The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a movement made up of a number of like-minded people who call themselves Christian, but share a number of unbiblical ideas. Most NAR teachers are also Word of Faith teachers, another decidedly unbiblical set of ideas.
Movements are difficult to analyze and assess. Because a movement has no central authority, there are no official statements, and there is no official oversight. Individuals involved in the movement may have widely disparate beliefs, so valid criticisms for some are invalid for others. Because of the variations in belief and practice in any movement, each church’s or individual’s involvement with others in the NAR must be assessed independently of every other. The only reasonable goal here is to expose the errors and excesses, providing a correction for some and a warning for others.
I see three paths for fairly assessing a movement like NAR:
- To look into the principles involved in the genesis of the movement,
- To critique what influential leaders in the movement have taught and written, and
- To examine the trends embodied in the movement.
New Apostolic Reformation Founding Principles
As with any movement, the NAR has had a variety of influences over the years. While not everyone in the NAR is Charismatic/Pentecostal, the movement is almost entirely in Charismatic/Pentecostal circles. Based on the teachings of some of its prominent leaders, the NAR has strong connections to previous, troublesome, Charismatic/Pentecostal movements. Here are a few of the commonly-held ideas taught by prominent leaders in the NAR:
- God specially empowered new intercessors in the 1970s, new prophets in the 1980s and new apostles in the 1990s. 2001 marked the beginning of the ‘Second Apostolic Age.’
- Men and women calling themselves apostles and prophets are elevated to positions of leadership based on supposed God-given authority in the church.
- These leaders are supposedly given supernatural powers, including the ability to provide new doctrinal revelation.
- Supernatural manifestations, from tongues to raising people from the dead to mass conversions to heavenly conversations with Jesus or Adam or whomever, are to be expected (and are claimed by certain leaders).
- These powers are needed to establish dominion over the earth, as God supposedly instructed in Genesis. This is variously understood on a spectrum, from having influence over culture to actually ruling God’s Kingdom here on earth, in our time.
- They believe Jesus cannot return until the church has dominion over the earth. This process will necessitate the martyrdom of many as spiritual warfare increases.
Related people, movements, and theological concepts in the New Apostolic Reformation:
- William Branham
- Latter Rain Movement
- C. Peter Wagner
- Rick Joyner
- Steve Shultz
- Todd Bentley
- John Wimber
- Kim Clement
- Bob Jones
- Mike Bickel
- Che Ahn
- James Goll
- The Passion Bible
- Bethel Church (Redding, CA)
- Bill Johnson
- Hillsong (Australia and worldwide)
- Kingdom Now
- The Elijah List
- Spiritual Mapping
- Joel’s Army
- Toronto Blessing / Brownsville Revival
- Five-fold Ministry
- Dominion Theology
You can read a lot about the New Apostolic Reformation on the Spirit of Error website. Holly Pivec co-authored a book on the NAR, has written for Biola Magazine and the Christian Research Journal, and has a Master’s degree in apologetics from Biola University.
While I always try to be impartial, my previous research into groups and individuals colors my conclusions. I’m not anti-Pentecostal, but the excesses and abuses in the movement have given me pause. I see the NAR as only the latest in a long, long line of theologically error-prone leaders, false teachers, charlatans, and demonically-inspired grifters.
Many in the movement are quick to point out that there is an agreed-upon statement of faith in place, and that it is historically and biblically orthodox. While true, that’s often unrelated to what’s actually being taught. In fact, much of the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement is characterized by ideas that are theologically questionable at best and, at worst, are simply lies. Most of the recent growth of Christianity around the world appears to be happening in Charismatic/Pentecostal churches, which I find disturbing…not because I’m a hater, but because most of the theologically awful stuff in my lifetime has been birthed and spread there.