Coming Out of the Box with the Last Reformation?

May 17, 2016 at 2:38 PM 4 comments

Torben Sondergaard says we are in the "Last Reformation."

Torben Sondergaard says we are in the “Last Reformation.”

Torben Søndergaard is a guy who firmly believes Christians are missing out today. He wants us to get back to living the book of Acts.  He has an on-line (free) school that is not designed to be “a lot of theology to your head.” His emphasis is on what he calls the “Last Reformation.”

The Last Reformation is a new movement, started in 2011, that is now spreading all over the world. It is about coming back to what we read in the book of Acts. We believe that what we read in the book of Acts is also for today and that we need to come back to the simple disciple life the first Christians had. We believe that The Last Reformation is a reformation about the true gospel and the simple disciple life, but also a reformation of the church.

Actually, the Last Reformation – so-called – was called something else in the 1970’s within the Charismatic Movement that I was involved in back then. We didn’t call it the “Last Reformation,” but the emphasis was most certainly on living the book of Acts today. That is the entire goal of the Charismatic Movement in its many forms (with other goals like “Dominionism” attached to it).

While watching the nearly hour and a half video, at just under 8 minutes, Sondergaard finally mentions “leading someone to Christ.” Prior to this, he speaks a great deal about healing and “making disciples.” He doesn’t explain what making disciples means at that point though, so the viewer is left to wonder.

He tends to de-emphasize the Old Testament (OT) because he says those times were before being a Christian today. Many Christians and churches today still live in that “old” mindset (or in the “gospels,”) he states. He says the OT is not where we find out about being a disciple of Jesus (not really true; it’s indirect as opposed to direct). He says Christians should focus more on the book of Acts because this is when the Holy Spirit was poured out onto believers. Sondergaard equates being a Christian with signs and wonders. Yet, the Bible equates being a Christian or believer with someone who exercises faith in God (Hebrews 11).

In his first video (there are 20 total), Sondergaard talks about people visiting him and going with him to the city. There, they prayed for other people and those strangers allegedly received healing.

Sondergaard is admittedly not a theologian. His focus is on how the Holy Spirit led people, how they dreamed dreams, saw visions, and healed others as well as cast out demons in the book of acts. He is emphatic in believing that this is what God wants for the Church today.

Torben Sondergaard firmly believes that the book of Acts is meant to be the “normal Christian life” and that includes Christians who are alive today. Those who are not seeing people healed, casting out demons, dreaming dreams, seeing visions, etc., are – according to Sondergaard – not living the normal Christian life.

Sondergaard asks the question, if Jesus has not changed, why aren’t more Christians living as the first century Christians lived? He turns our attention to church history and essentially points the finger at the Roman Catholic Church. Admittedly, Catholicism was the only game in town from the 3rd century to roughly the 14th. He tries to show how much of authentic Christianity was squelched by the Roman Catholic Church and this is the actual reason the signs, wonders, and other miracles died out. This doesn’t really hold up because toward the end of the first century and into the second (before Roman Catholicism), signs and wonders had already died out in large measure, according to those who came after the original apostles.

Sondergaard states since Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, why have the miracles stopped? Maybe a better question is if Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, why are not the miracles (tongues, healings, resurrections from the dead, etc.), as plentiful in the Old Testament as they are in the book of Acts? In fact, why did we not see any example of Jesus praying in “tongues” during His life? What was the reason Jesus performed miracles at all during His earthly life and ministry? Why did Paul or Peter. Are miracles necessary for people to see the truth about salvation in Christ?

But Sondergaard states, “If [Jesus] has not changed, then what we read about in the book of Acts is the same today.” He then adds, “The Holy Spirit has not changed and because of that, our lives today should look like the book of Acts.” This is a repetitive theme throughout the first video. As stated, in support of this thesis, he references church history, but I believe he comes up lacking there.

Sondergaard then talks about how he broke out of his previous mindset and took one step at a time until God was leading him through “dreams and has been speaking to [him] by the Holy Spirit; guiding” him. He then talks about how he prayed for people and how they got saved, spoke in tongues, became freed from demonic power, etc. I could not find on this first video his definition of what it means to actually become saved. Maybe he gets into it in other videos? In essence, he’s referencing what the Charismatic Movement is all about, even if he’s not directly involved in that movement.

