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October 11, 2019
The Next NAR Move - Part Two - Apostles and Prophets Reign, Pastors Become Small Group Leaders
By Anthony Wade
Part Two of examining the next strategy of the NAR - and apostolic takeover of the Church...
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, - Ephesians 4:11-12 (ESV)
John Burton has been a pastor for the past 22 years. He has watched the infiltration of the purpose driven church heresies and the seeker friendly schemes of church growth warp the body of Christ. He has also watched as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has spread like a cancer throughout the body. He has done more than watch. He has welcomed, participated and benefitted from these changes. Somewhere in the middle there he anointed himself a "Prophetic Apostle" and started to write about further changes he intends to inflict upon the apostate church he has helped create. The above link is to a recent article where he reveals the next plans for the NAR. This is part two of the review of these plans, which Burton will be releasing in an upcoming book, "The coming shift in the church away from senior pastoral leadership: The Coming Church."
The first half dealt with the common foundational lies of the NAR. They believe that the church should be focused on some kind of culture war and be outward focused. They believe sheep should feed themselves and fend for themselves. Basically, they believe the opposite of how God intended His church to operate. The focus of this book however is to set up the false authority paradigm that the NAR was built upon. In Burton's hellscape vision, he sees churches not run by pastors but rather by apostles, because apostles were listed first in the key verse, I kid you not. The problem with that is the apostles are all self-declared. Yet this is what Burton and the NAR have been pushing all along. To end the church as Christ intended. I am not saying they are aware of this consciously but the end result is a church without shepherds, where the sheep are deployed as seasoned theologians into situations they cannot handle and are not called for, all to advance the growth goals of the purpose driven and seeker friendly models. This will lead to millions of false converts and millions of believers falling away. We pick it up here in Part Two with Burton citing what he views as support for the notion of apostles coming first. Let us reason once more.
"Apostles and Prophets are Coming. Prophets announce, among other things, the coming governmental order and apostles bring the order.
1 Corinthians 12:27-28 (ESV) 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
These offices are listed in order of importance and function in the church.
Life Application Commentary: Paul specifically ranked them as first, second, and third to show their prime importance above all the other gifts.
ESV Study Bible: First" second" third" then seems to be a ranking of importance or benefit to the church, with apostles being primary and then prophecy and teaching also contributing greatly to building others up.
The apostolic ministry is actually the first one that our Lord, Jesus, established in the New Testament church.
And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.
Why did Jesus establish the apostolic ministry first? Because it was to be the foundation of the church government in the New Testament, as the priesthood was the foundation of the ministry in the Old Testament. So, without apostles in the ministry, the ministry gifts are literally without the necessary foundation.
And (you) are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.
There are governmental levels in spiritual realms. These are called "principalities, powers and rulers." Each has a different realm of authority, a different authority level, and a different manner of operation.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Likewise, we have different levels of authority in the different ministry gifts. Here is where the apostle's authority is truly needed. At times, a pastor is confronted with different types of spiritual attacks. Without the spiritual covering of an apostle, he can be battling against powers and rulers that he is not actually anointed, or prepared to battle against. With the apostolic covering, he is able to draw upon the apostle's anointing, understanding, and experience in these battles. Instead of fighting alone, he has the spiritual support he needs." -- John Burton
Here comes the big push for apostles being in charge. We need to recognize things that are simply made up by the carnal wickedness of John Burton even if they sound spiritual. Nowhere in the bible does it say that prophets announce the governmental order of the church and that apostles bring that order. NOWHERE. Why then is Burton teaching this? Well, he has already tipped his hand by claiming he is a "prophetic apostle." Qui bono? Who benefits? He then cobbles together sources to stake the claim that the apostles are first because they were named first but in his zeal to list as much corroboration as possible he failed to properly understand what he was citing. Let's take a closer look at the ESV study bible he cited:
ESV Study Bible: First" second" third" then seems to be a ranking of importance or benefit to the church, with apostles being primary and then prophecy and teaching also contributing greatly to building others up.
