This critique provides a framework for understanding and interpreting the widespread but little-known New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement. As the authors state in the preface: “We write this book with two major goals in mind. First, to give people an idea of the sheer size and reach of the NAR movement. And second, to systematize its key teachings and practices and evaluate them on the basis of Scripture and careful reasoning.”
Despite its remarkable claims, including new revelation, many Christians have not yet heard of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Christians need to know about this movement and its extreme claims. In their fair and eminently readable book Geivett and Pivec inform us all of the history, founders, beliefs, and goals of NAR. The authors make it clear that NAR is not to be confused with mainstream Pentecostals and charismatics. Rather, the NAR movement is a phenomenon of very distinctive characteristics. Geivett and Pivec expose the movement’s dubious theological foundations and quirky understanding of Scripture, and warn of the harm to the church’s witness it has caused and will likely continue to cause. All who care for the health of the church need to read this book.
—Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Canada
This is an important book, a one-stop shop for an explanation and biblical assessment of the so-called New Apostolic Reformation. Anyone interested in this global movement, whether sympathetic or critical, should read it. With their careful elucidation of NAR views and even-handed critique, Geivett and Pivec have pushed the discussion forward at a high level. This book provides a much-needed service to the church!
—James S. Spiegel, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Taylor University
Every movement that claims to be of the Holy Spirit should welcome scrutiny. Geivett and Pivec are exemplary critics in their respectful tone and portrayal of those with whom they disagree. Advocates of the so-called New Apostolic Reformation are invited to reconsider if and how their beliefs and practices are aligned with Scripture even as those looking to better understand this global phenomenon more will come away much more informed and be ready to draw their own conclusions.
—Amos Yong, Professor of Theology and Mission; Director of the Center for Missiological Research, Fuller Theological Seminary
“So how does that individual authority play out? In a NAR church, on the local level, the senior pastor calls the shots. The pastor is viewed as the leader of a church—not an employee of the church—and has final authority over the staff and budget.19 He or she does not answer to the elders; rather, the elders serve and support the pastor. This CEO-type role for pastors is much different from many traditional churches where the pastors are treated as employees of the church.” (Page 37)
“Nevertheless, present-day apostles can receive new revelation that supplements Scripture so long as it doesn’t contradict it. Wagner states: ‘The one major rule governing any new revelation from God is that it cannot contradict what has already been written in the Bible. It may supplement it, however.’” (Page 49)
“Paul contrasts his own motivations and manner of ministry with theirs. They were motivated by a desire for money (2 Cor. 2:17) and self-promotion (2 Cor. 4:5), and were concerned with superficialities—like physical appearance and polished speaking skills—rather than true inner spirituality (2 Cor. 5:12; 10:10). They were arrogant, boasting that they were super-apostles (2 Cor. 11:5; 12:11). They twisted Scripture deceptively to serve their own purposes (2 Cor. 4:2). Most alarmingly, they did not teach the truth about Christ and his saving work, but instead preached another Jesus and a different gospel (2 Cor. 11:4).” (Page 75)
“Some critics have linked NAR with mainstream Pentecostalism and charismatics. We do not do this. In fact, it’s our contention that NAR deviates from classical Pentecostal and charismatic teachings. This movement has emerged out of independent charismatic churches and thus has gained a foothold in many of those churches in varying degrees. But we do not argue for cessationism, the view that the miraculous gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are no longer active in the church. Whether the miraculous gifts are ongoing or not has no bearing on the arguments of our book.” (Page xiv)
R. Douglas Geivett is Professor of Philosophy in Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. He is the author of Evil and the Evidence for God, and coeditor of four books: Contemporary Perspectives on Religious Epistemology; In Defense of Miracles; Faith, Film and Philosophy; and Being Good: Christian Virtues for Everyday Life.
Holly Pivec holds a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University. She is an experienced journalist and researcher, having served as a newspaper reporter, a contributing writer to the Christian Research Journal, and as the University Editor at Biola University for nearly 10 years as well as the managing editor of the award-winning Biola Magazine.