New Apostolic Reformation – a short overview (David Choiniere)

by David Choiniere – Guatemala / Guatemala-City site: Dominionismo en todas sus formas 03/28/2014

The modern New Apostolic Reformation has its roots in the heretical Latter Rain teaching and Manifest Sons of God. That movement was started in the 1940s by William Branham. It was declared a heresy by the Assemblies of God in 1949 and appeared to disappear. But it did not disappear, it merely went underground but was resurrected by Peter Wagner, who was professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary. Peter was examining some fast growing movements around the world and concluded they were growing fast because they had the supernatural ‘signs and wonders’. He concluded that for the church to grow at its potential it had to do evangelism with ‘signs and wonders’.

William Marrion Branham

Now the Latter Day Rain Movement taught that the final revival of God was going to be accompanied by the restoration of the ‘Five-fold ministry’. They taught that a church without the offices of the apostle and the prophet was incomplete. They emphasized ‘supernatural miracles’. This was the movement that caught Peter Wagner’s attention so he started embracing its doctrines and later resigned his professorship at Fuller Theological Seminary to devote himself to his new vision.

Fuller „Theological“ Seminary – C. Peter Wagner

In the 1990s he started organizing his apostolic network, which he finally called the New Apostolic Reformation. Today his network consists of hundreds (maybe thousands) of apostles and prophets.
Of course, there are many other apostolic networks working around the world, each with a head apostle, who appoints other pastors to be apostles and, they in turn appoint men to be apostles in their apostolic network. No one really knows how many churches and persons are involved in these apostolic movements, which have been called all kinds of names such as ‘third wave’ the first term Wagner made up. They are also called neo-Pentecostal. For our purposes we shall call them all NAR, which may include any church that practices the doctrines taught by Peter Wagner even though they may belong to another apostolic network.

interactive map of the international „Apostles“ pls. click

Most NAR churches pose as nondenominational churches. Typically, they are run by pastors who claim to practice in the realm of the supernatural. Many of these churches grow to become mega-churches with thousands of attendees every Sunday. Although they share many Latter Rain core teachings it is possible to find variations in other areas of doctrine. Since they do not have a denominational name it takes a while to identify an NAR church. You will not see a sign saying NAR anywhere but you will see certain characteristics common to them all.

They are usually categorized as prosperity churches as they claim God wants physical prosperity for his church. They emphasize that the church is called to take dominion over the whole earth. As such they believe they must take over governments to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth. They preach that divine healing is a right for every believer. As I said before they claim to have restored the offices of the apostle and prophet. They teach that the church is going to experience an outpouring of the Holy Spirit such that nearly everyone will be saved. Thus, they do not preach end times apostasy, just revival.

They also practise spiritual warfare and spiritual mapping, techniques they claim casts Satan down from his strongholds so the church can move in the pure anointing of the Holy Spirit. Some of the groundwork for these teachings come from Taking Our Cities for God by John Dawson of YWAM fame and Destined for the Throne by Paul Billheimer. Part of the teaching says that God gave all authority to Adam to have dominion over all of the earth but when Adam sinned he forfeited control to Satan, who became god of this world. The believer, when he is saved is called to be the new Adam and exercise the dominion that was lost when Adam sinned. Spiritual warfare is the way to seize this dominion according to NAR teaching.

Besides William Branham, men like Bill Hamon, Paul Cain and Oral Roberts all contributed to form the theological base of this movement through their teachings. Another contributor is Paul Yonggi Cho, with his teachings that we can call things into existence through the technique of visualization. The Shepherding movement , which emphasized obedience to your spiritual leader also had an impact on the formation of the New Apostolic Reformation. The Shepherding Movement ran its course around 1990 after being formed by 5 Florida pastors. It is accused of leaving a legacy of spiritual abuse in its wake as thousands blindly obeyed their spiritual leaders.

Other movements which are considered to have wrought a big influence on NAR doctrine are the Toronto Blessing, which is considered to have been ignited by the ministry of Rodney Howard-Brown, an itinerant minister from South Africa who moved to North America to spread his doctrine of laying on of hands to impart the ‘anointing of the Holy Spirit’. The Toronto Blessing, which began in January of 1994, is famous for weird spiritual manifestations which they claim come from the Holy Spirit. Supposedly under the power of the Holy Spirit people began to tremble, fall down in ecstatic trances, called be drunk in the Holy Spirit. They would sometimes bark like dogs, crow like chickens and howl uncontrollably in ‘Holy Laughter’. Many derided the Toronto Blessing as a false revival that was bringing deception to the church. NAR has embraced these doctrines as proof of revival and even has brought John Arnott, pastor of Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship church, into the organization.

So this ‘third wave’ considers itself the post-denominational church. They believe that denominations are of the past and that a nondenominational church filled with apostles and prophets is the wave of the future.

the same topic – A Strong Delusion – The New Apostolic Reformation (Mishel McCumber)

posted by Siegfried Schad © David Choiniere all rights reserved.


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