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That’s scary, Part 2: The spookier reason for the Passion Translation New Testament’s Oct. 31 release date

Passion Translation full New TestamentLast week I wrote a post noting that the book publisher BroadStreet chose Oct. 31 — Halloween Day — to release the controversial Passion Translation’s complete New Testament. Then one of my readers sent me a link to this article showing that the people behind the Passion Translation are reading an even spookier significance into the Oct. 31 release date.

Oct. 31 is not only Halloween Day; it’s also Reformation Day. This Oct. 31 will mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. So the makers of the Passion Translation have nicknamed their so-called translation the “Reformation Bible”  because they believe it will help launch a new reformation in the church. See the following announcement from the “lead translator” of the Passion Translation, Brian Simmons, of Stairway Ministries.

This next year, October 31, 2017 leads us up to the celebration of the 500th year of Reformation of the church, the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. It was a day that changed the church and the world forever. I believe we are on the precipice of another reformation of sorts and without realizing it we have been planning all along to roll out the completed Passion Translation New Testament on that very day. We are nick- naming our translation, the Reformation Bible. We believe that it will truly be a great tool in this next great moving of God’s Spirit in the earth which will affect many generations to come! (Stairway Ministries, March 2017 Newsletter)

What is this “another reformation of sorts” that Simmons references? Similarly, what is he referring to in saying “this next great moving of God’s Spirit?” No doubt he’s referring to the movement of which he is an apostle in, the New Apostolic Reformation, which seeks to restore the present-day governing offices of apostle and prophet to the church.

It’s ironic that Simmons would try to align his “translation” with a movement based on the doctrine of sola scriptura — that is, Scripture alone — because the Passion Translation is not a translation of Scripture at all. It’s not even a loose paraphrase. Rather it’s the product of Simmons imposing his own fanciful interpretations on the text. To see what I mean, check out this review of Simmons’ bizzare rendering of Song of Songs, written by George Athas.

Yet Simmons is not the only NAR leader seeking to relate this movement to the 16th century Protestant Reformation. So have many others, starting with the influential NAR apostle C. Peter Wagner, who coined the name “New Apostolic Reformation.

  •  C. Peter Wagner: In his book Changing Church, Wagner claims that the effects of this movement will be as great as, or even greater than, the effects of the Protestant Reformation (p. 10).
  • Bill Hamon: The extremely influential prophet Hamon teaches that God began restoring lost truths to the church during the Protestant Reformation and has continued to do so through present-day apostles and prophets. (Day of the Saints, p. 49).
  • James Goll: The prophet James Goll, another major player in the movement, carried on these claims during a recent media panel discussion I took part in, organized by the Religion News Association. Goll sought to portray the NAR movement as simply an outworking of the Protestant Reformation.

But by flogging two “restored offices” that can proclaim new revelation to the body of Christ — and prophetically re-interpret already existing passages in the Bible to mean something totally alien to their original meaning — NAR leaders are undoing the Reformation, not upholding it or its principles. And that’s what’s really scary about Simmons’ attempt to jump on the Reformation bandwagon.


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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35 Responses to “That’s scary, Part 2: The spookier reason for the Passion Translation New Testament’s Oct. 31 release date”

  1. kadri liisa Says:

    Thx for information. Actually in my language someone has translated some parts of this version…i personally would like to check it out at least those parts that are translated. Just out of curiosity as i have read also bit Voice bible.

  2. Thomas Campbell Says:

    Thank you for the “heads up” information. Your research and analysis are much appreciated.

  3. Craig Says:

    kadri liisa,
    It sounds as though you already know this, so I state this generally. To properly translate Scripture is to start with the Greek manuscripts themselves–not another English version. Otherwise, the result is a translation of a translation, which leads to all kinds of errors.
    Of course, Simmons begins with his own concoction–what he thinks the original text is. Since he thinks the original manuscripts are in Aramaic, he first posits what he thinks the Aramaic would be, then takes his supposition, filters it through NAR theology, and subsequently translates that into English.

  4. arnold smith Says:

    every cult needs it’s own translation of the bible! following in the steps of the Mormons.

    i see this as the final nail in the NAR delusion….and God may be the one sending this delusion because they don’t love the truth. 2 Thess. 2:10-11

  5. Carol Berubee Says:

    Arnold Smith, not to be too nitpicky, but the Mormons don’t have their own translation. They use the KJV, plus they have the Book of Mormon, which is not a translation, but a completely different book. They don’t claim it to be a translation because it’s not. It’s a new revelation that they use in conjunction with the KVJ.

    Maybe you’re thinking about the Jehovah’s Witnesses? They have their New World Translation of the Bible.

