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

  1. JohnM Says:

    Lance: There are some ‘secondary issues’ which do not change the message of the gospel. e.g. John MacArthur’s pre-trib rapture views, do not change the gospel message that he preaches, it is simply a view of the end times which of course is open to interpretation. Unlike, the gospel itself which is a result of what has already happened at the cross, and is not open to interpretation but is clearly stated in Scripture. NAR people do not hold to the clear teachings of scripture, and as Paul and Peter clearly say in their letters, we are to be aware of false teachers in the last days. NAR people teach that everything will get better as christians infiltrate all sections of society (the 7 mountains), this is unbiblical, Scripture teaches that things will get worse and there will be apostasy in the last days. One of the annoying phrases from NAR people is ‘partnering with God in the renewal of all things’, this is clear nonsense and incredibly arrogant, as if we need to get alongside God to help him out in his mission to renew the world. Jesus said ‘my kingdom is not of this world’. NAR people lead people down the garden path to the supposed gold pot at the foot of the garden which is actually a swamp to grab people. You mentioned Ephesians 4:1-6, if you read further on you will read a qualification to, or a condition for, this unity, i.e. vv11-13 (especially v.13) “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”. i.e. unity is based on a true knowledge of the Son of God and faith in him. It doesn’t just happen, and unity for unity sake is not the issue, the issue is what is that unity based on. I could go down to the end of my road and see a group that meets every Monday with a common interest, who have unity around that common interest, but it’s not a christian group, but they still have unity. Is unity the issue? no, truth is the issue, and unity must be based around the truth of who Christ is, why he came, why he died, and our sinful condition and state and final destiny without Him. You won’t find that in the NAR church.

  2. Lance Wonders Says:

    You are falsely reporting the main NAR teachers’ view of the Gospel, which is indeed orthodox and biblical. Where they stumble into error is precisely the same area as MacArthur (in his pre-trib rapture Dispensational views) and R. C. Sproul (in his partial preterism views): that is, in the area of eschatology. Most NAR teachers reiterate the Latter Rain error of thinking that a Spirit-filled Church under modern-day a[apostles and prophets will manifest and “bring in” the Kingdom on Christ’s behalf without need of His own personal, supernatural, and sovereign binding of Satan and resurrecting of the saints as essential and absolutely necessary precursor actions prior to the Kingdom’s full victory upon the earth. I have been dean of a small Bible college for over twenty years that for half of that time was a part of Peter Wagner’s network, so I know directly what I am talking about. Wagner, Joyner, and Bickle especially have upheld a biblical and orthodox view of the Gospel, as do Alan Langstaff and Daniel Juster (who are card-carrying members of NAR and are personal friends and regular corresponding colleagues). Let’s criticize error where it is called for, but shy away from being divisive where it is not being called for! Jesus deliberately used the story of the Good SAMARITAN, not the Good Orthodox Jew, in order to illustrate that God looks on the heart as much or more so than He looks at doctrine to determine whether or not we truly belong to Him.

  3. windsong Says:

    It is easy to be enticed, or anesthetized,when your in the midst of a situation, point of view, on-going teaching with bits & pieces planted in here and there. I was listening to Joyce Myers and in the midst of
    the good teaching was a statement she made that if you lose a job, God will give you another and bless you. There is no scripture verse or reference for that statement. We need to be sincerely careful what we say in Jesus, or God’s name. It isn’t our opinion, but Bible truth substantiated,with scripture references IN CONTEXT. And also within the subject matter in the paragraph. Anyone can error, that’s why we need the Holy Spirit to help us in our daily choices and decisions and understandings. Please take your so called “knowings” to God in seeking, asking, & knocking prayer until you hear a sound word from God. Your position in a organization doesn’t eliminate you from error. God alone eliminates us from error as we ask!

  4. Steve Says:

    I would add these to the up and coming list
    Justine Paul Abraham
    Ian Clayton
    Nancy Coen

  5. Mimi Says:

    Response to Lance Wonders:

    They are NOT falsely reporting anything. They are RIGHT ON! I went to one of their churches a while back and discerned demonic activity. There was NO QUESTION IN MY MIND that they are heretics – teaching a false gospel. You need to come out of the forest so you can see the trees. The NAR is a CULT, pure and simple. Compare Scripture to the garbage these APOSTATES teach and you will see for yourself.

  6. Ian Francis Says:

    Mimi, amen and amen! And whatever you do Lance, do not let any of these NAR people lay hands on you for any reason! You would be opening yourself up to demonic infestation.

  7. Ian Francis Says:

    Just reviewing the list and pics of NAR leaders (above), the only two with whom I am not familiar are Lance Wallnau and Jonathan Welton. Those two notwithstanding (as I will not cast judgment without first doing my research), the others are definitely all heretics! Run far from them!

