Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24.7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call, featuring T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re gad you could be here. In today’s program, Tom begins a two-part series with guest Chris Quintana as they address the question: What’s new in the New Apostolic Reformation? Here’s TBC executive director, Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Our topic for this week and next is the development in Christendom called the New Apostolic Reformation. We’ll also refer to it by its initials, NAR, as we discuss, again, this New Apostolic Reformation movement.
Joining me to talk about this widespread movement within Christianity is Chris Quintana. Chris is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Cypress, which is located in Orange County, California. And Chris has been featured in the video series Wide Is the Gate, which is an apologetic documentary that deals with trends in the church that have undermined biblical faith and have drawn many Christians away from the Word of God. Chris, welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Chris: Well, thank you. It’s great to be on the show again. I enjoy the time with you!
Tom: Chris, from my perspective, the New Apostolic Reformation, the NAR, is like – it’s like a huge spider web that is connected to a host of movements and ministries, and it’s entangled millions of Christians, both professing and true Christians. So, what I want to do is simplify, as we talk about this, I want us to simplify the movement as much as possible so our listeners don’t go away from our two sessions confused, and because of its complications, it can become pretty confusing.
So, let’s start with some basics in brief. NAR. Well, according to its title, it’s “new; it’s “apostolic”; and it’s a “reformation.” Now, Chris, would you comment on each term and tell us who came up with the term (I mean we can talk about that later) but just “new”? “Apostolic”? “Reformation”? How are we to understand these things?
Chris: Well, boy! Even the question – it’s tough to just make a real concise answer to it. In the title itself – you can’t go to the book New Apostolic Reformation and learn all about because it’s kind of in the eye of the beholder. So, like you were saying, it’s very broad, a big picture. This idea that it’s something that’s new and it’s apostolic, and that is being grabbed from the apostles of the first century – the ones that were with Jesus. I’ve heard one of the people – actually more than one of the people in it - say that since it’s new, it’s this outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days, and the mandate that they now have as the “new apostles” - it’s bringing about the next “reformation.” And so, it’s a reforming of the church; it has an apostolic authority, according to them, and that apostolic authority is shown because they do these “signs and wonders” and a number of other things, a variety of teachings, and what not.
So, it is new, or what we would call it, it’s neo-charismatic stuff. It’s a new branch of the charismatic movement that we see, but they say that “We’re a new work of this apostolic ministry,” then they start talking about being prophets and apostles, and all of the rest of it.
Tom: Yeah, so, again, just as you said, the title, when you get to it, it’s pretty misleading. It’s not new, right? These things have been going on for a long time – we’ll get into that. It’s not apostolic. They claim to be at the level of the twelve apostles, and it’s a “reformation.” It’s not a reformation! It’s nothing like what we would term “the reformation.” It’s just them imposing new things, or bringing new things, into Christendom. But, Chris, in general – and we can get to the particulars later – from what you’ve said and what I just said, what’s the movement’s overall goal or objective? Or do they have one?
Chris: Well, in the broadest of terms, it’s to usher in the Kingdom of God. And they’re going to do it through – if they’re apostles, they’re not going to do it sheepishly, when you hear what they’ve got to say. They consider themselves to be the conquering “Warrior Bride,” using their own words. In fact, the current issue of Charisma magazine has a picture of Cindy Jacobs, and it says, “A Prophetic Army Rising Up.” And so, she’s one of the more recognizable people that’s talking about this, but it’s supposed to be this army [that] is being raised up, and it’s to subdue the earth, and once the earth is subdued, then Jesus returns. That’s how the thinking goes.
Tom: Yeah, now, again, I know we have to be brief about some of these things so we can get to all the issues that we want to cover, but briefly, what’s the NAR’s game plan to achieve its objective?
Chris: And, it depends on who you ask. If you ask Mike Bickel, he believes that it’s going to be done through a worship movement. And so, the IHOP movement is focusing on worship, and some of them believe that there are dominion places that are just, you know, these localities around the world that they need to claim dominion over and take spiritual authority over. See, there’s your apostles. And so, if they’re apostles, then they can claim some kind of spiritual authority even over geographical areas, governments, you name it – they’re going to take authority over it. And that’s how they prepare the world for the return of Jesus. So that’s what they’re focused on doing.
