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The “New Apostolic” church movement

What if someone came along and said we have been doing church without a true foundation. That unless we install this missing part we will not succeed. The answers to the greatest revival in history are going to be found in this missing part. Does this sound like an implausible claim? We are going to look at this very claim used for a unique movement that is now growing.

A National Symposium on the Post-Denominational Church was convened by Dr. C. Peter Wagner at Fuller Seminary, May 21-23, 1996. Bill Hamon said that “this was a historical occasion in God's annals of Church history. It was prophetically orchestrated by the Holy Spirit to fulfill God's progressive purposes of bringing His church to its ultimate destiny... the consensus of the panelists was that there are still apostles and prophets in the Church, and there is an emerging Apostolic Movement that will revolutionize the 21st Century Church” (Streams, Rivers, Floods, Avalanches, cited by Jewel van der Merwe, Discernment Ministries Newsletter, http://www.discernment-ministries.com/Articles/streams.htm)

C. Peter Wagner states “I believe that the government of the church is finally coming into place and that is the, the scripture teaches in Eph. 2 that the foundation of the church is apostles and prophets” (CBN interview Jan.3, 2000).  

The second apostolic age began in the year 2001” What’s important is that you’re the people of God out there, you’re representing the kingdom of God, and you know this, but nothing has happened because the government of the church has not come into place”  (C. Peter Wagner Arise Prophetic Conference Gateway Church San Jose, CA 10/10/2004) (emphasis mine)

Did the Church have no government for almost 1900 years prior to Wagner’s new apostolic prophetic movement?

Wagner explains this “The second apostolic age began in the year 2001, okay?  And in this whole first chapter in this book I argue my point, I think rather… I hope it’s convincingly, that 2001 marks, is the year that marks the second apostolic age, which means for years the government of the church had not been in place since about, you know, the first century or so.  It doesn’t mean weren’t apostles and prophets, because the government of the… the foundation of the church according to Ephesians 2:20 is apostles and prophets, Jesus being the chief cornerstone.  It doesn’t mean there weren’t apostles and prophets, it means the body of Christ hadn’t recognized them and released them for the office that they had so that they’d function as apostles and prophets in the foundation of the church.  But we now have that, I believe we’ve reached our critical mass in the year 2001”   (C. Peter Wagner, Arise Prophetic Conference, Gateway Church, San Jose, CA, 10/10/2004)

Good intentions, sometimes the best intentions of sincere men can easily not turn out well or bring health to Christ’s body if they are not biblically based. This article is about examining this movement’s concepts, goals and practices to see if they have a biblical precedence for their claims.

It is after the church has become used to practicing an experiential faith, through the Vineyard church headed by John Wimber; by Toronto, and Brownsville; going to miracle crusades, spiritual warfare meetings and praying against territorial spirits, we are have been prepared for the next step. Apostles and prophets are now to be at the helm to steer the Church in the right direction. After all, this is what the revival of the Latter Rain movement of the 40’s and 90’s was about from the beginning.

There was a time we were able to decide whether to be either Catholic or Protestant, but now there is a new addition to this choice, called the New Apostolic Reformation (Not to be confused with the Oneness movement). We are informed that apostolic churches are becoming one of the fastest growing segments in the church, especially in third world countries.

C. Peter Wagner first labeled this Church movement “Post Denominationalism,” this term was dropped in January 1996 in favour of “New Apostolic reformation” I needed a name ... For a couple of years I experimented with 'Post denominationalism'. The name I have settled on for the movement is the New Apostolic Reformation.” (C. Peter Wagner, The New Apostolic Churches 1998, p.18.)

There are many recognized names that are involved in this movement; some we are familiar with and some that we may not be familiar with. One of them is Peter Wagner, a former professor and mission director at Fuller theological. Wagner has proposed a new and elaborate way of doing church so we can get the job done (meaning the great commission). It is by installing the five-fold ministry with apostles and prophets over the pastors and elders of the church, just as it was in the primitive church.

Wagner states, “The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of God at the close of the twentieth century that is, to a significant extent, changing the shape of Protestant Christianity around the world,” Wagner explains. “For almost five hundred years, Christian churches have largely functioned within traditional denominational structures of one kind or another...

The apostles bring spiritual government to the pastors of the city so that the pastors of the city can do the job that God has given them in a much more effective way. The only thing is that the pastors of the city have to recognize the existence of apostles and be willing to acknowledge their governmental role. This hasn't happened too much yet.

The only way this can possibly play itself out would be by the other people in the city recognizing that the apostle will add value to their own ministry. If this does not happen, change will not occur,” explains Wagner.

The whole idea of recognizing the gift and role of an apostle is a really big change in the way we see church. The one thing that has surprised me is the lack of opposition to this. I haven't seen an awful lot of criticism or opposition to it as has developed over other issues.” (Arise Magazine Article: New Apostolic Reformation, Posted September 1, 2000)

What may not have been understood at the time certainly is now. Opposition to this movement is growing as more information becomes available to everyone. The main author and guide of this new movement is former professor at Fuller Seminary C. Peter Wagner. Notice that the apostle must be recognized and govern for this change in the church to take place. Everything at their disposal is used to convince people that this is beneficial.

To understand Peter Wagner and his concepts of ministry one must first learn about his association with John Wimber who was the pastor of the Vineyard movement. While not everything is open knowledge there are some details that are known. Wagner’s connection to John Wimber, and his influence cannot be overlooked. They both became mentors to each other in the mid-seventies. John Wimber became his colleague (The Third Wave of the Spirit p.68, C. P. Wagner), “God began doing signs and wonders through John Wimber and the people in his church that I previously had thought could be done only through Pentecostals” (The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit p.25). “Because I trusted John, I never doubted that what was happening at Vineyard Christian Fellowship was authentic New Testament Christianity. The upshot: I teamed up with John to offer a new course in Fuller Seminary, MC510, first called “Signs, Wonders and Church Growth,” later renamed “The Miraculous and Church Growth” (ibid. p.24).

Here Wagner refused to discern because of his friendship with a man. This trap is the same for others today. It brought Wagner to accept whatever he saw from Wimber as the real thing. So what Wimber approved of, Wagner would essentially approve of also. Wimber’s philosophy of ministry lives on in Wagner.

Wimber was invited by Wagner to become an adjunct teacher at Fuller and they began to develop the concept of signs and wonders evangelism not willing to continue within the biblical boundaries found in the Scripture. “One of our adjunct professors, John Wimber, who is a pastor of Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Yorba Linda, California, came to us recently with a suggestion that we offer a course in Signs, Wonders and Church Growth. I agreed to cosponsor the course with him, and early in 1982 we experimented with it.” (On The Crest Of The Wave, p.131-132, C. Peter Wagner, 1983.)

Peter Wagner had served as a missionary in Bolivia and was appointed to the Donald McGavran Chair of Church Growth at Fuller Seminary School of World Missions in 1971. He is known as a missions strategist at Fuller theological who used methodologies he learned from Wimber reintroducing the gifts. Wagner and John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, co-instructed the course “Signs, Wonders and Church Growth” MC510 at Fuller Seminary and the rest became history. Furthermore, from 1991 to 1999, Dr. Wagner taught spiritual mapping as part of missions through his MC551 course at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission. Nearly 900 pastors, ministry leaders, and lay persons learned spiritual mapping through his Fuller courses

Wagner attributes “A key part of my own spiritual pilgrimage was my close friendship with John Wimber, which began in the mid-1970’s” (The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit p.27). Wagner describes,  “I’d go down to the Vineyard to get charged up, and then the next Sunday they would come to my congregational church and discharge …about every, every, every new thing that came into the Vineyard uh 3 months 4 months later 6 months later I mean it was right there in that congregational church and the 120 fellowship”(C.P. Wagner National School of the Prophets May 11, 2000.)

Wagner states he had experienced a “headache five out of seven days every week” (The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit, p.68). “I would ask people with the gift of healing to pray for me. Sometimes he would get a few days of temporary relief. Sometimes-but not always-I would get a few days of temporary relief. One of those who prayed was my friend Paul Yonggi Cho, pastor of the world's largest church in Seoul, Korea, who laid hands on me after I preached in his church one Sunday. But I still had the headaches five days out of seven.” (ibid p. 68)

Wagner tells the story of how he was constantly plagued by headaches, he was told by John Wimber who came up to me, “My friend says your problem is a spirit,” he said. The reason for his headaches was a “demon of headache” that needed to be exorcised. “Then our MC510 class met in January 1983. Sure enough, the first Monday night I went to class with a headache. So during the break I asked John to pray for me. John and his wife, Carol, prayed for me. The pain left. But about an hour later it was back again.” “But what am I supposed to do about John replied quickly, “Treat it like a cat on the backporch! Yell at it and tell it to go away!” (ibid. p.69) He says that was the beginning of the end of his headaches.

Wimber became dependent on the experience rather than Scripture, and he took it all to a “new level.” This led him into practicing pragmatism (if it works, it must be from God). His experience formed his theology, he did not use theology (the Bible) to approve what he experience. John Wimber had separated from the fellowship of Calvary Chapel and aligned himself with several other churches. During this time he became associated with Lonnie Frisbee that was also severed from Calvary because of his extreme pentecostal practices that were concerning. Several years later, they formed officially as the Association of Vineyard Churches. John Wimber said, “So in 1978 I left the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth to become pastor of what is now called the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Anaheim, California. It was in this environment, a small group of fifty people, that “I first tested my theories of power evangelism.”

Tested theories = pragmatism, which means if it works, it is accepted as valid and from God. True faith says that I only accept and believe what is based upon God's written Word, the Bible. These two practices are diametrically opposed to each other. From this experimentation came the whole new wave “the third wave” of doing church. Wimber even commented in Charisma magazine in 1995, “ there is nothing in scripture that can support these kind of phenomena that I can see and I can't think of anything throughout the church age that would, I feel no obligation to try and explain its just phenomena, its just people responding to God” (Charisma Feb. 1995 p.26).

Like Wimber, Wagner’s philosophy is pragmatic “... we ought to see clearly that the end DOES justify the means. What else possible could justify the means? If the method I am using accomplishes the goal I am aiming at, it is for that reason a good method. If, on the other hand, my method is not accomplishing the goal, how can I be justified in continuing to use it?” (C. Peter Wagner, “Your Church Can Grow - Seven Vital Signs Of A Healthy Church”, 1976, p.137 - emphasis in original)

So what we have is a theory based on the ratio of success, this dictates whether something is correct or not. I fail to see the logic in this, much less an apostolic attitude.

