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The problem with living the ‘Jesus lifestyle’

Jesus healing the blind manOne of my recent posts was inundated with comments from defenders of New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) apostles. Apparently, these fired-up people came over to my site from a link posted on Facebook.

The comment that set off the storm was written by someone who identifies himself as Brian Peat and claims he works full time with apostle Randy’s Clark’s organization, Global Awakening. Peat wrote an impassioned defense of NAR apostles. And, to some, his words may sound compelling. But despite his impassioned defense, his reasoning falls apart.

Yet, he makes the same mistakes that many other people in the NAR movement have made. So, I will share his comment below, followed with my thoughts on where his thinking has gone wrong.

Brian Peat’s Comment

This will probably get me crucified, but we chose Third Day because our events guy was sitting around and thought, “I wonder if we could get Third Day to lead worship at VOA [Voice of the Apostles] this year?” There was no special plan involved and no specific reason they ended up on the same night as Bill Johnson. As far as “Johnson has convinced many evangelicals that all Christians should perform miracles–such as healing and prophesying–frequently and as part of their daily lives” … um, yeah, so has Randy Clark, and you know what, it’s what I see the early church doing. God still moves, why they heck can’t normal people do supernatural stuff in the name of Jesus? We live in a hurting world. Imagine a world where all Christians simply ooze the love of Jesus and can pray for healing or give an encouraging word to ANYONE they meet on the street…and they can actually HEAR God’s voice too. That’s the Christianity I want to be a part of. Sure, there are crazies and manipulators out there, but every stream has those. All the people around me are genuine, caring and they simply want to live out Jesus’ lifestyle in their world. What’s so wrong with that?

My Thoughts

Peat asked a good question, and I think it deserves an answer. What could possibly be wrong with people wanting to pray for physical healing, to encourage hurting people, and to “ooze the love of Jesus”? What could be wrong with people wanting to “hear God’s voice” and to “live out Jesus’ lifestyle in their world”?

On the surface, there is nothing wrong with many of these desires –in fact, most of them are wonderful desires. All Christians should be praying for people’s physical healing and encouraging them. We should all want to hear God’s voice and be like Jesus in the world. So, there is nothing wrong with Peat’s statements if you take them at face value.

But the problem is that, in the NAR movement–of which Peat is, knowingly or unknowingly, a participant–there is much error that lies beneath the surface of statements like these. So, here are four ways Peat’s argument breaks down.

Mistake No. 1: Assuming that miracles were normative in the early church

Peat claims that, in the early church, Christians performed miracles frequently and as part of their daily lives. But Scripture does not support this claim.

Yes, Jesus worked miracles. Also, his 12 disciples and 72 disciples worked miracles in his name during special missions he sent them on (Matt 10: 1; Luke 10:9). And following his ascension, miracles were regularly worked in his name by his apostles (Acts 5:12) and by some other church leaders, such as Stephen and Barnabas (Acts 6:8; 14:3).

But there is no indication that all Christians worked miracles and did so regularly. On the contrary, when the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, he identified “the working of miracles” as a spiritual gift that some believers–not all–were given (1 Cor 10:12). And Paul explicitly taught that not everyone has that special gift (1 Cor 12:29). The very fact that “the working of miracles” is enumerated by Paul as a gift given to only some Christians shows that miracle-working should not be viewed as normative for all Christians.

Mistake No. 2: Assuming that ‘hearing God’s voice’ comes only through receiving prophetic words

Peat seems to equate hearing God’s voice with receiving prophetic revelation directly from God–as when he writes, “Imagine a world where all Christians … can actually HEAR God’s voice too.” Notice how he writes the word “HEAR” in all capital letters, with the implication being that those Christians who are not receiving prophetic words are not truly hearing God’s voice.

Yet what about all those Christians who are reading their Bibles? They are hearing God’s voice through His written Word. And His written Word never fails in contrast to so many of the prophetic words given by people in the NAR movement that have turned out to be dead wrong.  In the NAR movement, prophets are allowed to err in their prophetic words and still be considered true prophets of God.

Consider the soul carnage that is caused by a prophet telling a mother and father that their five-year-old hospitalized son will live only to watch him die a slow, excruciating death. This very thing happened to people I know. And this is just one example.