Even if I concede that these are listed in order it is only in relation to the context. God is relying upon Apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers to build up the church! To ensure proper doctrine until the full measure of unity! This does not mean the apostles are meant to take over leadership of the local church, Sorry John. Rich Murphy's conclusions are borderline silly. Jesus was not establishing an "apostolic ministry" as some form of governmental order for the church when He picked His disciples. How do I know this? Because the bible doesn't say He did! Stop making nonsense up! Many believe the office of apostle is not even active today! I am willing to convey an apostolic view upon those who do missionary and church planting work because they are "sent ones." We see at the end of this defense what Burton is really after here and that is power. The apostolic authority paradigm was false when C Peter Wagner rolled it out at the start of the NAR and it is just as false today. The notion of "coverings" and "anointings" is pure NAR teaching that places our reliance up men instead of God. Draw upon the apostle's anointing? Do they just sit around all day making this stuff up?
The current structure or model of church ministry revolves around the pastoral paradigm (model) of ministry. A paradigm is a structure of ministry that serves as a model or pattern. It's astonishing but the word pastor, Greek poimen is only mentioned once in the entire New Testament. From one occurrence in scripture we have built thousands of pastoral churches. Yet there were no churches ever built in the New Testament by pastors. Even the one started at Antioch soon received Barnabas as an apostolic leader. Barnabas was a sent-one (apostolic gift) from the church in Jerusalem." -- John Burton
Now, I do not know who Jonas Clark is but quoting others who are just as wrong as you are does not make you right. His argument here is so disingenuous. We use words all the time that do not appear in the text. Rapture does not appear once. There were comparable words to pastor however, such as shepherd, which is what pastor actually means. Clark is technically right that pastors did not build churches. That was considered apostolic work because it was primarily Paul who was doing it. That is why apostles were called sent ones. Pastors were however sent to lead those churches once established and Clark just ignores that fact. Timothy for example did not build the church at Ephesus but was certainly sent to lead it. Clark continues:
"In reality we have created a structure of church services that is designed to bless, nurture and comfort attendees. After all, that is the dominate grace on the pastoral ascension gift to comfort, bless, nurture, protect and lead to still waters. There is nothing wrong with being a pastor. What we are discussing is the transition into an apostolic model of ministry that enables us to be more effective in establishing and advancing the Kingdom of God. There will always be a set man over a congregation. Scripture says, "Let the Lord the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation" (Numbers 27:16). Apostolic ministry models may have a plurality of leadership gifts working together to equip believers known as a presbytery but there will always be one set man that is ultimately responsible before God to apostle a church." -- Jonas Clark
No Jonas, God created the structure that way. This model however is anathema to NAR dominionists because it focuses on the sheep instead of the world. What Clark, Burton and the NAR want is power. Sure, they will let someone with a pastoral calling still work but they will no longer be in control. The focus of the church will become even less focused on the Gospel. Here after ten pages of set up, Burton admits through the writings off Jonas Clark that he wants to be in charge. It is a devious scheme of the enemy to create churches not led by shepherds. To be led by people who are enamored with this world. People who think sheep should fend for themselves and feed themselves.
"The Holy Spirit is going to restore an effective structure of ministry that will empower you to raise-up strong sons and daughters in the Lord that will take the battle out of the church and into the city. Apostolic ministry gifts are spiritual master builders that carry the revelation of Christ governing Church. As Paul said, "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon" (1 Corinthians 3:10). -- Jonas Clark
This will come to a shock for Christian-culture warriors but there is no battle we are supposed to be engaged in outside the church. We are a shining city on a hill, not an army taking territory. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal. The radio program Fighting for the Faith has a cute slogan; "Blue Sleeps Faster Than Tuesday." It is a perfectly fine sentence. It is grammatically correct and has all the necessary components of a sentence. It just doesn't mean anything. We see this here in this beauty:
Apostolic ministry gifts are spiritual master builders that carry the revelation of Christ governing Church
This sentence means nothing. Clark or Burton dreamt this up in their wickedly deceitful hearts. To break down the arrogance however -- John Burton and Jonas Clark believe and teach that God has given them a prophetic revelation that they should lead the church as super-duper apostles. They call this a revelation of church governance and the only people who carry this vision and can attest to it are the very same mega apostles that benefit from it! Read the entire section of 1Corinthians 3 and you will see that while Paul does say that he was a master builder, nowhere does it say that only apostles and prophets or apostleprophets can build on top. The larger point Paul was making was that his was the foundation upon which anyone can build -- not just a special group of super spirituals like the Prophetic Apostle Burton.
