The difference between apostolic gift vs apostolic office and how to recognize NAR apostles; C. Peter Wagner.

When starting to examine cults, one quickly realizes that their nature is to mainstream their teachings and leaders. Most importantly, their drive is to be accepted and affirmed as a legitimate Christian group.

Sunday with Peter Wagner

Apostle C. Peter Wagner with Apostle Sunday Adelaja

This quest for affirmation can be seen in the New Order of the Latter Rain cult.

The NOLR were thrilled to be embraced as a legitimate group through their Charismatic Movement in the early 1960s. In 1967 and later again in 1977, they were also happy to be affirmed by Roman Catholics .

C. Peter Wagner has often written about the rise of the New Apostolic Reformation that was emerging from the Charismatic Movement, he himself acknowledging the roots stemming back to the NOLR. Below, we have a quote from a section of his book ‘Apostles Today’ that has him teaching on the difference between the ‘apostolic gift and the apostolic office’ then proceeds to teach people how to recognize NAR apostles.

It is important to note that Wagner teaches that the Apostolic office is “is received through works” of an individual who is bestowed by God with “the gift of apostle.” It is also important to recognize that Wagner claims that “the office is not given to us by God; it is conferred on us by people.”

To know someone is operating with this apostolic gift is by observing the “outward evidence [the fruit] that the person actually has the gift.” It’s only when men presume they have an apostle in their midst that, “The office becomes the public affirmation that an individual is recognized as having a spiritual gift and that they are authorized to exercise that gift is in the body of Christ.”

Wagner has the audacity to state that although God may have given a number of people gifts, many “have not entered into their destiny because they have not yet earned their office.”

At this point in time, we want people to seriously consider the ‘Apostles’ of Hillsong: Frank and Brian Houston. Although many congregants and well-known charismatic theologians acknowledge Frank Houston’s pedophilia, the attitude of the majority of these people is that at least Frank Houston was faithful to his calling.

The spiritual gift/office doctrine in the NAR is incredibly dangerous for this reason. Who cares if they lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, sexually abuse children or break the law. As long as these Apostles operated out of God’s ‘apostolic gift’ and were publicly affirmed in this man-appointed ‘apostolic office’, they could get away with greater crimes and still be justified as legitimate Apostles by their followers. (They would make Jim Jones blush!)

AN EASY WAY TO RECOGNIZE AN APOSTLE

Wagner says the best way to recognize an NAR Apostle is to see if two types of people consider them an Apostle:

  1. The Apostle’s followers
  2. And “Apostolic peers”

Wagner states,

“When asking the question, “is so-and-so an apostle?”, one of the follow-up questions needs to be, “Who else recognizes this person as an apostle?””

ICAL

ICAL connects “peer-level” apostles & affirms their apostolic offices.

He says this because, as he stated above, the only way someone’s apostolic office is recognized is if people around them publicly affirm their apostolic office.

This is why Wagner says, “Those who follow the apostle as subordinates have a significant role in this recognition; but even more important is the affirmation of apostolic peers.”

In other words, if other Apostles affirm fellow peers as apostles, we should believe them. What Wagner says next is helpful to anyone trying to recognize who is an Apostle:

“This is one of the reasons why apostles are now spontaneously gathering together in peer-level associations of one kind or another, such as the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA), an organization designed to connect as many peer-level apostles with each other as possible. When this happens, there is a much broader mutual recognition of apostolic offices, thereby raising the credibility of contemporary apostolic ministry in general.”

CREATING NO-FRILLS APOSTLES

Interestingly, if someone is not recognized as an apostle by office in the public, they can “call upon apostolic peers who have agreed that he or she has the gift of apostle, in order to set them into the apostolic office in a public ceremony.”

Needless to say that the NOLR/NAR also believe that spiritual gifts (such as the apostolic gift) can be imparted. This means if an apostles decides to lay hands on a ‘nobody’ to receive the apostolic gift and calls others into agreement that this ‘nobody’ is now an apostle, that ‘nobody’ has no need to be trained, educated, raised or be held accountable to any authority if he is suddenly gifted and recognized as an apostle. (This is how pedophile Frank Houston and his son were apostolically raised up to prominence.)

 

The problem is that no-frills products have to come with details or warnings on products while no-frills apostles don’t.


C. Peter Wagner wrties,

Gift vs office

There is a crucial difference between the gift of apostle and the office of apostle. They are not the same. The spiritual gift, whether it is the gift of apostle or any other gift, is given to a person through God’s grace and by His choice. The Greek word for “grace” is charis, which is a part of the word charisma, which means “spiritual gift.” All gifts are grace-gifts.

However, while the gift is received by the grace of God, the office is received through works. Furthermore, the office is not given to us by God; it is conferred on us by people. The key indicator is conferring upon someone the office of apostle is the fruit of the gift, as outward evidence that the person actually has the gift. The office becomes the public affirmation that an individual is recognized as having a spiritual gift and that they are authorized to exercise that gift is in the body of Christ. It is important to note that there are a number of people to whom God has given gifts, but who have not entered into their destiny because they have not yet earned their office.

The office of apostle is conferred by responsible people. When asking the question, “is so-and-so an apostle?” one of the follow-up questions needs to be, “Who else recognizes this person as an apostle?” Those who follow the apostle as subordinates have a significant role in this recognition; but even more important is the affirmation of apostolic peers. This is one of the reasons why apostles are now spontaneously gathering together in peer-level associations of one kind or another, such as the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA), an organization designed to connect as many peer-level apostles with each other as possible. When this happens, there is a much broader mutual recognition of apostolic offices, thereby raising the credibility of contemporary apostolic ministry in general.

At times, an apostle might call upon apostolic peers who have agreed a he or she has the gift of apostle, in order to set them into the apostolic office in a public ceremony. As a part of the maturing process of the apostolic movement, this is happening more frequently. Most apostles are now in agreement that this act should be referred to as “commissioning,” not as “ordination.” A reason for this is that the candidate has presumably gone through a previous public ceremony of ordination in their Christian ministry. Consequently, this new action would be the commissioning of an already-ordained minister to a different office.

Source: C. Peter Wagner, Apostles Today, https://books.google.com.au/books?id=lSABBQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2006).

Email all comments and questions to c3churchwatch@hotmail.com.



Categories: New Apostolic Reformation (NAR)

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