Thus, Peat’s version of “hearing God’s voice” directly might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Mistake No. 3: Assuming that sincere beliefs equal true beliefs

In defense of his NAR beliefs, Peat writes that all the NAR people around him are “genuine” and “caring.” But Peat seems to miss the fact that being sincere in one’s beliefs does not mean that those beliefs are correct. I’ve met many sincere Mormons, atheists, and Muslims. Their heartfelt sincerity does not make their worldviews true.

Mistake No. 4: Assuming that Jesus’ followers can do every thing he did

This is the big one. Peat writes that his associates in the NAR movement are simply seeking to live out Jesus’ lifestyle in the world. That sounds good, right? Not so fast.

Yes, Christians should seek to live as Jesus did–as much as that is possible for a mere human being to do. But when Scripture says that Jesus’ earthly life is an example for his followers, it is referring to his examples of trusting God in the midst of unjust treatment (1 Pet 2:21-22), to his self-sacrifice in obedience to God’s will (Matt 16:24; see also 10:38), and to his humility (Phil 2:5-8).

But there are some things that Jesus–as the only God-man to ever walk this earth–did that we simply cannot and should not attempt to do. Those things include receiving worship and forgiving sins–prerogatives that belong to God alone.

Yet NAR apostle Bill Johnson–whom Peat is defending–teaches that all Christians should be able to work miracles just like Jesus did. I think Peat would agree that human beings should not receive worship or claim to forgive sins like Jesus did. But he is mistaken in assuming that people can work miracles just like the unique Son of God.

— By Holly Pivec

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23 Responses to “The problem with living the ‘Jesus lifestyle’”

  1. Jane Says:

    I get a little weary of all these ‘new prophets and apostles”.  I think most of these NAR leaders have simply carved out for themselves a new livelihood, a new career making their living in the most sensational way they can because after all, don’t their ‘ways’ appeal to a lot of ignorant Christians (ignorant of what the Bible says) who lust after things like getting drunk in the spirit, spiritualism, etc?  It’s a feel-good thing that doesn’t require any study of the Scriptures to get to know the real God and His thoughts and ways.

    The whole bunch of NAR leaders and followers all together add up to a lot of self-serving self-deception.  I challenge any of them to take their next terminally ill loved-one to Benny Hinn or even one of their own for healing.  I asked my friend who buys into a lot of Charismania why she didn’t just take her mother in for this kind of ‘healing’ before she died.  She didn’t know what to say.  

    And I agree that some of these folks may be sincere indeed, but they are also more likely to be just sincerely wrong.  Maybe we should start praying for them!  Seriously.

  2. Ang Says:

    From Encountering Territorial Spirits by Charles Harris:(C. Peter) Wagner contends that teaching is acceptable even when it has no biblical base, as long as it does not contradict the Bible.  And Kraft declares, “. . . we contend that ideas and/or practices may be scriptural as long as they are not condemned by Scripture“.
    A NAR preacher looking at a Bible with words coming out of his mouth does NOT make it Biblical.  Unfortunately, too many people are believing false NAR men’s words instead of God.  

  3. Jane Says:

    They make their own rules.  They’re not about to be in subjection to anyone…especially God.  I’m sure the NAR folks can explain away anything they do…personally or publicly.  But only those ignorant of what the Bible says are willing to swallow their poison.  I thank God that I have His Word to protect me and my family from these kinds of people.  The Bible can protect anyone who really believes it and reads it enough to know what God has to say on these matters.

  4. tom Says:

    Three facts:  Jesus healed only to bring glory to God.  Jesus healed to demonstrate His authority.  Jesus did not heal everyone.

  5. Jane Says:

    Tom, that’s some very good food for thought.  Thank you for posting it, I won’t forget it.  Isn’t it amazing how easily evil men can pervert the acts of Jesus for their own personal worldly gain?

  6. Austin Says:

    the NAR folks here in Brisbane keep on quoting scriptures like “As He is in this world, so are we” (  ) and “Greater things shall you do that I have done” (   ). What do these scriptures mean in context? If they are not telling us that we will do marvelous things (miraculous, or sign gifts etc.,) then what are they telling us? I am not a cessationist, and I just found out recently that people like me (classical Pentecostal,) are now called ‘continuists’.

