FAQs and Controversies (incl. Affirmations and Denials)

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What is IHOPKC’s stance on the New Apostolic Reformation?

In the summer of 2011 a term began to be used by many mainstream media outlets to refer to a Christian movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation. The term was used pejoratively to distinguish this movement from orthodox Christianity and the International House of Prayer was included in these news reports and was said to be a leading voice in this movement. Here we answer some frequently asked questions regarding this issue.

1. Is IHOPKC part of the New Apostolic Reformation?

Although the term New Apostolic Reformation was popularized in the mainstream media, its origins are from a scholar known as Dr. C. Peter Wagner (1930-2016) who coined the term in 1994 after trying several alternatives such as “Neopentecostal,” “Neocharismatic,” “Independent,” “Post denominational” or “Nondenominational.” This name referred to a movement in the body of Christ at-large of churches with some charismatic/”Third-wave” (also a term coined by Wagner) similarities. He subsequently wrote of the NAR in his books The New Apostolic Churches (1998); Churchquake! (1999); Apostles and Prophets (2000); Changing Church (2004); and Apostles Today (2006).

Wagner has noted that this nomenclature has subsequently been used against him.

“NAR has become a tool in the hands of certain liberal opponents of the conservative [political] candidates designed to discredit them on the basis of their friendship with certain Christian leaders supposedly affiliated with the NAR.” (http://www.gloryofzion.org/docs/8-20-11_nar.pdf)

While any Christian scholar has an ability to name a movement, the question remains whether any organized movement exists and whether IHOPKC is part of that movement.

In much of the writing against NAR, there are strong implications that NAR is an organized movement with such things as “leaders,” “spokespeople,” “theology,” “interpretations of the Bible,” and even a NAR translation of the Bible. This presentation is misleading and disingenuous at best, as these same writers will add caveats that no such organizational apparatus or agreement between leaders and spokespeople exists. When examining this subject Dr. Roger Olson notes that he could discern no kind of organized movement, rather a “kind of umbrella term for a loose collection of independent ministries that have a few common interests.” (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2015/06/is-the-new-apostolic-reformation-movement-a-cult/)

IHOPKC has never claimed any membership or part in the NAR movement. While we know and honor some ministries who are identified as being part of the movement, we honor them as we would any other part of the Body of Christ.

This means we would have differences in theology and practice with these whom we would still consider brothers and sisters in Christ. We believe in the authority of scripture and the supremacy of Jesus in all things, we believe in the Apostle’s Creed and many “classic statements of Christian doctrine” (http://hich schoww.gloryofzion.org/docs/8-20-11_nar.pdf). (IHOPKC’s statement of faith can be found here.) Our approach in relating to other members of the Body of Christ can be summed up in the common saying, expressed in various ways and attributed to various authors: in essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.

2. Has IHOPKC had any organizational relationship to C. Peter Wagner? 

While Mike Bickle personally knew and esteemed Peter Wagner as a brother in Christ, Peter had no organizational relationship with IHOPKC. Peter Wagner never spoke at an IHOPKC event and to our knowledge never visited IHOPKC. (Peter Wagner passed away in 2016.)

3. Does IHOPKC believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit?

While the term NAR may be used simply as a pejorative affiliation in the mainstream media, in the more academic examinations of the NAR, the theological arguments are rooted in whether the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased in the first centuries (which leads to a position known as cessationism) or whether the gifts of the Holy Spirit continued through the Church age and are available to believers today (which leads to a position often known as continuationism.) IHOPKC would fall within the “continuationist” camp, believing that today’s Church should also follow the apostle Paul’s encouragement to “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Cor 14:1 ESV)

Visitors to IHOPKC will quickly note that all members of the leadership team are simply known by their first name. While we believe in honoring each other, we believe that spiritual gifts are given to serve each other so that the body comes to maturity, not so that individuals can be honored by a title or office related to their gifts.

