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Why People Leave the NAR Movement

March 9th, 2013 | 19 Comments | Posted in Brain Stoppers, Control Tactics, Miscellaneous
Credit: Alton

Credit: Alton

My last post gave reasons why people join the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement. Now I list some reasons people leave the NAR movement. Here are the top four reasons I have identified, based on my conversations with former NAR followers.

The Top 4

They experienced disappointment. They had thought the NAR apostles and prophets held the keys to blessings they sought, such as healing (emotional or physical) and financial prosperity. But they realized that the secrets were elusive. That is to say, no matter how many “prophetic” conferences they attended, manifestations they experienced (such as “Holy Laughter”), or family curses they were delivered from, their problems didn’t disappear.

Their dam of disbelief broke. Many people who left the NAR movement say they always felt like something was “not quite right.” They may have observed that the character of certain NAR leaders is prideful or dishonest. They may have felt like a specific NAR teaching does not line up with the Bible. But every time they voiced a concern they were told to ignore it. Yet there came a time when they knew they could no longer overlook the “elephant in the room” and keep believing what they were being told.

They were delivered from the “spirit of touchy feelies.” When they were part of the NAR movement, they continually craved news experiences to give them assurance of God’s love for them. As long as they had a “prophetic” dream every few days, then they were in a good place emotionally. But going too long without a new experience would throw them off track. Yet they finally got off the emotional roller coaster when they looked at Scripture and saw that God still loves His people despite their present level of experience. They recognized, with the psalmist David, that their relationship with God should be like a weaned child who is content to simply have his mother’s presence–not to always want something from Him (Psalm 131:2).

They couldn’t deny that good Christians exist outside the NAR movement.  The NAR leaders had tried to convince them that the faith of mainstream Christians is “dry” and “dead.” Yet, they noticed that–despite what NAR leaders told them–there are very good Christians outside the NAR movement, who are intelligent and godly–in many cases, they are even more godly than people inside the NAR movement. They saw a spiritual maturity and light in those Christians that was hard to deny.

These are my Top 4. If you left the NAR movement, what was your reason?

–By Holly Pivec

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19 Responses to “Why People Leave the NAR Movement”

  1. SAM Says:

    This subject again reveals the ministry of the Holy Spirit within those born anew of His Spirit. He , Jesus Christ, is the True Shepherd, and knows His sheep. John 10:4,5,27.
    When He saves us, we receive all the spiritual blessings the Father has for us, Ephesians 1:3. Today the false teachers are offering a false hope of prosperity in the here and now. The flesh is drawn to these, instead of being willing to deny the flesh.
    Interesting to note that it is the discerning ministry and work of the Holy Spirit within the born anew believer, Who reveals that something “is not right” within the NAR movement.
    The “highs” from the experiential only being temporal, the flesh is easily let down and craving for more and new “highs”. The NAR seems to create doctrine out of the experiences, instead of allowing Biblical doctrine to dictate whether an experience is lining up with the Word. 
    I am grateful for 1 Corinthians 11:19 and 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, 1 John 2:19, and so many other verse.
    Division within the church is very important, as the Lord is revealing the wheat/tares, who is of Him and who perhaps may not be…

  2. Michelle Says:

    Thank you for your articles.  There is so much deception in what calls itself the church!  And too many people seem to WANT to believe it.  Your approach of understanding why they want to believe deception and how they start to see it clearly AS deception is very helpful. 

    So, how can we help people see the deception before they are caught up in it? Or, can we?  From experience, I know that trying to explain what is wrong with a false movement often simply alienates those who are attracted to it (even when the person has come to me and ASKED me if the movement is correct.)

    BTW, I smiled when I read your reference to Ps. 131:2.  Been there, understand that!

  3. AJN Says:

    I left for all four reasons.

  4. David Says:

    The NAR is clearly NOT a move of God.  But once that is admitted, what can we say about all of the experiences, and supposed manifestations, with that group?  I think the answer ought to be clear.  These are either fabricated mirages, or they are of another spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of TRUTH — the Spirit of Truth will never put an unction on what is clearly error.

