Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. -- Matthew 6: 10 (ESV)
In recent days I have come across several adherents to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) heresies who have offered up the key verse to explain away why what they believe is actually biblical. For the unaware, the NAR is a movement officially started a couple of decades ago by the late C. Peter Wagner. It is also known as Dominionism, Third Wave, Seven Mountains Mandate, Latter Rain, Kingdom Now, Joel's Army and many more monikers. The essentials of this teaching are that God is restoring the lost offices of the church governance, specifically the office of Apostle and Prophet. Guess who just happens to be the people filling these restored offices? You guessed it -- the people who created the theology. What a coincidence! They believe that they are the restored prophets and apostles who are called to establish a global church which will facilitate the second coming of Jesus Christ. They have certain hallmarks that should sound familiar. They stress extra-biblical revelation -- as if God forgot to include things in His final revealed will. Thus what they claim God has told them is on par with Scripture itself. They teach that personal experience trumps biblical authority. This is the "Experiential Christianity" I write so much about. They overemphasize dreams, visions, angels, and the supernatural, which are the "False Signs and Lying Wonders" heresies I write so much about.
It is a loosely associated bunch of false teachers and prophets who create this flexibility as a means to deny what is plainly before our eyes. Besides Wagner, it is associated with the Kansas City Prophets, who have claimed the mantle of "super prophets" who will "change the world." Change it they have and for the worst. This includes people like Mike Bickle and IHOP, Lou Engle, Chuck Pierce, Rick Joyner, The Elijah List, the late Kim Clement, "General" Cindy Jacobs, Charisma News, Jennifer Leclaire, and of course Bill Johnson (considered a living apostle) and Bethel Church. These are only the more common names. Their tentacles reach throughout Christendom and the world itself. This is the same cast of characters who travelled down to Lakeland Florida just a decade ago to anoint Todd Bentley a prophet. Bentley was packing in 15,000 people a night into tent meetings that were patently absurd and blasphemous to their core. Bentley often spoke about an angel name Emma he conversed with and liked to punch and kick people to "impart healing" claiming he was directed by the Holy Spirit to do so. I watched him once punch a man with stage four pancreatic cancer in the stomach. Laid him out in the name of the Lord. This was who the NAR thought was a prophet of God. Bill Johnson was there and prayed for him. They then poured oil on his head and declared him an official prophet. Shortly thereafter Bentley stepped down in disgrace as he was caught sleeping with his secretary. God waited just long enough to expose the NAR before taking the charlatan Bentley down. By the way, Bill Johnson oversaw the "restoration" of Bentley who divorced his wife, married his secretary and then was reestablished into ministry. He is currently banned from entering several countries but the NAR stands by their false prophets. Protecting the brand at all costs.
Many people are currently attending NAR churches and may have absolutely no idea. We need to be cognizant if there is an over emphasis on signs and wonders that are extra-biblical, such as gold dust, gem stones, angel feathers and glory clouds. If there is an over-emphasis on lofty titles such as apostle and prophet. NAR churches are obsessed with this world. They wrongly preach about the church needing to take over the government and are thus entirely too political. They wrongly preach about the church taking over Hollywood and thus are positively giddy whenever the world makes a movie or TV series that remotely references Christianity, even if the end product is completely unbiblical. They are also obsessed with some sort of revival they feel is coming to the earth because of their efforts. Beloved, the bible promises no such end times revival but they do promise and end times apostasy and the NAR is leading the way. The worship coming out of this movement is equally unbiblical. It is overly focused on us instead of God. Forty years ago the church sang How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace but today it sings Friend of God and Oh How He Loves Us. If you cannot tell the difference between the two sets of songs, I would be worried. The first set is focused on God and the second set is focused on us. It is not "worship" to tell God how much He loves us or declare that we are His friend. The NAR presents a false gospel and a false christ. God is coming back and will set up a new heavens and earth and this one will pass away. The hard truth is that many in the NAR like living in Sodom. They like the sin and excess. They like the easy living they make off of merchandising the Gospel. They are the wolves the Bible warned us about.
