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May 3, 2019

Dr. Michael Brown -- Shilling for the NAR Yet Again

By Anthony Wade

Dr. Brown is at it again - defending the NAR while pretending to know very little about it...


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Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals." -- 1Corinthians 15:33 (ESV)

Dr. Michael Brown is a learned theologian who has written many good books espousing correct doctrine. Unfortunately, as we see many fall from grace as the end times deepen, Dr. Brown is simply not to be taken seriously anymore due to his entanglement with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) teachings. Please keep in mind that this does not mean he openly uses the term NAR. Most involved do not. Dr. Brown however defends any false teacher who espouses NAR doctrine, which makes him an essential gatekeeper. He gives his decades earned credibility to these charlatans with impunity. When first confronted he actually feigned ignorance that there even was an NAR! All one has to do is see that now his primary focus is writing about worshipping this country to know that he firmly believes in the dominionism that is a hallmark of the NAR. He also has a blind eye when it comes to the abuses stemming from the false signs and lying wonders churches in this country. I was on his radio show twice to confront him about it but to no avail. He said that Bill Johnson was a solid brother; Joseph Prince and Benny Hinn were brothers in the Lord and even gave cover for the silliness of the sneaky squid spirit from Jennifer Leclaire. This week he wrote an article where he claims to "dispel myths" about the NAR and it is linked above. Let us reason once again and see the cover he continues to try so hard to give to so many in the NAR and their false teachings.

"The warnings are dire indeed. "The world's fastest growing sect of Christianity is not Christian at all. And chances are very high that your child and church are getting infected." Yes, this ministry website tells us, "The New Apostolic Reformation movement and the Jesus Culture worship band boasts of 369 million adherents." What, exactly is this New Apostolic Reformation (abbreviated NAR)? According to the website, "The New Apostolic Reformation worships God drunk in the spirit and they teach scant amounts of truth. Christians do not need to be aware of each and every false teacher on the planet. But the New Apostolic Reformation is the most influential aberrant movement the church has ever seen." And so, the website urges, buy this one-hour DVD and you will find out how terrible this "influential aberrant" movement is. Seriously? This alleged "sect" boasts 369 million adherents? Where did this figure come from? And why is it that most of these 369 million adherents (who think they are Christian but are not) have likely never heard of NAR?" -- Dr. Michael Brown

Clever opening ruse by Dr. Brown. He finds one website and applies all of NAR criticism to it. The reason why many will not have heard about it is that it is a collective term for common teachings. It is not a denomination. When you see churches preaching dominionism, false signs and lying wonders and a warped apostolic authority paradigm - bingo.

'I was doing my radio show last year when, during a break, my producer and I heard an ad playing for this DVD. We were absolutely shocked. What in the world were they talking about? What is this massive, dangerous "NAR"? During the 2016 presidential campaign, I had seen articles on radical-left websites accusing political leaders like Ted Cruz of being part of "NAR." By this the critics meant an alleged Christian dominionist movement that wanted to take over America. But that, apparently, was quite different than this new description of NAR, since most of its supposed followers are not dominionist. So I continued to wonder, "What is this so-called NAR?" I was familiar with the term New Apostolic Reformation, coined by Peter Wagner (more on this below), but it hardly resembled this ominous new "NAR."' -- Dr. Michael Brown

Here is the feigned ignorance again and I simply not buying it. This is the same Dr. Brown when I questioned him why he was going on Benny Hinn's show for a week tried to say he did not know of any false teachings from brother Hinn. C'mon Dr. Brown. That does not even pass the smell test. Do not be lured into Brown's assertion that most are not dominionist. What he means is most will never admit they are. Brown himself is a clear dominionist and would never admit it but let's look at the last five titles for articles he has posted on Charisma News:

The Canadian Government is Now a Dangerous Big Brother

Why Time Magazine and the left love Pete Buttigieg

Did President Trump Make False Claims about Infanticide?

