Do you know about the N.A.R.? Flying just below the radar is a loosely organized group called the New Apostolic Reformation. Fleshed out in the 1990’s, this group announced its arrival at the turn of the Century, which they consider the beginning of the 2nd Apostolic Age!
You won’t find an Official Organizational Chart or Business Address, but the Main Players all know one another and enjoy a clearly established hierarchy. The man at the the Top of the Chart is C. Peter Wagner, former Professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary, in California. Mentor to Rick Warren [another Apostle]
Wagner is the man who observed the movement, gave it a name and described its characteristics. We began to see it when Sarah Palin appeared on the Stage. She was ‘anointed’ by one of its leaders, Thomas Muthee, in a Church Service in Alaska, while Governor of that State, in 2008.
The video of that event clearly establishes her role as one who was chosen by God to be influential in taking back what the N.A.R. calls ‘The Mountain of Government.’ So said the ‘Apostle’ who anointed her.
We saw it again with Rick Perry. While Governor of Texas, two men supposedly met with him to announce God’s hand upon his life to be instrumental in taking back this same ‘Mountain’ for God! Subsequently this group would sponsor a Rally to raise money for Gov. Perry’s run for the White House. That Rally was bathed in religious imagery, preaching and prayer. http://www.forgottenword.org/leadershipevent.html
Wagner has since written to set the record straight. http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/31851-the-new-apostolic-reformation-is-not-a-cult He points out that the movement is more spontaneous than planned and is thoroughly orthodox in its Theology and practice.
He says they believe in the Apostles’ Creed, The Standard Classic Statements of Christian Doctrine and their position correspond to a non-Catholic form of Christianity. The N.A.R. is NOT a Cult!
But the definition of a Cult is that of a sub-segment of the larger Culture from which is springs. In this sense the N.A.R. is very much a Religious Cult! Wagner points to a number of off-shoots of traditional Christian Denominations or Groups as the philosophical / religious “roots” of the N.A.R.
Each of them represent serious departures from Orthodoxy, in favor of a more emotional and/or relative religious form. The “Grandparents” of our own ‘Name-it-and-claim-it’ crowd and now the Seeker-Senstitive, Contemporary groups which give lip-service to orthodoxy, but rarely even know how to spell the word.
The claim that you believe The Apostles’ Creed must bring with it a commitment to those principle beliefs. The Apostle’s Creed is rooted in the ordinary / traditional interpretation of the Written Word of God! These groups and the N.A.R. do not share that commitment.
For Example: Paramount in N.A.R. doctrine is the idea that The Church is here to fulfill God’s instruction to Adam: to have dominion over the Earth. Gone is the progressive understanding of God’s revelation. Gone is the issue of sin’s disruption of this purpose. Gone is the role of Israel in the scope of God’s revelation. Gone is the true purpose of The Church: the calling out of a people of God, in Christ.
What these folks see is an Apostolic Church Structure; a restored Apostolic Office [the 2nd Apostolic Age], with The Purpose of completing it’s Primary Task: The Great Commission. Which is? To take socio-political dominion of the Earth!
In their system, the ‘unity’ the Apostle Paul speaks of, in Christ, is re-defined to mean submission to N.A.R. Apostles. Did I mention Wagner is The Chief Apostle?
In this new paradigm, Apostles and Prophets are The Generals, being supplied with New Revelations from God. The Church is expected to submit to these Revelations, since they are considered to be The Word of God. I think The Apostles’ Creed is based on a Closed Canon! I could be wrong, but I’m not!
Their Tools are: Spiritual Mapping, to ferret out the Territorial Spirits which create the crime and other destructive issues in society.
Warfare Prayer / Warfare Worship, wherein folks are called upon to keep prayer and worship going, 24 hrs a day — to beat back the forces of evil.
Prayer Walking — walking your neighborhood, your city, your State, praying to bind the demons; the territorial spirits.
Identification Repentance — Identifying the corporate sins of the nation [slavery, genocide, abortion, etc] that have ‘polluted the land.’ What anyone today can do about sins of the past is beyond my ability to comprehend, but it gives people something to DO. Doing is it’s own reward, in many cases.
The Leading names associated with this Movement are instructive
Mike Bickel — Kansas City Prophets / International House of Prayer
Bill Johnson — Bethel Church, Redding, California
Cindy Jacobs — Prophetess [She & her husband founded General’s Int’l]
Lou Engle — The Call [Kansas City]
Todd Bentley — Florida Faith Healer and Adulterer
TBN — GodTV — Charisma Media — The Elijah List — The Call — Aglow Int’l are all outlets and/or spokespersons for N.A.R.
But N.A.R. is NOT a Cult?