What is the New Apostolic Reformation? Is it Biblical?
The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a counterfeit and unbiblical movement that has been growing and has infiltrated many churches around the world. The NAR is a collection of churches and leaders that are either networked or that share a common but apostate vision and goal for the visible church.
The NAR movement is one of the fastest growing movements together with the Word of Faith movement of which these two movements are intertwined and connected in many different ways. Many NAR belief systems and goals have become the default agenda for many churches around the world as evidence that this movement has had a strong impact.
The name New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) was coined by one of the founders or fathers of this movement by the name C. Peter Wagner whose NAR teachings and theology have become popular to the extent that this movement has been gradually straying people away from true Biblical Christianity.
The most interesting deception about the NAR, which also has connections to the Word of Faith movement is that most of the average followers in an NAR church will not self-identify as NAR nor will they recognize the movement’s name. The subtlety of the NAR movement is that for decades the movement is managing to “reform” or create a counterfeit christianity through influencing existing churches and also by planting new churches that are based upon most of their unscriptural core beliefs.
The New Apostolic Reformation movement and its NAR leaders believe that they are leading a “new” Christian reformation that follows after the Protestant Reformation.
The NAR is characterized by the following heretical beliefs, visions and goals:
1. THEY BELIEVE GOD IS RESTORING APOSTLES & PROPHETS
For centuries it has been the Biblical interpretation that the offices of apostle and prophet ceased when the entire Bible canon became complete. Therefore one of the tasks of prophets and apostles was for God to use them in order convey His word in writing in the form of the Bible. Therefore all that God wants to say to mankind in terms of His truth, His vision and His revelation all exist in the complete Bible.
However, the NAR movement believes that God has been restoring the office of apostles and prophets since the beginning of the 21st century. So they believe that the year 2001 marked the beginning of what the NAR call the “Second Apostolic Age”.
Many NAR leaders who lead an NAR church believe that they are either apostles or prophets or both. These NAR apostles believe that God has chosen them to be apostles in order to govern, not only their local churches – but to also govern the entire universal church.
Within the NAR movement, the apostles are seen as being at the top of the hierarchy or being the highest ranked of all spiritual leaders.
NAR apostles and prophets claim to have the same power and authority as the apostles and prophets mentioned in the Bible.
Therefore NAR apostles and prophets claim that God reveals to them “new revelation” and “new truth” and a “new vision” for where they believe God is taking the universal church.
So in light of all these claims, NAR apostles and prophets assert that their teachings and prophecies should not be tested or questioned by anyone as attempting to question their teachings or new revelations would be equal to questioning God.
2. “KINGDOM” REFORMATION / GOSPEL OF THE “KINGDOM” / “KINGDOM NOW”
The NAR movement does not believe that the gospel of salvation or that the message of Christ’s finished work on the cross is a complete gospel. They do not believe that the message of the cross or salvation is a sufficient message of why Jesus Christ came to earth.
The NAR believe and teach that salvation is “quantitative” and that their own version of the gospel of the “kingdom” is “qualitative”.
One of the NAR deceptions is that they have redefined the word “kingdom” from its original Biblical meaning or understanding. According to the NAR the word “kingdom” refers to Christians taking dominion of various social, cultural, economic and political world systems through what they call the 7 Mountains. They believe that when Christians take over 7 systems of influence which they call the 7 Mountain Mandate – then they will bring the kingdom of God to earth. They also teach that Christ cannot come unless Christians supposedly take dominion of all the 7 mountains. And so the NAR believe that their own version of the gospel of the “kingdom” is a complete gospel.
Their 7 Mountain Mandate consists of taking dominion of the following: 1) government, 2) media, 3) family, 4) business/finance, 5) education, 6) church/religion, and 7) arts/entertainment.
Therefore within the movement, NAR key phrases such as “kingdom”, “dominion”, “mountains”, “unity”, “anointing”, “reformation” and even “gospel” are often interlinked but these words have a totally different meaning to the NAR than what the Bible actually teaches.
3. DOMINIONISM and WEALTH TRANSFER
Most NAR leaders and churches are also known for promoting the heretic prosperity gospel and word of faith theology. When such false doctrines are further combined with their 7 Mountain Mandate agenda or the NAR version of the gospel of the “kingdom”, this whole concoction of doctrines further points to the NAR agenda of Dominionism and a supposed expectation of a “great wealth transfer”.