    Obviously the old divide between Evangelical churches and their theology on the Charismata, are still at odds with classical Pentecostals and Charismatic church folks and their take on gifts of the Holy Spirit. When will this end?

    By the way, I spent time in and NAR church here last year, but left in October, believing that it was all about the money and controlling decent but gullible people, who have been sold a pup. I am not an NAR proponent, but believe that spiritual gifts, properly exercised, will benefit the Church and not harm it. What we are seeing today in many of these fake revivals is false and not glorifying to God.

    Truly the tares are coming to fruition amongst the wheat, but where does the balance lay?

    Austin Hellier

  7. Ann Says:

    Most points you make are valid re: false prophecy and doctrine that is off, but as far as doing the works of Jesus, Jesus said: “The works that I do shall you do also, and GREATER works than these shall you do because I go to the Father.”  (John 14)  Jesus said true believers should expect to do even greater miracles than He did because He is interceding for us at the right hand of the Father, and “whatever we ask the Father in Jesus’ Name He will do.”  I have not attained to that level, but it is absolutely valid for believers to expect to do so.  Mark 16 says, “these SIGNS SHALL follow them that believe in My name: they shall cast out devils, speak with new tongues, lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”  These miraculous signs were to be expected by all, that believe in Jesus’ name, not just those with Apostalic callings  True, apostle will have more pronounced and frequent miracles, but all believers can expect signs to follow them.

  8. Jim Says:

    Jane, you have written some very harsh words towards people involved in the NAR churches. I wonder if you have come across Heidi Baker of Iris Ministries in Mozambique? She runs an incredible centre, more like a village really, in a place called Pemba, that reaches out to thousands of woman and children. She has seen countless men, women, and children healed of blindness, deafness, muteness, cancer, HIV/AIDS, brain tumours, and the list goes on. Over the last 30 years, under Iris ministries which she set up, some 3000 churches have been established in Mozambique and the people who attend them are have given their lives to the Lord Jesus and they recognise his lordship before any other and they value His word as the greatest thing this world affords. Heidi Baker’s home church is Bethel where Bill Johnson is the senior leader.

    People from all around the world travel to Bethel church and receive healing. You are welcome to deny their testimony; but if you can explain someone’s cancerous tumour dissolving in front of their eyes and a doctor’s report declaring them cancer free then you are going further then a dumfounded physician! There are thousands upon thousands of testimonies like this. Why? I believe it is because Jesus still heals today.

    Bethel church, have transformed their city by giving and giving and giving without asking for anything back or seeking to exert influence or control over it. Why? Because rather than the self serving bunch that you call them, the leaders of Bethel church have encouraged their church family to model the life of Jesus and be real servants putting the interest of the city before their own. The leaders model this themselves by serving the city in very real ways.

    I have trained at an evangelical seminary in the UK called Trinity College Bristol which has a stellar reputation. As to being ignorant of what the Bible says, Bethel church run a Bible training program as part of their school which includes first class Bible study skills using the conservative evangelical work by  Duvall & Hayes, ‘Grasping God’s Word.’ The training on this program is the best Bible study training I have ever done and I have a degree in it! The leaders of Bethel church know the Bible; they just interpret it differently to you.

    I cannot speak for the whole NAR movement; I can only write of what I know. I would encourage you to do the same and I would advise you not to publish harsh assumptions about things of which you do not know. It is clear that you do not agree with the teaching of the NAR churches. That is fine and you can of course make your views known to whoever you like. But please don’t make judgmental statements which question the integrity and character of God’s people. That is not you privilege.

