New Apostolic Reformation

A movement redefining Christianity with modern-day apostles and prophets at the helm.

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a movement within Protestant Christianity that emerged in the late 20th century, characterized by a belief in the restoration of the church’s apostolic governance through modern-day apostles and prophets. This movement is distinctive for its emphasis on apostolic and prophetic offices as foundational for the governance of the church, diverging from traditional denominational and pastoral leadership models common in mainstream Christianity.

C. Peter Wagner, a significant figure in the NAR, coined the term “Second Apostolic Age” to denote the period starting from 2001, which he believed marked the restoration of apostles and prophets to their rightful place in church leadership. Wagner’s teachings and leadership have profoundly influenced the movement, along with other prominent leaders such as Bill Johnson of Bethel Church, Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer, and Lou Engle of The Call​​.

Central to NAR theology is the concept of the “Fivefold Ministry,” derived from Ephesians 4:11-13, which posits that Christ has provided the church with ongoing apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to attain unity and maturity in faith. NAR leaders interpret this as a mandate for a hierarchical leadership structure with apostles and prophets at the apex, claiming that such governance is essential for the church to fulfill its mission on Earth​​.

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has faced significant controversies and criticisms from various quarters within Christianity and beyond. One major area of contention is the concept of modern-day apostles and prophets, which diverges from the traditional Christian belief that the roles of apostles ended with the original twelve chosen by Jesus. Critics argue that this foundational NAR premise opens the door to theological deviations and potential abuses of power, as it places extraordinary authority in the hands of contemporary leaders who claim apostolic and prophetic titles​​​​.

Further, the NAR’s emphasis on signs, wonders, and miracles, along with its advocacy for dominionism—the belief that Christians are called to take dominion over various societal spheres—has been critiqued for overshadowing the core Christian messages of salvation and grace. Critics are particularly concerned about the movement’s encouragement of extra-biblical revelations, fearing that it could lead followers away from the scriptural foundations of Christianity towards subjective and unverifiable spiritual experiences​​​​.

Moreover, the movement’s influence in political spheres, particularly in the United States and Uganda, has raised alarms about the potential for theocracy, where religious leaders gain undue political power and influence. This politicization of faith, critics worry, could erode the separation of church and state and marginalize those who do not adhere to the NAR’s teachings​​.

Despite facing criticism, the NAR continues to exert considerable influence, especially in the realms of global missions and evangelization. It promotes a vision of a unified and mature church, advancing the kingdom of God through spiritual warfare, prophetic declarations, and an expectation of miraculous signs and wonders​​.

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