Last Saturday, August 13, I had the pleasure of spending four hours face-to-face with Doug Geivett and Holly Pivec, best known for their co-authored books. A New Apostolic Reformation? A Biblical Response to a Global Movement and God’s Super Apostles: Meeting the Worldwide Movement of Prophets and Apostles.
Our goal was not to debate but rather to have a constructive discussion on what they would call “NAR”. Where did we agree and where did we disagree? (For the rest of the article, I’ll remove the quotes around “NAR” so as not to be redundant. But whenever I say NAR, I mean, “What Doug and Holly describe as NAR.”)
In my opinion, they painted with too broad a brush, mistakenly grouping together related but different movements, churches and individuals, labeling them all NAR, while using extreme examples to negatively color the whole thing.
In their view, they have been careful, judicious and fair in their citations, using the very language NAR proponents would use and rightly describing a global movement which, in fact, has a number of key unifying factors.
In my opinion, after working at some level with a number of leaders they criticize, Doug and Holly put the worst interpretation on the words and philosophies of ministry of these leaders.
In Doug and Holly’s opinion, they quote these leaders accurately and in context, and they can cite many examples of people who have been hurt by NAR leaders and churches.
That said, I believe in the sincerity of Doug and Holly. I believe they want to be fair. I believe they really want to dialogue with those they criticize. And, more importantly, I agree with many of their reviews.
Therefore, in preparation for our meeting, my prayer was that the Lord be glorified and his people edified. And that is why we have come together to discuss rather than debate.
Hopefully, in the months to come, others will be able to benefit from our dialogue, which has been videotaped for the purpose of future dissemination.
For now, I would suggest that rather than continuing to debate the existence or scope of NAR (which has been a major point of contention for me), we focus on the real issues.
When you say NAR, what do you mean? How do you define it and what are your areas of concern (or agreement)?
If you say, “He’s a NAR church” or “He’s a major leader in NAR,” my response is, “Please tell me exactly what you mean by NAR. It is not a question of arguing but of understanding.
Maybe we are talking about two different things?
Have you ever spoken with an atheist who told you why he didn’t believe in God, only to reply, “I don’t believe in this God either!”
It could be the same with NAR.
For example, all NAR churches are charismatic, but not all charismatics are NAR, which means NAR here as defined by Doug and Holly in their writings. Conversely, all NAR churches believe in current apostolic and prophetic ministry, but not all churches that believe in current apostolic and prophetic ministry are NAR.
Based on my understanding of the Word and the various functions and gifts of ministry, I strongly believe in the pursuit of apostolic and prophetic ministry. I also believe it is important for the overall health of the church to recognize these ministry functions, just as it is important to recognize the functions and gifts of evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
Each call is complementary to the other. Each calling plays a different role in equipping and building up the Body. And each call presents a different aspect of Jesus’ ministry to his Church.
At the same time, I reject “the governmental offices of apostle and prophet” (this is how Doug and Holly described what, in their minds, is the most fundamental pillar of RAN).
But what does that mean exactly?
Do I believe that apostles (or prophets) can rule? Absolutely, just like evangelists, pastors and teachers can govern.
All can potentially lead churches or birth movements or serve as spiritual fathers in an area.
Do I believe in Desk an apostle or a prophet? No, I don’t believe, just like I don’t believe in being an evangelist, pastor or teacher.
But, to ask again, what exactly is the difference between ministerial office and office?
For some believers, it’s quibbling over words and splitting hairs. For others, these distinctions are important.
Either way, if we don’t talk to each other and make an effort to understand each other, how can we help each other grow in the Lord? How to pursue unity? How can we sharpen each other? How can we learn from each other? How can we correct ourselves?
During our dialogue, Holly read me many quotes from different NAR leaders, many of whom I knew personally and some of whom I worked with.
To my knowledge, those with whom I have worked are good Christians, true servant leaders, neither authoritarian nor authoritarian, lovers of the Lord and lovers of the Word, sound in their fundamental theology.
At the same time, when asked if I agreed with the quotes read by Holly, I consistently responded, “No, I don’t agree with that position” or “I don’t. wouldn’t say that” or “Yes, I agree with your concerns.
Welcome to church life!
I’ve worked with hundreds of leaders over the years, some with whom I agree on virtually every point, some with whom I agree with many, and some with whom I disagree. agreement only on the most fundamental questions of faith. (One leader jokingly told me, “Sometimes I don’t even agree with myself!”)
Personally, I don’t have the slightest problem when a colleague says to me, “Mike, I think you’re wrong about that. And it wouldn’t offend me in the least if, when questioned publicly about our differences, they said, “I disagree with Dr. Brown on this point for the following reasons.
Tremendous! Let’s put the issues on the table and have a constructive conversation about them.
Who said you had to agree on all points to have unity? On the contrary, we are more likely to find true unity in the midst of our diversity. And I can tell you as a co-leader, “I have the greatest respect for you and I honor you in the Lord, but I disagree with this statement you made. »
These disagreements can fuel destructive criticism, but for the rest of the Corps it is a sign of good health and maturity.
That being said, the big question in the context of this article is: what exactly are the distinctive beliefs and practices of what Doug and Holly call NAR, and are these beliefs and practices biblical and helpful or unbiblical and harmful?
To reiterate, I believe in the importance of recognizing apostolic and prophetic ministry today while also sharing many of Doug and Holly’s concerns. (I hate to disappoint some critics, but by Doug and Holly’s standards, I’m decidedly not NAR.)
And I hope that in the days ahead, as I help cultivate a five-fold ministry that is strong, mature, Bible-based, and Spirit-empowered, I can help amplify the areas of concern regarding concerns contemporary apostles and prophets.
Let’s talk, understand and grow!