For years I have struggled over how to approach the NAR movement or “New Apostolic Reformation” churches. I once attended a church where the pastors flew to Bethel, Redding to see how they did things and wanted to bring some of that “glory” back to the congregation. They then invited a guy with a questionably odd theology to lead a weekend of “mystic school“.
The last action flagged up concerns from a member of the church and some of the church investigated the comments about the person being invited, they challenged the leadership about it, but were not allowed to discuss it in home groups. The final nail in the coffin for my family, (after feeling physically nauseous over what we saw of previous events, videoed for YouTube and lead by that “mystic”) was that the leadership of the church tried to defend and explain away the issue of “grave sucking” or “laying on tombs of great Christian men, to suck up their anointing” with the reference to a bible character falling on a dead king and bringing them back to life.
We promptly left that church, but this began my watchfulness about people like him and those who are a part of “New Apostolic Reformation“. The fact that the man who was invited, made it really hard for people to find out where he was speaking and even omitted to say where he would be at certain times was concerning! The word “occult” means “hidden” and that’s what he was pretty much doing!
There have been other occasions where churches that I have attended, have shown a DVD series and I have challenged my pastors on certain aspects of what the DVDs are covering. More recently however, I have come across Facebook posts and livestreams, where people are either twisting the Bible or sharing a false message.
My wife was watching a livestream from a pastor who claims to have a “prophetic gift“, we have seen some of his previous videos and I took a lot of what he was saying with a “pinch of salt“. This time however, he was sharing the livestream with a woman from America, whose theology was odd to say the least! She was talking about “speaking to the atmosphere“, for starters that’s very spiritualist, I do believe that there is angelic and demonic activity around us, battling away with each other but “telling the atmosphere” what we want and commanding it is not biblical!
We have no power, other than what has been given to us through the name of Jesus Christ! We can do nothing in our own authority, it’s like me shouting at a robber “stop running away!” I am not an officer in the British police, but if I have been given the authority I can say “stop in the name of the law!”
The Bible talks about the “five-fold ministry“, pastor, teacher, apostle, prophet and evangelist. With a bit of “biblical origami” some people have claimed those titles for themselves! Jesus actually corrects those who call someone “teacher“, we are not called to claim titles but acknowledge we may have a gift for preaching, teaching, caring, evangelising or prophesying. The proof of such gifts being that they will produce good “fruit“!
- If you have a pastoral gift you will enjoy being able to support people through hard times, for them to come out of it, praising God not you!
- If you have a preaching gift you will challenge those who hear you to examine their hearts and minds, making them move on in their journey and relationship with the holy trinity.
- If you have a teaching gift you will be able to explain the complexities and intricacies of the Bible in a way that people will understand.
- If you have a gift of evangelism, you will be able to come alongside people and show them why they need Jesus in their lives, not telling them “turn or burn” but showing them how they can live more freely and in the abundance God wants for us!
- If you have the gift of prophecy, you will speak truth into people’s lives, all you say will be inspired by God and come true, you won’t be spouting “Barnum statements” or things that are so vague that there may never come a time when it comes true!
We should not elevate ourselves, but instead humble ourselves before God, being aware none of what we have, is anything that we have “earned” or deserve but is freely given by a loving God. Elevating yourself will create a life which is not about glorifying God but about making people follow you and your personal version of the gospel, which other than “Christ died for you”, leaves no room for elevating ourselves or other people!