The Framing of a Movement: Defining the New Apostolic Reformation










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Read “The Framing of a Movement: Defining the New Apostolic Reformation” in Modern Reformation’s May/June Edition.

Imagine a religious movement that has no formal organization, no official leaders, and no confessional statement, yet its churches are among the most influential and fastest growing in the world. Now imagine that some of this movement’s most prominent representatives—perhaps because of its unorthodox beliefs and controversial practices—deny its very existence. How do you identify such a movement? How do you warn orthodox churches of its influence among their own members or leaders? Welcome to the New Apostolic Reformation.

As we seek in this essay to define the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and the extent of its influence, we must first emphasize that the movement isn’t a denomination or federation or even a parachurch organization. You will never drive by a sign that reads, New Apostolic Reformational Church of Snoqualmie Falls. This invisibility is a large part of its threat. But in this essay, we will not focus on critique but definition. It is vital to define this movement because it is a theologically troubling system of functional norms, beliefs, and leadership networks that over the past few decades has made significant inroads into many evangelical churches in the United States and abroad. We hope that defining the movement’s characteristic features will help both church leaders and members to recognize the threat and guard against it.

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