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Archive for April 28th, 2018

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We at The Domain for Truth would like to express our sincerest gratitude to you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do an interview with us.  It was not too long ago that SLIMJIM and myself fellowshipped briefly together at the Shepherds’ Conference with Pastor Costi.  Lord willing we will meet you one day Pastor Anthony.

For those of you who may not know, Pastor Costi and Anthony’s ministry does not comprise mainly on the WOF and NAR movements.  Both men spend a considerable amount of their lives devoted to expository preaching and shepherding a local church.  To find out more about their church you can visit: https://missionbible.org/

If the Lord leads, I encourage you to surf their site and pray for them.  They are one of the many good ministries out there that are aggressively and actively trying to reach folks enslaved to the WOF and NAR movement with the Gospel of grace.

Well, let us begin.

1) In essence, what is the WOF and NAR Movement?  How vast of a presence do they have in the world?

The abbreviations stand for “Word of Faith” and “New Apostolic Reformation.” The WOF and NAR movements are similar in some ways and very distinct in others. They are similar in that many of the NAR leaders employ WOF theology in their teaching. A very basic summary of WOF theology is that you can use the power of “confession” to control your reality. In other words, just like you can confess your sins and confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9; 1 John 1:9), you can also use the power of confession to confess a job promotion, perfect health, or a Bentley. Ultimately, WOF theology teaches that you are in control. This is where the NAR employs it. The NAR is a movement that teaches the office of “Apostle” is back and bigger than ever. They teach that modern day apostles are going to be running the modern day church. They teach that modern day apostles are “taking dominion” (much like WOF) over the earth and able to restore peace and prosperity through their authority and special gifts. The NAR believes that its adherents should be receiving direct revelation from God, performing miracles like raising the dead and growing people’s limbs, and doing these things and more on a daily basis at will. Even though it is clear in Scripture that the Holy Spirit is the only one who gives people the gifts “of the Spirit,” the NAR charges tuition and promises to teach people how to do signs and wonders. They also offer people the chance to pay money to become an “apostle.” These movements have a vast influence across the globe because people are desperate for the two things they falsely promise: peace and prosperity. Only Jesus can fulfill the deepest needs of the human heart. They trample on His Gospel.

2) Is there any particular leaders from these two camps that are most concerning to you?  I ask this because usually false teachers are charismatic and are good with mixing some unsound views with sound views.  J.C. Ryle once said, “Beware of supposing that a teacher of religion is to be trusted, because although he holds some unsound views, he yet ‘teaches a great deal of truth.’ Such a teacher is precisely the man to do you harm: poison is always most dangerous when it is given in small doses and mixed with wholesome food.”

Bill Johnson, Lou Engle, Todd White, Kris Valloton, Che Ahn, Heidi Baker, Kenneth Copeland, Michael Koulianos, Daniel Kolenda, Rick Joyner, Cindy Jacobs, and numerous others are the headliners. The music that the NAR has developed is topping #1 charts in Christian music as well. Bethel Music and Jesus Culture were both “birthed” out of Bethel Church and mentored by Bill Johnson. Hillsong is right in the same theological mix as these teachers and has historical roots in Word of Faith theology. The fact that this movement has infiltrated the most mainstream avenues of Christianity should be deeply concerning to any Christian who cares about the Gospel.

3) Do both these camps distort the Gospel?  If so, how?  It is a legalistic message?  Do they deny penal substitution or any core doctrines of Christianity?

The best way to sum it up is by using Bill Johnson’s own words. On page 29 of his book, When Heaven Invades Earth, he writes, ““He (Jesus) performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God . . .not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us.” Further on in his book (pages 87-88) he writes that, “He [Jesus] laid His divinity aside (see Phil 2:5–7) as He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father.” This is outright heresy and is rooted in Kenotic Theory. No biblical theologian would ever sign off on these as orthodox, Christian beliefs. This flies in the face of what the Bible teaches about Jesus and His divinity. That being said, the NAR has to teach this or else they could not promote their supernatural schools or make money on people who believe they can become apostles. This belief system also lays the perfect foundation for their false claims that they are raising the dead, doing daily miracles, and living exactly as Jesus did.

