Christianity Today Should Retract or Correct Cover Article on New Apostolic Leader Heidi Baker
The reality is that Heidi Baker's network in Africa is in partnership with the apostolic network of John Arnott, whose ministry hosted the Toronto Airport Revival. Baker and her husband Rolland are two of 12 apostolic leaders (six couples), including Arnott and his wife, in Revival Alliance. Baker is credited with initiating this network of apostles by Revival Alliance's Che Ahn, who is C. Peter Wagner's chosen successor as International Chancellor of the Wagner Leadership Institute.
Baker regularly speaks at apostolic and prophetic conferences and is known as a prophetess. She has given prophetic declarations for cities and countries from D.C. to Australia. Numerous ministries, both inside and outside Baker's Iris Ministries network, list Baker as their apostolic covering. For example, Iris Nashville's website states,
As an Iris Global missions base, our direct apostolic covering are our founders, Heidi and Rolland Baker.A 2012 Society for Pentecostal Studies conference featured a session titled "Apostle of Love: Heidi Baker (Iris Ministries) and the New Apostolic Reformation."
But, according to the Christianity Today article, "the Bakers do not promote the New Apostolic Reformation or consider themselves to be modern-day apostles."
The publication owes its readers an immediate apology and a retraction or correction of the article. If the editorial staff has decided to embrace the New Apostolic Reformation's radicalized ideology and its agenda for reorganizing global Protestantism, that is their choice. My allegation is not about a doctrinal or philosophical disagreement, but that the article is factually incorrect. Promoting Heidi Baker and her ministry while claiming she is not associated with the NAR is unfair and misleading to the publication's readers.
The statement denying the Bakers' role in the NAR follows the description of Baker's ministry as a "love experience with Jesus so potent it verges on erotic." The Christianity Today article continues,
"Much of this emphasis comes from the Toronto Blessing, where Heidi had her breakthrough experience. Though they have lost financial support due to their association with the Toronto movement, the Bakers are loyal to its leaders and attend their Catch the Fire conferences in North America every year. Several leaders involved are active in the so-called New Apostolic Reformation, a controversial charismatic movement. But the Bakers do not promote the New Apostolic Reformation or consider themselves to be modern-day apostles."
Heidi Baker is an exemplary ambassador for promoting the movement she disavowed in the article. She has the ability to appeal to mainstream evangelicals since she is better known outside the movement for her work with African children in Mozambique.
Heidi Baker and New Apostolic Networks
Baker's Iris Ministries is in countries including India, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Congo, South Sudan, Malawi, Kenya, and Israel.
On page six of the eight-page Christianity Today article, the African ministry is described as "Partners in Harvest missions organization under the sponsorship of Iris." Partners in Harvest (PIH) is the apostolic network of John Arnott, and is claimed to include over 10,200 ministries. The vast majority of those are under the leadership of Iris Ministries of Heidi and Rolland Baker. The international coordinator for PIH is Dan Slade, and the African ministries are often described as PIH/Iris. The other Partners in Harvest ministries fall under Apostolic Leaders in regions of Canada, where PIH is based and the U.S., Brazil, Scandinavia, Far East, Eastern Europe, South Africa, Holland & Belgium, and Germany.
Iris Ministries is considered one of the largest and most successful of American-led apostolic networks in Africa. The ministry disciples future leaders for the Iris network. As stated on the Iris Malawi website,
"Overseers are appointed in each district of Malawi to provide leadership and accountability to area pastors and churches."One of the ministries top leaders in Africa is Supressa Sithole, now a popular speaker at American and international apostolic and prophetic conferences and shows like Sid Roth's "It's Supernatural." Both Heidi Baker and Sithole are featured in Wagner Leadership Institute training, but the websites have recently been password protected.
Heidi Baker and the Formation of Revival Alliance
Heidi and Rolland Baker wrote the foreword to the 2009 book by Che Ahn When Heaven Comes Down: Experiencing God's Glory in Your Life. Ahn describes the restoration of modern-day apostles and prophets.
