What is the New Apostolic Reformation?

HomeFalse TeachingsWhat is the New Apostolic Reformation?

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:

  1. To look into the principles involved in the genesis of the movement,
  2. To critique what influential leaders in the movement have taught and written, and
  3. 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:

Related people, movements, and theological concepts in the New Apostolic Reformation:

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.

My Conclusion

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.


Join the Conversation

6 responses to “What is the New Apostolic Reformation?”

  1. Tony Graham says:

    I believe that pentecostalism is the main problem with this and many other groups. I spent 14 years in pentecostal churches but near the end of that time I saw some very strange stuff happening. I decided to study the scriptures relating to tongues ( languages) more carefully and although it took a couple of years , I’m a slow reader , I started to get a clearer picture of what happened in Acts 2. Of course this is my picture and is quite different from all the other Christian interpretations. I had been reading your discussions about the sabbath and am impressed with the way you handled all the questions and opposition. Can I start by asking what you believe happened on that day . Can be a very brief summary to start with. Thanks for your time.

    • Tony says:

      Tony:

      Thanks for writing! While there are many good things about the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, solid biblical theology is not usually among them. I spent time in a couple of Pentecostal churches, and one of the pastors from the first church is my son’s godfather… so I’m not a stranger. Like you, I studied the Scriptures relating to tongues. Our pastor gave us a 4-page handout explaining the doctrine, and we looked up every verse and thought carefully about it all. When we took our results back to the pastor and explained that not one of the Bible verses supported the typical Pentecostal conclusion – that the initial physical evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues – he agreed.

      That’s shocking. Not ONE of the Bible verses actually said what they believe… yet they believe it, they preach it, and they practically insist that people who don’t speak in tongues aren’t actually saved. That part directly contradicts Scripture, yet I heard it again and again.

      What happened on the day of Pentecost? Like Acts 2 says, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages. The visitors to Jerusalem heard them speaking in a number of different languages and were amazed. This attracted a lot of attention, and Peter used the moment to preach the gospel to people from around the world. Doesn’t seem complicated. =)

      • Tony Graham says:

        Thanks for your reply. Your brief summary is what I read in scripture also. When I started my study I soon came to the conclusion that the languages they spoke were their native languages. There was nothing solid in the scriptures that would have me believe they spoke in languages they did not previously know. The comment made by onlookers ‘ behold, are not all these that speak Galileans? ‘ was an assumption and an incorrect one. A reasonable assumption though looking from the outside. The happenings over the previous 3 years would have been common knowledge to most inquiring minds in the city. This Galilean rebel Jesus and his followers most likely meeting regularly in the temple would have been a good regular news item or gossip! Also his crucifixion. Luke 13:1 , my assumption though, is that Pilot having become frustrated with a bunch of Galilean zealots sent his soldiers into the temple and slaughtered them while they made sacrifices. Probably a memorable event still in the minds of many citizens. I do believe they were in the temple, not an upper room, and the scripture I read supports this. I don’t believe that out of 120 odd followers that they were all Galileans. Over Jesus 3 year ministry there would probably have been a good percentage of Jewish believers having come into the city for feast days that decided to stay and follow Jesus. Then after Jesus death and resurrection a lot would have returned to their native lands. A good plan executed by the Holy Spirit to spread the good news around the world. I also interpret them speaking as the Spirit gave them utterance to mean they spoke one at a time, not all at once. Having just been filled with the Holy Spirit their understanding of scripture previously learned would have taken on a whole new dimension. I’m sure you have seen countless times how a new convert can get very excited about their revelation of the Truth and their enthusiasm to share it.
        Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians had always bothered me as some of it didn’t make sense to me around the discussion on languages, but it slowly became clearer as to what he was actually saying when the above interpretation of events had settled in my mind. I will stop here otherwise it will get very long but am keen to hear your comments and discuss further. I can expand on my reasons for this interpretation of events from scripture also. I am also willing to admit to being wrong if indeed it can be shown from scripture that I am. Look forward to your reply. Thanks.

        • Tony says:

          Tony:

          I’m sorry for the delay… it’s been a busy week!

          I would suggest that there may be a flaw in your assumption about how many there were. In chapter 1, we see the eleven choosing Matthias to replace Judas, and they became 12 again. In chapter 2, we see that “they were all together in once place.” There’s no transition to the 120, and it seems unlikely that that many people would fit into an oikos. That’s a dwelling, not the temple. Then, when the crowd heard them, they asked whether they weren’t all Galileans. I agree that we can’t necessarily take this as true, just because they asked it… but Galilee is a region. If the crowd from all over the known world heard 120 people speaking in known languages, it would make more sense that they would talk about them being Jews, rather than talking about them being Galileans. In v14 Peter stood up with the eleven and addressed the crowd. No mention of the 120. Then, in v37, the crowd spoke to Peter and the other apostles. In context, it sounds like only the 12 were involved from start to finish.

          What do you say?

  2. Lee says:

    Hi! I can I jump in on this? First, you may be interested to know that New York Theological Seminary has begun a degree program for charismatic and Pentecostals to give the more solid theological base, something that has been needed. Clearly the Scriptures do not say anything like speaking in tongues is the sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The theology behind that has been wrong, you are baptized in the Holy Spirit when you believe. But being gifted by the Holy Spirit may be at some later time. That’s all pretty straight forward. You can’t just dismiss that a miracle happened in Acts 2. Luke clearly treats it as a miracle and it has consistently been the doctrine of the church that it was a miracle. People want to play with that and make it mean whatever they want it to mean, but the plain reading is that the disciples spoke in languages Thant were unknown to them declaring the things of God. We know the disciples, we know where they were from and, yes, they were Galileans. I think I have a new way of understanding this that you might find interesting. I think it was part of and a sign of the undoing of the division among men that began at Babel. It doesn’t seem to have happened again. But at that moment, everyone there was able to understand the message the disciples were declaring. Paul will go on and explain more that the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile had been abolished. But I think Acts 2 speaks even more deeply to the undoing of what God had to do at Babel. That Jesus was meant for all the nations and all the peoples. So … what do you think?

    • Tony says:

      Lee:

      Of course you can jump in! Thanks for taking the time. I agree with your assessment: it’s all pretty straightforward. I like your parallel of Pentecost to Babel, where our pride created division and confusion and the Holy Spirit brings clarity and unity. Makes sense to me!

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