YOU’VE BROKEN FREE FROM THE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION – NOW WHAT?

By Rick Becker 2 November 2017

God has opened your eyes to the deception in the New Apostolic Reformation and other aberrant teachings such as the word of faith and prosperity gospel.  You have made the necessary, yet painful decision to leave your church.  You are flooded with emotions and fears.  Perhaps you are even regretting your decision as you may find yourself isolated.  Questions arise such as why did God allow this to happen, who can I trust now, what is the alternative?

Reasons why the NAR & CO have such a powerful grip on their followers can be found here .  It can be daunting to leave a church once you have discovered the deception within it. Disillusioned with church and even God can weigh you down.  Your journey into the somewhat unknown comes with it’s own set of challenges.  Here are some simple and practical steps that may be helpful:

1 Deal with the hurts and emotions that inevitably accompany this process

Leaving a church is a painful experience, even for those who leave on amicable terms. Leaving the NAR is usually a messy affair due to the controlling nature of this movement, and few come out unscathed.  Very often just prior to your departure, things may have been heated.  There may have been a certain amount of miscommunication, which added to the confusion and frustration you feel.  False accusations may have been made and  bonds as close as a tightly knit family have been shattered.  Few things are as painful as broken relationships and these words from the book of Psalms may resonate with you:
For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng.” Psalm 55:12-14

It’s imperative that you confront your emotions without delay.  The longer you harbor any resentment, and replay events in your mind,  the harder it is going to be for you to move forward.  At this particular junction, it may feel as though you have nothing to lean upon.  You may feel stripped, empty, and a little lost.  Feelings of rejection and self pity are paralyzing, and it is crucial to bring your pain to the cross of Christ.  This is where you will find peace.  Inherent in this movement is the dependence on people and experiences instead of God.  This will be an opportunity to discover that God is able to heal the brokenhearted and bring restoration.  It goes without saying that you need to forgive those who have hurt you, and begin the next chapter of your life.  In time, you will see that you have learnt many invaluable lessons through the whole situation.

2 Why did God allow me to be deceived is a question many ask

You may have forgiven the people who have hurt you, but you may be bitter towards God for allowing you to be deceived.  However, It’s never a case of God deceiving his children – the Holy Spirit leads us into truth, not deception.  Some in the NAR are unbelievers, and will never be saved from the deception because they are not saved. They have rejected truth, and as a result God will send them a strong delusion: “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,  and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.  

So why have some been deceived, albeit temporarily:
• Some are new in the faith and not well versed in scripture.  Due to their lack of knowledge and their inability to discern between truth from error, they believe the lies taught in this movement. 
• Some have been deceived by their own hearts.  The painful truth is that the man centered teachings of the NAR  appealed to self.  It may have been the attraction of guaranteed health and wealth, or perhaps the thought that they would become the next celebrity teacher. The lure of being part of a special new breed of anointed end time revivalists who will usher in the kingdom is just as attractive.  We know how to spiritualize carnal motivations in order to justify what is essentially just appeasing self.
• Some are ensnared by these teachings when looking for solutions to hardships. Sickness, poverty, and other hardships can often blind people to the false teachings of the NAR, as they seek the answers the NAR have on offer.  Those who are suffering in some way are desperately looking for deliverance from their afflictions.  Yet even during trials, we cannot blame God if we look for solutions outside of his word:  “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.  Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” James 1:13-14  The desire to be healed, the desire to be free from any form of hardship, can tempt us to compromise on what is clearly written in scripture.

One reason God allows the testing of our faith, is to reveal what is in us.  We are new creatures in Christ, but until we leave this earth we will have to crucify our flesh daily.  The temptation to be our own little god and work miracles appeals to the flesh.  The NAR is a movement that elevates the flesh instead of crucifying it.  What really matters is that God has rescued you from a deceptive movement.  You have not rejected the truth and are not amongst those who stand condemned.  It’s time to be grateful, and learn to rightly divide the scripture in order to grow and be in a position to help those caught up in the NAR.

3 You are not alone.  Find fellowship and encouragement as soon as possible

Once you have left your church, you find yourself in no mans land.  This period of isolation can be the breeding ground to foster bitterness.  You now find yourself in a vacuum, and the best thing to do is fill it with truth.  Finding a new fellowship takes time, and you have now learned not to place your trust in any individual or ministry. If possible, find others who have come out of these movements as they can be a source of encouragement and will identify with what you have been through. They may also be able to point you to resources that are helpful, and even a church to fellowship at. There are many free resources available that will help during this time. Start studying the word of God, use commentaries, listen to podcasts, read books exposing the NAR and their doctrines so that you can understand their error and learn to rightly divide the word.