Under Wimber the seeds were planted in the Vineyard that were the experimental ground for the new thing, new revelation, the new breed, the new -- just about anything. But for our focus, it was new apostles. “I think the most wonderful thing God is doing for us in these last days is raising up and restoring completely apostolic leadership, apostolic authority-the hope of the church, the hope of the world, is the apostolic ministry...So here God is raising up a new standard, a new banner, if you will, that's going to radically change the expression, the understanding of Christianity in our generation ... God has invited us to have a role in establishing this New Order of Christianity ... God is offering to this generation something He has never offered to any other generation before. He's giving us an open invitation to participate in something that will lead to the prize of all the ages ... It's greater than anything He's ever done from Adam clear down through the millennium” (Vineyard Prophecy School 1989, cited in Beware of the new prophets, p. 32 by Bill Randles).

It was John Wimber a Quaker pastor for five years who launch the “Third Wave” that united the Charismatics and Pentecostals and others to practice power evangelism and power healing. Many were taught by Wimber that they were living in a restoration as the days of the apostles. They were told they too could perform miracle healing, exorcise evil spirits, and raise the dead as did Jesus and the apostles. While I have no qualms over us as Christians doing such things, it was how this was taught and implemented, and to what extent that distorted the biblical teachings on this.

Wimber was also involved in various aspects of the Latter Rain heresy, and we can see this carried over to Wagner his former association. He taught, “Something so astounding, something so marvelous that God has kept it as a mystery, as it were, behind His back and He is about to reveal it to the ages. He is about to reveal it. With the judgment of all mankind will come this incredible incarnational enduement of God's Spirit and we will see the Elijahs.... This End time Army will be made of the Elijah’s of the Lord God” (John Wimber, Docklands England, October, 1990). A number of the prophets under Wagner's leadership seem to hold to this very same Latter Rain concept.

John Wimber wrote the forward of Wagner’s book published in 1988 “The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit.” Wagner gives us some insight into his journey of transformation; he states in his book, “For most of my Christian experience these two were the only facets of faith I knew anything about. The evangelical preaching to which I was exposed did a good job of sensitizing me to saving faith and sanctifying faith. But it did not take me much further.”

“The third facet of faith I like to call possibility-thinking faith. The name comes from the title of a book by Pastor Robert Schuller, Move Ahead with Possibility Thinking. Schuller has helped many people begin to believe God for great things. This is faith for setting goals. A somewhat mysterious but important dynamic is released through intelligent and courageous goal setting. Hebrews 11 is a textbook on possibility-thinking faith. It begins by defining faith as “the substance of things hoped for.” Notice that things hoped for are neither past nor present. Everything hoped for is future. (The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit, C.P.Wagner, p.39)

Robert Schuller attributes his concepts to Norman Vincient Peale as starting the positive thinking movement. Peale a 33rd degree mason denied just about all the core teachings of Christianity. In fact Schuller's teaching on faith is really human potential in disguise, “Faith plus focus plus follow through equals achievement, and many people fail because they just don't have the faith in themselves” (Larry King Live on 1/28/94). “And I can feel the self-esteem rising all around me and within me, 'Rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me' (John 7:38). I'll really feel good about myself” (Robert Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 80).

Like the word faith movement faith is a force that we muster up in ourselves There is no denying in Schuller, as with Kenneth Hagin there is a New thought root on their views of faith. Wagner’s attributing inspiration to Schuller doesn’t help his cause but it really takes a turn for the worse when he refers to Yonggi Cho for what he calls the fourth dimensional faith

“The fourth facet of faith is fourth dimension faith. Again, I have taken it from a book title, this time from the Fourth Dimension by Paul Yonggi Cho. Paul Yonggi Cho is now called David Cho is pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, Korea, the world’s largest church. The membership has surpassed 700,000. Cho understands and practices the first three levels of faith, but he adds another. He believes God for supernatural signs and wonders. He sees God do miraculous things as a part of his everyday ministry.”

Contrary to the way many think today about numbers equal success, a huge church should not be what impresses us, but the spiritual maturity of the believers should. How they live by the word and

He goes on to say, “Fourth-dimension faith is described in the Bible in Matthew 17. Jesus' disciples came across an epileptic who had a demon. They tried to heal him but couldn't Then Jesus cast out the demon and used the opportunity to teach a lesson. When the disciples asked why they couldn't cast out the demon, Jesus said, “Because of your unbelief!” (Mt.17:20). He said that faith no larger than a mustard seed would have been sufficient.

Wagner then states “What kind of faith was Jesus referring to? His disciples already had saving faith, and a good degree of sanctifying faith. Whether they had possibility-thinking faith I do not know. But they did not, at that time, have the fourth-dimension faith necessary to see a miracle happen. Later on they did demonstrate that faith, particularly after Pentecost. The Book of Acts tells us that many signs and wonders were done through the apostles (Acts 2:43).” (The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit p.40, C. P. Wagner.)

Did Jesus use a fourth level of faith to succeed? Did Jesus say there were different faiths, different levels as Wagner describes? Or that faith no larger than a mustard seed was needed. In other words, they did not have any faith not that they didn’t have the right level--the 4th dimensional kind. We need to ask, if we have this faith will we get the same results as Jesus did? Here is the practice of pragmatism, not faith; for true faith trusts in God for the results, it accepts whether He will do what is asked or not.

Here is what “David” (no longer Paul) Yonggi Cho explains faith is, “You create the presence of your mouth. If you speak about salvation, the saving Jesus appears if you speak about divine healing, then you will have the healing Christ in your congregation, if you speak the miracle performing Jesus, then the presence of the miracle performing Jesus is He is bound by your lips and by your words. He is depending on you” (The Fourth Dimension, p. 84 by Paul Yonggi Cho). This is not a prayer or faith according to biblical definition but more of a speaking affirmation. Cho’s teachings are really a blend of positive thinking and positive confession. We see a pattern emerging, it is man centered, we do this and that by this power we are supposed to have what we ask for. We find this taught in the word faith movement that is not upholding biblical faith or truth.

