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The New Apostolic Movement – Week 33 / August 26th
“You are already full! You are already rich! You have
Reigned as kings without us-and indeed I could wish
You did reign, that we also might reign with you.
1 Corinthians 4:8
“And you have tested those who say they are apostles
And are not, and have found them liars.”
Once again an old, but theologically camouflaged, error is corrupting the evangelical Church in America and beyond. This message, recently propagated in Nashville, is positive, triumphant and thus infectious but it is wrong and a serious contradiction of scripture. Essentially it believes that the Church must reform society in all aspects and thus, supposedly by the power of Jesus, take dominion over the world. Not until the Church moves into this position will Jesus come again! To support this error the modern version of what is really post-millennialism inflates and exaggerates the impact of the Church on the world today and networks with like-minded individuals, mostly leaders, to set up a world “Apostolate.” Theirs is a message of hope, not based on the return of Jesus, but on the transformation of the world system! This message is so close to the truth because of the biblical terms in which it is framed that the average and unsuspecting Christian is unable to challenge it.
By Jesus’ very command we are told to go forth into the world and impact it with the Gospel and transformation is certainly the goal of our proclamation. (Matthew 28:16-20) That is, the transformation of lives not the political, educational, artistic and commercial systems of the world! These new brave apostles are carrying a message of hope, as they put it, for the world and they intend to achieve their agenda by a Pentecostal experience that essentially denies the core message of Pentecost. This core message is that by the Baptism of the Spirit believers in Jesus are empowered to live a sanctified or holy life and they are emboldened and equipped to call people out of the world by the effective preaching of the Gospel. The word for Church in the Greek means “called out ones.” (ekklysia) In contradiction of this, the new apostolic movement is looking for the emergence of a “Super Christian” who by great signs and authority will transform every segment of society. They seek dominion over the world order or as they put it, dominion over the seven mountains of human endeavor, and falsely redefine the nature of the five-fold ministry gifts of Ephesians four to conform to this agenda.
But, what of scripture? What does it have to say about our mission and calling?
- Our Hope
The Bible clearly teaches that the world system is past rehabilitation. In fact it is like a sinking ship and is thus passing away; we cannot transform it! (1 John 2:15-17) If anything we are to come out of it and indeed hasten its destruction by reaching the elect with Jesus’ message of salvation. (Revelation 18:4; 2Peter 3:10-13) So, wherein then does our hope lie? Definitely, not in telling people that there is a bright future for them in the world system. Our blessed hope is the return of Jesus and the resurrection of our weak bodies. (Titus 2:11-15) This is the hope that Paul holds out to believers everywhere in the New Testament. Nothing less and nothing more. (Philippians 3:17-21)
- Our Weakness
The writer of the Book of Hebrews reminds us that God did indeed promise dominion to man but he forfeited this privilege by the fall. Even “saved man” has not regained this position because he is still weakened by very serious sin and imperfection. (Hebrews 2:5-9) The Author of the book of Hebrews then reminds us that our dominion will only be restored in the age or world to come when we are finally all that God wants us to be. Now, we do not see “man” exercising dominion but we do see Jesus who has gone ahead of us as a forerunner encouraging us to lay hold of Him and thus fully appropriate the saving mercies of His death. In short, Jesus will bring in the “age to come” by His second coming and then we will exercise dominion with Him over the world; not before! (Revelation 2:26-27) According to Paul, all of creation is longing and waiting for this day to arrive. (Romans 8:18-23) The “new dominionists” would have you believe that it has already come! They are wrong, yes very wrong and are leading God’s precious people astray. Indeed, as Paul says, they are already “kings” but they are not reigning in Jesus’ kingdom but that of their own wishful thinking. (1 Corinthians 4:8-9)
- Our Truth
The emerging church dominionists seek to gain influence wherever they can get it. They will look out for and invite into their apostolic band and network men and women of influence but if you go through their articles of faith, association and incorporation, as I have, you will find no definite word or teaching about Israel! Why? Because a sound biblically based theology on Israel contradicts their dominion thesis. For them the Church will establish the kingdom on earth by the proclamation of the Gospel and the transformation consequently of the educational, artistic, commercial and political structures of the world. This is classic heresy in that they go too far beyond the preaching of the Gospel.
