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One to Watch: Torben Sondergaard

Sondergaard headshotMany people have asked me what I know about Danish evangelist Torben Sondergaard, the founder of the Last Reformation movement, and whether he’s part of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

In short, he is part of NAR. Although my area of focus has been on American leaders of NAR, I do want to draw people’s attention to this European teacher as someone to watch. Three things are clear about Sondergaard, based on a five-minute video clip from one of his teachings. This Youtube clip is titled “How to Remember the 5 Fold Church Ministry” and is part of a longer teaching by Sondergaard, titled “Reformation of the Church System.”

Three things you need to know about Torben Sondergaard

1. Sondergaard advocates a view known as “restorationism.” This is the belief that the church, after the first century, lost important truths and fell into apostasy. Those lost truths are now being progressively restored by teachers such as Sondergaard. Restorationism is promoted by aberrant groups, such as the New Apostolic Reformation movement, along with cults of Christianity, including Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

last reformation cover art2. Sondergaard promotes the present-day governing offices of apostle and prophet, which is the core teaching of the New Apostolic Reformation. Notice, in the video clip, how he references the NAR “fivefold ministry” teaching that the church is to be led by apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (pastors), and teachers. He describes a prophet as one who points out sin in individual’s lives and gives direction to the church–functions typically reserved for an individual who holds an authoritative office in the church, not just someone who has a prophetic gifting. He also says that a prophet and apostle work in tandem–a common teaching in NAR.

3. He’s very influential. The video teaching I linked to above is No. 17 in a 20-part series produced by an online school founded by Sondergaard, called the Pioneer School. His school teaches people, among other things, how to do miraculous healings. The first lesson in this series, titled “Come Out of the Box,” has received over 300,000 views. In addition to starting a school, Sondergaard has produced full-length Youtube movies, including The Last Reformation: The Beginning (2016), which has received over 800,000 views, and a new movie “7 Days Adventure With God.” These movies claim to document miraculous healings Sondergaard and his followers allegedly perform when they go out on the streets and interact with people they encounter there.

This map from the Last Reformation website shows Sondergaard’s extensive reach. Have you personally encountered his teachings?

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Holly Pivec is the co-author of A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University.

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22 Responses to “One to Watch: Torben Sondergaard”

  1. kadri liisa Says:

    I have met some of his followers in estonia. And i have googled about this movement. There is weird understanding about salvation and baptism kind off like oneness ppl has and it made me careful.

  2. Dana Says:

    This has little to do with NAR and instead is just a Cessationist vs Continuationist argument. At least be honest about it. I have disagreements with Torben, but this article is poorly researched and put together.

  3. JLG Says:

    I have gone through Torben’s teaching and attended one of his three day events.  I’m not 100% clear, but want to be.  He IS part of NAR, therefore, his teachings should be rejected?  Thank you for any further clarification you can give me.  I’m SO determined to not fall into error.  God bless you!

  4. Lisa Says:

    My current affiliation is with a non-demonitional evangelical Church. Our
    strength is primarily in The Bible ,missions, & belief in all the gifts
    still applicabke for today. My personal tendency is discernment.

    I’ve been watching Torben for sometime now & recently attended a San Diego
    Kickstart. What was interesting is that Christians from various backgrounds
    could come together in unity over learning the Acts discipleship pattern. 

    I saw more people get healed and delivered in one weekend
    than my 13 years at Church. It happens but somehow the discipleship
    aspect is lacking to encourage believers to step out in God’s will and
    power on a consistent & larger scale.This is where I find the Last Reformation teaching helpful. You don’t 
    have to adopt doctrinal variations you don’t agree with. 

    Granted not everyone is willing to trust God & be willing to objectively observe something out of their 
    comfort zone. The fruit I saw was good. It led to repentance, deliverance, righteousness, and God’s power then working through them. It’s certainly not the pattern my church family has yet to adopt
    but it’s effective. 

  5. Elon Says:

    Hi Holly,

    Thanks for the info on Torben Sondergaard. It’s a name we now know to watch out for. I thought to myself after I read your article, I wonder if this guy has been over here? And indeed yes. One of the NAR congregations (Tiferet Yeshua) over here invited him over to Israel here to “teach”. A major NAR organisation called Fellowship of Israeli Related Ministries (FIRM) also recently invited the likes of Todd White over to impart his “anointing” to youth so they can release his other gospel on to the unsuspecting Israeli public in the street. There are at least 70 congregations, organisations and so-called ministries over here which teach NAR stuff or are under the oversight of these fake NAR apostles and psuedo-prophets, and that’s just the ones we know about.

