So irate pirate Chris Rosebrough decided to interview self-appointed ‘NAR’ expert Holly Pivec on his radio program and, together, they came up with an hour of complete conspiratorial guesswork largely devoid of logic or fact.
Most of the interview is a bewildering mishmash of supposition and conjecture, so I’ll single out some astonishing moments of unbiblical theorising.
The first is Holly’s definition of NAR. When asked by Rosebrough to sum up NAR, Pivec came up with the following claim.
Anyone who believes in the offices of present day apostles and prophets would be NAR.
Sadly for Holly, she is showing her ignorance of the history of the Pentecostal movement with this definition.
Movements such at Elim Pentecostal, the Assemblies of God, the Apostolic Church and others, some of whom have global influence and tens of thousands of adherents, have taught on the Biblical truth of the ascension ministry gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher for far longer than the supposed NAR ‘movement’ has allegedly existed as an imaginary force.
The New Apostolic Reformation is a loosely conjoined arrangement of like-minded ministers who would primarily come out of the charismatic groupings.
The late C Peter Wagner, who is credited by opponents with being the founder, was undeniably an evangelical author and seminary professor who came into the charismatic movements, mainly as a correspondent of the development of the churches and leaders who embraced the teaching that the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit were still viable and had not ended, and that the ascension gift ministries were still a vital part of God’s plan and provision.
He observed that the ministries that taught and engaged in these principles were gaining traction, especially in missionary endeavours in developing nations.
As an author, his curiousity led him to write about these things and it became a recognition of a concept, but he never claimed to be the originator of the phenomenon. Rather, his fame, if you can call it that, came because he was originally the main person documenting these things, and he was considered an authority on these various movements showing similarities in methodology.
Again, though, it should be noted that there were thousands of ministers who taught this long before the notion of NAR became a conspiracy theory championed by the likes of Rosebrough. They taught it because it is Biblically accurate.
In fact, as has been noted on this blog many times, NAR was and is an observation rather than a movement.
Wagner wrote about these things in one of his books having been inspired by the late Dave Cartledge of the Assemblies of God, who also observed that there was a move of God taking place amongst certain movements, both charismatic and Pentecostal, that were teaching that the gifts of the Spirit and ascension gift ministries were still viable and important to God’s plans for the end times, and that God had not abandoned the ascension gift ministries.
Wrong start, wrong finish
A second astonishing remark was made by Pivec in the course of the conversation that Rosebrough completely agreed with without providing any scripture to back it up.
There is no provision for the role of the apostle to be ongoing.
Well, this goes against scripture, which states that Jesus, when He ascended, gave gifts unto men. What were these gifts?
Ephesians 4:11-12 He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…
Do we still have saints today? Yes. Do they need to be equipped for the work of the ministry? Yes. Does the Body of Christ still need to be edified? Yes. We call these the ascension gift ministries.
So we still need the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. Nowhere in scripture does it say categorically that these ministry gifts have ended. That is a doctrine of cessationists like Rosebrough.
This also means that Pivec’s basic premise is scripturally incorrect. Subsequently, the rest of her logic must be flawed, Biblically. Maybe she needs to research these facts a little deeper before putting out innuendo as fact into the greater Body.
The authority of prophets
Then Pivec states something that cuts completely against scripture.
There is no indication that prophets had a formal office in governing the Church.
Rosebrough concurs, going on to point out that there were pastors and elders, but that prophets, by which he means Old Testament prophets, were mostly farmers, as he puts it, not real spiritual leaders.
Of course, John the Baptist, for example, who was the last and greatest of the Old Testament Prophets, according to Jesus, was, in fact, called from birth to be a Prophet, and to herald the arrival of Christ.
But all of God’s appointed prophets were set apart and anointed of God for a specific task. For instance, Elijah and Elisha were full time prophets who left everything to pursue the call of God. They even led a school of prophets.
Rosebrough’s belittling of the office of prophet is unbiblical at best, but what does the Apostle Paul say about it?
Ephesians 2:19-22 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
So it seems that the prophets had some authority after all.
1 Corinthians 12:28 God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
It looks as if these ministry gifts are ongoing, and not ceased despite the claims of the detractors.
Maybe Holly thinks Jesus, Paul and the rest of the Apostles and Prophets of the New Testament are also part of the mysterious NAR. After all, they instigated the concept of the ascension gift ministries.