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 not be able to discern error 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
Sales and commissions
Estates and inheritances
Interests and income
Rebates and returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts and surprises
Debts paid off
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:
And miracles created
Dreams and visions
And divine manifestations
Anointings, giftings and calls
Positions and promotions”
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.