Dominionism or NAR dominionists base their beliefs on Genesis 1:28 which says “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
The NAR believe that since mankind lost its dominion and gave it over to satan in the garden of Eden, it is now the duty of every Christian to get back that dominion from satan through applying various NAR strategies and techniques.
The NAR believes that dominion will be achieved when every Christian excels in every field such as their job or sphere of influence with the goal of taking control or being in managerial control of their particular field. Dominion theology is based on Genesis 1:28 and the NAR claim that if all Christians have control over the 7 Mountains through excelling in their fields, then they are achieving “dominion” over the earth. It is only when they achieve complete “dominion” that there will be a great wealth transfer from the hands of the wicked and into the hands of all Christians and thus they would have brought the “kingdom” onto the earth.
To the NAR movement, this wealth transfer will consist of a transfer of money, material possessions and all the systems and structures that are currently in the hands of the world or the wicked.
Therefore due to their agenda of dominionism, monetary prosperity and their wealth transfer initiative, many NAR leaders and NAR churches will create “schools of business / finance” or integrate worldly philosophies within their groups. The focus and agenda being that NAR followers need to be taught how to achieve dominion within the 7 Mountains or their spheres of influence in order to bring the “kingdom” to earth.
4. SPIRITUAL COVERING / HEAVY SHEPHERDING
In order to enforce the belief that NAR apostles and prophets cannot be questioned, most NAR churches teach spiritual covering / heavy shepherding doctrines to their followers.
Spiritual covering doctrine also enforces within the mind of NAR followers the false belief that the teachings, revelations and prophesies of NAR apostles and prophets are somewhat infallible and therefore one should not question their “spiritual father” or the apostle.
NAR apostles and prophets claim to be “God’s generals”, “spiritual fathers” or “spiritual coverings” who supposedly provide spiritual protection to anyone who is under them within the church hierarchy. Therefore members should submit to their “apostolic anointing” and new revelations and prophecies.
The NAR movement also consists of NAR “apostolic networks” or apostolic institutions where hundreds of NAR churches and organizations submit to the leadership of other apostles or a single apostle who may be heading those particular networks / institutions.
The hierarchy of many NAR churches and their “apostolic networks” looks more like a pyramid than anything that God described for His Church.
Ultimately the leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation movement are working towards the deep-rooted agenda of having their own version of the “universal church” submitting to their apostolic authority and leadership. Hence the NAR movement is one of the fastest growing movements with many churches either adopting or being created and founded upon the NAR beliefs and agenda.
Therefore one of the main emphasis of the NAR movement is that the church must unite behind the leadership and authority of NAR apostles in order for the “kingdom” to manifest or come down.
5. FALSE MIRACLES, FALSE PROPHECIES & QUESTIONABLE MANIFESTATIONS
The New Apostolic Reformation movement teaches that as the church unifies behind the “apostolic leadership” and authority of NAR apostles, the more that these leaders will develop greater supernatural powers – all supposedly to manifest the “kingdom” on earth.
Such supernatural powers include performing mass miracles and healings, performing mass conversions of people to Christianity and suspending the laws of physics.
The NAR movement is riddled with false prophecies and false miracles by many men claiming to be apostles or prophets. Many false miracles are either staged or pre-planned or they’re sourced from a demonic source. Ironically NAR apostles believe that they will one day begin to perform more miracles and healings than Jesus did during His ministry on earth.
Many NAR prophets are not true prophets but they are diviners or simply predictors. However their charisma and serpentine speech and teachings have led many people astray.
Some NAR churches have opened “schools of healing” or “schools of deliverance” where people are indirectly taught to believe that they can manipulate the Holy Spirit into yielding to their command.
For example, at some NAR churches people are taught how to speak in tongues or how to get the Holy Spirit to supposedly do whatever you want. Many NAR churches are also known for practicing new age mysticism.
A number of NAR churches are also characterized by questionable spiritual manifestations with people or professing Christians “laughing in the spirit”, barking, groaning, growling, vigorously shaking, trembling and all other physical manifestations that are not at all described in the Bible as being part of the true character and nature of the true Holy Spirit.
6. PROMOTION OF “UNITY” OR ECUMENISM
The NAR movement promotes a false unity between not only groups that fall within the Christian religion, but they also seek a unity with non-Christian groups and religions.
Most NAR apostles and prophets promote unity at the expense of Biblical truth. In the process they teach Christians to compromise the word of God and the gospel of Christ for the sake of “unity” with unbelievers, false teachers and non-christian groups. Any Bible believing Christian who exposes false teachings and false teachers is labelled as “dividing the church” or not promoting “unity”.
