Leaving the NAR Church: Katie’s story

We were told that being uncomfortable just meant we had to breakthrough into what God had for us on the other side…”

Katie grew up in New Zealand, where the New Apostolic Reformation and its mystical teachings are infecting many churches. Her particular church dabbled in Word of Faith, SOZO and the Patricia King prophetic influence.

She has allowed me to share her story in a series about a fast-growing movement called the New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR for short. It is at its core an anti-biblical counterfeit that sounds almost like biblical Christianity.

In this series, I want to take readers beyond the textbook What is the New Apostolic Reformation Movement explanation, into the personal experiences from those who have been there, and what happened when God opened their eyes to the truth.

This is Katie’s story in her own words:

I grew up in a Christian household, where my mum loved Jesus (and still does) very much. She told me about Him and how He died to save me, and I gave my heart to Him when I was 4 or 5.
As a family we attended a good sound church, but the church ended up falling apart due to the pastor disagreeing with some new teaching the bigger churches were introducing. The church we attended was under the banner of Acts Churches (in New Zealand), and they have since been heavily influenced by NAR and seeker-driven teachings.

My teenage years were spent not going to church or even professing to be a Christian. But in 2014 when I was 27, I began thinking about this whole “God thing” and I recommitted my life to Jesus.
After this I decided I needed to find a church – ‘cuz that’s where Christians go, right?
(I want to add, my mum had been out of church this whole time also, but she has always loved the Lord even though she did not attend a church regularly. However she began visiting local churches about this same time).

It was also about this time someone had told me about YWAM (Youth With A Mission), and suggested perhaps I might also like to do a Discipleship Training School where I would learn to hear Gods voice, grow deeper with Him and then go on an out reach to a developing nation to share the good news of Jesus with the people. It all sounded pretty “Christian” to me!

This was my first time in an organized religious group, and to say I was overwhelmed is an understatement! The first night I was there we had a group worship time including speaking in tongues, prophesying, and from my perspective just a whole bunch of things that made me feel uncomfortable. However, I thought that this was what being a Christian was all about. We were told that being uncomfortable just meant we had to breakthrough into what God had for us on the other side.

On the second day of my 5-month adventure, after praying for most of the previous night about how I was feeling, I decided that I obviously wasn’t as Christian as I thought and that the best thing to do would be to leave, join a church and maybe come back when I had grown deeper with God. I’m so thankful God has made me a determined person, because leaving YWAM was not an easy task. I was made to feel like I was throwing away everything God wanted to do for me, all the things I needed to be healed from wouldn’t happen if I left, etc. I still left!

As I mentioned before, around this time my mum had been visiting local churches and came across a really “alive” and upbeat one that she thought I might like. There were lots of young people and everyone was really friendly. I went along and loved it. The songs were like what we sang at YWAM. (I now know this is mainly Hillsong and Bethel music.) This was definitely a place I was going to be able to “go deeper with God.” Or so I thought.

It wasn’t long before I was attending a weekly home group. Prophesying and speaking in tongues was the norm, and this was still making me feel uncomfortable. I had no idea why, these people were Christians, the problem was obviously me.

Because I had only just become a Christian, I had read basically none of the Bible. I had no idea where to begin, or how to read it. I was hoping by joining a church this would enable me to be able to read my Bible. So all my uncomfortable feelings were just that, feelings. I wasn’t reading my Bible to know any better.

Early in 2016 I decided I needed to be baptized. I still wasn’t speaking in tongues, and thought maybe if I were baptized then I’d be able to do it! I approached one of the pastors who had been running the home group, and she said they had a baptism day coming up on Easter weekend. This is about the time God truly saved me, by opening my eyes to the falseness.

After my YWAM experience and being surrounded by “world changers” at church, I thought what I needed was to attend a Revival School. I filled out the paper work and was about to send off my $1,300 deposit when I thought I better first find out what the 3 weeks will entail. Looking at the schedule I saw a word I’d never seen before: SOZO. I thought, “what on earth is a SOZO session?” So I Googled it… I was shocked! The little that I had read my Bible told me that this “session” was not at all biblical.