  8. Who would i add to the list of 13 Says:

    Other men who have crept into the church unawares (Jude) are Craig Groeshel, Steven Furtick, TD Jakes, Todd White, Kenneth Copeland and Word of Faith Prosperity movement. Fundamental is the false ‘Kenosis’ doctrine which believes that Christ emptied Himself of His Divinity and did his miracles only as fully human. This is Ancient Gnosticism sweeping even ‘Evangelicalism’. The Dominionism is also a wrong view of the Kingdom which believes you can have the fullness of the Kingdom now which is not even historic post millennial but selling out to the devil who promised Jesus the kingdoms of this world if he would bow down and worship him….These hirelings who fleece the sheep and become millionaires in the process run in the way of Balaam who was greedy for profit. Awake from slumber

  9. JohnM Says:

    I would add Brian Houston of Hillsong to this group. He is clearly aligned with Bethel, indeed Bethel and Hillsong music ministries share worship platforms and conferences, the one is clearly ‘of the same mind’ as the other. Brian Houston is also close friends with Joseph Prince (a self-confessed prosperity gospel preacher whose hero was Kenneth Hagin).
    Bill Hybels has also been a speaker at Hillsong conferences in Australia, so his credentials (separate to recent allegations about misconduct) for ministry are clearly compromised. I put some people on one side of the fence (i.e. the wrong side of false doctrine end times apostacy), e.g. Seeker sensitives Bill Hybels & Rick Warren (purpose driven life); Brian Houston (Hillsong); and all the people already mentioned in previous posts, e.g. Bill Johnson,Todd Bentley, Mike Bickle…etc. I see these as being either apostate (so they may have started off okay) or never converted and puppets for the devil. Designed to lead the church astray, to pull the wool over the church’s eyes. Many people are confused about hillsong, and don’t include them in apostate groups. I don’t think churches should be using hillsong or bethel songs (or for that matter Matt Maher songs) since they come from a branch of the visible church whose clear objective (unbeknown to them) is to undermine and divert away from the gospel, and promote a me-centred culture, with Jesus as a kind of good influence in one’s life, who has power to change things for you. That’s not the gospel, which is that we are sinners under God’s wrath (the bad news) until we are saved (the good news). Does any ‘poster’ have comments about hillsong?

  10. ScottyMac Says:

    I come from a long background of worship teams (bands) within the church, and have played much Hillsong and Bethel (Jesus Culture) material. For the most part (my humble opinion), groups like these tend to write for the #Me, Too generation, and many instances the music, although possibly sounding good, is devoid of actual worship lyrics. We have sadly moved away from the basic tenets of the Word (Sin, Salvation, the LORD as Awesome and/or Sovereign, etc.), and have taken on a more materialistic nature with their music. This watered-down version of “worship” music isn’t worshipful in the least, and Our Heavenly Father, Jehovah, is reduced to something like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny (remember Ishtar, goddess of fertility??)!! So sad. We need to simply get “back to the basics”….sounds almost cliche. But it is NOT. HE alone is worthy of praise ….NOT Bill Johnson & Co. The NAR Movement will be exposed by God Himself. Meanwhile, He is looking for true Believers who want and seek His heart. Amen!!

  11. DeniseAnn Crenshaw Says:

    These 13 are certainly ones to listen to; however, I do believe that ABBA has a few hidden under HIS wings that HE has not yet revealed…such as J p Timmons and Jim Barbarossa.

  12. Jeannie Says:

    Hello, i have 2 ladies from my bible study telling me they are heading to Redding Calif to a womens conference at this Bethel church, I am very concerned and would like some concrete biblical evidence to be able to warn these Ladies this is not sound doctrine, any help you can suggest would be greatly appreciated

  13. Tyrone Flanagan Says:

    Hey everybody, Another up and coming leader to watch in the NAR movement is David Kingsly, the chosen “spiritual son” of the late Paul Cain. David is very powerful man both in preaching and in physical size. He is the pace youth pastor at the healing rooms of Santa Maria, Ca.. Mr. Kinglsy has a genuine passion to see people healed and he has been a good mentor to troubled youth in the Santa Maria area. He also refuses to be corrected by anyone who doesn’t have personal authority to correct him. This is a very typical belief of prophets within the NAR movement. He also invokes angels when praying to heal people and of course, has claimed that the angel of the Lord has appeared to him to quide him. This is a pervasive problem of NAR associated ministers. They may have genuine spiritual gifts and callings, but are not grounded in the Word of God and mix a lot of error and imbalance in their ministry. These folks would never listen to a Biola based ministry like Holly’s blog because she doesn’t have a personal ministry relationship to them and in their view, is not an apostle or prophet that they respect.