Ultimately one of the hidden agendas and motives of the NAR movement within the depth of its highest leadership is to prime and prepare followers for the future agenda of a one world religion and a new world order.
The above are just but a few compacted beliefs of the New Apostolic Reformation movement. There is so much that can be said about this movement.
However, it is also important to look at what the Bible actually says about these beliefs and their agenda.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THE NAR BELIEFS & AGENDA
A) The Office of Apostle & Prophet Ceased Centuries Ago
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says: For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
The roles of NAR apostles and prophets is far different to that of the Biblical apostles and prophets.
Many NAR leaders who call themselves apostles do not meet the Biblical qualifications or criteria that is expected to be an apostle of God. For example, a true apostle must be a personal eye witness of the resurrected Christ (1 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Corinthians 15:7-8). They must have also been specifically and personally selected by Jesus Christ Himself (Galatians 1:1; Luke 6:13).
Therefore all NAR apostles are self-appointed because they cannot meet the criteria set in the scriptures.
(read: Do Apostles Exist Today?)
B) The Gospel of the Cross & Christ’s Finished Work Is A Complete & Sufficient Gospel
The NAR movement’s version of the gospel of the “kingdom” is a false and heretic gospel whose focus is on elevating the works of man rather than God. It is a false gospel that promotes men to chase after the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-16).
The NAR version of the gospel of the “kingdom” / “kingdom now” message is merely an extension of the false prosperity gospel. Ultimately it is a false gospel which encourages its followers to seek after the systems and kingdoms of this world which Jesus Christ Himself rejected when He was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:8-10).
The pursuit and agenda of the 7 Mountains Mandate have no connection to the work and purpose of Jesus Christ on the cross. Instead they focus on the pursuit of a worldly and political agenda. The wealth transfer agenda is another deception that is rooted in the false prosperity gospel. The dominionism agenda is partly intertwined with word of faith theology that men are “little gods”.
The gospel of Christ or the true gospel of the kingdom relates to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the redemption from sin that Christ offers to those who believe in Him and receive Him by faith as Lord and Saviour (John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 15:1-3). The true gospel of the kingdom has no connections to controlling or having “dominion” over worldly systems. The true gospel of the kingdom is about winning souls to Christ so that they become part of the kingdom or family of God where Christ is the One who reigns and rules (Matthew 7:35-38).
Anyone who accepts Jesus Christ becomes a child of God (John 1:12) and that person is no longer part of the kingdom of darkness but has been transformed through Christ into the kingdom of God.
Therefore the kingdom of God does not relate to taking “dominion” of worldly systems which satan himself created and rules because these systems / “kingdoms” were offered to Christ by the devil and Jesus rejected them.
Every born again believer is a minister of the word of God and ultimately our ministry in our daily life and in our jobs or other areas of life is to point people to Jesus Christ. Our daily life must point people to the true gospel of Christ and must speak of the true character and nature of Jesus Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 2:2, Paul said: For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
In Galatians Paul said the following about those who would deny or distort the true gospel of Jesus Christ:
Galatians 1:6-9 – I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
C) Every Revelation That Christians Need To Know About God Is In The Bible
The concept of “new revelations” and “new truths” from God is not what the Bible teaches. Whatever God wanted to teach mankind about Himself and His plans and the future is explicitly taught in the 66 books of the Bible. Therefore any so-called “new revelations” or “new prophecies” that are not consistent with Scripture must be observed cautiously and tested with God’s word.
In 1 John 4:1 we are encouraged to test every spirit because of false prophets who exist.
Many NAR apostles and prophets are known for speaking vague “prophesies” or calculated predictions, none of which are directly from God.
In 2 Timothy 2:15 we are instructed to rightly divide or interpret God’s word of truth. God’s word is sufficient for our Christian walk.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Therefore every Christian is equipped for every good work through the knowledge and application of God’s word. God Himself has provided us with every truth and revelation that we need to know in order to do His work.
The Bible clearly mentions that no man is to add or subtract whatever is written in God’s word (Revelation 22:18-19).
D) The Body of Christ Has One Father and One Good Shepherd
Jesus said that we should call no man our “father” except our Father who is in heaven. Therefore every born again believer has one “spiritual father” and that is God the Father.
The born again believer has only one spiritual covering and that covering is the Holy Spirit. The Church of Christ has one Good Shepherd and it is Jesus Christ.
Matthew 23:9 – And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.
