April 13, 2012, rev. May 11, 2012, Nov. 15
The following two paragraphs are taken from C. Peter Wagner’s Aug.18, 2011 update on what he calls “The New Apostolic Reformation.” As of April 10, 2012 it was posted at: http://www.globalspheres.org/.
“- -, this is probably the most radical change. I take literally St. Paul’s words that Jesus, at His ascension into heaven, “gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-12). Most of traditional Christianity accepts evangelists, pastors, and teachers, but not apostles and prophets. I think that all five are given to be active in churches today. In fact, St. Paul goes on to say, “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers…” (1 Corinthians 12:28). This does not describe a hierarchy, but a divine order. Apostles are first in that order.”
At the bottom, under “Relational Structures, he continues; “- - - the NAR is a relational structure. Everyone is related to, or aligned, with an apostle or apostles. This alignment is voluntary. There is no legal tie that binds it. In fact, some have dual alignment or multiple alignment. Apostles are not in competition with each other, they are in cahoots. (emphasis his) They do not seek the best for themselves, but for those who choose to align with them. If the spotlight comes on them, they will accept it, but they do not seek it.”
Modern Day Apostles
Apostolic governance is the first pillar of the New Apostolic Reformation, and its error lays the foundation for all of the error that follows.
In the Dominion/NAR plan all Christians will be in direct alignment with and under the governance of an “Apostle” who is equal to New Testament Apostles. The recognition of modern-day “Apostles” is increasingly popular across the church as part of Dominionism and is seen as part of the “five-fold ministry” of Eph. 4:11. (See article links below)
If “apostle” simply means that one is a founder, I’m okay with it. I am too, as I have had a leading, founding role in several business and ministry efforts. The Biblical Apostles were foundational leaders for the Church, along with Paul. However, they led with a specific kind of God-given authority because they had been with Jesus – and in Paul’s case, because God needed a “Paul” as part of the process. God appointed and empowered them to lay the foundation for the Church. There is no Biblical basis for apostles of that “class” today. Consider what Paul says in II Cor. 11:12-15 about such would-be Apostles. I wouldn’t want to be one of those guys!
This theology sets up an elite order of Apostles and prophets in a way that violates the Biblical and historic Christian doctrine of “The Priesthood of All Believers” (see link below). It will create a sense of dependence on the anointed ones, which is exactly what they want. It makes Christians lazy - - “Just trust your Apostles and prophets and do what they say and all is well.” Christians who accept their rule will turn toward these leaders instead of toward God in the difficult days ahead, and they will fall. This is serious stuff!
Apostolic governance represents an incredible power-grab. We should not be naïve about the level of authority that will be exercised with spiritual fervor, especially as “the day” draws near. Many such “Apostles” will be presumptive, disrespectful of others and even abusive, because such a leadership culture easily lends itself to that.
I say confidently that this strategy is of man and not of God, and it will by its very nature become perverted and will corrupt the Church. As in the Shepherding Movement of the 1960-70’s, control will be used for personal gain. Power creates its own morality, as has already been the case for several high-profile NAR/Dominion type leaders. It cannot be otherwise until God establishes His Kingdom on earth under the rule of King Jesus, and only He will decide when and how that takes place!
In I Cor. 3:10-11 Paul says, “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Jesus, that is, the “Jesus” whom Paul presents in I Cor. 1:18 – 2:16, and whom the scriptures identify in many places, is the Church’s foundation. Paul and the other apostles have already laid that Jesus-foundation. The Church’s task is to build on it in our own life and in the lives of others.
Yes, I understand that in Ephesians 2:19 the Apostle Paul says that the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” However, even there the foundation is the one laid by the Apostles, and is not the Apostles themselves. It is Jesus! A good study on that can be found here.
C Peter Wagner’s “Cahoots”
The freedictionary.com definition of “cahoots” is consistent with others. It says, “in modern usage cahoots is often used to imply that the joint effort is unethical, shady, questionable, or illegal,” and then says it speaks of, “connivance, collusion - agreement on a secret plot.” Look it up yourself! Interesting, that Wagner would use that word in connection with the establishment of authoritative “Apostles!”
I will not say that the men who lead the NAR and dominionism in general are consciously in cahoots with Satan, but I will say that they are unwittingly so. Their message is “another gospel which is no gospel at all” as Paul says in Gal. 1:6-8, and that is a horribly serious thing.
Apostolic governance is foundational to Dominionism and the entire signs and wonders movement with all of its allied outgrowths. There is no Biblical basis for this new breed of “Apostle” and it is noteworthy that the whole concept has come out of the prophetic community with their “extra-Biblical revelation” concept. “Cahoots” may fit well! Buyer beware!
Other study resources:
- A series of insightful articles on the new Super Apostles. This is accurate.
- Five-page paper: The Priesthood of All Believers, Dorothy Bullon, PDF, scholarly but very readable
- Assemblies of God statement on apostles and prophets, scholarly, long, excellent
- Apostles and Prophets and the Foundation of the Church, Critical Issues Commentary, Bob DeWaay
- Apostles and Prophets Today, top part, long, Let Us Reason Ministries
- See Links Page for more
Ken Stoltzfus, P.O. Box 228, Kidron, OH 44636
Tel. 330-857-6312 firstname.lastname@example.org