How’s this for hyperactive hyperbole…
The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is a hyper-charismatic and Neo-Montanist movement designed to consolidate the evangelical world and conquer the globe under the 7 Mountain Mandate. This mandate, as preached by NAR apostles, is a supposed call from God to take over education, religion, family, business, government (or military), arts (or entertainment) and the media. Although the name “New Apostolic Reformation” (first popularized by NAR granddaddy C. Peter Wagner) has been widely scuttled since its critics have begun to use it, the movement is still very alive and a rose by any other name still smells the same.
This is the definition of the Fake NAR perfectly presented by the anonymous News Division over at Pulpit & Pen. It’s a thumbnail sketch of their contrived NAR conspiracy, and bears no resemblance to truth.
In the article prefaced by this unrealistic notion of a worldwide dominionist takeover of all cultural aspects, which has also been proposed by articles in leftwing political rags such as Huffington Post, News Division is on the attack against Bethel for setting up a coding course for Christians so that they can reach out into the tech world and be the light in a growing business sector.
It’s called relational evangelism, by the way, and is a valid approach. But not to the polemicists, who are poopooing the notion as part of something they see as a vast conspiracy to take over the world.
Talking of taking over the world
But, hang on. Isn’t God in the business of winning the world to Himself?
Ephesians 1:7-10 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.
Yes. This is the time of the great ingathering of souls. And God has entrusted His Church with the task of preaching the gospel that compels them to come in.
Sadly, News Division at Pulpit & Pen seems to overlook this truth in his quest to ridicule the approach of certain ministries he opposes because they are charismatic. He even makes up new phrases to describe them to his readers.
Suddenly, in the polemicists’ strange world of categories, we have a ‘hypercharismatic’ ‘Neo-Montanist’ movement. These are basically words that the polemicists make up to make a Christian enterprise they don’t understand look as if it is in some way tainted by a controversy.
The truth is that Montanism is a theology of the distant past that is in no way reflected in the Church today. News Division, or someone to whom he relates, made it up. Reformed polemicists need to have an ism to attach to a phenomenon so that they can neatly categorise them in their lists of things they don’t understand alongside actual heresy that everyone knows is heresy. They make heresies out of things they personally can’t believe.
Demon-conscious, not God-centric
In a nutshell, the Reformed polemicists tend to see a snake under every rock, and demons on every doorknob. They are fixated with schisms and divisions because they are, at the core, perhaps unwittingly, schismatic and divisive in their self-righteous piety.
Of course, their extremely overstated claims quoted above are all part of the narrative contrived by cessationists who have not a clue how the gifts of the Spirit correctly operate in the local church, It’s part of a post that is critical of Bethel Church, who have set up a tech-related school program to encourage young Christians to enter the workplace with coding skills.
The seven mountain mandate is a vision to reach the community with the gospel. It was originally put together by Loren Cunningham as a project to influence what he saw as seven distinct sectors of life populated by people in the education system or in the workplace. It’s an evangelistic enterprise, not a dominionist conspiracy.
The polemicists at churchwatchcentral and Pulpit & Pen are so enraptured by their Reformed theology that they do not see one to one evangelism as an important part of everyday life. Rather, reaching the unsaved, for them, is a situation in which God selects some people for salvation but not others, which renders the notion of organised evangelistic efforts null and void.
Therefore, training in evangelistic outreach, in their view, is, it seems, futile.
Most people spend half their day in the marketplace
The so-called seven mountain mandate isn’t out to ‘take over’ education, religion, family, business, government (or military), arts (or entertainment) and the media. It is out to bring a Christian influence into those spheres of influence.
It’s been amazing to watch how the sceptical polemicists have sought to discolour what, in effect, are reasonable ideas of how to influence a defined demographic with the gospel.
Most people who attend churches are involved in some way with education, religion, family, business, government (or military), arts (or entertainment) and the media. They are not all pastors and/or teachers. They are not all blog-meisters. The majority of the Christian fraternity are out in the marketplace in some way interacting with unsaved colleagues.
It has been found that the most effective form of evangelism is relational. Making friends with people and influencing them with the Christian lifestyle earns the right to be able to share the good news with them when they become enquirers.
Jesus spent most of His ministry out and about in the marketplace where the people were. He mixed with sinners to reach sinners with the gospel. He talked about agricultural, horticultural and topical issues of the day. He illustrated His messages with contemporary events. He met the people where they were.
Unsaved people don’t tend to go to church on a weekend on their own. They are more likely to be willing to attend when they have a good friend who invites them along. Most people would not think of reading scripture, entering into prayer, or worshipping God off their own bat.
They are more likely to go to a study group, or prayer group, or listen to Christian worship if they know someone who is already involved with a group that meets on a regular basis.
This, in part, is where workplace evangelism can be effective in spreading the gospel. I am engaged on a daily basis in workplace evangelism, and it is an excellent environment for building relationships with unsaved, unchurched workers and students. Many have subsequently become enquirers. They ask questions about faith and the opportunity comes for sharing Christ.
The Reformed doctrine of the elect largely rejects this concept because they say people are regenerated by God regardless of whether they hear the gospel or not, before they can receive faith, which is not, of course, what scripture says.
Therefore they cannot understand the concept of influencing the various sectors of the world by going out into the world as envoys of Christ with a message of hope, peace and salvation. I’m not particularly trying to promote the seven mountain mandate, but I understand the premise. I’m more engaged in Jesus’ command to go out into the world and make disciples of all nations.
How we express the command Jesus gave us isn’t really the issue. The real point is that we are doing what He called us to do. He sent us all out to preach the gospel to a fallen world. Reaching the people in our personal sphere of influence is paramount to the command to make disciples.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
News Division’s ignorant opposition to the Bethel initiative to teach young people to code and enter the software engineering workplace as ministers of the gospel is unwarranted. The enterprise is a perfectly valid approach to Jesus’ command to go into the world and preach the gospel. Being trained in this form of evangelism is an authentic approach to a growing sector.
Their claim that NAR ‘has been widely scuttled since its critics have begun to use it’, is hilarious. It is they who devised their sensationalised version of the NAR, pushed it, polished it, preened it, protected it, and made it their own. No one has ‘scuttled’ it. The Fake NAR of the polemicist sites never existed. It is a figment of their vivid imaginations. No one else but the polemicists even identifies with their version. It is unrecognisable to the phenomenon proposed by C Peter Wagner.
What is News Division’s solution?
Is News Division at Pulpit & Pen saying that Christians shouldn’t reach the unsaved in the marketplace? What is their global vision for reaching the lost, then? Is it scoffing at those who do have an approach?
The article approaches the initiative in mocking tones, which is juvenile, carnal, and only succeeds in demonstrating how far News Division and Pulpit & Pen are out of touch with the reality of how the gospel works, and what the potential is for reaching people we get to know in our own neighbourhood and reach.