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The Apostle Generals

general, full bodyLast Sunday I was speaking about Cindy Jacobs with a gentleman who attends my church. He observed that her organization has the presumptious name, “Generals International.” I agreed with him that the name is shockingly immodest and pointed out that, in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), the term “generals” is a code word for the word “apostles.” In other words, when you see someone referred to as a “general”  that is another way of calling them an apostle–for those in the know. By calling them “generals,” they can refer to their leaders as apostles in a such a way that people who aren’t part of the NAR won’t pick up on. The prevalent use of code language in the NAR is one reason this movement is so confusing to outsiders.

But why are NAR apostles compared to generals? It’s because they are seen as the highest leaders of an end-time, miracle-miracle working army that God is supposedly raising up to take dominion of the earth. These teachings–along with other NAR code words–are explained in greater detail and examined in light of Scripture in my two new books, co-written with Dr. Doug Geivett at Talbot School of Theology. God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement provides a beginner’s introduction to the NAR movement. Our other book, A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement, provides much greater depth of treatment and documentation of the NAR. See both books at Amazon. If you want to purchase them, presently the quickest turnaround time is to order them directly from the publisher’s website.

— Holly Pivec


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17 Responses to “The Apostle Generals”

  1. Jim Waddell Says:

    Dear Holly,

    I am responding to the above post as it seems you have misunderstood the concept of ‘apostle’ in the so called NAR movement. Within most, what you would call, ‘NAR’ churches, an apostle is seen as foundational to the effective running of the church. Apostles are not self appointed but called out and recognised by the church community they are a part of. Secondly, an apostle is not seen is the ‘highest leader’ as you put it. An apostle is seen as essential to the running of a church whose primary concern is the agenda of heaven. This is because an apostle primarily concerns him/herself with the kingdom of heaven and the advancement of His (God’s) kingdom. Miracles are an important part of that but they are not what it is all about. The primary concern is that, ‘the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.’ Hab 2:14. Miracles aid this process greatly and we see in Matthew 10 that Jesus both gives authority to the 12 disciples and commands them to ‘heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers,’ and ‘cast out demons.’ Later, in the great commission, Jesus reiterates the authority that has been given to him (pointing back to what he had told them in Matthew 10) and commissions them to make disciples of all nations. There are plenty of other scriptures which refer to the importance of healing, miracles Etc. 1 Cor 12 cannot be seen simply to refer to the twelve because it was not written to them. It was written to the early church when the twelve would have been either dead or very old. In the so called ‘NAR’ churches, apostles are seen as those that, fully reliant on the Holy Spirit, are gifted in developing the culture of the community so that these things can happen. An apostle is seen as foundational (1 Cor 12:28) meaning that they serve in such a way as to lift up and build up other ministries. There is no sense of pride or hierarchy. It is not a top down model but a bottom up servant centred model. It’s more a case of leading like servants, and serving like kings.

    Neither is there any ‘code’ amongst those you call ‘NAR’ leaders. No one is trying to hide the term ‘apostle’ as if it is something to be afraid of. It is an office appointed by God and recognised by St Paul.

    Given your misguided post, I would be interested to know how much of the work in your new books is researched by speaking with live sources? It strikes me that your views have been drawn from some writings but not understood in the context of which they were written. This cannot be seen as either accurate or fair research if the subjects are still alive. If, after talking directly to Cindy Jacobs or Bill Johnson or any other of those Jesus has called to lead his church, you still feel the same, I would be astounded. These men and women are servants who have dedicated their life to the building up of God’s people. 

    Ministries, such as yours. that concern themselves with ‘discernment’ must be so careful in how they deliver their conclusions. You have a voice. You hold influence. When you hold influence, you have power. Power must be used with great responsibility. And articles like this are not responsible. They incite fear, confusion and false judgements which can lead to hatred of the brethren. Please be more careful in what you post to the whole world.

  2. Riles Says:

    A good example of coding can be found in the lyrics to the Hillsongs tune “Oceans”.  To me this is code for departing from Scripture.