Tom: And again, part of the game plan are things that are new in the sense that they’re not biblical, and we haven’t heard of them. “Strategic level spiritual warfare?” We’ll talk about that and certainly the guy who promoted that the most and is the leader, C. Peter Wagner. But we’ll get to him in a bit. But, Chris, I compared the NAR to a spider web, which I think it fits on many levels, especially regarding its contact points. Now, I’m going to mention some contacts, and you alluded to them – you know, we’ve got Cindy Jacobs or Mike Bickel or their ministries doing this and doing that. But I’m going to mention in general some contacts, and you briefly fill in the connection. In other words, just give us a sense of how the Word Faith movement relates, or the Signs and Wonders movement. Well, let’s start with the Word Faith. How is that a part of this?
Chris: You know, you’ve been watching this for a long time, Tom, and what we do know by watching – and let’s just use the words “the charismatic movement” – we see one thing happen that’s new, and it’s exciting, and people gather around it, and like anything else, it really deals much with the emotions. After a while, it gets kind of mundane, and what used to be exciting is no longer exciting. So, what we notice is the same kind of charismatic thing, God doing the supernatural and all the rest of it, then people started looking at, well, where are we in the end times, and so how do we work that into it?
So, this is the miraculous, the supernatural, all of that stuff from the Word Faith movement, which they claimed was the supernatural work of God. Think about Rodney Howard-Browne and the “holy laughter,” and all of that stuff. Those people are all mixed in the same thing. So the guys like Kenneth Copeland, they were the ones – he was there, I believe – in that group that was just praying for Donald Trump, in that whole bunch that was there. So it just morphs from one thing to the next. The Word Faith movement is just, again, the signs and wonders, the miraculous stuff, and because of a really strange eschatological view of things, how everything wraps up in the world. And now, they think somehow they have a stake in making it all take place.
Tom: And, I agree, Chris, and in these movements, even though you could put them all in a bag and pull one out and you wouldn’t know which is which, because they overlap one another in their approaches to these things, but when I think about the Word Faith, hey, what have they done? What have they brought to this approach, to this movement in general? Well, they’ve put aside the written Word of God, and they’ve pushed ahead of that, trumping that (no pun intended here)…
Tom: …but what they’ve done is they say that hearing from God through the Rhema, then that supersedes the written Word. So now, we’ve got a problem, okay? Signs and wonders – just as you’ve articulated – we’ve got this all over the place: signs and wonders now prove, they undergird and underscore that that’s the way we need to go, through signs and wonders. So that supersedes, again, the Word of God and what the Word of God says, plus it just goes way beyond what the Scriptures teach. Healing and prosperity – well, “pick your contact point” – they’re into this. Certainly “prosperity” is a big deal among all the people you’ve mentioned, Charisma magazine - that would be one of their publishing supports for all of these people in all of this. But let’s talk for a minute about – and you mentioned it earlier – Kingdom Dominion. Just give us a couple of lines defining what that’s about.
Chris: Sure, and again, this is…they look at the world and they see it’s troubled. Okay, great. Don’t we all? Well, they also see that there is this one part of the Bible that they’ll agree with that there is a forever kingdom, and there is the Millennium that takes place. Some believe that it’s a literal thousand years. Other ones believe it’s like what you find in many Christian churches, and there’s differences among all of those kinds of things. What makes them unique and different is they believe that they have the specific role, through the authority that they have, they are going to bring it about. So this “dominion” means that it was lost in Eden. The devil came in, tempted, man fell, sin came in, then there was the curse. They believe that they’re going to restore that. So, sometimes it’s an interesting thing, if you think about it, they call themselves the New Apostolic Reformation, but some people would actually call it a “Restoration,” as well.
So they’re going to “restore” by “taking dominion” – speaking dominion over governments and countries and places. They’re going to, once again, reestablish the kingdom of God on earth, and each one of them has their own little weird twist on it, but, again, like you pointed out, it’s not a biblical thing. Well, then, people can go ahead and make it whatever they want to because ultimately they’re the authority.
And if I could just point out, one of the things that you mentioned by the Word Faith, that whole movement that we saw, the prosperity and the healing, at its core, mankind becomes sovereign, even over God, because they can speak their reality into existence.