4 Don’t make the same mistake twice

A hallmark of NAR & CO churches is that they:
• teach topically, using proof texts to substantiate their false doctrines.
• employ eisegesis – they ignore the rules of interpretation and original meaning of the text; instead they subject it to their own interpretation, and narcigesis – a self centered interpretation of a text.
• relate experiences and tell stories which are usually not verifiable and are contrary to scripture.

What you should be looking for in a church is one with a detailed statement of faith so that you know exactly where they stand on various issues.  Don’t be attracted to personalities, the atmosphere during the service, the size of the church, the amount of friends who go there etc.  You have just come out of false teaching, so your primary concern should be good teaching.  Teachings should be primarily expository in nature.  A pastor that rightly divides the word of God (2 Tim 2:15)  will employ the principals of interpretation, something ignored by NAR teachers.  This critical analysis of a text reveals the true interpretation.  This is what’s going to feed you and mature you in the faith.  Some people come out of the NAR and immediately gravitate towards any fellowship that is as far removed from the NAR as possible.  Within months they may find that they are now in another church or movement full of doctrinal error.  On the other hand, some find error in every church and cut themselves off from any form of fellowship.  Keep in mind that there will always be something you disagree with, and not one of us will get to heaven and find that our own theology was perfect.  Differences in non essential doctrines are always going to exist.  What we need to avoid is blatant false teaching as espoused by the NAR & CO, and any other movement/denomination that teach false doctrines.

5 Don’t view the alternative as lacking what you believed was “spirit filled” and exciting.

A typical NAR service is no dull affair.  Lively worship with Hillsong or Jesus Culture music can stir up the emotions.  Gold dust, glory clouds, angel sightings and fantastic stories of encounters with God leave followers drooling in their seats.  After the message,  it is time for the spirit to move and prophecies are given, people are slain in the spirit, impartations and declarations seal the deal.  But now that you have left, there is silence.  What stirred your soul is gone, and you wonder if a dry alternative is all that God has to offer.  What you may not yet have realized is that the “more” you were seeking was actually poison.  People who live on junk food and a high sugar diet live in a state of toxic hunger.  They are perpetually hungry because their bodies are not being fed the nutrients that they are so desperately craving and needing.  Instead they keep giving their bodies what they think it wants, rather than what it truly needs.

In the same way, people who are fed on the NAR teachings are not receiving the nutrition that their spirits need, and so they are in a perpetual state of hunger.  They believe that this is a good hunger, but in fact it’s a sign that they have been poisoned.  Their senses have been stimulated and entertained, yet their spirits are starving.

Each year brings more prophecies of great outpourings, greater breakthroughs, double anointings, more blessing, increase, more outlandish testimonies of encounters with God, trips to heaven etc.  Stadiums are filled, and before the dust has settled, the date for the next life changing meeting is announced.  You need a spiritual detox from this garbage.  We all need to come to the point where it is Christ alone who is sufficient.

• We don’t need Shawn Bolz to tell us our dead relative is happy in heaven – we trust God that his judgement is just.
• We don’t need a global leadership seminar from Willowcreek listening to experts in their business field – experts devoid of the gospel.
• We don’t need an impartation from Patrica King, Kris Vallotton or Bill Johnson because we realise we have an anointing and God is able to fill us when needed.
• We don’t need Todd White to pray for our sore back – we can ask the elders to lay hands on us, and ask God to heal us.
• We don’t need the latest book from T D Jakes, Brian Houston, John Bevere, Beth Moore, Bill Johnson or any other teacher who twists the scriptures.
• We don’t need repetitive worship songs with lyrics devoid of truth

The transition from a feeling based to a faith based walk in Christ is but one of the incredible blessings when you leave this movement.  In the NAR, the word of God has lost it’s power;  the two edged sword has been replaced with a dull blade which is unable to discern between soul and spirit.  The word of God will take on a new meaning as you study it in context – something that rarely happens in a NAR church.  Your false view of the nature of man and of God, will be replaced with the correct view.  The declarations or readings at Bethel church during the offering, are a prime example of the wrong view of the nature of man.  Their narcissistic gospel is shameless:
I am powerful. And what I believe changes the world…I am important….Everywhere I go becomes a perfect-health zone”

Once free from this self elevating gospel, you will discover that the gospel is about God, not you, and that true Christianity is not about your comfort in this world, but about conforming to the image of Christ.  Once again, Bethel confuses the gospel with the American Dream in their offering reading:
“As we receive today’s offering,
We are believing the Lord for:

Jobs and better jobs
Raises and bonuses
Benefits
Sales and commissions
Favorable settlements
Estates and inheritances

Interests and income
Rebates and returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts and surprises
Finding money
Debts paid off
Expenses decrease
Blessing and increase..”

