In part one of this series we looked briefly at the authority that Israeli NARpostles are claiming for themselves.
Before we move on to real world examples of how our local NARpostles are at the epicentre of a full-on war against the faith once delivered to the saints, we need to lay just a little more groundwork.
Be wary of bogus faith statements "Website Orthodoxy" and theological camouflage
The faith statement of a church or ministry used to be a good indicator of where it stood doctrinally and a useful aid when searching for a solid church. Nowadays such things do not always correspond to realities on the ground. Instead of being a well-thought out document that sets forth in brief form the doctrine of that church or ministry, to save time many are now simply "boilerplate" faith statements cut and pasted from somewhere else, and which may not accurately represent the real theological convictions of that church or ministry, and within the NAR this seems to be particularly so.
In fact, instead of being an honest and open declaration of a doctrinal stance, faith statements (where they exist at all) are now being used to camouflage and hide heterodox beliefs and practices and deflect critique so that proponents of false doctrines can operate unhindered. In the current vernacular this is referred to as "web site orthodoxy"; in other words, an orthodoxy that only exists "on paper".
A better picture of where a NAR congregation or ministry is "at", can be gleaned from sermons and publications, and just as importantly, whom they are willingly seen to be in approving association and co-operation with. This is often far more revealing,--as is what they will say among their own followers vis a vis what they will admit to when they are questioned by outsiders.
Be prepared to encounter ignorance and even outright mendacity
Many are finding out, both worldwide and over here, that NAR leaders are often astonishingly evasive and mendacious, such as (for example) Michael Brown, who has been caught so many times uttering jaw-dropping lies about his NAR involvement or even the existence of the NAR, that he has been dubbed the "apostle of obfuscation". On the flip side, many Israeli leaders who are involved with the NAR, will deny involvement because they have no idea what it is or what the term implies. Lack of awareness and/or concern about doctrinal issues is a primary feature in the charismatic movement as a whole and Israel is no exception; not only that but the language barrier makes it unlikely that Sabra leaders have to date interacted with English documentation about the NAR/Latter Rain heresies.
Understand NAR terminology and Doublespeak
NARites often employ biblical-sounding spiritual phraseology and terminology that has a meaning altogether different from what is found in Scripture. Beware also of pseudoapostolic euphemisms which are used to hide the true significance of their teachings and actions.
Look for implications
When you examine something doctrinally, "look down the tracks" and see where the train is heading. We need to be asking what are the implications of this or that when viewed in the light of Scripture teaching as a whole? Ask questions such as -does this fit with a contextual reading of Scripture and its doctrines, and what effect does this have on other Scripture doctrines?
Biblical doctrine is a harmonious network of truths that are interconnected in such a way that even what appear to be secondary issues, will, if tampered with, have cascading effects somewhere along the line for other, even major, doctrines.
This is where things are heading
Notwithstanding, many of the higher profile NAR leaders who have a huge well-established support base of adoring followers, have gone past the point of subtlety and are ever more boldly dropping their mask and revealing their true intentions; as in this example from Bill Johnson of Bethel Redding:
"For centuries the people of God have gathered together around specific truths. . . . . While doctrine is vitally important it is not a strong enough foundation to bear the weight of His glory that is about to be revealed through true unity. . . . There are major changes in the "wind" right now. For the last several years people have started to gather around fathers instead of doctrine. . . . Apostles are first and foremost fathers by nature. . . . In the same way that a father and mother are to bring stability to a home, so the apostles and prophets are the stability of the Church. The Apostle Paul calls them the Church's foundation (see Ephesians 2:20). Good foundations bring stability. The concept of team ministry starts with these two. Stability is the primary fruit of the ministry of the apostolic team." (Johnson, Bill "Apostolic Teams -a Group of People Who Carry the Family Mission")
Senior NARpostle Dan Juster is more nuanced, but it's essentially heading in the same direction.
"I believe that only a mighty revival will bring this unity, which will include new orientations in doctrine so that we can come together. The idea of a sloppy unity where there is a watering down of convictions is not biblical. The Spirit of God can bring us closer and closer in our convictions . . . "
There are some important points to note here.
• Re-establishing or establishing foundations absolutely implies that these “restored apostles” possess divinely delegated authority at least equal to or greater than those who originally laid them down.
• While lip-service is paid to the importance of biblical doctrine, it is abundantly clear that if they have to lay or re-establish the foundations of the Church, then they consider the original foundations defective, and this necessarily entails their demolition, removal, and ultimately, replacement with the "fresh" ones.
Taking Juster’s and Johnson’s words into account then, what is being undertaken here is nothing less than the wholesale destruction of foundational doctrines of the faith and their replacement by something else. New orientations in doctrine instead of "a watering down of convictions" means, in effect, a NEW set of convictions. A "new orientation" means a new direction.
WWPD: What would Paul do?
Did Paul instruct the churches he founded, or Timothy whom he referred to as his own son in the faith, --to gather round HIM instead of the doctrines he had faithfully passed on to them? After some time had passed did he write to the churches he had founded saying, "Forget that old teaching! I'm bringing you some new orientations in doctrine so we can have unity!"
No, he did not; instead the wrote this:
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Gal. 1:8-12)
In other words, Paul says, "Look, if we, or even an angel from heaven, come along at some future time offering you "new orientations" in doctrine that differ from the teachings which we have already preached to you; let him be anathema!"
Paul never said "Look, I'm your spiritual father, gather round ME!" He made it clear that he was merely a servant himself, a messenger with a message which was not after man, neither did he receive it from man, but it was by revelation of Jesus Christ. In other words to Paul, the doctrine was the thing that mattered not the apostle, because the doctrine was the words and teaching of the Lord Jesus.
This is exactly what Jesus said. He who hears and does MY WORDS, shall be like a man who built his house upon a rock. It is the teachings of Jesus, the truth that sets us free, that is the foundation NOT the presence of apostles and prophets whose actual function was only to faithfully deliver and disseminate those teachings.
"If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and destitute of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain."
It's not just the false teachers though . . .
In Paul's inspired estimation, those who bring in "new orientations" i.e. different doctrines, than those he delivered to them, are arrogant, conceited and devoid of understanding.
But Paul doesn't stop there; he also exposes the spiritual condition of those who follow them as well, as "people who are depraved in mind and destitute of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain."
Ouch! but we didn't say that, Paul did! And Paul isn't the only one.
"Something horrible and shocking is going on in the land: The prophets prophesy lies. The priests exercise power by their hand. And my people love to have it so. But what will you do at the end of it?" (Jer. 5:31)
Bad doctrine gains traction and gets a hold primarily because some people in the Body actually want it that way.
"For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables." (2Tim. 4:3-4)
A sobering thought isn't it?