The overarching concern I have with Sondergaard’s video series, his teachings, and his belief system is the same problem I have with the Charismatic Movement that I left decades ago. It seems clear to me that the sign gifts died out with the death of the last apostle and did so because they were primarily gifts that authenticated their ministries and authority over Israel and then Gentile converts to Christianity (Revelation 21:14). If you believe something else, that’s certainly up to you and entering a debate with you will accomplish nothing. You must be convinced in your own mind that what you believe is the right thing to believe.

The largest problem I have with the Charismatic Movement and other like-minded groups is the way they tend to relegate the Bible to a secondary role – more or less as a backdrop – and spend their daily lives trying to “hear” from God in visions, dreams, and even audible communications. These often well-meaning folks reason that if God is God (all-knowing, all-powerful, supernatural, etc.), then why wouldn’t He reveal Himself through dreams, visions, etc., all the time? Simply because He has not chosen to do so now since He has provided His written Word.

I want to be unequivocal here. The miracles in the Old Testament, including the numerous pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus (called a theophany), the way that God chose to speak to individuals either through prophets like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, etc., or directly, as God did with Moses, were done because there was very little to nothing of God’s Word written during that time. This is extremely important to understand.

Most conservative scholars believe that Moses wrote the Pentateuch (Genesis – Deuteronomy). Many also believe he may have written the book of Job during this same time. How did Moses do that? Clearly, God took the time to explain to Moses those things. After all, Moses had not been there during the Creation or even during the time that Adam and Eve lived. Moses never actually saw the Garden of Eden. It is likely that God dictated to Moses the events that had occurred. Moses wrote them down. This is similar to what John the apostle did in the book of Revelation, even though most have not yet occurred. He recorded what God revealed to him.

Much/most of the Bible had not yet been recorded during OT or even NT times, but was written over long periods of time (1,600 to 2,000 years total, with God using roughly 40 human authors). As we go through the Old Testament, there are plenty of miraculous events that occur, none of which were repeated in the New Testament. We also see where certain individuals were raised up to be prophets, priests, judges, or kings. Because of that and their exploits, they (or others close to them), were directed by God to write down things that would later be gathered into what we now call the Old Testament (2 Peter 1:21). As time progressed, the written books of the New Testament came into being. How? The same way. God directed people – literally moving them – to write things down. Guided by God, these books became the New Testament. Together, we have the Bible, made up of 66 individual books. I repudiate the notion that God had no control over the books that became the Bible.

People living during New Testament times had only the Old Testament to rely on even while the book of Acts was being lived out. When Paul came along, the Bereans (Acts 17), listened to his teachings and compared them to the Scriptures. What Scriptures? The Old Testament because that’s what they had. They found when they compared what Paul was teaching – about Jesus – to the Old Testament, things agreed. Paul was pointing out Jesus in the Old Testament. Did you see that? The Bereans had only the Old Testament and found that the teachings from it actually agreed with what Paul was then teaching about Jesus!

This is extremely important: Notice the Bereans did not seek a “voice,” sign, wonder, or other miracle, to authenticate Paul’s teachings. They went back directly to the Scriptures they had at the time. We are to do the same thing today and we have the greater responsibility because we have the entire Canon of Scripture, yet today we are too often told or expected to simply believe a person when they say God has revealed something to them or spoken to them directly. No thank you. I’ll stick with God’s written Word. If it was good enough for the Bereans, it’s most definitely good enough for me.

The Bereans readily received what Paul had to say after they were able to verify it from the Scriptures. They did so not based on how they felt, but on what they read. They didn’t have to wait for anything. Truth was already in the Scriptures, right there in front of them. It benefited them for their day then even though it had been written hundreds of years before their day.

I know this article will not, with finality, satisfy the question as to whether or not the sign gifts died out with the last apostle. Hundreds, if not, thousands of books and articles have been written on the subject and each person will have to decide for themselves whether or not that’s the case. I’m hoping that people won’t decide based on how they “feel” about things, but will actually research it.

Nonetheless, it is my confirmed understanding that the sign gifts were given by God both in the Old and New Testament times to verify His authority in and through specific individuals He chose to use during specific periods of time, whether they were prophets, kings, priests, or apostles, or His Son while the Bible was being written. Jesus healed the sick. He raised the dead. He did many things that amazed people, but He did them all to showcase the fact that He was and remains God. The apostles of the first century (and in few cases, other disciples at that same time due to their direct association with the apostles), healed the sick and even raised the dead because it proved that God was working through them. It authenticated their ministry and gave glory to God.