The continual search for impartations, anointings, manifestations and being led by what you feel, is replaced with something far more secure – the word of God.  More from Bethel, a church that flirts with the new age and demonic realm:

“As we receive today’s offering
We are believing You for:

Heaven opened
Earth invaded
Storehouses unlocked
And miracles created
Dreams and visions
Angelic visitations
Declarations
Impartations
And divine manifestations

Anointings, giftings and calls
Positions and promotions”
Source: https://www.bethel.com/offering-readings/

There is nothing new about the New Apostolic Reformation.  It is not a reformation, It’s  a deformation of the truth – repackaged false doctrine.  Thank God that you have come out of this movement that will be part of an ecumenical movement that welcomes the antichrist with open arms.

THE GRIP OF THE CULT-LIKE NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION & CO

By Rick Becker  26 October 2017

You probably have friends and family caught up in New Apostolic Reformation churches (Bethel, Hillsong etc) and you have found it extremely difficult to persuade them they are being deceived.  You may have been accused of having a critical spirit, of being divisive, judgemental, or of being a heresy hunter when warning them of the false doctrines in this movement.  Why is it so difficult for those caught up in the New Apostolic Reformation, word of faith and prosperity gospel movements (NAR & CO) to break free?

These movements have characteristics similar to cults, making it almost equally difficult to come out from their grip and deception. There are reasons why it is so difficult for people to escape from these movements and churches that teach false doctrine. Firstly, we will look at some secondary reasons, and then note the two primary reasons why people struggle to break free from this deception.

A new priesthood has been established within the NAR & CO.  When the likes of Patricia King, Kris Vallotton or Bill Johnson claim to have a revelation for the body of Christ, a new strategy etc, who are you to question when God does not speak to you on such an intimate basis?  Like any cult leader, they claim to have special knowledge, immediately placing them on a level that is admired by their followers.  Leaders claim to have taken trips to heaven, talked with angels, received new downloads and impartations from an open heaven.  Their so called ability to receive new revelation has elevated them above their followers, in clear contradiction of 1 John 2:27: “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”  There is no difference between the manipulative priests and Popes of the Roman Catholic Church and this new breed of apostles, prophets and pastors.  They interpret scripture on our behalf, and through eisegesis twist the scriptures to promote their false doctrines.  They are rarely challenged by their own followers, and point two reveals why.

Submission induced through an unhealthy fear keeps followers in their place.  Questioning a particular teaching or any form of critical reasoning is frowned upon by the leaders and treated as a mutiny of sorts. Those who obey and submit are duly rewarded with positions in the ministry, mentions by name, and are allowed in the inner circle.  Those who ask legitimate questions concerning doctrine or practices are immediately dealt with.  Usually they will be accused of a number of things: having a rebellious spirit, acting out of personal hurts that they have not dealt with or not being in tune with the Holy Spirit and in doing so grieving him.  Some unfortunate souls will even receive threats in the form of  “prophetic words.”  Finally they will probably be threatened with the go to verse for all manipulative false teachers: “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!” Psalm 105:15. This verse does not mean it’s wrong to question a leader regarding their teachings. This verse meant that it would have been wrong for David to kill king Saul.  David had the opportunity but spared Saul ( 2 Sam 24:10-11) and cut off a piece of Saul’s robe.

Contrary to scripture, the leaders have ulterior motives and rule from their position at the top of their hierarchical structure.  Instead, leaders should: “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;  not for shameful gain, but eagerly;  not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock” 1 Peter 5:2-3

Pride prevents many from admitting their whole house has been built on the wrong foundation. Its embarrassing to admit much of what you have believed, practiced, and  taught has been based on a lie.  The longer a person has been in these movements the harder it is to break free.

