Oops my Church is NAR

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a poorly defined subtle influence on modern charismatic churches. Many people are not aware of NAR and I hope that this article helps you to identify the various ways that it may be influencing your church.

John Robertshaw  

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NAR churches are usually Evangelical and Charismatic or Pentecostal but with many extra doctrines and ideas. These have been added over the past decades during various revivals and through the preaching of internationally popular television and internet speakers. These extra doctrines may be considered as new revelation from God or heresy depending on your point of view! Unfortunately, they are often non-biblical, unbiblical or supported by flimsy interpretation of the Bible. Here are some of these doctrines which may help you to recognise NAR in your church - some or all may be present:

NAR Extra Doctrines

  • Apostles and Prophets - For a long time, Pentecostals and Charismatics have accepted the present day existence of all of the Fivefold Ministries (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers) (Eph 4:11-12). NAR, however, gives much more importance to Apostles and Prophets who have considerable authority, governance, and leadership. The title Apostle is not always used, but these significant men and women are considered to be anointed by God and able to receive new revelation and doctrine from God like the original Apostles. Their statements are often unchallenged and their words infallible - and they are protected by a Culture of Honour which prevents questions or criticism.
  • Reformation - NAR believes that we are currently in a New Reformation which is ushering in a Second Apostolic Age. NAR considers this to be the biggest and most radical change since the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago and involves a completely different way of doing church and reflects God's purpose for the church in these days. Some believe that this is the next in a series of reformations every 500 years since Christ.
  • Word of Faith - Word of Faith is common in many churches and organisations and is embraced by NAR. It believes that there is creative power in our words spoken with faith and its roots are in positive thinking. Word of Faith can be easily recognised by positive statements which often do not correspond with reality and bold commands declaring and decreeing that things should happen. It is sometimes characterised by "Name it and Claim it!" and is often linked with healing and the Prosperity Gospel which promises wealth to those who give to God.
  • We are like Jesus - NAR argues that we are like Jesus and can do the same things that he did. NAR believes that when Jesus performed his miracles, he did them as a man filled with the Holy Spirit in right relationship with God but not as God - and so we can do the same! In this way, NAR tries to justify our ability to perform miracles by introducing one of its most serious heresies - that Jesus lost some of his divine nature while here on earth. NAR also argues that when we are born again, we regain the full image of God and so are like God and can do the things that he does.
  • Nature of God - NAR believes that that the nature of God is revealed by Jesus and since he was a healer, it is impossible that God should send sickness. Emphasis generally is on aspects of God's character which modern people find acceptable such as his love for us and his affirmation. There is little mention of the justice of God and his judgments.
  • Spiritual Warfare - NAR believes that territorial evil spirits reign in the heavenlies over geographical areas and worldly systems. Spiritual Warfare for NAR is clearing these principalities by praise, worship, prayer, fasting, trumpets, horns, sound, shouting and exercising our spiritual authority over evil spirits and binding Satan. This achieves an open heaven enabling us to draw near to God, enjoy his presence and for heaven to come down to earth. This non-biblical view is different from the Bible which encourages us to stand firm with weapons of truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the word of God and prayer (Eph 6:10-18, 2 Cor 6:7, 1 Thess 5:8) and recognises that the defeat and destruction of evil powers is the work of Jesus (Col 2:14-15, Heb 2:14, Rev 20:10)!
  • The Future - NAR believes that it is the task of the church to take back control of the world from Satan. Dominionism or Kingdom Now seeks to transform society through infiltration and Spiritual Warfare. The Seven Mountains Mandate (7M) identifies seven cultural areas to influence - religion, family, education, government, media, entertainment, and business. As the Kingdom of God is established on earth led by Apostles and Prophets there will be a mighty worldwide revival with powerful signs and wonders and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The world will be Christianised and made ready for the return of Christ and his rule. This non-biblical and optimistic view of the future avoids the suffering and persecution of Christians, times of tribulation and many other end-time events mentioned in the Bible.
  • New Age Influence - Some NAR leaders believe that the world, New Age and other religions have hijacked various supernatural features which rightly belong to God's people. They also believe that the modern church has lost the religious experience of ancient Christian mystics. This has opened the way for many practices usually associated with superstition, New Age and eastern religions. These include meditation, trance states, use of weird music, sound, vibrations, repetition of phrases in songs, mantras etc. NAR followers are also interested in Celtic Thin Places which are believed to be places on earth which are closer to heaven and where God can be accessed more easily.
  • Experience - NAR emphasises the importance of experiencing intimacy with God. The aim of worship, praise and prayer is to change the atmosphere in order to feel God's tangible manifest presence and for heaven to come down and connect with earth. The Presence of God is often talked about in NAR churches although it is mainly an Old Testament idea and not much mentioned in the New Testament. NAR often confuses the Presence of God with the work of the Holy Spirit. A main aim in NAR meetings is for people to encounter God - it believes that this experience will save your soul, heal your body and sort out your life. This offers instant solutions and appears to replace biblical gospel preaching, teaching, repentance, faith, obedience, discipleship, sanctification etc.
  • The Supernatural - NAR has a strong desire to see signs, wonders, miracles and healings believing that these are the key to revival and salvation - but this is not always the case (Matt 11:20). Some also believe that we have authority to enlist the help of angels.
  • Anointing - NAR believes that gifted men and women of God carry a special anointing which can be passed on to others. Some even believe that this anointing can be left behind when people die and be picked up by other people later by visiting places they have been and their graves! Anointing of believers only occurs a few times in the New Testament and is a description of being filled with the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 1:21-22, 1 John 2:20, 27).
  • Consumerism - NAR preaching, songs and worship concentrate on God being our provider and fulfilling our various material and psychological needs - our happiness, success, peace, feeling good, health, wealth, relationships, employment and general wellbeing. God is the one who can fight our battles and bring about our breakthrough. There is less mention of discipleship, sacrifice, persecution, denying yourself etc. which were major themes of Jesus' teaching. Even so-called worship can major on how good we feel knowing the presence of God and not so much worshipping God for his attributes. Consumerism is a feature of our present world system.
  • Propagation - NAR is eager to propagate its doctrines and ideas to churches throughout the world. This is achieved through teaching in books, the internet, videos etc. NAR has also made extensive use of songs and music which have become very popular in many types of churches. There is even a NAR version of the Bible, The Passion Translation, which is a paraphrase incorporating NAR vocabulary and ideas.

You will find more information on some of these issues in my article New Teachings.

October 2020  

Last Edited: 2020-10-14   

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