By Holly Pivec
A heterodox movement in Protestant Christianity known as the “New Apostolic Reformation1” (NAR) — also known as the “apostolic-prophetic movement” — gained vast influence among Pentecostal and charismatic churches worldwide, beginning in the late 1990s. The people who are part of this burgeoning movement follow present-day apostles and prophets who claim to govern the church and give new divine revelation that is needed to set up God’s kingdom on earth.
Size and Influence of the New Apostolic Reformation
NAR Churches and Organizations
Many people will not recognize this movement by its formal name — the “New Apostolic Reformation” — including even many of the movement’s participants. The lack of name recognition can be explained, in large part, because the movement is not governed by one official denomination or organization.
Rather, the New Apostolic Reformation is made up of hundreds of churches and organizations that are led by apostles and prophets who share a distinct theology. Many of these churches and organizations have joined “apostolic networks.” These apostolic networks are made up of, in some cases, hundreds of churches and organizations that submit to the leadership of a single apostle, such as Harvest International Ministry–a network of over 12,000 churches and organizations under NAR apostle Ché Ahn.
Despite its lack of name recognition, the movement’s growth is staggering. The NAR movement is responsible for much of the explosive church growth occurring in Africa, Asia and Latin America.2 Leaders of many of the world’s biggest churches promote present-day apostles and prophets, including David Yonggi Cho (Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea with one million people), E.A. Adeboye (Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria with five million people), Sunday Adelaja (Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations in Ukraine with 20,000 people), and César Castellanos (International Charismatic Mission in Columbia with 60,000 people).
Though the NAR movement has seen the most growth in the Global South3, it has also gained considerable influence in the West. In Australia, the NAR movement has taken over an entire denomination, the Assemblies of God in Australia.4 In the United States, approximately three million people attend NAR churches — that is, churches that overtly embrace NAR teachings.5
Influential NAR churches in the United States include Bethel Church in Redding, California (pastored by apostle Bill Johnson), Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California (pastored by apostle Ché Ahn), and MorningStar Fellowship Church in Charlotte, North Carolina (pastored by apostle/prophet Rick Joyner). In fact, NAR churches can be found across the United States, in virtually every large city and small town.
Beyond those churches that have overtly embraced NAR teachings, a large number of independent charismatic churches in the United States promote NAR beliefs and engage in NAR practices, in varying degrees. One notable example is New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado — a megachurch founded by the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Ted Haggard. During Haggard’s leadership of New Life Church, he sat as an apostle on the International…
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