can feel better about themselves and save face in front of their friends, without having to change the very attitudes and doctrines that keep them unfruitful, miserable, and critical. The NAR narrative was the Devil’s gift to the critics for their help in His divide and conquer plan. For years now, they have been painting the Charismatic movement as heretical and unorthodox, but thanks to the NAR conspiracy theory, they are also able to make it seem diabolical and nefarious. They took over all of the leftist talking points, added a few of their own, made a few new guilt by association connections—and there you have it.

There’s another very important element that I think needs to be mentioned here. You’ll probably notice that this NAR narrative is really kept alive through social media, especially YouTube. Almost without exception, the people pushing this narrative are these sort of career critics; one trick ponies, that really have nothing else going on. Besides their heresy hunting racket, nobody would ever subscribe to their channels just to hear them teach the Bible. Nobody wants to hear them preach. The only way that can get a following is by posting a video, with controversy and shock value, where they expose the heresy of everyone they disagree with. By the way, why is it always heresy they’re exposing? Are we in the 12th century? Is this the Spanish Inquisition or something? Why can’t they just simply teach what they believe without having to attack everyone else? If you take away the vitriol, the antagonism, and the venom, they’re not interesting at all. They have very few followers. In fact, even some of the more well-known critics are only well-known because of their criticism. Criticism is all they have. Guys like John MacArthur, and his kind, have made an industry of bashing Charismatic Pastors. Don’t you find it just a little bit ironic that John MacArthur, who rails on prosperity preachers and their lavish lifestyles, has sold millions of dollars’ worth of books, criticizing them? If you do a Google search on MacArthur’s net worth, you might find his criticism of prosperity preachers, just little hypocritical. You see, this NAR baloney has been such a gift to the heresy hunting YouTubers. They’ve made a career out of it, while most of those they criticize have never even heard of it.

Bottom line, there is no secret Charismatic Illuminati. I’m sorry to disappoint you. I know the world would be a lot more interesting if there were things like Bigfoot and the Lochness monster, and if Elvis and Tupac were still alive, but it’s simply not true. I think a lot of these conspiracy theorists are just bored out of their minds and longing for mental stimulation. There is no secret cabal of Charismatic leaders behind the scenes, pulling strings, trying to take over the world. Peter Wagner coined the term New Apostolic Reformation, wrote about it in several books, and preached on it. In his mind, that terminology was a good way of categorizing the largest and most diverse and most influential swath of Christendom the world has ever known, but that was Wagner’s terminology. It was his category. The people that Wagner described would have identified as Charismatics, or Pentecostals, or Non-denominational, or as part of one of countless independent church movements. They never agreed on the terminology, nor joined an organization, nor signed on to some statement of faith. They didn’t even know that the term existed. I think these critics have vastly overestimated Peter Wagner’s influence. You know, I spent my whole life in the Charismatic world and hardly ever heard the man’s name. So what, if he had 500 apostles aligned under him? That’s nothing. I was once in a service in Brazil where they ordained a thousand so-called apostles in the same service. The Charismatic world is absolutely massive. There are up to 700 million people who identify as Charismatic, according to some sources, and very few of us, relatively speaking, have any connection to Peter Wagner. If I so happen to believe something that Peter Wagner also believed, like the relevance of the apostolic and prophetic offices, for example, I can promise you, that is purely incidental. I believed that long before I’d even heard Peter Wagner’s name. I didn’t get my views from his or anyone else’s book. I got them from the Bible. Many of these critics, if you listen to them for any length of time, seem to have great difficulty suspending their preconceived biases to evaluate something in a fair and objective way. Maybe they’re just irrational people. I don’t know since I don’t know them personally. However, it is more likely that they tolerate irrationality on this particular issue because it confirms their bias. Do they understand the difference between correlation and causation? Just because I believe that apostles exist today, and Wagner believed that apostles exist today, doesn’t follow that one caused the other. This seems to be the issue. Yes, millions upon millions of people believe that apostles exist. Probably more like hundreds of millions. We are called Continuationists. We’re called Charismatics, not disciples of Peter Wagner. Frankly, to dismiss our beliefs with this silly ad homonym argument is just lazy, and the equivalent to a concession of defeat. So, when you hear these heresy hunters talking about the NAR, here is how you should interpret that: they’re simply describing full gospel, Bible believing, spirit filled Christians. That’s it, that’s really all we have in common. I might also add, as I mentioned before, they tend to pick on the popular and influential ones, because their angst is based on jealousy. This is really important, the people accused of being part of the NAR don’t share a set of doctrines or beliefs, beyond perhaps some very basic ones, like believing that the gifts of the spirit are for today… a belief held by around 700 million people.

Let me just put a fine point on all of this. Remember that website that I quoted in the very beginning that defined what the New Apostolic Reformation is. Let me just take that quote line by line and address it. It said:

“The New Apostolic Reformation, NAR, is a Dominionist movement, which asserts that God is restoring the last offices of church governance, namely the offices of prophet and apostle. Leading figures in this seemingly loosely organized movement claim that these prophets and apostles alone, have the power and authority to execute God’s plans and purposes on earth.”

That is wrong. No one believes this. I’ve never heard anyone say or teach this, or even anything close to this. They pulled this out of thin air. Next quote:

“They believe that they are laying the foundation for a global church, governed by them.”

