I pastor a church in rural Indiana. If you drive out of our church parking lot and go six miles west, you will come across an apostolic church that advertises themselves as the place to “experience Pentecost every Sunday.” If you drive ten miles east, you will pass a church that advertises much the same thing. In my travels just in our rural areas I have come across no less than five such churches springing up. They are part of a phenomenon that is taking place that is called the New Apostolic Reformation (or NAR). This movement is everywhere. Chances are, you either know of a church like this, or know people who are involved in one. In God’s Super-Apostles (Weaver Book Company, 2014), Geivett and Pivec take a close look at some the main tenets and teachings of churches associated with NAR, and compare them with what the Bible says.
Chapter one answers the question, “What is the New Apostolic Reformation?” The authors share some real life experiences of people associated with the movement. The basic teaching of churches in this sphere is that there are modern-day apostles and prophets very similar to those in the first century church. Contrary to many within the charismatic movement today however, NAR churches teach that these apostles and prophets carry great authority within the church similar to the original apostles. They receive new revelation and are not to be opposed. Anyone opposing them are opposing God. The chapter also includes a very helpful chart with the names and ministries of known NAR leaders.
Chapter two gives the basic view of NAR on modern-day apostles. The three key texts used by NAR advocates are Ephesians 4:11-13, 2:20, and 1 Corinthians 12:28. A procedure is then given for how one becomes a recognized NAR apostle and what NAR apostles actually do. This section is very helpful because it gives the basic job description of a NAR apostle. Chapter three looks at what the Bible says about the original apostles. The original apostles played a unique role in the early church, especially as eyewitnesses of His ministry and resurrection. Their functions are given (proclaim the resurrection, govern the church, and write scripture). The authors also address others who are referred to as apostles in the NT, as well as the category of “false apostles” that is warned of in several passages. In chapter four, the claims of NAR apostles and scripture are compared. This is a very careful text-based chapter in which relevant texts are evaluated and conclusions are drawn based on scripture.
The next section of the book deals with the NAR view of modern-day prophets. Chapter five fleshes out the modern view of prophets. It lists who they are, what they do, and what biblical justification is made for the modern office. Once again, it must be noted that the authors draw a line of distinction between how NAR views the modern-day office of prophet and how most Charismatics would view it. Chapter six goes to the text and looks at how prophets functioned in the Bible, both in the OT and in the New. Chapter seven compares the two, once again handling the texts carefully and applying them consistently to the claims of the NAR prophetic movement.
The next section in the book deals with “strategic-level spiritual warfare.” This chapter is really helpful because it explains certain NAR practices and gives the reasoning behind them. Things like Spiritual Mapping, prayerwalking, and the Seven Mountain Mandate are explained. Chapter nine addresses what the Bible itself teaches on the issue of spiritual warfare and asks the pointed questions, “are the strategic-level warfare practices of NAR biblical?” Chapter ten addresses apostolic unity.
Chapter eleven deals with the NAR view of miracles. Things such as healing, anointing, and speaking in tongues are covered. Chapter twelve finishes the main portion of the book with what the Bible says about miracles.
There is a good closing that lists some of the dangers of the NAR set of teachings, and three appendices cover “Advice for Parents, Pastors, and Participants in the NAR,” “Questions to Ask of Churches,” and the unfortunate practice of “Name-Calling” within the NAR movement.
This is a solid work. It is written at a popular level, so it is meant for anyone in the church who has questions about NAR. Because of the subversive danger of NAR teaching and doctrine, I think this book is a must read for pastors, elders, and deacons, and should be recommended to all church members who have encountered this sort of teaching ministry. Satan never attacks the church with horns, a pitchfork, and a goatee (of course!!!). He is much more subtle (much like the current attack on Genesis 1-11). We would be wise to understand his methods as he seeks to draw ultimate authority away from God and place it with fallen man (sounds a lot like Genesis 3…). Geivett and Pivec do the church a service with this book and move us towards being more discerning. They have also written a more scholarly work on the NAR movement. A review of that work will be forthcoming.