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Fixing Our Focus

December 20th, 2014 | 4 Comments | Posted in Miscellaneous, My Books

focusIt’s been fun to see the Amazon reviews coming in on my two new books, A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. So far, the reviews have all been positive. One reviewer’s comment, in particular, caught my attention. I’d like to respond to him here.

Alex Houston, who gave A New Apostolic Reformation? four stars, wrote:

I would have given this excellent book five stars, but I felt that there were some cautious continuationist views that I can’t agree with. The authors believe that there is a biblical basis for the ongoing gift of prophecy (but not the office of prophet). Of course, I strongly disagree. I would have liked to have seen a more cessationist response, but other than that, I felt this book was very helpful. (See Houston’s full review here.)

Houston was not the only reviewer who wished that I and my co-author, Dr. Doug Geivett, had argued from a cessationist view–that is, that the view that the miraculous gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are no longer active in the church. We did not present our own views on the cessation or continuation of the miraculous gifts, but we did make it clear in the preface that we would not base our arguments on cessationism. This was deliberate. Undoubtedly, the discussion about the miraculous gifts is important. But other people have already written extensively on all sides of this issue.

We wanted to fix our focus in a way that is most useful to the most people. We hoped that, by not taking a stance on the miraculous gifts debate, we could reach a large audience with our warnings about risky NAR teachings and practices that are being promoted in a growing number of churches. The truth is, NAR teachings are found primarily in charismatic and Pentecostal churches, which believe that the miraculous gifts are still in operation. In fact, the NAR movement emerged out of independent charismatic churches and thus have gained a foothold in many of those churches, in varying degrees. But we believe that NAR teachings and practices do not represent classical charismatic or Pentecostal beliefs, but are something entirely different.

— Holly Pivec

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4 Responses to “Fixing Our Focus”

  1. Kathryn Says:

    I agree with your thought that your books will reach a wider audience by leaving cessationism out of the picture.  Charismatics I know may not be able to get over that obstacle in reading them.  And then I wonder if an author were to write a book such as yours on the NAR from a cessationist stand point, how long would the book be?   If one believes the sign gifts along with ministry gifts in Eph. 4:11 did not continue, then the warp and woof of a NAR church would have ceased along with their ability to function at all, given no speaking in tongues, prophecy etc.  So, not much reason to write more than a page or two.  Or I am misunderstanding what cessationism means to an independent charismatic church.  

    Note:  I found a great resource on the office or gift of apostle written as a doctoral dissertation by Benjamin McNair Scott entitled Making Sense of Contemporary Charismatic Apostalates: A Historical and Theological Appraisal.  It is a free pdf or a Kindle download.  The author includes quite a bit on Wagner and the NAR.  Very interesting discussion.

  2. C. H. Says:

    Hey all!!!! Please forgive me for not replying in total context of the blog, but I would like some clarification on some view points/doctrines.  I am by no means a proponent of the NAR…I too believe that they are off in some aspects of their ministry through dominionism…looks like spiritual abuse to me.  However, I have spent a greater part of the day going through your other posts and comments, and please forgive me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that you are possibly against prophets/apostles at all…if you don’t believe that these can still exist today, can you please tell me in Scripture where they have passed away? I’m not saying that people like the NAR need to have complete control over churches, and governments, etc, because I don’t see that in Scripture as well.

    However, I do believe that God still calls people to be apostles, etc (Ephesians 4:11-16).  

    Thanks!!!!! God Bless

  3. mo smith Says:

    I would like to respond to C. H. and Holly.

    First, a thank you to Holly for not coming at this from a cessationist point of view. That is important. I got saved in a Baptist church that was cesationist. That is why I eventually left that church because in my own study it was clear to me the gifts have not ceased and the teaching on this “the gifts have ceased” is way too easy to debunk. It’s not even close to be good biblical interpretation.

    To C.H. I would agree that the gifts have not ceased but I also don’t believe we have Apostles or Prophets anymore. Jesus built the church and He is the cornerstone. The apostles and prophets came and built on the cornerstone. They gave us the scriptures. Peter said in his epistle that the scriptures were a “more sure word” than even his eyewitness at the “Mount of Transfiguration”. These apostles and prophets have fulfilled the laying of their foundation (the scriptures). It’s done and settled. We still have the gifts of the Spirit within the body of Christ for the edification of the body. These gifts operate, not just through professional clergy, but even more so the “Church” (the lay people). The foundations have been laid. Another foundation can’t be laid, therefore, the apostles/prophets job is complete. Now we have teachers, pastors and evangelists to continue their doctrines and watch for wolves and evangelize the unbelieving.

    I will add that if there really were still apostles and prophets then they would ONLY be leading us back to the original foundation that was laid and not trying to build another foundation, which is exactly what the NAR is doing. That “another foundation” is “another Jesus” and “another gospel”.

  4. M.K. Says:

    Hi CH, nope I’m not a cessationist either, and as Holly points out in the books, she steered well clear of that.

    I’m glad because there are a LOT of good people, many solid Christians who are struggling with the realization that something is wrong with the theology behind the NAR, but there isn’t much in Christian books that takes it on, without bashing the gifts of the Holy Spirit or the people involved in it for that matter.

    I was in a church that was into it for a very long time. 18 years before we left. Then as now, I loved the Lord, and then as now believe in the Gifts of the Spirit.

    When we left that church in 1998 (and were subsequently excommunicated) I began to ask WHY my ex pastor did what he did. I didn’t question his salvation in spite of what I’d seen him do. I’d also seen good stuff. But I’d seen some very cruel and abusive behavior too.

    Good Christian people don’t wake up saying how can I serve Satan today? LOL even if that seems like it at times.

    But the stuff they believe leads to actions that can be very harmful to others and to the church.

    So I began looking hard at WHAT gave my ex pastor permission, even encouragement to do what he did.

    That is when I began to see a lot of common themes in the Shepherding Movement of the late 70’s to early 80’s, dovetail with other stuff from NAR, and Toronto Vineyard, and Latter Rain theology that we were routinely taught. Quite a potent brew when I look back on it. Oh and a big does of WOF or Word of Faith stuff from the Kenneths (Hagin and Copeland).

    So roots (the theology) eventually create fruits (the actions people take).

    What Holly has done, is separate things out. She is dealing with the theology or the thinking behind the NAR which needs to be challenged anyway, even if it was completely good because as good Bereans we need to search the scriptures to “SEE IF THESE THINGS BE SO!”

    Whether one is cessasionist or not doesn’t change the fact that we need to examine any new teaching carefully against the Word of God, and if there is debate, to engage in it without demonizing each other. It’s far too easy for people who are feeling defensive about the stuff they’ve been taught and beleived to be true to just say “OH well, they are a cessasionist so that is why they come against the NAR etc.”

    It’s a way of tuning out the critic by saying that they can’t understand because they don’t agree with you on enough stuff to have a valid critique. Frightened people just want to turn off the scary thought that Holly may have a valid point. I remember how terrifying it was to have everything I’d thought I understood about God turned upside down.

    I also really get turned off when someone makes a good point but then slams the person. Example being Cindy Jacobs. In Holly’s books, (I’m still reading thru the second) I’ve been delighted that she doesn’t attack Cindy as a person, but just examines the books Cindy wrote and what Cindy has publicly taught.

    Holly starts with the assumption that Cindy IS a Christian, with a heart to serve God. Which I think is completely true. Cindy is just as fallible as I am, both of us can be in error. Compassion to the person though doesn’t mean ignoring a teaching.

    From that compassionate stance Holly examines what is being taught and how closely does that line up with the Word.

    And that is our duty as good Berean Christians, so search the scripture and SEE if these things are so. Not to just rely on even an apostle as great as Paul for his say so. We are commanded by God to check these things out and guard ourselves against false doctrines and false apostles.

    Hope that helps.

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