What is the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and why do people need to familiar with it?[1]  I have been asked quite a bit over the years, and here more recently, what is the NAR?  The name is ambiguous and spiritually mystical, however it does have a charismatic “vibe” to it. This would not be a wrong assumption to attribute to the NAR for it is a charismatic movement of professing Christians that is not limited to one denomination, language, country, or people group.  This “move of the Holy Spirit” is not an organization, it does not have a list of members, or official leader(s). C. Peter Wagner is accredited to being the founder of the NAR, however he denies this because its roots date back to the 1900s.  Wagner is an “intellectual godfather” of this movement because he is the one who observed its patterns, gave it an official name, and researched its characteristics.  Wagner states that in 1994 he designated the movement as the “New Apostolic Reformation;”

“Reformation” because the movement matched the Protestant Reformation in world impact; “Apostolic” because of all the changes the most radical one was apostolic governance, which I’ll explain in due time; and “New” because several churches and denominations already carried the name “apostolic,” but they did not fit the NAR pattern.

But what exactly is this “NAR pattern” that Wagner observed around the world in these christians circles? He continues in his article to explain seven general attributes to determine if one is part of the NAR, whether they consider themselves affiliated with it or not.

Wagner’s Seven Characteristics of the NAR

The New Apostolic Reformation is not your typical Christian movement.  While many, (but not all), people of the NAR do agree and affirm key doctrines of historical Protestantism, such as justification by faith alone, the authority of Scripture, and the priesthood of all believers, they also vary in some major ways as the characteristics below will explain, (the first two have been summed into one due to their similarities).

Apostolic governance and the office of prophet: Proponents of the NAR believe that the offices of apostles and prophets are still given and important in the church today.  This is taken from Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 12:28.  Not only are these offices still given to the church by God, but the church is governed by the God-given Apostles.  These lists are believed to be a divine order of leadership for the church: Apostles first, Prophets second.

Dominionism: This view of God’s kingdom is radically different than a traditional Protestant.  This is the belief that God gave the “Keys” of the Kingdom of God, namely Eden/heaven-like harmonious reality, to man when he gave them dominion over the earth.  But when man fell he gave those Keys over to Satan, “the ruler of this world” as John calls him and Jesus had to come down and take back the Keys to the Kingdom when He died. After he rose from the dead, Jesus commissioned Christians to bring back that Eden-like state on the earth: the state of perfect peace and prosperity on the earth again.  This is goal of the Christian’s life. [2]

Theocracy achieves Dominionism: Theocracy is the rule and government of God.  The NAR achieves theocracy by means of exercising dominion in the seven different areas of life or “Seven Mountains: Religion, Family, Education, Government, Media, Arts &  Entertainment, and Business.” They believe it is our duty to strategically take back these Seven Mountains of life by placing “kingdom-minded people” in each of these areas.  Then, they can use their gifts and talents to create an environment like Eden once again.  Done properly, this what it means to exercise dominionism.

Extra-biblical revelation: This is one of the main issues with which traditional Christians have problems.  This is the belief that God is not done speaking and giving revelations to His people.  The Bible is His past revelation, however God is still giving people new revelations outside of the Bible today.  This is accomplished by God directly and audibly speaking to people.  This is the belief that we can actually hear God’s voice.  However, any new revelation given cannot contradict what has been written in the Bible.

Supernatural signs and wonders: The NAR believes that, like Jesus, His disciples, and the prophets of old, all Christians can and should heal the sick, cast out demons, and perform other miraculous wonders. These are signs or evidences that God is at work in this believer’s life and ministry.

Relational Structures: Since the NAR has no denomination, leader, creed, board, conferences, code of ethics, or even a newsletter or email sign-ups, the NAR is able to build voluntary relationships based on common beliefs.  Everyone is in support of each other, rather than figuring out where they all differ on certain beliefs.  This occurs due to the mutual desire to bring God’s Kingdom of peace and prosperity into this reality.

Why Do All Christians Need to be Familiar with the NAR?

The New Apostolic Reformation is making is presence known all over the world.  This movement is influencing all kinds of people, music, churches, and denominations in their own ways.  Since the NAR is not a denomination and has no doctrinal creed, it has the ability to adapt and change the desires of the person or church it is affecting and no one can deny its validity because it is a revelation from God through a certain apostle or prophet.

However, biblically, an apostle was one who was a physical eyewitness of Christ after he was resurrected [3], was appointed by the Lord himself [4], and was able to authenticate his apostleship with miraculous signs [5].  An apostle was one who all three of these characteristics were true, not one or the other.  So, the problem is mainly with the first one – not one of theses charismatic apostles have seen Jesus in the flesh because Jesus ascended into Heaven and is currently at his right hand.  Since no one has seen Jesus after his ascension, this disqualifies anyone from being an apostle after Paul, (throughout Paul’s letters, he argues for his apostleship by the fact that he met these three criteria). Therefore, those who call themselves Apostles are actually false apostles.

Christians must be familiar and aware of the NAR for different reasons, but the most important one is due the fact that many, (but not all), popular NAR leaders or proponents are heretics and thus regenerated Christians must not support, associate, or look to them for spiritual guidance, (2 John 7-11).

[1] Unless otherwise noted, the information here is summarized from C. Peter Wagner’s article on the NAR:  https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/31851-the-new-apostolic-reformation-is-not-a-cult

[2] For a more detailed understanding on dominionism, refer to chapter 2 in Bill Johnson’s book When Heaven Invades Earth.

[3] Acts 1:22; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 15:7–8

[4] Mark 3:14; Luke 6:13; Acts 1:2; 10:41; Galatians 1:1

[5] Matthew 10:1; Acts 2:43; 5:12; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:3–4