The Changing of the Apostolic Guard: 13 Names to Watch

changing guardsI think we are witnessing a time of leadership transition in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement. The first-generation NAR leaders–those who formulated the major teachings of the NAR movement–have begun stepping aside and a new generation of apostles and prophets have risen to take their places.

The first-generation leaders–and particularly apostle C. Peter Wagner and prophet Bill Hamon –developed much of the theological framework for the NAR movement, including teachings about the restored church offices of apostles and prophet and dominionism. But these first-generation leaders are aging–both Wagner and Hamon are in their 80s.  Thus, the torch is being passed to the next generation of NAR leaders.

These next-generation leaders–such as apostle Bill Johnson and NAR teacher Mike Bickle–are less focused on developing the broad theology of the movement as they are focused on running with and championing the theology that has already been developed.

I expect that the outcome of the efforts of these second-generation leaders will the mainstreaming of the NAR movement–something we already are seeing. In other words, these leaders will take teachings that, in previous years, showed up only in churches on the fringes of Christianity and introduce those teachings to more mainstream evangelical churches.

Evidence that they have already been successful doing this can be seen by the fact that Bill Johnson’s presentation at the Voice of the Apostles conference next month in Orlando, Florida, will be opened by highly popular Christian rock band Third Day. And Mike Bickle’s organization–the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri–has drawn some high-profile evangelical speakers to its conferences, such as Josh McDowell and the late Dallas Willard.

So, here is my list of 13 apostles, prophets and NAR teachers to keep your eyes on and the reasons I think they are influential. Some of them are part of the new generation of NAR leadership. Others have substantial overlap between the older and newer guards, but still are guiding the movement.

Bill Johnson headshotApostle Bill Johnson, author and senior co-pastor (with his wife, Beni) of Bethel Church in Redding, California. Johnson has convinced many evangelicals that all Christians should perform miracles–such as healing and prophesying–frequently and as part of their daily lives. Many churches have started their own School of Supernatural Ministry, patterned after Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, which has grown to more than 1,500 full-time students.

 

Kris Vallotton headshotProphet Kris Vallotton, author and senior associate pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California. Vallotton is Bill Johnson’s right-hand man and is the co-founder and senior overseer of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Vallotton is attempting to mainstream the heterodox “Manifest Sons of God” teaching.

 

Teacher Mike Bickle, founder and director of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Missouri. Bickle has popularized NAR teachings on strategic-level spiritual warfare through IHOP’s 24/7 prayer movement, and he has popularized the NAR doctrine of dominionism through his teachings on the Book of Revelation.

 

misty edwardsMusician Misty Edwards,  a permanent member of the board leadership team at IHOP in Kansas City, Missouri, and executive producer of Forerunner Music. Edwards–whose “prophetic” music is developing a national following–oversees the 24/7 prayer room and all IHOP’s worship leaders, musicians and singers.

 

Lou Engle headshotProphet Lou Engle, co-founder of TheCall and member of the leadership team at IHOP. By organizing prayer and fasting rallies in stadiums across the United States, Engle has become a driving force for conservative political causes, such as laws opposing abortion and same-sex marriage.

 

Ché Ahn Headshot

Apostle Che Ahn, apostle of Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and senior pastor of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California. Ahn’s apostolic network, HIM, claims oversight of more than 20,000 churches in over 50 nations. Ahn’s particular appeal is that he is broadly accepted as an apostle by many subgroups of the NAR, appearing at many conferences, including the upcoming Voice of the Apostles conference.

 

Dutch Sheets headshotTeacher Dutch Sheets, best-selling author and executive director of Christ for the Nations Institute. Sheets is politically active as a leader in the U.S. Religious Right movement, including having served as a national co-chair on Newt Gingrich’s Faith Leaders Coalition. He is the author of numerous books published by a mainstream evangelical publisher, Bethany House.