I also discovered that the school was being run from a church under the banner of churches in which I belonged, and worse still my senior pastor was the national leader for these churches. The leaders of the school operate their own prophetic ministry under the New Zealand chapter for Patricia King’s XP Ministries!

Armed with my shocking information I contacted my home group pastor and asked if I could meet with her and her husband, explaining I had come across some information that was preventing me from getting baptized through New Life Churches. The pastor said that it was fine, that there would be plenty of other opportunities to be baptized, and that she would let me know when she was free to talk. (10 months later and I’m still waiting for her to contact me.)

I began researching into Patricia King using cults.co.nz and that led me to find out about Hillsong and Bethel. I made friends with someone in the U.S. exposing Bethel, and it was through him I discovered Pirate Christian Radio. I am so thankful to have these connection as I (like others), had to deprogram what I took as truth.

Words can’t express how thankful I am that God opened my eyes and awoke me before I drowned in the seeker sensitive, name it and claim it rubbish that I was listening to.
I also discovered that the church I was attending comes straight from the Latter Rain movement, which they proudly display on their website.

I have tried to talk to a few of the people from the church, but ultimately it’s led to me being deleted from Facebook and even blocked by the senior pastor himself. It’s been hard accepting such rejection when in my heart I was genuinely seeking God and took what I was being fed as the truth. God continues to help me with forgiveness towards them and I pray that God may open their eyes also, especially the pastor as he has such a huge influence throughout New Zealand.

My parents are now re examining what they have been taught under the light of what Scripture actually says (in context of course!). We are all so much happier, stronger in faith, and our Bibles have never been used so much!


Author’s Note:  If you would like to send me your story about your NAR church experience and what happened when your eyes were opened, you can email me here. Please let me know if you would like me to change your first name to keep you anonymous.

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10 Responses to Leaving the NAR Church: Katie’s story

  1. Jennifer says:

    I love how your family has walked this with you and listened to your discernment. Unfortunately, my family has not been so open to listening to me. Please pray for my family. They are deep in the contemplative and NAR movement. They feel that I am only trying to destroy their joy. They feel like I have lost the ‘Spirit’. Their church continually preaches mixture of truth and error. Just enough truth that they can’t see the danger. God Bless and thank you for sharing.
    J

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  2. Edwitness says:

    It’s not strange that they would prey on those who are new or immature believers. Without much understanding of the scriptures it is easy to be led astray especially when we have people we trust telling us it’s ok.
    I hope these people are able to hold to their path of discovery in the truth of God’s word. Being led by the Holy Spirit in the truth instead of these false teachers.
    Blessings:-}

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  3. marian says:

    While the Charismatic Renewal was a genuine revival from God – and a global one at that – after men took over primarily through the Shepherding-Discipleship movement we got was became known as “the excesses of the Charismatic movement”. Things like the belief that all who didn’t speak in tongues were hell-bound cos tongues was the sign of being born again. Much emotional hype. Much legalism ensued (satan’s backlash) and people began to focus on power – a la Saul seeking out the Witch of Endor after God’s genuine anointing left. NAR is a maturing fruit of the “excesses of the Charismatic movement”. It’s led by self-proclaimed apostles who seek power over and above service – who believe that “Thy Kingdom Come” means them creating a heavenly government on earth by getting into positions of secular authority and bringing in the will of God. They believe they can bring in the Millennium this way. It’s why they go on about the “government” of heaven. But it’s a very different view from how scripture describes the Kingdom coming. It comes with the KING. God said all along that true believes would be persecuted – that we’re to be humble not power-brokers, and that apostles “die all day long” for the sake of others. Conversely, NAR runs between conferences, preaching only to the converted, and soaking up the cash. There’s no room for Jesus to move on His people in their tight leader-controlled arena. It’s a man-made folly with its roots in the Shepherding-Disciplement movement, ie all power to the Bishops/Pastors/Nar – anyone with a focus on self-made leadership, very little focus on serving anyone. Not surprised the pastor never got back to Katie. Plebs like ordinary sheep aren’t worth their time. One wonders why they call themselves shepherds. The research – including secular research into the church leaver movement shows people leaving these very environments to return to more humble spaces with a focus on depth of worship and reverence. They’re either returning to Anglo-Catholic circles – even Orthodox churches – or they’re sitting in home groups. GOD IS BEHIND THIS EXODUS. Research also shows that one people have wrestled with their feelings of “disobedience” and made the move to leave, they experience God at a much deeper and more intimate level.