  5. Phil Says:

    In the past year I have just come to realize the errors that have come from this movement and how it’s teachings are so widespread across so many churches and Christians I know.   I am having such a hard time coming to grips with this as a lot of what I believed has come from  the main techers of this movement.  Although I never understood dominion theology and it’s implications, I believed all the teachings that came from it.  It has been VERY hard, heartbreaking, and confusing as God has been bringing me out of this way of thinking.  I know now that I was decieved, but now I hear even themost subtle NAS doctrines everywhere….sigh.
    I was offended at “dead” Christianity…legalism, and dryness.  The teachings of all NAS exploit this in people, and even fan the flames of the offense to continue to keep people from hearing biblical truth.
    During a time I was recieving TRUE biblical counciling because I was in a habitual pattern of sin.  I was asked if I resembled the Tax Collector or the Pharasee in Luke 18.  I said, I was like the Tax Collector, that I NEVER looked down on others because they were messed up sinners ( I am a former drug addict), I understood their weakness.  I am not like those legalistic Pharasees!  My counciler with much wisdom said to me….Pharasees are sinners too, they just have a different type of sin.  It was then that my heart broke.  I WAS A PHARASEE TO THE PHARASEE.  SELF RIGHTEOUS about NOT being self righteous.  I was brokenand repented greatly for such a sin.
    After that it was like my ears popped open.  I could hear teachings from teachers I had dismissed as being “religious”.  My offence and self righteous pride toward the “religious” and self righteous kept me blind to hearing biblical truth.
    After this time I have been growing from teachers I would have NEVER listened to before….and actually struggled, because what God was opening my eyes too in his Word, I would have judged MYSELF for being a pharasee.  I still have ALOT of innerconflict to this.  Without anyone instructing me I stilllistened toteachings by Bickle, Bill Johnson, Rick Joiner, and all my friends that are attached to this movement.  I quickly recognized all the error, and it SCARED me alot, because once I Repented, and even FORGAVE those I precieed tobe legalistic and controlling….I could hear that what this movement  is teaching is not the word of God….This has brokenmy heart even more.  I am still in a state of Flux….this is why I came to this site tonight.
    I now KNOW the NAS is false,but it has infiltrated subtly everywhere….so I can’t completely get away.  And I get hit with doubts some days and get frightened if I am on the right side of this.  One thing that is prophetically talked about is a civil war in the church.  Rick Joyner talks about this in Final Quest.  The civil war is against Gods true followers and the false church.  If you are the “pharasse” you are going to persecute and y to crush the “true” people of God just like the pharasees did to Jesus and the early church.  The religious spirits will always try to kill the true powerful move of God.  That is what was etched into me.    Now that I am free of that, I am opposed to what they are doing…but sometimes I get worried…what if I have become religious and blind and am opposing what God is really doing!  I start fighting God in the name of God?!…..do you see what I mean?  I am just voicing my struggles as I get free of all this, so please pray for me.  I know that I am on Gods side now because it was through repentance, and forgiveness, and a desire to siply read my word, take it at face, value and simply obey the words of Jesus and the Apostles that I came to this understanding.  I no longer have to be ,spiritually enlightened, or manafest gifts and supernatural powers, or convince other people thats what they need to.  I have become more free, and I can tell people of Gods love through the Gospel, compel them to come be reconciled, and actually make people a disciple of Jesus by teaching them to obey ALL that HE said…..who needs spiritual revelation when God has so kindly just handed us a written word…..it’s not complicated…and now Ican rest.  Thankyou Jesus!

  6. admin Says:

    Phil, a lot of people who have left the NAR movement are in your boat. The teachings leave a huge wake of destruction. You might want to read the book “Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free From Churches That Abuse” by Mary Alice Chrnalogar. The book says it “is designed to restore a loved one’s ability to think without being unduly influenced by a particular group” and it will help “break the psychological control exerted by an abusive discipling relationship or controlling church.” Your struggles are intense right now but they will lessen after time immersing yourself in sound biblical and theological teaching.