The Jewish People are Like Everyone Else

Abortion Hurts Men Too

That is four of five NAR dominionist subjects and the one outlier was in response to the synagogue shooting which means it is five of five. How many about Jesus Christ and the Gospel? Zero.

"To make matters more interesting, last year, some colleagues began sending me links to articles and videos attacking me as one of the leaders of NAR. Worse still, the websites claimed, I denied being part of it. How nefarious and dishonest of me! (To this moment, when I tell the truth about "NAR," I'm called a liar. It would be very funny if wasn't very sad.) I began to ask other colleagues about NAR (or, in full, the New Apostolic Reformation). Almost to a person, they responded, "What is NAR?" Yet they, too, were alleged leaders in this so-called world movement! How is it they never heard of it either? (According to the critics, all of us are lying about our involvement in NAR because we're embarrassed by it. Honestly, these critics could make better use of their time writing a novel about the Illuminati.) So where is all the confusion and misinformation coming from? Why are these critics making such outlandish charges? As best I can see, this is the progression." -- Dr. Michael Brown

Dr. Brown is not an NAR leader. He is a gatekeeper of the false teachers and has fully embraced several tenets of NAR teaching. What Brown is trying to do here is minimize the NAR by mocking its very existence. By making it sound like a conspiracy theory. Let us try and follow the progression Dr. Brown alluded to:

First, Dr. Peter Wagner coined the term the New Apostolic Reformation to describe what he saw as a growing church trend. He wrote in 2011, "The roots of the NAR go back to the beginning of the African Independent Church Movement in 1900, the Chinese House Church Movement beginning in 1976, the U.S. Independent Charismatic Movement beginning in the 1970s and the Latin American Grassroots Church Movement beginning around the same time. I was neither the founder nor a member of any of these movements, I was simply a professor who observed that they were the fastest growing churches in their respective regions and that they had a number of common characteristics. So, you can see what a broad description this is, and again, it was Dr. Wagner's personal way of categorizing a worldwide, century-old, multi-faceted church growth movement. And many of the church groups he described did not use the term "apostles" for their leaders today. Second, Dr. Wagner himself led something called the New Apostolic Reformation, and it was in that specific context I was familiar with the term. This was the "NAR" I knew about. It had distinct teachings on apostolic ministry, some of which I agreed with and some of which I rejected. I was never part of the organization, which also had specific membership requirements and annual meetings." -- Dr. Michael Brown

Brown playing dumb again here. There are no membership dues or annual meetings under the banner of the NAR. Brown tries to define the NAR as just some sort of personal descriptor used by the now deceased Wagner but let's look at how the Amazon description reads for Wagner's book, "Churchquake."

"Best-selling author and church growth expert C. Peter Wagner writes about a revolution taking place in the Church-an extraordinary work of God that is changing the shape of Christianity around the world. The New Apostolic Reformation is a grassroots phenomenon in which God is raising up alliances of non-denominational churches and leaders worldwide to help fulfill the last awesome push for the Great Commission. Wagner identifies and examines present-day apostolic church networks that are bound together not by doctrine or tradition, but by shared passion for local and worldwide evangelism, energetic worship, fervent prayer and church planting." -- Wagner's NAR Description

Wagner seems to have thought the NAR was a revolution in the church and he was right. He thinks that God is changing the shape of Christianity across the world. Ask Bill Johnson if he believes that today because he sure does. He even admits here that this is an alliance of like-minded churches that prefer passion over doctrine! Either way this is hardly just some descriptor in Wagner's vocabulary.

"To this day, when I bring up NAR to colleagues, either they have no idea what I'm referring to, or else they say, "That was Peter Wagner's organization." I was having dinner recently with a well-known Charismatic leader and asked him, "What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of NAR?" He responded immediately with, "It was a good attempt by Peter Wagner, but I strongly differed with him on a number of key points, which is why I never joined it." (For the record, he was quite shocked when I told him that, according to the critics, he was also a major NAR leader!) So, in this leader's mind, the New Apostolic Reformation spoke of something very specific, and that's how almost all of us who traveled in these same circles understood it. That's why we're scratching our heads today trying to understand how this term came to be used to describe this alleged worldwide, demonic movement. How in the world did this happen?" -- Dr. Michael Brown

There is no "joining" the NAR! You either believe in the teachings and espouse them or you do not. So no offense but I doubt the whole dinner conversation here. Perhaps this unnamed leader disagreed on the key heretical points and if so that is great. At least he did not pretend it didn't exist.

