"My experience as a church growth scholar has led me constantly to ask four crucial questions:Why does the blessing of God rest where it does? Churches are not all equal. Why is it that at certain times, some churches are more blessed than others? Can any pattern of divine blessing be discerned? Do those churches that seem to be unusually blessed have any common characteristics?" -- C. Peter Wagner
Here is the birth of the bless me theology that so plagues the modern church today and the NAR specifically. Don't get me wrong, the prosperity heresies have been a long time running in the church but this notion of everything relating to blessings is an NAR creation and here we see its genesis. Realize too that this is where the infatuation with numbers came from. Wagner equates a numerically advanced church with being "blessed." By that logic, Lakewood Church is the most blessed church in America with the vast majority of congregants falsely converted and on the broad path that leads to destruction. Give me a church with 200 heaven bound congregants over a mega church with untold thousands going to hell. To the NAR, the church of 200 is unhealthy and the mega church is thriving but those are carnal measurements. At this point, Wagner lists nine components of this new church he was birthing.
"1. A new name - The name I have settled on for the movement is the New Apostolic Reformation, and individual churches being designated as new apostolic churches. I use "reformation" because, as I have said, these new wineskins appear to be at least as radical as those of the Protestant Reformation almost 500 years ago. "Apostolic" connotes a strong focus on outreach plus a recognition of present-day apostolic ministries. "New" adds a contemporary spin to the name. Although many people were begging for a definition of the New Apostolic Reformation from the beginning, I resisted formulating one until I believed I had a more mature grasp of the movement. Now that I have taught my first Fuller Seminary course about the subject, I believe it is time to take the risk of a definition, hoping that it will not have to be revised too frequently in the future." -- C. Peter Wagner
It is fascinating to read how he saw this movement and how much of it has come to pass and what has not. He wished for few revisions in defining the NAR and that has certainly not gone in his favor. What is important here in his naming is apostolic. It appears from his rationale here that he chose it to be outwardly focused and to assert the new false authority paradigm that marks the NAR to this day. I recently reviewed an article from a NAR pastor who says the next shift is for the false apostles of the NAR to take over the role of the pastors and relegate them to be small group leaders. I kid you not. When you look around the apostate church today and see this dramatic focus on the outside and the abuse of apostolic titles and authority -- this is where it was born.
"2. New Authority Structure - In my judgment, views of leadership and leadership authority constitute the most radical of the nine changes from traditional Christianity. Here is the main difference: The amount of spiritual authority delegated by the Holy Spirit to individuals. I have attempted to use each word in that statement advisedly. We are seeing a transition from bureaucratic authority to personal authority, from legal structure to relational structure, from control to coordination and from rational leadership to charismatic leadership." -- C. Peter Wagner
Here is the attention to the authority grab. The NAR firmly believes that apostles should run everything, with prophets second because that is the order they are presented in scripture. Here Wagner speaks about how congregants have to trust their apostle, supported of course by the ever looming PDC threat of blessed subtraction. Today we see people like Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle and countless others referred to as "apostle." They have created fake international organizations to give each other street cred. For example, Jennifer LeClaire, one of the most ridiculous "prophetesses," claims false prophet James Goll is her "covering." While I do not know how much she had to pay Goll for that right, she now has created her own prophetic network and charges several hundred dollars for people to be able to claim her as their covering. It is all a scam of course. They parasitically feed off of each other and in turn they claim their stature in the business as such.
"3. New Leadership Training - Members of the paid pastoral staff of typical new apostolic churches are usually homegrown. As all the believers in the congregation become active in ministry, certain ones tend to rise to the top like cream on fresh milk, and they are the ones who are then recruited for the staff. Because for many this involves a midlife career change, the possibility of their enrolling for two or three years in the residence program of a traditional seminary or Bible school is extremely remote. Therefore, academic requirements for ordination, so long the staple in traditional churches, are being scrapped. New apostolic ordination is primarily rooted in personal relationships, which verify character, and in proved ministry skills." -- C. Peter Wagner
One of the hallmarks of the NAR and thus the end times church is a distancing from biblical truth. Places like Bethel for example emphasize experience over scripture. What we see here in point number three is the birth of that thought process. Instead of relying upon leaders who have studied to show themselves approved, Wagner taught that apostolic ordination would be rooted in personal relationships to verify character and proved ministry skills. For this I present Todd Bentley. In 2008, Bentley was packing 15,000 a night into tent revival meetings in Lakeland Florida. His ministry was bizarre as he claimed the Holy Spirit told him to kick and punch people to impart healing. If anyone was holding a bible, he would have been dismissed out of hand but the NAR saw the money he could generate and went down to Lakeland to anoint him a prophet. They attested to his character and ministry skills and poured oil over his head. Bill Johnson was there. Apostle Che Ahn was there. Even C. Peter Wagner was there. Within a month, Bentley was exposed as being in an adulterous affair with the nanny of his child. This is what happens when you remove the bible from anything. The modern apostate church is littered with people who have never studied to show themselves approved and it all starts with Wagner's vision of the NAR all these years ago.