I want to give a warning here: there are certain Pentecostal movements which are rife with bizarre, occultish, New Age-ish contemplative prayer/ contemplative spirituality practices – as well as many other false teachings and practices.
But first I want to say: I do believe there are Pentecostal churches which are balanced and biblically sound (relatively speaking). Although, I must admit, today they are very few and far between. In fact, I have attended several of what I considered balanced, biblically sound Assemblies of God churches in years past. (I say “balanced” primarily because they did not push the need for tongues.)
The Assemblies of God denomination has traditionally fallen under the umbrella of Classic Pentecostal denominations. There are three waves of Pentecostalism – Classic Pentecostals (the First Wave), Charismatics (the Second Wave), and the New Apostolic Reformation or NAR (the Third Wave). The “Three Waves” is a classification put forth by C. Peter Wagner.
Unfortunately, from the very beginning of Pentecostalism, there have been more false teachers than biblically sound teachers. This is especially true of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) (a major player in the Third Wave). In a 2005 article, C. Peter Wagner gives a detailed explanation of the bizarre NAR.
Click here for the original article in its entirety:
[Note – we do not support the website which posted this article – the website is anti-Christian.]
Read between the lines, and even in Wagner’s pro-NAR article you will see some of the heresies of the movement. For example, check out these excerpts from Wagner:
1) “My mentor for helping me make a paradigm shift [originally a New Age term] into what I now call the spiritual principles of church growth was John Wimber, founder of the Association of Vineyard Churches and Vineyard Ministries International. This began my second season of research, focusing first of all on the relationship between supernatural signs and wonders and church growth, then on prayer and spiritual warfare. This began in the early 1980s and continued to the mid-1990s.” [John Wimber – now there is a false teacher – and Wagner claims him as his mentor…]
2) New Prayer Forms – “Prayer in new apostolic churches has taken forms rarely seen in traditional congregations. Some of this takes place within the church and some takes place outside the church… A considerable number of new apostolic churches practice concert prayer, in which all the worshipers are praying out loud at the same time, some in a prayer language and some in the vernacular. At times in some churches, each one will begin singing a prayer, creating a loud, harmonious sound not unlike the sound of the medieval Gregorian chant… New apostolic leaders have been among the first to understand and put into practice some of the newer forms of prayer that take place in the community itself, not in the church. For many, praise marches, prayer walking, prayer journeys and prayer expeditions have become a part of congregational life and ministry…” [In other words, NAR churches practice contemplative prayer/contemplative spirituality – which in previous blogs we have explained are actually occult/New Age-ish.]
3) New Power Orientation – “The majority of the new apostolic churches not only believe in the work of the Holy Spirit, but they also regularly invite Him to come into their midst to bring supernatural power. It is commonplace, therefore, to observe active ministries of healing, demonic deliverance, spiritual warfare, prophecy, failing in the Spirit, spiritual mapping, prophetic acts, fervent intercession and travail, and so on in new apostolic churches.” [Not to mention the latest bizarre practices, such as soaking prayer, which is its extreme form is a “gateway” to dreams, visions, trances, angelic visitations, and third heaven visitations – ala Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, etc.]
And these are just a few of the false teachings of the NAR. Bottom line – warn everyone you know to stay away from the NAR.
As far as C. Peter Wagner himself, I question whether he is even a born again Christian. As well as the beliefs mentioned above, he holds to “open theism” – that God does not know the future (see Chapter 4 of this book, viewable online). And Wikipedia lists Wagner here as a former professor at the very liberal Fuller Theological Seminary.
FOR FURTHER READING
Wikipedia article on C. Peter Wagner (may or may not be accurate)