THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL:
This year, a controversial book has been published and caused a ruckus in the Christian media scene. The book is called, ‘The Rise of Network Christianity: How Independent Leaders Are Changing the Religious Landscape’. It was written by
Sadly, judging by how they came across in an interview advertising what their book was about, it appears their research into this topic was very poor. The label for this movement did not summarize its identity and purpose the way Wagner did in his titles ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ (NAR) or ‘Post denominationalism’. Instead of calling it what Wagner called it, the NAR, Christerson and Flory decided to call the movement the “Independent Network Charismatic” (INC).
You can read an interview they did here:
Even their back cover suggests that what they were tackling is the NAR and not something new at all. They recognize that this movement “emphasizes aggressive engagement with the supernatural – including healing, direct prophecies from God, engaging in “spiritual warfare” against demonic spirits – and social transformation.”
That’s the NAR in a nutshell.
The back cover goes on to say Christerson and Flory argue that ‘religious groups’ are “organized as networks rather than traditionally organized congregations and denominations. Network forms of governance allow for experimentation with controversial supernatural practices, innovative finances and marketing, and a highly participatory, unorthodox, and experiential faith.” Once again – this is NAR, what the NAR call Apostolic networks. When you read the link in the above interview, this ‘INC’ talks about apostles governing this movement and actually names major NAR Apostles:
Largely behind the scenes, a group of mostly self-proclaimed “apostles”, leading ministries from North Carolina to Southern California, has attracted millions of followers with promises of direct access to God through signs and wonders.
[…] Their movement, which Christerson and Flory called “Independent Network Charismatic” or “INC” Christianity, has become one of the fastest-growing faith groups in the United States. Apostles like Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, and Ché Ahn claim millions of followers. They’re also aided by an army of fellow ministers who fall under their “spiritual covering.”
At one point Christerson even mentions the NAR as though it is a thing in the past.
“Peter Wagner, a leader in the New Apostolic Reformation movement, referred to himself as a “super apostle,” because he was influential with a bunch of other apostles.”
And at another point in the interview, they talked about the NAR false commission known as the Seven Mountain Mandate. Those recognized in these ‘mountains’ are mentioned – such as Ben Carson and Rick Perry. But furthermore, Christerson observes that these mountain-conquering Christians are pushing the NAR Dominion Mandate to see the Kingdom of God realized:
“They will be listening to God, and he will use them to supernaturally make America or the world into the kingdom of God.”
While the book may have been reasonably researched, more damage has been done by their sloppy work in deciding to categorize this movement as something other than the NAR.
THE LIES OF BROWN:
In saying this, what Christerson and Flory did was highlight the dangers of the ‘apostolic ministries’ of Mike Bickle, Bill Johnson, Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, and Ché Ahn. Keep in mind that these are all NAR Apostles. So who do you think might suddenly pop up to DEFEND these people?
The interview itself mirrored the questions from the Christerson/Flory interview. But in this section of the article we will be focusing on Brown’s lies and what he holds and defends to be true.
“Some of my friends were part of what’s been called the New Apostolic Reformation,”
By Brown saying ‘what’s been called ‘, is to imply that his friends have been categorized by those outside of this movement as NAR. This is probably the most duplicitous campaign Brown has been pushing since his ‘So-called NAR’ radio show last year. Most of Wagner’s friends like Che Ahn, Bill Johnson and Cindy Jacob (also Brown’s friends) had no problem with this name being attributed to them – and some, like Heidi Baker still don’t have a problem to this date.
“… though I never was formally part of it or worked under Peter Wagner.”
When Chris Rosebrough rang into Brown’s ‘Line of Fire’ last year, Brown stated:
“I’m not sure how else he would have. Again, I’ve not read a lot of Peter Wagner over the years. He writes a lot and I haven’t read a lot. I’ve been in meetings with him. We knew each other. I think we spoke on the phone one time, one or two times. And otherwise we were, we served on a board with Lou Engle for ‘The Call’ events. And the thing that struck me when I was with him was his high level of integrity.” [Source]
The truth is this – Lou Engle and Che Ahn were serving under Wagner. Wagner was their overseeing apostle. Wagner’s ‘International Coalition of Apostles’ (ICA), back in 2001 records Che Ahn being under Wagner’s apostleship. Therefore, ‘The Call’ was under the NAR umbrella. For Brown to be working for ‘The Call’ and to be on the board, places him working under Wagner.
On the Naked Bible podcast a few weeks ago, Michael Brown stated that he did in fact work under C. Peter Wagner (although he tried to downplay this fact):
“Some of the things said about this alleged group are simply false. For instance, “post-millennial optimism” — Mike Bickle has a pre-millennial view of the end times, meaning we will not see the kingdom of God fully established until Jesus returns. Again, the generalizations are unhelpful and inaccurate.”