"It appears that some of this can be traced back to Prof. Doug Geivett and Holly Pivec, who wrote the book A New Apostolic Reformation? A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement. In this book, they included Charismatic leaders who believe in five-fold ministry today (as I have, for decades) and grouped them together as part of NAR. The book also painted a very negative picture, although I believe that the authors were sincere in their writing and sought to do solid research. In the end, we are left with a totally ambiguous picture of what NAR actually is, making it all the more dangerous in the minds of the conspiratorial critics, who inevitably believe the worst. (Just look at Holly's website where she tells you how to identify a NAR church and tell me if it's clear to you. Even after a two-hour dialogue with Doug and Holly, I'm still not certain as to how they identify NAR leaders or churches.)" -- Dr. Michael Brown

Geivitt and Pivec have done some good work but then again they certainly are not the end all. This is really not ambiguous at all. The NAR believes in certain teachings and practices and if a church shares these then they are NAR. Not because of meetings or annual fees but because of the incorporation of the teachings.

"Does it matter that Mike Bickle's IHOP KC put out a categorical statement differing with some of the alleged tenets of NAR? Not at all. That just proves their duplicity. (The IHOP KC website also gives a helpful history of some of Peter Wagner's writings on the subject.)" -- Dr. Michael Brown

Of course it does not matter. What matters is what he teaches. He teaches the heretical bridal paradigm and Joel's End Time Army heresy. His website agrees with the basics of dominionism and the seven mountain mandate but then declares to not believe they have to actually take over all the world governments. What proves their duplicity is duplicity. It is about teaching one thing while claiming to not believe in it.

'Another website claims to give "The Six Hallmarks of a NAR Church." But first, it explains that NAR is not a specific organization. Instead, the website states, "Supernatural Signs & Wonders; Dominionism; The Latter Rain Movement; Joel's Army; The 7 Mountain Mandate; Third Wave Revivalism; IHOP; Bill Johnson's Bethel Church, The Hillsong Media Empire, these are all a part of this shape-shifting movement in one way or another. It is gobbling up churches and deceiving millions who don't even know they've become a part of an apostate, end-times falling away."' -- Dr. Michael Brown

Yes Dr. Brown, you finally spoke some truth, albeit from another website. The supernatural signs you speak of are nonsense. They are gemstones and gold dust. They are glory clouds and angel feathers. All of which are held beliefs of Bethel and IHOP by the way. The Latter Rain heresy was marked as such going back to the 1950s. Joel's Army and the Seven Mountains are entirely dominionist! The churches are not being gobbled up but are willingly being converted into these teachings.

So, if you enjoy Hillsong worship songs, you're part of NAR, and you are apostate. (Surprise!) If you believe God confirms His Word with signs, wonders, and miracles, you're part of NAR, and you have fallen away. (Yes, surprise again!) If you believe the Church should make a positive impact on the culture through the gospel, you're part of NAR, even if you repudiate dominionism. (Sorry, but that's what the critics say!) And if your church hosts 24-7 prayer, you're NAR. (Holly's website lists this as a tell-tale sign.)." -- Dr. Michael Brown

No Dr. Brown. Hillsong has written some theologically appropriate songs but they are mixed in with some that are horrifically bad. We are not against signs and wonders just unbiblical signs and wonders that make no scriptural sense. It is not through the Gospel that you seek to affect culture. It is through conquering seven cultural mountains and demanding our faith through legislation. Repudiating dominionism is irrelevant if your writings and teachings all support it! The 24-7 prayer referred to here must be in reference to IHOP, who employs cultish behaviors, eastern mysticism and heretical things like soaking prayers. The overall point is that if you attend a church that is actively teaching these things they are pulling you away from doctrine and even admit it brazenly like Bill Johnson does!

