Christianity Today Should Retract or Correct Cover Article on New Apostolic Leader Heidi Baker

The cover story of the May issue of Christianity Today features Heidi Baker, a significant leader in the “apostolic and prophetic” movement or New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), who misleads readers about her role in the movement. What is worse is that the author and editorial staff of Christianity Today failed to question the claim that Baker’s only ties to the NAR are through her loyalty to leaders of the Toronto Blessing and participation in their annual Catch the Fire conference.

The reality is that Heidi Baker’s network in Africa is in partnership with the apostolic network of John Arnott, whose ministry hosted the Toronto Airport Revival. Baker and her husband Rolland are two of 12 apostolic leaders (six couples), including Arnott and his wife, in Revival Alliance.  Baker is credited with initiating this network of apostles by Revival Alliance’s Che Ahn, who is C. Peter Wagner’s chosen successor as International Chancellor of the Wagner Leadership Institute.

Baker regularly speaks at apostolic and prophetic conferences and is known as a prophetess. She has given prophetic declarations for cities and countries from  D.C. to  Australia. Numerous ministries, both inside and outside Baker’s Iris Ministries network, list Baker as their apostolic covering.  For example, Iris Nashville’s website states,

As an Iris Global missions base, our direct apostolic covering are our founders, Heidi and Rolland Baker.

A 2012 Society for Pentecostal Studies conference featured a session titled “Apostle of Love:  Heidi Baker (Iris Ministries) and the New Apostolic Reformation.”

But, according to the Christianity Today article, “the Bakers do not promote the New Apostolic Reformation or consider themselves to be modern-day apostles.”

The publication owes its readers an immediate apology and a retraction or correction of the article. If the editorial staff has decided to embrace the New Apostolic Reformation’s radicalized ideology and its agenda for reorganizing global Protestantism, that is their choice. My allegation is not about a doctrinal or philosophical disagreement, but that the article is factually incorrect. Promoting Heidi Baker and her ministry while claiming she is not associated with the NAR is unfair and misleading to the publication’s readers.

The statement denying the Bakers’ role in the NAR follows the description of Baker’s ministry as a “love experience with Jesus so potent it verges on erotic.” The Christianity Today article continues,

“Much of this emphasis comes from the Toronto Blessing, where Heidi had her breakthrough experience. Though they have lost financial support due to their association with the Toronto movement, the Bakers are loyal to its leaders and attend their Catch the Fire conferences in North America every year. Several leaders involved are active in the so-called New Apostolic Reformation, a controversial charismatic movement. But the Bakers do not promote the New Apostolic Reformation or consider themselves to be modern-day apostles.”

Heidi Baker is an exemplary ambassador for promoting the movement she disavowed in the article.  She has the ability to appeal to mainstream evangelicals since she is better known outside the movement for her work with African children in Mozambique.

Heidi Baker and New Apostolic Networks

Baker’s Iris Ministries is in countries including India, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Congo, South Sudan, Malawi, Kenya, and Israel.

On page six of the eight-page Christianity Today article, the African ministry is described as “Partners in Harvest missions organization under the sponsorship of Iris.”  Partners in Harvest (PIH) is the apostolic network of John Arnott, and is claimed to include over 10,200 ministries. The vast majority of those are under the leadership of Iris Ministries of Heidi and Rolland Baker.  The international coordinator for PIH is Dan Slade, and the African ministries are often described as PIH/Iris. The other Partners in Harvest ministries fall under Apostolic Leaders in regions of Canada, where PIH is based  and the U.S., Brazil, Scandinavia, Far East, Eastern Europe, South Africa, Holland & Belgium, and Germany.

Iris Ministries is considered one of the largest and most successful of American-led apostolic networks in Africa.  The ministry disciples future leaders for the Iris network.  As stated on the Iris Malawi website:

“Overseers are appointed in each district of Malawi to provide leadership and accountability to area pastors and churches.”

One of the ministries top leaders in Africa is Supressa Sithole, now a popular speaker at American and international apostolic and prophetic conferences and shows like Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural.” Both Heidi Baker and Sithole are featured in Wagner Leadership Institute training, but the websites have recently been password protected.

Heidi Baker and the Formation of Revival Alliance

Heidi and Rolland Baker wrote the foreword to the 2009 book by Che Ahn When Heaven Comes Down: Experiencing God’s Glory in Your Life.  Ahn describes the restoration of modern-day apostles and prophets.

“As I look back through the history of revival, I see that every wave of God’s outpouring is important because, in each revival, He restores something.  In fact, over the past half-century, we see that in each movement God restored an office within the five-fold ministry, including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.