"As I look back through the history of revival, I see that every wave of God's outpouring is important because, in each revival, He restores something. In fact, over the past half-century, we see that in each movement God restored an office within the five-fold ministry, including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.Note that in the context of the apostolic and prophetic, it is believed that supernatural manifestations can be passed from person to person through impartation. For example, Randy Clark is credited with sparking the Toronto Blessing in 1994 by bringing "holy laughter" from a Tulsa revival with Rodney Howard Browne to John Arnott's Toronto Airport Vineyard Ministry. Arnott's church was later kicked out of the Vineyard network because of the unusual manifestations of the multi-year revival, including rolling in the floor, barking, and roaring.
According to Che Ahn's account given at the Lakeland Outpouring in 2008, the Revival Alliance had been recently formed by the 12 apostolic network leaders, who strategized during a retreat at a five-star hotel in Hawaii. The 12 are pictured from right to left:
Bill and Beni Johnson - Bethel Church, Global Legacy, and Apostolic Network of Global Awakening
In a 2012 bulletin, Che Ahn describes Revival Alliance as in development prior to 2008.
"In 2005, Bob Jones prophesied to Heidi and Rolland Baker to form a new network that would be the container for the one billions souls coming in. He named John and Carol Arnott, Bill and Beni Johnson, Randy and Deanne Clark along with Sue and me among those to be involved. God also revealed Georgian and Winnie Banov's involvement as we all met together to pray and strategize.The Revival Alliance leaders host conferences including the Voice of the Apostles. Heidi Baker is a featured speaker at these and other apostolic and prophetic events - "conferences" that often more closely resemble a cross between a rock concert and a tent revival. The 2012 Voice of the Apostles is scheduled for October 17 - 20 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and is advertising speakers Randy Clark, Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker, Rolland Baker, Georgian Banov, and John Arnott.
Heidi Baker and Todd Bentley
Todd Bentley is so controversial that Charisma Magazine described the aftermath of his Lakeland Outpouring scandal as a potential "charismatic civil war." Editor Marcus Yoars stated,
At the core were such issues as extra-biblical doctrine, overemphasis on angelic encounters and necromancy.Christianity Today has either leapt or somehow blundered into this same controversy with the Heidi Baker article.
In 2008, as Todd Bentley's Lakeland Outpouring faith-healing revival was drawing international attention, a "commissioning" ceremony was held for Bentley. The event was described by C. Peter Wagner as "apostolically aligning" Bentley with Revival Alliance's apostles who would then "commission Todd as the evangelist for the Lakeland Outpouring." It culminated in Che Ahn placing a ring on Bentley's finger to symbolize the covenant relationship.
According to C. Peter Wagner's account in Charisma,
"A total of 17 apostles participated representing three apostolic streams: ICA, Revival Alliance, and Morning Star (Rick Joyner)."John Arnott, Bill Johnson, and Che Ahn represented Revival Alliance at the ceremony. As part of the proceedings, Wagner asked Bentley if he accepted the "apostolic authority of these three men in your life and do you desire to establish an apostolic alignment with them and Revival Alliance?" Wagner then declared to Bentley,
"Your power will increase. Your authority will increase. Your favor will increase... I also decree that a new supernatural strength will flow through this ministry.Stacey Campbell, another leading apostle/prophetess and current board member of Baker's Iris Ministries, Inc., also prophesied over Bentley as seen in the linked video.
In 2003, long before Todd Bentley became the superstar of the Lakeland Revival, he partnered with the Bakers and Iris Ministries on a project in Malawi. Bentley's ministry, Fresh Fire, reported on the claimed results, including supernatural healing of HIV/AIDS and the appearance of Jesus in the crowds. In 2005 Bentley again partnered with Iris Ministries, this time in Mozambique and including Che Ahn's Harvest International Ministries.
