The Assemblies of God and the NAR

Assemblies of God logoI’m often asked the question, “Are Assemblies of God churches part of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement?”

It’s an important question because the Assemblies of God USA and Assemblies of God organizations around the world make up the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination–representing 65 million people. Every large city in the United States–and most small towns–have at least one Assemblies of God church.

My answer to the question about the Assemblies of God’s involvement with the NAR movement is, “It depends: are you talking about where the denomination stands, officially, “on paper” or where its churches stand in actual practice?”

On paper, the denomination has rejected key NAR teachings. But, in practice, these same teachings are being promoted in many Assemblies of God churches.

On Paper

The Assemblies of God USA has published a number of official statements taking stances against many NAR teachings. Here are some key NAR teachings that have been rejected by the denomination’s leadership.

  • The Assemblies of God has rejected the teaching that present-day apostles and prophets should govern the church (see papers titled “Endtime Revival“, “Apostles and Prophets,” and “Prophets and Personal Prophecies“)
  • The Assemblies of God has rejected the teaching that the church should work to take dominion of the earth prior to Christ’s return–a teaching known as “Kingdom Now” or “Dominion Theology” (see papers titled “Endtime Revival” and “The Kingdom of God“)
  • The Assemblies of God has rejected the teaching that the end-time church will become a victorious, militant army so it can take dominion of the earth–a teaching known as “Manifest Sons of God” or “Joel’s Army” (see paper titled “Endtime Revival“)
  • The Assemblies of God has rejected the teaching that Christians must identify a hierarchy of demonic spirits (also called “territorial spirits”) and wage battle against them for the gospel to advance–a teaching known as “strategic-level spiritual warfare” (see paper titled “Spiritual Warfare“)
  • The Assemblies of God has rejected the teaching that spiritual gifts, such as prophesying and healing people, can be imparted by church leaders through the practice of laying their hands on people (see paper titled “Imparting of Spiritual Gifts“)

In Practice

I applaud the Assemblies of God executive leaders for their biblical discernment and willingness to stand against aberrant theology.

Yet, in actual practice, these same NAR teachings are being promoted in many Assemblies of God churches.

Why is that the case? For starters, the denomination has given its assemblies great autonomy. So, the higher-ups cannot possibly have knowledge of what is being taught from every local pulpit. And, even if they did, they might be reluctant to exert a heavy hand to stop the teachings.

But I believe the local pastor is the greatest factor in determining whether or not NAR teachings are allowed into an Assemblies of God church. The pastor is the gatekeeper. So, NAR teachings will come into any church where the pastor promotes those teachings or turns a blind eye to teachings that are being promoted by members of his church.

Some Assemblies of God churches that become heavily involved in NAR teachings–such as Bethel Church in Redding, California–leave the denomination. Nonetheless, many churches that remain part of the Assemblies of God actively promote NAR teachings–even inviting NAR apostles and prophets into their churches.

So, these are my questions for you: Have you encountered NAR teachings in an Assemblies of God church? And do you know of Assemblies of God pastors who are standing against NAR teachings?

— By Holly Pivec

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67 Responses to “The Assemblies of God and the NAR”

  1. Treebug Says:

    Hey Lance… re: If so, I urge you to be careful about making assumptions about a “one world religion” taking over the earth or Christianity. ”

    Thank you for your reply. It was very interesting. I am not as well spoken as you and cannot furnish sources right now but the “one world religion” idea isn’t just from the Bible. This is a publically declared plan. The Pope has been working towards this & he is not the only one. I’ve done studies on Illuminati, satanism / satanic ritual abuse, etc. and the “one world religion” is THE plan.

    In my town, there was a gathering of all faiths at the civic center. I went. Besides catholics, there were many other church denominations present (I was thankful that AG wasnt there). They downplayed any controversial catholic doctrine and promoted everyone loving God and Jesus. The new buzz word is “unity” but it isn’t the same unity Jesus talked about.

    This is a definite trend. You hopefully saw Ken Copeland go visit the Pope? In order to see him, the visitor must bow down and kiss his ring. Todd White (NAR) had Ken Copeland do a video with him to fundraise for his current $19M campus he is buying in TX. Todd White has had catholic priests on his stage.

    The catholic church and one branch of the Lutheran church signed a declaration (awhile ago… maybe 10yrs?) saying that the Reformation is over.