So if you and I were watching this in the early nineties, and then saying, “We’re going to speak prosperity. We’re going to speak healing. We’re going to speak wealth. We’re going to speak this, that, and the other thing.” Well, what’s the natural progression of that but “We’re going to speak the kingdom of God into existence and we’re going to go and subdue. That’s dominion.
Tom: Right. Totally man-focused. Even though they use terminology that might make you not think that. But in practice, that’s what it is.
Chris: If I could throw in one thing quick – if I think of Kenneth Copeland, and he has back behind [on] his stage “JESUS IS LORD,” well, maybe not. Because if you can speak your reality into existence, then you’re the sovereign. So that’s paying lip service to the Lordship of Jesus because He is not…you’re not subject to His will. He’s subject to yours because you’re going to speak it into existence. He becomes just kind of a bellhop.
Tom: Yeah, you see, at best, this is not only the doctrine of men; this is extra-biblical information at best, and at worst it’s doctrines of demons. You can’t get away from that. So, Chris, the other aspect of the Kingdom Dominionism is [that] Jesus cannot return (this is why I say it’s man-focused]; they would say “Yeah, we have to do these things because Jesus cannot return until we take over the earth. We take dominion. We clean up the earth’s act, and so on.” That’s, again, so contrary to the Scriptures, it’s staggering that those who profess to be Bible-believing Christians or Christians would buy into this.
Chris: You know, and unfortunately, it’s because people begin to trust whoever it is that’s saying what they’re saying without every vetting it against the Scripture. So, when the Word of God quits being the ultimate and final authority, and you start to believe the teachings of man without validating them, it’s one thing to have a differing view on something that is, really, you know, it’s debatable. But when you’re going to go ahead and bring up and make doctrine out of whole cloth that are not only not taught in Scripture but they’re actually spoken against in Scripture, the people that are sitting there listening to it, and buying into it, have not done their due diligence to compare the teaching of what they’re hearing against the Word of God that is supposed to have final authority. But I’ve heard more than one of these people say, “Even if you can’t prove it through the Scriptures, just remember that the …Paul position - we’re the new apostles; we’re the new prophets, under a totally different mandate. I’ve heard one say that it even exceeds the mandate that the original apostles had because we have history and we are in the end times. And there’s this brand new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is why we’re different than even they.
Tom: And you’ve also heard them say, “Look, we are gods under God.” Well, they say… “Wait a minute. We’re talking about a god with small ‘g.’” But this is blasphemy to the max.
Chris: Oh, yeah! I remember hearing Kenneth Copeland say that. He said, “Every time that I read in the Bible where God says, ‘I Am,’ I just smile and say, ‘Yeah, I am, too.’” And God is so gracious, He didn’t just strike him down at that time. That’s just blasphemy!
Tom: Without a doubt! Chris, give our listeners a little background about the roots of the New Apostolic Reformation, and let’s start with the so-called movement of the Holy Spirit in the forties in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Chris: Ah yeah! We became kind of familiar with terms like the “Manifest Sons of God,” “The Latter Rain,” these are descriptions of this work that allegedly God was doing through his “end-time prophet,” a guy named William Branham, and interestingly enough, even to these days, guys like Todd Bentley – he’s a big proponent of the same kind of angelic ministry that was supposed to be going on with William Branham. Todd Bentley says that the same angels that were visiting this prophetic movement to William Branham, is now speaking with him. And so, this continuation of this alleged end times outpouring and this angelic, prophetic healing ministry; Branham, coming out of a Pentecostal background was labeled by them as being a heretic, but he was claiming to get divine revelation, and angels were visiting him, giving him prophecies, and he was supposed to have not only a prophetic movement, a forerunner of Jesus, allegedly, and he had some supposed healing ministry. So that was when we saw it in its modern – I guess you could say – in its modernized form. The Kansas City Prophets came out of that, and I’m sure we’ll get to that stuff in due course.
Tom: Well, again, William Branham, all someone needs to do is just check out his theology. It is so heretical across the board, and I think that’s why the Assemblies of God, especially related to the Latter Rain, Manifest Sons of God, at least back then, in the ‘50s, they said, “No, this is not of God.” They rejected it. But since, because of how this is filtered out – or how this has been distributed among so many different groups and so on, it’s been massaged around, and now it’s come back and much of it being accepted by the Assemblies of God.