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. -- 2Peter 2: 1-3 (ESV)
I love these verses because they also expose the utter falseness of the prophets today. Peter makes a clear delineation between the Old Covenant days when there was no revealed will of God and the New Covenant where we now rely upon the Gospel. In the old days the falseness was related to prophets because that was how the Word of God was delivered to His People. Under the new however, they would be false teachers because now the Word of God has been provided. Instead of bringing the true teaching of the Word however, the NAR brings a counterfeit, where man has the responsibilities to revive a dead world sitting under judgment. They deny the Master by thinking they are now the master essentially. Note that Peter here refers to Christ as the Master who bought them! This refers of course to salvation and being redeemed out from this world that is currently run by the lord of this world, Satan. What does the NAR teach? That this world can be conquered by the church and thus they deny the Master that bought them. Hallelujah. It is because of people like the NAR false teachers that Christianity is blasphemed. Note here that Peter calls Christianity they "way of the truth." This again sets a clear delineation between what we are really talking about -- truth and error. The world exists in shades of grey but we know that things are either black or white. Right or wrong. True or false. There are no degrees of falseness beloved. To claim that we have to take over this world is patently false. To claim that God is restoring offices you just happened to be filling is patently false. To follow and chase after false supernatural manifestations and revivals is patently false. There is no middle ground. In their greed they have exploited people who otherwise may have been genuinely seeking God. Like the Pharisees of old who denied access to heaven by traveling the world to convert one person and thus make them twice the son of hell that they were -- the NAR is now doing the same. When they are confronted with the undeniable scope of the heresies they often respond, but what about Matthew 6:10? So let us reason together today and see what God is saying to us through this key verse today:
Your kingdom come,
Let is start with what we always need to start with. Context, context, context. This verse comes from the middle of the Lord's Prayer. Jesus is teaching His disciples how they ought to pray. He already reviewed that they are to not pray as hypocrites, to be seen by others or with vain repetitions. The context is important because it is extremely poor hermeneutics to wrest one verse out of context like this and create a doctrine that has literally nothing to do with the verse at all. This verse is part of explaining how to pray, not codifying an end times restoration of the offices of prophet and apostle plus a direction to conquer the world so Jesus can come back. This is what happens when you leverage the Bible for points you want to make instead of wanting to hear what God might want to say. But we will play along.
Why does Jesus instruct His disciples to pray "Your kingdom come?" According to Barnes Notes on the Bible, the word kingdom here means "reign." We are praying for the second coming of the Lord beloved. We are praying for the days where He will wipe all tears away and the kingdom of the present darkness will be vanquished by our returning King. It is quite literally the opposite of what the NAR teaches! They do not pray for the returning King. They believe they are responsible for bringing about His second coming! How unbelievably arrogant. God does not need our help beloved. We are the creature -- He is the Creator. If we really peel away the pomp we will realize this is no different than the sin of Lucifer himself. That he wanted to ascend to the throne of the Most High. It is the same sin the devil then tempted Eve with in the garden. That your eyes will be opened and you will be like God. Now here comes the NAR to teach you how special you are. So special that God cannot even arrange the second coming of His Son without your help. What utter blasphemy.
Beloved, we pray for the kingdom of God to come because we are no longer supposed to be of this world. The Bible says that our true citizenship is in heaven but if you listen to the NAR adherents they insist on dual citizenship. They idolize this world so much and worship this country that it drove them into the arms of one of the least Christian candidates in the history of America. Trump has been deified by the NAR and presented as a messiah figure who is going to save Sodom on behalf of the church. What nonsense. This blurring of the lines between the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God is central to false teachings of the NAR and is oblivious to Scriptural truth:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life--is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. -- 1John 2: 15-17 (ESV)
By definition the NAR loves this world and the things of this world. They are constantly trying to revive this world. They are constantly trying to influence it. What they continually fail to recognize is this world is passing away! It says so right here! Those who do the will of the Father will abide forever but it will not be in this present world. Speaking of the will of the Father:
your will be done,
The NAR seeks to validate their own will as the will of the Father. This is why they invest so much in direct revelation outside of Scripture. It cannot be challenged or verified. It is all entirely subjective. At the International House of Prayer (not the other IHOP which has tastier waffles and sounder theology) they engage in eastern mysticism as prayer practices. Chanting mantras over and over again. They have established a 24 hour, seven day a week prayer ministry they have their students partake in. Centered prayer, soaking prayer and contemplative prayer are just three of the types of mysticism engaged in. The object is to empty your mind and theoretically whatever comes into your mind through these exercises is considered "God speaking to you." The reality is that they are creating emotional reactions and passing them off to unaware youth as "spiritual revelations." Yet what does the Bible teach us?
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? -- Jeremiah 17: 9 (ESV)
It is not by accident God refers to the heart as deceitful above all things beloved. Our hearts are pure carnality. Our hearts will lie to us given almost any opportunity. The Bible never says to empty our head when we pray! How many times have we heard the refrain from false teachers that God "spoke to my heart?" That is not the Lord! He has already given us His Word in the Bible. There are no additional revelations. There is nothing He forgot to tell us. His will is the Bible beloved. So it is ironic again that NAR followers use this verse to defend their position when this verse is continually the polar opposite of the NAR beliefs! The NAR folks teach that our experiences are on par with or more relevant than the Bible itself! Don't believe me? Here are the words from the false apostle himself: