Chookwatcher, attempting to appear newsworthy, threw up a newsflash this week.

“What was his newsflash?” you ask. Well, apparently, according to chookwatcher, Dr Michael Brown has renamed the NAR into the ‘so-called NAR’.

Wow! Earth-shattering news. Run for the hills!

So what was this article all about? It seems that both Bill Johnson and Dr Brown have said they are unaware of their connections to the New Apostolic Reformation.

This would be correct since the NAR, in fact, in the form referred to by chookwatcher, is mainly a figment of the cloistered imaginations of the discernment fraternity.

It’s the cessationists again

To the self-promoting discerners the NAR is representative of anyone who recognises that Jesus still calls people to be apostles and prophets, in the same way He still calls evangelists, pastors and teachers. Critics use such a broad brush that, these days, if you’re not Reformed you must be NAR.

Cessationists, without regard to what scripture says, like to convince themselves that apostles and prophets ended some time in the fifth century when the canon of scripture was arrived at. These things, they claim, gradually fizzled out.

Chookwatcher is now so deeply ensconced in cessationist theology that he too has joined the ranks of the doubters in this regard.

Of course Pentecostals, including groups like the Assemblies of God and Apostolic Church, have taught on apostles and prophets in the Church for decades, long before the NAR became an interesting subject for theologian C Peter Wagner some time in the 1990s.

He came up with the epithet, and that is all it is in reality, even in his own words. It is a term he gave a phenomenon that was already taking place and which he observed. Being a curious author it ended up being the subject of one of his books.

In C Peter Wagner’s own words

‘The NAR is not an organisation.  No one can join or carry a card. It has no leader. I have been called the “founder,” but this is not the case. One reason I might be seen as an “intellectual godfather” is that I might have been the first to observe the movement, give a name to it, and describe its characteristics as I saw them. When this began to come together through my research in 1993, I was professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary, where I taught for 30 years.’

There you have it. He was an observer of a phenomenon. It was already taking place and he wrote about it having seen it.

Critics have grabbed the NAR idea, remodelled it in a negative way, and turned it into a conspiracy theory that has so taken the fancy of their clansmen that it is now firmly written in the folklore of the discernment ranks.

They have build a narrative that is almost the reverse of the original concept and turned their reconstructed folly into fact in their own eyes.

Never was there such a mesmeric fabrication as this.

If only they’d bothered to read the books

What people like the chookwatcher clan do is add anyone they criticise to their concocted list of NAR adherents.

But when these apparent NAR leaders say they do not know exactly what is meant by the NAR it’s because, whilst the original phenomenon continues to develop separate from the critics’ false derivation, it remains a fairly abstract curiousity as far as anyone but the critics are concerned.

No one is running around saying ‘I am of NAR’. NAR is a term for a plethora of different developments within a number of movements connected only by their call to minister the gospel to a fallen world, their grasp of the work of the Holy Spirit in, through and with the Church today, and their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

How do I know this? Because I have the late C Peter Wagner’s books in my collection and I have read them.

This is where the critics fail themselves and their audience. They do not read the books so they do not know what C Peter Wagner has been saying, and cannot understand it when people they accuse of being NAR adherents say they do not know what the discerners are talking about.

Discernment folk tend to talk in isms anyway. They have to categorise everything into neat bundles so they can box up their claims nicely. They speak the language of division and schism. As the Apostle Paul said, we shouldn’t be going around saying we are of this or that ministry, when we are all of the same Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal.

For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

Carnal indeed.

So the critics, like chookwatcher, show their fathomless ignorance of a subject they have misrepresented to suit their own devices and have been caught out falling short of reality.

And, of course, they write stupid articles because they cannot come to terms with their own inanity as they are exposed for their presumption and lack of knowledge.

If only they’d bothered to read the books.

So, red faced and leaping to his own defence, chookwatcher contrives a newsflash to announce that he has been proven wrong by none other than the people he falsely accused.

You couldn’t make these things up.