“In the ‘Third Wave’ of the 1980s, God brought forth prophets, as John Wimber introduced the ‘Kansas City prophets’ Paul Cain, Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, James Goll, and Jill Austin.  Other prophets emerged during that period, including my friend and covenant brother Lou Engle, my sister in the Lord Cindy Jacobs, Jane Hamon and Chuck Pierce.  The 1994 revival in Toronto restored the office of the apostle with the birth of many apostolic networks, including John and Carol Arnott’s Partners in Harvest, Rick Joyner’s MorningStar, Bill Johnson’s Global Legacy, Heidi and Rolland Baker’s Iris Ministries and our church’s own Harvest International Ministry.

“Now, in 2009, we see the convergence of all five of these restored offices coming together and being expressed through the Body of Christ in His followers the saints.”

The 2009 Harvest Fest conference at Rick Joyner’s MorningStar Ministry included Heidi Baker, Samuel Rodriguez, and Lance Wallnau.

Note that in the context of the apostolic and prophetic, it is believed that supernatural manifestations can be passed from person to person through impartation.  For example, Randy Clark is credited with sparking the Toronto Blessing in 1994 by bringing “holy laughter” from a Tulsa revival with Rodney Howard Browne to John Arnott’s Toronto Airport Vineyard Ministry.  Arnott’s church was later kicked out of the Vineyard network because of the unusual manifestations of the multi-year revival, including rolling in the floor, barking, and roaring.

According to Che Ahn’s account given at the Lakeland Outpouring in 2008, the Revival Alliance had been recently formed by the 12 apostolic network leaders, who strategized during a retreat at a five-star hotel in Hawaii.  The 12 are pictured from right to left:

Bill and Beni Johnson – Bethel Church, Global Legacy, and Apostolic Network of Global Awakening

Heidi and Rolland Baker – Iris Ministries

Georgian and Winnie Banov – Global Celebration

Che and Sue Ahn – Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministries

Randy and DeeAnne Clark – Global Awakening

John and Carol Arnott – Catch the Fire (formerly Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship) and Partners in Harvest

In a 2012 bulletin, Che Ahn describes Revival Alliance as in development prior to 2008.

“In 2005, Bob Jones prophesied to Heidi and Rolland Baker to form a new network that would be the container for the one billions souls coming in.  He named John and Carol Arnott, Bill and Beni Johnson, Randy and Deanne Clark along with Sue and me among those to be involved.  God also revealed Georgian and Winnie Banov’s involvement as we all met together to pray and strategize.

The baby was born around Easter in 2006 where we came together and formed the Revival Alliance.  God lead us to map out the world and our respective areas of greatest strength at that time:  The Bakers, Africa; the Arnotts, Canada and Europe; the Johnsons, Australia, New Zealand and the USA; the Banovs, Eastern Europe, and HIM in Asia and India.

Since submitting ourselves to each other and God’s larger mission, our HIM churches have doubled to more than 10,000 and every ministry within Revival Alliance cites the same exponential growth.”

[Note that this is not Bob Jones of Bob Jones University, but Bob Jones of the Kansas City Prophets, now with Rick Joyner’s MorningStar Ministries network in Ft. Mill, South Carolina.  Jones is also credited by Mike Bickle and Todd Bentley for the prophecies about their ministries.]

The Revival Alliance leaders host conferences including the Voice of the Apostles.  Heidi Baker is a featured speaker at these and other apostolic and prophetic events – “conferences” that often more closely resemble a cross between a rock concert and a tent revival. The 2012 Voice of the Apostles is scheduled for October 17 – 20 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and is advertising speakers Randy Clark, Bill Johnson, Heidi Baker, Rolland Baker, Georgian Banov, and John Arnott.

Heidi Baker and Todd Bentley

Todd Bentley is so controversial that Charisma Magazine described the aftermath of his Lakeland Outpouring scandal as a potential “charismatic civil war.”  Editor Marcus Yoars stated,

At the core were such issues as extra-biblical doctrine, overemphasis on angelic encounters and necromancy.

Christianity Today has either leapt or somehow blundered into this same controversy with the Heidi Baker article.

In 2008, as Todd Bentley’s Lakeland Outpouring faith-healing revival was drawing international attention, a “commissioning” ceremony was held for Bentley. The  event was described by C. Peter Wagner as “apostolically aligning” Bentley with Revival Alliance’s apostles who would then “commission Todd as the evangelist for the Lakeland Outpouring.”  It culminated in Che Ahn placing a ring on Bentley’s finger to symbolize the covenant relationship.

According to C. Peter Wagner’s account in Charisma,

“A total of 17 apostles participated representing three apostolic streams: ICA, Revival Alliance, and Morning Star (Rick Joyner).”

John Arnott, Bill Johnson, and Che Ahn represented Revival Alliance at the ceremony. As part of the proceedings, Wagner asked Bentley if he accepted the “apostolic authority of these three men in your life and do you desire to establish an apostolic alignment with them and Revival Alliance?” Wagner then declared to Bentley,

“Your power will increase. Your authority will increase.  Your favor will increase.  I also decree that a new supernatural strength will flow through this ministry.

