Disinformation and Misinformation - Becoming Educated About the New Apostolic Reformation
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 06:05:59 PM EST
A week after his prayer rally, Rick Perry has thrown his hat in the ring for 2012. The disinformation (from those who know better) and the misinformation (from those who don't) is already flowing, concerning the apostles behind Perry's event. In the first category, Jim Garlow has claimed that he is not familiar with the term "New Apostolic Reformation" despite years of working with leading apostles.
[This is a continuation of the article Why Have the Apostles Behind Rick Perry's Prayer Rally Been Invisible to Most Americans?"]

In the second category is the person who wrote the title for an article at Salon using the phrase "Christian conspiracy group." (At many publications the title is not chosen by the  author.)  The NAR is not a "conspiracy group" just because readers aren't familiar with it. The New Apostolic Reformation is an egregiously underreported sector of the Religious Right - not a conspiracy.

Rick Perry is a savvy politician. We can assume he did not throw his lot in with this crowd because they are a conspiracy, but because they have a huge following and an excellent networking and communications system.

On the other hand, the apostles are not typical of conservative evangelicals, despite the low-key coverage of Perry's prayer event in most mainstream press. The Religious Right has been promoting a "dominionist" agenda for decades.  But the apostles are unique in many aspects of their ideology and activism.  Rick Perry may have been counting on the fact that most Americans would not be able to distinguish the apostles from any other conservative evangelicals.

There has been some excellent coverage, including from Forrest Wilder at the Texas Observer, and Paul Rosenberg at Alternet. (See Wilders interview on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman.)  Talk2action.org  contributors have written over 150 articles on the NAR over the last three years.

There is no doubt. Perry's apostles are from a distinct movement that has been dubbed by its leadership as the New Apostolic Reformation, whether Jim Garlow will admit it or not.

Exhibit A: Jim Garlow and the Apostles

Sarah Posner's coverage of Rick Perry's stadium prayer rally included an interview with Jim Garlow, one of the major promoters of California's Proposition 8 and head of Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership. Posner asked Garlow about objections of other conservative evangelicals to the participation of the NAR apostles in "The Response."

"When I asked Garlow about West's [Marsha West] complaint, he shrugged it off, saying that he was not familiar with the term New Apostolic Reformation, even though he knew its founder, Peter Wagner. `I have a lot of confidence in him spiritually,' Garlow said of Wagner."

Garlow's partnership with leading apostles did not begin with this event and it has been more than simply agreeing to fight abortion and gay rights.  In addition to his work with the NAR on Proposition 8, Garlow has been a regular at New Apostolic events for several years,  and has contributed to a book titled The Reformer's Pledge.

The Reformer's Pledge


The graphic above is a close-up of the cover of the 2010 book The Reformer's Pledge, which includes contributions from:

Apostle Bill Johnson
Apostle Lance Wallnau
Apostle Chuck Pierce
Apostle Heidi Baker
Apostle C. Peter Wagner
Apostle James W. Goll
Apostle John Arnott
Apostle Cindy Jacobs
Apostle Lou Engle

and ... Jim Garlow

Each chapter is is dedicated to a specific area of reformation.

In The Refomer's Pledge, C. Peter Wagner discusses why the long-promised "great transfer of wealth" from the ungodly to the godly, prophesied by numerous apostles, has yet to take place.

"... I believe God was waiting for the biblical government of the Church to come into place under apostles and prophets.  But this happened in 2001, when, at least according to my estimates, the Second Apostolic Age began.  What more?  I now think that in order for us to be able to handle the wealth responsibly, we need to recognize, identify, affirm, and encourage the ministry of the apostles in the six non-Religion mountains.  They may or may not want to use the term `apostle' but they will function in Kingdom-based leadership roles characterized by supernaturally empowered wisdom and authority.  We have more work to do here."

Wagner's "six non-Religion mountains" is in reference to the Seven Mountains Mandate covered in Chapter 8 by Lance Wallnau.  This is a campaign promoted by the NAR for their movement's agenda for "dominion" over the arts, business, education, family, government, media, and religion.

Jim Garlow is author of Chapter 6, Reformation of Marriage, in this same book.

Apostle Chuck Pierce writes in Chapter 10, "Aligning for Reformation" about the apostolic authority structure and "spiritual mothers and fathers."  Chuck Pierce is one of several major apostles taking over the leadership from Wagner, who is over 80 years old. Speaking about C. Peter Wagner, Pierce states,

"As we entered the new millennium, he [Wagner] was leader in the restoration of the apostolic gift in the Kingdom of God and mobilized apostles throughout the world.  Now he is spearheading a movement to see transformation in the earth realm."

A paragraph later, Pierce states,

We have moved from a Church Age to expressing God's Kingdom Dominion in the earth.  The Kingdom of God represents God's rule in the earth realm.  The King is moving us from just going to church to understanding His Kingdom in our territory.  he is bringing us into a place of dominion, occupation, and ruling with Him in the spheres and places He has assigned to us.  Peter Wagner calls this shift in the earth "The Third Great Reformation."

In Chapter 2, Apostle Cindy Jacobs writes,

"In my book The Reformation Manifesto, I write on the subject of the Great Commission mandate to disciple and teach nations.  (see Matt. 28:19 -20).  The bedrock foundation of being a biblical discipler is to understand that we have a holy mandate to reform our nations into conformity with the original design of God.  The earth belongs to God: therefore the, our nations' laws, governments, entertainment, educational systems, and so forth should please God. Holy reformers will work to infuse the biblical worldview into every aspect of society.  It is a moral mandate."

Again, Jim Garlow wrote Chapter 6 of this book.

What's in a  Name?

The Reformer's Pledge was compiled by Ché Ahn, who has now taken over as head of Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI), an international training arm of the New Apostolic movement. The WLI is described as "an international network of apostolic training centers established to equip the saints for kingdom ministry."  WLI has locations around the country and also in Indonesia, Japan, Korea,  Australia, Canada, England, Kenya, and Rwanda.

Ahn dedicates the book to C. Peter Wagner with the following words, "To C. Peter Wagner, my apostle, mentor, and spiritual father."

If we assume that  Jim Garlow's contribution did not just wander by accident into a compilation of work with a consistent theme by leading apostles,  we might also assume that he shares much of the ideology of his fellow authors, even if he denies knowing the term New Apostolic Reformation.

Ted Haggard, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals partnered with Wagner in developing the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs.  The two later had a parting of ways, but prior to that Wagner wrote the following in a foreword to one of Haggard's books.

"The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of God that began at the close of the twentieth century and continues on. It is, to a significant extent, changing the shape of the Protestant world."

- C. Peter Wagner in the foreword to the 2001 edition of Ted Haggard's 1998 book, The Life Giving Church

The name New Apostolic Reformation was chosen by C. Peter Wagner, the major thinker and organizer behind the development of the movement from an amorphous body of over 400 million Independent Charismatics or neo-Charismatics worldwide.  He had originally called the movement "postdenominational" but was encouraged by Jack Hayford to reconsider.  This was good advice.  Hayford is the former head of the International Foursquare Gospel, a major Pentecostal denomination.  

In the video below, Wagner is giving a lecture at Wagner Leadership Institute, explaining the block of  neo-Charismatics, sometimes called neo-Pentecostals or Third Wave, from which the New Apostolic Reformation has emerged.

In addition to this block of neo-Charismatics,  many denominational churches are embracing New Apostolic ideology, including reorganization under apostles and prophets, and the movement's unique Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare. These churches often remain in their denomination.  For instance, Sarah Palin's church of over twenty years, Wasilla Assembly of God, is still part of the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination.  However, the leadership embraced the ideology of the NAR years ago and and numerous national and international apostles have spoken there.

Both Jim Garlow, head of Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership (ReAL), and ReAL board member David Barton, have been working with the apostles for years.  As described in books by Apostles Cindy Jacobs and Alice Patterson, Barton has been working with Texas apostles for over a decade.  Barton's Christian Nationalist histories, in which he portrays Democrats as the ongoing source of racism, play a significant role in outreach to African American pastors.

The video below includes: Mike and Cindy Jacobs broadcast on the day after the 2008 elections, talking about Jim Garlow's work on Proposition 8; Cindy Jacobs introducing Garlow at Convergence 09; and Garlow and Lance Wallnau speaking about the Seven Mountains mandate.