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    • Edwitness says:

      Well said Marian. And now we have Trump who has gravitated toward these kinds of people. We will have to watch to see if this is what is really motivating his policies.
      Thank you.
      Blessings:-}

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    • Maggie says:

      Marian, I agree with so much of what you said. Every great awakening has had the problem of counterfeits appearing alongside and people wanting to manufacture revival themselves or to keep it going. The groundwork teaching in the Pentecostal churches was laid many years ago, which eventually allowed the shepherding movement and the NAR teachings to come in slowly and to be accepted. I think legalism comes in when people try to do the works without experiencing the true regeneration of the Holy Spirit by way of conviction, repentance, and being washed by the grace and forgiveness of Christ.

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    • David says:

      That is all assuming the first line to be true. If it was a true revival from God, why were men allowed to co-opt it. Men who touched the Ark of the Covenant were killed. I believe that if it had been a work of God, no man would have been able to touch it.

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  4. Manny1962 says:

    The folly of politicized churchianity, it is here, it will be part of the antichrist’s power structure, along with all other man made religions and institutions. This is why I’m always warning of the fallacy of the NAR or trying to meld Christianity with government.

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  5. I am in agreement for the most part with all the replies and have walked down the very hurtful place of recognizing false teachings – going to leadership and being persecuted by saying that I am decisive, not in unity etc
    I would pray that those coming out of NAR would not go into any form of Catholicism, which is another false religion.
    My only problem with the authors of these “leaving NAR articles” is the way in which they came to Christ. It seems as if there is always an “asking Jesus to coming into my life” which is not scriptural and kinda makes it all about “us”. The Word says we must “repent and be baptized”. For me that takes on a different more profound responsibility when I know that walking with Christ absolutely requires me to turn away from my sin as opposed to just asking Jesus to coming into my heart. Just my thoughts that I pray are biblically sound.
    In Love for the Trurh

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    • Amy Spreeman says:

      True, Kimberlee, there are a lot of false converts whose conversions seem to be based on the “sinner’s prayer.”
      I’m not saying these folks featured in the articles are false converts by any means, and I let people simply share their stories.

      Part of the “coming out of her” process is repenting after hearing the real Gospel preached, and seeing how they’ve been deceived. God has opened their eyes to deception, as He did for me many years ago. But regeneration happened only after I heard the true and full Gospel, and He created a heart that could repent.

      I hope that helps!

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    • Edwitness says:

      Kimberlee,
      Paul says to confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, which is repentance (turning around in your mind) from serving false gods to serve the true God, and is very similar to asking Him to come into your heart and be the Lord of your life which is what is done through an altar call.
      And that we are to believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead so that we will be saved. Rom.10:9,10
      There is no mention here or in Paul’s more in-depth description of how this works in vs’s11-ff of baptism. So to make baptism a requirement for salvation is not consistent with Paul’s teaching.
      And to say asking Christ to come into your heart and be the Lord of your life is not salvation is refuted in this passage as well. Unless you think that only if we say word for word what the scripture said in vs9,10 are the only words that will get you saved. But, we have the thief on the cross’ example to refute that.
      And in Eph.2:8,9 for instance. There is no mention here of baptism being necessary for salvation either. So Paul is either making a mistake in these letters by omitting them and baptism really is a requirement. Or he has stated the requirements correctly and baptism is not one of them. I believe Paul has made clear that the latter is the case.
      Blessings:-}

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