    Incidentally, people are so wrong to think this is a cessationist vs non-cessationist argument. I and my associates by no means embrace cessationism, yet we recognise this stuff for the heresy that it is. I was in the UK Restoration Movement in the 80′s so I know what this stuff is about and it’s pure poison, but so many are deceived by it. It seems also that many adopt a kind of spiritual pragmatism, “Oh look there are signs and wonders, and love and unity when we all worship together”. This is the kind of woolly thinking that was behind the Pentecostal acceptance of William Branham, regardless of the occult origin of his powers; and the mentality that led the Charismatic Renewal straight into the arms of Rome in the 1960′s, because they saw Mary-worshipping catholics speaking in tongues. When will we learn that signs and wonders and unity and gooey feelings have no relation to biblical truth in and of themselves! People just want power and signs etc, but what did Jesus say: “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.” This tells us a lot about what calls itself “the Church” today.

  6. Holly Says:

    JLG, in our two books about NAR, my co-author and I explain what NAR teachings are, how they stand up to Scripture, and why they should be rejected. I’m not commenting on all of his teachings in this post. What I am doing is pointing out his part in NAR. NAR teachings, I believe, should be rejected.

  7. Dana Says:

    Elon, 
    What Holly presented here is poor. It reads like a very typical cessationist vs continuationist argument about the 5 fold ministry and equating anyone who believes in it as NAR. There is nothing in this article that “proves” he is NAR. Did you actually watch the excerpt of the video she posted? He did not in any way teach the NAR version of the 5 fold ministry. 

    There are more continuationists who are seeing through the NAR and are warning about their teachings, but don’t think for a moment that continuationists are going to apologize for the ministry roles listed in Ephesians 4 nor the gifts of the spirit outlined in 1 Corinthians 12. If you want to say the NAR has perverted these, then you have to explain this and not just claim if someone believes in the 5 fold ministry that they are NAR. It’s sloppy at best and deceptive at worst.

    There are some very real critiques you could make about Torben. He believes in Jesus only baptism. He believes that if you do not speak in tongues, you do not have the Holy Spirit. He generally thinks everyone needs to go through deliverance at the time of salvation and baptism. One amazing thing he does do though is preach an accurate gospel message, calling people into repentance which those who you call NAR, do not do. 

    I don’t even agree with a lot of what Torben teaches and thought his Last Reformation movie was too anti-church for me, but what has been presented here is so pathetic. You will only get Amen’s from the choir you are already preaching to. If that’s what you care about, then keep doing it.

    Do any of you believe you are setting things straight and presenting truths that have been twisted over time in the church? I guess that makes you NAR according to this article. 

    Do any of you have influence? I guess that makes you NAR according to this article. 

    These are not very good arguments in the eyes of continuationists. That is why it looks like a Cessationist vs Continuationist argument. If you want to reach continuationists, then you need to come up with some better arguments, which if any real research had been done into Torben could have been presented. Yet I don’t think it points to him being “NAR”, but just having a different opinion on how some scriptures are interpreted. From what I’ve seen from this website and others associated with it, calling everyone you don’t like or agree with as part of NAR is just easier. 

    The NAR label is becoming a garbage pail label where you put everyone in it you want to write off. Congratulations for making it meaningless. It’s like liberals during the election who called everyone hitler, racists and homophobes. After a while it just looks like someone crying wolf.

  8. Holly Says:

    Dana, the core teaching of NAR is that the church is to be governed by the fivefold ministry offices–including the offices of apostle and prophet. I linked to a brief video clip where he discusses these offices, but he goes into more detail in his book, The Last Reformation. There it is clear that he views the fivefold ministry not in terms of merely giftings, but as offices . (He identifies himself as an apostle.) He also teaches that these offices were lost by the church in its early centuries but were restored during the Wesh Revival in the early 20th century. These are NAR teachings, not merely continuationist teachings about the miraculous gifts. Dana, if you reread my article carefully I think you will see that I did not claim that being influential makes one part of NAR.

  9. Emily Says:

    Perhaps the term NAR is being used so frequently because the movement has grown and spread like the cancer it is.  So called apostles and prophets going around performing “healings” on people on the street (but conveniently for them, not in hospitals where the real healings are needed) are a dime a dozen these days.  Ridiculous prophecies are spoken nearly everyday and people cling to them like a horoscope, yet the person is never called a false prophet except from discerners like Holly and others who warn the flock.  So, yes, in regards to Sondergaard, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.  Regardless of whether the apostolic gifts are still in existence today, the false NAR apostles and prophets have made a spectacle out of them.

