Book Review of A New Apostolic Reformation

R. Douglas Geivett and Holly Pivec. A New Apostolic Reformation: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. 2014. 254 pp. Introduction This book surveys the rise of the so-called New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The NAR movement’s roots can be traced to the 1980s in North America but is now a world-wide phenomenon. The central figure in this movement is the late C. Peter Wagner. Wagner was still living when Geivett and Pivec researched and wrote this book. Wagner passed away on 21 October 2016. Lexham Press published New Apostolic Reformation? in 2014. There are nineteen chapters, a preface, a conclusion, and three appendices. The book is endorsed by a number of Evangelical pastors and scholars. This list of endorsements includes Daniel Wallace, Craig Evans, Amos Yong, and Paul Copan. Both Geivett and Pivec are connected to Biola University in La Miranda, California in the United States. Geivett is a professor of philosophy at Talbot School and Theology at Biola, and Pivec holds an MA from Biola. Geivett holds a PhD from the University of Southern California. Pivec mentions that her church family is Bethel Church in Fairbanks, Alaska (xvii). The two of them also collaborated on a book entitled God’s Super Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. This second book was published in 2018. The authors refer to NAR as a worldwide movement. The also demonstrate that NAR has had international impact. However, the focus of the book is the impact, influence, and response to the NAR movement in North America. Book Summary The nineteen chapters in this book are all relatively short. The longest one, chapter 15, is sixteen pages long. The shortest chapter, chapter 16, is only seven pages long. Meanwhile, the conclusion is just one page. Each chapter contains an introductory paragraph which presents the topic to be covered and also gives outline of how the authors will address the topic. Each chapter also contains a brief summary of the chapter at its conclusion. All of these features make this book very accessible and easy-to-read. The cover is cleverly designed by Frank Gutbrod featuring art by Mark Dobratz. The book is dedicated to “the Church, the Bride of Christ.”  Preface The authors’ preface lists two major goals: to give the readers “an idea of the sheer size and reach of NAR” and “to systematize NAR’s key teachings and practices and evaluate them on the basis of Scripture and careful reasoning” (xiv). The authors are able to achieve both of these goals — though I would say that they are really three goals, since the systematization of NAR teaching and practice is often separate from the authors’ evaluation of that system. For me, one of the most confusing statements in the entire book is in the preface. The authors write that they believe that the NAR proponents are “genuine disciples of Jesus.” This evaluation is confusing, because the authors will go on to write about the dangers, problems, mistakes, and heterodoxy of the entire NAR movement. In a spirit of humility, they conclude their preface by inviting dialogue with members or defenders of the […]