  9. Jane Says:

    I will try to make my answer relatively short so as not to confuse anyone.  You’re right, I don’t believe the NAR movement is of God, and if indeed it is not, then you know from whom it comes…and how dangerous that can be.
    You say the Bethel leaders ‘interpret’ the Bible differently than I do.  That is without a doubt the problem.  All ‘faith-healers’ misinterpret selective passages of the Bible for their own self-serving benefit.  If all those miraculous healings you tell about are truly from God, then the whole world would know about it and all doctors world-wide would go broke. Be that as it may, I never underestimate the Devil’s ability to do some pretty miraculously deceptive things to lead people into false gospels.  
    What more can I say but that folks need to really ‘know’ their Bible and simply take God at His Word or they may well be ripe for the harvest of every false prophet and false apostle on the planet.  And as we know, the sick are particularly desperate people easily fooled by the many self-appointed false prophets and apostles the Lord warns us about so heartily in 2 Peter 2 and other passages.
    I will suggest reading the following article that explains so well why many Christians oppose the NAR and work to warn others against being involved with it.
    And try to remember as you live in this progressively decaying world these important words of Jesus, so that no one can fool you into believing that dominating the world in order to take a kingdom for Christ is what God wants….
    “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”  (John 18:36)

  10. Brian Peat Says:

    Seriously? do you people not have anything better to do than to lift a comment I posted on a website and dissect it? You really need to get out more.

  11. Phillip A G Says:

    Wow…..just came across this thread…the “enemy” just walks by and laughs an says, “i dont need to do any evil works here, they’re doing a fine job themselves tearing each other down”.  Makes me want to vomit.

  12. Jane Says:

    Phillip, what do you mean?  Are you speaking of the poster right before yours or something else?  Would you mind explaining your comment?

  13. Penny Says:

    Jim, thanks for your comments above.  I can’t imagine that Jesus would have come and modeled and demonstrated to us what living life in complete surrender to the Father and under control of the Holy Spirit looks like if He knew we would not able to do the same, when also completely surrendered to the will of the Father and under the divine influence of the Holy Spirit.  He came to not only bring us restoration to the Father through His finished work, but to restore all things back to the Father that was lost in the garden.  In the garden, we saw the heart of the Father for what He wanted this world to look like and who He put in charge to fulfill that.  We see the heart of the Son when He gave his followers the model prayer “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.  I don’t know how we can be a follower of Jesus if we don’t also desire to follow in His works.  I don’t think that He meant for our lives to look less than what He had demonstrated, but His desire was that we do greater things than He. He performed miracles so that He, the Son of God, would be recognized for who He was so that many would believe and be saved and glorify the Father. If he needed (and desired) that demonstration of the power of God over all that is evil in this world, would we as His followers not need that demonstration of power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to a greater degree so that our message of salvation would also be recognized as the one true way, bringing His salvation to others and glory to God?  Does God really want a powerless church or bride for His Son, who is the Head and creator of all things and demonstrated what life was to actually look like when one is fully surrendered to the Father and walking in the power of His Spirit?  I certainly know He does not want a church divided, so I’m not quite sure why we cannot just walk like the Lord whom we serve walked.  Is that not what being a follower or disciple means? I know we cannot do that apart from the power of His Spirit and a surrendered life to His will but we can’t expect to control His Spirit in us if we are to surrender to Him.  He decides what that looks like and how that is walked out in our lives and how it is manifested.  I think that is what concerns us the most.  We want to maintain some  semblance of control thus cutting His power flow.  We can trust that He will never work or move contrary to the will of the Father.  So, why aren’t we?

    from a heart continually seeking Him..

  14. James Says:

    Hi Holly. This is the first time I’ve ever come across this website. Your article is interesting. I’m not going to argue with your points, as I’m sure I’d be wasting my time. However if people have the faith like that of a child they can certainly see the things Jesus did. I recently spent some time discipling youth in Malaysia in the supernatural. Every single one of those 70 were seeing various miracles manifesting in each of their lives, because they were childlike in their faith. I agree there is some messed up teaching out there and I appreciate you wanting to protect others, but I’d be careful what you post on here, making sure not to stop those childlike in their faith from coming to Jesus. What’s wrong with someone believing they can see the same miracles Jesus saw and even greater? Aren’t we called to follow the example of Christ?

  15. Ric Wright Says:

    How long will people have a form of godliness and deny His power?  

  16. PC Says:

    Tom said ‘Three facts: Jesus healed only to bring God glory. Jesus healed to demonstrate His authority. Jesus did not heal everyone.’