Brown seems to recognize that NAR is anchored in post-millennial theology. Holly Pivec explains why post-millenialism is a major feature in NAR theology. She writes:
But other NAR leaders are not so overt. C. Peter Wagner–one of the movement’s most influential apostles–never states explicitly that he holds to postmillennialism. Nonetheless, the view he describes in his books appears to be exactly that. This can be seen from what he has written about the arrival of God’s kingdom prior to Christ’s return:
Seriously, I will confess that up until recently I knew what eschatology I did not believe–namely, the traditional Left Behind futuristic view–but I was not able to verbalize what I actually did believe. My changing point came when I read Victorious Eschatology by Harold Eberle and Martin Trench. Victorious eschatology fits dominion theology like a hand in a glove. Eberle and Trench say, ‘Before Jesus returns, the Church will rise in glory, unity, and maturity. The Kingdom of God will grow and advance until it fills the Earth.’” (Dominion!, page 61)
And other NAR leaders muddle their views even more than Wagner does. They claim that they are still premillennialists and that somehow their NAR teachings can be reconciled with premillennialism. For example, Mike Bickle–the founder of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Missouri–teaches his own NAR variety of premillennialism that he calls “historic premillennialism.” Actually, Bickle’s use of the term “historic premillennialism” is misleading as his teaching does not accurately reflect historic premillennialism. Rather, it is more of a hybrid of postmillennial and premillennial views–and the result looks much more like postmillennialism. See Bickle’s odd hybrid teaching here. Yet I don’t believe NAR teachings can be reconciled with premillennialism, no matter how hard the Mike Bickle’s of the NAR world might try to reconcile these views. But I will have to say more about this in a future post.
This post-millennial theology comes from their theology on the kingdom of God (basileology). With their belief the ‘kingdom of God is within’ the believer, they see it as the church’s mandate to take dominion (‘influence’/’change’/’transform’) the world. They get this idea from Revelations 11:5:
“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” Revelations 11:5
It is irrelevant if the world is good or bad – this ‘victorious church’ will change the ‘kingdom of the world [to] become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ’. If your church claims that the church is the hope for the world then it is most likely a serious warning this NAR Ecclesia-Victus post-millennial eschatology is ticking under the hood of your church. And here is Mike Bickle espousing this post-millennial view:
“In my opinion we are in the early days of the generation in which Jesus will return. In other words, I believe that there are people alive today who will see the return of Jesus.”
– Mike Bickle, [Source]
“We will experience great advancements of God’s kingdom on the earth even before Jesus returns but it will increase even more dramatically after His return. There is a dynamic continuity between our labors and victories before He returns and the victories that He will establish after He returns. It will all work together as one seamless plan. The Devil will be thrown into prison and all evil laws and leaders will be replaced by those that are righteous and good (Rev. 20:1-6).” – Mike Bickle, [Source]
Just as Michael Brown hides behind the title ‘Charismatic’ to subvert Christianity with his NAR beliefs, so too does Mike Bickle claim to be ‘premillennial’ in order to subvert Christianity with his true post-millennial NAR beliefs. You can read more of Bickle’s teachings on this here:
“These ideas [are] normally put on us from the outside — when I say us, I mean those who believe the church is supposed to impact the world around us. Their claim is that the church is going to ‘take dominion’ over all areas of society: over the arts, business, and so on.
Some people believe that. No one that I’ve worked closely with over the years has believed that to my knowledge, and I know many of the [accused] leaders. What many of us do believe is that the gospel is supposed to impact culture.”
The above comment by Brown was his response to the accusation by Christerson and Flory regarding the NAR taking dominion in culture and society. This is yet another lie made by Michael Brown. Bickle preaches the Dominion mandate and promotes the Seven Mountain mandate that is connected to it. Brown hasn’t worked with Brian Houston or Carl Lentz of Hillsong but he has vehemently defended them from the more discerning Christian critics. Both Brian and Carl promote the Dominionist mandate through the Seven Mountain mandate which they call ”Spheres’. Michael Brown has worked closely with Lou Engle at ‘The Call’, Engle promoting the Seven Mountains here. (This took us less then 5 secs to google Michael Brown.)
Furthemore, Brown has no shame promoting his friendship with NAR Apostle Lance Wallnau. Wallnau’s major emphasis in his ministry is the Seven Mountain mandate. Brown is also unashamedly good friends with Rick Joyner who also teaches dominion theology. So Michael Brown is blatantly lying without caring for the truth in the slightest in this interview.
“Mike Bickle is a serious student of the Word of God. Obviously, I haven’t heard everything he has taught, but he is devoted to Scripture. He and I have had in-depth discussion of Scriptural exegesis.”
Michael Brown wants us to believe his good friend Mike Bickle “is devoted to Scripture” and has had “in-depth discussion of Scriptural exegesis” with him. In fact, Michael Brown confessed in this piece he works with Bickle.
“When I’ve spoken with him, we’ve done six or seven meetings in a weekend to pack in the maximum Scripture, then we have questions-and-answers to follow it up.”