Today, we have people who claim to be “apostles” and “prophets.” I have yet to see any of them raise anyone from the dead as both Jesus and Peter did, or Elijah before them (1 Kings 17). In fact, I know of only one person who has claimed to have done so today, but has offered no proof of it. His name is Benny Hinn. If Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (which He is), why have none of these so-called apostles or prophets of today been able to raise anyone from the dead? Jesus did. Peter did. Why can’t they?

While I fully appreciate Sondergaard’s fervor, he is an individual whom I believe to be going way beyond the Scriptures and into treacherous waters. What he teaches is nothing new. It’s simply new to many of this current generation. Sondergaard’s emphasis is primarily on renewal of the “signs and wonders” that are peppered throughout the book of Acts. This belief system was actually part of the Charismatic Movement when I was involved with in, back in the 1970s and it remains so today.

This idea that God “speaks to me” audibly often leads people to go way beyond God’s Word. They justify that because they say that God “spoke” to them. Their reliance on God’s “voice” reduces the validity and authority of God’s Word in their life whether they think so or not. It becomes very easy to set God’s Word aside and wait for that “voice” to guide and lead. After a while, the Bible takes a back seat with that “voice” becoming the authority. Eventually, they barely open the Bible anymore. They have no need because God “speaks” to them.

Today, we have all sorts of people with this new theology or that one. There is a growing list of so-called prophets who claim God has spoken to them. There are others over there who claim to have apostolic authority and everyone should fall in behind them.

Sondergaard is pushing nothing new. It was around under a different name in the 1970’s. Decades before that, it was called something else, but the emphasis was the same. These have all led to very short-lived “revivals” with no permanent change in society at all. In fact, they have often caused confusion and division. The reason? Because emotions and feelings fade and offer very poor direction. Once the signs, the miracles, and the voices fade or stop altogether, people have to deal with the mundane and no one really likes that, do they?

Being a Christian is not easy. It takes commitment, an unwavering faith in God, and a willingness to be part of the evangelistic mundane. If Jesus had performed no miracles during His lifetime, the apostles would still have followed Him. People still would have been saved. The miracles He performed were designed to be His credentials to the naysaying Pharisees, religious leaders, and scribes. In spite of all those miracles, including raising Lazarus from the dead, they remained unconvinced.

Paul’s life had some miracles in it, yes. But Paul also suffered tremendously just doing normal, routine evangelism. In fact, notice Demas, who started out great with Paul, working right alongside him in the ministry. He ended up deserting Paul. Was it because there were not enough miracles, the persecution got to be so heated, or that things just became so mundane for him?

For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica… (2 Timothy 4:10a)

It’s not miracles that save people. It’s the love and concern we show for others in our willingness to evangelize them in spite of our own circumstances that we must rise above. Often those circumstances are of the very mundane.

 

Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Emotional virtue, israel, Judaism, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , , , , .

It’s All About Dominionism, Kingdom Now, and the New Apostolic Reformation, Part 6 It’s All About Dominionism, Kingdom Now, and the New Apostolic Reformation, Part 7

4 Comments

  • 1. Douglas Carter  |  May 17, 2016 at 5:22 PM

    I will try my best to comment:

    Here you say:

    Sondergaard states since Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, why have the miracles stopped? Maybe a better question is if Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, why are not the miracles (tongues, healings, resurrections from the dead, etc.), as plentiful in the Old Testament as they are in the book of Acts? In fact, why did we not see any example of Jesus praying in “tongues” during His life? What was the reason Jesus performed miracles at all during His earthly life and ministry? Why did Paul or Peter. Are miracles necessary for people to see the truth about salvation in Christ?

    There is an easy answer to this. The Holy Spirit was never given to his followers until Jesus was crucified and raised up. Then, He left his holy spirit to reside in the new temple – our hearts.

    Jesus performed miracles then and today through the Holy Spirit to give evidence of his existence. Watch the Movie https://thelastreformationmovie.com/ to see more.
    Also, don’t stop at lesson one… go on. You both are on the same track even though you might not see it as of yet.

    Here you say this:

    The apostles of the first century (and in few cases, other disciples at that same time due to their direct association with the apostles), healed the sick and even raised the dead because it proved that God was working through them. It authenticated their ministry and gave glory to God.. This is exactly the same today as it was then.

    Then, you say:
    Today, we have people who claim to be “apostles” and “prophets.” I have yet to see any of them raise anyone from the dead as both Jesus and Peter did, or Elijah before them (1 Kings 17). In fact, I know of only one person who has claimed to have done so today, but has offered no proof of it. His name is Benny Hinn. If Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (which He is), why have none of these so-called apostles or prophets of today been able to raise anyone from the dead? Jesus did. Peter did. Why can’t they?

    They have! DO a search on Google, it’s not all worm droppings! Here is one in particular: Great Audible Book!
    http://www.audible.com/pd/Religion-Spirituality/Raising-the-Dead-Audiobook/B0042Z077U

    Here you say: This idea that God “speaks to me” audibly often leads people to go way beyond God’s Word. They justify that because they say that God “spoke” to them. Their reliance on God’s “voice” reduces the validity and authority of God’s Word in their life whether they think so or not. It becomes very easy to set God’s Word aside and wait for that “voice” to guide and lead. After a while, the Bible takes a back seat with that “voice” becoming the authority. Eventually, they barely open the Bible anymore. They have no need because God “speaks” to them.
    He goes over what he means by God Speaks to him in another teaching..it’s not audible, but it’s like listening to your conscience and acting on it. But, it’s better when he tells you first hand. He never goes beyond God’s word at all. In fact this is what lead me to him. You have to justify everything by the written word. I have had a big beef with every denomination on this planet..there are no religions or denominations in heaven, it’s just God. I have a big distrust of anyone who thinks God is speaking to them personally in an audible voice. Too many so called preachers have just made fools of themselves making claims like that. Because God’s prophets are 100% correct…that’s the test. Sondergaard never ever claims to be anything more than a disciple, always trying to discern God’s word and direction in his life. ..never any kind of Prophet…

    Here you end with:

    It’s not miracles that save people. It’s the love and concern we show for others in our willingness to evangelize them in spite of our own circumstances that we must rise above. Often those circumstances are of the very mundane.

    I would absolutely agree! It’s a life that we live…most of it boring and plain, but we are always keeping our eyes on Jesus!

    As much as you think this is part of the charismatic movement, which in other teachings he addresses as well, it’s not. Its really about how best can we live our lives as a disciple of Jesus – It’s about not just sitting on our duffs every Sunday and thinking we did our duty, but its about action – doing as Jesus commanded us to do…

    I encourage you to watch more. I am on lesson 16 and so much of the lessons goes against church tradition which much like the Pharisees, God hated…

    Something is telling me that you and Torben are more alike than you think….

    God Bless you and your calling!

    • 2. modres  |  May 17, 2016 at 6:52 PM

      Doug, we’re going to have to call it quits after this round. I’m sure we could go back and forth and back and forth ad infinitum and not resolve anything at all.

      You said: “There is an easy answer to this. The Holy Spirit was never given to his followers until Jesus was crucified and raised up. Then, He left his holy spirit to reside in the new temple – our hearts.”

      I’m aware of this, however, it doesn’t answer my question at all since there were miracles in the Old Testament and in Jesus’ life.

      You said: “Jesus performed miracles then and today through the Holy Spirit to give evidence of his existence.”

      No, that’s totally incorrect. Did you learn that from Sondersgaard? If so, both you and he are incorrect. Jesus actually existed, walked this earth, lived, died, and rose again. That is fact and His miracles don’t attest to His existence. His physical personage attested to it. As I stated in my article, the reason He performed miracles was to authenticate His ministry. It’s the exact same reason why the apostles performed some miracles – to authenticate their ministries as chosen by God. But they were apostles and have apostolic authority. We don’t, though as I stated, some alive today believe they have that same authority (or that of prophets).

      The reason we have the Holy Spirit within us is clearly stated in Acts 1:8 – “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

      God empowers us through His Holy Spirit so that we have power to EVANGELIZE the lost. Wherever we are, wherever we go, whether working, relaxing, shopping, eating out – all of it – we are to be His witnesses. That means living a life that brings Him glory through our words (conversation) and our actions. God expects us to always be prepared to give a reason for the hope we have in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15-16).

      Satan can easily copy miracles and the Bible tells us that in the end times, he’ll really step up to bat with those. The thing that separates that type of supernatural power from God’s power is our ability to do preach the gospel.

      I checked out your link and it references a Dr. Chauncey Chandler. Interestingly enough I came across a link that highlights the film “Deadraiser,” about people allegedly dying and coming back from the dead. They include interviews with a number of people including Chandler. The movie – “Deadraiser” – is produced by the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation), who are essentially Dominionists. I cannot find anything about others who have claimed and/or offer proof that through them, God has raised people from the dead.

      The filmmakers take Matthew 10:8 in which Jesus instructs His 12 apostles to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay,” and generalize it to apply to every Christian, which it clearly does not. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find Scripture used as a prescription for ALL Christians to go out and do these things, even in the book of Acts.

