The New Apostolic Reformation (hereafter “NAR”) is a current movement within the charismatic community and is quite controversial. The volume of hostility towards those who teach and adhere to the principles espoused by this group is astonishing. The primary visible expression of the NAR within the US is Bethel Church in Redding, California.
Entire groups on social media are devoted to debunking the NAR and refuting its teachings. The degree of vitriol exhibited within these groups defies description. Regardless of the NAR’s merits — or lack thereof! — most of the comments in such groups are made by Internet trolls exhibiting huge amounts of spiritual angst coupled with a cursory level of scriptural literacy. In other words, they tend to be heavy on hysterical hyperbole and light on biblical scholarship!
My only direct contact with the NAR as been through a book written back in the mid-1990s by one of their leaders, a book which has profoundly impacted my life for the better. Who I am as both as a Christ-follower and a minister today are a direct consequence of this book’s influence at a critical juncture of my life.
This book notwithstanding, I’ve felt my ignorance of what the NAR actually stands for — rather than what others had accused them of — and whether it all measured up to Scripture was too profound to allow intelligent comment on my part publicly. As a result, I have remained silent.
All this changed recently when a Christian apologetics group I belong to on Facebook posted a YouTube video wherein a South African Christian educator was discussing the NAR with an author named R. Douglas Geivett who has written one or more books on the topic. In that video, a calm, rational discussion on the NAR actually took place, which was impressive in and of itself. Out of curiosity, I watched it all the way through. I was impressed with — and thankful for! — Brother Geivett’s refraining from tarring all charismatics and Pentecostals with the same brush, a distinction which is rarely made in the aforementioned groups devoted to refuting the NAR.
One of the other group members asked me to weigh in on what was said in the video because I’m known to be a charismatic minister. I felt led of the Spirit to repeat those comments in this article for your benefit.
Continue reading “The New Apostolic Reformation”
A recent trend I’ve seen which greatly disturbs me — even angers me, at times — is a tendency for Christian believers to divide themselves from one other according to their pet doctrines. This is much like the old East-Indian parable of the blind men and the elephant:
Five blind men heard an elephant had been brought into town and none of them knew anything about the animals. They agreed that since they couldn’t see, they needed to go to the elephant and determine its characteristics by touch.
The first man encountered the elephant’s trunk and observed the elephant was like a drain pipe. The second man touched the elephant’s ear and determined an elephant was much like a fan. The third man found the animal’s tail and thought an elephant resembled a rope. Another of his partners bumped into the elephant’s leg and immediately concluded that the elephant was like a tree. The final blind man sat on the elephant’s back and decided that an elephant is rather like a throne.
They then had a huge argument over what elephants were like, each thinking his comrades were wrong when, in reality, all of them were right.
Now admittedly, this parable is used by Hindu’s to teach moral relativism, but there is an alternate interpretation to the story: only the immature will be so unteachable that they divide themselves from their brothers and sisters over topics where they do not have all the facts.
This appears to be the state of the Body of Christ at this moment in history.
In my mind’s eye, I can see Satan nodding with a satisfied smirk on his face because we are so busy fighting one another that we are neglecting fighting him, our only true enemy (Ephesians 6:12). With that same eye, I can see Jesus shaking His head in sorrow. His words that the world would know us by our love for one another have somehow gotten lost in our priorities.
Continue reading “Of Blind Men & Elephants”
In my previous post in this series, we began discussing the gifts of the Spirit as listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and led off with exploring the gifts of tongues and the interpretation of tongues. One of the things I stated towards the end of that article was that tongues and interpretation were the functional equivalent of the gift of prophesy, which is what I’ll tackle here.
Continue reading “They Speak With Other Tongues #6:
The Gift of Prophesy”