Understanding The "Apostle" In The New Apostolic Reformation

Last night, Rachel Maddow dedicated a segment of her program to discussing the New Apostolic Reformation and its ties to Rick Perry as well as a follow-up segment with Forrest Wilder, author of the excellent piece on NAR in The Texas Observer - also, if you watch carefully, you will recognize lots of our videos:

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For all the recent talk about the New Apostolic Reformation, one of the issues that has largely gone uncovered is just what it means to be an  "apostle" within this movement.  I have recently been reading C. Peter Wagner's "Apostles Today: Biblical Government for Biblical Power" in which he helpfully sets out his definition:

An apostle is a Christian leader, gifted, taught, commissioned, and sent by God with the authority to establish the foundational government of the church within an assigned sphere of ministry by hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches and by setting things in order accordingly for the growth and maturity of the church and for the extension of the kingdom of God.

Wagner also explains that there is no such thing as "self-appointed apostles" because all apostles are appointed by God.  But that creates a bit of a dilemma for those trying to determine who are actual apostles versus those who are false apostles and so Wagner offers a rather ingenious way to tell the difference:

God's decision to make an individual an apostle must be recognized and affirmed by real people. If someone says, “God has called me to be an apostle,” but no one else agrees, then I have to doubt whether that person has accurately heard from God.

Now, if that logic seems rather circular to you, Wagner also offers up a list of "12 characteristics that are displayed by many (if not most) apostles," though he is careful to explain that not all apostles have all 12 characteristics. 

But, as a basic rule of thumb, seeing Jesus, performing miracles, suffering persecution, casting out demons, and fighting witchcraft are among the characteristics that a NAR apostle might posses:

1. Seeing Jesus personally. Of course the original 12 saw Jesus, but so did Paul, when Jesus appeared to him on the Damascus Road, and as he indicated in 1 Corinthians 9:1: “Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” According to an informal survey of the apostles whom I know today, about 20 percent have actually seen Jesus personally.

2. Performing supernatural manifestations such as signs and wonders. “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds” (2 Cor. 12:12). Almost every apostle I know has seen physical healing in their ministry, but not many have seen mass healings through the casting of their shadow as did Peter (see Acts 5:15). The application of this, therefore, might well be mostly a matter of degree.

3. Planting churches. “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation and another builds on it” (1 Cor. 3:10). While planting churches is a very important apostolic characteristic (one that David Cannistraci even included in his definition above), not all apostles have a church-planting ministry.

4. Appointing and overseeing local church pastors (or “elders”). Paul and Barnabas planted churches, and then returned and “appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting” (Acts 14:23). Paul instructed Titus, a member of his apostolic team in Crete, to “set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city” (Titus 1:5).

5. Settling disputes in the church. The Corinthian believers were at each other’s throats. Paul wrote, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). Apostles are frequently called upon to bring resolution and unity to division.

6. Applying discipline, including excommunication. “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! … In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:1,4-5). Denominational pastors are rarely equipped to take this kind of drastic action. Apostles, however, have few inhibitions about doing it when needed. Sadly, I have found it necessary through the years to dismiss or to force the resignation of several members of ICA.

7. Providing spiritual covering for other leaders. Paul did this. Here are two examples: “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you” (Rom. 16:12). And, “Now if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. Therefore, let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace” (1 Cor. 16:10-11).

8. Suffering physical persecution. “For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles … From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep” (2 Cor. 11:5,24-25).

9. Attracting and distributing financial resources. “All who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need” (Acts 4:34-35). Most apostles have access to the financial resources necessary to implement the vision that God has given them.

10. Casting out demons. “So that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from [Paul’s] body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:12). Not all apostles have deliverance ministries, though many do.

11. Breaking curses of witchcraft. Paul broke the spirit of divination (witchcraft) in Philippi (see Acts 16:1618) and directly confronted the occult sorcerer Elymas in Cyprus (see Acts 13:8-11).

12. Frequent fasting. As he displays his credentials as an apostle, Paul mentions that he fasted often (see 2 Cor. 11:27).

