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Victimized By the NAR: Mike’s Story

September 13th, 2013 | 6 Comments | Posted in Spiritual Abuse, Testimonials

anonymous manRecently I shared the story of a woman named Angie, who experienced financial exploitation at the hands of leaders in a New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) church. Now I want to share another story, of  a man named Mike.

Mike shared his story in the comments section of my blog and has given me permission to reprint it here.

Mike’s Story

I was part of a New Apostolic Reformation movement in Miami, Florida.  I was involved for four years. God pulled me and my family out of that toxic environment and I am grateful.

Speaking from experience, it’s very difficult for those who are caught up in this movement to get out because the indoctrination has a stronghold on them. The environment that is formed in these apostolic and prophetic circles is very much cult-like. Some movements are very subtle, but others are not so subtle in their particular methods of controlling the masses. Needless to say, the core tenets are the same. It is a constant push to seek supernatural experiences.

A common tactic is to convince the masses that other non-apostolic/prophetic churches are “dead” in that one does not experience supernatural events in these orthodox churches. In others words, all other churches are boring and non-eventful. Indeed, this tactic and others are pushed on their masses in an environment of great music, Bible teaching out of context, and “supernatural” experiences.

In addition, they overwhelm the flock by pushing them to serve in all sorts of ministries to maximize the exposure to this hypnotic environment. Most people in these movements have very little time to discern what is going on. In addition, anyone who so much as asks a question contrary to the doctrines being taught is immediately shut down and/or labeled as one who has given in to the “enemy’s deception.”

In my personal experience, I was starting to question many things because my reading of the Bible was not aligned with my experience in the congregation. I estimate that it took me about nine months of reading the Bible and researching this movement to make the decision to break away from this movement. Not to mention that I had to learn how to study the Bible, and I am still learning. I am convinced that God drew me to His Word and thereby pulled me away from this movement.

It’s been about two years since we parted from this movement and till this day I am still dealing with some of the out-of-context residual of the doctrines that are taught in this movement.  I also broke away from some friendships as a result of my parting ways with the ministry and that has also had an impact on my family. All that being said, glory be to God and thank you Jesus for the gift of repentance and the mercy that has been extended to me in His grace.

I am learning to feed on Jesus Christ daily and I am recognizing that He is the only “manna” that I need daily to persevere in this fallen world. I don’t need an outwardly expressed supernatural experience that draws attention to me, but rather I need the intimacy of fellowship with Jesus Christ that graces me with victory over my own sin and live a life of repentance so that I may glorify Him on a day-to-day basis with a thankful heart.

May the Spirit of God continuously guide you to reach out to those who need to read your blog and receive from it a pull from the Holy Spirit that draws them to the biblical Jesus.

The story of the Bible is that Jesus came to deliver His people from their sin. He did many miracles, signs, and wonders but that’s not why he came. The biblical apostles also did many wonders in the name of Jesus in the context of the first-century church. We should never confuse what Jesus did with why he came, died on a cross, and was resurrected on the third day by the Father so that we may have victory over our sin and thereby return to fellowship with Him.

God bless you, Holly.

Mike M.

My Thoughts

Mike’s story is different than Angie’s. Angie was exploited financially by greedy and deceptive leaders.

The NAR leaders Mike followed twisted the teachings of the Bible, encouraging people to focus on seeking supernatural experiences rather than focusing on the salvation from sin that is available through Jesus Christ. By preaching the Bible out of context, they taught Mike to read it incorrectly. And it has taken him a long time to relearn how to read it correctly—in context. Two years later, he still struggles with shedding the false doctrines he was taught.

Also notice how it took him about nine months from the time he began questioning the teachings until he was finally able to make a break with his church. This should be an encouragement to those of you who have loved ones caught in churches that promote unbiblical teachings. Keep praying for them and keep challenging them with the correct teachings of the Bible. Just because they haven’t left them yet doesn’t mean they won’t. It can take time for the scales of indoctrination to fall off their eyes.

— By Holly Pivec

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6 Responses to “Victimized By the NAR: Mike’s Story”

  1. Ann Says:

    I am learning to feed on Jesus Christ daily and I am recognizing that He is the only “manna” that I need daily to persevere in this fallen world.

    Based upon my personal observation, I think that Bible bookstores are filled with many authors’ opinions which don’t align with the Bible. The only safe way to receive our “manna” is to read directly from the scriptures.

  2. Paul Konkol Says:

    My experience of coming out of this movement was VERY similar to Mike’s with the most important similarity being that I also saw that Jesus came to save people from their sins. IHOP, the place out of which Jesus rescued me, simply DO NOT teach that sin is the problem. Instead, Bickle teaches that one’s reaction to the conviction of sin is the main issue: whether one believes God still loves them or not. It is actually a very subtle distortion of truth but leads so many people away from simple repentance to seeking greater knowledge of God’s love (in IHOP’s case, God’s emotions is a more accurate term to describe what Bickle means).  Once sin is minimized in this way, the door is open for one’a Christian walk to be hyped up movement or initiative after hyped up movement and initiative. A man may find himself believing he is obeying God by spending 40 hrs in the prayer room while his wife and children are unprovided for. Simple scriptural commands are superseded by human false doctrine. Jesus talked to the Pharisees about this.