  7. Phil Says:

    Thanks Holly,  This site meant a lot to me last night.  It actually helped me heal a lot last night.  I never knew that this was control and abuse, but now I see that it was.  Lately I have had a lot of friends lash out at me, not because I am directly coming against NAR specifically like you are, but I am simply challenging these belief systems when in conversations.  It has become a very difficult time, and being called a pharisee is the worst thing you could ever be called according to the movement…..so when it happens to me, it breaks my heart.  Thank you for the book recommendation, I’ll get right on it.  And thank you for your site.  You laid out the teachings and truth in such a way that it has encouraged me and helped me to begin healing.  Thanks.

  8. Brent Mills Says:

    Hello Phil,
     I am so sorry to hear about your struggles ( I know I am late in this conversation). I say I understand completely and do because my wife and I have recently come out of this type of teaching. We were in the church for 3 years helping right from the start with many things. I ended up doing sound from the beginning for them volunteer and last year agreed to go on full time as the sound editor. It was in the last few months when there that all the false teaching and doctrine, twisting of scripture and flat out lies and deception became so obvious to me. If you have ever done sound you may understand that when doing it you tend not to listen to the message since you are concentrating on the sound, that was the case with me anyways.
     It was as I said when I started to edit all the messages that were stored up ( almost 2 years worth). During this time I would go over a message anywhere from 4 -8 times or even more in some cases to ensure excellent quality. The pastor ( called an apostle) would sit at the start and have me edit out anything that he thought could be taken wrong. ( he stated that others would not understand so we need to remove certain things he taught). I went along but as I listened closely the Holy Spirit opened up my ears to untruths and false doctrines. to make a long story short I sat and spoke to him about certain teachings which he denied!!!, baffled me that he would sit right across the desk from me and deny he said ” when it’s speaking in Acts 2:42 And they continued  in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. , that means the teaching of the apostles that God has appointed and the teaching they bring you”
     I was amazed he would lie when I had it on tape… he did have me edit it out of one of the products as they are refered to … They teach that modern apostles teaching ( doctrine) is what that is refering to.. but we all know it refers to the apostolic doctrine of the original apostles not so called modern ones.   
     This was one of the things but just the tip of the iceberg.
    To tell you the truth I was scared to speak to the leader because I knew I would have to resign or be fired and it was our only source of income as I was now on staff…
    We left and have not had contact with any of our former friends as they say we have rebelled against the apostle and prophet ( they are false we all know) and many wonder when God will destroy us for speaking against the leaders… So we have no friends left that way..
     One encouragement for yourself is remember that Christ is all we need he is our everything, that is the true Jesus and not a false Christ as seems to be taught by N.A.R. Leaders… for instance many say that Christ laid aside all his divinity when he was here on earth.. not true or he would have ceased being God , that is what is called the kenosis theory I think but we know he was always completely God and completely man… as hard as it is for us to understand or comprehend that is the truth.

    If you wish to speak sometime feel free to drop me a line and I will gladly share with you our testimony and how God is faithfull to ensure that we can be led back to the narrow path..

    Blessings to you

  9. M. K. Says:

    We left in the late spring of 1998 when my husband and I became aware of abuses the head pastor had been covering up. That is often a feature of NAR churches. They form a gang in a city, and appoint themselves “gatekeepers” so that escapees from their abusive grasp are often found in a fellow church who try to force “reconciliation” which means the pastor is right and you are automatically wrong, even when you can prove the pastor was bad. Nobody listens because they are all part of the network.

    At that time, we saw the pastor LIE from the pulpit. Long story but we just “happened” to be in a place to observe something–later to be able to say definitively what the truth of that was.

    We watched as something known as Replacement Theology began to be preached (the church replacing Israel–not scriptural at all!). We also objected to some who were teaching other forms of heresy such as “one-ness” and the whole Toronto Airport thing.

    To cap it off we watched as that head pastor stole a business from a couple we knew. Oh it was very cleverly done. The law and the RCMP wouldn’t be able to do anything, but it happened.

