The eschatological worldview of C. Peter Wagner and the New Apostolic Reformation
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This dissertation is an evaluation of the theology of prolific writer and missiologist, C. Peter Wagner, and his role and influence in identifying the emergence of the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ (NAR). Wagner, the iconic ‘father figure’ of the NAR has been declaring for some two decades that the global church has entered, what he describes as, the ‘Second Apostolic Age’ and, that “we are now witnessing the most radical change in the way of doing church since the Protestant Reformation” (1998: 16-17). In essence, he is convinced that the 16th century Reformation has not yet completed its objectives and continues to add revelationary truth to the Church today. The most distinctive and fundamental feature of the NAR is its ecclesiological emphasis on the restoration of apostolic authority within the contemporary Church with the same governmental authority that functioned through the New Testament apostolate; it is from this foundation that all other NAR theological viewpoints stem. Writing from a classical Pentecostal standpoint this study seeks to discover whether it is plausible that the Church has actually entered a ‘Second Apostolic Age’ and, what factors led Wagner to his conclusion that a ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ has been birthed. In order to evaluate the teachings and praxis of the NAR, a literary and exegetical analysis will be undertaken by means of comparison with the theological position as defined, by the Fundamental Truths of the Elim Pentecostal Church (Elim Directory, 2015: 6) the denomination, with which the writer holds ministerial credentials. Comparison and comment will also be made with relevant published materials, including Wagner’s 2008 publication Dominion! How Kingdom Action Can Change the World; archives; theological journals; theses and dissertations; the World Wide Web and, other germane material sourced from NAR data. An exegesis of key scripture references pertinent to NAR theology will be undertaken and, an evaluation of NAR’s theological orthodoxy or otherwise, will be made. These comparisons will seek to evaluate: whether Wagner’s viewpoint on the office of contemporary governmental apostles and prophets is a tenable one; whether the NAR eschatological view of Dominionism and Kingdom Now theology can be substantiated from Scripture; whether the NAR eschatological praxis arising out of Dominionism is a realistic proposition; whether certain factors, including key personnel, influenced Wagner in reaching his conclusions; whether Wagner’s reading of the available data produced a correct, or an invalid, interpretation of the facts and, whether the current spiritual climate is indicative of a ‘New Reformation’ taking place today.
- Theology