A Strong Letter TO the Apostles
Following the controversy over the (so-called) Lakeland Outpouring, Dutch Sheets - an American pastor - wrote publicly concerning the mistakes which he felt he and others made. Andrew Strom has now written in very strong terms regarding a new 'Apostles' movement.
WARNING to THE "APOSTLES"
An Open Letter to Peter Wagner, Dutch Sheets & Other "Apostles".
I recently received a report of a new "Apostolic Network" headed up by Dutch Sheets which held a gathering in Florida last week to "carve up" territories for it's 'apostles', etc. I need to put in writing what I believe the Lord would say to these men.
But first I need to remind us all of something. On June 23rd, 2008, a group of "apostles and prophets" under Peter Wagner's headship stood on a stage in Lakeland at the Todd Bentley revival - to lay on hands and commission him, etc. But it was far more than that.
Peter Wagner called it an "apostolic alignment." He made the following statement before all the TV cameras and all the people:
"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..."
Onlookers might have thought that Wagner was 'prophesying' the above statements. But actually what he felt he was doing was "decreeing" these things over Todd - since he was the 'head apostle'. In a letter the following day, Wagner called this a "groundbreaking event" and stated that, "We are now in a place in what I see as the Second Apostolic Age..." (In other words, a "new era" of real apostles).
So how did that work out for you, Peter? Well, literally within weeks we found out that many of the "miracles" at Lakeland had no foundation, and then Todd Bentley's wife separated from him apparently over an affair he was having - and the entire 'revival' fell to pieces in the worst way possible. That's how it worked out.
All the big Charismatic leaders that had stood on that stage hardly knew what to do with themselves - they were so embarrassed.
And none more so than Peter Wagner - after making an "Apostolic decree" like that. Probably the most colossal disaster of his life.
So who pulled the rug out from under your "apostolic alignment", Peter? I need to tell you that there are two responsible parties.
One is 'yourself' - clearly. And the second is GOD - because He is now pitted against you and your so-called "apostles". He is the one who did this to you.
You and your friends have presumed to an office and a place over the Body that is simply not yours, and God is in the process of taking you 'apostles' down - and all your "networks" with you.
Dutch Sheets - can I ask you please, what gives you the right to carve up the Body of Christ in North America and parcel it out like McDonalds franchises to all your buddies so they can be 'apostles'
over their own "territory"? Do you have any idea what you are playing with? Don't you know that if your buddies are not real New Testament Apostles then all they are doing is painting huge targets on themselves and begging for the judgment of God?
How dare you treat the Body of Christ like a piece of Real Estate that you can carve up for your own aggrandizement?
Because of men like you, God is about to judge the leadership of the church. Do they call themselves an "apostle"? Well, God is going to put them to the test. If they are not the real thing, they make themselves His 'enemy' because they are blocking His real Reformation. Every self-proclaimed "apostle and prophet" is about to be put to the test. Oh, you call your group an "Apostolic Council of Elders" or something similar? Expect God to come calling, and if you are not the real thing, expect Him to take you down. The Lord God is coming to take back His church with great violence. And you guys are standing directly in His way.
I've heard that one of these big "apostles" in Canada once told his network that their "apostle-ness" would be judged by the 'noses and nickels' that they represented. (In other words, their "numbers"
and their reaping of money). Hmmmm. If I didn't know better, I would call those the words of a hireling and a wolf.
As Lee Grady wrote about this 'Apostle-Mania':
"In some circles apostles demanded total allegiance from the leaders who were "under" them. Some required a policy of "tithing up," creating a monstrous organizational structure similar to a spiritual Amway. So-called apostles with huge "downlines" made exorbitant amounts of money. One leader even offered pastors the opportunity to become "spiritual sons" by contributing $1,000 a month to his ministry."
And yet here is what the TRUE apostle Paul wrote: "I think that God has set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death... we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace... we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things..." (1 Cor 4:9-13).
Now THAT is true apostleship. Tell me, Mr. Modern Apostle, do you match up to the New Testament apostles? If not, what on earth do you think God is going to do to you if you claim that title falsely?
I believe that many true Apostles, when they do arise, will simply REFUSE to carry such titles in any way. They will "minimize"
themselves, not exalt themselves. That is the heart of a true leader of God.
In closing, let me again warn those who have titled themselves "apostle" or 'prophet' in the modern church. God is coming to "clean house" and if you are not the real deal, expect Him to start with you. It is as simple as that. You need to repent urgently of your utter presumption. You have been warned.
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God bless you all.
Andrew Strom is the author of a letter entitled 'Why I left the prophetic movement'. Subsequent to the Lakeland events he wrote a book 'True and False Revival: an insider's warning'.
He ministers internationally and operates a website www.revivalschool.com
According to the website of The International Coalition of Apostles (ICA) -
'ICA was conceived by a group of apostles who gathered informally in Singapore in 1999. John Kelly agreed to establish an office in Dallas, Texas, to organize a council and to begin to invite apostles to join ICA. He then asked C. Peter Wagner to assume overall leadership of ICA as Presiding Apostle. In early 2001, the office was moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, under Wagner’s supervision.'
Andrew Strom, 26/02/2010