Bible Answer

Is the New Apostolic Reformation a Cult?

Is the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) biblical? I am concerned about the teaching from those associated with this movement, like Bill Johnson out of Bethel Church.

The New Apostolic Reformation is a movement associated with Bill Johnson and his church, Bethel, which portrays the work of the Holy Spirit in unbiblical ways and promotes a false view of a believer's place in serving Jesus, including dangerous teachings emphasizing seeking signs and wonders, and displays of mystical powers. This movement has captured many Christians because it appeals to our flesh's desire for excitement and control, but it runs counter to biblical truth. 

C. Peter Wagner offered a careful examination of this movement compared to orthodox Christianity to reveal its errors, including (from Wikipedia[1]):

  • Apostolic governance – The Apostle Paul's assertion that Jesus appoints apostles within his church continues to this day.
  • The office of the prophet – There is within the church a role and function for present-day prophets.
  • Dominionism – "When Jesus came, He brought the kingdom of God and He expects His kingdom-minded people to take whatever action is needed to push back the long-standing kingdom of Satan and bring the peace and prosperity of His kingdom here on earth."
  • Theocracy – Not to be confused with a theocratic government but rather the goal to have "kingdom-minded people" in all areas of society. There are seven areas identified specifically: religion, family, education, government, media, arts & entertainment, and business.
  • Extra-biblical revelation – There is available to all believers the ability to hear from God. "The one major rule governing any new revelation from God is that it cannot contradict what has already been written in the Bible. It may supplement it, however."
  • Supernatural signs and wonders – Signs and wonders such as healing, demonic deliverance, and confirmed prophecies accompany the move of God.
  • Relational structures – church governance has no formal structure but rather is by relational and voluntary alignment to apostles.

Please read more about this movement in these articles: Is speaking or praying in tongues biblical? or Do the offices of Apostles and Prophets still exist?

We recommend Christians steer clear of such things and remain grounded in the word of God. We also recommend you listen to our 1 Corinthians Bible study, especially chapters 12-14 addressing this question.

Finally, we suggest reading the book “Strange Fire” by John MacArthur, which exposes the pentecostalism heresies in depth.