We also see Wagner share the same platform at Church Growth International that sponsored the celebration of Jesus' birth in Jerusalem. Speakers included David Yonggi Cho, Jack Hayford, Robert Schuller, C. Peter Wagner, and many others. (Jerusalem Celebration 2000, http://www.ncinter.net/~ejt/ytj11.zip)

Wagner resigned from his full-time teaching position from Fuller Seminary in 1998 to become Chancellor of the Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI). He continues his work as the head of Global Harvest Ministries. The officers of Wagner Leadership Institute besides Wagner are: Chancellor Jack D. Sytsema, Dean Members of the Board of Regents include: Ché Ahn, George Barna, Rice Broocks, David Cannistraci, Jack Deere, John Eckhardt, Gary Greig, Ted Haggard, Cindy Jacobs, Lawrence Khong, Chuck Pierce.

Peter Wagner has been involved in the Church growth movement, because of a frustration in not seeing results like he would like to, he believes a new structure needs to be put in place for our success. Peter Wagner speaks about the “NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION” a movement that he previously has referred to as post-denominationalism. Wagner says that this is the most radical change in the way of “doing church” since the Protestant Reformation. This is also supposed to be the fastest growing movement in every part of the world. Through this movement the two gifts and offices of prophets (a gift that began coming into prominence in the 1980s) and apostles have become familiar to many Christians. Guess who is head of the apostles and prophets? That’s right Peter Wagner. If the apostles govern the church, and he oversees the apostles, we have a new pope.

Every time Jesus began building His Church in a new way throughout history, He provided new wineskins. The growth of the Church through the ages is, in part, a story of new wineskins,” says Wagner. “These new wineskins appear to be at least as radical as those of the Protestant Reformation almost five hundred years ago.” (Arise Magazine Article: New Apostolic Reformation posted September 1, 2000)

I know so many people use this phrase as a principle for anything new but in context the new wineskins would be the beginning of what Jesus was starting when He was among the people. What Jesus was saying is that He would not attach the new to the old, but keep them separate to preserve the old; it would be a whole new covenant, one by grace that would not be a continuation of the old covenant of law. Because the final revelation had come by Christ, the kingdom of God was expressed in new ways and could not be conformed to the forms of the Law. This is why it could not be sewn together, or put in the same bottle the people desired the old and Jesus was introducing to them the new. (Luke 5:36-39) By Wagner and others using this for their new reformation which tells us it is not the same as what Jesus introduced

The claim is that this restoration is supposed to be more radical than what Martin Luther started. Or as some believe it will completely bring to an end what Martin Luther and the reformers started. Martin Luther rose up to get the church back to the basics found in the Bible. This is not what we find taking place today, instead there is a new direction proposed by new apostles and prophets.

Jesus appeared to Paul after His ascension and Paul recalls: “After He was seen by James and then by all the apostles, then last of all he was seen by me also as one “born out of due time.” (I Cor. 15:7,8) Last of all the apostles, means exactly what it says “last of all the apostles.” “Last of all” can only be an adverb describing something that is last in a sequence. Paul is saying affirmatively, He is the 'last of all' apostles appointed by Jesus. Because one of the qualifications to be an apostle was to see the resurrected Christ. So now what I have to wonder, if Paul is the last to be appointed then who appointed all these new ones? Well, they seem to have appointed each other. Wagner was appointed by prophetess,’ Cindy Jacobs for instance, “As far as I can find back in the prophetic journal the first prophecy I ever had that used the word apostle came from Cindy Jacobs.” In July in 1995, at a meeting in Colorado springs, at a voice of God conference “Cindy said “The lord would say today my son Peter I put the anointing of apostle of prayer upon you, I put the mantle of an Abraham, a patriarch, and I’m calling you forth into the land of promise. And I call you Doris, Sarah, says the Lord, and calling you forth to give you many, many spiritual children.” So that’s the first time I can recall or look up that somebody using the word apostle when they prophesied over me.” Wagner then says “a few months later in September one of our three intercessors name Margaret Mobely from the Dallas area she wrote the letter and she said an apostolic door has been sovereignly opened for you by the Lord Himself neither man nor demon will be able shut it.” (C.P. Wagner May 11, 2000 National School of the Prophets)

Cindy Jacobs tells of when she was in Bogota, Colombia. “Mike and I were sitting at a restaurant with Peter Wagner, and the Lord gave me a word for him, that God was going to use him to do something that would change the face of Christianity. And he said, “Well, I'll probably never tell anybody that.” Oh, yeah, right, Then, well, right. That's the second part. I was gonna say that. In fact, the Lord, the Lord, and the word of the Lord said, “It will be, it will be like unto what Martin Luther did” (Cindy Jacobs National School of the Prophets, subtitled “Mobilizing the Prophetic Office May 11th, 2000).

Well we have heard from a number of the new prophets saying that the Lord told them of changing the course of Christianity. Over the last several years and we have seen the course we are now on and I don’t think its good at all. I wonder will true Christianity--the real Church change? If it does, it is no longer true or the church.

It was Bob Jones who prophesied that Wimber was to “introduce to the body of Christ the apostles that were yet to come in the 90’s.” We can see this carried over to Wagner by association. What you get is much of Wimber’s philosophy of ministry living on in Wagner.