 

Cindy Jacobs headshotProphet Cindy Jacobs, author, co-founder of Generals International, and co-host of “God Knows” television program. Jacobs–a close colleague of C. Peter Wagner–is invited to prophesy before gatherings of Religious Right leaders, like she did at this event co-hosted by the Family Research Council. Jacobs also founded the Reformation Prayer Network–a 50-state network of NAR followers who are seeking to reform the United States through strategic-level spiritual warfare and political action. She has a number of books published by a mainstream evangelical publishers Bethany House and Chosen Books (both divisions of Baker Publishing Group).

Prophet/seer and teacher Jonathan Welton, author, blogger, and founder of the Supernatural Bible School Online. Welton–whose popularity is soaring–teaches mental/spiritual exercises for developing supernatural gifts, such as prophesying, reading auras, and healing people.

 

Rick JoynerProphet Rick Joyner, author of over 40 books, co-founder of MorningStar Ministries, and senior pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Joyner has deep ties with the Religious Right, including founding the politically active “Oak Initiative” and being a featured speaker at conferences sponsored by the Freedom Federation.

 

Teacher Lance Wallnau, director of the Lance Learning Group, founder of 7M University, and member of Ken Blanchard’s board. Wallnau has been described by People For The American Way as the hidden architect behind the NAR dominionist agenda known as the “Seven Mountain Mandate.”

 

Brian Simmons headshotApostle Brian Simmons, founder of Stairway Ministries in Wichita, Kansas, and producer of “The Passion Translation.” Simmons is presently producing a new translation of the entire Bible aimed specifically at an NAR readership. It has the potential to become the translation of choice for people participating in the NAR movement.

 

Prophet Chuck Pierce, author, president of Global Spheres, Inc., and president of Glory of Zion International Ministries. Though also getting along in years, Pierce made my list because he is an influential prophet and was chosen by C. Peter Wagner to be his successor and take over Wagner’s Global Harvest Ministries (which Pierce renamed Global Spheres, Inc.).

Who would you add to this list?

— By Holly Pivec

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125 Responses to “The Changing of the Apostolic Guard: 13 Names to Watch”

  1. Jayson Says:

    What about Carlos Sarmiento? Apparently this guy was Benny Hinn’s youth minister turned head pastor of the Orlando House of Prayer. He seems to hold to the same teachings as those of the NAR as well. Any info on this guy?

  2. Catherine Wilson Says:

    what about pastor john carter of abundant life Christian center in syracuse New York? Adheres to word of faith theology, trained by Kenneth hagin at Rhema, identifies himself as operating in the offices of prophet,teacher,pastor…also reports having many of the spiritual gifts…hosts an annual Holy Spirit Conference each February…website is alcclife.org….church bookstore sells many of the Bethel and Joyce Meyer materials…signs,wonders and prosperity focused…he names a.r.bernard of Christian cultural center in NYC as his pastor…seems to be ever expanding his influence

  3. Cindy Says:

    Anyone know where Exponential (East)& Exponential ( West) stand with NAR/ dominionism?

  4. JUrgen Says:

    Well Catherine, the man you mentioned: “identifies himself as operating in the offices of prophet,teacher,pastor…also reports having many of the spiritual gifts…hosts an annual Holy Spirit Conference each February”.  Well bless his heart.  If you don’t believe is these things why don’t you just throw your Bible away?!  “And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers…” Eph 4:11.
    So many self-proclaimed sheriffs of truth and error, judgement and condemnation today, are born-again but nót Spirit filled – the glas has some water in it, but it is nót full.  They know NOTHING of the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit!