"In short, what the critics have basically done is take whatever trends they differ with in the worldwide Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, group them all together, and put them under the heading of NAR -- even though this is not what NAR has ever meant. So, they have a taken a term that had a specific meaning for years, put their own definition on it, and then decided who is part of it, regardless of how the facts line up." -- Dr. Michael Brown

Yeah, no. All of the planks discussed here in the platform of the NAR came from the original teachings. Granted places like Bethel have placed these teachings on steroids but we had nothing to do with that Dr. Brown. We do not decide who is NAR -- they do by what they teach. It's called discernment.

'The truth be told, the reason I and others have taken time to clarify issues is out of love for the Body of Christ as a whole. The critics are not my concern. Their attacks fuel my fire and encourage me all the more to stand for what is right. I simply feel bad for them personally and grieve over any confusion they cause in the Church. But again, that's why I've taken time to try to clarify issues: I'm concerned about the unity of the Church, and I see the work of these critics as being divisive and destructive, more harmful than helpful. As for those who think I want to look the other way and ignore abuses, may I remind you that my most recent book, Playing with Holy Fire, is devoted entirely to addressing abuses in our house -- meaning, in the Pentecostal-Charismatic Church? If you've read the book, you can attest that I pull no punches. You'll also know that I critique some aspects of contemporary "apostolic ministry."' -- Dr. Michael Brown

If you stood for what is right you would get back to the Gospel and stop writing about Donald Trump all the time. You would call out false teachers as you are commanded to in the bible. Romans teaches us that division is brought into the church by false doctrine, not those who say it is false. The problem is you are willing to unify with anyone who can correctly spell Jesus. I agree that some of your writing is wholly correct in calling out teachings but the problem is you refuse to call out those who teach it. The perfect example is your book on hyper grace was spot on but you refuse to call the king of hyper grace, Joseph Prince, a false teacher. That renders your writings meaningless.

"First, get rid of the extreme rhetoric ("not Christian"; "aberrant movement"; etc.). You're slandering your brothers and sisters. Second, drop the general term NAR. It's ambiguous at best and misleading at worst and should only be used with reference to the organization once led by Peter Wagner. Third, don't put widely disparate groups under the same heading. That only leads to confusion. Fourth, identify the beliefs or practices you question, be sure you rightly understand them from an insider perspective, then respond to them based on Scripture and fruit. Fifth, recognize the wonderful things the Spirit is doing around the world today. This way, rather than scaring people with false accusations of a conspiratorial, worldwide, demonic movement, you can engage in constructive, fruitful interaction. That way, you can build up more than tear down. Isn't that the goal we all share?" -- Dr. Michael Brown

First of all, we are not slandering brothers and sisters in Christ. We are exposing wolves who threaten our brothers and sister in Christ. That exposing stems from their own words! The term NAR is neither misleading nor ambiguous no matter how you tried to muddy the waters here. Thirdly, we do not put disparate groups together -- their teaching does that. I agree that there is a vast difference between Joseph Mattera and Bill Johnson but they also have several teachings in common. Shane Idleman is not Mike Bickle but he legitimized him recently by interviewing him. You are not Benny Hinn sir but you may as well be since you have led your followers to him. I do not need an insider perspective. I need what they have taught and an open bible. I do recognize the wonderful work the spirit is doing through discernment -- leading people out of darkness and into the glorious light of Jesus Christ. That is true edification Dr. Brown. It is not building up the body of Christ to allow wolves to devour them. Come back to the Gospel Dr. Brown. Stop defensing the indefensible. As the key verse reminds us -- the bad company you are keeping by protecting these hucksters has corrupted your once good name.

Reverend Anthony Wade -- May, 3, 2019

Submitters Bio:
Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.