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For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. -- 1Corinthians 1: 18 (NIV)
I have dealt with so many well intended brothers and sisters who simply cannot see how the NAR infection throughout the body of Christ has tainted their view of the world we live in and what our responsibilities are as believers. My hope is that this is a comprehensive one stop devotional for this topic so let us start with some simple definitions. The NAR stands for the New Apostolic Reformation. Started by the late C. Peter Wagner in the 1990s, the NAR is not a church as much as it is a shift in thinking that is guiding many churches today. It is an approach to the role of the church in these end times more than it is a membership of any kind. The fundamentals, which Wagner outlined years ago, are as follows:
1. Dominionism, with the seven mountains mandate or not
2. Experiential Christianity replaces Bible based theology, including false signs or not
3. False authority paradigm -- new apostles and prophets
4. Temporal life focus, with or without prosperity gospels
These teachings are heretical beloved. Think about your local church for a moment. Have you noticed that they are preaching more about blessings in this life than the work of the cross? Has there been an increase in people claiming titles such as apostle or prophet? Have you noticed a shifted focus to alleged supernatural manifestations of the Spirit that give you pause? Are your teachers relying more on God told me over God has already said? Are they infatuated with politics and insist that the church should be infiltrating the world? Even if one of these is creeping in you should be wary that while the church may not be full NAR they are succumbing to the poison of NAR teachings. Compromise only begets more compromise. Leaven spreads by nature.
Dominionism is the false believe that the church should influence culture beyond the spreading of the Gospel. On the extreme ends there is the Seven Mountains Mandate teaching that is fully embraced by heretics like Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle and Charisma News. Realize that they are not wearing tee shirts that advertise the seven mountains teaching but that they openly support it through what they themselves teach. The seven mountains are areas of society and culture that they believe Christians need to infiltrate and conquer to facilitate the second coming of Jesus Christ. These seven areas are: Education, Religion, Family, Business, Government/Military, Arts/Entertainment, and Media. This is why you see the church today overly infatuated with "Christian" movies. Never mind if they are theologically accurate. The church fully backed ex-catholic mystic Roma Downey in her heretical mini-series "The Bible" as well as the follow up, "AD." Want to learn some eastern mysticism and contemplative prayer? Watch Beth Moore's War Room. Just realize the underlying reason for these endeavors is to take over the media mountain from the secular world, which of course is never going to happen.
The other glaring example is the obsessive fascination the church has with politics and the sheer idol worshipping of America. Beloved, we must realize that the purpose driven, seeker friendly industrial complex is a billion dollar industry. There is a reason why the powers that be do not want the money changer tables overturned. They like the power they have. They like the money they make. They love living in Sodom so instead of preach repentance to the sodomites they constantly dream and preach about faux revivals coming soon where all of the unsaved masses will suddenly start behaving better and voila! No more impending wrath of God. Except it does not work like that. The things of God remain foolishness to those who are perishing as our key verse reminds us today. You cannot convince them into salvation. You cannot trick them with smoke machines, hipster pastors, and relevant life messages. The first word in the ministry of Jesus Christ was repent. It is the last word you hear today from the pulpit. After all they have a brand to protect and you cannot afford offending the customers.
So what is the role of a Christian in a secular society? Let us first look at Jesus, as we always should. Jesus was largely apathetic towards the political matters of the day and believe me, there were plenty. The disciples wanted to believe that Jesus was going to deliver them from their political reality where they were oppressed by the Roman Empire. So much so that when He first returns after the resurrection they are still asking Him! What they did not realize is they were under and eternal oppression as well from the devil. They only wanted to focus on their temporal reality however. Sound familiar? This is core to understanding these matters beloved. We are under temporal oppression (although not in this country per se) and we are under eternal oppression. While there is nothing wrong with praying for temporal relief it is not where our focus should be as Christians. Jesus was politically apathetic in His life. You want my taxes? Go catch a fish. Whose face is on that coin? Give it to him then. My kingdom? Not of this world. The deliverance Jesus came to bring was not temporal but eternal and that fact remains to this day. Will you find peace for the temporal by resolving your eternal problem? Absolutely; but resolving your temporal problems will never resolve your eternal dilemma.
Jesus never taught to infiltrate society, change the culture around us, or fight to preserve a world He has already said is passing away. Even when the Bible says to pray for secular leadership it is only so that we can live lives of peace and godliness. Beloved the only thing that matters is the eternal destination of the souls of men. According to Romans only one thing contains the power of God to save someone and that is the Gospel. It is our mission. Jesus has chosen the church as His vessel to deliver the Gospel message both in words and in living our lives according to it. That is how we affect culture and change society beloved. One soul at a time because narrow is the way and few are those who find it. I tell the story all the time of a woman who used to work for me and she "wore Jesus on her sleeve." An unsaved peer was constantly trying to pick fights with her including complaining to HR that her praise music was always too loud. She never responded in kind because she understood that the woman's primary issue was eternal, not temporal. That she needed to see the love of Christ in action and in the face of evil intent. Two years later, everything fell apart for the antagonistic worker and guess who she ran to so she could learn about this Jesus my friend has always worn on her sleeve? She led her to Christ that day and ten years later that woman has moved out of the area but not out of the family of believers. That is the power of living and preaching the Gospel. Heaven rejoiced that day when His wayward daughter came home.
Do we get that today? Do we really get it deep inside of our spirit? Yes society is going to hell in a handbasket but what do you expect? Look who runs the place! The Bible says that Satan is the lord of this world. He wants nothing more than to see the church abandon its primary mission to fight over inconsequential temporal baubles. I view politics very simply. The Titanic has hit the iceberg and the only hope is the lifeboat named Jesus but you want to argue about who is better qualified to captain the ship into the icy grave that awaits it. I am a recovering political junkie so do not think these things are easy for me. But you cannot legislate the Gospel. Why? Because the things of God are foolishness to those who are perishing! Neither political party cares about the cause of Jesus Christ. No political party is closer to Christian values than the other. The devil laughs when he hears those silly arguments. Beloved, the lesser of two evils is still evil!
We must recognize the truth for what it is. It does not matter how well intended we are or how much we think our "side" is right. The "godless liberals" are no more the problem than the "godless conservatives." Yes beloved, unless saved by the blood they are both godless. You think the current party in power belongs to God? The spiritual advisor for the president is Paula White! This is someone who has made over five million dollars stealing from the sheep of the Lord! It is time to take off the political spiritual blinders beloved. This affinity for politics is straight up NAR. Our influence for the world is to show them Christ. The only power to change is in the Gospel. You want to believe one party is more righteous than the other go right ahead but do not live that instead of the Gospel. When people look at your Facebook page do they see Jesus or the divisive politics of this world? On your twitter feed do they see the love of Christ or the hate of this world? Do you not realize that you are no longer your own? That you are redeemed? That you are a royal priesthood and a peculiar people?
Beloved, by the age of 30 Alexander the Great wept for there were no more worlds left to conquer. By 32 he was in the grave. Look to no man nor scheme of man to resolve anything for us. We belong to Jesus Christ and He has one mission. He has one commission that He gave to us. That is the Gospel, period. Oh that we would spend half the energy we waste on people who cannot change anything eternally and barely anything temporally and apply it instead to purifying the house of the Lord. That we would study doctrine as voraciously as we do political platforms. The NAR believes in conquering the world because it loves the world. The reason why we as the church look to the eternal is because our Savior has already overcome this world. We ought to live like it.