  6. Glenn E. Chatfield Says:

    Not to be to nitpick, but the Mormons DO have their own translation of the Bible.  It is called “The Holy Scriptures: Inspired Version” by Joseph Smith.  It is subtitled, “Containing the Old and New Testaments: An Inspired Revision of the Authorized Version.”  I think that subtitle was added by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who own the original manuscripts and have the copyright.  The Utah LDS branch cites heavily from it in their commentaries and other teachings, but since they don’t have the copyright they can’t publish it and they won’t buy them from the RLDS (now known as the “Community of Christ.”  While this version is mostly plagiarized KJV, there are whole lot of added passages and others “fixed” to support LDS theology.

  7. Edwin Says:

    Carol Berubee , I have read some of the Book Of mormon and it was parts of the Bible put in different order

  8. Carol Berubee Says:

    Edwin, I’m not sure how you could think the Book of Mormon is “parts of the Bible put in different order.” It is “another testimony of Jesus Christ,” according to the Mormons. It is comprised of the accounts of a completely different set of people than what the Bible tells us. Where in the Bible do you find people named Nephi, Alma, Omni, Jarom, Helaman, and Moroni? Where in the Bible do you find the accounts of the “real church” in the 5th century AD?

  9. Glenn E. Chatfield Says:


    I’d guess probably at least 50% of the Book of Mormon is just KJV copied in.

  10. Carol Berubee Says:

    Edwin and Glenn, the Book of Mormon is about a group of people God led to America. It says that Christ then appeared to them once they were in America. The point is that the Book of Mormon is NOT a translation of the Bible. It is a different document that uses some of the Bible as a springboard and a historical matrix from which to narrate a new story about a new group of people in a completely different land.

    And lest anyone think Mormonism is off-topic, it’s not. Mormons believe that they have the true apostles and prophets among their ranks and that God is continuing to speak more revelation to them. They believe the Book of Mormon is the result of once such revelation concerning the true church that was established in America. Once established in America, and Joseph Smith having received and revealed this information, the Mormons have continued to publish new prophetic words given to their apostles until this day.

  11. Glenn E. Chatfield Says:

    Carol, The BOM does indeed have many parts of the Bible, plagiarized from the KJV word-for-word (which brings the question how “Reformed Egyptian” can be translated into the exact words as translating from the Hebrew and Greek.  

    Smith made up all the names for his stories he built around the KJV texts.

  12. Glenn E. Chatfield Says:


    You don’t need to lecture me about the BOM.  I’m an ex-Mormon and have thoroughly studied the LDS and its sects for the past 40 years.  The LDS is a rank cult, but we need to get the information about them factual.  I don’t know why my first comment hasn’t been moderated yet, but I explain about the LDS and their own version of the Bible and the BOM is not their Bible.  I also explain the the BOM is probably at least 50% plagiarism from the KJV with Smith’s imagination building stories around the KJV texts.  The LDS is fake, the BOM is fake, and Jospeh Smith’s “Inspired Version” of the Bible is fake.

  13. Carol Berubee Says:

    Hey Glenn, I wasn’t lecturing. I was responding to Arnold’s comment that all cults have their own translations of the Bible. Since no Mormons that I know of have ever owned a copy of anything but the KJV, the BOM, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, I had to assume that Arnold was referring to the BOM, not “their own version of the Bible.” My fault for assuming!

    When Edwin said that the BOM was “parts of the Bible put in different order,” I could only infer that he viewed the BOM as a translation, but “put in different order.” I was seeking to clarify that the BOM is not a translation, nor a paraphrase. My point was to head off readers here from thinking that the BOM was nothing more than another translation of the Scriptures.

    I married into a Mormon family 32 years ago. I don’t know as much as you do, obviously, but that’s the point. The average reader here doesn’t have a clue that the Mormons have their own translation. The vast majority of people think the Mormons only study the BOM. That was my frame of reference in originally responding to Arnold and Edwin. Your comment from Nov. 2 was not posted until Nov. 5, so I had no way of having that information.

    Holly, I apologize for taking too much of your time on this issue. Glenn, I apologize if it seemed that I was lecturing you.

  14. Glenn E. Chatfield Says:


    I was just confused by some of your statements as to whether you were defending the BOM as a “new revelation.”  Glad to see the confusion cleared up!

  15. BMO Says:

    Hey Holly – you’ve made a few points about this movement that I’d like to provide a counterpoint to.  I certainly do understand your position and concerns, and I’d appreciate the chance to state some different views on the issues.
    “…which seeks to restore the present-day governing offices of apostle and prophet to the church.”
    Ephesians 4 really seems to be pretty direct here:
    “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” – Eph 4:11-16
    We still have teachers…right?
    We still have evangelists…right?
    We still have pastors…right?
    Why wouldn’t we have the other two roles listed in the verse?  The passage gives conditions for when we will no longer need these…and those conditions don’t seem to have been met yet.  Are we fully mature?  Do we have full unity of faith?