"The Purpose of the Church
The church is not a house of teaching or a house of evangelism or a house of friendships. The very purpose of the church is prayer! It is a house of prayer for all nations! If someone in the church is resistant to the call to pray corporately, they can't consider themselves to be a functional part of the church. This is a huge problem! In today's church very few live a lifestyle of prayer. In fact, most pastors don't either! Leonard Ravenhill said: Pastors who don't pray two hours a day aren't worth a dime a dozen!" -- John Burton
Burton is correct that we should be a praying church although Acts and the Pauline letters reveal that it should certainly be a house of biblical teaching. He is also correct to say that most churches today are simply not. Even "Prayer Meetings" are often just mini-versions of the Sunday service. The comical thing here is that Burton fails to see where he is responsible. He supports and embodies the three movements that have led the church to become apostate to being with! The purpose driven church has turned prayer into a mockery where we petition the Lord for everything we think we deserve without appreciating anything He has done. The seeker friendly church growth schemes stay away from prayer so as to not over-spiritualize the service and scare away the goats we are trying to recruit. The NAR has embraced word faith and other heresies that reduce prayer to an exercise in usurping the power of God.
"Mark 11:15-18 (ESV) 15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers." 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching.
We are in a Mark 11:15-18 season in our nation. In that situation, the people were using the church for personal gain. They had expectations of personal benefit. They entered the church with the expectation of leeching off of it, of using it, and leaving with more than they entered with. This is a defilement of the church! The call is to go into the church with the expectation of leaving with less than we enter with! We bring an offering, a sacrifice! We minister to God! This is critical! Pastor led churches more easily seek to give people what they expect out of the church. Now, please understand me. Pastors are God ordained! But, when they function outside of their appropriate governmental position, it brings disorder. The same would be true of any of the offices. You probably don't want a prophet trying to nurture people! Thank God for pastors!" -- John Burton
What absolute garbage. Do you see what he is selling here? That pastors who run their own churches are functioning outside of their governmental positions. Mind you he pointed to no scriptures to support this notion as he has just made it up. He is right that the church mentality these days is what can the church do for me or give me but he again cannot see where he is to blame! This blessing mentality is at the heart of the perfect heretical storm we have been talking about. That aside, he also goes far off the rails here in insisting that expecting God to show up at church is somehow a defilement. Yes we worship God but we do not minister to Him. He ministers to us. I agree we should not operate within this blessing mentality the apostate church sells but Burton's notion seems to be an overcorrection.
"The House of Prayer
In the coming church, everybody will pray as their primary ministry! Yes, everybody! This means a great offense is coming as suddenly those focused on their own expectations and who are resistant to the call to prayer will have nowhere to go! The governmental order in the church will require a mass exodus of uncommitted, unwilling hearts as intercession takes first place again. This type of dramatic shift requires the skills of an apostle to pull off." -- John Burton
The skills of an apostle, really? So it takes an apostle to ensure a mass exodus of sheep from the church. Even if they are deemed wrong somehow they are only reflecting what they were taught. Burton seems positively giddy about getting rid of so many sheep. That is the training of the purpose driven church that embraces blessed subtraction. I am also leery of the zeal here as it seems misguided. I agree that prayer needs to be more focused and a spiritual discipline that should be taught but Burton sounds like he wants every church to mimic the IHOP model, which we was extremely unbiblical. The bible says to not pray in demonstrative ways. Because IHOP got so enraptured by 24-7 prayer they delved into eastern mysticism and soaking nonsense. With the NAR mindset guiding Burton, I would stay clear of this notion he has here.