  5. Naomi Says:

    What about Shawn Bolz? He came onto our radar 1&1/2 years ago & is steadily gaining in influence. Raised up in IHOP, close buddies with Bill Johnson, David Crowder & (I think) Todd Bentley. He’s a “prophet” and is giving very accurate “words of knowledge & prophesy” much in the style of what psychics call cold readings – certainly unlike any true word my husband & I have heard (both have moved in Pentecostal circles for over 30 years). He has spoke out the first names of 3 of my friends’ children, so obviously is moving in some supernatural power, trouble is it appears to us to be divining spirits. Talks so fluffy new agey love, but deflects when you try & point him back to the Word. We think he moves similarly to how William Branham and Paul Cain did, and indeed there’s a direct connection there through IHOP. An interview on Sid Roth [almost anything goes! but useful sometimes for research] was very revealing, the one about his brother who died and the spiritual inheritance he “received” from him, and how we can all claim the destinies of babies that have been aborted (aka opening yourself to the demonic). Dangerous stuff!!

  6. Naomi Says:

    Sorry, that should read “spoken out the names of 3 of my friend’s children, got 3/3 right”….. so of course she & others can’t get enough of him.

  7. Naomi Says:

    Sorry, that should read “spoken out the names of 3 of my friend’s children, got 3/3 right”….. so of course she & others can’t get enough of him. Bill Johnson enlisted him to join him at Azusa Now, where you can see him calling out “words of knowledge” from his mobile. He’s being promoted internationally as a powerful prophetic voice. Trouble is we see no centrality of Jesus or fear of the Lord. Bill Johnson has said that he & Beni had been praying that God would raise up someone to move in powerful words of knowledge like he does, enough said.

  8. Doug Smith Says:

    Add Randy Bohlender to the list of NAR leaders infiltrating churches and infecting them with deception.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Some more names to watch coming out of the panhandle of Florida…

    Damon Thompson
    Ken Malone
    Chris Mathis

  10. Susan Stone Says:

    Holly, I just discovered your website and was very happy to find it. Thank you for being a watchman for the body of Christ. I consider myself a watchman of sorts. I have been a Christian for 43 years and from the start I saw false doctrine and exposed it.  I always knew that it was no accident that I ended up right upclose and personal with all of these Teachers, Apostles, etc.  I had no one to go to but to the Lord and He has always been faithful to show me the truth. I was born again during a time of revival but was right in the middle of extreme Word-Faith movement. Ever hear of Hobart Freeman? Oh yea I visited his glory barn with my pastor and others. As far as naming who I’ve been around directly, I don’t know if I have enough space, but believe me I’ve been exposed to about everything. I just finished writing a paper On my own research of the way the church is heading and really Ive had no interest or a bad response, except for about three people. I read through all the posts and I think the reason that some are so offended is that they don’t know the Bible . I have followed it for years and done my own studying
    but those that first hear about it seem to think it’s being against the gifts. I am totally for the gifts of the spirit, but the teaching that is coming out of the NAR , Apostles -Prophets, word -Faith is just total heresy. I am so grieved that I know so many that are totally into it and aren’t open to the truth. I can’t find people who are open to the gifts but want sound doctrine. I see that the church is helping to  pave the way for the one world religious system. We have to be lovers of the truth and He will show us ! That I know for sure, but we must be willing to give up any ideas or teachers who are wrong. I think this false teaching is so serious and dangerous. Thank you for your labor of love, Holly . Susan.

  11. Holly Says:

    Thanks for your encouraging words, Susan.

  12. Greg Winterburn Says:

    Holly,
    This is the first time seeing your website.  Do you have any updated information on Heidi Baker Or David Hogan?  They both claim to have raised many people from the dead.  Both are embraced by Bill Johnson as legitemate.  Do you have any advice regarding their ministerial?
    Greg

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Greg Winterburn,

    When I was still involved in this movement, we would be told of many testimonies of Heidi and Roland Baker.

    Here is what disturbs me most about testimonies of Heidi raising the dead: she doesn’t have the Spirit of God Who alone does that. So she’s lying. But God alone raises the dead and He can use anyone He chooses. I do not believe He chooses Heidi. She received a spirit in a trance in Toronto and took it to Africa.