The Apostolic movement on the move

The Apostolic reformation is not just an American trend; its been exported all over the globe.

In a brochure advertising C. Peter Wagner's conference in Brisbane Australia, the following was written: “The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit that is changing the shape of Christianity globally. It is truly a new day! The Church is changing. New names! New methods! New worship expressions! The Lord is establishing the foundations of the Church for the new millennium. This foundation is built upon apostles and prophets. Apostles execute and establish God's plan on the earth. The time to convene a conference of the different apostolic prophetic streams across this nation is now! This conference will cause the Body to understand God's 'new' order for this coming era. We look forward to having you with us in Brisbane in Feb. 2000,” signed by Peter Wagner and Ben Gray. (Brochure For Brisbane 2000, as cited in Jumping On The Bandwagon - Australian Christian Churches, Seduced by the Beat of a Different Drummer? Hughie Seaborn, 1999, http://members.ozemail.com.au/~rseaborn/bandwagon.html

It should more accurately say that this foundation is built upon “new apostles and prophets,” not the original ones. This is the new order is to be implemented for doing church. Certainly this plan for a new government over the church has been in the works for many years by the prophets. Mike Bickle one of the prophets under Wagner stated over 10 years ago: “There's Apostles, there's Imminent Apostles and there's MOST IMMINENT APOSTLES... There's various levels of Apostles and the Lord was showing that.... out of This Movement there would be 35 apostles ... that will be of the highest level of apostolic ministry. . . the whole government of this movement in it's highest level in all places it goes.”

Prophet Chuck Pierce in his article A Call to Shift the Church Apostolically “believes this historical shift began in October 1996, and matured in September 2000. I see the next two years as defining the role of the identity of the Church of the future in the earth realm.”

Pierce also states “Now, Peter (Wagner) mentioned to us how there is a great shift is going on, he calls it a “reformation” some are beginning to call it a “revolution” that is going on and as this revolution/reformation goes on there is an increase coming in government…Now when the government of God begins to order and increase we will begin to see the government of the earth and the nations of the earth come into alignment… Let me say this, when the apostolic/prophetic government begins to rise up and come into order territorially they begin to actually, the word “father” is an apostolic term, they actually begin to father the government of their region. Now, we need to have a mentality that the church is not the church is not the tail but the head and can begin to set the course of their area” (National School Of The Prophets (Mobilizing The Prophetic Office Chuck Pierce, 5/11/00).

John Eckhardt who is in Wagners leadership explains “The war between the Pastor and the Prophet will cease with the full emergence of the Apostle…. Are we going to be willing to submit our ministry to a specific Apostolic visionary? This is a critical question that will determine our influence on hastening the coming of the Lord, in our effective contribution to the restoring of all things spoken by the prophets” (John Eckhardt Moving in the Apostolic p.25).

Dr. C. Peter Wagner calls this movement a “new apostolic reformation.” It is a movement that ultimately will affect everyone within the Church. The challenge to each of us is, will we fight against and reject the movement, or will we support it and flow with it?” (p.101 Moving in the Apostolic by John Eckhardt -the forward is done by C.P.Wagner)

Dr. Peter Wagner is such an Apostolic figure. He heads up the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs... the Apostles are being raised up. God has raised up these men to be very visible. We know a lot about a few Apostles in the New Testament. We will know a lot about a few Apostles in the New Jerusalem. We can get offended, or we can get on board” (Finding Your Place in the Apostolic Vision Feb., 1999)

The appeal is to join or not be onboard with God, who is doing new things. “Dear evangelist, pastor and teacher, don't fight the apostles and prophets the Lord is raising up. They are needed in order to fulfill the Great Commission, just as you are” (p. 41, Moving in the Apostolic by John Eckhardt).

Because of the movement’s organization and aggressive promotion, a rapid growth has taken place throughout the world. Wagner and a number of others have expanded their structure to form numerous other subdivisions besides the International Coalition of Apostles. These men and their movement will move into your area sooner than you think and you will be challenged by what they say. You either will crumble to their challenge or be prepared to withstand a coup d'état of your church. Many will accept it because it offers something they are all looking for-growth, and on the surface can make sense; others will resist because they have equipped themselves to know what this is really about, the people involved and the direction it is headed.

Wagner says he was told “you are now about to face the greatest challenge of your life, you are being called to reshape the face of Christianity” (National School of The Prophets Mobilizing The Prophetic Office, C. P. Wagner May 11, 2000).

Wagner does say: We do not mean that we would position any of us with apostolic callings in the same category or on the same level with the twelve “Apostles of the Lamb.” He also states we do not mean heavy handed authority, ungodly control or lording over anyone. (2 Corinthians 1:21)...The New Apostolic Reformation is not the only thing God is doing and maybe it's not even the most important thing, but it certainly is a place where God is moving.”

While he says this apologetic statement, he also says the opposite more frequently by affirming a governing in the church by them. The majority of statements and practices by him and those under him do not agree with this position.

Many of the prophets associated with Wagner are saying that the new apostles and prophets will exceed the old ones in miracles and deeds, one can only wonder if there is a miscommunication in what he and they believe. If one listens to the prophetic conference called the National School of Prophets Wagner held in May, 2,000 we already hear of apologies for the abuse and undermining of the pastors authority, so what are we to think? Furthermore, I fail to see how Wagner can say the New Apostolic Reformation may not be the most important thing God is doing if the Church’s future success is depending on the missing two offices to be restored to have the 5 fold ministry so the church can work correctly. Wagner is selling the church a “restoration” something we don’t need. Much of his and others time are spent on promoting their position and methods globally. In his article “How Important are Apostles?” He quotes John Kelly: “We live in a critical hours. There needs to be a demonstration in this generation of the ministry of the apostle with miraculous, prophetic power and world-changing productivity. When the apostles begin to arise by the thousands, we will be able to take the nations for Jesus Christ. The harvest cannot be brought in apart from this foundational office.” This is a consistent message we hear over and over, it cannot be achieved without them.