    Spirit lead me where my trust is without bordersLet me walk upon the watersWherever You would call meTake me deeper than my feet could ever wanderAnd my faith will be made strongerIn the presence of my Savior

  3. Kathryn Says:

    With respect to Cindy Jacobs ministry, she explains in her book, Possessing the Gates of the Enemy, that the Lord impressed her to gather His “generals” of–or leaders in–intercession together.  And, “in time of war it is the generals whe make the battle plans.”  I think one of her goals was to bring about unity with those who felt called to be regional leaders in militant intercession.  I found this in chapter two of her book which was printed in 1995 (Second printing).  So, her specific use of the term “general” did not refer to apostles.  At least not back then.  But over the years,  wow, do we ever see the thrust of the NAR which appears to be all about apostolic and prophetic authority.  The use of authority which over time and mixed in with human nature easily turns into spiritual abuse.  My thought is that the shepherding/discipleship error of the seventies and eightest has morphed into what can be viewed as the NAR.  And the potential for battering God’s sheep is very real.

    Thanks for all your hard work, Holly.  I happily got both your books in Kindle and working my way through them.

  4. Kae Lyn Says:

    To Jim Waddell~

    As just one of many recognized and commissioned former prophets in the NAR movement, I am able to speak from first-hand knowledge about its teachings and practices. My involvement actually goes back prior to C. Peter Wagner’s labeling of the movement as the NAR. When I was a young woman, the pastor of my pastor had been a right-hand man of William Branham who traveled and preached with him in the 1950’s. Due to the number of years of my involvement, I have been able to observe first hand its development over the years. I have either met or sat directly under the teaching of many including Bill Hamon, Cindy Jacobs, Mahesh Chavda, Mike Bickle, Dutch Sheets, Steve Hill and on and on. I have also read nearly all of their books as well as many of the books of their associates such as Bill Johnson, Chuck Pierce, Jim Goll, John-Paul Jackson, Francis Frangipane, Rick Joyner and a myriad of others. I have also read many the writings of those who influenced their teaching such as A.A. Allen, John G. Lake, etc. I have attended numerous training sessions and conferences and personally ministered to hundreds of people as a trained and proven prophet.

    With all of that said, I can say with the love and compassion of the Lord that you are deceived my friend, as was I for many years. I don’t say this on my own authority because I am only a servant like you and Holly. Rather, it is the authority of the word of God in scripture that exposes the teachings of those in the NAR as being false. This is not about attacking people personally because frankly, all of those I have met seem like nice sincere people who don’t appear to want to harm anyone. But they themselves have been deceived and they are deceiving hundreds of thousands with their misunderstanding of the scriptures. Their teachings are twisted so that they appear to be good but are poisonous and lead astray those who listen to them.

    If you are sincere in your pursuit of the Truth, a wise course of action would be to set aside the books and teachings of these people and focus on the teachings of Jesus and his appointed apostles in the Scriptures. Direct study of the word of God, along with prayer asking the Lord to reveal any areas of deception, is paramount. As a compliment to direct study of the word of God yourself, it can be helpful to read some solid apologetics works that help to apply what the word of God actually says and means compared to what is being said by those in the NAR. A good resource for a variety of articles is deceptioninthechurch.com. Also, an orthodox commentary on the Bible can be very helpful.

    I will be praying for you Jim, that you will find the same freedom that I have found by studying the pure word of God in the scriptures. In Christ (the living logos) are found all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3), so we don’t need to add what the NAR offers. Take care.

  5. kadri-liisa Says:

    Thanx Jim for explaining!

  6. Angie Says:

    I was in a NAR church for nine years and never heard of the New Apostolic Reformation.  I was speaking the NAR language without even knowing about all of their buzzwords.  You slowly start speaking their language without even realizing it.  I began seeing that what was being taught wasn’t biblical.  I started questioning the pastors, etc., and I found out quickly that you do NOT question anything. 

    I am so concerned about so many people I know who are still caught up in this movement.    
    Holly, thank you for all that you are doing.  I have both of your books and I have extra to share with others.  Excellent!  I want people to read these and see the truth.    

  7. Thomas Heward Says:

    GOD’S GENERALS.  I do not believe Rick Joyner (perhaps the highest order of the NAR) came up with the term God’s Generals as a possibly more acceptable term for the calling to the office of Apostle.