    Scripture seems to say that if we do not have all of these roles in play, then we will be carried along by every wind of doctrine, human cunning, and deceit.  Consider the number of bitter divisions in Christianity over the last 500 years – in some cases, Christians murdered other Christians over doctrinal differences.  I wouldn’t describe our last 500 years as “built up in love”.  The passage seems to pretty directly say that with all five of these roles equipping the Church, we will mature and grow.
    “…two “restored offices” that can proclaim new revelation to the body of Christ — and prophetically re-interpret already existing passages in the Bible to mean something totally alien to their original meaning”
    I’m sure there are some who go to this dramatic extent you portray.  But I’ve interacted with a few  apostles and prophets and none of them held these beliefs regarding their roles.  Believe it or not, there actually are those who uphold the Word of God and try to adhere to the Biblical pattern and description of these roles.  It doesn’t seem like this portrayal is representative of everyone in this movement.  It doesn’t seem fair to take an extreme case and apply it to all.

    Also, Paul explicitly prayed for the Ephesians to have the manifestation of revelation from the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:17)?  Look at “revelation” in the writings of Paul – it’s almost always associated with visions, prophecies, and direct communication and guidance with God.


    Based on how the word “revelation” is used by Paul, it’s not a stretch to say that Paul probably wanted the Ephesians to have visions, prophecies, and receive direct communication/guidance from God.  None of these revelations should ever contradict the plain revelation of Scripture, but ongoing dialog with God seems to be the expectation and the norm in the Book.  Since we all hold different roles within the Body, it’s not much of a stretch to say that God would dialog with us in different ways and towards different ends.  He could direct an evangelist in how best to reach the lost.  He could direct a teacher in how to make a point that will stick.  Why is it such a stretch to say that God would give revelation specific to the roles of apostles and prophet that would help them equip and mature the Body?

    Again, I do understand your concerns and I think you make valid points that apply to some in this movement.  I would just say that there is biblical precedent for these roles and that ongoing revelation from God seems to be a clear tenet of Scripture.

  16. Glenn E. Chatfield Says:

    Ephesians says the church was built on the FOUNDATION of apostles and prophets.  Once a foundation is laid, it is never a gain re-laid.  The church with the OTHER gifts built on the foundation of apostles and prophets.

    Apostles, especially, had specific qualification/requirements for office which no current “apostle” meets.
    And not current “prophet” has ever had a true prophecy. I guess that makes them false prophets.

  17. Craig Says:

    “Direct communication and guidance with [/from] God” does not necessarily entail “visions” or “prophecies” of the ecstatic type. Being led by the Spirit can be, and usually is, much more subtle.
    As to whether Paul means ecstatic “visions, prophecies” in Eph 1:17, first one must look to the Greek for the word that has been translated as “revelation”. That word is apokalypsis. Sometimes it is used in the manner in which you state, yet at others it simply means something that has already been, or will be, revealed/made known in some way. Here are all the passages in Paul which contain this word, followed by whether or not the particular passage validates a “visions, prophecies” of the type you seem to propose:
    Romans 2:5 = day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed – no

    Romans 8:19 = creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God — no
    Romans 16:25 = revelation of the mystery hidden [Christ] which has been kept secret — yes
    1 Cor 1:7 = the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ —no
    1 Cor 14:6 = by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching — maybe
    1 Cor 14:26 = a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation — maybe
    2 Cor 12:1 = I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord — yes
    2 Cor 12:7 = the surpassing greatness of the revelations — yes
    Gal 1:12 = I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ — yes
    Gal 2:2 = I went up according to a revelation — yes
    Eph 1:17 = a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him — maybe
    Eph 3:3 = by revelation there was made known to me the mystery — yes
    2 Th 1:7 = when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven —no
    The passages are split with 6 a solid “yes”, 4 a solid “no”, and 3 “maybe”. All “yes” Scriptures are about Paul’s Damascus Road encounter. The main issue, though, is whether Paul is being descriptive or prescriptive. In other words, was Paul merely explaining his own experience or was Paul telling the reader to expect the same for him/herself? Stated another way, is Paul saying that he expects others to have the same sort of direct revelation he experienced on the Damascus Road? I submit that that answer is “no”. Only the First Corinthians 14 passages speak of ‘revelations’ generally; whereas, all the others which speak of “visions and revelations” refer strictly to Paul’s own experience.

  18. Holly Says:

    BMO, the books I co-authored deal extensively with the passage of Scripture you cite (Eph. 4:11-13) and arguments you raise in support of the present-day offices of apostle and prophet. One thing I’ll point out here is that the Ephesians passage says nothing about formal, governing offices. It’s difficult for me to address all the issues you raise in depth in a comment, but I’ve dealt with them at length in the books. Have you read the books, especially the beefier one, A New Apostolic Reformation? Once you read it, perhaps you could ask me a more specific question.