Bachmann's Mentor Warns Of Public Education "Brainwashing"

Michele Bachmann regularly speaks about her work in Minnesota to advance homeschooling and charter schools, and she even co-founded a Christian-themed charter school that helped launch her political career. According to the New York Times, “state and local school officials warned the school that it was at risk of losing its charter” for running afoul of code, and Bachmann ultimately had her “children enrolled in private Christian schools.”

Her mentor John Eidsmoe in God & Caesar details the case against public schools that may have influenced Bachmann’s early activism in education issues. Eidsmoe discusses the supposed dangers of the public education system throughout God & Caesar, saying, “The power to educate is the power to control though and shape personality. The power to educate is the power to brainwash.” He even said that America’s stalwart public school system is reminiscent of Nazi Germany, warning “exclusive state control of education is a blueprint for tyranny” (p. 143).

Eidsmoe laments that instead of promoting Christianity, public schools endorse “secular humanism.” He writes that ever since public schools embraced secular humanism, children have been “brainwashed” into supporting evolution, sex education, and moral relativism instead of creationism and conservative Christian teachings.

He calls on Christians to “voice our objections when we see government funds or government facilities being used to promote humanism” (p. 139), since he believes that secular humanism was created by the devil: “When Lucifer rebelled against God, he declared, ‘I will be like the Most High’ (Isaiah 14:14). And, having fallen from heaven, he seduced Eve with the same temptation: ‘Ye shall be as gods’ (Genesis 3:5). The modern humanists offer man the same promise” (p. 132).

Eidsmoe explains the reasons why Christians should challenge the public school system:

As we have seen, Scripture gives parents the right and duty to educate their children. Traditionally, parents have fulfilled this duty with help from the church or synagogue. Within the last century and a half, however, the state has gradually usurped this function. As long as the public schools taught nominally Christian values to their children, many Christians did not object to the state taking over education. Within the past few decades, however, and particularly within the past few years, more and more parents have become concerned that the public schools may be teaching values to their children that place them at odds with their parents.



The Christian parent who believes in special creation may find his children brainwashed by evolutionists. The parent may believe that the source of values is God and his revealed Word, but the child may learn from his teacher that values are relative and that we must discover them for ourselves. The parent may believe that sex is to be confined to marriage, but the school health teacher may teach that premarital sex is okay “if you really care about each other.”

Yes, parents can combat much of this by carefully instructing their children at home, and they should be careful to do so. But why should parents have to support a school system that teaches alien values or compete with the state for their children’s allegiance, perhaps for their children’s very souls? (p. 123)

AFA: "How Must Ann Coulter Feel About The Authority of Scripture?"

Last week, GOProud announced that Ann Coulter would be joining the organization’s Advisory Council as Honorary Chair where her official title would be "Gay Icon."

Coulter's willingness to serve in this capacity has created utter confusion for the hosts of the American Family Association's "AFA Report" where Fred Jackson, Ed Vitagliano and Buster Wilson were left wondering just how on earth Coulter can do this and still consider herself to be a Christian:

Vitagliano: Ann Coulter is hard to read but if you're a Christian, I think you should take more care to tailor your commitments in things like this to your Christian views. I don't know whether she just hasn't thought this through or what, but this is kind of disappointing to me.

This is not an issue, I don't think, that you clown around with. This is a very serious issue. I know she likes to laugh, she likes to have fun with her politics, but this is not an issue that you clown around with. It has serious real-world repercussions.

Jackson: I think it begs the questions then Buster: how must Ann Coulter feel about the authority of Scripture? How can you join a group like this and allowed to be called the honorary chair and gay icon of the group and still feel comfortable calling yourself an evangelical Christian? There's a gap there in the reasoning.

Wilson: I don't know. It raises a huge red flag for me. The Bible has got to be the standard and it's not.

DeMint: Obama Administration The Most "Anti-American Administration In My Lifetime"

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday to discuss his new book and his goals to elect more like-minded conservatives to the Senate. DeMint told Mefferd that President Obama is promoting “socialist-style, collectivist policies” that in his mind made his administration “the most anti-business and I consider anti-American administration in my lifetime.”