"You might presume that intercession is to be reserved for the mature, for those who have graduated from the equipping process. No! No! No! The best equipping center is the prayer room! If an 18 year old pimple faced young person fresh out of high school with no experience, no knowledge, no wisdom can join the Marines and fight for our country, he can do the same in the prayer room! Again, there is a place for pastors to nurture people like this, and, in fact, we need pastors not as senior leaders, but as smaller group leaders who can invest time into individuals. They need to prepare them quickly to respond to the coming instructions from the apostles and prophets. It would make sense to have serving with an apostle maybe ten to twenty pastors for every one hundred people in a church. Islamic prayer: The second pillar of Islam is salat, the requirement to pray five times a day at fixed times. Children are often required to fulfill this daily requirement by the age of 7. If a mosque can be jam packed full of people praying early in the morning on a weekday as happens in our area, and if children as young as 7 are praying five times a day in that system, certainly an all consuming, Holy Spirit fueled life of prayer for a Christian is not hard to imagine at all!" -- John Burton
What a bad analogy. The 18-year-old still has to go to training before being sent to war. Not every 18-year-old graduates from that training. Not all who graduate survive once on the front lines. Listen, everyone should pray and the church should lead the way but intercession is a specific ministry that does require some training, not to mention a calling. This whole prayer discussion has been a ruse to set up the next step in the pastoral destruction paradigm. To Burton, they are not even senior leaders because after all, they are not an apostle like he is! No, in his false authority paradigm, pastors are akin to small group leaders. Their only function is that of a lackey of the true church leaders -- the apostles and prophets. The power grab is obvious and if anyone has paid attention to the state of Charismania lately this should frighten them. Do you think the self-appointed apostle Bill Johnson should lead the church? Heaven forbid. Have you seen the gaggle of false prophets these days? Do you honestly want Jenifer "Calamari Queen" LeClaire, Rick Joyner, Crazy Ryan LeStrange or James Goll dictating the government of the church? Paul certainly did not. That is why he said to allow no more than two prophets even speak during a church service. These faux apostles and prophets need a small army of pastors apparently to deal with the masses as the real leaders just dictate what deceitful rubbish comes into their wicked hearts.
"Act like priests! When you stand as a priest before the Lord, you aren't representing yourself, you are representing others in corporate identificational prayer. ~James Goll
You are a priest, and that means that you have a job to do. You are a priestly intercessor before God and the call is to pray individually and corporately continually! In the coming church, under apostles and prophets, we all will show up and pray! That is church! Church services will be prayer meetings again! Personal expectations will be replaced by assignments to serve, give, pray and lay down our lives! We won't show up with our prayer lists or our own issues but rather we will represent the nations as we invest into them in prayer. We are all priests and we all carry extreme authority! This is church at its best!" -- John Burton
While the bible does say we are a royal priesthood; nowhere does it say therefore we are all priestly intercessors. The larger point is that the church can refocus on prayer without this radical departure from biblical church order. The clever sleight of hand pulled off here by Burton is to take the concept of being a sheep and being fed and warped it into "personal expectations" and negative connotations. This is the NAR dominionist belief. That sheep who expect to be fed are selfish and need to get out into the "mission field" to do the work of ministry. In Burton's hellscape he sees a church where sheep come in only to be sent out on assignments. He also is now advocating for not petitioning the Lord in prayer for any personal needs! That is completely unbiblical. We are all hurt and broken and imperfect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with coming to God with our needs. Everyone coming to church thinking they have extreme authority is not church at its best beloved. It is a recipe for utter chaos. The pastor at least went through school or has demonstrated over decades solid handling of the word of God. All we have with the John Burton's of the world is their assurance to us that God has called them to these lofty titles. Heck, even modern-day false prophets insist that they can be wrong 35% of the time and still be considered solid.
"The Simple Blueprint - Apostles and Prophets
The shift: Corporate leadership will shift from pastors to apostles and prophets primarily. Instead of merely relaying information, messages will be mostly challenging and directive with a clear expected response as the body is rallied to fulfill a corporate mission together. They will lead with the expectation that the entire unit will be moving in step with them as they fulfill the vision of the church in unity.
The difficulty: Those that are averse to responding to prophetic instruction or who simply want a 'pick me up' each week to help them make it to the next Sunday will suddenly find themselves well outside of the vision of the church. There will be costly calls to serve, give, pray and function as a priest before the Lord, and that will be unappealing to many. The new aggressive, fast moving military will be challenging to say the least." -- John Burton
This is just disgusting. Read the Book of Acts! They studied the word! That is the purpose of church! The corporate mission is holiness, not some dominionist agenda. Jesus is coming back for a spotless bride, not an "involved" bride. Those averse to responding to false prophets will most certainly not accept this blatant power grab based on self-proclaimed prophets and wannabe apostles like John Burton. The church is not the military! Stop using carnal visions and pretending they are from God! Given the explosion of the apostate church this may become their vision but it is not the vision of God.
The shift: In the coming church, pastors will mostly be relieved of primary church leadership responsibilities and will be released to spend most of their time one-on-one with people and in small groups.
The difficulty: Pastors who are senior leaders will be asked to relinquish their positions, their salaries and their influence in favor of an apostle God is calling them to serve under." -- John Burton
Hahaha, c'mon John. Do you honestly think people are so stupid as to not see through what you are doing here? Based on what? Your word? No thanks.
