Evangelical researcher on cults, Holly Pivec, was interviewed by former New-Ager, now Christian, Doreen Virtue (and friend Melissa Dougherty) on her YouTube channel. The topic discussed was the New Apostolic Reformation heresy, Holly’s area of expertise. During the interview some interesting research facts were pointed out by Holly:
“These teachings are well-documented as being a massive movement again. I mentioned the statistics from the ‘Centre for the Study of Global Christianity’ at Gordon-Conwell documented millions of participants of this movement worldwide. And so I’m not entirely sure why people would deny that the NAR is large, or exists.” (These facts confirmed to Holly ‘in personal correspondence with Dr. Todd Johnson, the director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’.)
The Center for the Study of Global Christianity, an academic research centre, has provided the documentation of the involvement of millions of participants in the New Apostolic Reformation worldwide. The CSCG monitors worldwide demographic trends in Christianity, including outreach and mission, providinga comprehensive collection of information on the past, present, and future of Christianity in every country of the world. Their data and publications help churches, mission agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be more strategic, thoughtful, and sensitive to local contexts.
It’s from CSCG that Holly Pivec and her co-author Professor Doug Geivett obtained some of the data for their books ‘God’s Super-Apostles’, and ‘A New Apostolic Reformation? A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement’. These books address the incredible growth and influence of the New Apostolic Reformation around the globe.
The Apostle Paul does warn of a ‘great falling away’ before ‘the man of lawlessness’ is revealed. Once again we remind our readers that those caught up in the NAR, along with its leaders, truly believe they are the ones to bring about the return of Christ, ‘an army that will transform society and prepare the way for God’s kingdom to be established on earth’. Claiming (with their ‘flawed theology rooted in a flawed understanding of Scripture’), that ‘it is now God’s desire for the church – under the leadership of apostles and prophets – to take dominion of the earth in preparation for His return’. Encouraged by their leaders to look beyond the Bible to ‘new’ signs, wonders and prophecies, they walk away from the Bible being their final authority.
But the Bible warns the discerning Christian of something else – ‘a strong delusion’, clearly at work in the New Apostolic Reformation :
“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Doreen Virtue interviews Holly Pivec:
Some transcribed highlights:
Melissa: “What would you say to people who say that the NAR isn’t real. What would you say, they just don’t think that it’s real (Michael Brown). Even the Christians themselves there like they’re like ‘no, the NAR is not real, it’s something that people have put name on’, right? It’s not something that is an actual thing, like what would you say to that?
Holly: “Well, first of all, so my co-author and I have actually actually engaged him in an informal debate. But I think what Michael Brown is saying, if I understand him correctly, is that ‘there is a movement called the New Apostolic Reformation but it’s not this worldwide global movement, it’s not this influential thing that critics like myself would say it is’. They would say that it’s just a very small group of people who maybe like put the word ‘Apostle’ on their business card and going around telling everyone they have to submit to them and that’s just not really a big thing. And they kind of say there’s just some disciples of, you know, C. Peter Wagner who still follow that. But it’s, generally, it’s not very large.”
Melissa: “So he just has a different definition of it?”
Holly: “So the thing is though, the idea that the teaching that the apostles and prophets must restored to the church, they were in the church, they must have their new crucial revelations. This, these teachings are well-documented as being a massive movement again. I mentioned the statistics from the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell documented millions of participants of this movement worldwide. And so I’m not entirely sure why people would deny that the NAR is large, or exists. Some people don’t want to be considered part of a movement though either. You know some people don’t like the idea – that they wouldn’t be considered part of the mainstream Christianity once we have a label on them. And so some people, you know, they say ‘don’t use the label’. Don’t use the term ‘New Apostolic Reformation’. But the thing is, it needs a name and this is the name that participants in the movement have used, they’re the ones that came up (with the name). C. Peter Wagner coined the term and this term is widely used by researchers and people within the movement. So it’s a convenient label to use and I’m not sure the people who are part of this movement would like any label.
Doreen: “It sounds like a term that was created from within the NAR. I mean they probably formulated it.
Holly: “A lot of the theology of this movement, he (Michael Brown) said passed away, but so many people who are part of this movement have also tried to distance themselves from C. Peter Wagner especially since his death. But they haven’t shown what exactly distinguishes their beliefs from his. That I have not seen clearly – other than just trying to distance themselves from him and the controversy surrounding his teachings.
Source: Doreen Virtue YouTube Channel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdVVhnqNUC4&t=2628s, Premiered Nov 20, 2018. (Accessed July 1, 2019.)
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