Heidi Baker is a regular speaker at Todd Bentley's "Secret Places" conferences, including one with Bob Jones held in January of 2008, prior to the beginning of the Lakeland Outpouring. She has endorsed several of Bentley's books.
The following is described in Bentley's Fresh Fire Ministries (FFM) report on the 2003 Baker and Bentley Malawi project.
Malawi, as well as some other African countries, is plagued with the AIDS epidemic. Although local governments are finally promoting a message of sexual abstinence in schools, the epidemic has already hit an alarming rate. Quite often, those who attend the crusades who are HIV positive are hesitant to come to prayer. Todd invited them to come unashamedly and receive forgiveness and cleansing. We were glad to report three different individuals who were tested by their doctors after receiving prayer, to be totally healed of this dreaded virus. AIDS can be beaten!"
The same report describes Bentley's call for people to bring him their dead.
Todd Bentley has been encouraging the local people to bring the dead to the crusade meetings where opportunity will be given to see them raised up with resurrection power. On one of the days when an outreach was scheduled at a 1000 unit hospital, the opportunity did come allowing a handful of FFM access into the holding room of the hospital (morgue). Although there was no visible evidence of a `Lazarus coming forth', we know many more opportunities will be waiting in the future, and yes, the dead will be raised in Jesus name.
Baker, like most New Apostolic leaders, is focused on fighting witchcraft and expelling demons, including from children. Typical of NAR narratives, Iris Ministry accounts include descriptions of burning witchcraft items, including one account complete with green smoke.
New Apostolic leaders teach that in preparation for the end times, their adherents will develop increasingly powerful supernatural abilities and have the power to convert millions of people of other faiths through exhibiting "signs and wonders" or supernatural acts.
At the Lakeland Revial event, where Che Ahn gave his account of the formation of Revival Alliance, he also declared Todd Bentley to have a "double portion" of the anointing of William Branham. Branham was a leader of the faith-healing revivals of the late 1940s and early 1950s that became known as the Latter Rain movement. Branham is described by Rolland Baker as the "most anointed" person on earth since Jesus. The concept of "overcomers" with great supernatural powers is rooted in the Manifest Sons of God theology of the Latter Rain movement.
In a teaching video, C. Peter Wagner states,
"We can do the same or greater things than Jesus did because we have access to the same power source."According to Baker,
"Raising the dead is a good strategic plan! The church grows when you raise the dead."Heidi Baker not only claims to raise the dead, but also claims supernatural "multiplication" of meals, similar to Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes.
Bentley's faith-healing revival at Lakeland was controversial, even among many Charismatics and New Apostolics. Bentley served time as a juvenile for sexual assault and other crimes. The revival was also controversial for his practice of punching and kicking the ill and injured he was supposedly healing.
These controversies did not end the Lakeland Outpouring, nor did ABC's Nightline investigation of Bentley or the fact that Nightline could find no evidence whatsoever that anyone had been healed of the hundreds of thousands of people who came from all over the world for the spectacle. (Nightline Part One and Part Two) Likewise, there was no evidence of Bentley's claims of the dead brought back to life. The revival came to a close only after Bentley was caught cheating on his wife.
In the linked video, Bentley says that the Holy Spirit commanded him to kick an elderly woman in the face with his biker boot during a service. He also describes punching another elderly woman so hard that she flew through the air and crashed through a closed door. The Lakeland Outpouring included Bentley head butting, punching and kicking the ill and infirmed. Since the 2008 scandal over his infidelity, Bentley has been going through rehabilitation under the supervision of Rick Joyner and MorningStar, but this hasn't stopped his gloating about his violent faith-healing.
Like Bentley, Heidi Baker also claims that the Holy Spirit commands her to do unexpected things to the desperately ill. In the following video she claims to have healed a leper by stomping on his foot. (2:48 minute video embedded below.)