Who are these people? Who are they talking about? A global church governed by them? Hogwash. Complete nonsense. Next quote:

“They place a greater emphasis on dreams, visions, and extra biblical revelation than they do on the Bible, claiming that their revealed teachings and reported experiences. For example, trips to heaven, face to face conversations with Jesus, visits by angels, cannot be proven by the ‘old scripture’.”

Who are they talking about here? If it’s the usual suspects like Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, Lou Engle, myself, and so on, I can promise you, none of us believe anything like this. We all consider the Bible to be the one and only authoritative, and inspired word of God. Yes, we believe that God still speaks. We believe that the gift of prophecy is still in operation, but we don’t put any of those words on the same level as scripture. In fact, the reason we believe in the gift of prophecy, is precisely because the scriptures teach that the gift is still relevant and necessary!

Then of course we have the John MacArthur quote, where he says,

“The New Apostolic Reformation. It is not new, it is not apostolic, and it is not a reformation, by the way. It is like Grape Nuts, it’s not grapes and it’s not nuts, it’s like Christian Science, it’s not Christian and it’s not scientific. Well, the New Apostolic Reformation isn’t new, it isn’t apostolic, and it isn’t a reformation. But it is a rapidly expanding movement being generated by some of the same old troubling false teachers and false leaders that have been around in Charismania for decades, always dishonoring the Holy Spirit, always dishonoring the Scripture, always claiming miracles, signs, wonders, visions, dreams.”

You see, good old John has found a new way to attack the same Charismatic Christians he’s been attacking for decades. I think that, even if John knew for a fact that all of this was a hoax, he would still be willing to push the false narrative. It seems John is willing to say anything that will help him discredit Charismatics, no matter how farfetched, twisted, slanderous, and taken out of context it is. His Strange Fire Conference is exhibit A for that.

Finally, let me quickly address the other specific issue that Max, from Germany, had asked about. The idea of “little gods”. Now I must admit, I’m not that well versed in what other people teach on this. I’m sure there is probably some good teaching and some bad teaching, as well as all kinds of gradient in between, on this topic. Rather than focusing on what teachers say, let’s see what the scriptures themselves say. Here are a couple passages for you. The first one is Psalm 82:6-7:

“I said you are God’s sons of the highest. All of you, nevertheless like men, you will die and fall like any Prince.”

And then there’s John 10:31-36:

“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?’ The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods’? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”

These passages of scripture are found in both the old and new Testaments. Jesus himself quoted it. So, to say that we are gods, is literally quoting scripture, therefore it can’t be heretical in and of itself. It would only be heretical if misinterpreted. What does it actually mean? Well, there is this sense, in which we are representatives of the divine on this earth, as we are made in the image of God. We’ve been invested with the extra ordinary ability to affect not only the temporal world, but also the eternal, which is something no animal is able to do. I love what Reinhard, Bonnke used to say about this. He would say, “We are agents of divine omnipotence”. Now, there’s a lot more I could say about that. But on the other hand, it’s also important to remember that the original temptation of Satan in the garden was, “you can be as gods”. This is the original Satanism. If I could put it that way, Satan didn’t say, “worship me as God”. He said, you can be God. This has always been the greatest temptation of man; the idolatry of self-worship, also known as humanism. It holds that the chief end of all beings is the happiness of man. Remember that Jesus tells us that if we want to follow him, we must take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow him. And of course, we have Paul’s teaching, that we must die to ourselves daily, which is the opposite of humanism; the opposite of self-worship. You see, as it is with most things, it is possible error on both sides of the debate. Reinhard used to say, “You can fall off both sides of a horse.” So yes, there is a sense in which we are gods. That’s not according to me, that’s according to scripture. It is according to the words of Jesus himself. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that we ourselves are objects of worship, or that we’re on the same level as God—by no means.  In fact, according to Hebrews, we’ve been made a little bit lower than the angels, who are also called gods by the way; the Elohim. You see, sometimes two things can be true at once, and sometimes the Bible requires the ability to use common sense and to see things with a little bit of nuance and context.

I hope this article has been helpful in answering any questions you may have about the NAR conspiracy hoax. Again, if you would like to hear more in detail on the subject, please visit my podcast: https://askdk.com/ You can also find the episode titled, What is the N.A.R., and Am I a Part of It? on my YouTube channel: https://youtube.com/c/DanielKolenda

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a scripture verse that has always been a great reminder to me when the heresy hunting critics go on a rant with their latest conspiracy theories and false accusations. The verse is in Proverbs 18:17. It says, “The first to speak in court sounds right— until the cross-examination begins.”

For author’s website and all social media platforms, please visit www.DanielKolenda.com

 

[1] C. Peter Wagner. The New Apostolic Reformation Is Not a Cult. Charisma News. Published 2011. https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/31851-the-new-apostolic-reformation-is-not-a-cult

[2] New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) – Berean Research. Bereanresearch.org. Published 2015. https://bereanresearch.org/dominionism-nar/

[3] John MacArthur Takes on the New Apostolic Reformation & Rick Perry’s Prayer Event | Worldview Weekend Broadcast Network. Worldviewweekend.com. Published 2011. https://www.worldviewweekend.com/news/article/john-macarthur-takes-new-apostolic-reformation-rick-perrys-prayer-event ; http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-415/the-modern-blasphemy-of-the-holy-spirit

[4] Wikipedia Contributors. New Apostolic Reformation. Wikipedia. Published June 2, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Apostolic_Reformation

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