Samuel Rodriguez, the New Apostolic Reformation, and Apostolic Government of the Church
First, who and what is the NAR? The New Apostolic Reformation is the name given by C. Peter Wagner to a rapidly growing movement with a distinct ideology. Two major distinguishing features of the movement are briefly summarized below, followed by additional documentation of Rodriguez's investment in the movement.
The New Apostolic Reformation
1) A shift to belief in a God-given mandate to take control over the social and governmental institutions in the earthly realm.
These are used to popularize the belief that followers must take "dominion" over society and government. Leadership borrows the "Kingdom" language of the social gospel and liberation theology and describes the movement as promoting righteousness and social justice. Simultaneously they teach that societal ills will be cured miraculously once they have achieved religious supremacy and suppressed other forms of belief. They generally promote Tea Party-style anti-government, anti-regulatory, anti-safety net, and anti-tax policies, while marketing themselves as champions of the poor.
The movement is successfully embracing minority groups through a reconciliation strategy which has been described in detail in New Apostolic books and training materials. Racial discrimination is replaced with religious discrimination, sometimes described in terms of "spiritual DNA" and claims that people of other belief systems are controlled by demonic spirits.
2) A "restoration of apostolic government of the church."
Apostolic government requires that pastors and congregations be under the authority of apostles in what is essentially a "shepherding" structure, stripping the congregational leadership of some of their governing authority. The term shepherding has been replaced with "spiritual covering" or "apostolic covering." Apostolic and prophetic authority structures are now being developed in all spheres of culture or the Seven Mountains in addition to the nuclear church. Claims that apostles and prophets have authority over the ordained leadership of a church, along with other practices continued from the Latter Rain and Shepherding movements, have been rejected by some Pentecostal denominations including the Assemblies of God.
Apostolic government in Protestantism is not a new idea. For example, a movement restoring the office of apostles emerged in Germany in 1863 and still survives as the New Apostolic Church International, unrelated to the NAR and with the bulk of its membership in Africa. There have been other movements based on this idea, but the current New Apostolic movement is unprecedented in size and scope.
The shift to apostolic government is called the restoration of the "five fold ministry" and is based on in an interpretation of Ephesians 4:11-13. Wagner claims the "office of prophet" was restored during the 1980s and the "office of the apostle" in the 1990s. He views apostolic government or the "biblical government of the church" as necessary for the "great wealth transfer" from the ungodly to the godly and key to dominion over the earth, as shown in the graphic above right.
The NAR is not limited to the International Coalition of Apostles ICA or even all of the entities initiated by C. Peter Wagner and shown in the chart below, distributed in 2007.
"Now, as we have shifted, I serve as President of Global Spheres, Inc., and Peter serves as Vice President and Doris as a Board Member. However, anyone invited to join Global Spheres, Inc. will be aligning with all three of us, and not any of us individually. This will create a new Apostolic-Prophetic-Evangelistic-Deliverance Governmental Structure that will be ready to be used in the nations."
New Apostolic Reformation is the term Wagner has given to this movement that encompasses hundreds of similar apostolic networks around the world, but not everyone uses Wagner's exact terminology. Another common term for the movement is "apostolic and prophetic."
Samuel Rodriguez and Apostolic Government
The ICA is an elite, by-invitation-only group of apostles and prophets from the U.S. and worldwide. Membership is by invitation of the Convening Apostle and involves a process described on the website. Although the membership list is no longer accessible to the public, the website describes the ICA as a network for "confirmed apostles" to interact, with the secondary purpose of training "emerging apostles." Regardless of which category Rodriguez was assumed to be, he would not have been invited without significant apostolic credentials. His name was on the published lists in 2009 and 2010. The claim that Rodriguez could be an ICA member without being part of the New Apostolic movement is illogical.
Rodriguez is an ordained Assemblies of God minister and spoke at the 2000 World Triennial of the AOG, coincidentally the same year that the AOG's guidelines against the "deviant teachings" of Latter Rain and the Shepherding movements were restated. C. Peter Wagner summarizes these statements in his book Apostles Today: Biblical Government for Biblical Power.
"During the post-World War II phase, their General Council [Assemblies of God] in 1949 decreed that 'The teaching that the Church is built on the foundation of present-day apostles and prophets' is 'erroneous.' This was reiterated in their General Council of 2000 when the denomination declared that the `teaching that present-day offices of apostles and prophets should govern church ministry' is a 'departure from Scripture' and a 'deviant teaching.'"
The apostles and prophets disagree with the Assemblies of God statement, including many now inside the AOG and other Pentecostal denominations, and have rapidly advanced their apostolic networks into the churches of these and other denominations.
Rodriguez provides apostolic covering for the Third Day Believers Network or 3DBN. For instance, the website of one 3DBN church in New York, led by Daniel and Nancy Delgado, states,
A 3DBN webpage states,
"Our vision will bring together the 12 most anointed apostles in every nation of the Western Hemisphere by the year 2010 and every nation of the world by the year 2020."
And another 3DBN page states,
"3DBN enriches the Kingdom of God with one of the most powerful 5 Fold Networks on the Planet."
This is an ambitious statement for one small network among hundreds, if not thousands of networks worldwide and the last update on the website appears to be 2009. (The featured video is Samuel Rodriguez asking candidate Barack Obama a question about abortion in the "Compassion Forum" debate in 2008, sponsored by Faith in Public Life.)
Rodriguez's apostolic overseer is Apostle Steve Perea, who oversees the 15 churches in the West Coast Five Fold Network, including the New Season Christian Worship Center started by Rodriguez and his wife Eva in September, 2010. The NHCLC shares the Sacramento address with this church.
Perea's bios regular reference the fact that he "is the overseeing Apostle to Samuel Rodriguez of 3DBN network."
Perea's bios describe him as an Apostle and Senior Pastor of the Christian Worship Center in Manteca, California. Included in this ministry is Prophetess Kerri Smith whose bio states,
"Their Five-fold revelation of the local church is transforming believers into Five-fold companies that are equipping the local church to take cities."
Perea is one of the international directors of the Kingdom Leadership Network of Toronto-based Apostle Pat Francis. Francis has been featured on Talk2action.org numerous times before. She is a member of Global Spheres and a leading international apostle in the area of the business and government mountains. She speaks regularly at the Kingdom Economic Yearly Summit (KEYS), including the 2010 summit held at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, Colorado (pastored by Christians United for Israel director George Morrision). The event was advertised as,
"It is a set and appointed time in 2010 for the Church to hold its third Kingdom Economic Yearly Summit, just as the nations of the earth hold the World Economic Forum each year. Summits are governmental gatherings where apostolic leaders declare, decree, legislate, negotiate, set policy, plan the future, discuss issues, enter into agreements and treaties, and form alliances and coalitions. As such, it is an intentional, strategic assembly of warriors, leaders and generals who are supernaturally taking the Kingdom of God by force and advancing it in the marketplace on earth as it is in Heaven."
In January 2012, apostles from the U.S. and Canada will be gathering in Waikiki for the 11th Annual International Apostolic Leadership Summit. These are apostles from a number of networks, including the ICA and others, invited by the hosts, Emanuele and David Cannistraci of Apostolic Ministries International. Leading apostolic invitees include: Pat Francis; Steve Perea; Jay Swallow, Native American apostle and endorser of Rick Perry's The Response; John Benefiel, head of the Heartland Apostolic Network and endorser of Rick Perry's The Response; Lee Grady, former editor of Charisma (David Cannistraci is part of Grady's spiritual covering); Bill Hamon, a leading apostle with his own international network; Francis Oda, co-chair of Ed Silvoso's International Transformation Network and co-founder of Transformation Hawaii; and Dennis Peacocke.
