Follow the money.
That advice was given to me when I was starting out at as a young newspaper reporter. The wisdom behind it is this: if you want to discover the motivation for something, then you need to find out who stands to profit from it. That’s because money is one of the most powerful forces that drives people.
That advice explains the popularity of my post “The Great Wealth Transfer–100 Percent Returns!” This post examines a New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) teaching known as “The Great Transfer of Wealth.” According to this teaching, God is soon going to transfer control of the world’s wealth from the wicked people to the righteous. The purpose of the transfer is so the church will have the resources it will need to set up God’s earthly kingdom.
I wrote the post about this teaching quickly, almost as an afterthought. I never thought it would become my most-read post. As of today, it has had over 19,000 views.
Its instant popularity puzzled me. It took me a while to figure out why it hit such a nerve. Then I remembered the advice I was given so many years ago–follow the money. And, suddenly, everything clicked.
My post was popular because it exposes an important fact: A major reason people are drawn to the NAR apostles and prophets is because their teachings impact their followers where it matters most–that is, in their bank accounts. In other words, they believe they will profit financially from following the apostles and prophets.
Now it all makes sense–or rather I should say “cents.”
This fact also explains why the NAR movement is growing the fastest in the Global South–in regions of the world where people are impoverished.
Prior to my realization, I naively thought that most people were drawn to the NAR movement for spiritual or theological reasons. I underestimated the lure of money–that is, the large amounts of money that are promised to those people who receive revelation from the NAR prophets. Money isn’t the only draw, of course. But it’s a biggie.
Where the Money Trail Ends
So, my post hit on an important motivation for why people join the NAR movement–though I didn’t fully realize that at the time I wrote it. But there is still more to this story that my post missed.
Continue to follow the money in the NAR movement. You will find that–according to the “Great Transfer of Wealth” teaching–the money ultimately must be transferred from the hands of the NAR followers to the hands of the apostles. That’s because the apostles claim they are the ones God has supernaturally gifted and appointed to disperse the church’s wealth.
To support this claim, they point to an incident in the Book of Acts. They point to a time when the first Christians sold their property and houses and laid the proceeds of the sales “at the apostles’ feet” so the apostles could distribute the money to those who had needs (Acts 4:34-35). NAR leaders claim this incident was not isolated, but is intended to serve as a model for the distribution of church finances today.
NAR apostle C. Peter Wagner addresses the roles of NAR apostles in managing and distributing the church’s money in his book Dominion (Chosen Books). Wagner writes:
For the most part, the managers will be workplace apostles who have experience in multiplying finances. … The divine “power to get wealth” of Deuteronomy 8:18 will be activated in anointed managers to extraordinary degrees.
He also writes:
In the old wineskin [before the New Apostolic Reformation began], distributors were typically denominational executives, mission board directors or leaders of specialized ministries. In the new wineskin, distributors are, for the most part, apostles..
And if the apostles, personally, become rich along the way–well, that is just a sign of God blessing His people. This is where the “prosperity gospel” intersects with the “Great Transfer of Wealth” teaching.
So, it pays to be a follower of the NAR apostles and prophets. But it pays even more to be an apostle or prophet.
False Teachers and Greed
I shouldn’t have been surprised by my discovery. In the New Testament, the apostle Peter says that false teachers are motivated by money: “And in their greed they will exploit you with false words (2 Peter 2:1-3).
And, in the Old Testament, false prophets were also in it for the money (Ezekiel 22:25).
So “follow the money” isn’t good advice for reporters only. It’s also good advice for Christians who want to be more discerning. You should always ask yourself, “Does someone stand to profit financially from this teaching?”
Here’s my “Great Transfer of Wealth” post if you haven’t read it yet. And if you happen to click on the links for the annual Financial K.E.Y.S. conference, you will see that this NAR event–which is preparing the church to receive the great transfer of wealth–is still going strong. The next conference is next month in Los Angeles and will feature many prominent NAR voices.
Of course, the conference’s success should be no surprise–if you’ve been following the money.
A question for you: Have you encountered the “Great Transfer of Wealth” teaching in your circles? I’d like to hear about your experiences with it.