  19. BMO Says:

    Hey Holly – I would appreciate the opportunity to respond to a few of the counterpoints provided by others in this thread in regards to my previous post.  I feel that many of the misunderstandings between these groups of believers can be resolved through an understanding of the position of the other side.
    “Ephesians says the church was built on the FOUNDATION of apostles and prophets.  Once a foundation is laid, it is never a gain re-laid.”
    Glenn, thanks for your feedback, brother.  And thank you for fighting for the purity faith in a public capacity through your ministry and blog.
    I appreciate your knowledge of and zeal for Scripture.  I have seen that passage as well (Eph. 2:20).  My opinion is that the passage doesn’t give enough specificity to say that apostles and prophets have ceased.  For example: which apostles and prophets is it talking about?  Are we talking prophets like Isaiah…or are we talking about prophets like Agabus in Acts 21?  Scripture calls Agabus a prophet, but I wouldn’t say that he is a foundation of the Church.  Also Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:37, “If any man think himself to be a prophet,” and yet doesn’t rebuke them for claiming to be prophets.  In fact, Paul possibly gives a mark of a true prophet – they listen to and submit to Paul’s writings.  If prophets were done away with, then surely he would address those who claim to be prophets in the Church as false and errant.  Paul gives no mercy to false teaching (see Galatians).
    Scripture doesn’t say that this foundation is a “one and done” kind of thing – we have to read that into the passage.  It just says the saints are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.  The passage could even mean that if an apostle or prophet is connected to Christ, then they are a part of the foundation for a local body of believers.
    “That word is apokalypsis. Sometimes it is used in the manner in which you state”
    Hey Craig – thanks for getting into the text and breaking it down!  Just going off of the list and tally you provided above, then possibly up to 69% of all usages of the word by Paul indicate these forms of revelation.  Even if it’s just a clear 50%…that’s still a pretty big majority of cases with a common meaning.
    “I submit that that answer is “no”.”
    And I believe the answer is “yes”.  I believe that this and passages like Acts 2:17 give us a picture of what God wants for His Church.  And I think it’s perfectly fine for us to disagree on this.  My issue is the confident assertions found on this website (not by you) that the other side is “in error” or possibly deceived for believing in a more prescriptive Bible.  We can disagree on things like this without being heretics or false believers.
    “One thing I’ll point out here is that the Ephesians passage says nothing about formal, governing offices.”
    Thank you for replying to me!  I appreciate that you have delved deeply into these issues.  I would agree – this specific passage is about equipping, not Church government.  I am simply making the case that apostles and prophets as an ongoing equipping role within the Church is pretty plain-text Scripture.  There is no reason in the text to remove 2 of the 5 listed as an ongoing part of the Body.
    My issue is that you have taken some very extreme cases – apostles and prophets who demand absolute authority over the Church – and applied this to the movement at large.  The extreme is not representative of the mean.

  20. Carol Berubee Says:

    BMO, good discussion.

    The prophets we see in Acts are all Jews. Agabus as a Jew; Philip’s daughters were Jewish. The prophets in Syrian Antioch were Jews. This is a partial fulfillment of the Joel 2 prophecy that Peter quotes in Acts 2:17-21. The Age of Israel would not end until AD 70. In the meantime, the Church Age had begun. As God was winding down the Jewish program, He had already begun a new thing, the Church, comprised of Jew and Gentile.
    Apostles and Prophets that were foundational to the Church ended with the first Apostles and Prophets. There are no more Apostles. The Apostles were those who had seen the Lord and had been subsequently sent by Him to proclaim His Word for the laying of the foundation of the Church. Paul was the last Apostle (1 Corinthians 15:8). There were Prophets who were associated with these Apostles, not having seen the Lord, but operating in the power of the Spirit in the laying of the foundation of the Church. Paul was the masterbuilder of the Church and there were Apostles and Prophets associated with him. These Prophets are not the OT Prophets because the OT Prophets never prophesied of the Church. The Church was a mystery until it was revealed to Paul. To back up these aforementioned claims, I’d have to write a book. And I did. :)
    Ephesians 2:20 is essential. You must know that no builder can commence construction until the foundation is complete. And there is only one foundation. No builder comes back and tries to lay more foundation on top of the building that’s being constructed. The Apostles and Prophets laid the one foundation and others build thereon.
    Aside from the specific role of Apostles in the laying of the foundation, we do see the gift of prophecy given by the Spirit to certain individuals in Corinth. Prophecy was still going forth in the AD 50s in Corinth (and we must assume in other churches) and this certainly would have solidified the ground floor of the Church. This gift, however, would cease (1 Corinthians 13:8). This gift would no longer be needed once the NT epistles were complete.
    Because prophecy had always been reserved only for Jews, we may infer that only Jewish Christians in Corinth had received the gift of prophecy, but we can’t make that assumption. It is evident that Gentiles were also prophesying. The reason the Gentiles were given the same gifts as the Jews, particularly the sign gifts of prophecy, tongues, and words of knowledge, was to validate Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles as the proclaimer of the mystery of Christ, and, indeed, the mystery itself — Jew and Gentile as one new man in Christ.
    You cite Ephesians 4:12-14 and well you should. But you take it to mean that we must have all 5 gifts of verse 11 still operating because the Body is not yet full grown. However, as Ephesians 2:20 concludes, the two gifts of Apostles and Prophets ended with the laying of the foundation. Paul, in chapter 4, refers to Apostles and Prophets only because they were still alive and active in his day. He was one of them. They had laid the foundation, and then we have evangelists, pastors and teachers to continue to help build the Body. But they must build on Paul’s foundation as masterbuilder (1 Corinthians 3:10); this is how we will attain to the unity of the faith.