Steve Perea, Samuel Rodriguez and David Cannistraci headlined the 2009 West Coast Gatherer's Five Fold Conference, advertised on the Elijah List website. Elijah List is the website of Steve Schultz, a prophet in the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders, and is used to regularly publish conferences and major "prophetic words." The conference is advertised,
"The goal of this event is not to identify those in the governing offices, but rather is to equip Believers with an understanding of their apostolic, prophetic and evangelistic gifting and how to activate these anointings so that we can become a Church that is operating in completeness."
Cannistraci's bio for the conference reads,
"His first book, Apostles and the Emerging Apostolic Movement, has been widely received as a foundational work on the subject of contemporary apostolic ministry."
The 1998 book states that denominationalism is slowly dying and that "church growth analysts are beginning to identify apostolic networks as a modern movement."
Greg Metzger questions whether calling Rodriguez a part of the NAR is guilt by association. Rodriguez is one of a number of leaders who have tried to distance themselves from the movement when questioned by journalists. In a recent interview with Stephanie Samuels of the Christian Post, Harry Jackson stated,
"...there is not enough organization within the NAR to be considered a movement."
However, in a series of sermons titled "The Movement: The Apostolic Mandate," and advertised as "Bishop Harry Jackson speaks on the Apostolic Movement," Jackson states,
"I believe that God is going to do something with a connected group of apostolic leaders... I believe that there are going to be many networks that God is going to raise up and use in this nation and nations of the world and they are going to align together apostolically so that there will be corporate blessing upon them to shake certain nations and uproot that which is decadent and decaying and plant the works of the Lord."
Jackson has been on the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE) for years and can be seen in the graphic at right with C. Peter Wagner and leading prophets including Cindy Jacobs and Sarah Palin's mentor, Mary Glazier. The ACPE was formed from a gathering titled "The National School of the Prophets: Mobilizing the Prophetic Office for the Next Century" held on January 28 -30, 1999, and originally included C. Peter Wagner, Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle, Cindy Jacobs, Barabara Wentroble, Bill Hamon, and others.
According to Metzger, Rodriguez claimed to be barely involved and ignorant of the agenda of the Oak Initiative, and similarly characterized his membership in the ICA. Given his regular participation in apostolic and prophetic events and with major national and international NAR leaders, this defies belief. Following is a small, but not exhaustive sampling.
Note that the events labelled as conferences and summits are not academic-style gatherings of a wide range of viewpoints, but more like combination training/revival meetings, as seen in the video of Pat Francis at the 2009 ITN conference in Hawaii.
Rodriguez and the NAR
Rodriguez resigned from the Oak Initiative this month. Apostles and prophets on that board include Rick Joyner, Cindy Jacobs, Bob Weiner, Ardell Daniels, Lance Wallnau, and Negiel Bigpond.
Cindy Jacobs, one of the original pioneers of Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare and Wagner-initiated apostolic entities, serves on the advisory board of the Rodriguez-led National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC). Mark Gonzales, who is under the apostolic covering of Mike and Cindy Jacobs, is Vice President for Governmental Affairs for the NHCLC.
Gonzales heads the Hispanic Prayer Network and was an advisor to the presidential campaign of John McCain. Gonzales is on the advisory board of the Tom Schueter-led Texas Apostolic Prayer Network with Cindy Jacobs, Alice Patterson, and Chuck Pierce.
Cindy Jacobs initiated the 21-day Cinco de Mayo Prayer Initiative in 2011 under the auspices of her U.S. Reformation Prayer Network (USRPN) one of the "prayer warrior" networks led by NAR apostles in all 50 states. The initiative was led by Mark Gonzales and included the participation of his Hispanic Prayer Network and Rodriguez's NHCLC. The event at the end of the 21 days was held at Christ for the Nations, the institute founded by the late Gordon Lindsay, a Latter Rain Movement leader, and included the participation of Apostles John Benefiel and Jay Swallow.
