Apologetics Index sent out an update pointing to their newest article this evening: Its concerning Peter Wagner. There are some interesting links included, which may help someone in their own research.
C. Peter Wagner is the former professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission. He coined the term Third Wave.
New Apostolic Reformation
Wagners latest excursion into aberrant and heretical expressions of Christianity is the promotion of apostles and the so-called New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) — a movement which asserts that God is restoring the lost offices of church governance, namely the offices of Prophet and Apostle.
Leading figures in NAR suggest that these prophets and apostles alone have the power and authority to execute God’s plans and purposes on earth. They believe they are laying the foundation for a global church, governed by them….
According to his Global Harvest Ministries website, Wagner “functions as a horizontal apostle within a sphere of recognized apostles.”
If the term “horizontal apostle” doesn’t ring a bell, it’s because Wagner made up the term.
In an article titled, Understanding How Apostles Minister in Different Spheres, Wagner writes:
Toward a useful terminology. The current apostolic movement is so new, and it is developing at such a dizzying speed, that a considerable amount of confusion has arisen. Who is an apostle? Are all apostles the same? How do bona fide apostles minister? I believe that the answers to these and other similar questions will emerge through a phenomenological approach. This is the methodology that I have used to arrive at a continually-developing set of conclusions. Terminology that accurately describes current apostolic phenomena will greatly help dispel the confusion. Here is a terminology that seems to me to be helpful, at least at this moment:
- Ecclesiastical apostles. Apostles who are given authority over a sphere which includes a number of churches, presumably in an apostolic network headed up by the apostle.
- Functional apostles. Apostles who are given authority over those who have an ongoing ministry in a certain specific sphere of service which has defined boundaries of participation.
- Apostolic Team Members. Apostles whose apostolic ministry functions in conjunction with an apostle who is seen as the leader of a team of one or more other peer-level vertical apostles. They may be assigned specific spheres by the leading apostle. These are more than administrators or assistants or armor-bearers.
- Congregational apostles. Apostles functioning as senior pastors of dynamic, growing churches of more than 700-800.
- Convening apostles. Apostles who have authority to call together on a regular basis peer-level leaders who minister in a defined field.
- Ambassadorial apostles. Apostles who have itinerant, frequently international, ministries of catalyzing and nurturing apostolic movements on a broad scale.
- Mobilizing apostles. Apostles who have the authority to take leadership in bringing together qualified leaders in the body of Christ for a specific cause or project.
- Territorial apostles. Apostles who have been given authority for leading a certain segment of the body of Christ in a given territorial sphere such as a city or state.
- Marketplace Apostles.It seems clear that some marketplace apostles would be vertical (perhaps within a large company) while others would be horizontal (bringing together peer-level marketplace apostles). The more we work with marketplace apostles, the more clarity will come in due time.
Please note: Dr.Wagner functions as a horizontal apostle within a sphere of recognized apostles. As such, Dr.Wagner does not provide apostolic ‘covering’ or accountability as a vertical apostle. – Source: (Understanding How Apostles Minister in Different Spheres, Global Harvest Ministries. Last accessed Jan. 22, 2009)
Again, you won’t find this is your Bible. It was simply made up…
C. Peter Wagner and Todd Bentley
Whether he calls himself a ‘horizontal apostle’ or a ‘presiding apostle’ — as he does at the website of his International Coalition of Apostles, Wagner’s assumed spiritual authority got dented after his recent commissioning of Todd Bentley as an evangelist:
California pastors Ché Ahn and Bill Johnson, along with Canadian pastor John Arnott, laid hands on the 32-year-old Bentley while Peter Wagner, leader of the International Coalition of Apostles, read a statement about the need for apostolic alignment. [...]
Wagner said to Bentley on the platform: “This commissioning represents a powerful spiritual transaction taking place in the invisible world. With this in mind, I take the apostolic authority that God has given me and I decree to Todd Bentley, your power will increase, your authority will increase, your favor will increase, your influence will increase, your revelation will increase.
“I also decree that a new supernatural strength will flow through this ministry. A new life force will penetrate this move of God. Government will be established to set things in their proper order. God will pour out a higher level of discernment to distinguish truth from error. New relationships will surface to open the gates to the future.” – Source: Leaders Commission Todd Bentley at ‘Lakeland Outpouring’, Charisma, June 24, 2008