  21. Craig Says:


    Words only obtain meaning within their respective contexts. Implicit in my comment above is a caution against eisegesis—reading into a passage. For example, if I were to tell you that I was involved in a traffic mishap, in which someone operating a blue vehicle hit my red one, I’m merely explaining what had happened, not advocating for car crashes. In the same way, Paul, in explaining his Damascus Road encounter or his ‘third heaven’ experience and later referring back to them, is merely explaining what had happened, not advocating for ecstatic experiences.

    Your penchant for reading into Scripture is carried over in your selective quoting of my own words out of context and reinterpreting them. Eisegesis is part and parcel of ‘the movement’ that your promote and to which you adhere.

  22. Glenn E. Chatfield Says:


    I think the context of Eph 2:20 is plain, that if the church is built on the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, the apostles would have to be the ones holding said office, since they are the ones would founded started the individual assemblies and took the gospel throughout the empire.  They were the only ones who had specific authority with authenticating gifts. 

    A foundation is by definition a one-time thing.  Everything is built on a foundation.  Unless you tear down what is built, there is no need for a new foundation.  Of course cults like Mormons claim the original foundation was destroyed, which seems to be what the NAR and their ilk are claiming if we need new apostles and prophets.  It seems to me that YOU are the one practicing eisegesis with this passage.
    There are no apostles today which meet the biblical requirements of apostleship, nor are there any prophets today who meet the biblical requirements to be prophets.

  23. BMO Says:

    “YOU are the one practicing eisegesis with this passage…There are no apostles today which meet the biblical requirements of apostleship, nor are there any prophets today who meet the biblical requirements to be prophets.”
    Let’s agree to disagree.  And guess what – that’s fine!  Neither of us are heretics, cult members, or counterfeit believers.  We are brothers in Christ trying to figure this thing out to the best of our ability.

  24. John For Says:

    Recently, I left a church that is strongly affiliated with the  both Brian Simmons and Bethel Church. About two years ago i discussed with Brian Simmons Hebrews 6(Spiros Zodhaites’ Study Bible has a detailed exegesis  on this scripture). Later i learned from this website that Brian Simmons was using an Aramaic text to translate  the Passion Translation.  Just before i left Engaging Heaven in New London, Connectict, I gave Brian Simmons a long essay demonstrating that over 48% of the quotations of Jesusy 7 in the Gospel of Mathew were probably  spoken by Jesus in Kline Greek.  The Sermon on the Mount was most likely delivered in Kline Greek because in the Gallee  of the Getiles the vast majority of the  inhabitants  spoken Greek judging from ossirary  inscriptions. The use of the uniquely  Greek word, hypocrite is a strong indicator  that this discourse  was in the Greek language. Finally, I find it amusing that demonstrating that many of the discoures of Jesus were in Greek made proving the thesis that the New Testament was written in Greek easier to prove. 
         I have known Brian Simmo s for almost forty years and have heard him preach for nearly one hundred times. He is usually introduced an apostle and specifically the apostle over Engaging Heaven. I have many things to say about the ministry of the apostle, but I will posts by i know that apostles have brought the church out of the Dark Ages into a new and living way. May I put forth Count Ludwig von Zinzindorff and the Moravians  as a modern day apostolic church. You cannot refute an apostolic anointing that raised up a prayer meeting that functioned continuously for over one hundred years.

  25. Glenn E. Chatfield Says:

    No, I do NOT “agree to disagree” when it comes to false teachings.  All current claims to apostleship and being prophets are false, as proven by actions and by lack of biblical qualifications.  These false apostles and prophets lead people into bondage of false teachings.  That is evil and not something to just “agree to disagree” on.

    The very FIRST qualification of an apostle is to have seen the risen Christ (Acts 1:21-23; 1 Cor. 9:1).  NO current “apostle” has this very first qualification.  End of story.