Garlow has spoken at the conferences of leading apostles, including Cindy Jacobs' Convergence '09.  Cindy and Mike Jacobs are the "Presiding Apostles" of the Reformation Prayer Network, one of the prayer warrior networks.  (See promotional video.)

The "prayer warriors" or spiritual warfare network of the movement have had a number of different labels.  Wagner initially named the networks the Spiritual Warfare Network; then Strategic Prayer Network (USSPN); then "Global Apostolic Prayer Network (USGAPN)." Photobucket Today there are three national networks: the Reformation Prayer Network, under Cindy and Mike Jacobs; the Heartland Apostolic Network, under John Benefiel; and the U.S. Alliance for Reformation, under Dutch Sheets and Robert Henderson. Graphic at right:  Sam Brownback with Dutch Sheets and John Benefiel at The Call Nashville on 7/07/07.

Garlow was a speaker at The Government Transformation Summit for Visionary Leaders sponsored by Apostle Alice Patterson's Justice at the Gate ministry.  This event was headlined by Apostle Ed Silvoso, founder of the International Transformation Network, who has gained access to numerous politicians in the U.S. and other countries, including Uganda.   ITN provides the clearinghouse for a program that is signing up prayer warriors to cover American cities - street by street, precinct by precinct.  

Other speakers at The Government Transformation Summit for Visionary Leaders  included  C. L. Jackson, Susan Weddington, and David Barton.  Patterson and C.L. Jackson flanked Gov. Rick Perry as he spoke at "The Response" on Saturday.  Susan Weddington, former chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party, is listed as the Vice President and Director of Alice Patterson's ministry.

Here We Go Again

Garlow's statement follows a long string of denials about the New Apostolic Reformation apostles.

In 2008, when Talk2action contributor Bruce Wilson and I were writing about Sarah Palin's association with leading apostles, many mainstream journalists  contacted Charisma Magazine editor Lee Grady.  Grady and Charisma writers commented as if they had never heard of the NAR or Palin's involvement, despite the fact that both Grady and the owner/publisher, Stephen Strang were apostles in C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles.  At that time the list was on the internet, for anyone to see, but few writers knew to question the objectivity of Grady and other Charisma writers about the NAR. Meanwhile NAR prayer warrior networks around the country were posting prophecies about Palin.

This weekend Rick Perry is formally announcing his bid for the presidency of the United States. Jim Garlow may prefer that we view the prayer rally that preceded the announcement as typical of American conservative evangelicalism.  It was not.  It was an event typical of the New Apostolic Reformation.

[Author's Note 8/23/11: No doubt the upcoming publicity on the NAR will result in more denials. This has been going on for years. This link is complaints in 2003 from evangelicals that Ted Haggard was dishonest about his involvement in the movement. Haggard partnered with Wagner in developing the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs adjacent to Haggard's New Life Church.]

Would you please provide a link to the Salon article?

"I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair" - JFK, Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
by hardindr on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 08:21:33 PM EST

by Rachel Tabachnick on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 10:17:25 PM EST

Apparently the term comes from Rachel Maddow. If you do a search on Salon for this phrase, a number of articles are listed as far back as 2002 where the phrase is attributed to her.

by TomBishop on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 10:31:01 PM EST
Maddow did not present the NAR as a "conspiracy group."  She did emphasize the thematic patterns of the video clips of various apostles, and also discussed the apostles agenda of taking "dominion" over the seven mountains.  Also, Maddow had not covered the New Apostolic Reformation prior to announcement of the Rick Perry event this summer.  

My concern is that the New Apostolic Reformation and the threat to separation of church and state be taken seriously and not viewed as some kind of joke or conspiracy theory.  Yesterday, Huffington Post had a link that read "Rachel Maddow's Conspiracy."  This is not helpful in educating the public about the NAR.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 11:25:38 PM EST

Rachel, You are absolutely correct in your concern. People must understand this is not some fringe group, but a serious threat. Thank you for what you are doing.

by TomBishop on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 12:13:01 AM EST

If this is true, then I am deeply disappointed, but not very surprised.  Maddow has done slip-shod and piss-poor work for years on her program.  Bob Somerby has written more about awful work than I care to read.  This work is exceptionally shameful (as is this).

