Unfair Caricature?

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.

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10 Responses to Unfair Caricature?

  1. Mrs Pivec,
    Thanks for this post. As always, it is a cogent message, and a necessary one. I belong to a church that is non-denominational, and as such, have nothing to fall back on when these issues crop up. My church has never made hard and firm decisions on where it stands on some key theological issues. While some applaud this, I do not, as I have seen the sharks move in smelling blood in the water. Tolerant ears are rightfully perceived as the open door (albeit only ajar at the time) to step in and slowly introduce strange ideas. Once the first seemingly innocuous ideas are embraced, it is a slippery slope from there.
    The bread and butter of this movement is the “God-told-me” clause, and it takes dedicated, patient, and adept use of Scripture to counter this and hopefully change the minds of those with more of a bent towards the sensory. Not an easy task, but thanks for being willing and able to do it.

    emergingtruth
    emergingtruth

  2. David says:

    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.

    Dear Holly: I pasted your own words from above in your blog. I can say this from everything I read from “the apostolic-prophetic movement” your words from above in your blog or anyone who is involved with these types of people, that if a person whether in “the apostolic-prophetic movement” or not if they read Galatians 1:8, Hebrews 13:9. Then they need to see “the apostolic-prophetic movement” is serving up a different gospel.

    We who are saved by The Blood are God’s people and we are not to be unequalled yoked 2 Cor 6:14 with anyone who preaches a false or different message. The Bible is clear that anyone who is involved in this type of movement and does not remove themselves is yoking themselves with unbelievers. Believers preach the truth, we thirst and hunger for it, and we thirst and hunger others to have the truth Matthew 5:6 NKJV.

    In Christ’s Love

    Dave

  3. David D says:

    Holly: Your dream of the bride should be interpreted as referring to you not the church in general; a rebuke from the Lord. You want to find fault with those things you don’t understand because you haven’t had similar experiences with Jesus. How can you be included with chosen vessels in the bridal party when you don’t like them and dishonor them? In my presence, the Lord Jesus called William Branham “Precious brother Branham”. I knew of some of his false teachings, but he was never false when he quoted what the Lord said to him. In his works he manifested Jesus’ ministry, including raising the dead. And Rick Joyner – God chose him for a task in this world and he completely honors Jesus in his words and works – do you really think God is pleased with your opposition to these servants? Benny Hinn lifts up Jesus in everything that takes place in his ministry – and mighty works are done through him. You had better start treading lightly! If you find yourself in a meeting where God uses a man or woman to do a work of God in the name of Jesus, and you declare it to be of Satan, you will be in danger of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. I think a sincere repentance is in order for not loving whom God loves and whom He has chosen for His work. You are obviously unable to discern the difference, in your studies, between the opinions of men and women of God and their testimonies of what the Lord Jesus has shown them and/or spoken to them. You are on a slippery slope.

  4. David says:

    David D Says:

    May 8th, 2007 at 8:30 am
    Holly: Your dream of the bride should be interpreted as referring to you not the church in general; a rebuke from the Lord. You want to find fault with those things you don’t understand because you haven’t had similar experiences with Jesus. How can you be included with chosen vessels in the bridal party when you don’t like them and dishonor them? In my presence, the Lord Jesus called William Branham “Precious brother Branham”. I knew of some of his false teachings, but he was never false when he quoted what the Lord said to him. In his works he manifested Jesus’ ministry, including raising the dead. And Rick Joyner – God chose him for a task in this world and he completely honors Jesus in his words and works – do you really think God is pleased with your opposition to these servants? Benny Hinn lifts up Jesus in everything that takes place in his ministry – and mighty works are done through him. You had better start treading lightly! If you find yourself in a meeting where God uses a man or woman to do a work of God in the name of Jesus, and you declare it to be of Satan, you will be in danger of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. I think a sincere repentance is in order for not loving whom God loves and whom He has chosen for His work. You are obviously unable to discern the difference, in your studies, between the opinions of men and women of God and their testimonies of what the Lord Jesus has shown them and/or spoken to them. You are on a slippery slope.

    Dear David D: I read your all out rebuke of Holly, yet did you stop to really read her material. Holly is using thier materials not hers. Rick Joyner, Benny Hinn, Bill Branham”Precious brother Branham” these are your words not mine. These people are not Brothers in The Lord Jesus Christ but are brothers of each other in satan . I have studied these people, I have watched videos of these people and in fact last week I saw a video of Rodney Howard Brown with his side kick Kenneth Copeland and they really blatenly lied on video using The Lord.

    David D, please if you get a chance get some of the videos on them they are all satanic and decieved by thier father. The Lord will deal with them and if you really love the Lord you would repent of your following them, Gal 1:8, as they preach a false gospel. Please as well check with the IRS to see how much money Benny makes and ask him if he serves God or himself, if it is God he needs to start giving away the excess to others. And Kenneth and Gloria Copeland ask them about the unpaid real estate bills they owe money on, then they turned and purchase a very expensive private jet.

