Want to spot all the deceptive tactics of Michael Brown and Joseph Mattera downplaying the extreme teachings of the New Apostolic Reformation? Streamed live on Apr 30, 2018, Brown did a podcast titled ‘An Apostolic Leader Calls for Changes in the New Apostolic Reformation’.
When you parse the words of Michael Brown and Joseph Mattera, not only are they deceiving their audience about the NAR (as we will see in an upcoming article regarding Mattera’s NAR claims), they are hiding their NAR agenda in plain sight.
To understand the deceit of this discussion, readers must familiarise themselves with the New Apostolic Paradigm:
Remember – deception isn’t always obvious. In this case we need to analyse the words of Brown and Mattera and hold them to their definitions and meanings. While there are many shocking examples of ‘word games’ used to legitimise the NAR in Brown’s ‘Line of Fire’ radio show, we will only focus on three major glaring dangers in the program.
PARSING THE LIES – ADVOCATING ‘JONESTOWN’ STYLE APOSTLES?
Mattera claimed that the critics “are people driven by fear. They have created their own boogie man, and I don’t think anybody should be afraid of true Apostolic, prophetic leaders that God has ordained according to Ephesians 4, to continue until there’s unity in the faith and complete knowledge and fullness of the Son of God, which hasn’t happened yet.” So apparently these discerning critics should have no fear of ‘Apostles’ in the New Apostolic Reformation? They’ve just invented a boogie man? If that’s true, why did Mattera threaten them by making the following claim:
“So if they’re against apostolic leadership, they’re fighting against God Himself.”
And the world still wonders why people drank the deadly kool-aid under the ‘Apostolic’ influence of Jim Jones at Jonestown. This is the mentality of so many held sway by this oppressive NAR cult – a cult whose focus is to infiltrate governments, media, education and courts of law with their ‘Apostolic’ mandate. As Chris Rosebrough pointed out, does Mattera’s definition of ‘Apostle’ sound like a missionary little apostle or a big Apostle? The latter was clearly what he had in mind.
PARSING THE LIES – BAIT & SWITCH: APOSTOLIC OR OFFICE OR FUNCTION?
In spite of his defining apostles being like the original twelve in the New Testament, Mattera insisted that people now only operate with an apostolic ‘function’ and not under an ‘office’. He is doing that to separate himself from the teachings of C. Peter Wagner. However, Mattera’s own websites continually advocate for people to operate under legitimate ‘apostolic offices’.
When it comes to his own NAR members, they have offices and calls themselves apostles. When it comes to people questioning the legitimacy of the NAR, he prefers to call them ‘apostolic leaders’ or those who operate with an ‘apostolic function’. It’s interesting to note that C. Peter Wagner played this ‘bait and switch’ tactic as well.
PARSING THE LIES – THEY’RE NOT RUNNING SCARED, THEY’RE BLURRING THE LINES.
Brown alerts Mattera to NAR critics, asking if people he knows are, “scurrying because of these so-called discernment reporters.”
Mattera’s reponse was scandalous. Mattera instead confirmed Michael Brown is 100% wrong and that his critics are 100% right – the NAR are clearly hiding their agenda by blurring the theological lines with evangelicalism, mainstreaming themselves so they are considered legitimate by the Christian community. In his conversation below, Mattera is literally saying the NAR are effectively subverting Christianity and converting them to embrace the New Apostolic paradigm (i.e. the restored Five Fold Ministry offices):
“I’m seeing Evangelicals embracing the Five Fold Ministry. I’m seeing the missional church movement beginning to use the language of Apostolic as prophetic. They’re expanding it because they realize that if we are limited to a Two Fold Ministry, the Jesus Movement is going to be static. But if we embrace the Five Fold Ministry, we’re going to have a movement, we’re going to have a great expansion of Christianity like we saw in the New Testament.“
You would think Brown would have a problem with Mattera pushing this subversive takeover of Evangelicalism on his program. However Brown did not protest Mattera’s open agenda of the NAR. In that quote above, you will notice the divisions Mattera is advocating – the New Apostolic Reformation (5FM) and Evangelicalism (2FM). He drew the line in the sand between what is biblical (2FM) and what was not (5FM) and has made it clear he wants to convert Evangelicalism to the NAR so that they “have a great expansion of Christianity like we saw in the New Testament.”
Unfortunately, Mattera advocates an extreme cultist doctrine known as ‘Restorationism’, operating from a similar mindset to Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jim Jones’ Jonestown cult and other ‘doomsday’ cult ideologies. Again, Brown refuses to correct Mattera on this very dangerous heresy.
“And the line is going to be blurred more and more like it is presently, between Evangelical and Charismatic.”
Once again, Mattera is stating that he and the NAR are deliberately blurring the lines between what is NAR and Evangelicalism to ‘mainstream’ their heresies into orthodox Christianity. You will note the divisions Mattera is advocating – Evangelical and Charismatic. This time he is using the ‘sheepskin’ of Charismatics to suggest they advocate 5FM, which is deceitful. Charismatics, as their name suggests, believe God has renewed the Gifts (charisma) to the church today. This is how both Brown and Mattera further the NAR agenda – with Mattera clearly revealing how the NAR are infiltrating Christianity. And Brown is letting him talk freely about it!
