As they maintain their obsessive negativity and false New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) narrative, churchwatchcentral post a transcript that actually refutes their own argument against it.
It’s not the first time this has happened, but it’s a striking example of the way in which they read things into conversations that only exist in their own imagination. If they were able to read their own transcript of a conversation on the NAR between Dr Michael Brown and Dr Joseph Mattera without bias they would see that their claims against these men were rebuffed during the discussion.
Setting up their agenda, churchwatchcentral start with this:
Mattera claimed that the critics “are people driven by fear. They have created their own boogie man, and I don’t think anybody should be afraid of true Apostolic, prophetic leaders that God has ordained according to Ephesians 4, to continue until there’s unity in the faith and complete knowledge and fullness of the Son of God, which hasn’t happened yet.”
The boogie man version of the NAR. Very good. We have called their ‘boogie man’ a fake NAR, but Dr Mattera has come to the same conclusion, as has Dr Brown.
But what is Dr Mattera saying? He is telling us that there is no need to fear true apostolic or prophetic leaders because they are God-ordained. In other words he has sound scripture to support the premise that God has ordained apostles and prophets as well as evangelists, pastors and teachers.
However, churchwatchcentral have declared themselves to be anti-five-fold ministry. They hold to a two-fold ministry – that of pastors and teachers only. This comes from the teachings of the cessationists.
Not only this, but they are calling ‘sinister’ the notion that there exists five-fold ministry. Watch what they say in this passage…
Brown alerts Mattera to NAR critics, asking if people he knows are, “scurrying because of these so-called discernment reporters.”
Mattera’s reponse [sic] was scandalous. Mattera instead confirmed Michael Brown is 100% wrong and that his critics are 100% right – the NAR are clearly hiding their agenda by blurring the theological lines with evangelicalism, mainstreaming themselves so they are considered legitimate by the Christian community. In his conversation below, Mattera is literally saying the NAR are effectively subverting Christianity and converting them to embrace the New Apostolic paradigm (i.e. the restored Five Fold Ministry offices):
“I’m seeing Evangelicals embracing the Five Fold Ministry. I’m seeing the missional church movement beginning to use the language of Apostolic as prophetic. They’re expanding it because they realize that if we are limited to a Two Fold Ministry, the Jesus Movement is going to be static. But if we embrace the Five Fold Ministry, we’re going to have a movement, we’re going to have a great expansion of Christianity like we saw in the New Testament.“
You would think Brown would have a problem with Mattera pushing this subversive takeover of Evangelicalism on his program. However Brown did not protest Mattera’s open agenda of the NAR. In that quote above, you will notice the divisions Mattera is advocating – the New Apostolic Reformation (5FM) and Evangelicalism (2FM). He drew the line in the sand between what is biblical (2FM) and what was not (5FM) and has made it clear he wants to convert Evangelicalism to the NAR so that they “have a great expansion of Christianity like we saw in the New Testament.”
Unfortunately, Mattera advocates an extreme cultist doctrine known as ‘Restorationism’, operating from a similar mindset to Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jim Jones’ Jonestown cult and other ‘doomsday’ cult ideologies. Again, Brown refuses to correct Mattera on this very dangerous heresy.
(Note: This is one of several references to the Jonestown cult. Of course there is no comparison between Drs Brown and Mattera and their ministries and that cult. It is mischievously added by churchwatchcentral, not for the first time, for effect, to stimulate their arguments and to put a negative slant on their claims. They add Mormonism and JWs for the same effect. Their theory is faulty because their premise is faulty.)
There is an enormous amount of waffle about NAR in the article that is not related to fact and is entirely based on churchwatchcentral’s own opinion, not truth. But the key thing to note here is that churchwatchcentral calls ‘scandalous’, and ‘subversion’, the idea that there is a growing understanding of the five-fold ministry amongst evangelicals.
Is it five or two?
Notice that churchwatchcentral consider the notion of what Mattera calls five-fold ministry to be error. Churchwatchcentral, instead, claims that there is a two-fold ministry, made up of pastors and teachers, to the exclusion of apostles, prophets and evangelists.
Nowhere in this piece do they qualify their argument with scripture. Where does it state in scripture that there are now only pastors and teachers and that apostles, prophets and evangelists have ended? Nowhere is the answer. Let’s look at what scripture actually says, and see if the ministry is made up of five or two leadership offices.
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…
So Christ personally gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. That is scripture, right there. How many does that make? Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Five. I prefer to call them ascension gifts because when Christ ascended, we are told in Ephesians, He gave gifts to the Body of Christ for the edification and equipping of the Church. As far as I understand from scripture He is still ascended, being seated at the right hand of the Father.
There is no scripture anywhere that negates these five ascension gifts or redefines them down to two gifts. There is no scriptural reference to a ‘two-fold ministry’. Cessationists have had to admit that these two still exist because it would be anathema to reject them, but their doctrine demands that apostles and prophets have ended. Why they end evangelists is a curiosity. But, clearly, churchwatchcentral is pressing for a two-fold ministry to the exclusion of the other three mentioned in scripture.
So it would be correct to say that evangelicals are embracing what Dr Mattera calls five-fold ministry. Why are they embracing it? Because it is Biblical. This doesn’t make it some kind of NAR intrusion into the Body of Christ. It is not subversion to tell the truth. It is a reversion to scripture. It has nothing to do with a new movement away from the Bible. It has everything to do with a movement towards what the scriptures have taught all along. That is his point.
Neither is it some kind of cultish ‘restorationism’. It is coming back to what scripture has always said. It is written.