The concept that a Christian needs a human “spiritual covering” or “spiritual father” is a false doctrine meant to manipulate people. Anyone who claims to be a “spiritual covering” or “spiritual father” over somebody else is taking the role of a false christ or a false mediator.
It is a doctrine that elevates man and not God. It manipulates followers to seek men as a mediator between them and God instead of Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).
(read: Who Is Your Spiritual Covering?).
E) God Warns Against False Prophets Who Perform Signs & Wonders
Jesus Christ warns us that we are to beware of false prophets who perform signs and wonders.
Matthew 24:24-25 – For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
Many NAR churches are characterized by questionable miracles which are performed by NAR apostles and prophets. Furthermore the kind of spiritual manifestations that occur should be further examined through the lenses of God’s infallible word.
It is important to realize that not all signs and wonders are from God.
Even the devil can perform signs and wonders or counterfeit the things of God in order to lead people astray.
In Acts 8:9-11 people believed that Simon the Magician was a man of God because of the sorcery he performed yet he was not.
In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus warns that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. He says that some will claim to have prophesied and cast out demons and done other works, but yet Christ will deny them and call them “workers of lawlessness”
F) Dominionism & 7 Mountain Mandate Does Not Work In A Fallen World
The Bible is clear that until the second coming of Jesus Christ, the devil still has some level of influence within this world and that satan is “the god of this world” who is at work to blind people from the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:4 says: In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Therefore as long as we live in a fallen world where satan has influence, the world will continue to get worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
As noble or sensible as it might appear – dominionism and the 7 Mountain strategy of the NAR movement is unachievable in a fallen world where satan still has influence. According to scripture, Christ will come at a time when the world is in great deception and after the arrival of the antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)
It is Christ alone who can put an end to the current reign and influence of satan in the world and it is God alone who will create a new heaven and a new earth.
Therefore the NAR beliefs are completely out of sync with scripture and they push the agenda of a false and unbiblical gospel that focuses on the effort of men and not the work of Christ.
In John 18:36-37, Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But My kingdom is not from the world.”
Therefore the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God are two very different kingdoms. The NAR version of the gospel of the “kingdom” is about taking “dominion” of the 7 mountains or taking over the systems of the world than it is about Biblical evangelism.
The NAR movement teaches its followers to seek after the kingdoms or systems of the world through their 7 Mountain mandate strategy. Furthermore, there is nowhere in the Bible where anyone who was used by God, from Abraham to Moses, to the prophets and apostles who sought after the kingdoms or systems of the world in order to win people to God.
The only way to be part of the kingdom of Christ is through denying one’s self and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour through faith. The moment the born again believer commits to Christ, he/she is no longer friends with the world because the Bible does not encourage us to be spiritually influenced by the systems of the world.
The New Apostolic Reformation believe that they are ushering in a “new reformation” which follows after the Protestant Reformation. They believe that we are in the “Second Apostolic Age” where NAR apostles are at the forefront of changing Christianity so that Christians supposedly take back dominion and control over the earth under their apostolic leadership and strategies.
In 2 Corinthians 11:13, Paul brands certain false teachers as being “false apostles” and “deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ”
Earlier on in the same chapter, Paul speaks of those same false teachers or false apostles who preach another Jesus, another gospel and have another spirit.
In 2 Corinthians 11:4 Paul says: For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
Even though the New Apostolic Reformation attempts to use Scripture to justify their beliefs and practices, it is only through deeper scrutiny of their teachings, that one will discover that they do not rightly divide or interpret the word of truth. The New Apostolic Reformation movement mixes truth with error and this movement is part of a great deception or a great delusion for mankind.
The movement preaches a different gospel, a different Jesus and in many cases they invite a different or deceptive spirit.
NAR beliefs are based on a private and allegoric interpretation of the scriptures. Their concept of reformation is all about dominionism and taking control of the world systems which Christ Himself rejected when satan tempted Him.
As mentioned before, NAR key phrases such as “kingdom”, “dominion”, “mountains”, “unity”, “anointing”, “reformation” and even “gospel” are often interlinked but these words have a totally different meaning to the NAR than what the Bible actually teaches.
There are also many genuinely God seeking people who are currently part of an NAR church but may not know until God reveals it to them and then they eventually leave such groups. Such has been the case all over the world, where God has graciously been opening the spiritual eyes of genuine believers or Christ seekers who were under the deception of NAR teachings. The NAR agenda and core beliefs are unbiblical and distort the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore people should be careful to discern and reject such teachings and apostate groups.