    Since many of the churches in our city belonged to this system, we had very little choice where to run to. It had infected many of the churches with a few exceptions–a couple of Baptist churches and a Pentecostal church were safe but  many of the  evangelical non charismatic churches had begun to accept this stuff.

    Our ex pastor had even snookered the local Mennonite Brethren church into believing him so that one couple we knew of took an entire DECADE, 10 long years before they were able to live down the character assassination this pastor did to them.

    We moved a year later, but it made a considerable change in all our lives. We remain very cautious. Due to the infiltration of ideas, music etc, we have remained vigilant and often feel sick as things like Purpose Driven or Emergent church teachings drift in as some enthusiast promotes them. Singing in particular is a problem as many of the modern songs come out of the Vineyard crowd. Hill songs etc.

    And we go to a relatively “clean” Baptist church in a different city but this stuff is all over the place, and it’s hard to fully escape from every influence.

    On the bright side, over the years, I’ve spent a fair amount of time and brain space on why these errors happened, and why good doctrine is so important. Doctrine matters. It’s life or death!

    I sometimes feel like a person caught in a real life version of the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers— where aliens come, suck people’s brains out, leaving a shell, but looking oh so normal. The people who are still themselves look like panic driven nutbars in comparison screaming beware the alien invaders!

    But really it’s an awful lot like that. Wagner’s NAR has sucked people’s brains out, and they do think like zombies, and frequently make their critics look like bug eyed panicky nutcases. Worst of all, they infiltrate churches from within, replacing real theology with heresy, turning it into a den of iniquity.

    By the time you wake up to the fact that the church has been taken over, it’s often too late to make changes. Any critics they are able to silence or drive off. If you see it in time, try to save your church, otherwise run don’t walk for the exits and speak a loud warning to anyone who hears.

  10. M. K. Says:

    And Phil, that book Holly mentions by Mary Alice Chrnaloger called Twisted Scriptures was an absolute lifeline. That and hearing from others like us. It helped me realize I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t crazy even while being screamed at by members of the church who found me innocently shopping in  a local bible bookstore. You aren’t alone, there really are lots like us, welcome to the congregation of the scorned by NAR and other abusive churches.

    For us it came down to do we obey Jesus or these people. Jesus won.

    Phil, let me say it bluntly, if a bit late. You are no Pharisee. You are a follower of Jesus, and as such you are a threat to them.

    The fear is normal, I still wonder if I “blew it out of porportion” or some such nonsense. In truth, I didn’t. Normal Christians wouldn’t stand this nonsense for a minute, but when you’ve been in one of those churches a while normal isn’t normal anymore.

    And even when you are out, these people are influential in the current Christian culture.

    I’ve been really enjoying John MacArthur’s book “The Truth War”. He talks about apostasy, how to spot it, how to combat it. Whether it’s Emergent stuff or New Apostles like C Peter Wagner, it’s apostasy.

    Take comfort. The Lord loves you, and He has pulled you out of disaster. Breathe deep, keep reading and letting the brain come back to life. It is painful but you do get thru. I think we are never free of the memories but God uses them for healing others, and for warning people. And the pain will ease up.

  11. Bewildered Says:

    This is happening in small churches as well as mega churches. I was in a small church that felt like a family to me and my little girl. Which is really important to us because we are all alone in this small town. I became a Teacher at the K-12 school and left after years of feeling this was not of “God”!!!
    I kept thinking how could a Christian School and Church be evil? But that is exactly what is happening after Bethel and Global Awakening came to our small church. Most people are so far into this movement to think clearly, however what breaks my heart is the number of children who know its not of “God” and they are stuck there because their parents are too involved in the movement. I pray for them everyday and hope they too see the light before its too late. For people who are free from inner healing and deliverance they are mean spirited, extremely preduced, and  will stab you in the back if you leave. I feel they put curses on people but we are too strong of believers to have it hold us down for long. Thank you Jesus for helping me see the light once again. If something tells you this movement isn’t biblically correct run and don’t look back!!!