The shift: Many programs of the church will be eliminated, possibly including children's ministry, youth ministry, drama, etc. and will be replaced by prayer meetings, training and outreach.
The difficulty: People will have to change their expectations and make themselves ready to serve by growing intentionally on their own in a significant way each day. They probably won't have close, direct access with the leader and will have to trade personal desire for close friendship for a readiness to respond to the sound of the alarm." -- John Burton
Wow. They are sheep John. Sheep. They are not your infantry. Sheep do not know how to feed themselves. They need a shepherd, not a drill sergeant who knows less about the bible than they do. I am not even advocating for more programs or side ministries. That is not the issue. The issue is your insistence that the church you have helped ruin is now going to saved by you. Just pass me the power, salary and influence. Right John.
The shift: Most services will look more like prayer meetings than anything else. Everybody will spend the bulk of the service ministering to God in intercession and community will surround that emphasis.
The difficulty: The desire to be entertained and overfed will no longer be met. Mostly receiving will change to mostly giving. Rapid maturity will be required as apostolic leaders move ahead aggressively in a rapidly and ever changing culture of ministry to the nations. Those resistant to growth or to change won't easily find a place to connect. Additionally, relational community will occur only around the mission. The prayer meeting will be the gathering point for friendships to develop. People looking for these types of connections will be disappointed if they aren't willing to jump in the bunker in a risky mission with their fellow soldiers. Gladly, the pastors will be in the bunkers with them." -- John Burton
If a church service looks like a prayer meeting then we can assume there will be no dividing of the word of truth. That is so unbiblical I am amazed he is trying to advocate for it. Intercession is not ministering to God. Get over yourself John. Overfed? Is that what you think has been happening in church today John? Do you even read the bible? As the key verses from Part One pointed out maturity is only gained through unity of doctrine. DOCTRINE John. Apostolic leaders can move as rapidly as they like, maturity cannot be sped up. It is different for everyone and contingent upon a myriad of factors. What is the point of reaching the nations or anyone if you have stripped out the only weapon that matters? The Gospel. Do you remember that because I have not heard it referenced one time in your grand scheme.
The shift: Seeker churches will quickly fade away as the fire of the Holy Spirit rages in the houses of prayer. The lost won't be relationally converted as much as they will be converted by fire. We will trust God's wisdom as in Acts 2 and allow the fire of God impact a region. The prayer room will become the place of choice to bring the lost.
The difficulty: Everybody will have to drop most everything and tend to the fire in the house of prayer. To ensure the atmosphere is supernaturally charged, everybody in the church will be spending hours a day in the prayer room together. False salvations will drop to near zero as they won't be based on a simple prayer but rather on an encounter with the God of fire." -- John Burton
You just do not get it. Read Romans John. There cannot be any Holy Ghost fire without the Gospel. There can be no salvation without the Gospel. There can be no maturation of the saints without the Gospel. You quote Acts 2??? Read the conclusion of that chapter and see how the church is supposed to be organized! The only reason why the spirit fell and 3000 were converted was that Peter preached the Gospel! They were not sitting around chanting mantras and "ministering to God." Why bring the lost to the prayer room? The things of God are foolishness to them and without the Gospel they cannot be saved. It sounds an awful lot like Burton is advocating for the debunked and disgraced IHOP model. No one gets saved by watching people roll around on the ground screaming "fire!" This is just awful.
"To Conclude. It's important that I do say that many current pastors are actually gifted with apostolic and/or prophetic offices. They will help lead the shift! We will all have to trust God as our personal finances, plans, dreams, influence and structures are threatened. God really does have plans to prosper us even in this dramatic, unsettling shift!" -- John Burton
No John. He does not. You claim to speak for God but you clearly do not know Him nor are able to divide His word. Beloved, beware because Burton is deadly serious and he is coming for your church and your pastor. Now, many pastors in the pulpits today are mere hirelings and deserve to be removed but not to be replaced with false prophets and power-grubbing fake apostles. I understand why so many believe the offices of prophet and apostle are closed. I may not agree entirely, but I understand that it is because of people like John Burton who based solely on his belief in his own apostleship, that he should take over the church from those small group leaders disguising themselves as shepherds in God's church. Burton's vision is near apocalyptic. If you are wondering how we get to the end times church it is this "simple" blueprint that could lead the way for the apostate church to continue skipping down the broad path that leads only to their own destruction. If this "vision" ever encroaches upon your church beloved it is time to leave and leave quickly.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- October 11, 2019