"The emerging apostolic movement will be built on a sharp increase of the apostolic call to serve in the Kingdom. Like an army, this new apostolic company will throw down their nets and rise at the command of the Lord of Hosts. Hearing the call, they will aggressively engage the enemy, taking his territory in the greatest campaign in history: the evangelization of planet Earth before the second coming of the Lord Jesus." (p. 46)
"Network organizations are replacing organizations built around traditional hierarchies. The growing trend of network marketing makes products available through relationships between families, friends and business associates instead of depending on high-overhead practices such as advertising or displays. . . .
Networking is a reflection of the divine pattern of interdependence and unity God has ordained for the Church . . . .
We need to view the kingdom of God as a giant net.
How is the Kingdom of heaven like a net? The net illustrates how increase becomes possible when God's people are joined together like the interconnecting cords of a net. . . .
Church-growth analysts are beginning to identify apostolic networks as a modern movement. World-changing leaders and movements are arising to establish progressive structures for families of churches and ministries. . . . denominationalism is slowly dying. (p. 186-189)
For well over a decade the charismatic wing of the evangelical church has been organizing apostolic networks worldwide. The formation of these apostolic networks is, like that of the prophet, said to be "foundational" to the church, a new "wineskin," and a return to a more biblical form of governance that promises unity and restoration, and even a New (or 2nd) Reformation. (See previous posts.) David Cannistraci, a leader in this movement (cited above) explained the doctrine in a nutshell:
"As a foundational ministry, the apostle serves together with the prophet to lay the foundation for the entire temple of God, while receiving alignment and positioning from the cornerstone, Jesus Christ. Without the apostle as a member of the ongoing foundation of the Church, we cannot fully become the temple of the living God. The apostle cannot be omitted as a primary member of the Body of Christ, or as a foundational structure of the temple of God." (p. 82-83)
Much has been written about this apostolic paradigm shift, now called the New Apostolic Reformation. But the full impact of this structural revolution has hit the average person in the pews -- not yet. This isn't just some fanciful new doctrine. It is all about changing the actual governance structure of the global church. And that structure is based not on the Scriptures, but rather General Systems Theory, an evolutionary systems networking theory with roots in the occult (as discussed in previous posts).
C. Peter Wagner has served as a one-man public relations firm for the widespread propagation of the new doctrines associated with the apostolic networks. In the latter half of the 1990s, key conferences were held in which he laid the groundwork for the creation of these apostolic networks. He constantly refined and re-defined the doctrines as he went along (sometimes very publicly); and has written numerous books on the topic, and introductions for books by other authors. Some of Wagner's activities and ideas are chronicled at http://www.globalharvest.org. A broad overview by a supporter is archived at http://tinyurl.com/2x2r7z. A good collection of criticisms of his teachings on apostles can be found at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com, and a good synopsis can be found HERE.
Hector Torres wrote about the coming role of apostles in his book The Restoration of the Apostles and Prophets (Thomas Nelson, 2001). His book, which we have been excerpting, has an Introduction and chapter by C. Peter Wagner. To introduce the concept of apostle, Torres quotes from a 1980 book authored by C. Peter Wagner entitled Sus Dones Espiratuales Pueden Ayudar a Crecer su Iglesia (Libros Clie), p. 206:
"The gift of the apostle is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ that allows them to assume and exercise leadership over a number of churches with the extraordinary authority in spiritual matters that is spontaneously recognized and appreciated by those churches.