  26. BMO Says:

    “The main issue, though, is whether Paul is being descriptive or prescriptive…Eisegesis is part and parcel of ‘the movement’ that your promote and to which you adhere.”
    Hey Craig – I’ve got to say, let’s just agree to disagree!  There isn’t much benefit to us fighting this out.  I think the issue can be summed up in that we disagree on which portions of the Bible are prescriptive and which are descriptive, as you previously said.  Thanks for your valuable feedback, it has given me further insight into the other side of the issue.  And by the way, I never did say I was a part of the movement or that I adhere to it…that was read into the text (I tease :p)
    Hey Carol!  I have never actually heard a few of your takes on Scripture – very interesting!  I agree, this is a good discussion.  I feel that disagreements and tensions could be eased if we hear out and understand the other side.
    “There are no more Apostles.”
    A misunderstanding I think the “Spirit of Error” side holds is the thought that the average “NAR” church believes that their “apostles” are the same as the “Apostles”.  I’m sure I’ve missed it, but I haven’t seen this addressed by Holly or other discernment ministries.  I have never met an apostle who believes they are the same in every way, function, and authority as Paul and Peter.  I’m sure there are some out there who believe they are, but this doesn’t seem to be the case of those I’ve met.
    I feel a lot of misunderstanding between the two sides can be resolved by a vigorous study of the word “apostle”.  Dr. Jon Mark Ruthven from Regent Theology Seminary in his excellent book “What’s Wrong with Protestant Theology” deals with the concept of apostles in some depth.  His essential finding is that our modern understanding of “apostle” was actually shaped by theological debates between the early Reformers and the Catholic Church.  It actually wasn’t a mainstream belief in Christianity that apostles had ceased until the Reformation and many of our debates here are foreign to the early Church.
    “This gift, however, would cease (1 Corinthians 13:8). This gift would no longer be needed once the NT epistles were complete.”
    There’s a good book out there co-authored by 4 excellent scholars called “Are the Miraculous Gifts for Today?”.  The scholars argue 4 different views spanning from “go for the all of the gifts” to “the gifts have ceased”.  Sam Storms in his recent Convergence Conference has stated that the scholar who staunchly defended cessationism has since “given up the ghost” on trying to make 1 Corinthians 13:8 say the gifts have ceased.  In other words, even the Bible scholar tasked with defending cessationism who used 1 Corinthians 13:8 as his proof text has since given up attempting to do so.  Cessationism is very hard to defend from a purely biblical standpoint.  To fact check me on this, you can view the full conference here.  The comment on scholars basically abandoning hard cessationism is in the “Q&A” panel.

  27. Holly Says:

    BMO, my co-authored book A New Apostolic Reformation? does address, in great length, the nature of authority that many NAR apostles and prophets claim to possess.

  28. BMO Says:

    “No, I do NOT “agree to disagree” when it comes to false teachings…The very FIRST qualification of an apostle is to have seen the risen Christ”
    Hey Glenn – I see this is very important to you and that you are very zealous to fight false teaching.  I truly do wish the Body at large cared so much about the truth!  This said, I do have a few questions regarding your accusations.  I feel we are disagreeing over terms here more than actual material teachings or doctrines.
    Let’s start with the word “apostle”.  Can you please show me through Scripture that the apostles listed in the passages below are of the same type, category, and function in each verse in which the word is used?  In other words, are all of these categories of “apostles” referring to the same thing?  If so, what is an “apostle”?
    - The apostles Jesus commissioned (Matt. 10:2)
    - The apostles the Church foundation is laid on (Eph. 2:20)
    - The apostles which equip the Church (Eph. 4:11-16)
    - Jesus, the apostle of our faith (Heb. 3:1)
    - A true apostle, which is attested to by signs and wonders (2 Corinthians 12:12)
    Whatever definition you generate for the word “apostle”, it has to include Jesus in it, since Scripture explicitly calls Him an apostle!  Our disagreement here is that we are not operating with the same definition of the word “apostle” and Scripture seems to have various definitions and functions.  In some situations, it refers to a group of personal disciples commissioned by Jesus.  In another situation, it refers to Jesus Himself.  In another situation, it refers to the foundation of the Church.  In another, it refers to an equipping role for the Church.  The specific role and calling can be entirely different in each verse!  This is why it is very hard for me to accept that it is “false” and “evil” for there to be modern “apostles” when Scripture doesn’t even give a unified definition for the term.
    The issue, as I see it, is that there are different callings and roles for apostles.  The word basically just means “one sent”.  Jesus, our chief apostle, was sent to destroy the works of the Devil and seek and save that which was lost.  The 12 apostles were commissioned and sent to supernaturally demonstrate the Gospel and proclaim the Kingdom.  The apostle Paul was sent to the Gentiles.  The apostles in Ephesians 4 are sent to equip the Body until we all mature.  These are all different roles and responsibilities.  The apostles of today, in my opinion, fall into the category of Ephesians 4 – equipping apostles. 
    “BMO, my co-authored book A New Apostolic Reformation? does address, in great length, the nature of authority that many NAR apostles and prophets claim to possess.”
    Hey Holly, thanks again for doing such great research on the issue.  My issue with the “NAR” is that it is a construct – very few people in what you call the “NAR” actually believe themselves to be in the “NAR”.  It makes it easy to describe the movement and what is happening across the Body.  But it also makes it incredibly difficult to avoid grouping and gross characterization.  In fact, a few people in the movement which you call “NAR” even outright say they’re not a part of it, which can result in a “yes you are”, “no I’m not” back-and-forth.
    For example, I believe that apostles and prophets should be a part of equipping me as a member of the Body of Christ based on Ephesians 4.  But if any of the apostles and prophets equipping me say that I should listen to them above the Word of God, then I would call them in error and walk away.  Using your method of grouping and taking the extreme case and applying it to movement at large, I am one of the deceived members of the NAR.