“That line between Apostolic and Evangelical is going to be so blurred in five to ten years that they are not going to know who the NAR is. So we have mainstream Evangelicals, people who identify with the Evangelical global groups in the world who are now using the the way we do.”
Our case against Michael Brown and his deliberately lying about his own Apostolic involvement in the NAR and his deceitful endorsement of the New Apostolic Reformation mandate to convert Christians has been proven true. Brown’s duplicity is exposed in his opening dialogue, where he advocates for the NAR:
“That’s what [Wagner] called the New Apostolic Reformation… So what Peter Wagner is discussing and what Dr Mattera is discussing is what God’s doing around the world, not rejecting denominations, not moving just outside of denominations, but moving in a way that is more organic. It even has more potential of church wide unity in different nations and cities as the body comes together. Not some false ecumenical movement, but recognizing what God is doing in people in like heart and mind working together. And the greatest is the servant of all, not the boss or lord over others.“
This is Michael “I’m not part of the NAR or an NAR Apostle” Brown. He claimed the NAR was a legitimate and organic move of God. This is what we are being confronted with, two men having no problem lying about the NAR while openly talking about how they desire to change the face of biblical Christianity. Al-Jazeera News was right, Michael Brown, Joseph Mattera (both proponents of the NAR) are definitely, ‘America’s own Taliban.’
As one of the most dangerous movements on the planet today, it is very disturbing that many Christians defend these men. For any discerning scholar, academic, apologist, pastor, teacher or leader, this is a very valuable audio/transcript that exposes the insidious methods and agendas of the New Apostolic Reformation cult attempting to take over Christianity. Transcript provided below:
AN APOSTOLIC LEADER CALLS FOR CHANGES IN THE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION
Dr Michael Brown: “Apostles today in New Apostolic Reformation, one more time, we’re going to separate fact from fiction. (Intro/music)
Alright, I have been able to piece some things together. To get further insight into some of the confusion today, and even the hysteria regarding NAR, the New Apostolic Reformation. And I’m going to be joined by a friend that was just on with me recently, who was a firsthand observer to the actual New Apostolic Reformation, and who has a lot to say about that.
This is Dr Michael Brown, and I want to take one last shot at this topic. It comes up mainly from certain critical circles, and most of the folks I travel with around the world don’t know what I’m talking about when I bring this up.
But with the goal of educating, equipping, understanding, separating fact from fiction, I’m taking a few more minutes to devote to the subject. I think a lot of things are going to fall into place for you today. If you have a question specifically related to apostolic ministry today, or the so called NAR, here’s the number to call (phone number).
In a moment I’m going to be joined by my friend Dr Joseph Mattera, who leads a U.S. organisation of quote ‘Apostolic Leaders’. And he can tell us in detail about the original NAR, New Apostolic Reformation.
Before I bring Dr Mattera on, this is what got me wondering about these things. I believe it was last year when Wretched Radio began advertising a DVD called, ‘Drunk in the Spirit.’ And they said this on their website:
‘The world’s fastest growing sect of Christianity is not Christian at all. And chances are very high that your child and church are getting infected.’
What? Then it said this:
‘The New Apostolic Reformation movement and the Jesus Culture worship band boast of 369 million adherence.’
And then this:
‘The New Apostolic Reformation worships God drunk in the Spirit. They teach scant amounts of truth. Christians do not need to be aware of each and every false teacher on the planet. But the New Apostolic Reformation is the most influential, aberrant movement the church has ever seen.’
I heard an ad for this on the air, and I thought what in the world are they talking about? New Apostolic Reformation that Peter Wagner was involved with? What’s this thing alleged with 369 adherence worldwide? That’s not even Christian at all? And all this hysteria surrounding it. And that’s when I began to see all these different groups, leaders, organisations were being put together under this alleged NAR.
So, three separate things, then I’m going to bring on Dr Mattera. Number one, for decades I have believed that there are Apostles and Prophets today, along with Evangelists, Pastors and teachers. Now the authority of a New Testament Apostle, like Paul or John. Not like an Old Testament Prophet like Isaiah or Jeremiah. But New Testament Apostles and Prophets, I saw scriptural evidence for that. And really sought working through history with the people who had those titles, that one thing.
Second thing is, Peter Wagner led a movement that was widely identified as New Apostolic Reformation. And I had differences with that, I was never part of that, appreciated some of it, differed with other parts. And now there’s this other thing called NAR, where everything is put under this heading, and that is what I say does not exist, this worldwide conspiratorial movement.
So with that, we’re going to sort things out with someone who was really an eye witness to so much of this and who believes in Apostolic Ministry today. And who believes the real New Apostolic Reformation needs reformation. My friend, Dr Jo Mattera, Jo thanks for coming right back on the show with us. You were on only a couple of weeks ago talking about your new book, ‘The Divided Gospel.’”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Yeah, what a joy to be with you. I appreciate all the hard work and the incredible scholarship that goes along with your radio show, thank you for having me on again.”
Dr Michael Brown: “Well my joy. Alright, the New Apostolic Reformation as you are familiar with it. We don’t deny its existence, we never have. This is what we’re familiar with, with Dr Peter Wagner, what are the origins? What were your thoughts about it? What was your involvement with it, if any?”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Well my overseer, John Kelly, was asked in 1999 to gather 30 leaders of networks, independent Christian networks, in the City of Singapore, in the country of Singapore. And they met for three days just to compare notes, and at the end of a few days, they decided that they should continue to meet. And they called it the, ‘International Collation of Apostles.’
