NAR Leaders Publish Statement of Belief as Apostles Gain Influence in Religio-Political Right
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Jan 17, 2012 at 03:22:30 PM EST
The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) was temporarily in the spotlight following the endorsement and participation of leading apostles and prophets in Rick Perry's Houston prayer event in August. Interest in the NAR dwindled as Perry's campaign failed, but the movement is still making significant inroads with apostles and prophets touted as emerging leaders in a Religious Right increasingly dominated by the Pentecostal/Charismatic sector. It is inside the larger evangelical and Charismatic world that NAR leadership has been working aggressively to defend their movement, not to a general public mostly unaware of its existence.  Attempts to prove that the NAR adheres to "classic Christian creeds," has included publishing a statement of belief.
Leadership Transitions - ICA and Global Spheres

As he approached his 80th birthday, C. Peter Wagner began turning his national and international leadership positions over to other NAR apostles and prophets. He has turned the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA) and his role as Convening Apostle of that network over to John Kelly, based in Ft. Worth, Texas. The membership list  is no longer publicly available, but the ICA Council is listed and includes Wagner.

Wagner's Global Harvest Ministries will be inherited by Chuck Pierce, who established a new entity for networking of NAR apostles called Global Spheres. Some members are listed on the Global Spheres website, including Wagner as Ambassadorial Apostle.

It was the Global Spheres network that sent out the e-mail referencing Talk2action.org and calling for "the voice of the accuser of the brethren be silenced in the name of Jesus." (Link to articles on this topic by Greg Metzger, Bruce Wilson, and Bill Berkowitz.) This followed press coverage including my August interview on NPR's Fresh Air and one in October with Peter Wagner.

The statement of belief is written by Chuck Pierce and is on the Global Spheres website. Wagner followed the publishing of the statement with an e-mail to members of the network titled "The New Apostolic Reformation:  What Are It's Beliefs" and another e-mail with an addendum, also posted on the Reformation Prayer Network site of Cindy Jacobs. Wagner explained that NAR adheres to "classical Christian creeds," but had not previously published a statement of belief because the NAR is a movement, not an organization.  He continued to defend the NAR from charges coming from inside the evangelical world (not from contributors at Talk2action.org) that it is a cult or heretical.

The statement of belief posted at Global Spheres follows an explanation of the formation of Global Spheres, the new Global Spheres Center in Denton, Texas, and Chuck Pierce's ongoing Glory of Zion International Ministries, Inc.  The statement is under the heading,

The Belief system ... The Revelation That Advances the Above Kingdom Entities Forward and Constitutes the Foundations for our Future.
Following are a few short excerpts from the statement of belief. The subheadings below are directly from the statement, but are not in the same order as the statement, and do not include all the subheadings or full content in each.

The Kingdom of God and Apostolic Government

The Kingdom of God is here now! The seven mountains of society are meant to be influenced and dominated by the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom has Jesus Christ as the cornerstone and apostles properly related to prophets form the foundation of the Kingdom. Apostles create and execute God's prototype plan in the earth and through each nation of the earth until there is a house of prayer built for every people group.

"People group" is the term used by Wagner and others in efforts to evangelize all religions, ethnicities, and tribes of the world. Throughout the statement of belief, numerous books are recommended, many authored by C. Peter Wagner.  The section "Kingdom of God and Apostolic Government" closes with a recommendation to read Apostles Today and Apostles and Prophets, both by C. Peter Wagner.

Spiritual Warfare
Because we represent a Kingdom, we are at war to enforce Kingdom principles and plans in the earth. Accomplishing God's purposes on earth is not without opposition.  We are called to stand against the enemy and set his captives free. 
...We ascend in worship and then descend in war.  When you have conquered one enemy, the warfare for that season ends and you enter the REST of the land (Hebrews 4). 
Considering the volumes of information the movement has published on "Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare," this section is surprisingly vague.  Books recommended are Prayers that Outwit the Enemy, by Chuck Pierce and Rebecca Wagner Systema, Restoring Your Shield of Faith, by Chuck Pierce and Robert Heidler, and Spiritual Warfare Strategy, by Wagner.