    The one world church is well on it’s way to becoming a reality. The NAR is, as pointed out by these previous commentors, is a sneaky way of bringing heresy into mainstream doctrinal churches. I’ve only been studying Bill Johnson for about a month but I’m shocked by these and other doctrines:
    * “bringing heaven to earth” & “Our assignment is to bring the reality of his world into this one.” as a way to promote new age occult practices. such things as the book “Physics of Heaven” publ 2013
    * “God is not in control. Man is”
    * “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Jesus did not make that declaration as God.” (Jesus left his diety behind doctrine)

    As another person here commented, unsuspecting pastors take the box without looking under the bow. This is really scary.

    Thanks to the other commentors who shared their opinions. It helps to know stories of what is going around in the country. I was raised AG as well and I agree that it is very sad to see some of these churches getting taken in. I saw a website this week associated with Bethel called “Endorsements”. It was signed by pastors far and wide: Foursquare, Vineyard, AG, Independents, etc etc. It’s like cancer.

    In Michigan, NAR is taking over non-denom’s. in our town. We left one church when they hired musicians from Bethel Redding, painted the stage black, put up lights and made it look like a bar scene. I found out that another large non-denom is now using Bethel material to offer “bible school” courses.

    We haven’t found a new church either.

    Thanks for your site Holly. I have found it very beneficial. Websites are a lot of work so I really appreciate you taking the time to keep it up so the word can be out there for people to find it when / if they wake up to this.

  2. Pamela Brown Says:

    There is a church in the Twin Cities called River Valley Church that is supposedly an AG church. However, it is closely aligned with Hillsong, and Brian Houston is best friends with one of its pastors. I expressed my concerns to the local AG headquarters and was pretty much told to mind my own business. That was disappointing, especially since RVC focuses on attracting young people who are at risk.

  3. Yvonne renfro Says:

    Excuse my ignorance but what’s wrong with Hillsong and Brian Houston? I don’t listen to him or the others, but do enjoy a couple of their songs (most songs don’t seem to be true, holy songs because of the rock-n-roll look and sound).

    Just doesn’t rest with my inner spirit. I feel the holy spirit influencing to not watch or listen.

  4. STEVE HARRIS Says:

    HOLLY

    Your books, Super- Apostles and A New Apostolic Reformation are highly
    recommended for those in the church world who hold firm to sound
    biblical doctrine and oppose heretical doctrines of men.

    I find it appalling the General Council of the AOG when notified of NAR
    doctrines resurging in our AOG churches in Arizona, DOUG CLAY can’t be
    reached; maybe he knows there’s a problem he can’t handle. Afraid on
    loosing churches, and money I guess. Beware of Victory Worship Center
    at Tucson,Az., They are NAR Apostles and Prophets with Cal Pierce
    Healing Rooms and the AOG District Overseer has opened the doors with
    full approval.

    This New Order Of Latter Rain, present day (NAR), was condemned by the
    AOG The Twenty-Third General Council, Seattle, Washington, September
    9-14, 1949, page 26, Resolution No.7. WHY- BECAUSE TRUE MEN OF GOD
    SEEK SOUND BIBLICAL DOCTRINE ! Not so in some of our churches today’

  5. Paul Eldershaw Says:

    Steve. Can you advise me please as to the relationship between Bethel under Johnson and Cal Pierce. His testimony states he left that ‘church’ in November 1997. That does not tie him into NAR does it? I am in New Zealand and am now seeing manifestations of NAR teaching in our Churches, Very alarmed. Thank you.

  6. Circuit Rider Says:

    Doug Clay will not correct NAR doctrine because he is immersed in it up to his eyeballs. Just like George O. Wood before them, Doug Clay and Assistant Superintendent Alton Garrison sit as senior members of the Empowered21 Global Council (https://empowered21.com/about/leadership/) alongside Bill Johnson of Bethel and other well-known NAR affiliates.

    NAR doctrine is quickly sneaking into the AOG through the side door. Just watch the General Council 2019 promotional video: https://vimeo.com/336594862 Restoring the canopy of the ancient glory of Israel at this year’s GC sounds very much like Kingdom Now theology. You can say “but my church is different” and it just might be, but you need to pay attention to what the national leadership is doing because it sets the tone for the entire movement.

    If you are truly concerned about our brothers and sisters in AOG, pray for them! Pray they seek the Holy Spirit and confront these teachings with the truth of God’s Word and with His love.