Chris: I had some fun with the people at church the other day. I said, “Basically, the devil is pretty good about just rewrapping the same old tired lie, and we’re sometimes just not quick enough on the uptake to recognize that it’s nothing new, and I likened it to the fruitcake that is just repackaged and sent around the world. And I think the original fruitcake is probably still out there. The same stuff that Branham was saying, somebody else will pick up on it and put a little new spin on it, but it really is nothing new. It’s exactly what Solomon told us in Ecclesiastes: “There is nothing new under the sun.” But why bother coming up with something brand new, if you’re the devil, when we’ll fall for the same stuff under a different wrapper?
Tom: Right. Right. Now, the official, or at least unofficial leader of the NAR today is C. Peter Wagner. Now, as -Chris, I know you’re aware - back in the late nineties I did a two-part article on the new spiritual warfare strategies, and this was a whole thrust by C. Peter Wagner, who, by the way, was a professor of missions and church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary – Seminary School of World Missions – and he was involved there with promoting signs and wonders with John Wimber of the Vineyard movement. But his whole thrust, which is exactly what we’re talking about here, only in spades – more of it – but his Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare, because that’s the battle here. That’s what they’re telling us, whether it be deliverance ministries or, you know, we have to stand up and fight the Adversary every day; there are strategies involved, encounters with demons – but the techniques, such as territorial spirits, spiritual mapping, tearing down strongholds, identification repentance, prayer walking, prayer journeys, prayer expeditions – all of these kinds of things have become techniques for Christians, supposedly – you know, give me chapter and verse for this. You won’t find it. But the sad part is that not just back when he got started in the nineties with the spiritual warfare strategies, this has preoccupied believers in a bogus approach to dealing with what’s going on today in the world.
Yeah, the world, the flesh, and the devil – we’re always going to be in battle with that, but it’s a defensive battle. It’s not something that we can use our technologies to win over. So what’s your take on C. Peter Wagner?
Chris: You know, it’s such an interesting thing – and you and I have talked about this off of the show – there’s nothing that tells us who really the author of it is, because you and I have had conversations about the very…what we would consider the old-line conservative denominations, and they’re moving into a more experiential kind of Christianity in their mystical pursuit of meditation and prayer. And here we have, on the other extreme end of it, you have guys like C. Peter Wagner and all the people moving in the NAR, it’s still experiential, but it’s highly charismatic. It’s not old, it’s not the “tried and true” Middle Ages mysticism of Catholicism; this is the alive, charismatic, signs and wonders, miraculous kind of stuff, but it’s still completely experiential. Both camps will basically point to the experience as evidence of its validity. It doesn’t matter what you do in showing them how it’s scripturally inaccurate. That doesn’t matter. The experience trumps the Word of God. And so, in both cases, whether it’s what we would consider the “old-line” conservative protestant, even Catholic, view of things; this is the total opposite in the charismatic signs and wonders side, but it’s still experiential, and that is the be-all and the end-all pursuit is to get to the experience. C. Peter Wagner is a great example. He’s the guy who’s credited with coining the phrase the New Apostolic Reformation, and then you just laid out the litany of all of these practices…
Tom: Overrides anything from the Scriptures. See, you can’t be a Berean. You can’t really hold these things up to the Scriptures, because they say, “Oh, no, no. We’re way past that. We’re into this…” So that puts anybody who falls for this, or who buys into it, in an incredibly vulnerable position. You’re looking to men. You’re looking to – as you pointed out, Chris – to experiences. Or you’re going by feelings. Once that happens, you’re in serious trouble, because “feelings can’t be wrong.” In other words, what they may be “feeling” about can be dead wrong, but hey, your feelings are your feelings, and my feelings are my feelings. In other words, it’s subjective because it’s so incredibly experiential and that – talk about a strategy! You want a strategy of the Adversary – that’s a major one! “Remove them!” You know, “Yea, hath God said?” Satan starts with Eve in the Garden of Eden, and so on.
Now, Chris, we’ve got about a minute and a half. The Lord willing, when we come back for next week’s program, I want to talk about some of these individuals; I want to deal with Bethel, with IHOP, which we’ve talked about – the influence that this has on young people, which is staggering and tragic, in my view. Well, we’ve got a lot to deal with. So, Chris, thanks for being with me on this program, and we look forward to picking up where we left off.
Chris: Thanks, Tom, great time. Thank you. I appreciate it very, very much.