Flip through the pages of any recent issue of Charisma magazine, and you can’t miss them–the NAR apostles and prophets, that is. They’re everywhere. Their smiling faces appear next to reports on their latest prophetic words, promotions of their newest books, and advertisements for upcoming NAR events.
For those who don’t know, “NAR” is short-hand for the “New Apostolic Reformation“–a movement of present-day apostles and prophets who are seeking to rule the church and set up God’s earthly kingdom before Christ returns. This movement is also sometimes called the “apostolic-prophetic” movement. But, whatever you want to call it, it presents one of the most significant challenges to Christian orthodoxy today.
And this movement is growing quickly–thanks, in no small part, to Charisma Media and its flagship publication, Charisma magazine. Charisma magazine–the printed edition–has a readership of 240,000, made up mostly of people who attend Pentecostal and independent charismatic churches. Yet–based on the amount of ink given to NAR apostles and prophets in each issue–it is obvious that the people behind Charisma are dead-set on mainstreaming the NAR movement and its aberrant teachings.
Then, again, this should come as no surprise. After all, the magazine’s founder and publisher, Stephen Strang, and its long-time former editor of 11 years, J. Lee Grady (who still serves as a contributing editor), have both sat as apostles on the International Coalition of Apostles. And they continue to take part in NAR gatherings, such as a recent Awakening Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, featuring Grady.
Here are some of the NAR leaders and their teachings that appeared in the March 2012 edition of Charisma.
- NAR pastor Bill Johnson wrote the cover article titled “You’ve Got the Power!” (page 24)
- Apostle Randy Clark wrote an article on the “global revival” (page 34)
- A full-page advertisement featured two upcoming NAR conferences to be held at Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, Calif: Revival Alliance Conference on April 12-15, and LeaderSHIFT Conference on June 7-10 (page 11)
- An advertisement featured a “Voice of the Prophets” conference to be held in Camp Hill, Penn., on April 18-21. NAR prophets who were featured in the advertisement included Randy Clark, Graham Cooke and Rick Joyner.
- NAR apostle Cal Pierce (director of The Healing Rooms Ministries in Spokane, Wash.) wrote a full-page article titled “A Holy Spirit Healing” (page 22)
- An advertisement featured a book by NAR leaders Bill Johnson and Randy Clark titled The Essential Guide to Healing (page 29)
- An article sidebar titled “God’s Arsonists” identified the major leaders of today’s global revival, including NAR leaders Bill Johnson, Supresa Sithole, and Rolland and Heidi Baker (page 37)
- An advertisement featured a book by NAR prophet Kris Vallotton titled Spirit Wars (page 49)
- A full-advertisement featured a book by apostle Guillermo Maldonado titled How to Operate in the Supernatural Power of God (page 62)
- An article titled “The List: What’s Trending in March” featured an NAR conference titled “Prophetic Fire: Ablaze in Glory,” featuring NAR leaders Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda (page 64)
- A full-page article offering “Prophetic Insight” was written by apostle Kimberly Daniels (page 68)
- An advertisement featured a “Prayer & Prophetic Gathering” in Jacksonville, Fla., hosted by apostles John Eckhardt and Kimberly Daniels (page 75)
- A full-page, back cover advertisement featured the “International School of Ministry,” which offers curriculum taught by prophets and apostles
To be clear, not all the articles and advertisements listed above mentioned the words “apostle” or “prophet.” But, by digging a little deeper, the NAR affiliations can be uncovered.
It bears emphasizing that all the above features on NAR leaders appeared in just a single issue of Charisma magazine. The November 2011 issue printed a (woefully inadequate) defense of the New Apostolic Reformation by its most vocal promoter, apostle C. Peter Wagner. In the article, titled “The Truth About the New Apostolic Reformation,” Wagner told anything but the truth– not only by downplaying the NAR dominionist agenda, but also by denying that the movement is seeking to change any church doctrine. (If trying to restore apostolic leadership to the church and promoting extra-biblical revelation aren’t examples of efforts to change church doctrine, then I don’t know what is.) Wagner also denied that the NAR movement promotes any heresy, though I would beg to differ as prominent NAR leaders promote both Manifest Sons of God teaching and Open Theism. But I digress.
All this is to say that Charisma magazine has been a major force behind the growth of the NAR movement.