  7. Lawrence McElroy Says:

    I attend an AG Church is Northern CA that is heavily enfluenced by NAR Theology and Bethel. The only reason why I have not left is that my wife has found a staff position and loves it. I find it very unsettling that Prophesy and Spiritual Disernment have become dominant over Discipleship and Biblical Literacy. I guess this is the bi-product of decades of “reader-response” criticism being allowed mixed with other “affective” forms of Christian Worship. People nowadays want you to either hand them a gold nugget (even if it is fools gold) or give them a voucher for a gold nugget; but never to learn how to mine the Riches of God’s Word for wise (and Right) living…

  8. Circuit Rider Says:

    Holly, I am curious what your comments are on the “Prayer Experience” room featured at AOG General Council 2019, going on right now: https://news.ag.org/en/News/General-Council-Prayer-Experience-is-Powerful

    In the virtual tour by Doug Clay, he encourages people to bring their prayers and petitions to the “throne room” of the exhibit – a white chair on an elevated platform. Doesn’t Bethel teach this same type of contemplative meditation/visualization using sculpture and artwork? Also not sure what to think of the Islamic (?) prayer rugs in front of the cross sculpture.

    Feel free to reach out to me directly – I am genuinely concerned and not trying to discredit the movement.

  9. Dave Says:

    Grace Assembly of God in Greenwood, IN

    Yay or Nay?

    Anyone? Asking for a family member that goes there.

  10. Circuit Rider Says:

    Dave, I do not think you will get a definitive answer unless someone who attends or attended Grace Assembly responds. For denominational churches that espouse NAR teachings, there is much that goes on behind the scenes that is not advertised. Sometimes you get a hint by use of NAR keywords (apostolic network, restoring the five-fold ministry, conquering the mountains). I watched the senior pastor’s welcome video and did not hear anything unexpected. Some people might point to the Grace Assembly web content – ohhhhh, they use a laser light show! That guy has a tattoo! He even drove a car onto the stage! – but I would caution them in Christ’s love to not get wrapped up in appearances (John 7:24). Doctrine is where it counts and the fruit of the Spirit is how you measure.

    There are many solid, God-following AG congregations out there and I would not hesitate to fellowship with them. That said, it may come to a point when these churches are forced to leave the AG denomination due to heretical teachings. My greatest concern is what’s happening at the top level – what these “new creative ways” to worship/pray are all about, and the AG alignment with groups like Empowered21.

    I encourage you to read Holly’s books as well as a new one that seems as close as we’re going to get to an official AG text on NAR practices: https://influencemagazine.com/en/Practice/Embracing-the-Apostolic-and-the-Prophetic-With-Discernment

    Finally, if you want to see what – in my personal opinion – a church following NAR practices looks like, consider Grace Center of Franklin, TN. Specifically, the prophetic ministry: https://www.gracecenter.us/ministries/prophetic (that’s not how it works, read the Bible) and their School of Supernatural Life: http://schoolofsupernaturallife.org/ (you can teach *about* the gifts of the Spirit, but not *teach* people to operate in the gifts)

    I have not reviewed all of the content, but I would not be surprised to learn they are aligned with Bethel and are under the apostolic covering of Bill Johnson.

  11. Bernhard Says:

    NAR teachings and practices have definitely infiltrated the A/G Chi Alpha ministry, especially on the West Coast. Their resources page is full of NAR influencers, methodologies and practices. There is so much mixing of NAR with A/G that it would probably be difficult for them to take a hard stance without alienating or splitting many churches.

    A couple of interesting links, including one from the corporate A/G news site:

    http://wcxa.com/Resources.html

    and

    https://usmissions.ag.org/news/chi-alpha/spiritual-reading-tents

  12. Frank of the Hudson Valley NY Says:

    Dear Holly,

    It is worse than you state about the district or higher reigning in their pastor for heretical teachings.

    The only time they are reigned in is when they disagree with the district leadership on policy, the district leadership wants to sell the church property from under the congregation for district coffers or publicized sexual abuse.

    Never on bad doctrine.

    As an exiled member I walked into another church and saw about 70 of my former church goers that were exiled without cause. Not one case resembled any church doctrine of discipline. Half of them looked down like it was their shame. Others after years of service just walked out never to see their friends again.

    In the long run it was good for me because it sent me right to the Bible and the process began to throw off bad doctrine and learn the Truth as God demands.

    Bless you and your work.

    Take care sister.

    Frank

  13. Grace Says:

    What is an acceptable full gospel and gifts church near or in Surprise AZ…Not wanting any NAR or the fake churches of today.

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