And John led it for a year, I think it was, I could be wrong, could be two years. And then he felt like Peter Wagner had more national prominence, and he asked Peter to lead it. So Peter as a Missiologist/Sociologist he basically led it. And as Peter always does, he gives terms to things, and he wound up calling it a ‘New Apostolic Reformation’. And what he meant by that, was that this is not a movement necessarily led by historic denominational leaders or denominations. So he was trying to think of a new way of framing the fastest growing segment of global Christianity, which is led by visionary leaders, of independent networks, so they coined the phrase ‘New Apostolic Reformation’.
There was no conspirator background, there was no organization, it was loosely affiliated. People came, people went. There was no ordination Certificates or anything. People just gathered once a year, and it ultimately grew to 350 people under Peter’s guidance. And I didn’t agree with some of the things. But the thing is, it was such a loose organization, there was diversity in escapology, some were dispensational pre-millennial, some were post-millennial….some believed that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was evident by speaking in tongues, others were third wave. Evangelicals like Peter, who believed that everybody was baptized in the Spirit, I mean that you didn’t have to speak in tongues if you were baptized in the Spirit.
So there was such a divergence of people involved. It would have been next to impossible to have a conspiracy.”
Dr Michael Brown: “Alright, so even if we get back from the conspiracy part, so just to understand this. We were used to Christian denominations, so you have Presbyterian, you have Lutheran, you have Southern Baptist, you have Assemblies of God, these different denominations. And that was much of the church worldwide. And then you had something where you might have had a visionary leader that started a church planting movement and that grew like John Wimber, say and the Vineyard movement, or something like that. And they didn’t call themselves a denomination, yet they were rapidly growing and spreading, and widely diverse. So some Pentecostal, some Charismatic… some house church, some mega church, some pre-trib rapture, some dominionist. But what was different about them was that they had these visionary kind of organic movement growth, as opposed to just being part of a denomination. Is that what Peter Wagner was trying to identify?”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Yes, and the emphasis for that was in 1995, I think it was in Fuller when he had a post denominational symposium. And he realized that a lot of the leaders and/or movements globally were not led by denominations. Now the people could be in a denomination, but he was actually saying this was post denominational. Now I don’t agree that the day is over for denominations. Neither did a lot of people. But he stopped using the word post-denominational, and he started using the term ‘Apostolic Reformation’. But he’s just talking about how we are not limited by the territorial denominational historical landmines that existed in the past several hundred years.”
Dr Michael Brown: “Alright, so that was the name that he put on it. And then it became maybe more narrowly associated with being part of Peter Wagner’s organisation, or movement. And from what I could tell, it then seems to me that anyone today who believes in Five Fold Ministry, or who was part of Peter Wagner’s organisation, that somehow everybody gets grouped under this heading of NAR. Even if they have never heard of it, or knew what it was? And this is this nefarious movement spreading around the world. And that’s why it’s so difficult dealing with this. For example, one website says, ‘If you want to try and identify a NAR Church, well see if they have 24/7 prayer.’ Since when did 24/7 prayer make you part of The New Apostolic Reformation?
So I want to read a description to you, and get your reaction. Okay? This is from I think it’s the ‘Berean Examiner’ website, and it says this:
‘The New Apostolic Reformation or NAR is a counterfeit, un-Biblical movement that has been gaining worldwide momentum. Its anointed celebrity leaders meanwhile are scurrying to distance themselves from the ‘NAR’ label, invented by founded by C Peter Wagner. Especially now that discernment reporters have been shining the light of scripture and the sheep have begun to take notice.’
Alright, first thing, your response to that? I just to be candid, since a bunch of websites with critics that are attacking me and you, you had never heard of these folks. So as far as you know, are people scurrying because of these so called discernment reporters?”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Well, I just hope they spelt my name right. I mean I’ve never heard of these people and I don’t know what kind of influence they have. But I’m not coming across much criticism at all, I know it’s out there, but what I’m seeing is the opposite. I’m seeing Evangelicals embracing the Five Fold Ministry. I’m seeing the missional church movement beginning to use the language of Apostolic as prophetic. They’re expanding it because they realize that if we are limited to a Two Fold Ministry, the Jesus Movement is going to be static. But if we embrace the Five Fold Ministry, we’re going to have a movement, we’re going to have a great expansion of Christianity like we saw in the New Testament. And the line is going to be blurred more and more like it is presently, between Evangelical and Charismatic. That line between Apostolic and Evangelical is going to be so blurred in five to ten years that they are not going to know who the NAR is. So we have mainstream Evangelicals, people who identify with the Evangelical global groups in the world who are now using the term Apostolic the way we do. We don’t use it as an office, we use it as an adjective.
Paul wasn’t called ‘The Apostle Paul’, he was called Paul an Apostle. So we don’t call it an office, we say it’s an adjective, it’s a function. It’s a description of a ministry. So we get away from the classical hierarchical institutional-ism of the word ‘Apostle’ when we say ‘Apostolic’ and ‘Prophetic’. I think that’s safer, and I think we avoid some of the errors that have taken place in the past by some leaders, not all.”
Dr Michael Brown: “Got it, Alright listen when we come back we’ll keep on unpacking this. Remember Dr Mattera has been a Pastor for decades in Brooklyn. He works with denominational leaders in New York City and around the world, so we’re not talking about some exclusive club. We are just trying to identify what God is doing and separate myth from fact when it comes to the so called NAR.”