4) What primary sources can believers go to in order to inspect their beliefs?  For orthodox believers we have confessions and statement of faiths.  Do they have something liken to that?

That’s precisely the problem. There beliefs are listed in ways that align with some historical orthodox beliefs so it can be difficult to spot. They do their damage through their books and sermons. Even orthodox creeds and confessions get used because the NAR will say they believe on those confessions too. For example, www.icaleaders.com is a site where people can become members of the International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders. On their “beliefs” page, they affirm Nicene Creed, Apostles Creed, and Lausanne Covenant. While this is an example of NAR material, there is no one statement and website that governs all of their beliefs and activities. There are numerous subgroups that have nuanced differences. It’s a perfect example of 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 in that they claim to be truth speakers but they are deceivers. Paul writes, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”

5) Do you recommend any books or resources that can help people defend the faith from these dangerous movements?

We wrote a book called, Defining Deception, in an effort to coalesce material and save people time. We read well over a dozen books (nearly half of those were by Bill Johnson and Kris Valloton from Bethel). We listened to countless hours of heretical sermons. We spoke with numerous followers of the NAR and some of their “up and comers” who told us we were “touching the Lord’s anointed” by writing the book. Defining Deception was written for the average Christian who does not have a master’s in theology but wants to grow and be challenged in theological discernment. Other books would most certainly include: A New Apostolic Reformation by R. Douglas Geivett and Holly Pivec and Strange Fire by John MacArthur.

6) What is the goal of the NAR Movement?  How can the church best prepare for them?

To usher in the kingdom of God by using their “apostolic authority” to heal, restore, and bring peace and prosperity on the earth. They see themselves infiltrating the highest places of society – including government. The church can best prepare by admitting there is an issue, then getting educated on the issue, and studying the Scriptures in order to know the truth.

7) Do they need to be evangelized?

Yes. We should always evangelize lost people. God is control of awakening their dead hearts, but we are in control of obeying! You never know who God will save through your evangelistic efforts.

8) Is it wrong for influential Christian leaders to be associating with them in conferences/events (e.g. IHOP, 110th anniversary of Pentecostal Azuza revival) together? 

In short, it’s not ok. No matter what the intention of influential Christian leaders, it confuses people who are weaker in their understanding and faith. Unless an influential leader is going to speak at a conference and call out sin and call the conference to repentance, it’s not a good idea to be mixing in with false teachers. We provided some in depth answers to this question in Defining Deception. The chapter is called, “The Shady World of Stage Sharing.”

9) Pastor Costi, recently your uncle: Benny Hinn, broadcasted from FB live (https://www.facebook.com/BennyHinnMinistries/videos/10156198529666450/).  Apparently he apologizes for teaching the prosperity message.  What are your thoughts on that?

Remorse isn’t repentance. The Scriptures are clear on that. Judas was remorseful when the implications of his horrendous betrayal hit him. Zacchaeus was repentant when he became aware of his sin. He went back and tried to make things right – paying back people and doing what he could to own up to his deception and exploitation of people. I hope my uncle will do the latter and blow us all away at how God can change anyone.

10) Why are you men passionate about rescuing people from these movements?

Because it’s what Christians do and what pastors are commanded to do! 2 Timothy 4:1-5. We actually believe what we are preaching and that impacts the way we live. There is no other purpose – or greater purpose – than living for the glory of Christ. This includes contending for the faith (Jude 3). Right now, the church must stand up for the truth like it always has when wolves seek to slaughter the sheep.

Well, this is the wrap-up of this very important meeting with these dear brothers. We thank you, Pastor Anthony and Costi for standing up for the truth in a day where compromise seems to be the norm.  May we pray for more godly saints to rise up and proclaim the Gospel in a dark and confusing world.  Sola scriptura! 

 

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