Chuck Pierce “Now, this is such a wonderful time that we have together, that was great with Peter (Wagner) was sharing with us because I believe when we start understanding the giftings, the ascension gifts in God’s foundational government of the church we can really move forward into all God has for us in our region. So it’s very, very important that we begin to understand that” (Chuck Pierce National School of The Prophets, Mobilizing The Prophetic Office 5/11/00)

The war between the Pastor and the Prophet will cease with the full emergence of the Apostle…. Are we going to be willing to submit our ministry to a specific Apostolic visionary? This is a critical question that will determine our influence on hastening the coming of the Lord, in our effective contribution to the restoring of all things spoken by the prophets (John Eckhardt, Moving in the Apostolic, p.25)

Can this be another Shepherding movement disguised in a new package? The word we continue to hear is “restored” and it is a most important concept. In the 1800’s, Thomas Campbell founded the Restorationist Movement whose goal was to restore first century Christianity. As the Campbellite Movement grew by proselytizing other churches like the Baptists and Presbyterians, etc., they called the churches to join them in the restoration, claiming they restored the church to the ancient order of things. In 1979 breaking off from one of the denominations that was started by Campbell’s movement Kip McKean started the International Churches of Christ. He promoted what his predecessor said “It is our mission to restore Christianity to the form it took in the first century…” (Media and Law). Does this sound familiar? It should, these concepts all have been tried before by many people to bring the Church back to its original form, especially over the last century. The words and terms may be different but the concept is the same.

This movements adherent’s have targeted the belief systems for change. Some of the prophets in the prophetic movement are also associated with Wagner: Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, Paul Cain, Rick Joyner, John Paul Jackson, Francis Frangipane, Jack Deere and numerous others (many who were originally on board with Wimber from the Kansas City prophets). We only need to look at what happened to the majority of the Vineyard churches to understand what a repeat would do.

Rick Joyner says of these new appointed offices “It was said of the Apostle Paul that he was turning the world upside down; it will be said of the apostles soon to be anointed that they have turned an upside down world right side up. Nations will tremble at the mention of their name” (The Harvest; Rick Joyner).

Many challenge the literal interpretation of Scripture replacing it with an allegorical one. One way some are changing the meaning of the scriptures is with the prophecies of the end times. Instead of a rapture of the Church, a spiritual return of the Spirit comes first (the Latter rain view) without a physical return of Christ. Some promote a “coming glory” in the church to empower her first. Instead the Church then becomes God's government on earth with the people as warriors, judges, and rulers exercising their kingdom authority by supernatural powers (eloheems that are greater than the original apostles) to bring in a global kingdom-rule. After we get the job done then Jesus will come back. We are told the “new apostles and prophets” are going to lead the church into a new era, the last great revival.

Not surprising that Wagner has moved in the direction of the Latter Rain with promotion of its various aberrant theologies resulting from his association with Wimber and the ‘prophets’ like Bill Hamon. Wagner wrote the preface for a book by Bill Hamon, “Apostles, prophets and the Coming Moves of God: God’s End-Time Plans for His Church and Planet Earth.” He is also in contact with leaders from the Toronto/Brownsville Revival. According to Jim Lafoon an apostle under Wagner -- Holy Spirit spoke to me “sooner or later churches all over America are gonna sober up.” And in that moment of sobriety when all of a sudden you roll over and while you were sleeping God has Labanized you and your pastor is never someone you would have chosen sober, I mean people say how can Dr. Wagner his age be with all these weird people? He’s been on 14 year drunk, it’s the only way to explain it, he’s not been sober for years.” (Jim Lafoon speaking at Peter Wagner’s National School of The Prophets, Mobilizing The Prophetic Office, 2000) 

Drunk, means drunk in the spirit, this is what the theme of his message was about; so we see there are ties with the Toronto blessing (originally a Vineyard church) and other aspects that have already transpired from this revivalist movement.

In Roger Sapp’s book “The Last Apostles on Earth,” endorsed by C. P. Wagner, he proposes a scenario we are consistently hearing from the spiritual warfare practitioners, that after the evil prince spirits are defeated “ they will be eventually dethroned by the warfare of the Church. In contrast, a man who is an apostle and submitted to Christ will now reign spiritually over that locality in place of the displaced evil prince spirit.” (As quoted by Teri Lee Earl’s book review) http://www.harvestnet.org/reports/lastapostlesquotes.htm)

This certainly is a promotion of the end-time dominion church. That has its origins in the revival of the Latter Rain movement of the late 80’ and 90’s (not the 40’s and 50’s). This is exactly what Wagner and his apostle/prophets practice for evangelism warm ups.

