Note: There are no such thing as modern-day Apostles. Therefore, to expose the New Apostolic Reformation teachings on modern-day Apostles, we call them NARpostles.
WHEN CULTS CHANGE THEIR SNAKE-SKINS
With our involvement in the C3 and Hillsong cults, we have seen these leaders continually shed their snake-skin off their ministries to only grow a new snakeskin that reflects the latest fad sweeping the church.
These movements operated within a specific timeline that roughly evolved like this:
NAR –> HAW/WOF –> PDL –> LIB
(1980s) …. (1990s) … (2000s) … (2010)
[Click here to see key for above abbreviations]
The reason for this evolution or development is due to New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) nature, ensuring that the church is listening to today’s Apostles and Prophets. Thus if God is ‘doing a new thing’, you are either on board with the apostolic movement (New Wineskin) or left behind (Old Wineskin).
Oddly enough, the NAR is all about changing it’s skin – which is why they are more in line with the skin of a serpent, shedding their snake-skin rather than being relevant in faithfully preaching God’s Word.
Below is a snapshot in how CLC/Hillsong and the C3 movement evolved over the decades to accomodate to the latest church growth fads.
From NAR to HAW/WOF
In the 1970s to the 1980s, Hillsong founder Frank Houston and C3 founder Phil Pringle were considered Apostles of the NAR (aka the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR)). Both claimed that they were taking the nations (and Sydney) for God. However, this is all NAR dominion talk.
They were influenced by other NARpostles and prophets back in the day. At this time, the NAR charismatic/shepherding/discipleship movement started to influence these C3 and Hillsong movements. But it seemed when the NAR charismatic/shepherding/discipleship movement was exposed by pastors like John MacArthur, C3 and Hillsong shed only their snake skin and emerged as HAW/WOF cults. They changed their language and redirected people’s hearts to seek the latest thing God was doing.
From HAW/WOF to PDL
By the end of the 1990s, discernment ministries (Philip Powell of christian-witness.org, Sandy Simpson of deceptioninthechurch.com) were gaining a lot of momentum offline and online, their research and protests hitting newspapers identifying that Hillsong and C3 were prosperity cults just like those in the US. (Houston publishing his book ‘You Need More Money’ made him a popular target of his HAW/WOF heresy).
Still, these cults kept changing their snakeskins. The word “prosperity” was replaced with “purpose”, and “abundance” was replaced with “flourish”. Thus they shed their HAW/WOF snake-skin and enjoyed their new PDL snakeskin.
From PDL to LIB
Thanks to Christians like Ken Silva of apprising.org, Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio and many other developing discernment sites, the PDL cults have also been identified and are slowly shedding their skins to become more LIB.
Still the foundation of these cults was the NAR. Throughout the 1990s, these cults still had their NARpostles in their HAW/WOF time period (read HAW and WOF NARpostles and the book ‘The Apostolic Revolution’ by Cartledge and other online material).
But do NARpostles exist in the PDL cults? When they change their snakeskin to the PDL sect, did the idea of Apostles disappear?
Once again it’s all word games. While the PDL cults give the impression that there are no longer modern day NARpostles and Prophets, a bit of research indicates that this is not true. All they have done is shape-shift and hide themselves under words.
FINDING INFORMATION ON PDL NARPOSTLES
Benjamin G. McNair Scott wrote a book titled, ‘Apostles Today: Making Sense of Contemporary Christian Apostolates: A Historical and Theological Appraisal‘. While we have his original literature, you can read a pdf sample of the relevant material we have quoted HERE.
This man is not against NARpostles but for them. Mr Scott writes,
“Are apostles amongst us today? According to a growing section of the church, the answer is yes. This book investigates and appraises the idea, seeking answers to the following questions in the context of the church in Britain and the USA. Is there a robust scriptural justification for the charismatic apostolate (CA) that most charismatic groups are proclaiming? How widespread is this belief and why has it become more commonplace? What kind of apostles are being advocated by influential popular teachers? What does church history and tradition have to offer to this idea? Is there a way to ecumenically endorse and embrace the CA? Does the CA have a future in the universal church? These are important questions to answer for the sake of the church’s mission and health.”