  29. Carol Berubee Says:

    BMO, the Apostles and Prophets were no longer needed after the foundation was laid and the NT epistles were complete. Ephesians was written in AD 62; the doctrine for the Church was still being written down. As long as the epistles weren’t complete, the Apostles and Prophets were necessary; they would carry the Word and speak it forth until the Word was written.

    The accompanying signs were just that: signs. Why? Because God was establishing the Church, which was something new and unforeseen in the OT. Just because there were Apostles, Prophets, and signs in the beginning doesn’t mean they have to continue. The star that accompanied the birth of Christ didn’t follow Him around for the next 33 years. The Spirit landing on Him as a dove didn’t continue to sit on His shoulder for the next 3 years.

  30. Holly Says:

    BMO, the key issue at stake is whether or not the formal, governing offices of apostle and prophet are for today. Whether or not certain leaders say they are part of the NAR, the question is do they promote the teaching that the offices of apostle and prophet are for today. C. Peter Wagner came up with the term “New Apostolic Reformation” to refer to those churches and leaders that believe that the offices of apostle and prophet are for today.

  31. BMO Says:

    “BMO, the key issue at stake is whether or not the formal, governing offices of apostle and prophet are for today. Whether or not certain leaders say they are part of the NAR, the question is do they promote the teaching that the offices of apostle and prophet are for today.”
    Hey Holly – thank you once again for allowing me to comment on your website.  I certainly don’t want to be the “skunk at the garden party” and it is very charitable for you to continue allowing me to speak out.  And yes, I do know that Wagner coined the phrase NAR – I think it is safe to say that you are one of the most prolific researchers on the topic, however.
    And yes, I do understand that this is the issue you have identified.  At face value, this makes sense.  If anyone were to say that he deserves the exact same treatment, rights, and authority of say, Paul, then we’ve got some problems.  The problem here is that there seems to be mismatch between what you say NAR churches believe, and what NAR churches actually believe regarding their apostles and prophets.  And that’s the rub.  I feel that you are accusing many believers of errant doctrines which they simply don’t hold.
    Here is a quote, straight from Wagner, regarding the NAR: “Apostolic governance. As I mentioned before, this is probably the most radical change. I take literally St. Paul’s words that Jesus, at His ascension into heaven, “gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-12). Most of traditional Christianity accepts evangelists, pastors, and teachers, but not apostles and prophets. I think that all five are given to be active in churches today. In fact, St. Paul goes on to say, “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers…” (1 Corinthians 12:28). This does not describe a hierarchy, but a divine order. Apostles are first in that order.”
    However, here is a quote, straight from you regarding the NAR: “The apostolic-prophetic movement (also known as the “New Apostolic Reformation”) is a fast-growing movement that has arisen within Protestant Christianity that promotes modern-day apostles and prophets with great authority, supernatural powers, and the ability to give new doctrinal revelation. Advocates of this movement believe that all people, nations, and demonic principalities must submit to these apostles and prophets, who will lead God’s end-times army in establishing His kingdom on earth. “
    You aren’t even describing the same thing and yet you are calling it the NAR!  If you are going to say that Wagner named this, then surely it’s fair to at least hold the same definition of the movement that he holds.  His definition basically says, “Ephesians 4 is for today.”  Your definition basically says, “these apostles claim supernatural powers, can give new doctrine, and everyone must submit to them.”  Surely you can see these are entirely different definitions…right?
    As it is, you are accusing people who adhere to Wagner’s definition of the NAR of adhering to your definition of the NAR.  I believe in Ephesians 4 (Wagner’s definition).  But I don’t believe all people, nations, and principalities must submit to apostle and prophets (your definition).  I’m in Wagner’s NAR, but I’m not in your NAR.
    How this problem plays out is that many of your articles systematically attack those who adhere to Wagner’s definition as though they adhere to your definition.  And that’s the rub!

  32. Holly Says:

    BMO, the NAR beliefs I described (that you cited above) are documented from the writings of Wagner and other leaders in my books. Wagner did not state all the accompanying beliefs in that definition–those can be found in the six books he wrote on apostles as well as books by other leaders.