  10. Phony Says:

    Having gone through NAR and The Last Reformation groups (Torben), I can say there is a vast difference between the two. NAR are signs, wonders and prophecy focused with weird doctrines that wax worse and worse, lacking a repentance and holiness message, among other discrepancies. TLR uses signs and wonders as a means to minister a repentance and holiness gospel.

    I don’t know much about the 5-fold ministry, but it’s hard to paint Torben with the same overall NAR brush based on this assumption. His message, life and work checks off a lot of boxes, though the movement is lacking in some areas while still learning. Having contact with some people close to leadership and Torben, he is definitely aware of the false NAR influence and speaking out against some of their questionable doctrines, including Identity Teaching.

    Having been personally bruised by the NAR churches, I can understand the knee-jerk reaction to anything that might resemble that. However, for those who are interested in what’s happening at TLR, I would advise a more diligent search before dismissing it.

  11. tcunningham Says:

    Dana says that Sondergaard preaches an accurate Gospel. What is Sondergaards teaching on the Gospel. If anyone who has listened to his body of work could paraphrase.

  12. Michael Ferguson Says:

    For the most part, I find Holly’s research about the NAR true and helpful. I agree with Dana though that at least from appearances much of what she shares herein comes across as a stretch. Overall though, that’s not what caught my attention about this man. His initial comments in the first video- the first 1:30 were excellent. Did any of you really hear any of that? He is 100% correct in saying that turning the spiritual body of Jesus Christ into a business is indeed prostitution. Isn’t that what every single religious institution/organization has done? 

     It is so easy to bring to light the many errors of the leaders and followers of the NAR- most of which are legitimate. But isn’t it long overdue that we face ourselves (those who continue to promote these institutions (leaders) among us, and (followers) who continue to acquiesce to the many unscriptural patterns we’ve been taught wrongly for some 1700+ years? Are the errors of the NAR and worse than the physical religious kingdom building most of us are up to? You sure? 

     I challenge one and all to read the books of Hebrews and Revelation once again. The Christianity this man says he longs for is legit also- sadly the path he has chosen will not lead him to it. That road isn’t about adding anything that we can do to what God has finished. The real road to restoration starts with a personal decreasing from the top down. That is something almost no religious leader has ever been willing to do- to lose their lives for their friends. 

     The real remnant will flee anything that even resembles either Old Covenant theology or religiousinstitutionalism/business. God will destroy it all as He promised and all those who remain within it. This is real blunt spiritual theology found throughout Scripture.

  13. Watchman Says:

    There are HUGE differences between the NAR and Torben Sondergaard and The Last Reformation (TLR).

    The current main proponents of NAR theology are: Bethel Church (Bill Johnson), Iris Ministries (Heidi & Rolland Baker), Global Celebration (Georgian & Winnie Banov), Global Awakening (Randy Clark), Spread the Fire (John & Carol Arnott), but of course there are others.

    I have seen all of the NAR leaders that I have listed speak and “minister” in person and have very very serious concerns about them all. Certainly much of what they do is not biblical and people should be very wary of them and test all things against Scripture.

    I have also been to one of The Last Reformation’s (TLR) “Kickstart” events and have been out on street outreach with them. I am well acquainted with both groups, personally knowing people who are actively involved in both, and would NOT align them with each other in any way. Just because TLR believe in 5 Fold Ministry does not mean that they interpret it or implement it in the same way as the NAR do. TLR are NOT into the mystical experiences of the NAR, or the exaggerated and twisted doctrines of anointing and impartation which the NAR teach, or spiritual drunkenness which the NAR indulge in (which is not from God). There are many other differences and I do not believe that TLR are part of the NAR.

    I don’t think you can base who is part of the NAR solely on their beliefs about Ephesians 4:11 (5 fold ministry). It is certainly ONE test, but there are many other aberrant practices, distorted teachings and false doctrines which distinguish the NAR, some of which I have listed above, and none of which I have seen TLR doing.

    That is not to say that I don’t have concerns about TLR too. I do. Specifically they believe that baptism is a requirement of salvation, also that you HAVE to speak in tongues, and from what I have seen them do, they imply that most (if not all) people need to be delivered from demons. Whilst I believe in the demonic and have seen it manifest, I think their assumption that most people need deliverance required when coming to faith is Biblically incorrect.

    Yes both groups believe in miracles, but that is not sufficient to connect them. Some miracles are of course psychosomatic, some people never were healed, some do experience real healing but it is from a demonic source, and there are still also real valid Christian miracles from God. I am not going to say which of the above possibilities are happening when miracles happen in either the NAR or TLR. That is for each person to discern and come to your own conclusions in accordance with Scripture and the faithfulness of the entirety of the witness of these movements (or not) to the gospel.

