In a book primarily about the New Apostolic Reformation, Kent Philpott writes a book called False Prophets Among Us: A Critical Analysis of the New Apostolic Reformation. This book, spanning three sections, gives brief book critiques on some of the more well-known people of the New Apostolic Reformation (such as Heidi Baker, Mike Bickle, Judy Franklin, Ellen Davis, James Goll, Cindy Jacobs, Bill Johnson, Rick Joyner, Chuck Pierce, Tim Sheets, Kris Vallotton and Brian Simmons), features essays written by Philpott pertaining to the New Apostolic Reformation (henceforth referred to as N.A.R), and highlights other issues within the N.A.R.. This book review determines whether or not this book would be a good resource for the Christian.
SECTION ONE: BOOK CRITIQUES
Philpott dedicates separate critiques to twelve books and the heretical Passion translation of the Bible (pp. 9-166). Alarm bells immediately begin to sound when he calls the aforementioned Baker, in his first critique (someone who, per the critique, clearly engages in really strange, demonic stuff):
…a sincere Christian who has given so very much to accomplish what she feels God has called her to do. At the same time, much of what she presents is hard for me to accept as being part of the normal Christian life.p. 15
This is essentially no different than “Doctor” Michael Brown’s defending of wolves such as Jennifer LeClaire (the one who believes in a “Sneaky Squid Spirit”), Bill Johnson and Benny Hinn, among others. Anyone who can call Baker a “sincere Christian” after seeing such demonic stuff such as this, this and this really needs to re-think that assessment. Perhaps Philpott needs to do more research on Baker. Perhaps he already has. After all, this book was published in 2017.
In his next critique (this one on Mike Bickle, pp. 18-41), Philpott seemingly approves of women pastors as he reviews the chapter on “Women Operating in Prophetic Ministry” (p. 25-26). He states the following (p. 26):
There are many who disagree with Mike Bickle and me, but women are and must be engaged in ministry. I have heard it said that about half of the world’s pastors are women. This is what I refer to as an “intramural debate” as opposed to an “extramural debate.” Unhappily, some will say the issue is whether to not one believes in the Word. Many of us see it otherwise.
Now I agree women should be engaged in ministry. Having stated that, God’s Word forbids women pastors (1 Timothy 2:9-3:13 and 1 Corinthians 14; Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio also offers insight from his review on Jory Micah, someone who doesn’t believe women are to be kept silent in the church). While Philpott gives good information in this critique, his unashamed approval of women pastors (which, again, is forbidden by God’s Word) cannot be ignored. Consider the following two paragraphs from GotQuestions.org’s article on women pastors (the first hyperlink in this paragraph):
Many women excel in gifts of hospitality, mercy, teaching, evangelism, and helping/serving. Much of the ministry of the local church depends on women. Women in the church are not restricted from public praying or prophesying (1 Corinthians 11:5), only from having spiritual teaching authority over men. The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23), and to proclaim the gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).
God has ordained that only men are to serve in positions of spiritual teaching authority in the church. This is not because men are necessarily better teachers or because women are inferior or less intelligent (which is not the case). It is simply the way God designed the church to function. Men are to set the example in spiritual leadership—in their lives and through their words. Women are to take a less authoritative role. Women are encouraged to teach other women (Titus 2:3–5). The Bible also does not restrict women from teaching children. The only activity women are restricted from is teaching or having spiritual authority over men. This precludes women from serving as pastors to men. This does not make women less important, by any means, but rather gives them a ministry focus more in agreement with God’s plan and His gifting of them.
Women definitely play a vital role in ministry. However, being pastors goes beyond the role given to them in Scripture.
In Philpott’s next critique (on Franklin & Davis’ The Physics of Heaven, pp. 42-67), Philpott makes a statement that unfortunately becomes a habit in spots in the rest of the book. In making notes on chapter two of the aforementioned book in this paragraph, Philpott states, “Probably the translation Jeremiah 15:19 from which Davis quotes is The Passion Translation, which makes sense, because the passage is a far cry from being accurate” (p. 46). While I have no problem with his calling the Passion Translation inaccurate (my summation of his statement in that regard), his use of the word “probably” is confusing. In writing this book, did he not take the time to verify the translation used by a certain author? The translation cited by the authors either is or is not a certain translation. I do not understand how he could not verify the translation before this book went to press. He does the same thing on page 57 (same critique). Specifically, he uses the phrase “no way to check on this” when trying to explain what translation one of the book chapter’s authors was using when quoting Psalm 91:11. A simple google search could have discovered this. I simply do not understand how he could not have verified the translation before the book went to press. Perhaps I am missing something here.
After a solid critique on a work by James Goll, Philpott turns his attention to books by Cindy Jacobs and Bill Johnson (pp. 68-112). He calls both of these people Christians (pp. 83, 98, 104). I am not sure a Christian can also be a false prophet (Jacobs) at the same time. Furthermore, Johnson is quite the false teacher. Philpott, with his seeming endorsement of false teachers (even labeling them Christians), seems to be painting a broad road here (Matthew 7:13-23).
Philpott rinses and repeats his labeling false teachers Christians with his critique on a work by Rick Joyner (pp. 113-122). This article here has a plethora of links showing Joyner to be a false teacher. At this point, what baffles me is that Philpott clearly explains his anti-NAR position while, at the same time, labeling some of its biggest false teachers Christians. Thankfully, he does not repeat this behavior in his critique on one of Tim Sheets’ books (p. 153). However, this only shows Philpott’s discernment inconsistencies and (perhaps) his playing both sides of the NAR coin (endorsing and refuting it). This could not be more clear when, in his critique on one of Kris Vallotton’s books, he says, “Those who fit into the NAR movement are by-in-large brothers and sisters in Christ” (p. 158). How can this be the case if the NAR is a cult? Furthermore, Kris Vallotton, at about the 41 minute mark of this video here, teaches that his audience is “little ‘g’ gods.” Scripture is clear that there is one God, though (Isaiah 44:6-8; Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 43:10-11; Isaiah 48:12; Revelation 1:8; Deuteronomy 32:39). Vallotton is a heretic. He is outside the Christian camp.
SECTION TWO: ESSAYS
This section consists of essays by Philpott on “NAR-related topics over the years” (p. 173). Once again, his double-speak manifests itself when he calls the NAR:
…the largest and most dangerous cultic movement by whatever measurement in the history of the Christian church including that of the Arian controversy. And I say this because of such large numbers involved with a very high percentage of those engaged being brothers and sisters in Christ. Indeed, I consider it to be the most harmful of all demonic deceptions poured out on the planet.p. 173
I would not have much of a problem with the above statement if he did not label the very promoters of the N.A.R. (Johnson, Baker, Vallotton, etc.) brothers and sisters in Christ. I do believe there are some Christians who are getting deceived by this. However, given the severity of the demonic doctrines the aforementioned false teachers are teaching, it is not best to consider those false teachers brothers and sisters in Christ (especially when people like Johnson deny the real Jesus).
Thankfully, this section of the book is better than section one. His refutation of the heretical Jesus Calling by Sarah Young explains how Scripture is enough (pp. 253-256). He also gives an insightful essay about the NAR connection with Islam (pp. 255-257). Finally, he writes an essay on why he must oppose the NAR (pp. 258-265). While I am confident he does not fully oppose it given his labeling false teachers Christians, he does give some good information.
SECTION THREE: RECOVERY AND OTHER ISSUES
This is essentially a “miscellaneous” section of more essays by Philpott. The first one is about recovering from the ending of a relationship with NAR churches and groups (pp. 268-279). He then writes essays about demonic elements and characteristics of a toxic faith (pp. 280-287). Finally, he concludes with an appendix featuring a rather lengthy (perhaps even exhaustive) list of major players, organizations and networks of the NAR (pp. 288-290). This is arguably the best part of his book; it allows the reader to put a face on those aligned with that dangerous organization. The list is below. I have separated these into two sections. The first section consists of individuals. The second section consists of organizations/networks.
Gary R. Allen (former Executive Editor of Enrichment Journal)
Elizabeth Alves (president of Increase International)
John & Carol Arnott
Heidi Baker (see this post’s beginning for the hyperlinks on her)
John S. Baylor, Jr. (M. Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary)
Tony & Cynthia Brazelton (founders and pastors of Victory Christian Ministries International; the fact Philpott lists Cynthia as a pastor should tell you something given what God’s Word says about women pastors)
“Doctor” Michael Brown (quotes by me)
Stacey & Wesley Campbell (co-founders of New Life Church)
Paul Carden (executive director for The Center for Apologetics Research)
Mark Casto (begin at the 46:30 mark of the hyperlink for Casto)
Mahesh Chavda (Chavda Ministries International)
Mike Clarensau (Senior Director of Healthy Church Network)
Dr. Randy Clark
Harold R. Eberle (founder of Worldcast Ministries)
Dr. Don Finto
Woodie Fultz (Pastor of Valley Worship Center in Dayton, Ohio)
James W. Goll
Jay Grimstead (founder of Coalition of Revival)
Bishop Bill Hamon
“Apostle” Jane Hamon (quotes by me; author left word unquoted)
Brian & Bobbie Houston (Hillsong Church)
Jane Hansen Hoyt
Harry R. Jackson Jr.
Beni & Bill Johnson
Dr. Art Mathias
Doctors Bob & Audrey Meisner
Dr. Patrick Murray
Karl I. Payne
Mark W. Pfeifer
Dr. Chuck D. Pierce
Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez
John Loren Sanford
Dr. Hope Taylor
Jack R. Taylor
“Rev.” Jen Tringale (quotes added by me)
Dr. Mary Frances Varallo
Barbara J. Yoder
Bethel Church in Redding, California (Philpott notes how this organization is “found listed with groups that are somehow connected with the NAR”).
Campus Crusade for Christ
Christian International Ministries Network
Daystar TV Network
COR (Coalition on Revival)
The Elijah List
Focus on the Family (Philpott notes how this ministry “will be found listed with groups that are somehow connected to the NAR”).
Fresh Fire Ministries
Global Awakening Ministries
Healing Rooms Ministry, Spokane, Washington
IHOP (International House of Prayer) in Kansas City, Missouri
International Coalition of Apostolic Leaders
International Coalition of Prophets
Manifest Sons of God
Ministry to the Nations
New Life Church
Partners in Harvest
Praying the Bible International
Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN)
Women’s Aglow International
Youth With a Mission (YWAM)
There is no doubt that Philpott put much work into this book. His exhaustive list at the end of this book plus his critique of so many different people affiliated with the NAR is outstanding proof of that. What fails to make this book a home-run out of the park is his labeling some of these false teachers/heretics as Christians. That alone almost makes this book one I would not recommend. Nevertheless, his naming so many names and organizations combined with his extensive knowledge of the NAR make this both a decent read for information’s sake and a decent resource in the N.A.R in general. I hope Philpott would at least rethink his position on those false teachers/heretics he has labeled as Christians, though.
NOTE: I sent my review of this book to his church’s contact page at https://milleravenuechurch.org/contactlocation.