Source: The Lutterworth Press, http://www.lutterworth.com/product_info.php/products_id/2262, Accessed 24/05/2016.
QUOTE NOTE: The New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) first taught that NARpostles and prophets were to be restored to govern the church. The Charismatic renewal was birthed from the NOLR which produced governing Narpostles and prophets, which Wagner observed was the NAR.
Mr Scott appears to think NARpostles are for today because, “According to a growing section of the church, the answer is yes.” He erroneously assumes that such a biblical truth is based on popular opinion and church growth.
In his book Mr Scott failed to look at this from a biblical perspective which clearly refutes the idea of contemporary NARpostles.
Inadvertently, Mr Scott has done some good work examining how the PDL cults and Church Growth gurus have redefined the idea of NARpostle within their movements. He goes to popular Church Growth Movement gurus resources and courses. This helps us understand how the idea of a NAR apostle in the PDL movement has been redefined.
(Remember – the Church Growth Movement emerged from the NAR.)
HOW THE PDL MOVEMENT DEFINES A NARPOSTLE
It appears the Purpose Driven Life movement (for their case for church growth) shaved off the NAR church growth movement ‘strategic level spiritual warfare’ (SLSW) approach down to “psychological strategizing”. However, one SLSW technique that NARpostles and PDL NARpostles share is the power to cast vision.
Therefore, it appears the PDL Movement assumes that NARpostles exist today. Mr Scott writes,
“A sample of these courses will highlight how the “gift of apostle” is being presented. It is, in my opinion, interesting (and telling?) that the controversy surrounding the topic is not mentioned at all—it is taken as a given that this charism is operative today.”
First, Mr Scott claims that the PDL had to rework the 5-fold ministry gifts (aka charismatic gifts). Mr Scott observed this is done in PDL fashion through the “Bodywork; Network; LifeShape” and “SHAPE” models found in various churches in Britain.
“They systematically psychologized the gifts of the spirit into formulas and strategies to implement church growth.”
Unlike the spiritual whack-job NARpostles that were devil-stomping demons out of neighborhoods, it is clear that PDL NARpostles want to look smart, sophisticated and culturally savvy in an attempt to engage or infiltrate culture in a different way.
With the charismatic gifts more psychologized and redefined, Mr Scott examined some of the literature and programs floating around the UK that would shine light on how UK ministers saw the NARpostolic office. One such figure was John Irvine.
Mr Scott quotes John Irvine’s definition of apostleship in his church literature:
“The special ability given by the Holy Spirit to initiate new Churches or ministry projects to extend the mission of God in Christ. . . . People with this gift are pioneers, are flexible and able to adapt to different people and situations, and are concerned with extending God’s work to unreached people.”
Source: Bodywork seminar notes, 21. The course was developed at St Barnabas Church specifically for use there.
Mr Scott exposes that Irvine used all the same scripture twisting that the NAR use:
“The biblical references given to help explain this gift were 1 Corinthians 12:28–29; Ephesians 4:11–12; Romans 1:5; and Acts 13:2–3.4.”
He also quotes the LifeShapes Passionate Life Workbook‘s definition of Apostle:
“An apostle is one who is ‘sent out.’ Apostles are visionary and pioneering, always pushing into new territory. They like to establish new churches or ministries. They come up with new, innovative means to do kingdom work. They enjoy dreaming, doing new and challenging tasks. Paul is a good biblical example of an apostle. Words that describe someone with this ministry role would include: excites, envisions, challenges, bridges. Apostles make good entrepreneurs and explorers.”
Source: Breen and Kallestad, Workbook, 56.