    Lord-willing, I’m willing to head a team to Africa to investigate Heidi’s testimonies of sending orphans into remote villages to preach her gospel. We were told in our state’s apostolic network that these orphans are routinely murdered by gunfire and resurrected still preaching. We were told that Heidi sends them out.

    I suspect the orphans are just dying and staying down if she indeed sends them. That is what I fear, for The Lord’s lambs. 

    Father, I pray that when Your Son spews out Laodiceans, that out of Your mouth also would come a brood of resurrected lambs they couldn’t swallow up.

  14. Brian Westcott Says:

    Yes, you definitely should add Shawn Bolz (only speaker I ever liked), Todd Bentley, John Crowder, Damon Thompson as ones to watch on your list.  (I noticed Damon Thompson was, shall we say, dropped like a bad habit from his association with The Ramp.)  Birds of a feather, flock together, am I right?

  15. Thomas Siegel Says:

    Hello Holly, I can see that the responses to your article go back a long time. I have been something of a heresy hunter myself and I agree with much of your assesment. The Bakers bear considerable watching. I agree with Greg’s post of Sept.1,2013 concerning Angus Buchan and disagree with Jean’s word about Angus being groomed by Kenneth Copeland. This is a slander in my view. Angus has a sincere heart and lives a humble life. His influence in itself can be corrupting as it can be for all high profile ministers, from Billy Graham to John MacArthur to you name them. One thing that burns me is that there is no light shining back on the traditional “leaders” in the evangelical realm. Pastor Jeffers 1st Baptist Dallas along with others who step out of the pure Gospel into the affairs of men garner criticism do they not? Just because they are teaching traditional views and doctrine doesn’t make them right. The mere elevation of the pastorate as the head of the assembly is in error but that is acceptable because where would the body be without a king like the other nations have?

  16. Lisa De Jager Says:

    I have friends who follow some guy named Graham Cooke and he looks pretty sketchy by his website (brilliantperspectives.com)….Lots of prophecy stuff. Tried to find out what exactly he believes but it’s so far away from any sort of truth that it’s hard to tell.

  17. Holly Says:

    Lisa, you may want to check out this post by Bruce Cooper: https://bcooper.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/graham-cookes-aglow-international-prophetic-message/ Bruce has critiqued the teachings of Graham Cooke over at this blog. Cooke is very influential.

  18. Rebekah Says:

    I would add Ryan Lestrange, Jennifer Leclaire, Damon Thompson and Chris Mathis.

  19. Jason Says:

    Regarding Jean’s mention of Angus Buchan. Again, I do not wish to poke holes in someone who quite possibly has put millions on the road to salvation (certainly I know many people who say they are inspired by him), but I have concerns about him also.

    When I saw him speak he spoke of a recent rain miracle and how the rain had fallen on the exact day of the stadium prayer event. On reading his facebook feed, it actually fell a few days before the event took place.

    Now, I know he relies on a good story, but these great charismatic teachers do seem to bend the truth in order to get their points across. If someone lies to make their message more impactful what does that tell us?

    I’m always a little concerned when these mega church pastors (such as Robert Morris) always have a hilarious life story to back up their often twisted interpretations. Do these hilarious things really happen to them or is it made up?

  20. Jason Says:

    Also, not sure if they qualify for NAR, but Nicky Gumbel is someone I believe you should keep on the radar because his Alpha course is sweeping the entire Christian world. 

    He freely boasts that the success of his Anglican church, the Alpha Course and Worship Central music empire all began when the church encountered the Toronto Blessing.

    Now he regularly talks about unity with the Catholic Church and how he encourages people to stay in their Catholic churches, plus how much he admires them. 

    None of my Christian friends seem to be at all worried about that and, like Hillsong, I guess they are convinced by the global success.

    I also wondered what your thoughts were on Assemblies of God? They seem to me to be taking over many churches in Europe by stealth (under different names in each country) and under the guise of Hillsong of course (who also seem to back the ‘there’s more that unites us than divides us’ Catholic unity thing). 