    In Christ

    Dave

  5. Justin says:

    David and Holly,

    I agree that we should not associate with people that are preaching a different gospel. It is a shame that these people call themselves apostles and prophets as it puts a bad name on 2 very valid offices of the church.

    I do believe that there is a place for apostles and prophets today BUT everything they do and say MUST line up with God’s written Word.

    Holly, I think any stable Christian should know that nobody can add or take away from God Word. God’s Word is complete and there is no new doctronal revelation to be given. I agree.

    On the same topic, correct me if I am wrong, the New Testament was not entirely by The 12 Apostles. The main focus of an Apostle is not to write Scripture or reveal new doctronial revelation. Is it not the job of an Apostle to over see church’s in a region, to care for these churchs and route out and protect from false teaching as Paul did?

    So these people who call themselves Apostles don’t even seem to understand what an Apostle is.

  6. mark nowak says:

    two years ago, i attended a church that did little more than teach from whatever christian book was popular at that time (40 days of purpose),and others. unless we challenge our so called shepherds to get back to the simplicity, and power of the gospel we will still find ourselves at odds with shepherds, who are willing to feed the sheep, dark chocolate. after all its said to be “good for the heart”! i just read an article off yahoo that said there is a revival in china of the teachings of confucius. this secular article reffered to china as the worlds largest “soul market”. its obvious that in this day, no matter the belief system, the world is under the “merchandising of souls”. Lord, help us to fall on our knees, and beg His mercy, and guidance. we need our own “true” revival, or how can we help save others, when we are levened with our own confucianists.

  7. Nancy says:

    The Bereans were commended for questioning and testing every word that the Apostles (the real ones) said. They were commended! They were not threatened (As Hinn as others have done) they were not told “Don’t touch the Lord’s Anointed”. They were praised for testing everything that the Apostles said against scripture.
    This squashing of dissent, this threatening and condemning of questioning those in leadership roles, is a deeply disturbing trend in the church today.
    It’s smells very cultish. The scripture is our touchstone. All else must be subject to scrutiny.
    Oh and, David D. Never presume to interpret someone else’s dream. That’s very judgemental and arrogant. God spoke the dream to Holly, not to you.

    Mark, I’m sorry but I must address something you said as well. Please don’t insult dark chocolate! : ) Yum!

    If I don’t respond back to your comments, don’t take offense. I really shouldn’t spend my time chatting right now.

    Yours in Him,
    Balaam’s Ass

  8. Holly,

    As a cautious charismatic, I stand firm in the conviction that while all the gifts of the Spirit are in operation today, the Word of God is sure and must be used to test every doctrine taught. I am deeply troubled by the nonsense I have personally witnessed (false prophets who speak lies from their hearts and not from God) but am thankful that God raises up men and women who speak truth to power so that believers are set free from deception. Never apologize to anyone for that. God bless you.

  9. After reading “THE VISION” by Rick Joyner, I have to say it is one of the best books I’ve seen. It has given me great understanding about the Bible, and has changed the way I think about Christianity. (If you Google Search “Rick Joyner MP3” You can listen or read the book online for free).
    The book is a combination of many visions the author had. The main vision depicts the Armies of God fighting the Armies of the Evil one. Many great insights are revealed by the way these armies fight, their tactics, what weapons they use, the mistakes they make, the opportunities they miss, etc. The vision continues with the author walking in the Judgment Hall of Heaven, meeting may past saints, and hearing their stories.
    The Book, which is actually a combination of 2 books, “THE FINAL QUEST and THE CALLED”, had a profound effect on me in these ways.
    1. It has dramatically increased my faith in Jesus.
    2. It has demolished any faith I had in Myself, Mankind, or Man’s wisdom.
    3. It has given me a sobering awareness of the Evil one’s tactics and craftiness, and how he uses Christians to do his work.
    4. It has revealed many empowering and glorious resources of the Lord that I did not consider which has given me more Hope.
    5. I started to see the overall picture of God’s Plan. And different parts of the puzzle started fitting together in harmony, and I got answers to many of the Hard Questions of Christianity.
    6. It has shown many of the Pitfalls and Traps that even the Seasoned, Mature Christians will fall into, and yet not even know they have fallen. The lessons were profound yet simple. They were they same lessons learned from the Bible, yet even I who have studied the bible have many times overlooked them. The Lord could not trust people with much anointing or power, until they learned the lessons.
    7. It reveals a great deal about those who hate the book, fight against it, and think it is from the Devil. He meets many of those types of people in Heaven, and their stories radically change after hitting the Judgment Seat.

