rivers that flow farther away from the Throne of God


The Other Side of Emergent:

The New Apostolic Reformation

“Religious leadership must end its intellectual and imaginative failure to think through what it is doing in the light of the new emerging cosmology, which is hospitable to spirit-matter theories and mindbody experiences.”
– Leonard Sweet[1]

Today is the launching of a new book, co-authored by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. This marks the open marriage of the Emergent movement with the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

Sweet and Viola’s book, Jesus Manifesto, is subtitled “Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ,” and it pushes the envelope on redefining Jesus, including “You can be a Jesus Manifest.”[2] A quick glance at the lineup of key endorsers for this book includes a list of who’s who in Emergent, the Latter Rain cult, neoevangelicalism and the New Apostolic Reformation.

In recent posts on this blog we have noticed that emerging church leader Leonard Sweet has links to the NAR.[3] The co-author of his book, Frank Viola, also has roots in the NAR. He has been connected with the House2House group, a movement that is ostensibly about “house” churches, but in reality is concerned with building the networking apostolic cellular model of church for the purpose of building the kingdom of God on earth. This is the same Dominionist goal that is characteristic of the NAR: “This amazing network of churches is rapidly transitioning as a network to embrace the simple church models that the Lord is blessing all around the world,” leading to the “transforming work of God in bringing people to Christ. . . leading to dramatic advances of the Kingdom of God.”[4] John Arnott of the Toronto “Laughing Revival” has been a notable contributor to the House2House magazine.[5]

A key name associated with Frank Viola is Heidi Baker, whose frequently appears with her husband Rolland. They flourish in the New Apostolic Reformation and can often be found on the Elijah List (chief organ for the NAR)[6] and OpenHeaven.com (a radical Dominionist group).[7] The Bakers spoke at the Global Awakening “Voice of the Apostles” conference, October 28-31, 2009 along with other NAR apostles Randy Clark, Che Ann, Bill Johnson and John Arnott.[8] Heidi was featured along with Latter Rain cult leader Rick Joyner at his MorningStar Ministries “Harvest Fest” held September 24-30, 2009.[9] The list of interconnections and associations with the NAR could go on and on…

Neil Cole is another well-known name associated with Frank Viola and the House2House movement. He is also connected with Leadership Network.[10] Furthermore, Frank Viola’s book Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens is endorsed by such notables as Bob Buford (head of Leadership Network) and John Maxwell.[11]

Leonard Sweet endorsed one of Frank Viola’s earlier books, Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity, by connecting it to the idea of “God’s Dream,” an increasingly common metaphor.[12] Viola has also authored From Eternity to Here: Rediscovering the Ageless Purpose of God, (This was one of the worst books I’ve ever read and almost threw it in the garbage!) described as “a whole new way of looking at the Scriptures, at Jesus, at the church, and at me,”[13] and endorsed by such Emergent leaders as Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, Shane Claiborne and many others.


Apprising Ministries has done quite a bit of writing on this topic found here.

Here’s my input –


I’ve been reading some of the articles on this but I wasn’t all that familiar with Leonard Sweet or Frank Viola. But this morning when Truthspeaker sent me an e-mail regarding the article on her blog, I took a little closer look and realized there was a small but notable connection in own life.

Todd Hunter was part of a Vineyard Pastor’s Conference at the Vineyard Church I attended a couple of years ago. I only caught a little bit of his “missiology” speech, but remember his house church movement. Much of what I heard sounded good in the beginning. But when we take a closer look the apostasy is amazing. Consider Todd’s past and influence from the interview – Greg Laurie, who was one of the original 10 Calvary Chapel pastors organized by Chuck Smith and whose church I also attended quite a few years ago. This Jesus movement was influential in the lives years before of the youth at the Baptist Church I attended and grew up in during the 60’s and 70’s. So Todd goes – Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, Alpha Course, “Missio”, THEN claims a call to Anglican Bishop.  Not to mention the influence in his life from Richard Foster and Dallas Willard! Do they ever stop and take  a look at this change in the path objectively? There is a definitive falling away going on here.

Again, I am  amazed at the pats on the back they give each other, endorsement of their beliefs based on their own thoughts and ideas, just like crazy charismania, and those of their own books, yet NOTHING – NOTHING is said of the bible unless it is to twist the scriptures to say what they believe it should say in a tag line “there is more to Jesus than Savior”. Yes, for them because He has become something else out of their own creation! How far they have drifted from the truth.

Yes, we do see more and more a coming together of these “rivers” as they flow away farther and farther from the throne of our God.

20 thoughts on “rivers that flow farther away from the Throne of God

  1. M’kayla, you are right when you say that they are all connected. There is a link between Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard too…. both movements were heavily influenced by Lonnie Frisbee the hippie preacher, who had an experience with “god” while on acid. He was influential in the growth of both of these denominations until they both kicked him to the curb on finding out about his homosexual lifestyle. (he died in the early ’90’s of AIDS) (there is a good documentary on him that came out last year)

    John Wimber was a Quaker…. they were heavily influenced by Jacob Boehme’s writings when George Fox founded that movement and of course Richard Foster, the big emergent guy is a Quaker…..

