Good question. When you bring the movement’s teachings together, you get a bizarre worldview that has no basis in Scripture. Yet, the thing is: Very few people in the apostolic-prophetic movement have brought all the teachings together. They’ve embraced a teaching here and another one there, but they don’t realize that all the teachings — like puzzle pieces — fit together. And the picture that emerges would, I believe, rightly concern many of them.
Many true, sincere Christians are caught up in this movement, but don’t know what they’re caught up in. That’s because many apostolic-prophetic churches don’t provide full disclosure of their teachings. In fact, they often have standard evangelical statements of faith. See, for example, the statement of beliefs for Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, Calif.
From this statement, it appears that Harvest Rock Church is a typical charismatic church. What you’re not told is that the church is enmeshed in the apostolic-prophetic movement — teaching that all Christians must submit to new apostles and prophets, who have unquestioned authority and the ability to give new teachings that aren’t found in Scripture. The pastor/“apostle,” Che´Ahn (pictured here), is a key player in the movement. Ahn is a member of C. Peter Wagner’s “International Coalition of Apostles,” (see the membership list here), and he gives sermons that promote the movement’s troublesome teachings. Ahn also brings in the movement’s “prophets,” like Todd Bentley and Kim Clement, to speak to his congregation. See the lineup of “prophets” at the church’s next conference. In fact, Harvest Rock Church even has its own in-house “prophet,” Lou Engle, who is another key player in the movement.
Yet, I’d venture to guess that many people attending Harvest Rock Church don’t even know — really know — what the apostolic-prophetic movement is. They don’t know that when they joined this church, they joined a movement that many cult researchers consider one of the most erroneous sects in the church today. They don’t know that the movement’s teachings are the same as the Latter Rain Movement of the late 1940s that was condemned as heretical by most Christians — something the movement’s leaders freely admit. Learn about the Latter Rain Movement here.
What they do know is they like the church’s focus on teachings that are often neglected by other evangelical churches, like spiritual warfare. A vacuum has been created in the Church that apostolic-prophetic churches fill. But sadly, the way spiritual warfare is taught in this movement is unbiblical. (More on this in my next post.) In brief, in this movement spiritual warfare must be conducted under the direction of the “apostles” and “prophets,” who alone have the authority and divine strategies needed to defeat demonic principalities. Yet, many people in the movement don’t make the connection between the teachings about spiritual warfare and the teachings about “apostles” and “prophets.”
Many people have been immersed in this movement — perhaps they were even raised in it. So, they can’t see how drastically its teachings depart from historic, orthodox Christianity. In their minds, the teachings are Christian.
Other Christians are so weak in their knowledge of the Bible and Christian doctrine that they can’t spot deviations from orthodox Christianity. That makes them susceptible to aberrational movements, like this one. Sadly, the evangelical church, as a whole, has so downplayed the importance of doctrine that many Christians fall into this camp.