More on Heidi Baker and the NAR
Heidi Baker's participation in the apostolic and prophetic is not based on "guilt by association," as some of today's modern-day apostles claim when they want to deny they are a movement, but on extensive documentation of her significant role in the movement.
Baker is one of the ten contributors (shown in graphic at right) to the 2010 book The Reformer's Pledge, along with John Arnott, Bill Johnson, Lance Wallnau, Chuck Pierce, C. Peter Wagner, Jim Goll, Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, Jim Garlow, and editor Che Ahn. In a previous article I described Garlow's claim that he was not familiar with the term New Apostolic Reformation and addressed reasons why it benefits the movement to avoid use of terms like NAR, "apostle," and "prophet" when appealing to mainstream evangelical audiences. Other NAR-deniers have included Samuel Rodriguez and former National Association of Evangelicals president, Ted Haggard.
Heidi Baker and Lou Engle are two of the leaders providing "apostolic covering" for Burn 24-7, a youth-oriented group that participates in Lou Engle's TheCall events. Burn 24-7 is led by Sean Feucht and is similar to TheCall in focus, including teaching that homosexuality is caused by a literal demonic spirit. Baker has also participated in TheCall, co-founded by Engle and Che Ahn, including in Jerusalem.
Heidi Baker and Lance Wallnau, a lead spokesperson for the "Seven Moutains Mandate" were the featured speakers just a few weeks ago at a conference hosted by the ministry of Stacey Campbell, a current member of the Iris Ministries, Inc. board, and her husband Wes. Another board member of Iris Ministries, Inc. is Kris Volloton, who leads the Bethel School of the Prophets and "has served on Bill Johnson's apostolic team for over 33 years," according to his bio.
The list could go on and on.
Why did Christianity Today decide to feature Heidi Baker in the May cover article, but make a point of denying her ties to the NAR? I don't know the answer, but this is not the first wide-scale promotion of Baker. She has been regularly featured in a multi-million dollar project by funded by the Templeton Foundation that has also included the promotion of C. Peter Wagner and most of the Revival Alliance apostles.
In the project these New Apostolic leaders are described as "exemplars of godly love" in a "study of unselfish love for all others without exception." That might come as a surprise to those well-versed in the NAR's Dominionist agenda and attacks on those of other faiths. It's difficult to reconcile the "Flame of Godly Love" and "Institute for Research on Unlimited Love" studies with the NAR's claims that its spiritual warfare networks can supernaturally destroy the icons or buildings of those of other faiths, and maim or kill other humans through prayer. It's also difficult to reconcile with leadership's claims that others - including homosexuals, freemasons, and those of other religious faiths - are controlled by literal demonic beings.
Christianity Today's article is subtitled
"There are credible reports that Heidi Baker heals the deaf and raises the dead..."Apparently this uncritical acceptance of Baker's supernatural powers was referencing the study by Candy Gunther Brown, also funded by the Templeton Foundation. Michael McClymond, referred to in the article, has also been part of the "Flame of Godly Love" project funded by Templeton. The 2012 Society for Pentecostal Studies conference described earlier in this article, included a presentation on Heidi Baker's network by Margaret Poloma, also funded by Templeton. In the same session, titled Symposium on New Apostolic Networks and the Third Wave, McClymond spoke about Randy Clark's apostolic network.
The Templeton-funded projects promoting apostolic and prophetic leaders will be addressed in future articles and an upcoming report by Talk2action's Bruce Wilson.
Perhaps the staff at Christianity Today was misled by the beatification of Heidi Baker in the Templeton-funded studies. Regardless, they owe their readers an apology and a retraction or correction of the article.
This series has been continued in Part Two: Christianity Today Promotes NAR Prophet Heidi Baker.
Christianity Today Should Retract or Correct Cover Article on New Apostolic Leader Heidi Baker | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden)
Christianity Today Should Retract or Correct Cover Article on New Apostolic Leader Heidi Baker | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden)