NAR in the Political Limelight
A Theocratic Dominion Apostle
Gains Political Exposure at the RNC
I have followed the rise of the Latter Rain for a number of years. The Latter Rain, an end-time fringe Pentecostal movement that arose in the 50s, has made its way through the following decades with different names and expressions. The Latter Rain is a fraudulent allegory pieced together as a new end-time teaching which in effect replaces the teachings of the New Testament. These fringe Pentecostals simply took the Old Testament reference to the agricultural growing season in Palestine (Deut 11:10-21, where God explained, “I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain,” vs. 14) and concocted a new end-time eschatology paradigm. In Palestine the early rains were the signal to plant barley. These early rains (sometimes called former rains) would gradually wane and then toward the harvest the "latter rains" came to fill out the barley and prepare for the final harvest.
The free-wheeling Pentecostal allegorists preempted this Old Testament reference of the growing season and made it into a new symbol of the New Testament from Pentecost to the “final harvest.” In this heretical paradigm, the biblical Pentecost and early church stands for the early rains, the Dark Ages of the church are the dry season, and the Latter Rains are the end-time Pentecostal rains leading to a final harvest. It’s a clever allegory but it contradicts the teaching of the inspired Bible-writing genuine apostles of the early New Testament. It not only contradicts, but there isn't even a hint of it in the New Testament. (The final harvest mentioned in Revelation 14:15 is reaped by angels, not end-time Latter Rain apostolic agents.)
The central new teachings of the Latter Rain were the restoration of the office of apostles and prophets, and an end-time conquest of church and society (state, culture). This would be a restored band of office-holders of apostles and prophets that must reign before Jesus could return. These apostles are self-anointed and self-appointed, and they claim to be imbued with supernatural powers.
In the past decade a new convert to the Latter Rain movement, missiologist C. Peter Wagner, has welded together a movement he has called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The NAR is a world-wide network of several hundred apostles with the stated goal of taking dominion over society and government. It was Wagner who gave the green light to enter the world of politics as a sort of halfway house in procuring the world dominion for the apostles and prophets.
The inspired canonical Scriptures, of course, have no reference to any so-called restoration of these apostles and prophets at the end of the age. But these “restored” prophets give additional new revelations that in effect add to the Scriptures, and thus their new words serve to endorse these later day apostles and prophets with their new revelations. How clever.
In addition, it was by new revelation that the current dominion teaching of taking dominion of the so called 7 mountains of culture became known and is now finding acceptance around the world. This whole movement presupposes that the New Testament end-time teaching in Scripture is essentially wrong and/or incomplete. So a new eschatology has arisen in which dominion is the key tenet.
These self-proclaimed apostles and prophets continue to replicate. One reason that this movement continues to grow is that many of its apostles and prophets have their own ministries and they often do not accentuate their role as apostles and prophets. They hide their movement behind multiplying organizations and various ministries and thus avoid naming themselves apostles and prophets. (C. Peter Wagner no longer publishes the membership of his International Coalition of Apostles, for example.) This tactic is borrowed from current political affiliates who hide their true identities. An example would be Mike Bickle who is officially a restored apostle, yet he rarely states this, and his own ministry called IHOP (International House of Prayer, whose lineage goes back to the Latter Rain movement) occupies his calling card. So is the case with Rick Joyner and many others with multiple venues.
Samuel Rodriguez is officially a NAR apostle. However he wears many hats. He is head of The National Hispanic Leadership Conference. But he has also been the Vice-President of the Oak Initiative, a religio-political entity initiated by Rick Joyner who is also a NAR apostle who has his own ministry called Morningstar Ministries. Rodriquez, however, plays on many different fields at the same time. He states in his biography that he has advised President Obama. Rodriquez is a huge multi-tasker. He was a part of the Circle of Hope Coalition of Evangelicals dedicated to helping Obama help the poor.
Understandably, Rodriquez is then courted by various political movements. But he is at bedrock an NAR apostle with a "prophetic calling." Rodriquez has attempted to deny his office as a NAR apostle. But, despite his denials he is an apostle of the NAR. He is a member of Wagner's elite International Coalition of Apostles (ICA) through 2009, when they quit publicly publishing their membership). Although he is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God, he has apostolic authority over a group of ministries, and he is, in turn, is under the apostolic authority of apostle Steve Perea. Perea, in turn, is part of the Kingdom Leadership Network that is under ICA apostle Pat Francis. (See Rachel Tabachnick, “Samuel Rodriquez, The NAR and the Apostolic Government of the Church,” Talk2Action, and other articles raising questions about Rodriguez.)
This example illustrates the reach and authority of the restored apostles. On the surface these leaders may not herald their apostolic relatedness to other apostles. They may be ordained by a denomination. They may participate in myriads of organizations and seem very mainline. But the bottom line is that they must answer to their apostolic government. In particular, Rodriquez has mastered the art of being a stealth apostle. He markets himself as a new kind of Pentecostal. He has stated: "We need a new kind of Christian in America. It's not the Christian Right. It's not the Moral Majority. It's not the Christian Coalition. It’s a kingdom Culture."
Rodriquez just gave away his real mission as a stealth apostle. It is dominion kingdom culture he advocates. He completes the sentence by saying: "the Kingdom Culture is multi-ethnic, multi-generational righteousness and justice movement dedicated to the Lamb." He repeats this phrase often at NAR meetings. It is his version of the Dominion mandate. This is often called the cultural mandate to make it seem less aggressive.
On a Tuesday evening in August Samuel Rodriguez, a stealth apostle, mounted the podium and offered the benediction at the Republican National Convention. It was a good prayer. So what is the problem? The problem is that he is a member of the ICA as an apostle. This is a group that believes they have the same authority as the biblical prophets of the New Testament (and Old!). That makes him a false apostle in the real Kingdom of God. No more no less.
Rodriquez has, of course, other credentials. Besides being an ordained AOG minister he sits on the board of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, the NAE and Christianity Today. But these mainstream credentials do not change his identity and his false claim to hold the office of an apostle. As an apostle, Rodriguez has many other associations with leaders of the NAR and other associated leaders, including controversial ones like T.D. Jakes and Benny Hinn.
Being an end-time apostle is no longer a liability. A teaching an end-time dominion theocracy apostle is apparently not questioned by the professional political groups nor the NAE evangelicals. Perhaps they don’t know or are too preoccupied to notice. After all, many of the apostolic leaders and their allies have tried to deny their extreme dominionism teachings.
These apostles claim to have authority even greater than Paul, Peter, Luke etc. The restored prophets, with a straight face, announce that Isaiah, Jeremiah will one day in glory accept and declare them as their greater peers. There are now a cadre of Latter Rain national politicians who use their power to introduce the apostles and prophets to the political limelight. Other politicians are seeking to buy the votes the NAR can promise, and the end-time apostles are happy to gain power and prestige on their path to dominionist theocracy.
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