      What Sondersgaard is teaching IS part of the Charismatic Movement whether you believe that or not. As someone who WAS involved in it, there is nothing in this first video that Sondersgaard teaches that I have not already heard taught several different ways from those within the Charismatic Movement decades ago. If I am completely missing his message, that’s on him for not doing a better job presenting things. Does Sondergaard speak in tongues himself? If so, then he is Charismatic, whether he would align himself with Charismatics or not.

      What Sondersgaard is teaching in the first video is classically taught by people who align themselves with Charismatics and Pentecostals.

      I’m also extremely wary of “new” movements that come down the pike and as I also stated, there is nothing that I’ve read or seen from Sondersgaard that is actually new. It’s been around before in various forms. The Bible does not teach that there will be any form of “revival” before the end comes (or He returns). The Bible DOES tell us that the gospel shall be PREACHED throughout the whole world and THEN comes the end (Matthew 24:14). Yet many are teaching to look for this “revival” or that one over there. There’s nothing in the Bible that teaches that at all.

      I also find it extremely difficult to believe that Sondersgaard “never goes beyond God’s Word at all.” Give me a break on that one. NEVER? Oh, okay. If I get time at some point in the future, I may delve into another video. We’ll see how things go.

      Take care, Doug.

      • 3. Douglas Carter  |  May 18, 2016 at 8:59 AM

        Yes, thank you for taking the time and energy it takes to discuss this. Essentially, I was raised Baptist, lived in a box church for a long time until the Lord moved my wife to join me. She pointed out some very disturbing things about the church, legalism, salad picking scripture etc. that disillusioned me about denominations as a whole and I stopped going to church. Instead, I was raising our family in a home christian setting. Then, I read about Torben and watched his movie. I went to school with some tongue speaking pentecostals and I was very wary as well that this was going to be the same type of movement, but his get out of the Box attracted me so, I kept on with his pioneer school. To me, its extremely refreshing and attractive way to serve the Lord. First thing, is get off your duff and instead of sitting around listening all the time..waiting for the Lord to do something for us….get out in the streets and do soemthing for him….
        I look forward to the day when I will get to do this with an experienced Kick Starter…
        Glad you might listen to some more..again I appreciate you at least taking the time to maybe taking a listen to more he has to say…

        TTYL? Take care ad God Bless you and your calling..
        No matter what form it takes! 😉

      • 4. modres  |  May 18, 2016 at 9:19 AM

        I’m sorry for your experience with churches and denominations, Douglas. The Christians I know and worship with (also Baptist) do not sit on their duffs at all. They are busy, serving one another in love, sacrificing for one another and submitting themselves to the Lord. So, the Lord spoke to you through your wife? You then made the decision to stop going to church, in spite of the fact that Paul warns us against that? So you’re out on your own and under no one’s authority? Jesus Himself created the Church for His glory and benefit. Certainly, Satan would attack it and try to destroy it. Denominations can be difficult yes, but you need to find one that you can sink your teeth into.

        I’m sorry that the only reality you have seen in Christ so far is with Torben. That is extremely sad. We are to minister to our brothers and sisters in the Lord AND be a witness to the lost at the same time. The fact that you have removed yourself from a church setting means that you have cut yourself off from other brothers and sisters in the Lord. Now, you apparently see being a Christian as getting “out in the streets and do[ing] something.” I would suggest you re-read 1 John 2 especially. Our job as Christians is not JUST to evangelize the lost, but to minister to other Christians who are also in need. Since you have removed yourself from the church setting proper, you’ll never hear about those needs. You are not able to fill those needs either and maybe God would have you do that.

        Jesus got fed up with the Pharisees and other religious leaders but He did not turn His back on the Temple or the synagogue did He?

        Yes, there are abuses and legalisms in some churches and denominations to be sure. I’ve come across them myself. But to decide that all churches are like that and the only choice is to go it on your own is a bit over the top. Do you have other Christians with whom you worship with other than your family? Read Hebrews 10:25. Are you sure your wife is correct?

        So, are you witnessing to people NOW or are you looking forward to the time when you can get out on the streets with an experienced kickstarter? You DO realize that 150,000 people die every day, right? Many of them do not know the Lord. In the meantime, you’re waiting for someone to show you how to do it? Just get out there and start talking to people! Stand on a street corner if that’s all you have. People are DYING RIGHT NOW.

        I’m probably missing something, Doug, but I have huge concerns and you’re not doing anything to assuage them. Sorry.


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