Listen:

DeMint: We saw within a few days that this President was going to be heavy-handed, he was going to implement his agenda and pay back his political allies, and it just went on from there to ObamaCare and then to Dodd-Frank. It has been the most anti-business and I consider anti-American administration in my lifetime. Things that are just so anathema to the principles of freedom, and everything he has come up with centralizes more power in Washington, creates more socialist-style, collectivist policies. This president is doing something that’s so far out of the realm of anything Republicans ever did wrong, it’s hard to even imagine.

Bachmann's Mentor Says Gay Rights Will Doom America

Michele Bachmann’s zealous opposition to gay rights helped launch her career in local politics and made her a darling of social conservatives, and reading God & Caesar by her mentor John Eidsmoe sheds some light on her views. Eidsmoe’s God & Caesar serves to encourage Christians to enter politics in order to introduce and impose biblical law. As Frederick Clarkson writes in Political Research Associate’s Public Eye that Reconstructions want to shape not just the state but all of society, as “Reconstructionists believe that there are three main areas of governance: family government, church government, and civil government” that need to abide by “God’s law.” Similarly, Eidsmoe thinks that the family, the church, and the government are the three divine institutions that must follow biblical precepts.

But the family, like the church and government, Eidsmoe explains is under attack by secular humanism. He points to welfare, tax policies, divorce law, “women’s liberation,” “kid’s liberation,” and “gay liberation” as the principal dangers to the stability of the family.

Eidsmoe explains that “gay liberation” may be the most pernicious “attack upon the family” because it not only tears families apart but can doom all of society. He attacks gays and lesbians for destroying families by “coming out” and warns that “the more widespread homosexuality becomes, the greater the likelihood that homosexuals will recruit our children into homosexuality, voluntarily or involuntarily.” Eidsmoe concludes that “homosexuality invites the judgment of God upon all of society” and America may face the same fatal judgment as Sodom and Gomorrah if gays and lesbians gain equal rights and affirmation:

Few sins are denounced in Scripture as strongly as homosexuality.



Homosexuality is not only a moral issue, but a political one, and it is largely the gay liberation advocates who have made it so. They have pushed, at the federal and state level and in counties and cities across the nation, for special laws recognizing them as a minority group and giving them special protection against discrimination. They have asked for the right to teach our children in public schools, at our expense. They have demanded that our public schools teach our children that homosexuality is an acceptable life-style. But homosexuality is not simply an individual matter; it affects society as a whole. It influences the entire moral strength and moral fibre of society. Furthermore, the more widespread homosexuality becomes, the greater the likelihood that homosexuals will recruit our children into homosexuality, voluntarily or involuntarily.

Homosexuality also constitutes an attack upon the family. Not only is homosexuality by nature contrary to the very purposes and functions of the family; in addition, as homosexuality comes ‘out of the closet’ and is openly practiced and advocated in society, it tears families apart. Parents and children are alienated from one another when a child announces that he is homosexual; marriages are torn apart at the seams when a spouse announces that he has become ‘gay.’ Parents are fearful of public schools, media, and other community agencies that teach their children that homosexuality is an acceptable life-style, or a ‘swinger’ life-style, or any of the other alternatives advocated today, the traditional family declines in influence and number in society.

And homosexuality invites the judgment of God upon all of society. The great sin that brought destruction by fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality (Genesis 19:5, 8). It is a mistake to suggest that the decision to become a homosexual affects no one but oneself. (ps. 126-127).

Bachmann's Mentor Calls On Christian Leaders To Bring Biblical Law To America Or Face God's Judgment

Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has touted Oral Roberts University law professor John Eidsmoe as her mentor and guide, bolstering her already impeccable credentials with Religious Right voters. Profiles by writers such as Ryan Lizza and Michelle Goldberg offered further insight into how Eidsmoe shaped Bachmann’s thinking, and highlighted some of Eidsmoe’s more controversial views, such as his commitment to biblical government and belief that the abolition of slavery was devastating for African Americans. In an interview with Lizza, Eidsmoe said that he thinks Bachmann mirrors the political views he outlined, and Bachmann told an Iowa pastor conference that Eidsmoe was “one of the professors who had a great influence on me” who is “absolutely brilliant.”