Mr Scott also quotes from the SHAPE course that was inspired by Rick Warren’s book the ‘Purpose Driven Church‘ on the definition of apostleship:
“Apostleship: The God-given special ability to serve and strengthen the body of Christ by launching and leading new ministry ventures that advance God’s purposes and expand his kingdom. The original Greek meaning of the word is “sent one” (literally, one sent with authority, or as an ambassador. People with this gift…
- Are driven to start new endeavors for God, most often churches.
- Often welcome risky new challenges.
- Enjoy making a difference in the lives of believers and unbelievers alike.
- Are eager to be known as ambassadors for Christ in the world.
- Willingly work hard to see churches reach their full potential for God.”
Source: Rees, S.H.A.P.E., 38–39.
Mr Scott also quotes resources from Bill Hybel’s Willow Creek:
“Willow Creek’s Network Course states: “The gift of Apostleship is the divine ability to start and oversee the development of new churches or ministry structures.” It lists the “Distinctives” of this gift in the following way:
Pioneer and establish new ministries or churches. . . . Adapt to different surroundings by being culturally sensitive and aware. . . . Desire to minister to unreached people in other communities or countries. . . . Have responsibilities to oversee ministries or groups of churches. . . . Demonstrate authority and vision for the mission of the church. The traits of such a person are: Adventurous, Entrepreneurial, Persevering, Adaptable, Culturally sensitive, Risk-taking, Cause-driven.
The references given to support these ideas are “1 Corinthians 12:28–29; Ephesians 4:11–12; Romans 1:5; Acts 13:2–3.”
Source: Bugbee et al., Network, 74.
This last definition given by Willow Creek, gives wiggle-room for the LIB to become the “Culturally sensitive” new apostles of the future. This definition also includes the HAW/WOF because he describes apostles as “Entrepreneurial”. Many HAW/WOF NARpostles demonstrate their NARpostleship through their entrepreneurial skills or abilities.
What’s even more glaring about these definitions is that they are even less biblical than the NAR’s definition of NARpostles. There’s a lot more of the person’s opinion that has been shaped by the culture that is causing them to redefine what a NARpostle is on their own terms.
This should be concerning since this is making Apostles who are even less biblical, elevate their own philosophies, ideas and definitions above the Word of God. And that has been the very result of the PDL cults: biblical illiteracy and a rise in narcissism.
These NARpostles haven’t gone away. They have been redefined so that they can suit anyone who wants to consider themselves an apostle. This means anyone can be a NARpostle as long as the NARpostolic Network sees them as a NARpostle.
What is missing is this definition of a PDL NARpostle is the biblical definition; they must be an eyewitness to Christ before and after his death and resurrection:
“So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” Acts 1:22
Unfortunately, Benjamin G. McNair Scott seems to think that Pentecostal churches embraces NARpostles and Prophets. This is a serious failing in his work considering that the history of Pentecostalism attempted to resist the NAR but was effectively and viciously exterminated by the “jihad” performed on them by NARpostles and Prophets last century.
What we are noticing through Christian institutions around the world is how the bible and Christian history is being rewritten and redefined before our very eyes in our bible colleges and institutions. Men like Benjamin G. McNair Scott are proof that supposed Christian academic institutions no longer hold to the historical method when students research the history of Christianity, especially in modern church history.
They are distorting dates and facts and spreading misinformation about the history of Pentecostalism, what Pentecostalism is and deliberately neglecting to report how the New Order of the Latter Rain constructed the Charismatic Renewal to trick millions of churches to embrace their false NARpostles and Prophets.
The false doctrine of the continuation of NARpostles and Prophets has been easily refuted. Why do these so-called “Christian” institutions get away with promoting such abysmal research from their students?
Why do they promote this error in the name of Jesus when they should be lovingly and officially correcting churches or students that push such blatant error? It’s a sad day when the global Church is recognized for shedding snake skins rather than repenting of their false doctrines and bearing fruit in keeping with repentance by believing the Gospel and turning their back on such blatant heresies.