The New Apostolic Reformation: What It Is And Why We Should Care With Holly Pivec —The Alisa Childers Podcast #16
There is a movement within Christendom called the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Some Christians believe it's a true work of God, others are skeptical...others claim it doesn't exist at all! My guest, Holly Pivec has written two books on the NAR, and talks with me about her concerns regarding the teachings and practices of this growing movement.
After posting this podcast, a couple people contacted me asking about whether or not Christians should sing songs from Bethel music. It’s something I have thought quite a bit about, and am still thinking through, so I decided share my thoughts publicly.
First of all, if you search my name on YouTube, you will find some videos of me singing Bethel songs. Even though many of those were posted before I was aware of Bethel's connection to NAR, I’m a worship leader, and an artist, so I have tons of grace for worship leaders because I know how hard it is to please everyone.
I don’t always know much about the people who write some of the songs I sing. My philosophy is this: if the lyric of the song is something that I can sing in good conscience before God, and I believe it to be biblical and glorifying to God, I’m going to sing it. I don’t feel the need to research the exact theology of every song writer who records a worship song. (That would be exhausting and probably impossible.) I also don’t think that every worship song needs to be super literal or cover the complexities of the entire gospel in 4 stanzas…I can dive right in to a water metaphor! (Wink wink.)
With that said, I do find that some of the Bethel songs are lyrically vague. So I think it’s important for worship leaders to incorporate some literal songs as well (like hymns). Symbolic and metaphorical songs can be interpreted to mean almost anything that fits in your own paradigm.
Here’s an example:
You make me brave, you make me brave
You call me out beyond on the shore into the waves
You make me brave, you make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way
Now, if you are a Bible believing, Evangelical Christian, you might apply these lyrics to something you believe God is calling you to do…something difficult like going into full-time ministry or adopting a child. You might even apply it to the idea of taking up your cross and following Christ, which is increasingly challenging in our post-Christian culture.
Now think about these lyrics if you are a Progressive Christian who is in the process of changing your theology on things like LGBT inclusion, substitutionary atonement, and biblical authority. Read the lyrics again with that paradigm in mind.
Wow…what radically different meanings can be applied to the same song! This is why I think it’s really important to incorporate songs that are very clear about the gospel. So, in my opinion, if you’re going to sing “You Make Me Brave” in a worship service, also sing something like “In Christ Alone,” or “Come Thou Fount.”
I’m sure my thinking will continue to be refined on this subject, and I might change my view. But for now, that’s where I’m at. What do you think? Please comment below.
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2/16/2018 10:38:00 am
Enjoyed this podcast with Holly, bringing back why I left my church. Keep up the work you have been given. Every item discussed was my experience. I stepped outside the box independently but sadly it seems many get caught up in the movement. Thanks again. Harold
2/16/2018 04:27:42 pm
Tami Sue Webster
3/30/2018 09:47:40 pm
Alisa. Thank U so much for this podcast. I have been researching this for 4 months because so many people in my community are being influenced. I wanted to make 2 comments beyond the theology of Bethel Music. By singing their music we are lending credibility to them and their associates hence their heretical doctrine. Secondly every time we sing their music they receive royalties which in turn helps promote their heresy. So we have chosen to discontinue using their music. Another good book is DEFINING DECEPTION By COSTI HINN. Bless all u do.
6/15/2019 02:08:13 am
Well done for the uncompromising approach you have taken regarding their music. I have come to the same conclusion a while ago. It has taken me a while to get their music out of my system, but it's amazing to see how easy it is for me to recognize error nowadays. I was part of the whole culture, through their music, Dvds, teachings and books, until I left it church and started reading the Bible for myself.
11/10/2019 06:15:24 am
I have weeded out a huuuge amount of bethel and Hillsong music from our repertoire, for the very reason you listed. It could lead people to bad teaching, and it feeds the machine that is the NAR. It was painful for me because their are so many beautiful and theologically sound songs coming out of bethel and Hillsong. I have found some great new resources if anyone is interested. CityAlight, sovereign grace music, we the kingdom, to name a few. Now that I know what bethel and Hillsong teach( or don’t teach. I.E. the gospel) I can’t in good conscience promote their music.
2/16/2018 10:40:04 am
Good interview with Holly. Appreciate your ministry.
2/17/2018 11:20:19 am
2/17/2018 11:32:48 am
Hi Beverly, thanks for your comment. I think you bring up a good point...there is SO much mis-information on the internet, and I'm sure there are some websites out there who incorrectly identify certain leaders as being "NAR." We have to be so careful to discern what's really going on. That's why I had Holly on, who has done a legitimate scholarly work on this subject. The people she named are undeniably in NAR networks, and she is very careful to present only well-researched and well-reasoned arguments. I pray this podcast was helpful for you!
3/18/2018 08:59:12 am
I've found Holly to be dead-on correct about who is in the NAR. I was in it for around 10 years, after relatives who were basic charismatics got sucked into the movement. Many people who were charismatic, and/or word of faith (another movement like the NAR that teaches some very off doctrines) are now sucked into the NAR.