Wagner is the “presiding apostle” of the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA), and “convening apostle” of the New Apostolic Roundtable (NAR). The international coalition of Apostles (ICA) sees itself as a vehicle for bringing together apostles from around the world in a broad network to facilitate mutual acquaintance and communication among apostles. It is expected that initially 500 to 1,000 apostles will join. The office is in a suburb of Dallas, managed by John Kelly, executive apostle who serves as an Ambassadorial Apostle. Membership is by official invitation from ICA leadership, and the members are asked to pay a monthly fee to sustain membership. Nominations may be received through any active ICA member. They are then processed through the Colorado Springs ICA office and decisions are made on a case-by-case basis as to whether official invitations will be extended. An application process is required if the invitation is accepted by the individual apostle. This involves submitting a written application form as well as the payment of membership fees. Members from the “first world” are expected to contribute US $600 per year, those from the “third world” contribute US $300 per year. If there is any doubt, the individual apostle decides whether he or she is “first world” or “third world.” Being an apostle has risen with the cost of living.

What is an apostle according to ICA? The ICA definition of apostle: An apostle is a Christian leader gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church.” (underlined for emphasis)

The New Apostolic Roundtable is one of these smaller units. Membership, which comes through a personal invitation from Wagner, is now closed. On principle, the general public should know the names of the NAR members, all of whom feel accountable to each other. Wagner is convening apostle, Chuck Pierce is prophetic counsel, and members include: Ché Ahn, Bob Beckett, Rice Broocks, Harold Caballeros, Emmanuele Cannistraci, Paul Daniel, Greg Dickow, Naomi Dowdy, John Eckhardt, Michael Fletcher, Bill Hamon, Jim Hodges, John Kelly, Lawrence Kennedy, Lawrence Khong, David Kwang-Shin Kim, Larry Kreider, Alan Langstaff, Roberts Liardon, Dexter Low, Mel Mullen, Alistair Petrie and Eddie Villanueva. (ministries Today Magazine July-August 2000)

The appeal is to join or not be onboard with God who is doing new thing. “Dear evangelist, pastor and teacher, don't fight the apostles and prophets the Lord is raising up. They are needed in order to fulfill the Great Commission, just as you are” (p. 41, Moving in the Apostolic by John Eckhardt).

Because of the movement’s organization and aggressive promotion, a rapid growth has taken place throughout the world. Wagner and a number of others have expanded their structure to form numerous other subdivisions besides the International Coalition of Apostles. These men and their movement will move into your area sooner than you think and you will be challenged by what they say. You either will crumble to their challenge or be prepared to withstand a coup d'état of your church. Many will accept it because it offers something they are all looking for-growth, and on the surface can make sense; others will resist because they have equipped themselves to know what this is really about, the people involved and the direction it is headed.

Wagner stresses, “The biggest difference between New Apostolic Christianity and traditional Christianity is the amount of spiritual authority delegated by the Holy Spirit to individuals.” “In tradition Christianity, authority resided in groups such as church councils, sessions, congregations, and general assemblies. New Apostolic Christianity sees God entrusting the government of the church to individuals.”

The Bible teaches that the elders ruled collectively 1 Pet. 5:1: “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder.” Although Peter was an apostle, he saw himself as another elder, plural, there was no chief elder over the other elders, he was not the apostle over the other apostles who were then over the prophets, who were then over the pastors etc. as government. Wagner’s model is not in agreement with the Biblical practice. When there were decisions to be made Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to discuss it with the other apostles and Peter and James who was the pastor over the church led the way. As the church was learning about grace disputes rose In Acts 15.after the dispute is settled in Acts 15:22-23 “Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas,..and “They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings” settling the dispute. Notice everyone was involved the apostles, the elders, and the brethren. But the decision was “determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem” (Acts 16:4). We the apostles in pairs in their missionary work, Peter and James, Paul and Barnabas.

Wagner does hold the position “Some argue that functioning as an apostle is enough without needing to use the title. My conclusion is the contrary. While I concede that the function is the most essential consideration, I also believe that there is increased power in the use of the title “apostle. The function, in my opinion, will be more anointed and more of a service to the church if the title is used.” Weighty titles do seem to get you more places that a no titles at all.

Under an article called An Apostolic-Prophet, Wagner writes of himself, “But the Holy Spirit prophetically stated that this apostolic anointing was being granted for two reasons. The first reason was that I had been faithful in multiplying the prophet anointing that had been giving, so now that anointing was being doubled by the addition of the apostolic anointing (Mt. 25: 28, 29). The second reason was that the apostolic anointing had been given for the purpose of pioneering, establishing and taking a fatherhood responsibility for the restoration and propagation of the office of the prophet.

Is this how Wagner was anointed for his head office? Can man multiply any anointing on another, the anointing that is supposed to be the Holy Spirit? A true prophet is to hear from God, how can this work? Wagner understands that he was appointed, and doubly anointed to extend his ministry as an apostle; all because he promoted the prophets. This is just one of the many problems, explaining their calling, position and function.

yesterday I was the apostle with a group of about 15-20 prophets we met all day long, and these prophets many of whom are going to be speakers in this conference come under my guidance coordination and leadership as an apostle , they each have apostles in their own networks but I mean there under spiritually. But I’m the one that brings them together and when I bring them together things happen. Because that’s a anointing that God has given to horizontal apostles. So once I knew, then I knew I was different from these people and I knew I was a horizontal; apostle and I began using the um term in public” (P. Wagner Mobilizing The Prophetic Office, May 11, 2000 National School of The Prophets)

Wagner then should take responsibility for the things that go wrong by these other governmental leaders.

They have also developed their own language, definition of terms and often times redefine the Bible adding new concepts in places where there are none. Wagner’s apostolic Government is broken up into two divisions, Vertical and horizontal apostles, from there are various subdivisions.