"The apostle is the person whom God has given to the pastors and leaders of the Church. He is the person to whom these all go to seek counsel and help. He is able to smooth out animosities and bring peace, to find the cause of what has gone wrong, to resolve problems. He can make demands that seem autocratic, but that are accepted willingly by the Christians, as they recognize his gift and the authority that goes with him. His vision is well focused, and he is not restricted by the problems of a local church." [emphasis added]
Torres devotes several chapters to a description of the role and responsibilities of these new apostles:
"The apostolic ministry is raised by God to bring reforms. . . . The apostles are pioneers; they open that gap so that the truths of God can flow through freely. . . . The apostles of the New Testament are the judges of the Old Testament." (p. 115)
"Apostles are the spiritual architects as they establish the foundations upon which God can build His Church. (p. 117)
"One of the characteristics of apostles is that they are spiritual pioneers. . . the first to go into a new territory and frequently usher in a new truth." (p. 123) [emphasis added]
In a chapter by John Eckhardt entitled "Spiritual Pioneers," he refers to apostles as "Master Builders--Spiritual Architects." He writes about how apostles will promulgate "new truths," not unlike the role of the prophet described in the previous post:
"Apostles are pathfinders. A pathfinder is one who discovers a way, . . . a new route. . . a new region, . . . or a new region of knowledge. . . . . Apostolic power has the ability to penetrate new areas and regions." (p. 124)
"The apostolic anointing will keep the Church on the cutting edge. . . spiritual frontiers. . . . They are sent to new regions geographically as well as spiritually. They expand our spiritual horizons and release us from spiritual boundaries and limitations of tradition and past experience." (p. 127)
"There are new places in the spirit that need to be opened and where many saints have never been. It takes the [apostolic] anointing to open those places for others to follow and enter in." (p. 128) [emphasis added]
One of the early writers on the cellular apostolic authority was Juan Carlos Ortiz in his 1975 book Call to Discipleship (Logos International). He wrote more explicitly about the role of the apostle as a purveyor of new doctrine:
"The apostles even defined the doctrine [in the early church, ed.]. As a matter of fact, the Acts report that the people followed the doctrine of the apostles not the doctrine of Jesus, but the doctrine of the apostles. The things they wrote were infallible a concept we still believe. They believed the apostles were led by the Holy Spirit in founding the church. . . . When the pope says that he is infallible, he is not too far from the truth." (p. 92) [emphasis added]
A major theme of the role of the apostles, like that of their pals the prophets, is that of warfare. Torres again gives John Eckhardt a platform in his book, an entire chapter on the topic entitled simply "Warfare." Eckhardt says that the church must "invade new territories--hostile territories" that "will not give up without a fight. They must be confronted, subdued, and driven out. This requires warfare." (p. 134)
"Apostles and apostolic people will be a people of warfare. . . ." (p. 135)
It is important to understand who the enemy is. One might think it is simply Satan, given the spiritual warfare teachings promulgated by C. Peter Wagner and his cohorts like George Otis. But this chapter's focus is on those who oppose the new apostles and prophets -- "Those who insist on denying the ministries of the apostle and prophet . . ." (p. 121) These folks are called the false apostles and prophets.
These demonic strongholds have "fortified themselves in every region of the world to resist the advancement of the Kingdom. These strongholds must be dealt with if we are to see the fulfillment of the Great Commission. Apostles have the ability to confront and pull down these strongholds." (pp. 135-6) What are these "strongholds"?
"Strongholds are the mid-sets of people in a particular territory. These mind-sets are fortified places that keep out truth and hold in lies. . . . Spiritual warfare involves demolishing these mind-sets. . . . "
The question then arises, what are these "mind-sets"? Those people whose "mind is already settled on a set of beliefs, and therefore [resist] change" and those minds are "fixed and rigid" and "closed and hardened to truth and revelation" (p. 137) Presumably this means anyone who opposes the new "truths" and "revelations" of the super-apostles. Scripture is easily twisted at this point to mean anyone who resists these new heresies.
"Strongholds are major hindrances to the advancing of the Church and must be dealt with apostolically. The preaching, teaching, and overall ministry of the apostolic people are weapons that are mighty through God for the pulling down of these strongholds." (p. 138) [emphasis added]
Apostles are said to "walk and minister in the highest rank" as the "spiritual commanders of the Church" on earth.
"The Church needs apostles to help set it in order. They help organize and mobilize the believers into an army. . . . Apostles have the ability as generals and commanders to mobilize the saints for war. . . . Apostles are given the rank and authority to do this." (p. 143) [emphasis added]
Quoting Isaiah 46:10,11 way out of context, the apostle is described as a "ravenous bird of prey to execute His purposes. . . . a symbol of war," a "hawk" with "an actively aggressive or combative attitude. It is a person who favors military force or action in order to carry out a foreign policy. What a symbol for the apostolic!"
"The hawk symbolizes sharpness, keen vision, and quickness. It represents discernment and insight into the plans and purposes of God. The hawk is a swift bird that suddenly seizes its prey. It is a ravenous bird. Ravenous means extremely hungry, voracious, or greedy for gratification. This bird symbolizes the militant, aggressive, and warlike aspect of the apostolic ministry. . . .
"As an officer in the Church, the apostle is also an executive. He is a person who executes power in the Church. In other words, he has the power and authority to execute the plans and purposes of God. To execute means to put into effect, to carry out, to perform, to fulfill, to finish. The purposes of God will not be fulfilled or carried out without the apostolic ministry being restored to the Church." (pp. 145-6) [emphasis added]
These teachings are heretical and alarming. The humble biblical concept of apostolos -- "missionary" -- has been transformed into egotistical army of elite generals commanding networks of lower-order congregant troops in a global expedition of massive proportion. Is all of this warfare rhetoric simply spiritual? Or will it, like so many historical examples of dominionism gone awry in the church, transform itself into real warfare that is ugly, barbaric and violent against all those who oppose it?
The New Testament sword is the Word of God.
"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." (James 3:17-18)