I wonder why Maddow never names who exactly in "The Beltway Media" she is criticizing?  Could it be that she might run into them at cocktail parties in DC, or that she might ever have to call on them for a favor, or that they might even work at MSNBC, like long time hack Chris Matthews?

"I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair" - JFK, Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
by hardindr on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 11:07:01 PM EST

Rachel Maddow has brought attention to the NAR and for that I'm very grateful.  She missed a few of the fine details but there was nothing terribly wrong with her report.  She also interviewed Forrest Wilder, who has done excellent research and writing on the apostles for the Texas Observer.

My frustration is with those who turn this issue into a joke.  The apostles are gaining power in the Religious Right and politically, as is evident in Rick Perry's public embrace of the leadership.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 11:34:31 PM EST

the people who dismiss this as "politics masquerading as religion" to be just about as irritating (I've heard that from several Democrats).  The NAR is neither a joke or just an extension of conservatism, and it's not just Democrat vs Republican taken to a new height.

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 10:50:22 AM EST

A "Conspiracy" is defined as a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. The NAR certainly isn't secret about it's goals but it certainly is plotting, planning and scheming to do something unlawful in trying to create a theocracy in the USA and to do something harmful to all Americans' freedoms. I guess "Conspiracy" just isn't strong enough a word for what New Apostolic Reformation has in mind for us. Treasonous Anti-Constitutional Theocratic plot to rule the world?

by maxfrisson on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 08:52:56 AM EST

Keep up the good work. I think many people are local leaders of the movement (in their local congregation without even knowing it exists.) How? They are not really disciples of these leaders you mention, but addicted to Christian TV and radio. Lots of light-weights with music and talk. Easily repeating phrases again and again from their 7-11 worship music, to their bumper sticker theology, and painting this beautiful picture of God's blessings (full churches, full bank accounts, happy families, a nation unquestioned as world leader) and encouraging them to just make these changes in their churches. Like the freshmen tea-party representatives, we have churches filled with people in their first terms... making pledges they don't understand, and holding fast to bumper sticker theological positions without a clue to real world experience. That being said, do "traditional churches" have room for renewal? Of course we do. But we must communicate that discipleship is not just a quick emergency room visit, with incredible surgical rescue -- discipleship is a daily walk, through the valley, over the mountain, in the heat and cold, through health and strength, and while facing deaths door. It's not about dominance, it's about community. Not about winning but about serving, and finally it's not just about a destination but it is the journey.

by chaplain on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 09:21:06 AM EST
that even most of the American mainstream churches have the seeds of dominionism in them.

(1) As long as things like "God rewards good people with good things and punished sinners with poverty/suffering" and "suffering is caused by personal sin" are believed or taught, they are in danger of harming the innocent (one of the hallmarks of fundamentalism and dominionism).  They need to emphasize that one's decisions and actions do not have an impact just on the one making them, but upon the people around them.  Often a decision by one person will have a traumatic impact on another and that always must be thought about.  Suffering often comes because of the decisions of others, especially from the decisions and actions of the rich.   So while it could be argued that sin causes suffering, often the sinner doesn't feel the impact of their own behavior.

These attitudes are hundreds of years old and are behind the failed attempts to help the poor and homeless.  The religious-based programs have always tried to help people by 'fixing' them, rather than recognizing the reality of the situation - poverty and homelessness are tied to the economy (and the decisions of the elites).  

The more conservative (fundamentalist, dominionist) a church is, the more likely you will hear the non-Biblical "Suffering is caused by personal sin."

(2) As long as they don't SERIOUSLY teach about the Bible - the politics behind the  compilation of the books now in the modern Bible, the attitudes, politics, and problems (including the vicious Roman occupation) of the time, the problems with translation, the cultural aspects, and most especially where there are both historic and other flaws in the scriptures,  people can fall into Biblical literalism, where fundamentalism starts.

