Sunday, March 20, 2005

City Church

A recent web posting by a Charismatic Church has this to say about the "City Church".

"Those whom the Lord redeems He gathers and not just in a loose way but in a city (church) where there is covenant, commitment, and authority. A lost sheep is one who has failed to gather with the flock."

This seemingly innocent statement is interesting in that it brings forth the full flavor of Wagner's New Apostolic Reformation.

Wagner states, The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of God at the close of the twentieth century that is, to a significant extent, changing the shape of Protestant Christianity around the world,” Wagner explains. “For almost five hundred years, Christian churches have largely functioned within traditional denominational structures of one kind or another...”

“The apostles bring spiritual government to the pastors of the city so that the pastors of the city can do the job that God has given them in a much more effective way. The only thing is that the pastors of the city have to recognize the existence of apostles and be willing to acknowledge their governmental role. This hasn't happened too much yet.”

“The only way this can possibly play itself out would be by the other people in the city recognizing that the apostle will add value to their own ministry. If this does not happen, change will not occur,”
explains Wagner. link

It is indeed classic "Latter Rain" theology.

In the view of these Latter Rain extremists the role of the Apostle & Prophet are to be that of the ruling "heads" of the City Church. The City Church is to be brought about by the tearing down of all denominational walls (remember "doctrine divides") and all local congregations coming under the spiritual authority of a group of men/women who are the recognized Apostles & Prophets.

Does this sound far-fetched to you? I can assure you I am not making this up. All you need to do is simply "surf" the Internet regarding the Prophetic or Apostolic Movement and read for yourselves what these folks have in mind for God's Church.

Here's one report of an actual occurrance:

"As with the prophets, my wife and I have met several of these super-anointed Apostles. Our former Pastor, ___ of ___Christian Church was elevated to the role of "Apostle of the east side" of Detroit. ___ of ___ Christian Fellowship was also exalted to "Apostle of the west side" of Detroit. These 2 men were supposed to be the "Gate Keepers" or "Porters" of our city. They (and their warfare congregations) were supposed to control the heavenlies. Frankly, neither of them have proved to be very effective pastors, let alone apostles. They are but 2 of many men and a few women we've had to sit under in the past." link

Don't dismiss these ideas a belonging to just a few quirky churches. Sadly, the belief is held by many quirky churches. The idea, of course, for a "city church" is not only classic Latter Rain which has been espoused by Wagner, but has been touted by Kansas City's Mike Bickle for over 15 years. Bickle authored the paper "The City Church," presented at the Grace Ministries Leadership Conference in 1989.

Ernest Gruen documented the errant practices of the Kansas City Fellowship and stated in that report that Bickle taught "the need for a one-city church, with one eldership for the whole city."

“Kansas City Fellowship taught that eventually all churches would unite with Kansas City Fellowship to form a city church. Unity was encouraged at all costs, and any word of disharmony was viewed as demonic.”

"In other words, in the Spirit, one man should carry the apostolic mantle in a city. That apostolic responsibility is carried out by the apostolic team through the local elders of that city. The apostolic team has the highest responsibility and authority before God for the local churches. The local eldership is always submitted in spirit and answerable to the apostolic team...’ They want a ‘city’ church. They believe God has called them to start it. When you leave KCF, people treat you like you’ve got some kind of dreaded disease. They tell you that you’ve left ‘God’s church.’ Yet, the elders say that they’re not the only church in Kansas City at this time. Somehow, they believe that the New Testament church was a ‘city’ church with many locations all over. All offerings go to one location, then all bills for each separate ‘Worship Center,’ etc. are paid from that one location. Again, this is supposed to be the New Testament way of running a church."

Along with the "city church" concept is the concept of "covenant, committment and authority." These of course are tools used to beat the sheep into submission. After all no one wants to be a "lost sheep." The point has been made by several teachers today that the concept of a loyalty covenant to church leadership is not biblical. Certainly there is no biblical model for making such promises. We are not talking here of Acts 2 Christianity. We are talking about having to agree never to disagree and to submit fully to leadership.

"However these Super Apostles do not follow Paul's example. They are rigorous self-promoters who see power and wealth as important goals. They demand that you cede (to yield typically by treaty) to their authority. Church members must sign "covenants" stating that they will obey the church leadership. Church leaders themselves must "submit" their lives to the Super Apostles. To not submit is to rebel against God's will and condemn you to a barren Christian life outside the protection of the Super Apostles magical "umbrella of authority". For those who do not yield it is claimed God will leave them to fend for themselves when the enemy comes ("lost sheep"). Also rebels will suffer a life of physical poverty, not to mention terrible accidents and diseases. To reject the Super Apostles themselves is the greatest sin. Do not even suggest that they are wrong; the spiritual repercussions could be horrendous!

Authority is a key word for this clandestine movement. Everyone must be under authority. That is, under their authority. Now of course apostles did have authority in Scripture, but these new apostles claim that authority as their own, and a great deal more too. Under the catch cries of "Church Governance" and "The Church is a theocracy not a democracy" they employ standard cultic Mind Control methods.

Church members are given the impression that they can only be saved by being part of the Super Apostles church. Churches outside the "kingdom" are fallen and dead. Not all of these apostles state this so blatantly, but this is the impression they cultivate within their churches. However some do allude to this in the public arena, so confident they are that God is on their side".

He who has ears to hear...

Originally posted March 20, 2005

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