Mark Gonzales is also on the Apostolic Council of the USRPN as well as the Emerging Leaders Group of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders.
A conference titled Blend: Christian Against Racism was sponsored by Cindy Jacobs, Harry Jackson, and Samuel Rodriguez, and promoted on the website of the NHCLC. This is the same Cindy Jacobs who has overseen burning or destruction of items of other religious beliefs including Roman Catholicism; claimed that her prayers can destroy other people's icons; and claims that Rick Perry's prayer event removed the curse from land in America. She claims the land was held by demonic powers because Native Americans were cannibals.
In 2005, Rodriguez was a featured speaker with Apostle Bill Hamon at Michael Pitt's Shift: Heaven on Earth event in Toledo, Ohio. Hamon teaches Manifest Sons of God theology, similar to that taught in the Latter Rain forerunner of the NAR. In his book Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God, (with a foreword by C. Peter Wagner), Hamon states,
"God is preparing His Church to become an invincible, unstoppable, unconquerable, overcoming Army of the Lord that subdues everything under Christ's feet."
Harvest Fest 2010 was sponsored by Rick Joyner's MorningStar Ministries and Todd Bentley's Fresh Fire Ministries. (See video of Todd Bentley's alignment ceremony led by C. Peter Wagner and leading apostles. One and Two) Featured speakers were Rodriguez, Joyner, Bentley, Bob Jones, and Ed Silvoso.
Silvoso heads the International Transformation Network and is one of the pioneers with Wagner and Jacobs of strategic level spiritual warfare. In 1999, Silvoso originally convened what would become the ICA. Bob Jones (no relation to the university founder of that name) was one of the Kansas City Prophets from the 1980s and is credited with the prophecy leading to the development of Mike Bickle's International House of Prayer.
Rodriguez was also a featured speaker at Rick Joyner's Harvest Fest 2009 Worship and Warfare Conference with Apostles Heidi Baker, Lance Wallnau, and Bob Weiner. Wallnau is credited by C. Peter Wagner with developing the Seven Mountains Mandate campaign and travels the world promoting it.
Rodriguez joined the advisory board of Lou Engle's TheCall prior to the TheCall San Diego in 2008, which was focused on supporting California's Proposition Eight. By the end of the day-long event, Engle was calling for martyrs from the stage. In May 2010, Lou Engle took TheCall to Uganda, where speakers promoted the "kill-the-gays" bill. In this video promo for TheCall Sacramento, held in September, 2010, Rodriguez talks about his participation in TheCall in Washington D.C. ten years earlier. The list of advisors is now inaccessible to the public, but TheCall is listed as a partnering organization of the NHCLC. Lou Engle is a prophet and a member of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders.
Also see Rodriguez's promotional video for Rick Perry's August 6 prayer rally, The Response, an event patterned after TheCall and orchestrated and led by apostles and prophets.
Again, this is far from an exhaustive list of Rodriguez's NAR activities, but should be enough to indicate that Samuel Rodriguez is fully invested in the apostolic and prophetic movement that has been dubbed by Wagner as the New Apostolic Reformation. In the last two weeks, I have been accused of McCarthyism and worse, despite my repeated statements that this movement is not representative of American evangelicalism. It is time for those evangelicals who do not want others to lump them together with the NAR and their activities, to quit attacking the messengers who are warning of this threat to religious pluralism and separation of church and state. Attacking the messengers will only add to the perception that other evangelicals support the Dominionist agenda of the NAR. Denials and suppression of this information will only help advance the steady march of the NAR into more communities, churches, and denominations.
List of books by leading apostles and prophets on apostolic government of the church:
Churchquake: How the New Apostolic Reformation Is Shaking Up the Church As We Know It, by C. Peter Wagner
Samuel Rodriguez, the New Apostolic Reformation, and Apostolic Government of the Church | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)
Samuel Rodriguez, the New Apostolic Reformation, and Apostolic Government of the Church | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)