Holy Spirit
He desires to make us supernatural creatures, equipped to do the works of God in the earth. The Holy Spirit, working through humans, is the restraining force of evil in the earth realm.
The recommended book is The Book of Acts:  A Commentary, by Wagner. The statement of belief also has a section dedicated to spiritual gifts.

The Operation of Spiritual Gifts
When Jesus ascended He gave gifts to humankind.  These gifts enable God's people to operate in supernatural dimensions and thereby accomplish the Father's purposes in the earth.  God calls all His people to minister with these gifts - regardless of gender, race, identity or past sin.  God provided a specific order and alignment for these gifts (first apostle, second prophet, third teacher...) so that His people can be equipped to function as a mighty army in the earth.

Books recommended are Experiencing the Spirit, by Henry Blackaby and Melvin Blackaby, and Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, by Wagner. The Global Spheres website features a short video of C. Peter Wagner under "Training," in which he is much more explicit about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the ability to perform miracles, than in this statement of belief.  In the video Wagner states,
"We can do the same or greater things that Jesus did because we have access to the same power source."(Video).

One of the spiritual gifts is prophecy. Wagner and other leaders of the movement teach that the restoration of modern-day prophets and apostles began in the 1980s and 1990s and the era of the New Apostolic Reformation in 2001.

Prophets and Prophecy
We believe God speaks today.  Prophecy is an outflow of God's heart, nature and mind.  We are called to seek all spiritual gifts, but especially to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:1).  ...Prophets decree heaven's will.
 
Books recommended are The Future War of the Church, by Chuck Pierce and Rebecca Wagner Systems, God's Unfolding Battle Plan, by Pierce, and Fighting for Your Prophetic Promises, by Barbara Wentroble.

Israel, As God's Covenant Nation
God has promised great blessing to the land of Israel and its people (Dt. 28), and we can share in those blessings by faith.  We have not replaced Israel, but are called to intercede for Israel's full restoration.  God's goal is for Jew and Gentile to be united in faith as "One New Man," enjoying together the fullness of Abraham's blessings. 

The term "One New Man" is also used in the introduction above the statement of belief. The One New Man ideology and the aggressive promotion of Messianic Judaism is a component of the movement that is spreading in the larger evangelical world. As part of the One New Man ideology the movement celebrates Christianized Jewish holidays, including celebration of the new moon or Rosh Chodesh. This is referenced under the subheading "Celebrating Firstfruits and Giving."

Celebrating Firstfruits and Giving
Jesus said, "Seek the Kingdom first and all will be added to you!" Proverbs 3:9, 10 says, "Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats with new wine!"  God instituted the celebration of Rosh Chodesh at each New Moon (Lev. 23, Num. 28:11-15, Ps. 8:13).  When we bring our best or firstfruits to Him and celebrate by worshipping Him, we will continue to move from harvest to harvest.

Addendum to Belief Statement by C. Peter Wagner

In November, C. Peter Wagner issued an e-mail through Global Spheres titled "New Apostolic Reformation:  What Are Its Beliefs?" This was  followed in December by an addendum, which is posted at Cindy Jacobs Reformation Prayer Network.

Wagner points out that the NAR movement as a whole does not have a doctrinal statement, but that groups within the NAR have produced their own, including the one described above from Global Spheres.  Wagner responds to suggestions that many additions could have been made to the statement, including the "need for apostolic alignment," "casting out demons," etc., but downplays the need for doctrinal purity. Wagner continues,

"A whole new generation of believers in the Second Apostolic Age is not nearly as interested in the fine points and details of theology as past generations have been."

What About the Dominion Mandate?

Missing from the statement of belief is the "Dominion Mandate," the ideology that underpins the entire movement and is described repeatedly throughout the leadership's media. Wagner and other leading apostles have downplayed the need for rigid doctrine while unifying behind the need to teach Dominionism, summarized in the NAR's Seven Mountains Mandate to take control over the spheres or power centers of society and government.

The omission is not surprising since NAR leaders have been anxious to market their ideology and organizations to the larger evangelical world, and to allay concerns that their teachings deviate significantly from past Charismatic and Pentecostal theology.