Knowing what is in the Bible is NOT enough (ditto for any religious book).  Even including a thumbnail history is not enough.  People need to know about their Bible as well as the surface stuff.  Proper Bible studies would destroy the potential of accepting the "God dictated the Bible" bull** that the dominionists try to introduce to mainstream churches.  Sadly, the sort of things I always encountered in "Bible studies" and "Sunday School" in over 42 years of belonging to mainstream churches never provided the information to counter "The Bible is literally true!".  I had to learn that on my own.

(3) Another problem is the structure in many churches.  It's too autocratic and authoritarian.  God is not a dictator, and there is no authoritarian "Heavenly Bureaucracy" including clergy.   Clergy are SERVANTS (that is what Jesus taught!), and anything that leads to them being anything higher than the people they serve is deceptive and leads to some of the abuses we see all the time.

If the mainstream churches would pay attention to these important points, they would be immune to steeplejacking and the dominionists "easy answers".  Life for most of the country would be better if they'd teach things right, rather than (as the saying goes) comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted - the very things I've seen for years in the mainstream churches and which is ubiquitous in the dominionist ones.

The "Traditional" or "Mainstream" churches have helped in this problem by holding to old (and new) errors which empower fundamentalism/dominionism.    

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 12:03:57 PM EST

George Lakoff laid out an excellent analysis dividing American moral politics at least into two concepts of a family. I personally wonder if there is not deep brain structure preexisting, but there is certainly research that shows that it is not just a trick of thought involved in metaphors but the very mechanics of thought itself. It is quite interesting to see your detail of it and how close Lakoff fits the points you make.

The very different views of Christianity itself, lies withing that concept of the family, from the strict "do as we say or else, morality is discipline" to the nurturant "help most those least among you, morality is helping others" . Built into that is that poor folk are poor because they are undisciplined, and discipline means doing what gets the job done even if your gag reflex is screaming. The whole "get out of hell free" card you get from the conservative involves no actual contrition and certainly future sins are covered as easily as past ones.

With such discipline to press forward, forgiveness of all, and "it can't be evil if done in God's name" There is no atrocity too great, or damage to others too severe, or need for honesty in any measure to advance their agenda, though the slightest resistance to such craziness is the Devil's work and need to be put down with all force possible. We are indeed seeing this mindset well beyond those who even claim religious license.

by FreeDem on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 03:44:37 PM EST

Leah Burton's blog God's Own Party ( http://godsownparty.com/blog/ ) is another good resource on the NAR.

Her new book should be an important resource on the denomination.

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Aug 13, 2011 at 10:44:27 AM EST

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now has an article about New Apostolic Reformaton on AlterNet at:


by TomBishop on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 05:54:13 PM EST

has jumped on the Perry bandwagon.  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Tue Aug 16, 2011 at 08:06:05 PM EST

As you point out, Rachel, "the apostles are not typical conservative evangelicals." In fact, they are denounced as heretic by many in mainstream American Christianity.

I Googled the terms "heresy," "Bickle," and "Joyner," (for Mike Bickle and Rick Joyner, two of the leading so-called apostles) and got many hits from evangelical websites.

Chief among the criticisms from traditional Christian apologists: that these apostolic groups are extra-Biblical; that is, that they rely on sources beyond the Bible for their doctrine. These sources include claims of prophetic revelation which come in many forms, including dreams, visions, inner voices and even visitations, wherein (it is claimed) an angel or God himself appears to an individual to communicate an important message. Some prophets (Joyner, among them) claim to have been physically transported to other locations, including heaven itself.

Christian apologists tend to label these highly subjective practices as "gnostic," which is a heresy of mysticism and hidden knowledge.

Additional aspects of the typical NAR meeting that many traditional evangelicals would find alarming are the style of worship and the modes of prayer. Meetings often resemble a rock concert and can go on for hours. Prayer at these events includes unusual elements, such as speaking in tongues, aggressive body language, and unchecked expressions of ecstasy.

Despite all these objections to dogma and practice, most Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians wouldn't recognize the names or faces of the participants in NAR and would therefore see no problem in joining forces through some outwardly innocuous activity such as a prayer rally that supports a religious-right candidate, who after all, meets their common criteria of being Bible-centric, Christian-professing.

by BeenThere on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:39:51 AM EST

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