    It is a MUST READ for anyone pursuing the Lord.

  10. Gregory P. Garwood says:

    I have a point of question about a comment in “Chucks” letter to C. Peter Wagner. The term is “Apostolic authority.”

    There are several definitions of the word apostle. The one that is applicable today is “sent one” meaning it can be applied to a person who is sent into a new mission field for example. As a “sent one” the apostle, if he is serving in the Holy Spirit, is to be subservient as Jesus was. They are to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ the Messiah and that’s it. They are foot washers, nothing more. They hold a position of subservience, not authority. They have no real authority because the ones with the real authority have sent them, they are simply serving in obedience to the orders they were given, as any “sent one” should.

    There is another definition of the word “Apostle” which is impossible to be applied today. (Note the capitol A which I use to distinguish the difference between the original, foundational Apostles chosen by Jesus Christ, and the false “restored” apostles of today who are attempting to usurp the authority of the foundational Apostles.) This Apostle is defined as one of the 12 foundational (original) disciples, called, anointed and inspired by Jesus Christ to preach the gospel and write the majority of the New Testament, they were: Simon Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot. The true foundational Apostles had specific, unique criteria which had to be met in order to qualify them as the true, genuine, foundational Apostles of Jesus Christ. First, any foundational Apostle had to be chosen by Jesus Christ Himself, physically, not by some self serving dream, vision or hallucination. The foundational Apostle also had to have walked with Jesus, physically, in His earthly human body. They witnessed His physical life with His miracles, teachings, and admonitions. They actually touched Him, ate with Him, and laughed with Him. They knew Him and He knew them intimately. One of the most important prerequisites of the true foundational Apostles of Jesus Christ is that they had to witness, with their eyes, Jesus Christ resurrected and His ascension as the Son of God to the right hand of the Father.
    The criteria to qualify as a foundational Apostle is found in Acts 1:20 – 22; 20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the book of Psalms,” ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and,” ‘May another take his place of leadership.’ 21Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” This is the Word of God as it applies to just what a foundational authentic Apostle is. Now, I want you to think about something; if the number of foundational Apostles was not to be fixed at 12, why did the Apostles so diligently scrutinize the candidates when they replaced Judas Iscariot? Why didn’t they just keep the number of foundational Apostles at 11? I mean. . . life happens right? And again, if the number of Apostles was insignificant, why didn’t the original Apostles select both Barsabbas AND Mathias? After all, an extra Apostle might just come in handy for all of the work that had to be done as the gospels were first preached at the beginning of the New Covenant. They didn’t select both because they couldn’t! There were to be only 12 original foundational Apostles to establish the New Covenant church and write the majority of the New Testament. The number 12 is always significant with God as it most certainly was when Jesus chose the 12 original, foundational Apostles. The foundational Apostles were the ones chosen to witness and testify that Jesus Christ was and is the one and only Messiah, the promised Savior, sent to reconcile man to God. The genuine, foundational Apostles were also given divine wisdom, guidance and inspiration to write the majority of the New Testament. They truly were unique, anointed and inspired in a special way just as every other author of the Bible had been. As you see, not just anybody qualifies as an author of the inspired Word of God, so, not just anybody qualifies as a foundational Apostle, there were only ever 12 foundational Apostles in the history of mankind and there will never be another human with the authority of the foundational Apostles. Any man who attempts to claim foundational apostolic authority is false as we read in 2 Corinthians 11. If the authenticity of foundational Apostleship is relative and insignificant, as the “restored apostles” of today would like you to believe, and the foundational Apostles wrote the New Testament, than the whole New Testament is just as relative and insignificant and can be changed or added to any time any self proclaimed “restored apostle” sees fit. That would mean that the inerrant Word of God would also be relative and Null! That would mean that C. Peter Wagner, Lester Zimmerman, Curt Malizzi, Bill Yount, Dutch Sheets and any one of the International Coalition of apostles would have the authority to rewrite the New Testament or change it in any way they see fit in defiance of the Word of God. Now THAT is dangerous! For these men to even attempt to claim such power and authority is arrogance in the worst possible degree. Paul warns us in 2 Corinthians 11: 12 – 15 12; And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 for such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. Now that we know the prerequisite to be a foundational Apostle, show me just one of the “restored” apostles of today who have ever seen the physical Jesus Christ before and after the crucifixion? Which of them actually ate real food with Him? Which of them actually talked with Him? Which of them ever witnessed one of His miracles? Which of them witnessed, with their eyes, the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ? None of them! True God given authority isn’t usurped by wild dreams, unsubstantiated visions, trances or hallucinations as people like Rick Joyner would have you believe. The foundational Apostles were given one time, divine authority, inspiration and power to establish the new covenant church, the foundation on which the present day church has been built and will remain until the return of Jesus Christ at the end of this age.

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