(16:09) Dr Michael Brown: “Alright, I’m looking at something, let me see how far back this goes. 2011 Dr Peter Wagner wrote:
‘The roots of the NAR, New Apostolic Reformation go back to the beginning of the African Independent Church Movement in 1900, The Chinese house church movement beginning in 1976, US independent Charismatic movement beginning in the 70s, and the Latin American grassroots church movement beginning at the same time.’ He said, ‘I was neither the founder nor member of any of these movements. I was simply a Professor who observed that they were the fastest growing churches in their respective regions, and that they have a number of common characteristics.’
That’s what he called the New Apostolic Reformation. Which again bares very little resemblance to what the critics are attacking as NAR. And I’ll give you a list of everybody they include in that in a moment. So what Peter Wagner is discussing and what Dr Mattera is discussing is what God’s doing around the world, not rejecting denominations, not moving just outside of denominations, but moving in a way that is more organic. It even has more potential of church wide unity in different nations and cities as the body comes together. Not some false ecumenical movement, but recognizing what God is doing in people in like heart and mind working together. And the greatest is the servant of all, not the boss or lord over others.
So that is how the term is used broadly, and then Peter Wagner very much became associated with his writings on this and certain teaching he gave on Apostles in the marketplace, and it seemed like every Pastor was calling himself an Apostle. Things like that. Developed quote ‘Apostolic Networks’, that’s what I knew then as New Apostolic Reformation.
And then Dr Mattera has been writing about where that needs reformation. So there’s what Dr Wagner described, this generic worldwide thing that God was doing, thoroughly orthodox in its Biblical foundations. Then, there was a more narrow movement that he was leading specifically that had more specific parameters. Then there’s what the critics refer to. Alright? And that’s what I keep debunking, what the critics refer to.
And let me say this again, in my new book ‘Playing With Holy Fire’, I deal with abuses in the term ‘Apostle’ and Apostle by acquisition. You know I just take over others, and I become this big-shot Apostle, or putting the name on a card Apostle Michael Brown, or nonsense like that. Okay for me it would be nonsense. So, I talk about that and if you have an issue with one church here, or one church there, I’m very happy to talk about specific abuses. I have several chapters on abusive leaders and abusive prophetic ministry, very happy to talk about abuses. Just don’t put it under this mythical headline together.
So getting back to Dr Mattera. Jo you have been a local Pastor, your church in Brooklyn continues. You 100% support local leaders and you know that the local church is the nucleus of what God does in every community. But when you talk about Two Fold Ministry, Pastor/Teacher or Pastor/Evangelist, and you say that the church won’t be what it’s supposed to be without apostolic prophetic ministry. What does that look like? How does it work itself out?”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Yeah, well the Pastoral role more or less is for maintenance, for care, for preservation, protection. But God gave the Apostolic and prophetic ministries as He says in 1 Corinthians 28, He said, ‘First in the church Apostles, secondarily Prophets.’ Those are more of the pioneers. Those are the ones who expand the territory of Kingdom influence. Those are the ones who plant churches and who begin to preach in such a way that those who turn the world upside-down come here, in Acts, Chapter 17. They are the ones who are shown in Acts, Chapter 19 when Paul planed a church in Ephesus, it says, ‘the word of the Lord went out to all of Asia.’ And then it changed and challenged the economic values of that whole city. Even of course they rioted because they could not buy the idols anymore, and they weren’t able to convey their false gods anymore, because the gospel permeated culture.
So the Apostolic leaders are the ones who basically can influence a city, a community, and again plant churches and all that kind of thing. But they leave in their place, when they leave the church the put Pastors, they put Elders, people who are going to care for the flock. So it’s never to overthrow the Pastoral ministry, it’s to uphold it. It’s to help them, it’s to support them, it’s to protect them. It’s to be a Pastor to Pastors. That’s what an Apostolic leader is.
Some of these people who are critics of NAR don’t understand what they are talking about. They believe that Apostles are trying to overthrow pastoral leaders. Now has that happened? Maybe it has, I don’t know. One of the tricks that the opponents of particular movements have, is they identify a whole movement by its radical fringe. But the proponents that I work with of Apostolic ministry both Evangelicals and Charismatics, would never in a million years think about overthrowing Pastors. We hold the local church front and center with what God wants to do. We want to help them, we want to support them, we want to be a resource to them. And that’s who we are. Well we have networks.”
Dr Michael Brown: “Let me just say this one thing to everyone listening and watching. I get links sent to me of different critics websites, Twitter feeds, things like that, that I don’t personally get. But I get them sent to me sometimes on a daily basis where the latest show was being attacked. So I’m glad as a critic you are listening, I genuinely am. Listening and watching, if we differ, we differ. I’m glad at least you are listening and watching, but why not call in? Why not call in and say this is who I am, here’s my website, I’m one of these guys that attacks you all the time, or differs with you, or thinks you’re really erroneous or lying to people. Call in. Okay? You post comments on YouTube, you call me a liar, call in. By all means I’m glad you’re listening, truly glad you’re listening, watching. But call in if you’re listening, watching live (phone number).