  3. Laurel Says:

    Thank you Mike for sharing your story! What an awesome God we serve who can pursue us even when we are surrounded by lies and reveal the truth through his word. 

     I was about 12 years old on vacation with my family in Florida and we attended Sunday service at a mega church that was well thought of by my home church.  I merrily went to one of the youth rooms and one of the first questions asked was who had been blessed with the gift of tongues. All but three of us raised their hands. They asked me if I wanted to be prayed for to receive tongues. I politely said, No, thank you!” Despite my protest, they surrounded us “un-blessed” lambs and prayed for our deliverance, in tongues of course. I remember biting down on my tongue and fiercely praying that the Lord would NOT make me do it. After several minutes of prayer, I was the only one left standing praying in English =0) They patted me and said, “Maybe next time”.

    Our home church had been recently going through a “revival” which I believe was an offshoot of the toronto blessing (it being ’95-96). I saw the church go from an evangelical church with a fantastic counseling department to a hyper spiritual experience driven church with special services by false prophets and false healers. Ultimately, division reigned finances collapsed, and the church dissolved. Part of the church that split moved states and formed a cult. 

    My experiences as a youth ultimately led me to be hesitant to accept anything that isn’t gospel centered and can clearly be backed up with the word. Reading theology and doctrine and listening to pastors that get deep into the word stir my affections for Jesus. I have been learning more about the holy spirit and his role in the trinity as I tend to be wary of any comments that begin with “the holy spirit told me…” or anything that seems “too spiritual.”

    May he continue to grow me and sanctify me that I might love others and glorify him. I have a special place in my heart for those who have been burned by the church.
    Thank you for your website Holly!

  4. Sue B. Says:

    I love the Bible and read it daily. I pray and intercede everyday.
    I cannot agree with everything that’s being said in this blog, 
    although I certainly agree with parts of it. 
    First of all, the bible speaks of the supernatural  throughout
    the book of Acts. The trouble is NOT with the supernatural, it’s
    with the ABUSES of the supernatural. When people look to
    miracles MORE than the ONE that does the miracles in the first
    place, that’s when deception comes in. The problem is that many
    people that call themselves Christians, never read the bible for
    themselves. Deception reigns when people look to a leader and
    believe everything he, or she, says, without looking it up themselves
    to see if it lines up with the Word of God. 
    I do have a problem with denominations that are against all forms
    of the supernatural including praying in tongues. The NT speaks of
    praying in tongues and I think it’s dangerous to continuously say
    speaking in tongues is not of God. That is denying what the bible
    says. It’s the attitude, “because I don’t like it, it must not be true.” The 
    bible speaks of those that have a “form of religion” but deny the
    power thereof.  There is a “power” from on High, that comes to
    every true believer in Christ. To constantly push that away, because 
    we “don’t like it”, (or may even fear it), is not a good thing. Even in
    the Old Testament in Psalm 150, for example, God says to “come before the Lord
    in dancing”. He certainly didn’t mean the dirty dancing, or other ungodly dances
    many in the secular world practice today. But if a person is filled with
    the Holy Spirit, they may manifest a dance that glorifies God. Just like
    sex, which God Himself created, dancing is counterfeited by the devil,
    twisting it and influencing people to use it in ways it was never intended
    by God. But that doesn’t mean sex, or dancing, in and of itself, is evil.
    Satan puts his dirty hands on all things God meant for good, and
    finds a way to make it appear unholy and ungodly. I don’t doubt that
    some manifestations are counterfeit, but that doesn’t mean we throw
    all of it out because SOME of it is false. Someday many in
    churches that reject all forms of the supernatural in this life, although they
    may be saved since salvation comes only by receiving Christ as Lord
    and Savior, will be SHOCKED
    to find out that heaven is FILLED with all forms of JOY and LIFE and COLOR and
    MUSIC and SINGING and DANCING, etc….they will be shocked because
    they might expect it to be as boring as their masses and church services. “Your
    will be done on earth as it is in heaven” shows me that God’s will is
    that we should follow His example on earth in all things. 

  5. Monica G Says:

    Thank you Sue B.,

    I agree with you 100%. I moved to a new area three years ago and I met so many hyper spiritual people. I thought I was missing something. But aren’t we all always missing something!? I long to know Jesus more fully. I want to spend more time with him, enjoy worshiping him, getting to know Him, I also want to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. Our triune God should be worshiped as one! Thank you Jesus!!!

  6. Paula Says:

    The bible says to try the spirit to see if it’s of God. I have been filled with the spirit since 1979 and know it’s power to help me overcome. I also have been in churches where it felt weird and i knew it was more new age. It seems like there are more of these kind around and it troubles me. There has to be a balance of worshiping in spirit and truth!!!

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