  33. BMO Says:

    “BMO, the NAR beliefs I described (that you cited above) are documented from the writings of Wagner and other leaders in my books. Wagner did not state all the accompanying beliefs in that definition–those can be found in the six books he wrote on apostles as well as books by other leaders.”
    Hey Holly – thanks for getting back to me.  I pose a simple question – if the beliefs you mention are central to the NAR, why would Wagner not use his NAR-defense article to detail these specific beliefs?  Why would one have to search his other writings and theories to arrive at your conclusion and definition?  If something is a core teaching of a movement, then the movement clearly advertises it as such.
    Also, you used a very key phase here, “as well as books by other leaders.”  You’re taking Wagner’s concept and building on it using other teachers and thinkers – which by definition changes the very concept that he sought to defend.  Wagner addressed most of the key beliefs which you attribute to the NAR, and in basically every single situation, he has a different concept and working definition than you do.  And yet, you attack your formed definition rather than working from his definition.
    I’ll be the first to say it – Wagner had some strange thoughts on a few issues.  But he didn’t claim that all his thoughts were representative of the movement that he was observing and defending.  They were his thoughts and theories – not his central defense of the movement.  You are going around the main and plain central arguments to focus on Wagner’s (and others’) theories and claiming they are the central points of the movement.  Surely you see this, right?  I mean, if two people describe what should be a simple concept, but do so in radically different ways then there is a lack of understanding present somewhere in the process.
    Again, I do appreciate your research in the area.  You have done great work tracing the history of the streams that combined to form this movement.  I’ll say it again: you are the first person I have heard outside of charismatic streams who knows this history.  I am just struggling with your conclusions, that is all.  Seen from “the other side”, many of the claims you are making against this movement aren’t representative of the whole.
    “…the Apostles and Prophets were no longer needed after the foundation was laid and the NT epistles were complete…The accompanying signs were just that: signs. Why? Because God was establishing the Church, which was something new and unforeseen in the OT…”
    Hi Carol, thanks again for the engaging discussion!  I definitely understand what you’re saying.  I have heard these arguments before, but I do not agree with them.
    My reasoning is pretty straightforward: these beliefs are simply not found in Scripture.  Scripture doesn’t say that apostles and prophets will no longer be needed after the Bible is written.  Scripture doesn’t say that signs were only for founding the Church.  These beliefs simply aren’t in the Book.
    This belief structure likely originated with man named BB Warfield who basically influenced a few generations of Bible scholars.  His arguments and methods have since been thoroughly challenged by many modern Bible scholars.  “On the Cessation of the Charismata” by Dr. Jon Mark Ruthven is considered by some to be the “nail in the coffin” so to speak on Warfield’s theories and hard cessationism as a whole.  Some of his arguments haven’t even been answered by the remaining cessationist scholars.
    If you would like to read more on this from the other side, an excellent book which I highly recommend is Jack Deere’s “Surprised by the Power of the Spirit”.  Regardless of if you agree with his theology or not, Deere does an excellent job of documenting the history of these beliefs.  Believe it or not, theologies like “signs were only for establishing the Church” actually didn’t appear in mainstream Christian thought and doctrine until a few hundred years ago.  In fact, there are several rich histories documenting signs and wonders in every century since Pentecost.
    But of course, we can disagree on these things and that’s fine!

  34. Holly Says:

    BMO, unfortunately I’m not going to have the time to keep going back and forth in the comments section, as much as I enjoy these discussions. Wagner wrote six books where he extensively lays out his views on present-day apostles and prophets. He consistently defines the core belief of NAR as being belief in the present-day offices of apostle and prophet–which, by itself, is a very controversial belief that has not been held through church history, except for a few groups on the fringes. Then, in his books, he lays out what he believes to be the nature, authority, and functions of those offices. We were very careful to explain his views on these matters and show where exactly he argues for those views in his own writings. If you want to understand his views, it’s not sufficient to read an article in Charisma magazine where he is seeking to do damage control after coming under heavy criticism for the things he’s written in his books; you must go directly to his own, extensive writings. But even looking at the Charisma article, I don’t see how anything he wrote in there changes anything we argued in our books or I’ve argued on this blog. One more point: we are very clear in our books that not all people who hold to belief in present-day apostles and prophets hold to all the other NAR teachings we critique in our books. The one thing all participants in this movement share in common is that the church must be governed by present-day apostles and prophets. That belief, we argue, cannot be supported in Scripture.

  35. BMO Says:

    “BMO, unfortunately I’m not going to have the time to keep going back and forth in the comments section, as much as I enjoy these discussions.”
    Yep – time is the commodity we are all short on :)
    I definitely understand that your heart has been to uphold the Christian faith and defend the truth we all cherish.  Thank you for doing so.  I really mean it.  We need your values and skills in all of our churches.  There are very few people who have the courage to publicly stand for the Christian faith in the face of an increasingly secular world.  I pray the Lord blesses your ministry in every way!
    I think at the end of this thing, we’ll all find we have much more in common than we imagined – Blessing sister!
    P.S. If your family comes down to Texas, we should all go Treasure Hunting! (I tease :p)

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