The truth is; we proclaim the Gospel to the “whosoever will” knowing that, because of Israel’s unbelief, the nations have an opportunity to be saved; but a process of restoration in the land of Canaan by which the Jews are returned to the land and to the Lord will in fact bring in the true kingdom of God. (Acts 3:17-21) Only when Jesus reigns over the earth from Jerusalem, with a “rod of iron” will there be, for the first time, true transformation of the world system. (Revelation 12:5) The Disciples knew this and asked Jesus about it just before He ascended to the right hand of glory. (Acts 1:6) So the biblical position is that the arrival of the transforming kingdom of God comes to the world through the Jewish people by the Second Coming of Jesus. A thought that really upsets dominionists. For this reason Israel has no significance in their agenda. It’s all about power and the transformation of the world system. The importance of Jerusalem must therefore be diminished by these people and it is here that we witness the depth of their deception.
Sadly still is the fact that the emerging church apostles debunk the prophetic scriptures and scoff at those who hold onto them. (2 Peter 3:3-4) They make snide remarks about the book of Revelation and end time books and seek to diminish the urgent teaching of Jesus’ Olivet Discourse and other prophetic passages of scripture by asserting that they have all been fulfilled in AD 70. This theological position is known as the Preterist view of eschatology. One of these preachers recently stated that it is wrong and selfish to tell your thirteen year old son that Jesus is coming soon. They will have you believe that no one knows when Jesus is coming. They are wrong, do not listen to them! Firstly, we do not know the day or hour of His coming but we definitely know the season. (1 Thessalonians 5:1) Jesus’ soon coming interferes with, and contradicts, the long term agenda of the dominionists and therefore they have to debunk it and with it the significance of a Jewish return to Jerusalem. A unique sign that Jesus gave pointing to His second coming. (Luke 21:24)
- Our Safety
The so called new apostolic movement recognizes people that have no apostolic credentials and actually twists these to fit in with their framework. An Apostle, according to scripture, is one that is sent. That is, he or she is a missionary who actually, by signs and wonders, plants churches, sets them in order, gives oversight to them and has an apostolic band of Ephesians 4 ministries (prophets, evangelists, pastors, apostles and teachers) that serves them and protects them theologically. (2 Corinthians 12:11-13; Ephesians 4:11-16) In short an Apostle goes to virgin soil and therein plants the Kingdom of God. (2 Corinthians 10:12-18) He is not an Apostle simply because he took over something which others have labored over and built. Paul was called to be an Apostle meaning that it was more of a servant designation than a title. (Romans 1:1-7) Today these new apostles very much like to be called Apostles. Jesus wrote to the Church at Ephesus and applauded them for putting so called Apostles to the test. (Revelation 2:2) Apostles must fit the biblical model; this is our safety!
Dominion theology rests on the notion that a great revival is coming before Jesus comes again. They lay great emphasis on this coming great revival but Jesus only taught that the Gospel will be preached as a witness to all nations and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14) My Bible does not teach an end time revival; in fact it states the exact opposite. Indeed Jesus said that just before He comes again the hearts of many so called Christians will grow cold and possibly He will not find “the faith” on the earth when He comes. (Matthew 24:12; Luke 18:8) He also taught that Christians will be hated by all nations before He comes. (Mark 13:14) Hardly a picture of the Church ruling the world and exercising dominion over it. Paul echoed the same thoughts when he wrote that one of the great signs of Jesus’ coming will be a great falling away. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3) Now, this does not mean that we are going to huddle together as a defeated little flock and not aggressively proclaim the Gospel. We must be full of faith, joy and zeal and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus and encourage those who believe to be salt and light in their sphere of influence but we must not resort to false teaching and theories that are just not found in scripture. These, if not corrected, will play into the great delusion of the end time because we did not love the truth! (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12) As Christians we must be zealous for good works (Ephesians 2:8-10) and by so doing alleviate the pain and suffering of our broken world; but we do this not because we want to rule the world but rather because we are driven by the compassion of Christ. It is this compassion that drove Christians to build schools, orphanages and hospitals in times past. They were not seeking to rule but to heal! Even so Lord Jesus come quickly.
Preterism was first expounded as a theological system by the Jesuit Luis de Alcazar in an attempt to counter the claims of the Reformation.