Monday, December 15, 2014

A review of A New Apostolic Reformation? A biblical response to a worldwide movement

A review of A New Apostolic Reformation? A biblical response to a worldwide movement:

Publisher's description:
This critique provides a framework for understanding and interpreting the widespread but little-known New Apostolic Reformation movement. As the authors state in the preface: “We write this book with two major goals in mind. First, to give people an idea of the sheer size and reach of the NAR movement. And second, to systematize its key teachings and practices and evaluate them on the basis of Scripture and careful reasoning. . . . In our judgment, the NAR perspective crosses these boundaries [that is, certain broad parameters, revealed in Scripture and practiced in the historical orthodox church], and it does so in part because of flawed theology rooted in a flawed understanding of Scripture.
“We wish to warn readers about a possible confusion: Some critics have linked the NAR movement with mainstream Pentecostalism and charismatics. We do not do this. In fact, it is our contention that the NAR movement deviates from classical Pentecostal and charismatic teachings. This movement has emerged out of independent charismatic churches and, thus, has gained a foothold in many of those churches in varying degrees. But we do not argue for cessationism, the view that the ‘miraculous gifts’ listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are no longer active in the church. Whether the miraculous gifts are ongoing has no bearing on the arguments of our book.”

What is the new apostolic reformation (NAR) and why do I care?  I'm sure for many Christians, the answers would be "I don't know" and "I don't care".  Christian, you do want to know and you should care.  As the authors explain, this movement is very large, growing in influence, and at it's core, unbiblical.  Chances are, you have Christian friends who are being influenced by NAR teachings, even though they may have no idea what the NAR is.

I actually thought I knew quite a bit about the NAR, but after reading this book, I realized I didn't know as much as I thought, and though I knew it's teachings were off I had no idea how dangerous and unbiblical this movement really is.

The authors do a great job outlining this movement and giving a gracious but biblical response.  They are more gracious than I would be, these folks are false teachers, plain and simple.  As they explained what the NAR believes and how far it reaches into mainstream evangelism I was shocked.  Many odd things I had seen Christian friends of mine do turn out to be tenets of NAR teachings.  For example, a few years ago, a friend of mine was talking about doing a spiritual warfare walk around our old church and I wondered where on earth he came up with that.  Now I know, it's a NAR teaching, and completely unbiblical. I really did not know how far reaching this monster is or how closely aligned it is with the word of faith movement. 

This book systematically and thoroughly does it's job and the more I read the more shocked I was. I don't normally lay out the table of contents in my reviews, but I think you can see below how thorough a job the authors do here:

1. What Is the New Apostolic Reformation?
2. Massive Size and Growing Political Influence
3. Mainstreaming the New Apostolic Reformation
4. NAR Apostles: The Generals
5. NAR Apostles: A Closer Look
6. Apostles in the Bible: The Twelve and Paul
7. Apostles in the Bible: The Other Apostles and False Apostles
8. NAR Apostles Compared to the Bible’s Apostles
9. Testing NAR Apostles
10. NAR Prophets: The Secret Intelligence Agents
11. NAR Prophets: A Closer Look
12. Prophets in the Bible
13. NAR Prophets Compared to the Bible’s Prophets
14. Testing NAR Prophets
15. Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare
16. A Biblical Analysis of Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare
17. Unifying the Forces Through “Apostolic Unity”
18. A Miracle-Working Army
19. A Biblical Analysis of a NAR “Miracle-Working Army”                                                        

I would have given this excellent book five stars, but I felt that there were some cautious continuationist views that I can't agree with.  The authors believe that there is a biblical basis for the ongoing gift of prophecy (but not the office of prophet).  Of course, I strongly disagree.  I would have liked to have seen a more cessationist response, but other than that, I felt this book was very helpful.  Educate yourself, practice discernment, and warn anyone you know who's involved with this movement.  Four stars!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.

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