2/18/2018 11:45:23 am
I have been challenged before when I speak out about this movement to my friends who I see are misguided. They are calling me religious. They think I have the religious spirit. How do I tespond in love to this!?
2/18/2018 02:43:07 pm
One of the key features of the NAR and related church patterns is their intentional provision of arguments (or often simply labels) to deflect challenges. Because both they and we are convinced that we are on the side of truth, or at least on the side of God's work in our world, it's not as easy to speak "across the fence" as it might be in the context of normal apologetics conversations.
2/18/2018 03:50:25 pm
Thanks Alisha an Holly. I was grateful to hear Holly in person. I have one her books I believe on NAR. To hear her encapsulate all of it was wonderful. Alisha I was glad to discover you as well. Clear thinkers the both of you, and ardent lovers of our LORD and Saviour. Paul said I will pray with the Spirit and with the mind. I've been touched by the way you use both. In JESUS, brother Suresh
3/18/2018 09:00:28 am
Thanks Holly! Keep up the good work!
7/8/2018 08:40:11 am
I'm in the UK and can see parallels here. The UK has it's own 24/7 prayer group founded by Pete Greig (not IHOP, but founded on the same day as IHOP interestingly). I see the same errors here. There is an emphasis on 'Celtic christianity' I.e. Going back to ancient spirituality. There is a claimed 'move of the spirit' in the Celtic lands, and people like Karl Martin of Central Church, Edinburgh, who claims to be an apostle (although I haven't read any recent written claim to this, I know he claimed it years ago) heading it, on the back of 3DM (founded by Mike Breen). Our church is now using worship songs from Hillsong, Bethel, Rend Collective, Matt Maher, etc. I don't think a church should use any of these songs, because of the source theology, e.g. NAR, Prosperity gospel. Hillsong and Bethel have now joined forces in joint worship events, so even if Hillsong aren't as overtly incorrect as Bethel, by association they disqualify themselves from orthodoxy. There is no-one in the UK picking up on these errors, apart from individual concerned people like me, unlike in USA where there seems to be a growing voice against these errors, so they go unchecked here in the U.K. Can you please throw any light on the UK situation? Many thanks. John
5/24/2020 02:30:16 pm
Thought you might be interested in this https://www.prophecytoday.uk/general/item/877-blessing-the-church-archive.html
5/25/2020 06:11:49 am
10/16/2018 06:40:52 pm
10/31/2018 08:32:34 am
I’ve followed IHOPKC for years, have listened to hundreds of hours of Mike Bickle’s sermons and have never heard him condone or promote NAR teachings. Their website even contains a direct response to their claimed affiliation to the NAR movement: https://www.ihopkc.org/press-center/faq/ihopkc-part-new-apostolic-reformation/
12/25/2019 07:05:45 pm
1/15/2020 01:51:25 pm
3/6/2020 07:41:41 pm
I love your appearance on the most recent American Gospel documentary. I can't stand the song "Reckless Love" and I am avoiding churches who sing Bethel songs. Right now I am attending an Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
8/19/2020 04:45:36 pm
Thank you so much for your blog and podcast Alisa! I've been going through all of them and just came across this one. It clarifies some things I've had a vague uncertainty about regarding aspects of this movement or theology and haven't quite been able to put my finger on. I have friends who are flocking to courses, events, and conferences saturated in this stuff. I believe in the continuation of the gifts as well, but something hasn't set right with me about the schools, practicing prophecies, etc....And that leads some to see me as either opposed to the spirit, having been hurt by a "bad" prophecy before, or "religious". Should we view these leaders, however, as still brothers and sisters in Christ? As Holly puts it, they believe many of the same creeds but are still in error...error that has harmful potential. It seems like someone caught up in this movement can still be true believers (ie. my personal friends I know), but at what point does it cross the line if no explicit contradiction or idolatry occurs? (Although I wonder if the desire for the supernatural has become and idol to some.) When does "deceiving and being deceived" make them an imposter versus mistaken? When do we agree to disagree versus expose in this situation- if they aren't outright denying certain aspects of the gospel? I absolutely believe in using discernment so that we are not deceived ourselves...but how do we navigate this, especially with friends or family who are caught up in it and who also genuinely love and seek to obey the Lord? I hope this makes sense. Thanks!
10/24/2020 07:09:38 am
I think the danger is in the fact that Hillsong and Bethel born music actively points people to these false churches. People, especially young people are pointed to Hillsong and Bethel church because they have been introduced to the music and a curiousity is peaked. Yes the songs are great, often doctrinally sound, but ultimately they are created by wolves in sheep’s clothing- they LOOK and sound very much like us but they are leading thousands to worship a false Jesus. If Bill Johnson had one very doctrinally sound sermon would you invite him to your church to preach that sermon as a guest? No. The same can apply to the music we use to worship. Thanks!
Jadyn E Urbina
11/26/2020 01:59:47 pm
Hello! Thank you for your walk of faith. I am appreciating the journey you are on and gleaning a lot!
8/31/2021 07:57:24 am
1/26/2022 01:14:29 pm
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