    Now the Vineyard sells Dallas Willard books, IHOP sells books by the Catholic contemplatives and everybody is doing contemplative prayer….Thomas Merton was a Catholic monk who was extremely influential in rebirthing the modern contemplative prayer movement and it seems to me that this is the mystic link to all it. Frank Viola got heavily into contemplative prayer and wrote “From Eternity to Here” which I agree with you was the worst piece of garbage and false doctrine ever! (but goes along with the teachings of Boehme and Jane Lead and Mike Bickle’s bridal paradigm. )


    • When I first heard of the split between Calvary Chapel (Chuck Smith) and the Vineyard (John Wimber) it was simply put that Wimber believed there was a power in the Holy Spirit not being taught by Calvary. Oh – sooo wrong! The two “movements” are as night and day – Smith staying closer to the words of the bible and Wimber being all about truth found through signs and wonders.

      When I was with the Vineyard I worked in their bookstore for a time and all those contemplatives and catholic writers were in that store. I had no idea what I was selling – Foster, Willard, Nouwen, etc. Also, Bethel and IHOP, esp. IHOP music. I had a very long discussion with someone there who knew Lonnie Frisbee and I had just watched some youtube clips on him beforehand – some even with he and Smith and Kathryn Kuhlmann, I believe. We got in quite a few titles for that Pastors Conf I mentioned and again had no idea what they were truly about. Just as I left they were just forming a cell group (life group) using Madam Guyon’s writings for experiencing God. Of course there were all the teachings of their own on hearing the voice of God and those from JP Jackson to boot. I was glad I got out when I did.

      Contemplative has totally gone viral – I agree. The Christian church has bought into emotion, feelings and experiences for so long they no longer understand the walk with Christ to be one of spirit, not flesh. So they are quick to dive into the next offer that comes around offereing them something more.

      thanks for the comment. 🙂


      • Plotinus, all you do is argue. You say one thing and then say something different in the next comment. I am tired of it and I won’t be approving any more of your comments on my blog. We’ve been through this too many times in the past and I am done with it now, having long lost the energy it takes to keep up with you.


  2. I find it’s like an underground world and it is quite shocking at times. to find out who is teaching what and who is connected with whom. And you have to really keep on it cause it changes alot. I’m sure glad I know the sites to go to when needing info. Sites like this and a few others are very valuable, cause you sure don’t find alot of info in the church amongst the people.


    • Hi George.
      Thanks for the links. Just so you know, WordPress automatically places all comments with three or more links into the spam folder. Nothing I can do to change that. That’s where I found yours a little while ago and retrieved it.

      Good reading guys!


  3. When i first heard about “The Jesus Manifesto” i had a gut feeling that this is another Jesus than Jesus of Nazareth. Went to Viola’s site and read the rave reviews, it seems that they think its better than the Bible.

    No one seems to rave about the Bible anymore?????

    And read Rowan Williams endorsement, the guy who ordains homosexuals. Viola is proud of the fact that such an idiot endorses his book???


    So, Viola is not so ‘cerebral’ as he desires to be known, rather a poor excuse of a man.

    And there’s the catchcry of the book “unite the tribes” ????


  4. mkayla,

    Thanks for spreading the word; you may rest assured, this isn’t over.

    I’m not at liberty to discuss it; however, behind the scenes a few of us are coordinating efforts, and Lord willing, in the coming days we’ll be bringing forth irrefutable evidence linking these people together.


  5. Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.


  6. Hey Mkayla,
    Here I am once again—-feeling devastated. Just the past week I finished one of Frank Violas older books “Who is your covering?” and got halfway thru his other book “Rethinking the Wineskins”——because some friends of ours loaned them to us——-friends that we have known for years!!
    Despite some excellent insight into mistranslations of “authority”, “rulers” etc. like what you’ve discussed here, I have to admit I have noted huge red flags in both books, the main flag I came upon today where Frank wrote that the Bible never endorses dividing over doctrinal error—he was saying that the BIble only calls those who cause divisions over doctrine—heretics—-that we should receive all who believe in Jesus regardless of “nonessential doctrines” —–I put the book down immediately, looked over the Bible verses he was twisting and got on line tonight to see if I could find anything. I first pulled up info on Apprising Ministries—-then here.
    I can’t hardly believe it—–everywhere I turn I find a roadblock. Once again I am faced with having to confront some doctrinal issues w/ our family friends.
    At least now we know why they have been acting very strange concerning ecumenical matters and saying things like “noone has perfect doctrine” maybe not, but shouldn’t we at least strive to “abide in the doctrine of Christ”??


    • So, godlee, it just hits me “what is non-essential doctrine”, really? Because so often we find the roots of bad doctrine going into some very nasty places. So what is this “doctrine” we think is ok to not get right to begin with…or is this the same as “agreeing to disagree”. Grrr…I get it when you say “everywhere I turn I find a roadblock”, cuz it’s the way we are going now. It seems if we excuse one point of doctrine and accept another, apostasy is just over the horizon. I think this is why we are supposed to being given over to much study and prayer, and maybe we miss the truth because we don’t do what is required. I think maybe we have all spent a little too much time all laid back and comfy, not doing the work necessary to truly learn the bible.

      I wonder what Frank does with scriptures that warn about those who would come and bring a different message than what the apostles had preached. You and I both know there are many of these warnings. Hmmm…Other than the obvious “life choices” what to eat or not, whether to marry or not, I don’t know of a scripture that speaks of non-essential doctrines, do you?


  7. P.S. This is so ironic and so like the devil—–I just posted my second discernment article today on my blog—-about Soaking Prayer—–and I’ve been reading Frank Viola—an author who is now promoting it!!!!
    This is getting crazy! It really caught my eye when one of his paragraphs was about “present truth”—–I thought maybe I was just being paranoid—–NOT!
    Thanks for confirmation. God bless you Mkayla.


  8. You’re right Mkayla,
    I went ahead and quickly finished Rethinking the Wineskins late last night and realized he contradicted himself all thru it. He would speak against purity of doctrine but overemphasis “apostolic doctrine” This made no sense to me at all.
    It’s truly sad because I thought I had found the answer to the church problem in America. But this morning I remembered reading something about Frank Viola on Lighthouse Trails so I went there and typed in his name and up came the book review of “Pagan Christianity” he authored w/ Leonard Sweet. The review explains that although pews, pulpits, etc. aren’t mentioned in the Bible, what really matters is our heart condition and his books address nothing about sin, repentance, salvation, etc. I’ve printed it out in hopes it will help our friends.
    Truth is—-aren’t we all fed up with the institutional churches in America? But only God can change it, Frank Viola has went to an ungodly extreme against traditional churches to the point of attacking the very avenues in which the gospel is presently being proclaimed and turned them into issues of debate, legalism, etc. Rather than addressing the real issue of mysticism entering churches under the guise of Christianity (e.g. contemplative prayer), which he is ironically into.
    By mixing the truth of unbiblical practices in churches w/ the error of ditching sound doctrine, he has come up with a concoction for total rebellion. This is not the solution. However, l have to admit I still like the idea of house meetings, but w/ sound doctrine and order. But how to get there w/ a group of likeminded believers, seems beyond my grasp. Oh how I long to have that kind of fellowship. I feel so disappointed.


  9. This is a great site – and this is my first post. I wonder though, if you don’t seem to take exception with everyone and everything! From MacArthur to Johnson (about the two extremes) and everyone in between. Is there anyone who has ‘pure doctrine’ in your view? I’d be genuinely interested to know. I wonder also, if you have any sort of antidote to the rising deception. I would suggest that is really only in the areas where the American church has had an impact, and/or where there is no persecution.

    What godlee has glossed over here might just be the key to some of the issues you’re raising. ‘Frank Viola has an ungodly extreme against the avenues of traditional churches to the point of attacking the very avenues in which the Gospel is proclaimed.’ Really, we think that? Is the Gospel really proclaimed inside most churches in the West? Perhaps a bigger question is, should it be?

    When Jesus ushered in a New Covenant, the old was totally destroyed (AD70). That meant the paid priesthood, the buildings, tithing, Holy days, the Law, separation of laity – in short the entire structure. But, it seems we couldn’t keep our hands off, and just like the Cardinal in Brothers Karamazov, we preferred the ritual to the new freedom promised in Christ. In the early church, for the first time, Christ was taken outside the structure and into the marketplace, where the Gospel was proclaimed. Throughout history though, that has largely disappeared as we have attempted to rebuild the Old Covenant structure.

    There is lots more I could say, but this is probably not the place and it is your blog. Can I leave you with this though – in the places on earth where the New Covenant really is in place, where Jesus runs his church, through His Spirit, the way He wants, much of what this blog stands for is irrelevant. Persecution takes care of much of it (Bethel would disintegrate at the first sign of persecution) but not all. We in the West have disregarded Jesus’ instruction on how he wants his church to be and in doing so created many monsters – Charismania is just one, there are many, many others. I would suggest though, that God is changing this in the West, as society rises up against the church. Then there won’t be a place on earth where it will be safe to be a Believer unless we are prepared to pay the price, just as in the early church.

    But, meantime, thanks for the insights, keep it up. My children are facing the influence of Bill Johnson et al in a faraway land, and it is difficult for them to discern what is right, from what is wrong. The devil really is subtle, devious, dangerous. But it’s not just him.


    • Bethel, et al would disintegrate? No. They will be the persecutors of the true church having no true biblical foundation no way to judge the truth and no where to run. Case in point, Rick Joyner’s idea that their will one day be a bloody battle between “blues and grays”. The blues, the ones who cling to “revelation”, the grays, the ones to cling to scripture.

      I’m sorry that you believe my blog to be irrelevant when it is based so much on scripture, and warning others, just as we are directed.


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