Are WAGNER’s APOSTLES LEAVING??

Are WAGNER’s APOSTLES LEAVING??
-Andrew Strom.

Last week we published a number of strong statements against
Lakeland by one of Peter Wagner’s ‘apostles’ named Robert
Ricciardelli. For those who are not aware, Peter Wagner heads
up an organization devoted to setting in place “apostles” over the 
church. This is known as the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ (NAR),
and it has been very controversial. I myself have never seen it as
any kind of true “Reformation” – because all it seems to do is
set up another level of hierarchy over the existing ones. I also
question whether many of the “apostles” are true apostles – but
that is another story. Suffice it to say, that Wagner runs one of 
the most powerful and far-reaching global networks in the
Charismatic world.

I don’t know if Peter Wagner fully realized what he was doing
when he went down to Lakeland and publicly endorsed Todd
Bentley and the ‘revival’ there. But clearly he started a rift in his
own movement that may very well almost tear it apart.

However, before we discuss this further, it is also important to
note that even some “pro-Lakeland” churches are beginning to
have second thoughts about supporting that movement – as more
factual information begins to emerge about what is really going on.

The following was written by the leader of a “pro-Lakeland” church –
and forwarded to me this week. (I have removed the identity of
both the leader and the church). This really is an amazing
admission for such a “pro-Lakeland” leader to make:

“Hi staff,
We need to talk, probably as a staff, and go through what I’ve
found out. I had a long talk with Robert Ricciardelli. He’s no revival
critic… He loves revival, believes in healing, prophecy and all the
rest and is delighted to hear about the healings we’ve had here.
He’s a close friend of Stephen Strader… He’s in an accountability
relationship with Lee Grady (editor of Charisma Magazine) and is
a writer for Charisma on occasion. He’s part of C. Peter Wagner’s
apostolic network, recognized by Peter as an apostle. I’ve seen
the man’s website and he’s legit, not a heresy hunter.

“The reports he has given me are firsthand, not hearsay. I am
deeply troubled, grieved and tormented at what I’m hearing. He
attributes most of the anointing at Lakeland to Roy Fields (worship
leader). I agree. Roy is nothing but clean and God shows up hugely
when he leads worship. I can go into detail later about what is
surfacing, but there are huge lapses of integrity going on… Much
embellishment. Many claims have been made that simply are not
true. The Charisma crew has researched it. I want to weep. My
heart is breaking. For now, to be safe and for the sake of integrity,
we need to stop speaking about the claimed resurrections. Three
of them have been checked out with the doctors and EMTs
involved and found never to have happened at all. Todd has been
confronted with this and has not adjusted the numbers in his
claims. Not a single one of the other claimed resurrections can
be substantiated despite diligent effort to do so. Even after
Stephen Strader brought it down to 13 (and even those couldn’t
be substantiated) Todd ran it back up to 27 and more.
Misrepresentation and embellishment!

“On the financial front, Todd recently told the crowd that God had
told him that there were 1,000 people who would give $1,000 and
that they would be blessed 1,000-fold. Robert called Stephen
Strader to confront the unbiblical nature of that appeal. It came
out that Todd admitted he hadn’t heard that from God, that it was
just an idea he had so that they could raise money to build a big
stadium. Robert challenged them to issue an apology the following
night based on that false claim of being told by God and they
refused to do it on the excuse that it’s a different crowd every night.

“That’s the flavor of what I’m finding. There’s a lot more. I’m so
grieved I can hardly think. I’m not saying the Lakeland Outpouring
is not of God (God is bigger than the men involved), although good
men whom I have respected all my life are saying just that (that it’s
not of God), based on what they know and have seen…

“What I am saying is that we need to back up and not identify
ourselves closely with Lakeland and that we need to stop repeating
claims being made on the air lest we end up getting splattered
with the collateral damage when certain issues of false claims,
embellishments and lapses of integrity begin to come out more
publicly. By the way, no one is saying that some healings have not
happened – only that many false, embellished or unsubstantiated
claims have been made. A number of really good men, champions
of revival through the years, are actually saying that the whole
thing is of the devil and that even the healings are demonically
inspired. I want to be clear that I’m not going there…” [-end quote].

So here we have a ‘pro-Lakeland’ church checking out these facts
for the first time and now deciding that they “need to back up and
not identify ourselves closely with Lakeland.” Pretty amazing!

Meanwhile – back to the topic of “apostles” and what is now
happening in Peter Wagner’s main ‘ICA’ organization:

One of Wagner’s apostles, Robert Ricciardelli, put out an email
this week saying that he has received a great deal of support for
his stand against Lakeland – the majority of it from pastors. And
he also made the following very significant statement:

“As a member of ICA, Peter Wagner actually caused many
questions to come my way because of my membership there.
I will no longer be involved with that organization and actually
have not tracked well with them and some of their agendas since
I have been involved with them. However, I have enjoyed the many
relationships I have developed from going to the annual meetings.
Most all of those relationships are also disengaging from their
affiliation with ICA, because of many issues beyond Lakeland.”

So clearly Robert is now leaving the ICA – as are other ‘apostles’
that he knows of also. I asked him to clarify this last point.

Robert wrote to me:
“The ICA leadership continues to adopt belief systems without
seeking the advice and counsel of members. Many of the members
do not, and will not support these beliefs, including the support of
anti-biblical behavior and doctrine currently being expressed through
Todd Bentley and Freshfire Ministries. In fact as ICA embraces
this, they now have taken a stance that will indirectly have to
embrace many of the same ministries, including “New Mystic”
John Crowder and others. This escalating focus on angels,
experiences, trances, etc is far from the focus of Jesus, His
Kingdom, and His righteousness… Many of us who really enjoyed
the ICA annual conferences are now forced to make a decision
as to whether to continue our involvement with them.”

Robert has also stated that he personally was never into
“Dominionist” beliefs or the “hierarchical NAR agenda.” His last
statement to me was: “I think that there is a chance that many
may disassociate with the ICA depending on Todd continuing to
reveal his deceptive doctrine and Peter continuing to support such doctrine.”

I wonder if Peter Wagner ever imagined that by endorsing Todd
Bentley he may be sowing huge seeds of destruction in his own
movement? -Perhaps only time will tell.

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