In 1984 Eidsmoe wrote God & Caesar, which is essentially a manual to why and how Christians should work in politics and government. Eidsmoe dedicated the book to his children, “in the hope that their generation will more fully implement biblical norms and standards.” In the book, Eidsmoe finds that the biblical view and the conservative agenda virtually always coincide, while the liberal position represents the rejection of God and godly principles. No matter the issue, economic, social, family, law, and foreign policy, Eidsmoe finds that conservatives are always on the right side of the Bible while liberals are on the side of godlessness.

As Julie Ingersoll writes in Religion Dispatches, Eidsmoe is a proponent of Christian Reconstructionism, a philosophy designed by R. J. Rushdoony that wants America governed  according to Biblical law.

Eidsmoe frequently promotes Rushdoony in God & Caesar and his dominionist teachings about the role of “God’s Word” in the political field:

God’s Word has a lot to say about government, about crime and punishment, about abortion, about national defense, about war and peace, about the many political issues that face us daily. Paul declared that he had ‘not shunned to declare unto all the counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27). The fundamentalist who refuses to preach or consider what God’s Word has to say about politics is not declaring the whole counsel of God and has a serious gap in his ministry. R. J. Rushdoony put it well when he said,

Man must exercise dominion in the name of God, and in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness…. The world, moreover, cannot be surrendered to Satan. It is God’s world and must be brought under God’s law politically, economically, and in every other way possible. The Enlightenment, by its savage and long-standing attack on Biblical faith, has brought about a long retreat of Christianity from a full-orbed faith to a king of last-ditch battle centering around the doctrines of salvation and of the infallible Scripture. The time has come for a full-scale offensive, and it has indeed begun, to bring every area of thought into captivity to Christ, to establish the whole counsel of God and every implication of His infallible word. (p. 56)

Eidsmoe believes that God brings people into the political arena and then uses them to enforce his will. He cites right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly as one such leader that God used to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, and Texas activists Mel and Norma Gabler to “analyze and critique textbooks and expose humanist, anti-Christian, immoral, or anti-American content. I’m sure the Gablers never dreamed God would use them like that” (p. 60).

He goes on to say that America is facing “political and economic decline” as a result of “moral decay” and God’s judgment because of the government’s failure to embrace biblical law. Eidsmoe argues that unless Christians that follow his Reconstructionist positions enter politics, God will judge America in the same way he judged Judah before exiling the Jews to Babylon:

We should add that this political and economic decline is a natural and logical consequence, but it is also a supernatural consequence. It is the result of God’s judgment (Leviticus 26:14-29).

I believe the political and economic decline that grips America today is the result of moral decay. I believe God is calling upon believers today to lead the spiritual awakening that can overcome that moral lapse. That’s how believers can truly be the salt of the earth, preserving their nation from divine judgment.

After decrying the sin of Judah, their oppression and robbery, their vexation of the poor and needy and the sojourner, God declared in Ezekiel 22:30, ‘And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it.’

God is looking for believers today to ‘stand in the gap,’ to assert themselves in the political arena and transform America’s political institutions.

But I omitted the last four words of that verse: ‘…but I found none.’ The Lord continued in the next verse, ‘Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.’

God’s judgment indeed came upon Judah: seventy years of exile in Babylon.

That was true of Judah. I pray it won’t be true of America. Will you do your part, as others have done theirs? (p. 68)

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Matt Barber is not happy with Ann Coulter for joining GOProud's Advisory Council.
  • Speaking of GOProud, the groups is not happy about being tossed-out of CPAC.
  • PBS takes a look at Francis Schaeffer and his work, which had a big influence on Michele Bachmann.
  • Albert Mohler says the the biggest problem with marriage equality "is not that homosexuality will be normalized and accepted, but that homosexuals will not come to know of their own need for Christ and the forgiveness of their sins."
  • Finally, it seems that Focus on the Family is still angry about the American Family Association being labled a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Maybe they should watch this.

