Apprising Ministries continues in our coverage of the spread of syncretism and apostasy throughout evangelicalism.

Sadly it’s spine is being removed through Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism, which—among other things—opened the door for the spiritual wingnuts in the cult of the New Apostolic Reformation to slither their way into the Christian Right.

With this in mind I point you now to A Case of Pinocchio’s Nose by Christian apologist Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason.

Oppenheimer begins by reminding us of a recent spin letter by self-anointed “apostle” C. Peter Wagner, former professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission.

You do need to know that Wagner coined the term “Third Wave” and he’s also the founder of Global Harvest Ministries as well as co-founder of the World Prayer Center.

Oppenheimer begins: 

Recently Peter Wagner who heads up the new apostolic prophet movement with Chuck Pierce had sent out:

THE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION an Update (the complete letter is posted on http://www.globalspheres.org/)

His letter begins about being surprised the New Apostolic Reformation has become a topic of discussion in the political media. Connections with Sarah Palin’s, Michelle Bachman, and Rick Perry. Stating “the NAR has become a tool in the hands of certain liberal opponents of the conservative candidates designed to discredit them on the basis of their friendship with certain Christian leaders supposedly affiliated with the NAR. To bolster this attempt, they seek to accuse the NAR of teaching false doctrine and paste on it the label of “cult.” For example, Forgotten Word Ministries posts an article by Marsha West expressing concerns about Rick Perry’s prayer assembly in Houston on August 6, that uses the title: “Texas Governor’s Upcoming Leadership Event Includes Cult Members”

While I certainly do not agree with the lefts politics or progressive ideology, I and others cannot ignore the influence that can take place for these presidential candidates. Whether they are on the left or right should not matter. These candidates friendship is not the cause of apprehension. I and others are more concerned about the candidates becoming a toolfor the NAR’s agenda that seems to find a way to influence numerous people and organizations. Whom the candidates are involved with is relevant. We can see how this matters from the perspective of the left, with the president’s current spiritual advisors.

Moving away from politics, I would like to cover a portion of Wagner’s update to show how they reconfigure their by changing the meaning of their words (as they have done with the office of apostle and prophet and their practice of spiritual warfare).


What Is the NAR?The NAR is definitely not a cult.
Those who affiliate with it believe the Apostles’ Creed and all the standard classic statements of Christian doctrine. It will surprise some to know that the NAR embraces the largest non-Catholic segment of world Christianity. It is also the fastest growing segment, the only segment of Christianity currently growing faster than the world population and faster than Islam.”

“The NAR is not an organization. No one can join or carry a card. It has no leader. I have been called the “founder,” but this is not the case. One reason I might be seen as an “intellectual godfather” is that I might have been the first to observe the movement, give a name to it, and describe its characteristics as I saw them. When this began to come together through my research in 1993, I was Professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary, where I taught for 30 years. The roots of the NAR go back to the beginning of the African Independent Church Movement in 1900, the Chinese House Church Movement beginning in 1976, the U.S. Independent Charismatic Movement beginning in the 1970s and the Latin American Grassroots Church Movement beginning around the same time. I was neither the founder nor a member of any of these movements, I was simply a professor who observed that they were the fastest growing churches in their respective regions and that they had a number of common characteristics.”

We are not surprised a movement has growth from orchestrating an army of speakers sent to churches worldwide convincing them they are inadequate and cannot succeed without these new apostles does not validate a movement as genuine.

Wagner is claiming he does not want to be labeled a cult. He, as a teacher, ignores the fact that there are cults within Christianity that do confess many of the tenets of the apostles creed on paper, they just dont implement them in practice.

Sociologist, John Lofland, comments that ‘“cults are ‘little groups’ which break off from the conventional consensus and espouse very different views of the real, the possible, and the moral.”

(Quoted in Ronald Enroth, “What Is a Cult?” in A Guide to Cults and New Religions 1983, p.14.)

The late Walter Martin described a cult like this:

as a group of people gathered about a specific persons interpretation of the bible… from a theological view point, the cults contain not only a few major deviations from historic Christianity.” (Kingdom of the Cults p.11)

A cult in its most simplistic meaning operates in falsehood, either theologically, sociologically or both (in beliefs and practices). Some are theologically dangerous others are sociologically dangerous. Not all cults are physically harmful, but they are harmful spiritually.While the cults more often operate using control, they also operate in falsehood and will have secrets that are not public. They claim to have a new or better way applied to various aspects of Christianity, more often about salvation. This aspect is seen in the NAR as they state the church will not succeed without incorporating their apostles and prophets.

The Bible has other alternatives to using the term “cult”, and they are no less damaging. The Bible directly addresses errors in teaching and practice and applies words such as “heresy,” “heretic,” “false teachers,” “false prophets,” “false apostles, and “false Christ’s.” So even if one is not categorized in the pejorative term of “cult” there are other biblical words, equally sufficient to describe the meaning. If we abandon this word we have Schisms, divisive, a breaking away, all connected to heresy (Rom.16:17-18).

Would it be better to call it group heresy — bringing division in the church? 1 Jn.2:19 – those who promote these divisive teachings do not always leave the church but stay inside to convince others,

Heresy is a teaching, doctrine or practice that goes beyond the apostles teachings, (what is written 1 Cor. 4:6), it introduces something new or contrary to the Scripture (new revelation and prophesy i.e. spiritual warfare; dominionism, kingdom now; manifest sons of god doctrine etc) I see heresy being introduced into the Church through new “revelation” and “prophesy.” 

This movements prototype was observed before the modern date of 1993 mentioned. Wagner was associated with John Wimber when the prophets came into Wimbers church and the prophetic movement was presented to the body of Christ distributing the Latter Rain teachings that were rejected in the late 40s… (Online source)

You can read Oppenheimer’s informative article in it’s entirety here.

HT: Herescope

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