So, let’s ask this. We understand the critically important role of the shepherds, every Elder needs to be a Shepherd of some kind overseeing the flock. But there’s pressure than can be put on Pastors, that’s not a right pressure. Some call it ‘Sola Pastora’, it’s just the Pastor and the Pastor has to do everything. And if the Pastors not shaking the city while nurturing the flock, if the Pastors not sprouting out new works while caring for the flock, the Pastors not doing the right thing. But Pastors are called primarily to be shepherds right? So there are the people who go in, as you’re saying the trailblazers, the pioneers. Doesn’t this then take pressure off the local church to say, you be who you are and shepherd and nurture the flock and strengthen it, let the church do the work of evangelism? And let the pioneers and the prophetic voices do what they’re called to do.”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Oh yeah, absolutely. And to try to even re-frame that, if someone’s called as an Apostolic leader and they try to act as a Pastor in a confined job description of just visiting the sick, and counselling and just preaching and staying in the one church the rest of their life. They may feel constrained, and so if we embrace the Five Fold Ministry, we make room for these pioneering entrepreneurs. At the same time we take pressure off the Pastors who are being pressured to be these entrepreneurs and pioneers. And we all work together and support each other and we have a first Corinthians 12 kind of Mosaic way, where the hand says to the foot, ‘I don’t need you.’ We all need to work together as members of the body of Christ.”
Dr Michael Brown: “And where things have gone say with denominations, John Wesley was clearly an ‘Apostolic’ man. And then you had some of the early founders of Methodism in America, were clearly Apostolic leaders. Is there a point where something that was organic and reproductive can become top heavy or too structural? This can happen with any group, any movement, I’m not throwing stones. But I’m just asking is there something where something starts in an apostolic way? The way you’re describing it, which is how most denominations really started. And then something comes in, where it stagnates, or gets too structured, does that often happen?”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Yeah, usually the first generation is the visionary generation, pioneering, expanding generation. Usually the second or third generation people look for an administrative leader to perpetuate what was already accomplished. And to maintain it, but often times it loses its relevancy and becomes static. But to ensure that doesn’t happen, if we recognize Five Fold Ministry, embrace it. We would take apostolic visionary leaders to continue to lead these huge movements or networks. And that will ensure that it is continuing to expand, and be on the cutting edge of what God is doing and saying. And you know, you bring up a good point about all these denominations. They all started off as organic apostolic movements, and if they were around today, they would be considered under the rubric of NAR, and criticized as well. John Wesley would be criticized, some of the other great spiritual leaders and fathers of history would be criticized because of the way they started looks very similar to what we’re seeing today in a global way.”
Dr Michael Brown: “Right. So some of the denominational leaders, if they were still leading and hopefully some of them are, but if they were still leading in this Apostolic, visionary, planting, expanding way, then this would be exactly what you are talking about. In other words, you can have a denominational name or not, that’s not the issue, the issue is how is it functioning?”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Yeah. I mean in my book, ‘Essays on Apostolic Leadership’, that I use a lot to lecture on this stuff. You know I talk about the cycles and the cyclers, you know visionary leader then it becomes maintenance, then it becomes institutionalized, then it needs to be redefined, and actually put fire in it again, you know. And so what I talk to Apostolic leaders about is don’t put down denominations, because you’re just the first part of the padding and if your network continues you probably want to be in a denomination. So what we have to do is not criticize denominations, but get ahead of the norm and ensure, we can’t ensure this but aim for revival and revitalization in every new generation of leaders that we raised up by having the proper padding in place.”
Dr Michael Brown: “So friends if you want to know what I believe. That’s what I believe. What Dr Mattera’s describing, that’s what I believe in. That’s what I’m part of. Okay? Call that what you want to call it, that’s what I’m part of. You find any of that heretical I say you take that up with God and His word. Because I say this is something that He is doing and He’s backing. Oh we’re just getting started. Stay with us.”
(31:05) Dr Michael Brown: “Thanks so much for joining us today. Had a few wonderful days in Toronto, thanks for being part of our live broadcast from Toronto. Flew back home yesterday…[talks about his wife etc]
So a quick review for you. Around the world for decades, God has been moving in dynamic ways in many different circles. Charismatic, Pentecostal, others that wouldn’t identify in that way. With church planting movements, with house church movements. Some under persecution that could not be part of a denomination because it was not legal to be. Others because they were just birthed outside of denominations, some within denominations.
Peter Wagner, Dr Peter Wagner, as a Professor dubbed this the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’. It is broad based and the participants would hold to the fundamentals of the gospel as reflected in Apostles Creed and things like that. But widely diverse. Dr Wagner himself led a ‘loose’ Coalition of Apostolic leaders, and wrote much on this. And when I heard the term ‘New Apostolic Reformation’, that’s what I understood it to be.
I was just talking to a colleague in Toronto, a leader that was there, and I asked him, ‘When you hear NAR New Apostolic Reformation, what do you think?’ He said, ‘Well it was a good attempt.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘Well, Peter Wagner he tried to do certain things but I was never part of it because I differed with XYZ.’ I said, ‘You’re not aware of this world wide thing called NAR?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Do you know you’re a leader?’ And he goes, ‘What are you talking about?’ He was shocked.
So, that’s how I’ve known it. This specific thing called NAR. And then there’s Five Fold Ministry that I believed in. Dr Jo Mattera my guest today has a book, ‘Essays on Apostolic Ministry’, that really gives you an understanding on what we mean by this. I had my colleague Dr Bob Gladstone on with me a few days ago, and we talked about this, what we mean by Five Fold Ministry. It has nothing to do with taking over, it has nothing to do with lording it over others, it has zero to do with the idea that you have this super anointing and are equal to the twelve Apostles. Utter nonsense, I’ve never met a leader, an apostolic leader today that believes that about themselves. Alright?
But there are many things we do believe in terms of pioneering, fathering, church planting. Certain leaders they are kind of recognised in their city as a spiritual father of the city, and all the different pastors, leaders look to them. These are often apostolic type leaders, that’s what we believe in. So we’re trying to separate this from this mythical thing called NAR.
And I want to get this take from Dr Mattera. I want to read a description to you sir. Tell me your reaction to this. This is an alleged description, well this a description of the alleged NAR on the Berean Examiner website. It says this:
‘Supernatural signs and wonders, dominionism, the Latter Rain Movement, Joel’s Army, the Seven Mountain Mandate, Third Wave revivalism, Ihop, Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church, the Hillsong Media Empire. These are all a part of the shapeshifting movement in one way or another. It is gobbling up churches and deceiving millions who don’t even know they’ve become part of an apostate end times falling away.’
As a theologian and as a careful theological teacher, what’s your take on that statement?”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Well, I mean it’s definitely a diverse group that they have lumped together. I mean I’m not in agreement with some of those groups mentioned. But ah, the point is, some of the practices but not all, the point is, I think that these are people driven by fear. They have created their own boogie man, and I don’t think anybody should be afraid of true Apostolic, prophetic leaders that God has ordained according to Ephesians 4, to continue until there’s unity in the faith and complete knowledge and fullness of the Son of God, which hasn’t happened yet. So if they’re against apostolic leadership, they’re fighting against God Himself.
It wasn’t just the twelve Apostles, I think it was seventy Apostles mentioned in the New Testament. Out of respect for the twelve, the early church stopped calling them Apostles, after the original twelve passed away, they stated using the word Bishop instead. But nobody claims to be equal to the original twelve and/or Paul or any of the writers of Scripture.
And lumping all those movements together, I mean, I’m not even fully aware of what a lot of them do. I don’t think I’ve even heard Bill Johnson preach a message, never went to Ihop, but the idea that having 24/7 prayer is a bad thing? I mean sign me up to that, I wish our church had 24/7 prayer. I mean that would lump me together with Zinzendorf, who in the Moravian movement had a prayer meeting that didn’t stop for 100 years, which became to emphasis for the modern missionary movement and Protestantism. So sign me up for that if that could happen here.”
Dr Michael Brown: “Yeah, and again one website of one critic says, ‘If you’re trying to identify a NAR church see if it has 24/7 prayer.’ And you know, when you mentioned the ‘boogie man’ kind of thing, it reminds me of global warming, everything is global warming, everything we do is global warming. We’re all part of this plot to destroy the whole earth. What, what are you talking about?
So again, we all deal with abuses. And no one differs with the fact that there are abuses. There are abuses in Charismatic churches, there are abuses in non-Charismatic churches. There are abuses in house church movements, there are abuses in mega church movements. We all deal with them. You and I constantly write corrective articles. You’ve written some of the strongest stuff. In fact go to Dr Mattera’s website josephmattera.org.”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “And I have a two part article, ‘The NAR and the restoration of Apostolic Ministry’, I think it’s very pertinent to this discussion on my website.”
Dr Michael Brown: “Got it, josephmatter.org. Go there… Listen I want to shout this out loudly, for decades I have said I believe in Apostolic Ministry, for decades. I gladly say that I work with Mike Bickle, that I work with Joseph Mattera, no shame in that, joyful glad to say it, alright? I believe in Five Fold Ministry, no argument with that. And yet, what we’re saying is this alleged NAR thing, for example, Hillsong. Hillsong I think is Assemblies of God? Didn’t Brian Houston lead the Australian Assemblies of God? The Assemblies of God put out a position paper saying there are no Apostles and prophets today, but apostolic and prophetic people. The Assemblies of God is not quote part of ‘NAR’, yet Hillsong is Assemblies of God, and we’re told Hillsong is NAR. So if you like Hillsong music, you’re part of NAR. It’s this boogie man thing, that’s what we’re refuting.
So, if someone wants to say, ‘I’ve got a problem with what Hillsong teaches’, fine we’ll discuss that. I’ve got no formal association with them, fine we can discuss that. I heard Mike Bickle talking about eschatology, I have a question, great we can discuss it. Just don’t put everything under this ‘boogie man’ heading NAR, that’s what we’re saying. There is no lack of clarity or no denial of it, there’s nothing to deny. I gladly hold to these positions, I’ve got nothing, I’ll debate them scripturally as would Dr Mattera.
Let’s talk about one other pin point thing, and then I want to get into some of your article. Dominionism, or post Millennialism, are those one in the same? What do you agree with, what do you differ with?”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Yeah, this stuff upsets the post Millennialism, even they have differences among themselves. But in terms of Dominionism, Peter Wagner used the term Dominion Covenant, but the thing is, I’m not sure exactly what he meant by that. But in Genesis 1:28, God said they have dominion over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, and over every creeping thing. That was before people populated the earth. So, it was never dominion over people, it was dominion over the created order. So I don’t use that terminology now. I don’t use the terminology ‘taking your cities’, all of that stuff. Which by the way, the phrase ‘taking your cities’, was from a book by John Dawson, oddly a dominionist. ‘Taking your cities for God’, which he was just simply meaning reach our cities, permeated with the gospel. So again if somebody says, ‘taking your cities’, I don’t know what they mean. They could mean just evangelizing and doing prayer walks, or changing the atmosphere.
So there’s just so much diversity in all these words, but we have to define the terms first. So what I mean by Genesis 1:28, the cultural mandate is influence. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, and said the same way I wash your feet, you are to wash one another’s feet. So the New Testament equivalent to the Dominion Mandate is to influence by servant leadership. When you have the best solutions, when you love your city the most, when you practically serve them as local churches and Christians, then people will want you to lead them and/or people will benefit and they will bring your whole community up to another level.
Who’s preaching a Dominion, Kingdom now, where we are supposed to take over? Maybe what they mean is that we assign the institutional church to have political rule over a nation. I don’t know one person who believes the institutional church should rule a nation. I don’t know one person who believes that every nation is going to be Christianized. I don’t know one person who believes that everybody in America or the world is going to be saved one day. So I’m not even sure what they mean by dominionism.
But what most people don’t realize is that the original founders of the United States were puritan post Millennialists. And it was their understanding that they were called to reflect God’s Kingdom, God’s jurisdiction on Earth as it is in Heaven. Which became the…. after a few hundred years of reformation preaching and teaching of the original documents of the United States. Hardly anything evil in that I think.”
Dr Michael Brown: “Yeah, and Jonathan Edwards thought that with great revival they could, we could enter the Millennium. That the church would spared so much, and so many people would come to faith and the society would become so ‘Christian’ that it would usher in the Millennium. You know, I think some people may lump us together with theonomists or those who want to see a theocracy. A theonomist may be a Gary North, or Rushdoony who would say the goal is to enforce Biblical Law over a nation. And a theocracy would be where Spiritual Leaders, Priests, or Popes, or whoever would run the nation just like you have a Theocracy and their wrong… but that is something that we all categorically fight against. It would be a disaster if the church tried to take over the society and enforce Christian principles on the world.”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “I mean we saw what happened after Constantine got converted. The church went from a movement to an institution. And then when the church tried to rule nations, that was a disaster, we had the inquisition and other things….(Mattera is cut off by Brown’s music)”
(46:10) Dr Michael Brown: “I believe in Apostolic Ministries today, I have for decades. Just based on what I saw the scriptures saying, then as I began to see how God used Apostolic and prophetic people in history, and then saw them in our mist. And I was, okay this is not just a Pastor or Evangelist, this was someone with a different calling. And this is how it all works together. I guess Dr Joseph Mattera has done some great writing and teaching on this as a spiritual father, as an elder, someone who pastored in Brooklyn for decades, and worked with church wide movements in the city. And he currently leads the US Coalition of Apostolic Leaders. This was an organisation once associated with Dr Wagner, but Jo, Before you took this over, agreed to take it over, you insisted on the name being changed from ‘Coalition of Apostles’ to ‘Coalition of Apostolic Leaders’, is that correct?”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Absolutely.”
Dr Michael Brown: “And what was the reason for that?”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Because I worked across the board with many Evangelical leaders and even Pentecostal denominations like Assembly of God. And it would take me a half hour to qualify what I mean by Apostle. So, it was onerous to me that it wouldn’t have helped and I would have refused to lead an organisation with that name. I use it as an adjective not an office.”
Dr Michael Brown: “Alright. So, in the early days I had people come up to me, when I first started hearing about New Apostolic Reformation and Dr Wagner. I had people come up to me, I’m not blaming him for this, but they would want to sign me up to be part of their network. And I call that ‘Apostle by Acquisition’. And I thought you know a planter who is multiplying a work and people are drawn to them, that’s one thing. But I don’t expand my ‘Apostolic’ portfolio by bringing people in. But when you say Apostolic Leaders, it can knock down a lot of the misconceptions.”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Yeah, I mean it’s just basically nobody has authority over anybody else. There are no ‘Super Apostles’, there’s no tithe, there’s no credentialing, there’s no ordination. It’s basically an association where we can interface, exchange information, be inspired by one another. And maybe some of us develop close covenant relationships and do even deeper things together. That’s all it is.”
Dr Michael Brown: “Yeah, and I’ve been on some of the conference calls, and although I’m invited constantly, and I’m a member, I’ve only been to a couple of the meetings. But it’s been great, very inspirational, hearing what God’s doing through different people, being challenged, and such a diversity of viewpoints. But again just a collegiality of everyone serving one another. For folks looking for more, like this is the equivalent of the Protocols of Elders of Zion, and the cabal of three hundred Jewish leaders, and these are the three hundred Apostolic leaders poised to take over the world, is just myths and fantasies of the critics. But it is a way to generate fear and unfortunately for some, for some, generate funds.
So before I come back to the Ten Commandments and society today. You’ve written a couple of articles, it’s why I said we should get back on the air and talk about this. Friends, go to jospehmattera.org. But some of where you felt the quote ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ as it was being understood, needed some reforming. Just mention a couple key points that folks can find in your articles.”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Yes, there were some in the meetings that would be reported, they would go to a city and proclaim somebodies an ‘Apostle’ over a city, or over a nation. There was some autocratic leadership by a few. There was people who called themselves ‘Apostles’ with the office. There were those who called themselves ‘Apostles’ with hardly any ministry behind them. You know just various odd things that most of the members would not agree with and/or adhere to. But again, critics will always try to look at the radical fringe and categorize a whole movement that way.
So many of us were not comfortable with some of the leaders, not most of them, that were involved in some practices such as those. There might have been more practices and triumphantistic rhetoric, we’re supposed to take the city. You know I got up and corrected that once at an ICAL gathering, people stopped using that term. You know, when I explained why Genesis 1:28 there was dominion before people, we don’t have that now. So I think they stopped using that term, maybe because of what I said, maybe their own research.
But you know, its give and take and iron sharpens iron. And when you’re fist involved in a new movement, you’re going to make some mistakes, and they were all innocent mistakes but they were people who loved the Lord, wanted to do good things. And we’re all helping each other evolve into a better place, a more Biblical place.”
Dr Michael Brown: “Right, so again, no one is denying that there has been something called ‘The New Apostolic Reformation’ that had certain beliefs, values that did certain good, that had certain abuses. No one’s denying that. No one is stepping back from believing in Five Fold Ministry. But in fact we are pushing that, we are encouraging that.
My friend Professor Craig Keener, one of the most respected New Testament scholars in the world just stared blogging about this. He’s written about it before. Are there Apostles today? You can go to his website which is craigkeener.com, and he’s got a couple of articles, a third one to come, ‘Are there Apostles today?’ And his answer’s yes! He believes in that, we are advocating that, we are agreeing with that. We are saying its good and healthy, it’s just recognizing what God is doing. But please hear what Dr Mattera is saying repeatedly, we’re not talking about something hierarchical, taking over, super Apostles, you have to have an Apostle over you. No one is saying that. We are talking about recognizing how God works, pioneering, church planting, fathering movements, things like that.
And, then what we’re saying is the ‘boogie man’ created by the critics, is to put all different things happening in Pentecostal, Charismatic churches, and those that believe in Five Fold Ministry. Taking whatever abuses there are, questionable things, grouping them altogether and calling that NAR. That is what we’re saying doesn’t exist.
So, Jo I agree with you. That to the extent a nation can live by the Ten Commandments. It will be blessed, that these are ways of life that God has given. But how do we turn a nation in that direction? America has a lot of this in its foundations, without trying to take over, or force this. You know we’re going to force the whole nation to keep the Sabbath with penalties if they don’t, for example, that’s one of the Ten Commandments. How do we build a culture where it’s the church serving as opposed to the church ruling?”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “You know I mean Biblically, we look at a republican form of government, I don’t mean the ‘Republican Party’, but governed by representation and elders. America is basically a republican democratic, republic but it’s a democratic system of vote, so it defines both. It would be very hard for one church to take over anyway with the system we have.
But basically I think the people who have the best ideas, people who are most committed to their goals, and to their God, are going to be the ones who are going to have the most influence. And the ones who serve and love their cities will have the most influence. And I believe that the Ten Commandments were given not just for an individual moral code, but it was given to disciple a nation. And I think that if we reflected the Ten Commandments in our nation, especially the last half of it, on how to deal with human beings, starting with honoring our father and mother, if we were to reflect that in our laws we would be a better country.
But we can’t do that unless we have the best ideas, unless we have the best leaders that influence systems. And unless the church does its job of making true disciples, and loving their community, people wouldn’t even trust Christians to be given that kind of influence of power. As the church becomes Christ like, people will trust us more because they know hey we’re not trying to force anything, we’re not trying to make you a believer, we’re not trying to hurt you. You know, ha ha, we’re here because we love you, and we want to help you.”
Dr Michael Brown: “And then people see how we live, and they think wow that’s a better way to live. Your families are healthier, and your standards are better, life giving. And then if a Christian gets elected to office, and they are a pro-life Christian, or a Christian gets elected to their school board, or a Christian is the librarian of a local high school, or a Christian is the guidance counselor in the high school, then that Christian can hopefully be a good example and put forward their values. And people say, we agree with you. That’s what we’re talking about. Friends if you find that heretical or threatening, it’s not like you’re looking for a bone to pick, you’re creating a fight where it doesn’t exist.
[Brown addresses someone who called in too late]
And Jo, again we live in a world where we are trying to reach everyone. And it happens in my world, because I’m on radio, I deal with cultural issues, my latest article ‘There’s nothing funny about abortion’ it’s gone viral today, folks should read that, share it. So I’m dealing with cultural issues, I’m dealing with Jewish apologetics, Biblical scholarship. So I have a lot of folks who follow our work that are not charismatic, they are not Pentecostal and are scared by this whole NAR thing. This alleged movement according to Wretched Radio, it’s not Christian at all, it’s influencing 369 million people in apostasy.
So for the sake of many listening and following that don’t understand these things or differ, I’m trying to take time to set the record straight. But we understand that those that don’t believe we’re saved, someone flipped out that I said Peter Wagner is with the Lord, ‘What he’s with the Lord?’ Someone else attacked me for saying Billy Graham has gone with the Lord, or for saying that Mike Bickle is saved. So people flip out over these things, so what can we say? We can’t help everyone, we do our best.
But Joe thank you for taking a full hour with us. The website josephmattera.org. Thanks so much Joe for joining us today.”
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