    I’m finding it quite difficult at the moment to find a non-traditional church in my area that is not associated with AGI (though they have recently changed their name in my country).

  21. warsong Says:

    Assembly of God is a non church church due to its policies to not preach the whole truth about the fear of God, the name of Jesus, sin, salvation, the blood of Jesus, the cross, and it has many who sexually assault either a woman or a child so it is said. Incest is apparently rampant in multiple assembly of God churches. Some even paint the walls black showing the dark side of their lives. They may do what they so choose, but not in God’s name can they properly do sinful things and not clean up their denomination. It appears to be to monitary minded don’t report their finances: how much received weekly or monthly or annually. Accountable to God for their finances. Accountable to the congregation for their finances too A healthy church will share their finances with the widows and help those in need. Possibly some of the assemblies do, but others don’t.

    Our problem isn’t the assembly, or those who are dishonoring God and Jesus. Our problem is most likely our prayerlessness, our lack of deep Spirit led worship of God from deep within ourselves. Our problem is most likely not releasing God through our faithful daily prayer seeking Him for direction and help in our hour of great need. our problem may also be we have forsake being a fully pledged doer of the Word, but have reduced our hearing ear to hear what we like, more than what we must do and surely need. Woe to us if we remain thusly entrenched.

       Ezekiel 33:31,32 “And they come unto Thee as the people cometh  and they sit before me as Thy people and they hear Thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And lo, Thou art unto them as a as a very lovely song of one that hath a lovely voice , and can play well on an instrument: for they hear Thy words, but they do not do them. 

    Dangerous position both outwardly and inwardly.

    I’ve listened to the “worship” in a number of churches and it is surely less than the best we can do in worshipping God. The instrument of our voice is pleasant to God. He delights in our prayers, our praises and our commitment to honor Him first and above all else. We all can do better, can’t we. We can begin to with  one accord set our hearts in order and order our steps in the Lord.

    There seems to be a slight division in the church over which instruments to use and which songs, contemporary or hymns. God delights in them both if they are worship songs and meant to be used in His sanctuary. I personally have a problem with drums. They are not mentioned in the Bible. The winds, stringed & blown into instruments are. The drums are one of the very oldest of instruments and if God, which He did, left them out of His Bible. It was done by Him on purpose. It seems to not be a sound He desires in His sanctuary.

    He doesn’t mind if the instruments are loud or soft. Yet they must be played on by worshipful hands & mouths from the heart of worship for God. Just like the singing needs to be from worshipful hearts. We are meant to make a joyful sound unto God. He delights in hearing us worship Him. He delights in our prayers. He delights in our confessions of falling short. He receives our worship when it is sincere and real. He receives our asking Him for forgiveness when our heart’s request is real. He    

    God is a marvelous, wondrous, magnificent God who should be honored daily with our attention, prayers, Bible study and diligence in seeking His directions. He is the author and finisher of our lives, our faith and our future. He alone is Lord over all. 

    It is His gracious nature to include us in His plans. However there was a time in the Old Testament that he sought for someone to stand in the gap. There wasn’t anyone:

    Ezekiel 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.

    We endanger ourselves when we fall short in worship and prayer and rightly dividing the word of truth. We possibly need to submerge ourselves into the Bible and into prayer and prepare ourselves for a daily deeper richer more satisfying time with God. We all can improve. I certainly can. Can’t you? How about a possible plan to enrich our time with God in His word?

  22. warsong Says:

    A possible plan to enrich our time with God in His Word:

    A. Submit to God and ask Him to help you as you read
    1. Read Acts ( It was the beginning of the church and what Jesus Disciples did after He left. It was the formative time.  We need to form anew don’t we?

    2. Read Ephesians (This is our manual for preparation to pray and worship)  Prayer is meant to be worship as well as asking, seeking and knocking.

