‘Apostles’ From Well-Known Ministries

May 14, 2007

I just finished reading C. Peter Wagner’s new book, Apostles Today (Regal Books), and plan to comment on it in upcoming posts. In this book, like Wagner’s past books, he argues that modern “apostles” have an extraordinary amount of authority that Christians must submit to — or else be outside of God’s will.

Though I will address this teaching more in a future post, the reason I mention it now is because I recently saw a discussion board where people were praising the New Apostolic Reformation. Someone had posted a statement from my blog where I said that this movement promotes apostles with unquestioned authority and prophets who give new doctrinal revelation not found in Scripture. Someone responded and said my statement was untrue. Yet, my statement is true, and I will continue to show — from Wagner’s own writings and from other leaders in the movement — what they teach about modern “apostles” and “prophets.”

In this post, I want to briefly point out leaders of some well-known ministries who are members of Wagner’s “International Coalition of Apostles.” Many Christians may be surprised to learn of these leaders’ affiliation with Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation. Their participation shows the movement’s growing influence in the church. Some notable members include:

Notable ICA Members

• Chris Hayward, president of “Cleansing Stream Ministries,” based in Van Nuys, Calif.
• Jane Hansen, president of “Aglow International,” based in Edmonds, Wash.
• Dick Eastman, international president of “Every Home for Christ,” based in Colorado Springs, Colo.
• Hal H. Sacks, founder and president of “BridgeBuilders International Leadership Network” in Phoenix, Ariz.
• Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, and Stephen Strang, founder of Strang Communications (publisher of seven Christian magazines, including Charisma).

See the full list of members of the International Coalition of Apostles here.

Cleansing Stream Ministries
Cleansing Stream Ministries has “deliverance ministry teams” in over 2,500 U.S. churches and over 500 churches in other countries. Many of these churches wouldn’t consider themselves part of the New Apostolic Reformation or even know about this movement. Upcoming retreats led by Cleansing Stream are scheduled at many churches, including “New Life Church” in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Ted Haggard’s former church) and “The Church on the Way” in Van Nuys, Calif. (the church Jack Hayford founded). See the full list of Cleansing Stream retreats here.

One of Cleansing Stream’s books that they use with their teaching materials is written by “prophet” Chuck Pierce, and Cleansing Stream links to Wagner’s Web site from theirs. When one understands that Cleansing Stream president, Chris Hayward, is a member of Wagner’s International Coalition of Apostles, the reason for the organization’s promotion of New Apostolic leaders becomes clear. Apparently, Hayward has bought into Wagner’s movement. Unfortunately, through Cleansing Stream many people will be unwittingly introduced to New Apostolic teachings.

‘Aglow International’ and Others

The same goes with Aglow International. Its international advisors include prominent “apostles” and “prophets” like Che Ahn, Rick Joyner, Cindy Jacobs and Wagner. See the full list here. And Charisma magazine regularly features favorable articles on modern “apostles” and “prophets” (like Wagner and Pierce), which is no surprise given both the editor and publisher’s memberships in the International Coalition of Apostles. Many Christians also would probably be surprised to learn of the involvement in the movement by Dick Eastman (Every Home for Christ).

Of course, many Christians have probably been saved or otherwise blessed through their involvement with these ministries and have no knowledge of the leaders’ involvement with the New Apostolic Reformation. My point in mentioning their membership in the International Coalition of Apostles is not to pick on them or disparage their entire ministries. It’s to show how this movement is expanding its reach — and to show the importance of informing more Christians about this movement so they won’t be misled into its aberrant teachings.

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Unfair Caricature?

May 4, 2007

As I was reading through old comments on my blog, I saw that one poster said I took the most extreme examples of error on the fringes of the apostolic-prophetic movement and unfairly applied them to the whole movement. I want to respond to this charge.

First, I want to be clear that the apostolic-prophetic movement is a huge, worldwide movement made up of many different people and strands of thought. I don’t believe that all Christians who are part of this movement are equally in error.

I define the apostolic-prophetic movement as a charismatic Christian movement that is seeking to restore apostles and prophets in the church. Historically, Protestant Christians have believed that apostles and prophets who give new doctrinal revelation have ceased and that the Bible is our sole source of doctrine.

While the apostolic-prophetic movement is seeking to restore apostles and prophets to the church, not all people in this movement view modern “apostles” and “prophets” in the same way. Many believe that “apostles” are simply gifted, visionary leaders who have a strong, evangelistic calling to a specific geographical region or people group (like church planters) and that “prophets” simply have the New Testament gift of prophecy. My blog isn’t critiquing people who define “apostles” and “prophets” in this way (though I do think the terms can create confusion when not clarified).

C. Peter Wagner headshot But others in the apostolic-prophetic movement believe that “apostles” and “prophets” are giving new doctrinal revelation to the church (new teachings not found in the Bible) and that all Christians must submit to the “apostles” and “prophets” — in fact, the whole world must submit to them. A well-known supporter of these teachings is C. Peter Wagner (pictured here). He calls the apostolic-prophetic movement the “New Apostolic Reformation.” I may also start using this term to clarify which part of the movement my blog is critiquing — the part that shares Wagner’s unorthodox views of apostles and prophets.

Charisma Cover, May 2007 I’ve talked about Wagner in past posts, so I won’t go into much detail on him now other than to say that he’s a former professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, he’s written many books on the New Apostolic Reformation, and he leads several influential organizations of “apostles” and “prophets” — including the “International Coalition of Apostles” (ICA’s Web site) and the “Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders” (see the ACPE’s “Word of the Lord for 2007”). Some of the well-known “apostles” and “prophets” in these organizations include Chuck Pierce, Cindy Jacobs, John Kelly, Dutch Sheets and Steve Shultz (founder of Elijah Rain magazine and the “Elijah List,” a Web site that e-mails prophecies daily to more than 130,000 subscribers). These people are becoming very influential in the U.S. charismatic movement and are regularly featured in Charisma magazine. See the current issue (pictured here), which has Chuck Pierce and Dutch Sheets shown on the cover.

My blog focuses mostly on Wagner’s circle of “apostles” and “prophets.” I realize that some people in the apostolic-prophetic movement are concerned about Wagner’s teachings and oppose them. But his teachings aren’t on the outer fringes of the movement — as the poster on my blog claimed. They represent a prominent and growing force within the movement.