Vertical Apostles

Ecclesiastical apostles. Apostles who are given authority over a sphere which includes a number of churches, presumably in an apostolic network headed up by the apostle.

Functional apostles. Apostles who are given authority over those who have an ongoing ministry in a certain specific sphere of service which has defined boundaries of participation.

Apostolic Team Members. Apostles whose apostolic ministry functions in conjunction with an apostle who is seen as the leader of a team of one or more other peer-level vertical apostles. They may be assigned specific spheres by the leading apostle. These are more than administrators or assistants or armor-bearers.

Congregational apostles. Apostles functioning as senior pastors of dynamic, growing churches of more than 700-800.

Horizontal Apostles

Convening apostles. Apostles who have authority to call together on a regular basis peer-level leaders who minister in a defined field.

Ambassadorial apostles. Apostles who have itinerant, frequently international, ministries of catalyzing and nurturing apostolic movements on a broad scale.

Mobilizing apostles. Apostles who have the authority to take leadership in bringing together qualified leaders in the body of Christ for a specific cause or project.

Territorial apostles. Apostles who have been given authority for leading a certain segment of the body of Christ in a given territorial sphere such as a city or state.

Marketplace Apostles-I am not familiar enough with marketplace apostles to suggest sub categories. It seems clear that some marketplace apostles would be vertical (perhaps within a large company) while others would be horizontal (bringing together peer-level marketplace apostles).

Can anyone find these divisions, terms and interpretations from Scripture? Wagner also has his leadership broken up into many segments and has covered everything possible. Some of the names are included that should be easily recognized.

Division of Foundations for Ministry-Michael Brown, Jack Deere, Randall J. Pannell, Dutch Sheets, Stephen Mansfield. Division of Church Leadership under which are Apostolic Ministries headed by John Eckhardt and others.
Cells, Small Groups and House Churches; Church Growth; Counseling; Faith Ministries; Leadership; Marriage and Family Pastoral Ministries; Preaching- Jack Deere, Tommy Tenney, Women in Ministry Worship; Writing for Publication; Youth Ministries. Division of Power Ministries under which come Deliverance; Power Ministries; Prayer; Prophecy; Revival-ChÈ Ahn, John Arnott, Michael Brown, Frank Damazio, Winkie Pratney, Richard Riss. Spiritual Mapping- George Otis jr. and Bob Beckett; Spiritual Warfare- C. Peter Wagner, Bob Beckett, Cindy Jacobs, Charles Kraft, Dean Sherman. Division of Outreach; Campus Ministries; Church Planting; City Transformation; Evangelism- Marketplace; Mercy Ministries; Missions.

There are also others that have come on board Wagner’s ministry. George Barna, (who is also the WLI Coordinator for the Leadership Concentration) also motivational speaker John Maxwell.

Once a year Dr. Peter Wagner of Global Harvest Ministries convenes a meeting with key prophetic leaders from around the nation. These meetings are to dialogue over what we see God is doing in the Church, in society, and throughout the world.

The current members of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders in 2003: Beth Alves, Mike Bickle, Paul Cain (honorary member), Stacey Campbell, Wesley Campbell, Joseph Garlington, Ernest Gentile, Mary Glazier, James Goll, Bill Hamon, Cindy Jacobs, Mike Jacobs, Jim Laffoon, David McCracken, Bart Pierce, Chuck Pierce, Rick Ridings, John Sandford, Paula Sandford, Michael Schiffman, Gwen Shaw, Dutch Sheets, Jean Steffenson, Steve Shultz, Sharon Stone, Tommy Tenney, Hector Torres, Doris Wagner, Peter Wagner, Barbara Wentroble, Dominic Yeo, Barbara Yoder.

In an ad “The Church is being prepared for the greatest awakening in its history. This awakening will gather the world-wide harvest that is on the horizon. To accommodate this next move. God is shifting and establishing his governmental foundation. ... Now the Apostolic office is being renewed and being established from nation to nation.” Learn about the New Apostolic Reformation -Prepare the wineskin for the wine of the coming century -Understand how the new wine is found in the cluster -Discern the coming moves of God - Understand times and seasons -Receive a revival anointing for restoration and restitution for your area -Impart and release a new mantle for healing and deliverance -Receive and understand the watchman's anointing -Teach techniques for securing harvest in your city -Cry out for God's Glory and visitation to come to our nation -Each city will have one Church ruled by several apostles & prophets.

If one reads the materials thoroughly we find that these apostles and prophets will receive from God the “vision” for your City Church. Many of these apostles and prophets see themselves as personal “trainers” or “coaches” for others to be apostles and prophets. But is this the same kind of ministry in Scripture? The end result of the ministry is found in Eph 4:13-15: “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” This tossing to and fro is very thing that many today whom claim to be new apostles and prophets for the church are doing.

The fundamental difference between someone like the apostle Paul and the new apostles ministry is the focus. Jesus' commissioned the Apostle Paul to go to the world, to the unreached people, the gentiles, and to “turn them from the power of Satan to God.” It was not to do install a government and rule in (or over) the church, Paul was too busy doing ministry, starting churches and teaching the apostles doctrine and raising up those equipped to do ministry. He did not raise up hundreds of new apostles and prophets. The practical conclusion of this whole movement, it will end with much more devastation than any shepherding movement ever has, because of its extensive in-reach to the church. But there is even a greater concern if it would accomplish it’s goals and have many swept along before Christ’s 2nd coming.

 read also http://www.harvestnet.org/reports/lastapostlesquotes.htm)


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