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New Apostolic Reformation
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The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a group of dominionist Pentecostals whose goal is to turn America into a theocracy. Its leader and founder is often taken to be C. Peter Wagner, though it is really a continuation of older ideas and movements, and the movement is hardly a unified movement with a clear leadership. According to Wagner, “The second apostolic age began in the year 2001,” when, according to him, the lost offices of “Prophet” and “Apostle” were restored in this age.
The NAR interprets the nature of the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit within each believer, as most Pentecostals, but also emphasizes the direct revelation of Christ to each believer, including prophecy and miracles such as healing. Forrest Wilder describes the NAR as having “taken Pentecostalism, with its emphasis on ecstatic worship and the supernatural, and given it an adrenaline shot,” and furthermore that the NAR “can tend toward the bizarre” and that it has “taken biblical literalism to an extreme.”
C. Peter Wagner claims that “the majority of the new apostolic churches,” such as NAR, observe “active ministries of … spiritual warfare,” and claims that God has acted through him and other members and granted them supernatural abilities. For instance, he claims that God acted through him to end mad-cow disease in Germany. Lou Engle, another central NAR member, has claimed that his organized prayer rallies, The Call, have prevented a multitude of natural disasters, for instance by saving Texas from deadly tornados.
NAR as the American Taliban
The NAR has been called “America’s Own Taliban” for their plans to implement the End Times and install a theocracy in the US. Their means also resemble their more famous Afghan spiritual allies. NAR engages in “strategic level spiritual warfare”, which include destroying cultural artifacts that represent secularism, paganisms, or branches of Christianity. For instance, NAR leaders have bragged online about the destruction of Native American religious artifacts, perceiving the destruction as a liberating act, promoting “reconciliation” between estranged groups of people.
The ultimate goal is to take dominion over politics, business, and culture, to remove secular democracy, both in America and around the world, and replace it with Christian theocracy, an ideology known as dominionism. The purpose is apparently to “purify” the world for Christ’s imminent return.
Two ministries in the movement planned and orchestrated Texas Gov. Rick Perry's 2011 prayer rally, where an assortment apostles and prophets, including leaders of “prayer warrior” networks, appeared onstage. The rally followed the pattern of Lou Engle’s The Call; in fact, Engle himself has served in the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders of the NAR.
Currently, the NAR works with a variety of politicians, and is present in all 50 states.
Seven Mountains ideology
As part of its effort to reclaim the US for Christ, the NAR has for several years run a campaign to reclaim what it calls the “seven mountains of culture” from demonic influence. The “mountains” are arts and entertainment; business; family; government; media; religion; and education. The NAR teaches that these “mountains” have, quite literally, fallen under the control of demons; the reason why there is sin and corruption and poverty on the Earth is because the Earth is controlled by a hierarchy of demons under the authority of Satan. The apostles must therefore be reclaimed for God to bring about the kingdom of God on Earth.
Their particular targets apparently include Oprah Winfrey, who was claimed by Mike Bickle (who led part of Perry’s prayer rally) to be a precursor of the Antichrist.
Strategic level spiritual warfare
To accomplish their goals and combat Satan and his demons the apostles must engage in strategic level spiritual warfare. This means that it is not just a matter of evangelizing souls one by one. Instead, the NAR will go into a geographic region or a people group and conduct spiritual-warfare activities, including destruction of artifacts associated with secularism or other religions, in order to remove the demons from the entire population.
For instance, in November 2011 Engle held a rally in Detroit, the purpose of which was to fight the demonic spirit of Islam (though several participants seem to have been unaware of Engle’s agenda). The rally was, in the NAR’s eyes, an effort of spiritual warfare targeted against the spiritual demons that are apparently holding Muslims in bondage and preventing them from converting.
Another example of spiritual warfare is the March 2012 prayer rally in Sacramento to bring organized prayer back into public schools.
NAR has, somewhat predictably, claimed that gay people are controlled by “demonic spirits.” (Apparently one of Lou Engle’s sons has started an International House of Prayer in San Francisco where he is now expelling demons from homosexuals, thereby allegedly curing them of their homosexuality).
The apostles have had a long history in Uganda, and some of them have had close relationships with both political and religious leaders there. In fact, an apostle in Uganda, Martin Ssempa, takes credit for promoting the infamous anti-homosexuality bill and was recognized by the parliament in Uganda when the bill was introduced.
- Mike Bickle
- Lou Engle
- Cindy Jacobs
- Thomas Muthee, the Kenyan pastor who anointed Sarah Palin at the Wasilla Assmbly of God Church in 2005, praying for Jesus to protect her from the spirit of witchcraft.
- C. Peter Wagner
- Rick Joyner
- Michael Brown
- Randy Forbes
- Jim Garlow, who claims not to have heard about them, but has in fact worked with them on several occasions.
- Newt Gingrich
- Louie Gohmert
- Harry Jackson
- Tony Perkins
- Rick Perry. The NAR was behind his 2011 prayer rally.
- Rachel Tabachnik at Talk2action, Resource Directory for the New Apostolic Reformation.
- Video summarizing the beliefs of the New Apostolic Reformation
- C. Peter Wagner at the Arise Prophetic Conference, Gateway Church San Jose, CA, October 10, 2004.
- Forrest Wilder, Rick Perry’s Army of God, Texas Observer, article from August 3, 2011.
- Forrest Wilder: “As Texas Gov. Rick Perry Enters GOP Race, New Exposé Reveals His Close Ties to Radical Evangelicals,” in Democracy Now, article from August 12, 2011.
- Rightwingwatch, Article from April 9, 2012
- Rightwingwatch, article from August 30, 2012.
- Paul Rosenber, America’s Own Taliban, Al-Jazeera, July 28, 2011.
- NPR, The Evangelicals Engaged in Spiritual Warfare, article from August 24, 2011.
- Rightwingwatch, Fact Sheet on The Call: Detroit.
- Rightwingwatch, Article from February 15, 2012.
- NY Times, Article from January 4, 2010
- Rightwingwatch’s file on Bickle.
- Rightwingwatch’s file on Jacobs.
- Sarah Posner, Rick Perry’s Jesus Imperative: A Report from Saturday’s Mega-Rally, article in Religion Dispatches, posted August 7, 2011.
- Rightwingwatch, article from February 3, 2012.
- Talk2Action, Why Have the Apostles Behind Rick Perry's Prayer Rally Been Invisible to Most Americans?, article from August 11, 2011.