The New Apostolic Reformation—The World’s Fastest Growing Cult

The New Apostolic Reformation—The World’s astest Growing Cult

For years now I have ignored the development of what is most often referred to as the New Apostolic Reformation. While I am very much aware of it, I did not fully realize the global extent of this rapidly growing movement. In it we see a biblically, Christian-oriented, cultic group, similar to Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses, grow and prosper. But no more can I sit back and pretend it will go away. It is several decades now in the making, and it goes back to Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and a professor there, C. Peter Wagner. I knew him, had extensive conversations with him in 1988–89, and was unwittingly helpful to him and the development of his views, none of which I can help now: I did not know that I was contributing to the makings of a cult. At that time I was part of the charismatic/Pentecostal phenomena, from which this movement springs.

I have been to Bethel Church in Redding, the headquarters of Bill Johnson, now semi-retired, with his son Eric taking the lead. I was also there when Randy Clark spoke. Bethel Church in Redding is one of the most influential churches in the NAR along with Rick Joyner at Morningstar and Mike Bickle of the IHOP ministry in Kansas City. The chief strategic idea is that God is establishing ruling apostles and prophets to direct the Church in order to prepare the world for establishing the kingdom of God on earth and the second coming of Christ. They claim to be “off the charts” now, that is, what is transpiring now is not in the Bible, but the apostles and prophets are charting the way, getting direct communication from God. It is a form of post-millennialism, in which the Church takes dominion in preparation for the Lord’s return. This is also known as dominionism.

This is not a cohesive organization; rather it is a network of apostles and prophets and the congregations over which they pastor or have authority. There are several churches in Marin, with more in San Francisco and in the larger Bay Area that are part of it. They consider themselves a fifth branch of Christianity, no longer Protestants, and are guided by prophecy and personal, direct encounters with Jesus and the Father. For instance, Kat Kerr, who claims to visit the Father directly in the “throne room,” is part of this movement. All who oppose them are considered as rejecters of what God is doing here in the last days.

The NAR reaches into many areas of our culture, from politics, to music, film, television (e.g., God TV), and more. They especially emphasize signs and wonders, miracles, especially of healing, and strange phenomenon. One of their chief activities is “soaking prayer” in their 24/7 prayer rooms, where people will lie seemingly unconscious for hours, even days, and enter into altered states of consciousness, experiencing direct contact with angels, Jesus, and other spiritual entities. It is a combination of shamanism, which is common to Santeria and Wicca, and other religious groups who practice going on a “soul journey” while in a trance state. And all this in the name of Jesus, though it is very “gospel lite,” but the champions of the NAR would deny my charge here.

Large crowds attend NAR services—the latest music is often followed by “miraculous” events, the likes of which I witnessed during the 1970s in San Francisco with Jim Jones’ church, The People’s Temple. I did not speak out at that time as I should have. I hope not to make the same mistake again.

My intention is not to offend, but I ask everyone to think, pray, and consider whether this NAR is of God or not.

Beginning July 9, I will be teaching on the NAR during the evening services at Miller Avenue Church. And why will I do this? Many well meaning people are not aware of the nature of the NAR and the churches affiliated with it. It is my job as a pastor to warn the sheep of the approach of the wolf. And I sincerely wish I did not have to engage in this—it is far from pleasant. For too long now I have not spoken up because I have close friends involved in it, and I know they might respond by rejecting me. That is often the cost of speaking out against error. Sadly, some of well meaning Christians are caught up in it.

Kent Philpott


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