  12. Polivan Says:

    A NAR church was (is) the first christian church that i have ever meet.But  i leave for all four reasons. (i dont want to go to another christian church by the way). (soory about my english)

    But if i can say something about the subject is this:
    What really scares me is the control,complete and absolute control over young minds.
    This guys were crazy,zombies that were too afraid to make a move without the prophet says so.
    Everyone works in the apostols factory and in the prophet office with no shcedules,small salaries,etc

  13. kadri liisa Says:

    Enough i am not left formerly from my NAR church yet i have been deeply concerned what happened in March 2015 when their main apostle blessed practizing mormon and let him to share his testimony in their pulpit. I have thought a lot about differences between “pulpit fellowship” in europe and in america and in that particular movement as in every movement it is different i think. During my pondering time i have not webcasted with them so much but only i have time and energy. From now on i try to avoid get religious burn out more than i already have and just take it freely. I have started contact also with nar type churches in finland who also disagree with C.Pierce action.
    As sort of practizing NAR church member i agree that ppl might go bc those points listed before.  
    But there might be also happen disappointment in leaders when there is ideal image about them. I gave experienced it also little bit but i tried to manage by reminding that there is no perfect leaders and i do not have those mature apostolic leaders to take so much that i can throw them away so easily in my life.

  14. Ms. C Says:

    I just recently left a church that at the time I joined, was a Bible-Believing Church, but now is under direction of Bill Hamon, and the Pastors are ordained by them.  The Church is heavily involved in this NAR Movement.  In fact, anything that Bill Hamon recommends-they do-for example, each member is to pray in tongues for an hour a day for 24 hours.  Well, I did not sign up for any Movement, but this is running rampant in the churches.  The Bookstore only promotes Bill Hamon’s Book, and all those under the (CI)-Christian International Organization in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.  There are over 200 Churches or more.  This does not include internationally.  If your church is not under (CI), CI will not have any fellowship with Believers/Pastors/Leaders who is not associated with this Prophetic Reformation Movement!  SCARY!  BEWARE!  If anyone is involved in this Movement-RUN, RUN, RUN!  Read your bible, pray, study the word of God, ask God for the Spirit of Discernment-we are living in perilous times!

  15. Keep Going Says:

    I left for all 4 of those reasons. I was always told that if I was not experiencing something radical it was because there was something sinful in my life. I was told that if I had questions/concerns that was fine but why was I really questioning this great,charismatic pastor who obviously is a good husband and father. The character of the people in the church seemed so sensitive to any form of questioning.

    I would add…the constant self-promotion and advertisement to purchase biblical things…like seriously, I dont need anything else but the Holy Bible. Is my Bible not as cool looking, colorful, trendy, easy to read? My goodness. I finally realized that if this is LIVING word of God then I shouldn’t feel the need for anything else but a bible and men and women of good character around me.

    So its upsetting and confusing to me to enter to world of supposed like-minded apologetics only to find the same advertising of books and resources. I’m a librarian…do the research…go to a library.

    Biblically the only thing in scripture I find that shows I support full time ministry is pastors when they journey to spread the gospel (the apostles going from town to town)…not to visit other churchs or buy their books or tithe to churchs that go tax exempt. I dont see that in scripture. *SIGH*

  16. Dag Aspli Says:

    Hello Holly,

    I am Dag – from Norway.

    First- i so mutch aprechiate this work! A BIG tank you for this effort!

    I am looking for more precicely doctrinal errors in this movement. For the sake of making some more “to the point ” arguments, i wonder. As a tool for winning my frends back.( yes- i do pray for them also)

    For example Kenneth Hagins visions of Jesus, And that “Jesus” saying he was helpless twards demons because he have given dominion over to man.
    Their ” Jesus died spirtually” doctrine. Jesus became sin (not sin offering) doctrine. Bill Johnson`s Jesus is our greatest revelation of Gods word, and he would never send a storm. And sutch materials. Dos anyone have listed somthing like that?

