Yeshua told us many would come. Will we know them?
NAR and The Word of Faith
These past few weeks, we’ve been unpacking the heated and controversial topic of false Christs, or Messiahs. Yeshua tells us about them. It is certainly one of the most important things to study, especially in these last days, so that when confronted with it we will see it for what it is. Let’s continue our study of False Christs and wolves.
For our last week in this series, we will be tackling the NAR and The Word of Faith Movements, which is admittedly a daunting task because they are so prevalent within the church. Our eyes and spiritual sanctuaries are literally flooded with images and “sermons” of well-dressed men and women who constantly tell us that “God wants you to be wealthy and blessed and live in abundance and be perfectly healthy” and on and on…. and while we know and understand on a gut-level that the Gospel just isn’t as simple as that, a lot of mainstream Christians just eat it up.
Today, I want to talk about the teachers and proponents of this movement and why we should distance ourselves far away from them if we don’t want to buy what they’re selling. Let’s jump in!
I know that almost everyone is familiar with names like Joel Osteen, Beth Moore, Benny Hinn, Christine Cane, T.D.Jakes, Juanita Bymun, Joyce Meyer, Jesse Duplantis, Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin. There are MANY more. In fact, there are far too many to list here, so I encourage you to do a quick Google search on “Faith Preachers” to see what I mean. It should be noted that I listed Beth Moore here, not because she is openly a Word of Faith preacher, but because she openly aligns herself with them, which is also a very bad thing. My mom used to say “You are the company you keep.” To openly promote unity with and support heretical teachings puts you on the same level as the false preachers who teach them and at the bare minimum muddies your name significantly.
People with sound doctrine don’t tend to support uniting with and promoting word of faith and prosperity gospel heretical teaching. You simply cannot trust the doctrine, theology, and teaching of someone who promotes and partners with heretical false teachers. (Excerpt from “Why is Beth Moore a false teacher” from the Heterodox Research Initiative https://heterodoxresearchinitiative.wordpress.com/tag/why-is-beth-moore-a-false-teacher/
While “Word of Faith” is self-explanatory; NAR stands for New Apostolic Reformation. They are very closely intertwined in most cases, and they are almost exclusively found in the contemporary modern church. Though the movements themselves are not new (Ecclesiastes 1:9) they are setting the evangelistic world on its ear and causing many to fall away from sound doctrine and therefore the faith entirely.
J.D Kim Ministries says it like this:
Briefly, the NAR is a movement within Christianity and emphasizes, out of many themes, restoring the lost church governance and offices of the apostle and prophet. That is different from practicing the gifts of the Holy Spirit like apostleship and prophecy, because the movement supports that an apostle and prophet are real offices of the church like the pastor, elder, or deacon. The apostle and prophet, being the leaders of the local and global churches, share with their followers or members the direct revelations that the apostle and prophet personally and directly receive by God. https://jdkimministries.org/blog/2018/11/29/the-new-apostolic-reformation-and-the-word-of-faith-movements
The writers at The Berean Examiner tell us that some of the signs that a church is NAR is that they often ignore other heretical doctrines under the guise of “unity” and that they want to organize a “kingdom of God” in the here and now on Earth through excessive government and use of media, music, and entertainment. Check out the article here: http://www.piratechristian.com/berean-examiner/the-six-hallmarks-of-a-nar-church
NAR churches are usually seeker churches, trying to fill as many seats as possible, while preaching “togetherness” which usually includes an open acceptance of grievous sins like homosexuality and abortion. They forego a Christ-centered Gospel in favor of a self-centered gospel.
First, we need to start by understanding that YHVH Himself tells us that He declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), so then we have no real need for “new revelation” from “Super Apostles” in any sense. Not to mention that Yahweh’s word doesn’t change. Just because you have no real way of promoting the kind of unity that makes you the most popular church without including those who have deviant lifestyles doesn’t mean that you can change the word of YHVH to say that these things are no longer a sin. That is nowhere found within the pages of the Bible.
And speaking of the contents of the pages of the Bible, where does it say that YHVH wants you to be rich? Where does it say that He wants you to be perfectly healthy? Where does it say that as a pastor, you should be petitioning your congregants for not one or two but FOUR private jets, or that being a good steward of YHVH’s money allows you to live in a $12 million dollar home?! (I’m looking at you, Mr. Duplantis and Mr. Osteen.) You see, there is nothing wrong with being blessed by the Creator. In fact, He longs to bless His children, like any good parents want to dote on their own earthly kids. That, however, only applies within the confines of scripture, and anything that does not should be raising red flags.
