“His words and his presence are unimpressive.”? Paul quotes the reports made of his preaching. Thankfully, we can"t make the same claim of the new apostles. They tend to be uniquely charismatic individuals, and they seem to go out of their way to generate excitement and anticipation of the coming “great move of God.”?

Let me say it again: most of the men and women who subscribe to the restorationist agenda are godly, passionate, committed believers. Most know the Scriptures well. But in any movement where a lot of emotion is generated, there is excess. Some call it “hype.” And there are inevitably some who will channel the resulting energy for their own ends. . to sell themselves and the importance of their ministry even as they promote what they believe to be God"s purposes in our time.

Are there actual apostles in the NAR? Yes. Does this make them right about their prophetic framework? No. Are they all apostles who call themselves such? Sorry, no.

“When the sky is the limit, it"s easy to neglect foundations.”? Jimmy Long, “Generating Hope”?

When the next great move of God is just on the horizon, exceptional loyalty and trust can be built. No one wants to miss what God is doing. We all want to believe we are in on a special knowledge.. a special purpose of God in the earth at a very special time. This teaching is used to generate loyalty and funds for .. mostly… kingdom purposes. And if we believe a great move of God is going to occur any day now, we are more likely to live on the edge, and pay the cost.. even giving away our laundry money.. (don’t laugh I’ve seen it done) to support the cause.

Is there a coming move of God? Of course! God is always moving and His kingdom purposes don"t change. This same millenarian hope has existed throughout all generations of the church, just as it existed in the days of the first apostles. But the imminence of that hope is too easily abused by those who have a dual purpose in generating commitment.

What do the apostles of the movement themselves give up? Not fame.. their fame grows as more and more churches join the movement. Not comfort.. they are wined and dined, their books and tapes are touted from conference to conference, they walk about like kings (1 Cor.4). Apostolic authority, ultimately, will be measured by character and a willingness to suffer for Christ. Instead of the popular book and lecture circuit with its accolades, dedicated parking spots and multimedia presentations, Paul characterizes apostolic ministry in two ways. First, the heart of the dynamic itself is the close link between the Spirit’s power and present weakness. We are “always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus might also be manifest in our mortal flesh.” (2 Cor. 4:10 ) Gordon Fee comments that,

“In Paul’s view, knowing Christ means both knowing the power of His resurrection and participating in His sufferings (Phil.3:9-10). Indeed, one needs to know the former to embrace the latter.” (Paul, the Spirit and the People of God, p.144).

The heart of apostolic service is a willingness to suffer for Christ and for His people. Leaders must often take unpopular stands; if they must risk their book and tape sales by doing so, they are far less likely to tell the plain truth, and far more likely to proclaim the truth that makes them look good and generates more sales and additional conferences. It is striking that Jesus often discouraged the crowds from following Him…

Next: A look at NAR churches through the lens of family systems theory.

6 Comments on new apostolic reformation 4

  1. […] Len Hjalmarson hs published the fourth installment in his series on the NAR. […]

  2. Ron McKenzie says:

    A problem with the greek word for apostle is that the noun is transliterated as “apostle”?, whereas the verb is translated as “sent”?. This gives us a confused picture of the meaning of the word. For example, the seventy-two in Luke were “apostled” or sent. Likewise Jesus apostled (sent) two disciples to get a donkey. When we realise how frequently the greek word apostello is used, we should realise that being “apostled”? was not limited to a few “big names”?, but was very common (from The Apostle).

  3. dydimustk says:

    this feels similar to the tension my wife and I are walking in now.

  4. admin says:

    Hey.. I wonder if Balaam’s ass was sent? Seriously.. an apostolic animal…

    I would like that.. because frankly, God uses the most ordinary things to accomplish His purposes and we have to de-mystify this personality cult thing.. it is way too destructive.

  5. Ron McKenzie says:

    Well, the donkey was evangelised by two men who had been aposteled. So that makes him almost an apostle. πŸ™‚

  6. admin says:

    By george, I think you have an argument there!