    I came out of World of faith/NAR som 10-12 years ago. And as i mentioned i am striving to get my frends out aswell. And to get my wife more totaly free of it.

    sad smile

  17. Holly Says:

    Dag, have you seen my two co-authored books on NAR? https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=holly+pivec They do address many doctrinal errors, though not the specific ones you mentioned.

  18. Chris Says:

    I wish to add my experience, where do I start ? I became a born again believer when I 16, so it’s been a long time, at least for me it has, I was brought up in the Plymouth Brethren Church, so , I got a very good grounding of what the bible actually say’s and read it quite a few times over, anyway, in my twenties I started going to Charismatic Churchés, they had a something, the Brethren didn’t have , a kind of zing, being alive ! fast forward more year’s till 2001, I was going to Hillsong, ccc following the oooh ahhh crowd for the on going fix of all the sign’s and wonder’s, I was getting 100 percent vision’s and prophecies, walking up to people on the street, in Church and ” seeing ” what was wrong with them, mind, body, and spirit, I thought I was going to be the next super prophet, ha !.

    Then I got Cancer in 2015, had chemo, nearly died in the ER, a very traumatic experience, it forever ( at least till I die ) my view of this life, my experiences, the church never came to see me, thing’s started to not gel with me about declaring healing for my self, why my vision’s started not coming to fruition, why other’s didn’t get healed instantly, many, many other thing’s just didn’t sit right, about 2 year’s ago, I sat down, and just simply said to God, ” I lay before you all my abilities, talent’s, and being able to be a budding seer or prophet …….if what I have been doing or using is NOT from you, please show me now.

    You know what ?, instantly ALL the abilities I had thought were from God, just instantly vanished, the weird thing ? my mind was no longer cluttered with heavy responsibility for my word’s or future word’s, kapoof instantly gone !.

    So was I deceived ? led astray for year’s and year’s ?, OF COURSE !!!!, if you had told me that can’t happen, I would have replied ” I know, I’m hearing from God, because he has told me and speak’s into my mind, I know it’s so, because I feel it !!

    pretty dumb ha ?…. we are NOT to rely upon our feeling’s, our emotion’s !

    So now, I rely upon doctrine ( yes, that nasty thing called doctrine )

  19. Diana Mafi Says:

    I am a born-again, Bible believing Christian living in the Mecca of mormonism. I was so happy to become fiends with a very nice man who professed to be a born-again Christian. He then told me a number of beliefs that are indicative of the N.A.R. movement. He also reads books, watches tv shows, and receives newsletters from so called prophets. The massive amounts of e-mails including “Elijah list” takes up much of his time during the day. The first inclination I had was to ask him why. He stated that he learned that this was the truth. The Bible of course is my Truth and he said that the Bible was also his truth.
    So my next step was to do research and I learned what the N.A.R. movement is. My thought was that he didn’t know that their beliefs are not Biblical. So I did more than extensive research on each and every one of their beliefs through your website, Berean Research and Askquestions.org. I made a looseleaf notebook covering these beliefs and some studies on what the tenants are of the Christian Faith. I became quite knowledgeable of this movement. The similarities between mormonism and the N.A.R. are amazing. Just for example their low respect of the Bible, prophets, apostles and new revelations from a god who changes his mind. Mormonism is finally recognized as a cult and the N.A.R. should also be recognized as such. My naiveness in the beginning was that once my friend learned of the heretical beliefs he would want nothing more to do with them. This turned out to not be true, so I then printed out your paper on why people get involved in this movement. He maintains that is not any of the ones you stated. He has yet to explain to me why he is still adhering to these heretical beliefs that blaspheming false teachers profess. The only theory I have is that he can learn to prophetsise, heal people, give a word, catch a manifest, create a portal to heaven or who knows what else. Perhaps the worse offense of this movement is the time it takes away from learning from the Bible all the Blessings He the King of Kings has for them. My heartache is I want to belong to a Biblically sound church and this movement is infiltrating what use to be good faith building churches. Sadly at this point my friend is exemplifying that he is not interested in living out the tenants of the Christian Faith and to stay with him I would be unevenly yoked. Thank you for allowing to write this to you.

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