Leaving the NAR Church: Glenn’s story

“I saw what I was doing as a band member as not leading people in worship, but participating in ‘conjuring’ the Holy Spirit to ‘come down’.  The Holy Spirit being defined as the euphoric feeling that the droning music creates.

As you’ll learn from Glenn, oftentimes NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) teachings filter into churches by way of worship music.  While contemporary styles can glorify Christ, there are certain methods musicians like Glenn are taught to use repeating phrases, musical tones, and ethereal lyrics designed to seductively manipulate your mind into a mystical consciousnesses.

In this series, I want to take readers beyond the textbook What is the New Apostolic Reformation Movement explanation, into the personal experiences from those who have been there, and what happened when God opened their eyes to the truth.

This is Glenn’s story in his own words:

I grew up in a Christian home attending a Pentecostal church growing up.  Living in Saskatchewan Canada, the Pentecostal denomination is quite large.  While the truth of Scriptures was emphasized at home, the church I was a part of was always looking for the evidence of speaking in tongues and being “slain in the spirit”.

To move forward to my involvement in an NAR church, in the 90’s, the “worship music” industry was gaining popularity and music was a big passion at the time. The “worship wars” in the church for music styles ended by this time, and contemporary/rock won out over traditional music.

From 1998 – 2004 I was a part of an inter-church, city-wide worship team that included members from a Lutheran and two Pentecostal denominations.  We organized a monthly event at the local University theatre as an outreach.  Secular pop songs were mixed with modern worship songs to draw in young adults from a variety of backgrounds.  From my perspective at the time, it was fun participating in a large monthly concert event that was seemingly drawing in hundreds of people to hear the Gospel.

As numbers started to dwindle, the program was moved to monthly events at participating churches and eventually drew to a close.  Looking back at this era, I’d be far more critical of the message being preached and other details, but at the time, trusted in the goals of those sponsoring and leading.  There was no push back of the event from those in the band or those supporting it.

This was my connection to the NAR-leaning church.  I was drawn in by what the Bible would call “works of the flesh”. Playing electric guitar in what was essentially a rock band, receiving accolades and praise from the crowd as well as leadership for a “job well done” is very enticing.

I left a smaller Pentecostal church for the larger one due to my social circle being around the large worship program and higher standards of musicianship of the larger church.  The large worship program was being set up to model that of large American churches.  I was unaware of the influences of the organizers; I was a guitar player and at the time believed was using my skills to glorify God.

To improve my craft as a musician, I was listening to a number of rock guitarists who have blatant occult influences. At the time, I saw no contradiction with this while being in a worship team.  All members of the teams I played on received their musical influences from a variety of secular sources.  Ironically, as I was at the height of popularity within the local church bubble, I would have been the furthest away from God due to my musical influences.  At this time I wrote a book on using secular music as a tool to improve skills as a worship musician.

Around 2008 the pastor in charge of worship was promoting “Jesus Culture”.  I remember being very uncomfortable with the name of the band, and this was the first step in waking me up.  I didn’t see the music I was playing as being part of a culture that honors Jesus.  It was a rock band that brings attention to the musicians.  I didn’t start to back out at this time as I was having fun. There is a lot of camaraderie amongst the band members, and my social circle revolved around music.

Over the next year, I desired to learn more about the Bible as this was lacking in the sermons.  As I was absorbing lectures from Ravi Zacharias and William Lane Craig, I was looking at the worship program from a more critical eye.  There were two Sunday services – contemporary and traditional – for adults, while the Saturday night service was geared for the young adults.  I wasn’t comfortable at the Saturday night service as it seemed to be getting “weird”.  It wasn’t just that the worship teams had a large platform as a rock band would generally be regarded, but the atmosphere the teams were creating was the thing that was worshiped.  People from all over the city were drawn to these Saturday night events where the music was the central focus.  The music created an atmosphere that was worshiped as the “Holy Spirit coming down”.

The trend coming in from a musical standpoint wasn’t simply more skillful musicianship, which was something I wanted to pursue and hear, it was the “encouragement” of guitar players and keyboards to use more delay, phasing effects and droning effects by continually playing the same two notes repetitively.  This trend started to push me away as I thought it enabled sloppy musicians to be a part of the program if they blindly follow direction.  The younger musicians gladly got onboard with this while I was not too happy.  I was not comfortable with what the younger musicians were being taught in regards to simply accepting the pastor’s direction without question.  This devotion being promoted was a second step to push me away.

As at this point, I was beginning to be the “older guy”, and I didn’t like what I was seeing.  The music wasn’t just singing Chris Tomlin and Paul Baloche cover songs, it was manipulating the length and order of these songs to stretch to crescendos and lows to create an atmosphere.  The more the songs were brought up and brought down by the leading of the front man, the congregation would respond with swaying, raising hands and zoning out.

Members of the leadership team were taking trips to Bethel in Redding, California, to attend the Supernatural School of Ministry. They were also promoting the International House of Prayer (IHOP) 24-hour prayer practiced.  I was starting to research Bethel, IHOP, John Crowder and others associated with the NAR.  I didn’t want to be a part of this direction the church was now going. I felt more of an outsider that came to play in the band, have coffee during the sermon in the church lounge, and stay home the weeks I wasn’t scheduled.  During my time away, I was researching the NAR, Bethel, and IHOP from a variety of sources.  An impacting source was Andrew Strom’s YouTube video on Kundalini, and Caryl Matriciana’s documentaries on Eastern Mysticism. These pushed me to not only get into apologetics, but into a larger study of the Bible, spiritual gifts, and how they apply today to the believer.

My third wake-up point was connecting what I was seeing with the direction of my church lining up with Andrew Strom’s observations.  I saw what I was doing as a band member as not leading people in worship, but participating in “conjuring” the Holy Spirit to come down.  The Holy Spirit being defined as the euphoric feeling that the droning music creates.

I didn’t leave right away, but delayed as the musicians in my team were friends and I didn’t want to just abandon them.  I kept my thoughts to myself at this point, as there is a clause in the membership agreement to not speak against leadership.  I hoped things would turn around, but it kept going down this road.  I was encouraged to go to Bethel to “experience” their “worship”, but I declined.

The final straw was the church bringing in a faith healer named Joan Hunter.  During the worship set, the pastor demanded the Holy Spirit to come down.  Joan Hunter was selling items to enable people to have babies, receive healing, etc.   I saw her as a complete fraud, and saw that the church I was a member of had no problem promoting this.

Joan’s audience was eating up everything she said, with displays of emotion and praise. However I saw a fraud making money off of hurting people.  I was infuriated, and that was the last Sunday I was there.  I met the worship leader of the band for coffee and explained why I was leaving.  He understood and wished me well.  I next explained my concerns to the worship pastor, who was once the worship leader of the city wide praise band we were a part of years before.  He also understood my reasons for leaving, and wished me well.  No changes were made after my departure.

Leaving was not easy.  I was looking for every reason to stay.  Leaving wasn’t simply leaving, it was coming to the conclusion that what I’ve chased so passionately in regards to musical skill was in vain.  It was coming to the conclusion that I wasn’t using music to worship God, music was being used to bring worship to the band and create an atmosphere of euphoria that was referred to as the “Holy Spirit”.  It was all false, and that’s a difficult pill to swallow.  There is no conspiracy of musicians to hypnotize the congregation and join in hands with Babylon, but that’s in fact what is happening.  The musicians are pawns in this game, and the leadership of most churches are also pawns.  They believe they are following God, but they’re not.  They’re following an experience.  They need prayer.

I’ve read many accounts of spiritual abuse from those who have come out of NAR churches. I saw no abusive situations in this church, and have nothing disparaging to say about those I know there.  The people who go there are deceived through emotion to accept an ecumenical convergence with the Vatican, as this is the road Bethel is on.  While most of my friendships with those who attend this church have moved on, it’s more a case of changing social circles, superficial relationships with those at the church at the time and changing focus.  I’m no longer on the same page as those who were my friends at this church, and there is little to talk about.  I’ve mostly put my guitar away to focus on Bible study so I can’t even relate in regards to musical trends.

In all, leaving was a process over a three-year period from 2009 to 2012.

After we left this church in, we ended up at a small Baptist church which in fact turned out to be completely dysfunctional, abusive and controlling.  The small Baptist church has textbook sociopaths in leadership while the charismatic church leadership believes they are truly following God.  It’s sad, but they are choosing this path.  I met with an elder from the NAR church this spring at his request to connect.  I informed him of all I learned on the NAR, Bethel, Bill Johnson, Eastern Mysticism and how it applies to the church he’s an elder of.  I asked him to do his own research.  He unfriended me on Facebook after the meeting.

My wife and I are no longer a part of any organized church. We are a part of a small home fellowship and more closely identify with the “dones”.  I write a weekly Bible study for HolyGroundExplorations and feel more at peace since we left “church”.

I’ve done further research since I left and wrote the following two essays on my blog, here and here.


Author’s Note:  You can read the entire series of NAR testimonies here.  If you would like to send me your story about your NAR church experience and what happened when your eyes were opened, you can email me here. I will be changing your first name to keep you anonymous.

 

 

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19 Responses to Leaving the NAR Church: Glenn’s story

  1. Brenda February 10, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

    Why just NAR stories? Surely there are people coming out of Catholicism, JW, and other false stuff. You guys make it appear like the NAR is the be all end all in falsehood.

    • Sola Scriptura February 10, 2017 at 9:50 pm #

      The greedy and wicked lies of the NAR are indeed sweeping the world and are helping to destroy it…along with many an alleged believer. Those who would never go near a catholic “church” or Kingdom Hall, are getting sucked in to their sweet tasting flatteries, resurgent view of christianity and America, along with their sugar-daddy vision of our glorious savior…the Lord Jesus Christ. That…is worth pointing out day after day after day after day. Many of my dearest friends, their wives and children are neck deep in this vomit, and I for one, am grateful when each and every angle these satanic liars use to destroy God’s precious children, is exposed loudly and publicly. Most protestants know about the JW’s, and Rome, but when satan mixes light and darkness, scripture with worldliness, men and women get confused and are foolishly sucked down these portals to hell. Please….keep these testimonies coming editors. Thanks.

      • Manny1962 February 10, 2017 at 10:11 pm #

        Amen SS! The NAR is so dangerous because as you said:

        “Those who would never go near a catholic “church” or Kingdom Hall, are getting sucked in to their sweet tasting flatteries, resurgent view of christianity and America, along with their sugar-daddy vision of our glorious savior”

        You can almost see the enemy and his minions pushing this demonic movement through undiscerning, apostate and biblically ignorant Churchianity.
        It truly is headed to Rome as Glenn courageously pointed out.

        • Sola Scriptura February 10, 2017 at 10:30 pm #

          Yep – and thanks. The Rcc is, unknown to 99% of Catholics, heir to the high priests of Nimrod, Baal, Mithra, etc. They just hide their true identity brilliantly in rituals, law, and pomp. However, they send out a multitude of signals through their symbols, architecture, ceremonies, rules, behavior, and history…showing who they truly serve.
          All organized religions in the world, from Protestant denominations, to buddhists, to Hindus to native America spiritualists will one day be united with Rome and it’s true spiritual head … Satan. Flee the man-made constructs of religion to the word of God and like-minded believers. Maybe that will be in a building called a church..but maybe not. The dogged pursuit of God’s truth, as found only in his word, must trump unity every single time…no matter the cost, and great will your reward be in heaven.

        • Aslan'sArmy February 11, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

          Well said. I had no idea that I was being swept up but then I was and even swept out to sea. I was drowning spiritually and didn’t know it until God revealed it to my heart.

      • Brenda February 10, 2017 at 10:29 pm #

        I never said NAR wasn’t a big heresy. But it’s isn’t the only one. Not to mention Hebrew Roots heresy is growing just as fast. Along side dispensationalist theology which teaches OT does not apply to us. But none of those ever get exposed. If anything because of the lack of exposing those heresies they go along with NAR being the be all end all in heresy and they don’t think they are in heresy themselves. I am sorry but there is no balance of exposing on this blog or most of the other discernment blogs.

        • Q February 11, 2017 at 12:57 am #

          Hey Brenda,

          Read the White Papers on the right side of the screen, many things are exposed besides the NAR.

          And I personally do not agree with Reformed Theology (especially new Calvinism) but many many reformed preach and believe the gospel and are very good at exposing false teaching as many Lutherans and Dispensationalists also do.

          Some of the best and well known discernment ministries are dispensational.

          Chris Rosenbaugh is Lutheran, The Berean Call, Herescope, and Lighthouse Trails have a dispensational view just to name a few.

          This blog mostly supports Reformed sites.

          You should also realize every theology has some dispensation in it even if it is only a division of the Old and New Covenant, that’s two right there.

          • Q February 11, 2017 at 1:05 am #

            Brenda, John MacArthur is also dispensational except he has a reformed soteriolgy.

          • berlorac February 11, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

            […even if it is only a division of the Old and New Covenant, that’s two right there.]

            Yup, and unless we’re all naked vegans tending a garden in Mesopotamia, you can count at least three.

    • Manny1962 February 11, 2017 at 11:37 am #

      Good morning Brenda,

      I believe this is a series only and not permanent. To be fair, it is very timely, as pointed out, the RCC and JW doctrines are clearly manifested, while the NAR movement has done a masterful job of camouflaging itself, it’s insidious and if one is not up to snuff in theology and discernment it is very easy to be swallowed by it. It holds hands with every false teachings coming down the pike from the seeker movement to Islam and the sham that is Romanism. And you’re correct, many, many people are coming out of the more obvious cults like Romanism and the JWs, perhaps the ladies can also do a series on those prominent cults. Either way, I see a great exodus out of the world’s religious system, I truly believe The Lord is seperating His bride from the world. Remember, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Yes this is during the time of the tribulation, but this applies to us now, as it did to the Jews in the OT, to come out from Egypt spiritually not just physically.

    • Amy Spreeman February 11, 2017 at 3:18 pm #

      Hi Brenda, NAR is probably the most insidious movement I’ve come across, and most victims don’t know they’ve been bamboozled. Hence my series on it. Marsha and I are committed to making people aware of it. But yes, there are plenty of other counterfeits, which we’ve been exposing and warning about for many years. Check out the white papers on the right side of this site. Don’t worry, we still cover those and will continue to do so.

    • Terry Palmer February 12, 2017 at 4:52 pm #

      I’ve done a bit of research too. My latest read opened my eyes wider to the deceit of the darkness. I read a very old volume – Negro Baptist History USA. It chronicles an amazing sequence of thought and action. After the civil war, thousands turned to Christ, learned to read and write by the light of the Bible – and left the Democrat party by the thousands. Here is a quote from 1860’s.

      “But let us first note that the New Testament religion is not a matter of ‘feeling’, but of principle; a question of loyal obedience to Christ. We are not judge of the ‘amount of religion’, or the piety we may possess by the frequency of states of blissful and ecstatic feeling, but by the readiness with which we obey the commands of Christ and the completeness of our submission to His will. Christ never said, ” Ye are my friends if ye feel good, but if ye do whatsoever I command you.” Love and sentiment and gush are not piety, although there is no true piety without love. Obedience to Christ is piety, and an ounce of obedience is worth more than a ton of gush.

      It is the deceit of darkness to take our eyes off of the Creator and onto the created. Why can we not stand up and speak with Moses as he spoke against the leading power in the world at that day. “Let my people go! Can you do that friend? where is your heart before the Lord?

  2. Manny1962 February 10, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

    “The people who go there are deceived through emotion to accept an ecumenical convergence with the Vatican, as this is the road Bethel is on. ”

    Yet so many do drive-by-postings here denying this! Folks, it’s no coincidence, the convergence of all these movements will be the last world mega religion, Islam, Romanism, seekers, emergents, women’s movements…………. they are all following the road to Rome.

    Glenn, God has blessed you over and over, He has opened your eyes to the truth! As we see the return of Christ getting closer, expect the apostasy to grow, you will see tiny congregations and many home churches, also there will be a hunger for the truth of the Lord’s word! The NAR is as corrupt as Rome, they believe they will bring the kingdom of God to the world, in truth as they meld they will worship the antichrist!

  3. Francis February 10, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

    Hello,

    I too had a very similar upbringing to Glenn. I grew up in a family that was centred on Biblical teachings in the home, attended a Pentecostal church until early adulthood with my family, and moved to a larger Apostolic church on my own as a young adult. The reason I stayed in an NAR church for so long was because of my own apathy and pride in taking the time to research the word on my own. I think it is a bit of a scapegoat to blame everything on the leaders and worship and friends. As someone indwelt with the Holy Spirit, I had the discernment to know better (there is an uneasiness when certain NAR weirdness transpires) but I chose to ignore it. God was saying “wake up!” and I was saying “shush!”. Pride. Laziness. Dis-concern. In order to grow and move on, one needs to own what it is or you run the risk of doing the same thing all over again.

    The thing that I see time and time again is that people leave the NAR only to latch onto another teacher who despises the NAR but holds to some other very erroneous teachings. Some people seem to go from one frying pan to another.