4  People have invested heavily in their churches. Time and money have been spent,  and if they leave, all those spent resources would have been a waste.  What if they are about to receive that long awaited breakthrough?  After tithing faithfully for 15 years, God may be about to catapult their business to the level of success they have always dreamed of. Their leader has been given a prophetic word that this is “a season of suddenlies”  and “major shifts” – they don’t want to lose out!  Perhaps they are on the verge of being offered a leadership position, finally giving them the recognition they deserve.

Friendships are in jeopardy, despite a questionable leader and unsound doctrine, friendships are formed that can be as close as or even supersede family ties and provide a means of emotional support.  Perhaps the thing that they stand to lose the most are the friendships, and that is what makes breaking away so painful.  The thought of losing these friendships and the support they offer is often too much to bear for many, and so they remain, convincing themselves not to throw out the baby out with the bathwater.  But there is no baby in the waters of the NAR & CO –  a little leaven leavens the whole lump.

6  Many are simply too lazy to study the word for themselves, preferring to accept the flawed interpretations of their favorite celebrity teacher.  A Beth Moore or John Bevere bible study is far less work than digging into the word for yourself.  In this digital age there are literally thousands of free resources from commentaries and lexicons that enable us to understand the word in context.  Unfortunately many followers come to the point where they trust their leaders to such an extent that they never question what they are taught.  Those who do concede that there are some questionable teachings, simply shrug off any concerns and assure you that they “eat the meat and spit out the bones.”  This not a biblical text;  instead we are commanded to mark and avoid those who pervert the gospel.

7  It’s all they know.  Many are graciously saved by God despite being in these churches. However, expository preaching and working through actual chapters in context is foreign to them. Topical preaching, motivational messages and story telling are the order of the day.  Followers cannot discern the twisting of scripture through the narcigesis and eisegesis employed by their leaders.  Years of indoctrination have taken their toll.  Attempting to reason or discuss scripture with those caught up in these movements is often futile. Those who are believers, remain in a state of spiritual infancy: “About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,  for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:11-14. 
For more on discernment and sound doctrine, listen to our  podcast

There are two main reasons why people stay in the NAR & CO even after being confronted with truth.:

1  Many are false converts, so don’t expect them to see the light when they are firmly entrenched in the kingdom of darkness and loving it. When Jesus said my sheep hear my voice he did not mean he will give you a new revelation during your quiet time; He meant true believers will hear and obey his voice.  His voice is clear, his voice has spoken, it’s called scripture. These false converts need the true gospel in order to repent and believe, before they can be able to discern the errors of the NAR & CO: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” 1 Corinthians 2:14
Don’t think for a second that many caught up in these movements are not passionate or sincere, but they are sincerely wrong.  Passion, crowds, testimonies, and even signs and wonders do not guarantee that God is involved.  Ultimately, God knows who are his, and what may fool men, never fools God: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’   And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Matthew 7: 21-23

2  Many are simply feeding their own passions and are getting exactly what they desire – ear tickling messages.  It’s not so much a question of them being deceived by a teacher, but rather them finding a teacher who is as deceived as they are. Its hard to believe the message of the cross over a message that avoids the cross and elevates self – read more on that  here   We are quick to blame false teachers who are leading many astray, but these verses gives us the reason many are deceived:: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,  and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”  2 Timothy 4:3-4
Note the following:
The people will not want sound doctrine
The people already have itching ears
The people are the ones accumulating false teachers
The people are merely catering for their own carnal passions
The people are not interested in the truth

The prophets of the old testament also had to contend with false prophets, and a people who preferred satisfying their passions rather than obeying God:
An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it sobut what will you do when the end comes?” Jeremiah 5: 30-31

For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear
 the instruction of the Lord who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
 and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;  speak to us smooth things,
 prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”  Isaiah 30: 9-11

Don’t be fooled by those in these movements, who by outward appearances seem to be devoted to God and his kingdom.  They seem so passionate and determined to make a difference in this world; they are bold, unashamed, and eager to spread their message.  Dig a little deeper however, and you will find that ultimately they are the ones who are exalted.  It’s a man centered gospel.  You will leave a legacy, you will usher in God’s kingdom, you will do greater things, you will be a world changer…God needs YOU.

Pray for those you know who are caught up in these movements.  God has graciously saved people in these churches, and that same grace will lead them out.  If you have an opportunity, speak the truth in love, keeping in mind that you were probably deceived by these movements to some degree in the past. The journey of those who have left these movements would have been painful.  The scars remain, but ultimately we have to be faithful to God and his word.

 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” Jude 1: 22-23