The chookwatchers and their comrades in the world of Reformed polemicists insist that the New Apostolic Reformation [NAR] is an organisation, and that its leader was C Peter Wagner.
The thing is that Wagner himself wrote that he was neither the leader of NAR nor was there an actual NAR organisation, but rather that it was an observation of a phenomenon that Wagner noted and wrote about.
If it is to be considered a movement it is because there are like-minded ministries serving the Body if Christ in similar ways with growing success in terms of souls saved and churches planted. As Wagner states, he was neither the founder nor the head, but rather the main observer.
I presented an article here a few months ago in which Wagner, who has since gone to be with the Lord, soundly refuted the claims made by these polemicists. Since then the chooks have changed their tune somewhat, but persist in pursuing their flawed logic by continuing their false claims.
Continuing the narrative
Of course, this is because they have actually built a narrative of their claims that becomes a house of cards when exposed as lacking proof or substance.
The only people who continually reference NAR as an organisation are the self-proclaimed discernment blogs and polemicists. They have even contrived a wikipedia entry that questions its own viability.
Now that their claims have been rebuffed, the chooks have added a new article that makes the following claims:
The above quote from C. Peter Wagner was in an article he wrote titled ‘The New Apostolic Reformation Is Not a Cult‘. His attempt to distance himself as being the head of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) needs to be noted.
“The NAR is not an organization. No one can join or carry a card. It has no leader.
I have been called the “founder,” but this is not the case.“
This is a half truth, which means Wagner was lying. The truth is that he became the leader of the NAR because of what he observed developing over time through the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) movement’s Charismatic Renewal Movement (CRM). He observed, and documented, the rise of this apostolic phenomena and even named it. His research and defense of Charismatic Apostles and Prophets eventually led him to rise up as its leader.
So chookwatcher and his clan continue to make false claims despite Wagner’s own rebuttal of their folly.
Instead of attempting to produce proper evidence that refutes Wagner’s clarification of his position, chookwatcher dreams up the ‘half truth’ conspiracy theory by referencing the very claims he made that have been soundly rebuffed.
No reason to deny the NAR phenomenon
There is no half truth, and neither was Wagner ‘lying’. He had no reason to lie. If he had believed that there was an actual NAR organisation with leadership and membership he would have had every reason to discuss it. But he hadn’t formed an organisation. He has observed a phenomenon.
As he points out, the phenomenon was already in place long before he observed what was taking place. His interest in the history and development of the Church and his ability to travel to various nations for ministry led him to study and write about the growing movement. Here’s what he says about it:
The NAR is not an organization. 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.
The roots of the NAR go back to the beginning of the African Independent Church Movement in 1900, the Chinese House Church Movement beginning in 1976, the U.S. Independent Charismatic Movement beginning in the 1970s and the Latin American Grassroots Church Movement beginning around the same time. I was neither the founder nor a member of any of these movements, I was simply a professor who observed that they were the fastest growing churches in their respective regions and that they had a number of common characteristics.
And there’s more, which read here. But notice that there is no reference to the ‘New Order of the Latter Rain’. Wagner was a missionary before he became a professor at the Fuller Seminary. His interest was always missions. He was an evangelical. He embraced the charismatic movements, but he was really missional rather than charismatic.
The Latter Rain movement was a small Pentecostal revivalist group operating around the 1940s. Their main interest was in eschatological theology and the imminent arrival of Christ for the Church. Wagner may have written about their beliefs as part of his thesis, but he was never a Pentecostal.
You can see from his writing above that he was far more interested in the missional growth of the Church and the causes of that growth, including anything that could be utilised to help grow the Church in other needy areas, including the increasingly secular West.
This is all irrelevant now, of course, because C Peter Wagner is no longer with us in the flesh. He passed away shorty after writing his rebuttal. He was in his eighties.
The challenge for chookwatcher
So the challenge now for these NAR critics is to tell the world who the new leader of the NAR is. C Peter Wagner has gone to be with the Lord. His race is run.
Therefore, if the chookwatcher clan and their cohorts are correct, there must have been a meeting somewhere on the planet by some committee or other under the umbrella of the NAR that gathered to elect a new leader of the ‘organisation’. If not, then there is no ‘organisation’. It is, indeed, a phenomenon and a movement of like-minded ministries. All the arguments and claims of the critics fall to pieces.
Clearly chookwatcher hasn’t researched this yet or he would already have an article announcing the new leader of the NAR. After all, if he can’t come up with evidence to suggest that the NAR leadership has met and appointed a new spiritual head, then chookwatcher’s theory and claims fall down and crumble into insignificant rumour mongering.
The pressure for chookwatcher and his fellow claimants will be to resist attaching that mantle themselves to someone. If there is a NAR organisation, they will name their own new leader. If not, then the chooks have been wrong all along.
But we knew that.