If it’s true Bickle is “a serious student of the Word of God,” then how can Brown explain that Bickle himself also holds to the anti-biblical dominionist revelations of the Seven Mountain mandate? This is revelation outside of the word of God to suit the NAR dominion agenda. Mike Bickle writes…
“God gave man the authority and responsibility to take dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). The Church expresses dominion under Jesus’ leadership in the seven spheres of society: education, government (politics, law, and military), economy (business, science, and technology), arts (entertainment and sports), media, and religion.” [Source]
And now the statement that explains why Michael Brown is not only defending the NAR but actively part of it:
“Some of my friends WERE PART of what’s been called the New Apostolic Reformation, though I NEVER WAS FORMALLY PART OF IT or worked under Peter Wagner. I respected some of the things those leaders were doing, and differed with others… AS ONE WHO HAS BEEN IN THESE CIRCLES FOR YEARS, I can’t remember hearing believers saying, ‘This is my apostle.’
Putting aside the fact he did work for Wagner, Brown confesses he has “been in these circles for years.” It’s easy to brush this off and think that could be any charismatic circle. However, towards the end of the article, the interviewer reads a quote that says that the INC (NAR), “don’t have an idea of what it takes to reduce poverty or curb international conflict. None of that is even on their radar.”
Michael Brown at this stage then uses himself, Brownsville and his offshoot ministries as proof… that this claim against the INC/NAR does in fact “have an idea of what it takes to reduce poverty or curb international conflict.” So this confirms he has actually been in NAR, “circles for years.” He completely dropped the ball and used himself as an example of a NARcolyte who does have an idea how to reduce poverty and international conflict. To prove further he has put himself into the NAR circle, Brown draws on his NAR Apostolic buddies Lou Engle, Mike Bickle, Che Ahn and some of his grad students to refute this claim, (Che Ahn is Wagner’s successor to lead the NAR):
“Everyone whom I know and work closely with against human trafficking, in the pro-life movement, and trying to reach the unreached — they’re all charismatic. Lou Engle, a close friend of Mike Bickle and Ché Ahn, was the point man to help birth Bound4LIFE International. The grads of our ministry school are working against human trafficking in America, Germany and the Philippines. I could go on and on.” (Emphasis ours)
When you look at the Bound4LIFE website, they are promoting the Seven Mountain mandate (only this time they are calling them Spheres – another name NAR use for this mandate).
“After 50 days and nights of round-the-clock corporate prayer and fasting in 2004, a large group of prayer warriors, young and old alike, packed up their sleeping bags and headed to Washington, DC, filled with purpose and confidence that prayer could change the course of the nation. Their goal: To exalt JESUS in the nation’s capitol, the see ABORTION end, and to contend for GREAT AWAKENING in every sphere of society.”
So much for Brown working with people who don’t peddle the NAR false mountain mandate commission. And so much for him not being part of the NAR. In his protest in defense of the NAR (that didn’t exist), he put himself, his ministry, Brownsville, his schools and those he closely worked with, right in the middle of it.
To end, we want to highlight the truth of Brown’s NAR nature by quoting sections of the article which espouses the NAR ‘Power Gospel’ (aka Gospel of the Kingdom). This false gospel does not involve preaching the gospel of salvation but emphasizes signs, wonders and miracles. This ‘miracle’ gospel rose to prominence in the ‘New Order of the Latter’ cult, espoused by William Branham and his plethora of healing evangelists.
Here is Michael Brown’s false NAR gospel (Paul says this gospel cannot save Brown – Galatians 1):
“If we are not seeing healings, prophetic words and supernatural freedom, we should wonder, What’s wrong with our gospel? Because it’s not the gospel of the New Testament. Without question, cessationism cannot be sustained scripturally and I’ll debate that with any biblical scholar or theologian in the world at any time.“
Michael Brown would get a seal of approval from William Branham and C. Peter Wagner with the above gospel presentation they also preached. If Michael Brown is a Christian and the NAR does not exist, why is he preaching their ‘gospel’? Why do many Christians continue to endorse Michael Brown when the bible explicitly states to watch, mark, avoid and tolerate such men?
This article has barely scratched the surface, exposing Michael Brown’s deceit. We have led with this article so we can refer back to it in order to demonstrate how Brown blatantly lies to bolster his fabrications that the NAR is a figment of the imaginations of discerning members of the body of Christ who continue to sound the alarm about this cult.
[Editor’s Note: This post was originally done and published at Church Watch Central here]
A CALL TO ACTION
Bringing you discernment news and commentary from a biblical, polemical perspective means it is tough out there on social media. We’re constantly getting kneecapped and constrained by tech companies who find our fidelity to the scripture and pursuit of truth to be intolerable, resulting in our reach being severely throttled.
For this reason, we ask you please consider supporting us a few different ways. The first, by liking and following our new Facebook page, our home where we share new posts and interact with our members. The second, by following and retweeting our Twitter page. The third, by signing up for our newsletter below.
And last, through direct support. You can catch our free weekly episodes of the Polemics Report by subscribing at BTWN. If you like what you hear and desire to hear more, you can get the VIP full-length version for only $5.95 per month on Patreon. Also, you get other freebies for additional monthly pledges.
Subscribe to us on Patreon here and support our ministry.
Stay informed. Subscribe Today.
When you subscribe, please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contacts to ensure that your newsletter doesn’t go into your spam folder.
Enter your email address below…