The New Apostolic Reformation, NAR, is a loosely organized movement of different people and churches who affirm the need for present-day apostles and prophets as well as the five-fold ministry. It is growing among Protestant churches and has touched millions of Christians. The NAR does not have formal membership but allows different churches and individuals to ‘join’ their movement. They affirm the doctrine of the Trinity, the hypostatic union, justification by faith in Jesus, etc. In this, they are orthodox. However, they also affirm charismatic gifts, signs and wonders, revelations from God, women pastors, and elders, as well as taking back the world from the dominion of Satan. Heirarchacly speaking, apostles are above prophets. Together they have the authority to reveal and carry out God’s plans on earth. They are heavily based on experience and, generally, do not hold to sola scriptura.
“Since NAR is not an organization or denomination, there is no official listing of NAR beliefs, leaders, or churches.” (Geivett, R. Douglas; Pivec, Holly. A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement . Weaver Book Company. Kindle Edition)
Origins of the New Apostolic Reformation
The phrase New Apostolic Reformation was coined by C. Peter Wagner (8/15/1930 – 10/21/2016). He wanted to describe what was happening among some charismatic churches that emphasized the ministry of the Holy Spirit along with present-day supernatural revelation.
“Then, in 1994, I tested “New Apostolic Reformation.” “Reformation” because the movement matched the Protestant Reformation in world impact; “Apostolic” because of all the changes the most radical one was apostolic governance, which I’ll explain in due time; and “New” because several churches and denominations already carried the name “apostolic,” but they did not fit the NAR pattern.” (https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/31851-the-new-apostolic-reformation-is-not-a-cult)
The precursors to the NAR movement precede Wagner’s declaration. It is rooted in the pentecostalism of the early 1900s as well as the charismatic movement that began in the 1960s. Wagner says…
“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.” (https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/31851-the-new-apostolic-reformation-is-not-a-cult)
Structure of the New Apostolic Reformation
The NAR asserts the present-day offices of apostles and prophets where the apostles are the authority over prophets. They get revelation knowledge from God, dispense the will of God to the people, and exercise governance in the churches. Prophets get revelation knowledge from God the Holy Spirit and can make predictions. It is up to the apostles and the rest of the church members to judge those prophecies. Under the apostles and prophets are pastors, elders, and teachers. Then under them are the congregations.
Concerns about the New Apostolic Reformation
Beware of the NAR. There are a lot of concerns within it that we need to examine. I won’t expand on them in this article, but the following is a list.
New Revelation – The apparent danger to new revelation is the possible contradiction to Scripture and the duping of people to believe in ongoing new revelation.
Scripture is not central – This is dangerous to not subject everything from today’s so-called apostles and prophets to the word of God. If anything, it is a formula for heresy.
Signs and Wonders – Signs and wonders are dangerous. In Luke 11:29, Jesus says that a wicked generation seeks signs.
Present-day apostles – Nothing in scripture necessitates present-day apostles. This is an opinion in the NAR that is imposed on the church.
Present-day prophets – Nothing in scripture necessitates present-day prophets. This is an opinion in the NAR that is imposed on the church.
Women pastors and elders – Those in the NAR affirm women pastors and elders in direct contradiction to Scripture.