  14. james Says:

    Holly has done us a great service to alert us concerning this individual and his movement. Many of Torben Sondergaard’s videos are confusing and strange. He claims (In a dream), he went to Heaven-the new earth. He also went to Hell, and saw Adam there. Another video of a follower of Torben’s claim’s he “saw a Demon sitting in his chair in front of the computer” 

  15. Jeff Says:

    Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

  16. Elliott Says:

    Thank you Holly for pointing out Torben’s teachings and how they line up with NAR doctrine. He is certainly one to keep an eye on. I’ve read both of your books and greatly appreciate your blog. We are presently working on a documentary film on NAR and your research has been very helpful. If you or others are interested, I wrote a lengthy article on Torben Sondergaard and The Last Reformation movement on my blog here (updated recently to include a quote from your article): https://www.holybibleprophecy.org/2017/06/16/last-reformation-get-back-book-acts/

  17. Holly Says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words and link to your article, Elliott!

  18. Steve Says:

    Hi Holly. 
    Thank you for covering this guy. Its very important.  
    My wife went to one of their Kickstart meetings a few months ago and took my daughter. I wasn’t even aware that she was going.  At this meeting, my little girl was baptized, slayed in the spirit and spoke in tongues. They now regularly meet with other “believers” and go out “healing” people. 

    Because I point out some of the errors of their doctrines, my wife now thinks I’m  a heretic and that I don’t have the Holy spirit because, I myself,  don’t speak in tongues.  According to her I’m a Pharisee and a Sadducee. ( I didn’t know one could be both)  My 10 and 12 year old kids think I’m not going to heaven because my wife  openly tells them this. Moreover, she aggressively promotes the false doctrines of Torben Sondergaard to anyone who will listen. Our home has not been the same since.

    Having said all that,  I want to encourage anyone else who is dealing with similar circumstances. Only the Holy Spirit can deliver the deceived and lead them to Christ. With this in mind, pray that He will rescue your loved ones, opening their eyes to these lies.

    God is sovereign and in complete control. He knows the beginning from the end because He directs it and makes it happen. So pray for faith, strength and comfort for yourself. Teach the truth to your loved ones from the bible.  Don’t let yourself get suckered into silly arguments. Trust the Lord and conduct yourself according to 2 Timothy 2:24-26.

     24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,  25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;  26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
         

  19. Jen Says:

    Wow…powerful testimony regarding TLR in terms of the “fruit” not being good.  After having a powerful experience at one of the Kickstart weekends, I was determined to attend the three week PTS (Pioneer Training School) in either Denmark or North Carolina.  I was absolutely stopped from going.  I now see some of the errors in Torben’s teachings.  Any doctrine taken to the extreme becomes heresy.  Deception is thick.  

    Thank you so much, Holly, for writing this article.  It’s been eye opening.  

    Many blessings.

  20. BMO Says:

    Just some observations:
     
    “1. Sondergaard advocates a view known as “restorationism.” This is the belief that the church, after the first century, lost important truths and fell into apostasy…Restorationism is promoted by aberrant groups…”
     
    Isn’t this essentially the same thing that the Reformers such as Luther and Calvin did when they challenged the Roman Catholic Church?  They believed that certain truths regarding salvation were forgotten and needed to be restored to the Body of Christ.  If we were to use the same standard applied in this article, then the Protestant Reformation was “aberrant” due to it trying to restore forgotten truths.
     
    “2. Sondergaard promotes the present-day governing offices of apostle and prophet, which is the core teaching of the New Apostolic Reformation.”
     
    Can you give direct and explicit Scriptural evidence which says without question that these are no longer a part of the Body and passed away after the Apostolic Age?  If not, isn’t it safe to say that it is within their interpretive right and liberty as brothers and sisters in Christ to have these beliefs?

    I certainly understand that there are interpretive differences between branches and groups of Christianity, some of which directly contradict others…but unless there is explicit Scripture which unquestionably calls those who believe in modern apostles and prophets as deceived, then I think we should be very cautious in the conclusions we jump to.

  21. Graham Says:

    I was just listening to a message on Torben and some of his teaching. You can listen to it here: https://gccsatx.com/torben-sondergaard-last-reformation-cult/
    It appears one of his major errors is teaching we need to be baptised to be saved. How do others see this?

  22. Iris Cox Says:

    Salvation is by faith and he teaches baptism is an obedience. In Acts Peter was asked what must we do to be saved and I believe the answer was repent and be baptized.  He has a separate teaching on baptism because many people are concerned he is teaching works and not faith. See acts 2:38-41.  Note they gladly were baptized. 

    P

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