    When I decided to leave the NAR church, I began attending a Bible study led by someone who just left the NAR church. Unfortunately, this leader had left the NAR only to immerse himself in an organization and culture led by Chuck Missler. I have listened to some of Missler’s teachings and have learned some really neat things! But I take what he says and I put it up against the word. This leader, needing something new to be apart of, did not question him. He was even into Missler’s Holographic Universe… something that New Agers had come up with first! From one frying pan to another (http://herescope.blogspot.ca/2013/08/without-attribution.html). This leader also excitedly brought up Missler’s promotion of a Jewish rabbi that identified the Messiah as a man named Yeshua (http://www.christiantelegraph.com/issue21182.html)… only the attributes of his Yeshua were those of the antichrist. According to this rabbi, (http://www.ubm1.org/?page=rabbireveals) “As leader, the Messiah will not hold any office, but will be among the people and use the media to communicate” and “The revelation of the Messiah will be fulfilled in two stages: First, he will actively confirm his position as Messiah without knowing himself that he is the Messiah. Then he will reveal himself to some Jews, not necessarily to wise Torah scholars. It can be even simple people. Only then he will reveal himself to the whole nation.”. I couldn’t understand why someone so knowledgeable and who also had access to Google felt the need to actually write a book promoting this rabbi and his teachings! My bible tells me Jesus is coming in the sky on a white horse with fire in his eyes and a sword coming out of his mouth. He’s not going to wonder if he is the Messiah or not. Missler also promoted a self-professed NAR “apostle” (http://bereanresearch.org/on-the-chuck-missler-partnership-with-prophet-kim-clement/). Then there is his luciferic named company, “Phoenix Group International” and the swan project which will be perfect for connecting the mark of the beast worldwide. Sketchy! I left the Bible study finally due to very strong Darby-centred philosophies that were not allowed to be questioned openly. He was so bought into his teachers’ beliefs that questioning the beliefs were seen as a spiritual attack of him personally. From one frying pan into another…

    I encourage anyone that leaves the NAR to really take time to get into the Word alone. In this media driven world, it is easy to get your Bible teaching from an online class or a youtube video instead of sitting alone for hours with a Bible and concordance… but you will get what you pay for, when the currency is considered time alone with God. Teachers are a wonderful tool to getting to know the Word. They have been very useful in my own life. But please do not lean on them for your own understanding.

    • Manny1962 February 11, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

      Amen Francis! Amen! Thanks for sharing your plight with the NAR! God opened your eyes! It’s the beautiful side of evil! At the end of it all, the NAR does not honor God, it surreptitiously honors the enemy of God. May our great and awesome God keep you!

  4. Aslan'sArmy February 10, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

    Wow. Just stumbled upon this blog. Been there and done that in the worship circles. Be blessed Glenn!

  5. Becca February 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm #

    “…music was being used to bring worship to the band and create an atmosphere of euphoria that was referred to as the “Holy Spirit”. It was all false, and that’s a difficult pill to swallow. There is no conspiracy of musicians to hypnotize the congregation and join in hands with Babylon, but that’s in fact what is happening. The musicians are pawns in this game, and the leadership of most churches are also pawns. They believe they are following God, but they’re not. They’re following an experience. They need prayer.”
    Thank you Glen for sharing this journey with others. I personally disagree with contemporary Christian music; please put down your stones and I carry none to throw at those who disagree with me. Regardless of positions on worship music, the big trend has become an “experience” that is worshipped and interpreted as the Holy Spirit moving. The false worship and false gospel creates very real emotions which is one reason the deception runs so deep. Remember the Apostle Paul saying that even if an angel from heaven preached another gospel, we are not to believe it? What or who is behind all this? Satan. Deceiver. Liar. Thief. Killing. Destroying. Bringing people with itching ears and a deep desire to “feel” a connection with God to a counterfeit experience with so many other so called believers. They all can’t be wrong since they are seeking “god” so it must be real. Glenn is right, we must stop right now and pray for ALL who are being deceived. The evil one will do anything to give an experience if he can prevent people from coming to the true saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    • Maggie February 15, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

      Amen, Becca. I have heard people say they had a spiritual experience at a rock concert, too. Emotions.

  6. berlorac February 15, 2017 at 6:29 pm #

    I can relate to what Glen has said here. As a drummer who spent four years on the worship team, I had no idea that what I was participating in wasn’t Biblical. I wasn’t saved until I was 31 and, up until then, my life was all about music. So, going to church for the first time in my life and playing drums was very satisfying to me.

    I wouldn’t say I was conscious of trying to manipulate anyone into feeling anything. I sincerely thought that the people laying on the floor down front with tears in their eyes were “being touched by the Holy Spirit.”

    We were just starting to get into the prophetic and dominion junk when I left. Elijah List, Pat King, Todd Bentley. That was in 2003. We didn’t see it as dominion; we just saw it as being close to God and carrying that out to the world. We thought if we could manifest God’s love through healing and intercession, people would come to God.

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