    3. When you awaken each morning say good morning to God and tell Him you are listening. Then listen to hear from Him.

    4. Begin your time with some Bible & prayer.

    5. Throughout the day be mindful of God and ask Him to direct your day. He is available throughout the day and delights in your time with Him.

    6. Remember that it is God that works good things into your life. Philippians 1:6 “Be confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

    7. Rely upon God with confidence. Philippians 4:6 “Be careful (anxious) for nothing but in every thing with prayer and supplication (more prayer) let your requests be made known unto God.”

    8. Isn’t that great. We can cast all the weight of our problems upon God and He will assist us in it all. He even directs our prayers and worship and satisfies our longings. Psalm 55:22 “Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

    9. Keep mindful that God is with you all the time throughout the day whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. He is there to be your strength. Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not for I (am) with thee: Be not dismayed for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; Yes I will help thee; yes I will uphold thee with the right hand of thy righteousness.”

    10. The enemy isn’t stronger than God. God becomes your stronghold. He dwells within you. I John 4:4 Ye are of God little children and have overcome them because greater is He that is in me than  that is in the world.” 

    11.The enemy hates you and wants you dead. He will use weapons against you and try to discourage you and cause you to fall short. Yet God overcomes through you.  Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou hall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me saith the Lord.”

    12. Keep trusting in God all the time, even when it seems like you are weak. Remember you aren’t weak because God is your strength when you keep trusting Him. Naham 1:7 “The Lord is a strong Hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust Him.”

    How about it are you going to begin the journey with me. Lets study God’s word and strengthen ourselves by developing strong in the Lord hearts that delight in Him and are strengthened by our daily walk.
    Psalm 19:14 ” Let the word of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.”

    It’s a great journey with God at the helm of our life with His banner of love over us. Let us know how your doing. We are in this together. If you want to be further encouraged look up Psalm 103:10-14. May God’s love and peace and grace encompass your life. Love in Christ, Warsong

  23. Susan S. Says:

    I think Beth Moore deserves consideration.  She seems to be a self-proclaimed prophet of the NAR, though she flies under the radar by not being overtly tied with all of the signs and wonders trappings.  Her prophesies about unity (with the catholic church and all other churches that name the name of Christ falls in line with one of the seven mountain mandates and she has surely contend for this for a long time now.  Don’t forget about her prophesy about the coming “outpouring” at James and Betty Robison’s conference.   She kept insisting, “You’ve GOT to be hungry for it”, which is language I’ve heard several times from NAR apostles.  She is good friends with Brian and Bobby Houston, as well as Christine Cain.  Moore quoted Latter Rain author, Francis Frangipane, in one of her earliest and most popular women’s “Bible studies”, Breaking Free (copyright 2000).  I’ve found Beth Moore clearly teaching Word of Faith theology in a couple of her women’s Bible studies.  In Breaking Free she overtly taught that the atonement guarantees our physical healing, sighting, “by His stripes we are healed”.  That was a video session In the Breaking Free study (a video that few, if any, theologically trained men will ever watch).  She also very much appeared to be teaching Oneness Pentecostal modalism in the same video.  She consistently avoids teaching of discussing the atonement for sin, by Christ on the cross, throughout her “ministry”.  That’s a tough one for modalists, since it involves the Father pouring out His wrath on the Son (putting them both on the scene at one point in time, which doesn’t fit modalist theology.  She also speaks of our need to ‘feed the Spirit’ in order to ‘activate’ the Spirit, in Breaking Free.  She doesn’t teach of Christ’s person and work, nor of the role of the Spirit in our sanctification.  Her teaching is highly moralistic.  She also participated in a DVD with Richard Foster, Priscilla Shirer, Dallas Willard and others which was about contemplative prayer and mystical practices.  She routinely narcigetes whatever biblical text she’s in and favors allegorizing from historical narratives.  These things, and much more, are also common among NAR prophets and Apostles.

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