I 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.
Apostle 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.
Prophet 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.
Musician 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.
Prophet 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.
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.
Teacher 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.
Prophet 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.
Prophet 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.”
Apostle 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