There are a couple of things that we really need to unpack with regards to these preachers and these red flags. The first point to look at here is the aforementioned money and stewardship. ANY preacher who claims to follow the Messiah of YHVH should choose to live modestly and humbly before both the LORD and the sheep he is charged with. Yeshua was literally a homeless man. He never owned anything except the clothes on His back- which were given to Him. He wandered from house to house, ate from other’s tables as grace permitted, and His ministry was completely financed by some of His followers (Phoebe, Priscilla, Mary Magdalene, etc.) That isn’t to suggest that those who have more than enough are guilty of perverting the gospel- to the contrary. The Bible tells us that YHVH does these things as He chooses, and we know that Abraham and King Solomon were both exceedingly wealthy men in their earthly lives. But it for His good pleasure that these things happen, and when we find someone who lives like a king amongst those who have nothing or very little, yet refuses to offer help or give away their riches to feed the poor and needy then they have bad fruit and their money is worthless. Yeshua told us to look at the fruit and we better open our eyes.
The second point is that of faith. We are told that we are able to move mountains with a mustard seed faith. (Matthew 17:20) However, the vast majority of these pastors and teachers will actually tell you that if you pray for something but do not receive it- that it is because you don’t have enough faith! They will actually tell people this. I have heard and seen those with stories where a family member has died from cancer or some other horrible ailment and they have prayed for the healing of this person, but to no avail. These poor, grief-stricken family members have gone to seek solace from their pastor and were told that their faith had failed them in their greatest hour of need. WHAT? Would you ever find something like this in the scriptures? Yeshua told the disciples that they were unable to drive out the demon of epilepsy from the boy because they had little faith, but He then told them HOW to exercise “enough faith”. Prayer and Fasting. And He didn’t tell them that they had done something wrong, or that their faith had utterly failed them, or even that they needed to somehow will into existence MORE faith. He told them that what they needed was more training- thus more knowledge of the faith they ALREADY POSSESSED- in order to drive out the kind of demon that only comes out with prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17) It is very important to distinguish between these two ideologies. One is spiritual growth and a clear expansion of humble faith, and the other is gross spiritual abuse, and should never be tolerated.
The final red flags I want to look at is the notion of sowing and reaping, and blessings from YHVH. The proponents of the Word of Faith and NAR will tell you to “Sow a seed of prosperity to reap a harvest of wealth and success.” Does this sound like anything contained within the Beatitudes or in the Sermon on the Mount? No. How about Yahweh’s covenants with Moses or Abraham? No.
So, what is “Sowing a seed of prosperity” then? In short, it’s paying for blessings. It’s literally the belief that we can pay YHVH through our church pastor to receive the blessings found only in the kingdom. I don’t even have to tell you why this is wrong, but just to be clear- the Word tells us that we are not to test YHVH (Deuteronomy 6:16 & Matthew 4:7) that we cannot buy the Holy Spirit (Acts 8) and that the blessings of YHVH ONLY come through obedience to His word and belief in Messiah (Deuteronomy 28 & literally over 1250 other places in scripture. See: https://dailyverses.net/obedience). To believe that we or our pastor have the power, the authority, or the right to cheapen the mighty grace of YHVH through Yeshua’s finished work on the cross by purchasing blessings from Him is to blaspheme the very nature of the cross itself and to view the creator of the universe as a cosmic vending machine instead of our Heavenly Father. These things should not only be rightly called out as heresy and shunned in broad daylight, but anyone who preaches them to unsuspecting and unlearned sheep should be permanently barred. This is the height of gross spiritual abuse and these so-called preachers are guilty of scattering and devouring the sheep.
Hosea 4:6 says: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
But that’s exactly what the enemy wants, isn’t it? Go back and look at all of these points again. Money and Stewardship. Faith. Blessings. Sowing and Reaping. These are all topics that are covered at length within the scriptures, and with good reason:
Matthew tells us why this is important.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
When we seek the Father, stay humbled, love without limits, and be as a servant, we will be sowing good stewardship, faith, and blessings to reap a harvest of good stewardship, faith, and blessings. This is how the kingdom works. The enemy wants you to think that the NAR and Word of Faith is how it works, however one is centered on you while the other is centered on Yeshua. In reality, the NAR and The Word of Faith are offensive. They only serve to cheapen the cross and both your salvation and mine by allowing people to believe that with enough faith (read:enough money) you can be blessed and successful, and that Yahweh’s will for your life is comfort, self-contentedness, and protection from those who have less than you.
Not my Savior. He got down in the dirt to wrestle with Jacob, He ate with sinners with unwashed hands and lepers, He never owned a thing, and He once traveled on a donkey- not a private jet. If your ministry teaches anything but THIS Messiah- then you have found yourself in the wrong ministry. Perhaps you would do well to separate yourself from these teachings because sin crouches at the door and it desires to have you. (Genesis 4:7)
I pray that you are being blessed by this teaching, and I hope that if you recognized any of these ideologies in your own church that you sincerely consider different fellowship. Please reach out to me, I would love to pray over you. Shalom!