    Let’s go back a few years to when I was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  At that time my wife and I enrolled our two christian children in a christian school.  My daughter went to school at that time (around 1989) and graduated from that christian highschool with another believer by the name of Robert Lairdon.

    Robert Lairdon eventually went into full time ministry conducting seminars on “warfare prayer” or basically praying “against the powers of darkness” as the apostle Paul spoke of in the new testament.

    It was in the early 90’s that Robert Lairdon began writing one of his first books.  That book ended up being about 400 pages longs and was called “God’s G

  8. Jim Waddell Says:

    Dear Kae Lyn,

    Thank you for your kind, loving and gracious response. While it was kind and gentle though, it was also patronising.

    I would like to assure you of my hunger and thirst for the living word of God and my pursuit of sound doctrine. I’ve had it since March 27th 1988. I hold fast to the word of God and the teaching of Jesus and I’ve never held up any teaching above the word of God. The fact that my conclusions are not in agreement with yours does not mean I am not committed to the diligent study of the scriptures. I have a bachelor degree in biblical studies. I have countless commentaries, many of which are orthodox and conservative. I also use Logos 6 for bible study, the most advanced and comprehensive bible study tool on the planet. The issue is neither lack of hunger for the truth nor apathy towards scripture. The issue is interpretation. I can’t tell from your post, but I suspect that you have come to a cessationist view of the gifts.

    My studies of the scriptures in their original language (which I would suggest is the most accurate way to study the Bible), not aided by those that side with cessationists or those that side with continuists, have led me to the conclusion that both Jesus and Paul taught a continuing theology of the gifts. My view, through deep study and hunger for the truth surrounded by prayer, is that it is very difficult to promote cessationism from the Scriptures. I believe that people come to this conclusion through experience (sadly connected to spiritual abuse) rather than in depth study of the word of God. They then find bible verses that seem to agree with their experience. In truth, in the way that you feel that I am ‘deceived,’ I believe you have misinterpreted the scriptures. 

    In Acts 2:17 and Joel 2.28, the original language points to an extended period of time of life or activity. Peter, preaching from Joel, then goes on to explain that the promise of Joel 2.28 is, ‘for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.’ What’s the promise? ‘And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.’ You need to perform some serious interpretive acrobatics to explain cessationism from Pentecost when you read these accounts in their original language. 

    I realise there is not space here to unpack this in depth but please don’t patronise me by incorrectly assuming that I don’t care about truth or the infallible word of God, whether that be Jesus himself or the Bible. 

    In finishing, it is very difficult to be persuaded of cessationism, when right in front of my very own eyes, a deaf, lame, bed ridden, elderly lady with a hopelessly crooked spine, gets up out of her bed, experiences her spine straightening (which was obvious to all present), walks for the first time in years, and whose hearing was restored to normal. This was the result of prayer for healing. It took only a few minutes. Jesus did this. It was not a freak of nature. You can call it deception all you want, but this lady bowed the knee to Jesus and acknowledged him as her Lord and saviour. I hardly think she was  deceived!

    With love,


  9. Kae Lyn Says:

    Kathryn – Your post jogged my memory. I also recall Cindy Jacobs talking about generals of intercession in her book Possessing the Gates of the Enemy. And you make a good observation regarding the emphasis the NAR places on the authority of apostles and prophets. They disregard the authority of the scriptures by promoting new revelation and faulty interpretation that tickles the ears and draws people in. “The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests rule on their own authority and my people love it so” (Jer 5:31). 

    Jim – Cessationism? No I don’t think that view is supported in scripture. I haven’t seen anyone here make the argument that God doesn’t heal today or that the gifts given to the church no longer function. One of the many problems with the NAR, though, is that they teach and practice a gross abuse and misuse of the gifts that makes a mockery of the word of God and damages the body of Christ. It is a tribute to God’s graciousness and long-suffering that he has chosen to heal and save some even in the midst of the shameful apostasy promoted and practiced by leaders in the NAR. My knowledge of this is, unfortunately, first hand. As a result, it would be irresponsible of me to keep silent and fail to warn others of the danger. As scripture itself so often warns us: he who has ears to hear, let him hear. 

    Holly – I look forward to reading your books. Thanks for your hard work and diligence in researching this complex topic and keeping it in the forefront.

  10. Kathryn Says:

    Kay Lyn,

    My husband and I, as well, were in leadership in a prophetic church decades ago.  It was one that Bill Hamon and his group of younger prophets visited several times a year and other prophets.  I ended up with a shoebox of prophetic words.  Funny, the words were extreme-either way too good or just plain harmful.  We left wounded and before the NAR came to be termed as such by C. Peter Wagner.  Just lately I am able to read books, such as Holly’s, that make very plain the Scriptures used by the NAR and how they are off the mark.  The huge flaw is their view of hierarchy and authority invested in offices, such as apostle and prophet.  And the blanket statement that all churches must come under the authority of a regional apostle. 

    I, too, use Logos 6 and have been using Logos since Series X.  I also use Bibleworks and Wordsearch.  And e-sword.  I love all the software and references I can find to dig into the original languages-and thank God for them and the desire He has given me to research.  I have gone back over some of Wagner’s books along with other NAR apostles and prophets and find them lacking in sound exegesis.  Truths seem to be twisted or taken to extremes.  That is just my opinion, Jim.  To clarify:  I am not a cessationist and truly believe God heals today!  Holly’s blog here may help: http://www.spiritoferror.org/2006/09/absolute-authority-and-extra-biblical-revelation/7

  11. Byron Says:

    Holly I am going to get your books soon.
     For starters  knowing Greek or Hebrew does not make one have a better handle on dividing the word of God.
    You can have a strong’s concordance or use blue letter bible or e-sword to compare words and what ever but The Gospel is simple and direct. 
    I for one believe in The Gifts in of the Spirit and healing and so on but what happened in the church is it fell apart the same way ancient Israel did when they came out of the promise land they did not want God to speak Directly to them so they ran off when God was going to inspect then and told Moses to talk with God and then come tell them what God said..
    So God let them have what they wanted and they missed out.
     then again Israel wanted a King(they had Judges= plural) and they rejected God from being their King. God told Israel that your Kings will take your stuff and children. and Israel said OK and missed God again..
    then At Pentecost the Church/Assembly had 12 Apostles that came to a consensus on Issues Via the Holy Spirit and every where you read you will always see plural servant leadership and not one man Ceo’s running the show..
    its never been God’s will to have a single man or Woman running/leading a group of believers..
    and thats the open door for the error that has come to  the churches thru NAR and others like it…
    the Prideful attitude of I am running this not you….
    there is only one Church I know of that Actually fits closest to the book of acts model and its in Tulsa OK  called Tulsa Christian Fellowship..
    They have 7 elders that preach on a rotation on Sundays and  then they meet in house churches thru out the city on Wednesday nights..
    they do not have a lead Pastor…Wow how about that?

  12. REV GENE DAVIS Says:


  13. Racz Says:

    We ran into one of these people from Toronto at a tire store. He was so odd, people were afraid of him. I had no idea where he was from at the time. As I listened to his rant and and how he operated in the 5 fold ministry , I kept asking him ,where are you from? He avoided all questions and started to prophesy about my son and myself. What he said was so far off that an unbeliever would see through it. I told him I have been saved 39 years and that he said was wrong. I finally got an answer from him and He quickly drove away. This caused Me to check out this ministry and others. I really see this 7 mountain mandate as the harlot on 7 mountains. It leads to Rome at the end of the day. Very said. Thanks for the info.

  14. John Thomley Says:

    Here is a good example of one apostle talking to another while hiding his apostolic identity. It’s an explanation of how young people are recruited for Government roles in the 7 Mountain Mandate. Pastor Jim Garlow is called a General, not an apostle.

  15. Catherine MARTIN Says:

    Can we find a LIST of those “Generals” or of all NAR Churches and/or Pastors/Preachers ??

    Where will I see your reply ? Will you email me ? Or do I have to come back on this page ?…

    THANKS and God bless you !

  16. Holly Says:


    I’m sorry, I don’t have a listing of all NAR leaders and churches. There are simply too many to list! But I did write this blog post with some tips on how to identify NAR churches in your city: http://www.spiritoferror.org/2017/11/identifying-new-apostolic-reformation-churches-in-your-city/7294

  17. Catherine MARTIN Says:

    Thanks for your reply ! GBU !

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