  14. JohnM Says:

    Hi Tyrone, I don’t know David Kingsly but I question your assumption that such men “may have genuine spiritual gifts and callings”. If someone is claiming to be a prophet and apostle in the NAR, and if the gospel they are preaching is not the true gospel then they cannot have a true calling because they are leading people AWAY from the true Christ, not towards Him. Anyone who invokes angels completely contrary to the general teaching of Scripture (much like Todd Bentley) cannot have the Spirit of Christ and therefore does not have a true calling or have spiritual gifts from God, quite the opposite i.e. the gifts must come from Satan. These men and women are not true gospel proclaimers and perpetrate a false gospel and cannot be regarded as having spiritual gifts from God. Darkness and light don’t go together,they are in darkness and need the true light of the gospel to dispel the darkness, they don’t have the light, so how can they have spiritual gifts? Spiritual gifts are given to proclaim the gospel, not to distort it.

  15. Tyrone Flanagan Says:

    Hi JohnM, I have to disagree with you. Many of the NAR associated prophets would confess that they agree with the Nicene Creed about who Jesus is and would agree with historical evangelical beliefs about salvation by grace through faith alone etc. Martin Luther was the flash point of the protestant reformation yet was downright anti-semientic is his writings and attitudes later in life. John Calvin was a reformed theology founding father and yet had people burned at the stake and killed in Geneva. That is light and darkness mixed together in a man’s ministry. The N.T. Jerusalem church constantly had men perverting the gospel with grace plus works teachings and were slow to accept Paul’s teachings on grace. Yet the Jerusalem church produced the letters of James and Jude which are a part of canon of scripture. That is pure and polluted streams eminating from the same church. Charles Finney, the great revivalist, was a staunch Ariminian and believed that only 10-15% of the professing church of his time was truly saved. God certainly used him but he also falsely labeled other believers who didn’t agree with him. Once again, true ministry mixed with error and prejudice. In evaluating a man and his ministry, often times things and not just black and white. Some folks are works of grace in progress and others are wolves in sheep’s clothing in the making.

  16. JohnM Says:

    Hi Tyrone, thanks for your reply, it’s good to dialogue. One can agree with the Nicene Creed and still have aberrant beliefs, agreement with the Nicene Creed isn’t the acid test that someone is or isn’t a believer. The Nicene Creed although orthodox and something I would agree with, nonetheless is not Scripture. There are many churches who have an orthodox Statement of Faith but either ignore it or give it very little ‘air-time’ in their preaching and teaching. The question for the NAR associated prophets to address is not the Nicene Creed but how they handle Scripture and there is no doubt that they mishandle and misinterpret Scripture, so much so that they portray a different Jesus to the one portrayed in Scripture, and so cannot have the mind of Christ or spiritual gifts. E.g. Mormons will honour Jesus, but as a god among many (so it’s a different Jesus), Jehovahs Witnesses will honour Jesus but say that he is a created being (so it’s a different Jesus). NAR prophets and teachers portray a different Jesus.

    Martin Luther and John Calvin were men of their day, within those particular cultures, if you read the general correspondence between people in those days it was very crude and hard hitting, so Martin Luther’s correspondence was no different. Martin Luther’s great contribution was to emphasise that we are saved by grace through faith, he started the ball rolling. Similarly John Calvin, who by the way didn’t have someone burned at the stake, Michael Servius. Calvin warned Servius not to come to Geneva, and he came anyway, then when Servius was sentenced (which John Calvin played no part in because he was not a magistrate. He wasn’t even a citizen of Geneva until 6 years later) Calvin pleaded mercy from the magistrates to lessen the sentence to beheading. You said ‘people burned at the stake’, who else were you referring to?
    The point is that the objections you raise have to do with these mens’ characters, and culturally trained dispositions, not their belief systems about what the gospel is and how someone is saved. Whereas, the NAR prophets beliefs ARE about how someone is saved, and their beliefs are aberrant and unbiblical.
    Re: the NT Jerusalem church. The men who perverted the gospel with grace plus works teachings were rebuked and corrected by the NT church, not allowed to continue with their aberrant teachings, Paul is especially hard on such people, e.g. that they should ‘emasculate themselves’. Are you saying that James and Jude were written by such people, (i.e. those who pervert the gospel), because that is clearly not the case. James and Jude do not teach a works gospel, James is saying that faith without works is dead, not that you can work for your salvation, he is not excluding faith at all. Therefore, contrary to what you suggest, such people (works based) were not tolerated but were rebuked for their insistence on a works based gospel.

    I don’t know much about Charles Finney, but from what I know, there are secondary issues that do not change the fundamentals of the gospel, so someone can be wrong in some areas and correct in the fundamental tenets and beliefs of the faith. I disagree that someone can lose one’s salvation, but does that mean that if someone believes they can lose their salvation that he or she is not believer, I don’t think so. When applying this to NAR prophets, it is clear that they DO teach a different gospel, we are not talking about secondary issues here, but fundamental issues. These men and women are wolves in sheep’s clothing and lead people astray to a different gospel.

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