Barton On Spanking: "We Do The Same Thing With Horses"

David Barton dedicated today’s program of WallBuilders Live to discuss a case in Texas where a woman was convicted of causing injury to a child. “It was her daughter's grandmother who noticed red marks on the child’s rear end, and took her to Driscoll Children's Hospital to be checked out,” reports the local NBC affiliate KZTV, saying the mother “plead guilty to the charge after reaching an agreement with prosecutors.” The office of the state’s Attorney General explains that “corporal punishment can be extremely damaging and dangerous, and this is what the law prohibits as abuse,” and local prosecutors and courts have discretion in handling such cases.

Barton argues that a judge had no right to convict her because, he explained, the Bible justifies and even encourages spanking. He claims that if anything parents should spank their children not with their hands but with “belts or hairbrushes, or they can use a paddle or whatever it is,” because “always in the Bible discipline is with a rod, it’s not with a hand.” Barton goes on to say “we do the same thing with horses,” saying spanking children is like beating horses with a rod or crop.

The right-wing pseudo-historian blames evolution as the culprit for the diminishment of spanking, maintaining that the application of evolution already ruined our understanding of the Constitution, science, and history, and is now set to destroy traditional parenting:

Barton: Always in the Bible, discipline is with a rod, it’s not with a hand. ’Cause the hand is supposed to reach out in love, you don’t want kids flinching from your hand. We do the same thing with horses. When I reach my hand to the face of a horse, I don’t want to flinch him from my hand. So if I have to beat a horse, and occasionally I do, you take something like a switch or a little crop or something else. And you can’t hurt a horse, I mean you can, but you have to convince a 1,200 lbs horse that me at 150 lbs is tougher than you and you do that by training. But when I extend my hand to my horse he doesn’t run from my hand, now he may not like that crop if he sees it, but after he’s had it a few time he’ll do exactly what I want, we have no difficulty, that’s why you also use spurs at times.

So the deal with spanking with hands, that’s why you really don’t want to do that you want to use something else so your hand is always associated with love and tenderness and reaching out to kids, there’s nothing to flinch, so people use belts or hairbrushes, or they can use a paddle or whatever it is.



When you say something ‘your yea’s should be yeas, your nay’s nays,’ say something, if they don’t follow through, no anger needed, there’s just a penalty to pay for it. A consequence.

So, you get this thing where we have now moved into applying evolution to parenting. Now we’ve already applied evolution to the Constitution, we’ve applied evolution to science, we’ve applied evolution to history, that’s why we don’t teach history, we teach culture. Not any of the of the fifty major universities in America, elite universities require any course in history, they all teach culture, not history. So we’ve applied evolution. Now we’re applying evolution to parenting, and ‘you don’t spank.’

Wait a minute, the Bible says I do. You mean we evolved past the Bible? That’s what you getting. As you can tell I’m exercised over this one.

Mike Bickle: Exercising Dominion By Casting Out Demons

As we noted in our post-event write up of Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally, a large portion of the event was run by Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer:

A major chunk of the day was given over to Mike Bickle, who runs the International House of Prayer (IHOP) movement, which recruits young people into “radical” devotion to prayer and fasting. Yes, he’s the guy who said that Oprah is paving the way for the Antichrist. Bickle’s associate Lou Engle has organized a series of stadium events pushing prayer, fasting, and politics under the banner of “The Call,” which provided the model for “The Response.” Bickle and Engle are hard-core dominionists who believe they are ushering in a new Christian church which will take its rightful place of dominion over every aspect of government and society.

Today, we were watching part of a message delivered by Bickle entitled "Authority of the Believer, Exercising Our Dominion in Christ" in which he explained that part of exercising dominion is the ability to cast out demons which, Bickle stated, he has had to do several times in his life when he has personally been attacked: 

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