4. Is IHOPKC part of a movement led by people claiming to be apostles? 

There are no individuals with the title or office of prophet or apostle within the IHOPKC leadership team. IHOPKC leads with an eldership team model, having no one with the title of apostle or prophet. The IHOPKC leadership team strongly and consistently emphasize that believers must check the teachings that happen from any teacher in our congregational settings against the Bible. Further the IHOPKC leadership team have robust discussions about differing theological interpretations.

5. Does IHOPKC govern a network of churches?

No. IHOPKC is friendly with many in the Body of Christ across denominational boundaries and a number have been inspired by what has happened in Kansas City and have established “Houses of Prayer” in their own city. IHOPKC does not have any governmental authority over any of these churches or spiritual communities. While IHOPKC loves to serve and resource individuals and churches outside Kansas City, the leadership of IHOPKC only extends to our Missions Base in Kansas City.

6. Does IHOPKC believe that the end-time church will operate in miraculous powers?

Yes. IHOPKC believes in the continuation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit beyond the first century. We believe that believers in the Body of Christ today can operate in gifts such as healing and prophecy. Eschatologically, IHOPKC holds a theological view known as historical premillenialism. This is a mainstream orthodox belief amongst Christians throughout church history. We believe that Jesus will return to earth and believe that, prior to His return, the earth will go through a great tribulation. In the midst of this trouble we believe that many believers will be what the book of Revelation terms “overcomers.” Part of this overcoming we believe is the church operating in unity with the Holy Spirit and operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit as outlined in the New Testament.

7. Does IHOPKC believe that before Jesus returns the end-time church will release Jesus’ judgments on the Antichrist?

Church history shows that there are four major ways in which scholars have interpreted the text of Revelation. IHOPKC interprets Revelation through a futurist lens, which is consistent with an historic premillennial position. This is not a unique approach to reading Revelation historically. It falls well within the scope of historic orthodoxy.

Because IHOPKC holds this hermeneutical approach, it means that we believe there is a connection between the prayers of the saints and the judgments of God described in Revelation. This should not lead to a caricature of renegade believers roaming around calling down judgments as some have portrayed it; however, in dismissing such caricatures, we cannot dismiss the scriptures that indicate a connection between prayer and the release of God’s judgement in the Antichrist’s evil empire.

In speaking of Revelation 8:5 conservative scholar G.E. Ladd states

“This verse [5] dramatically pictures the fact that it is in answer to the prayers of the saints that God’s judgments will fall upon the earth.” (George Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John, p. 125f.)

Mainstream evangelical preacher John Piper begins an entire sermon on this subject.

“The utterly astonishing thing about this text is that it portrays the prayers of the saints as the instrument God uses to usher in the end of the world with great divine judgments. It pictures the prayers of the saints accumulating on the altar before the throne of God until the appointed time when they are taken up like fire from the altar and thrown upon the earth to bring about the consummation of God’s kingdom.” (http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-prayers-of-the-saints-and-the-end-of-the-world)

8. Does IHOPKC use the NAR translation of the Bible?

IHOPKC leadership and faculty generally uses the New King James Version (NKJV) or English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible, although we do not require or specify any version in particular. We have no comment on a so-called NAR translation.

9. Does IHOPKC teach dominion theology?

We affirm that God’s purpose is for Jesus to come back to fully establish His kingdom rule over all the earth. After the second coming, the saints will rule the earth under the leadership of Jesus Christ when He sets up His government on earth in Jerusalem in the millennial kingdom (1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 5:10; 20:3–6). We believe that believers in this age are called to serve Jesus in many different spheres of society including politics and to help establish righteousness and justice in legislation when it is possible. We are to seek to be salt and light. However, we do not believe that most of society will be Christianized before Jesus returns. We believe that all the nations will follow the Lord and obey His Word after Jesus returns to establish His millennial kingdom.

We deny that the Church will take over all the governments of the earth before the return of Christ. In this we would differ from others who hold to more of a triumphalist eschatology that many organs of government will become Christianized before the return of Christ.