Churchwatchcentral is in fact 100% wrong.
There is nothing illegitimate about believing that Christ has given gifts to the Church and that these gifts are made up of five ministries. Otherwise churchwatchcentral is claiming that the writings of Paul and, therefore, scripture, is illegitimate.
Further, there is nothing ‘subversive’ about declaring that Christ has given gifts and that the gifts are made up of five ministry offices to edify and train the Church. What is subversive is the rejection of scripture that declares it.
Nor is it ‘scandalous’ to believe what the Bible says. Churchwatchcentral have no leg to stand on here. Scripture is clear. Mattera is simply quoting scripture. Where, if they have a case, does the Bible speak anywhere of a ‘two-fold’ ministry? It doesn’t. What Mattera is declaring is that the evangelical church is coming back to what the New Testament has declared from the beginning. It is churchwatchcentral that is obviously in error.
Mattera and Brown’s statement that the critics are scurrying around after a ‘boogie man’ called the NAR is true. Churchwatchcentral is doing so in this article by making claims that go against scripture and pressing for their own false NAR, which they claim is sinister, subversive and evil – in other words, spreading fear about a fake boogie man.
Take note: Churchwatchcentral invented the false NAR narrative and they are arguing against their own fake NAR. Mattera calls it a boogie man. He is 100% correct. That is the point here.
The basis for the churchwatchcentral argument is their erroneous theory that Brown is part of the fake NAR invented by churchwatchcentral. As I have pointed out many times on this site, the churchwatchcentral version of the NAR is not the same as C Peter Wagner’s observation of the phenomenon he termed the New Apostolic Reformation. Dr Brown makes the same point in the transcript produced by churchwatchcentral. They could have read it for themselves.
Here, according to churchwatchcentral’s own transcript, is how Mattera defines the New Apostolic Reformation.
Dr Michael Brown: “Well my joy. Alright, the New Apostolic Reformation as you are familiar with it. We don’t deny its existence, we never have. This is what we’re familiar with, with Dr Peter Wagner, what are the origins? What were your thoughts about it? What was your involvement with it, if any?”
Dr Joseph Mattera: “Well my overseer, John Kelly, was asked in 1999 to gather 30 leaders of networks, independent Christian networks, in the City of Singapore, in the country of Singapore. And they met for three days just to compare notes, and at the end of a few days, they decided that they should continue to meet. And they called it the, ‘International Collation of Apostles.’
And John led it for a year, I think it was, I could be wrong, could be two years. And then he felt like Peter Wagner had more national prominence, and he asked Peter to lead it. So Peter as a Missiologist/Sociologist he basically led it. And as Peter always does, he gives terms to things, and he wound up calling it a ‘New Apostolic Reformation’. And what he meant by that, was that this is not a movement necessarily led by historic denominational leaders or denominations. So he was trying to think of a new way of framing the fastest growing segment of global Christianity, which is led by visionary leaders, of independent networks, so they coined the phrase ‘New Apostolic Reformation’.
There was no conspirator background, there was no organization, it was loosely affiliated. People came, people went. There was no ordination Certificates or anything. People just gathered once a year, and it ultimately grew to 350 people under Peter’s guidance. And I didn’t agree with some of the things. But the thing is, it was such a loose organization, there was diversity in escapology, some were dispensational pre-millennial, some were post-millennial….some believed that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was evident by speaking in tongues, others were third wave. Evangelicals like Peter, who believed that everybody was baptized in the Spirit, I mean that you didn’t have to speak in tongues if you were baptized in the Spirit.
So there was such a divergence of people involved. It would have been next to impossible to have a conspiracy.”
So Dr Mattera explains in clear terms his understanding of the New Apostolic Reformation. Neither Brown nor Mattera deny its existence. What they refute is the conspiratorial version invented by churchwatchcentral and promoted by associated critics like Pulpit & Pen and Pirate Christian Media – the ‘boogie man’ version.
The true New Apostolic Reformation was an observation of a phenomenon. It was not a formal organisation. In fact, the cooperative these ministries joined as a loosely affiliated group was the International Coalition of Apostles, which is something I pointed out several years ago to churchwatchcentral. Only now are they cottoning on, but they are proposing that the notion of apostolic leadership is in some way sinister, evil, antichrist, and akin to Jonestown and known cults. That is the really scandalous false claim in this article.
But Mattera and Brown have actually debunked churchwatchcentral’s false claims in the very transcript churchwatcher publishes in his article.
Brown prefaces his discussion by pointing out that he does not consider himself part of the NAR, but, in response to Todd Friel’s claims about the fake NAR, and other polemicist’s assertion that Brown is ‘secretly’ of the NAR, he has introduced a number of articles and programs to discuss it openly and present his own case. That is clear in the transcript.
Here’s the reason Dr Brown put on the radio program to address the false narrative claims…
Peter Wagner led a movement that was widely identified as New Apostolic Reformation. And I had differences with that, I was never part of that, appreciated some of it, differed with other parts. And now there’s this other thing called NAR, where everything is put under this heading, and that is what I say does not exist, this worldwide conspiratorial movement.
‘The other thing called the NAR’. Indeed. Men like Dr Brown and Dr Mattera are starting to see what I’ve been saying for some time now. There is C Peter Wagner’s observation of a phenomenon that he called the New Apostolic Reformation, and there is the fake NAR contrived by the anonymous writers at churchwatchcentral. It is the false NAR that is confusing the issue with fake reports.
The point is that churchwatcher is again beating his head against a conspiratorial brick wall, and, as Mattera states, has created a ‘boogie man’ with which to frighten his adherents.