NAR leadership has recently claimed that their Dominionist teachings have been misinterpreted by others. The closest thing to a mention of Dominionism is under the subheading "The Kingdom of God and Apostolic Government," in the sentence,

The seven mountains of society are meant to be influenced and dominated by the Kingdom of God.
Recent denials have included the claim that the NAR is only striving for the "influence," but not the "domination," referenced in this statement of belief.  However, their current and past media provide a clear picture of what they mean by the Dominion Mandate.  

Dutch Sheets, one of the inner circle of leading NAR apostles, spoke at the January kickoff for the movement's 2012 religio-political activities.  The event was co-sponsored by the Family Research Council (FRC) called "The Gathering of Eagles" and included participation of Harry Jackson, Cindy Jacobs, and Pierre Bynum of FRC. Right Wing Watch has featured several video clips from the event.

Sheets explains to the audience that the Christians will not completely dominate the world until Jesus return because there will continue to be "sheep" and "goat" nations, in other words holy and unholy nations.  He has some fun with the audience by first denying that they can rule the world and then adding, "but we're supposed to try."

I am not at all implying as some try to teach that we're going to take over everything and rule the earth completely before the Lord; that He has to wait for that until He returns.

We're not teaching that, but we're supposed to try. (Audience responds.)  It is our commission.

I know that there are going to be sheep and goat nations when he comes.  There's no insinuation here that we're going to take over everything.  But our assignment until he comes is to bring his Kingdom rule into the earth, so that our region looks like heaven again.

C. Peter Wagner explained the meaning of the "Dominion Mandate" in no uncertain terms at the 2008 "Starting the Year Off Right" event held annually and hosted by Pierce's Glory of Zion Ministries.  A short, edited version is embedded below the quote. (Link to a longer, unedited video of that  segment of the presentation.)

"Dominion has to do with control. Dominion has to do with rulership. Dominion has to do with authority and subduing and it relates to society. In other words, what the values are in Heaven need to be made manifest here on earth. Dominion means being the head and not the tail. Dominion means ruling as kings. It says in Revelation Chapter 1:6 that He has made us kings and priests - and check the rest of that verse; it says for dominion. So we are kings for dominion."

The Apostles and Emerging Charismatic Religio-Political Leaders

Some in the mainstream press and academia have dismissed the influence of the apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation and mocked the idea that the NAR's brand of Dominionism is taking root in the larger evangelical and Charismatic world.  Meanwhile, the NAR apostles are being touted by Charisma Magazine as taking the lead in religio-political activism.  

A November article in Charisma is titled "The Rising Tide of Influence" and subtitled "How Pentecostalism is gradually changing the dynamics of American politics."  The article by Florida attorney and Religious Right leader John Stemberger celebrates the shift on the political scene from fundamentalist and non-Charismatic leaders to Pentecostal (and Charismatic) leaders.  

The article's list of "Charismatic Leaders Engaging in Politics" begins with six leaders' photos and bios, including Samuel Rodriguez, Harry Jackson, Lou Engle, and Rick Joyner - all major New Apostolics leaders.  Completing this list of six are Jim Garlow and Rod Parsley.  

In addition to these six is a list of notables: Keith Butler, Alice Patterson, John Hagee, Cindy Jacobs, Dutch Sheets, James Robison, and Mark Gonzales.  From this list, Patterson, Jacobs, Sheets, and Gonzales are all self-proclaimed apostles and part of the 50-state prayer warrior networks under the authority of Sheets and Jacobs.  Others on the lists, including but not limited to Garlow and Hagee, have partnered with major New Apostolic leaders in their organizations, outreach, and media.

The article includes the claim that there are 80 million Pentecostals in America.  Since the number of members in all Pentecostal denominations in the U.S. is a fraction of that, it must refer to everyone that would be defined as Charismatic including Independent Charismatics and those in Mainline Protestant and other non-Pentecostal denominations.  The number can be debated, but regardless, the block is accurately described in Charisma as a "potential political force."  This is the leading publication in the Pentecostal/Charismatic sector, and the emerging religio-political leaders listed are overwhelmingly New Apostolic.




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