The problem with so-called discernment sites is their proclivity towards making things up to suit their own agenda.
One of their main methods is to take a theological idea or concept and rework it into a completely separate and unrelated notion of their own choosing, such as their interpretation of what they call the NAR, a reference to an observation of a shift in understanding of theology rather than a movement, known as the New Apostolic Reformation [NAR].
The NAR is in fact an easily identifiable phenomenon which reinforces the truth of the five-fold ministry – that is, the restoration of the Christ-given gifts to the Church of the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher.
This, of course, is Biblically above board. However, many of the so-called discernment crew, being cessationists, reject the truth that Apostles and Prophets are for today, although they will allow Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. Tellingly, they have no Biblical reference for the demise of the Apostle or the Prophet.
NAR has been associated with other concepts such as the Seven Mountain strategy, which, in reality, came out of a meeting between Loren Cunningham (YWAM), Bill Bright (Campus Crusade) and Os Hillman (Marketplace Leaders), and, separately, Francis Schaeffer, not C Peter Wagner, nor, therefore, NAR, although Wagner has clearly adopted the proposition.
It speaks of Christians being involved in seven spheres, or pillars, of influence – business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion.
This is a rather obvious concept, in fact, and merely organised into a strategy by men who were influential in their time. None had anything to do with the NAR, especially the distorted NAR contrivance of the so-called discernment ministries.
The NAR protagonists at the self-titled discernment sites have turned the Seven Mountains strategy into a sinister concept, and even likened its influence to the violently militant Taliban, and accused it of being a fascist agenda.
See what I mean by the way in which these ‘discerners’ twist a good thing into evil by their words and narrative?
Wagner’s ‘Global Spheres’ initiative, the Wagner Leadership Institute [WLI], and the International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders [ICAL], plus his authorship of several books chronicling modern Christian charismatic movements and influences, are the main areas of ministry in which he is involved aside from his professorship at Fuller Seminary.
There is no actual NAR website or movement with any structure, headship, or membership. Ironically, the only available reference to NAR comes from the various so-called discernment ministries, which also contributed to an obviously biased and contrived Wikipedia entry on NAR.
Just google ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ and what I say will be confirmed. By the way, newapostolicreformation.com and newapostolicreformation.org are available for sale.
The so-called discernment sites make up these memes to raise prejudice about certain ministries. They have created a frankenstein to parade before gullible fans of their biased reporting.
In fact, it’s amazing how many so-called discernment ‘experts’ refer to NAR and apply NAR to just about every ministry, church, minister, leader, preacher, teacher or church member of whom they do not themselves approve.
Their prejudice is not reserved for NAR. They also recreate the charismatic move, Word of Faith theology, Pentecostalism, what is known as ‘Seeker-Sensitive Ministry’, the so-called Prosperity Gospel, and other theologies, many of which have been contrived by the highly inventive discernment crowd and recycled amongst themselves.
In fact, like a frenzied pack they feed off one-anothers’ error-strewn concepts and contrivances. They gnaw and chew on their own frankenstein monster and spew the regurgitated mess over their adherents like potage thrown from a bowl.
Not a joke
This would be very funny to the casual observer but for the fact that they are kicking against the goads most of the time.
A recent article on both Irate Christian Radio and the chookwatcher sites heavily condemns the first sermon in the Brownsville Revival preached way back in 1995 before NAR was even mentioned as a concept.
In their criticism they actually say that Hill preaches full on NAR theology, then claim it’s Word of Faith (which he himself criticised), then it’s charismatic, adding everything contained in their petty list of fake memes, which could never have been the case since the late Steve Hill was a Pentecostal who ministered out of the Leonard Ravenhill mould, meaning he preached for conviction, repentance and an extreme change of heart in the hearers at just about every service.
I can testify to this because I was there in 1997 when the revival was in full motion. There is no doubt about its authenticity, fruit and the lasting change in people’s lives. The main author at the chookwatcher sites would have been about ten at the time, so I don’t know how he could possibly claim any expertise.
No, he’s merely regurgitating the narrative thrown at the world by amateur sleuths at these so-called discernment sites, most of whom diminish the role of the Word and Spirit, some unwittingly, all in ignorance, some knowingly.
And they are amateurs and novices with certain aspects of the Word of God. If they weren’t novices in these particular areas of teaching and doctrine they would be able to rightly discern truth according to the Word and Spirit, but, as is evident on every post they produce, they do not rightly divide the Word of God when it comes to Pentecost. Nor do they understand what has taken place in the charismatic move.
I don’t say they know nothing about the Word. In some areas they can produce authentic orthodoxy. Nor is it wrong to point out doctrinal error or test every spirit whether it is of God.
And there are undoubtedly aspects of the charismatic movement that require serious adjustments in practice and theology, so, using scripture, it is acceptable to make note of these things, and those who teach them.
But the so-called discerners, on the whole, do not understand Pentecost, nor the teachings of the Word and Spirit. Most practice or recommend cessationism. Others lean towards Reformed theology and cessationism. Their theology often misrepresents Pentecost and continuist teaching.
Therefore, they fall short in the areas they criticise, and this produces a bias and prejudice that leads to negativity in their critique of good people.
Feeding off their own partiality, and adding to the list of misrepresentation, they have created their own little world which bears no resemblance to reality, and feed one another on their own preconceptions and error.
That is why they are to be avoided at all costs by the student of truth.