    I would say Jsus healed not only to give God glory, but also because He had compassion on people. He also clearly healed as evidence He was dealing with satan and demons, thus bringing the kingdom. Yes He healed to demonstrate His authority, but He then gave that authority to his followers. Jesus did not heal everyone – if you mean when people came to Him for healing sometimes He could not heal them, then I disagree. The clear implication of the Gospel records is that everyone who approached Jesus for healing, were in fact healed. Those who were not healed were those who did not ask Him for healing, eg the pool of Bethsada incident. That of course does not mean that today that people who are prayed for for healing will automatically be healed, as they are not Jesus (ie God on earth), but that does not mean healing is not for today. I would also make the point that in the main article, there seems to be no distinction between ‘working of miracles’ and gifts of healing, which Paul does distinguish. One is not the same as the other, and like all of the Gifts of the Spirit, God gifts gifts to individuals as He sees fit.

  17. Donnie Says:

    I’m sorry for those of you who don’t believe in the goodness of God and His will to deliver, give prophet words, Heal and all the other gifts, you think have ended. Your lack of seeing them has tainted your view,,like mine used to be. If you run into one of us, we won’t argue our position, we will show you. We will love you and God will tell us the secretes of your heart, like He did mine. Then you will see and believe. And then declare God is among you! I pray we find you soon! Life is short and the world needs the Jesus in you!


  18. Donnie Says:

    I’m sorry for those of you who don’t believe in the goodness of God and His will to deliver, give prophet words, Heal and all the other gifts, you think have ended. Your lack of seeing them has tainted your view,,like mine used to be. If you run into one of us, we won’t argue our position, we will show you. We will love you and God will tell us the secretes of your heart, like He did mine. Then you will see and believe. And then declare God is among you! I pray we find you soon! Life is short and the world needs the Jesus in you! Donnie

  19. Doug Says:

    So are you going to command God to do miracles? 
    Biblical definition of prophecy is forth telling the word of God not divination

  20. Jane Says:

    “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”  (James 1:27)

    Let’s not take the word “visit” to mean more than it’s definition, when the verse says to visit those particular ones who are fatherless and widows in their affliction.

  21. Sharon Says:

    Love the Third Day video and love to hear VOA conference! Thanks for sharing.
    Love living empowered by God’s Holy Spirit through Jesus living in me and through the wisdom of His Word!  

    Colossians 2:15 Reminds us: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of ONE BODY you were called to peace. And be thankful. 

    Ephesians 2:14-18 reminds us that Christ is our Peace and has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in ONE body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility…For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

    In Matthew 12:25 Jesus knew their thoughts (our thoughts) and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” 

    Jude 1:17-25 reminds us: to persevere and remain UNITED in the last days.  

    May we each seek wisdom in whatever miracles, healings, words of knowledge we see, hear or experience, yet I pray we seek UNITY in the Body despite minor differences. 

    Unity in our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, redeemer for our sins, is our only hope in these last days.

    May the Lord Jesus Bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you and bring you peace through the power of His love and Mercy.

  22. Jane Says:

    “words of knowlege”.  Really?  Why confuse things.  I can give no better advice than for each one to read his own Bible for guidance and stop listening to these false teachers with their ‘words of knowledge’ as if God is giving only them his secret knowledge to pass along to the rest of us idiots.  

    For God’s sake, everybody just grow up.  You can’t begin to protect yourselves from all the deceivers if you don’t know your Bible!  And if you don’t know your Bible you are ripe for the picking by all the false teachers, false prophets and false apostles.  And the NAR movement….

  23. SE Says:

    Jane, my heart grieves for you. I pray for you to have your own Divine encounter. I pray that someone will come up to you with a Word of Knowledge and prophesy over you such that you’ll be changed forever. I pray that you’ll truly know the love of God and all that He is willing and wanting to do in and through you. Once you understand His goodness, then when you read your Bible, you’ll read through different lenses. I think the posts here show that these folks do, in fact, know the Bible as you do. We just read it through the lense of love. A love of a Father for His children to be empowered to live a victorious life — and help others to do the same. Shalom, Jane.

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