Stacey Campbell, another leading apostle/prophetess and current board member of Baker’s Iris Ministries, Inc., also prophesied over Bentley as seen in the linked video.

In 2003, long before Todd Bentley became the superstar of the Lakeland Revival, he partnered with the Bakers and Iris Ministries on a project in Malawi. Bentley’s ministry, Fresh Fire, reported on the claimed results, including supernatural healing of HIV/AIDS and the appearance of Jesus in the crowds.  In 2005 Bentley again partnered with Iris Ministries, this time in Mozambique and including Che Ahn’s Harvest International Ministries.

Heidi Baker is a regular speaker at Todd Bentley’s “Secret Places” conferences, including one with Bob Jones held in January of 2008, prior to the beginning of the Lakeland Outpouring.  She has endorsed several of Bentley’s books.

The following is described in Bentley’s Fresh Fire Ministries (FFM) report on the 2003 Baker and Bentley Malawi project.

Malawi, as well as some other African countries, is plagued with the AIDS epidemic. Although local governments are finally promoting a message of sexual abstinence in schools, the epidemic has already hit an alarming rate. Quite often, those who attend the crusades who are HIV positive are hesitant to come to prayer. Todd invited them to come unashamedly and receive forgiveness and cleansing. We were glad to report three different individuals who were tested by their doctors after receiving prayer, to be totally healed of this dreaded virus. AIDS can be beaten!”

During the AM sessions, Heidi Baker and Todd Bentley preached messages on Philippians 2 and the anointing and favor of God. Many of the pastors in Lilongwe are discouraged as most churches are very small in size because of the horrendous witchcraft existing in the area. On the final morning, Todd and Heidi and a number of FFM staff escorted over 350 pastors, Christian leaders, and workers outside to an open field and imparted special grace over each one.

The same report describes Bentley’s call for people to bring him their dead.

Todd Bentley has been encouraging the local people to bring the dead to the crusade meetings where opportunity will be given to see them raised up with resurrection power. On one of the days when an outreach was scheduled at a 1000 unit hospital, the opportunity did come allowing a handful of FFM access into the holding room of the hospital (morgue). Although there was no visible evidence of a `Lazarus coming forth’, we know many more opportunities will be waiting in the future, and yes, the dead will be raised in Jesus name.

Baker, like most New Apostolic leaders, is focused on fighting witchcraft and expelling demons, including from children.  Typical of NAR narratives, Iris Ministry accounts include descriptions of burning witchcraft items, including one account complete with green smoke.

New Apostolic leaders teach that in preparation for the end times, their adherents will develop increasingly powerful supernatural abilities and have the power to convert millions of people of other faiths through exhibiting “signs and wonders” or supernatural acts.

At the Lakeland Revival event, where Che Ahn gave his account of the formation of Revival Alliance, he also declared Todd Bentley to have a “double portion” of the anointing of William Branham.  Branham was a leader of the faith-healing revivals of the late 1940s and early 1950s that became known as the Latter Rain movement. Branham is described by Rolland Baker as the “most anointed” person on earth since Jesus.  The concept of “overcomers” with great supernatural powers is rooted in the Manifest Sons of God theology of the Latter Rain movement.

In a teaching video, C. Peter Wagner states,

“We can do the same or greater things than Jesus did because we have access to the same power source.”

According to Baker,

“Raising the dead is a good strategic plan!  The church grows when you raise the dead.”

Heidi Baker not only claims to raise the dead, but also claims supernatural “multiplication” of meals, similar to Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes.

Aggressive Faith-Healing

Bentley’s faith-healing revival at Lakeland was controversial, even among many Charismatics and New Apostolics.  Bentley served time as a juvenile for sexual assault and other crimes. The revival was also controversial for his practice of punching and kicking the ill and injured he was supposedly healing.

These controversies did not end the Lakeland Outpouring, nor did ABC’s Nightline investigation of Bentley or the fact that Nightline could find no evidence whatsoever that anyone had been healed of the hundreds of thousands of people who came from all over the world for the spectacle. (Nightline Part One and Part Two) Likewise, there was no evidence of Bentley’s claims of the dead brought back to life. The revival came to a close only after Bentley was caught cheating on his wife.

In the linked video, Bentley says that the Holy Spirit commanded him to kick an elderly woman in the face with his biker boot during a service. He also describes punching another elderly woman so hard that she flew through the air and crashed through a closed door. The Lakeland Outpouring included Bentley head butting, punching and kicking the ill and infirmed. Since the 2008 scandal over his infidelity, Bentley has been going through rehabilitation under the supervision of Rick Joyner and MorningStar, but this hasn’t stopped his gloating about his violent faith-healing.

Like Bentley, Heidi Baker also claims that the Holy Spirit commands her to do unexpected things to the desperately ill.  In the following video she claims to have healed a leper by stomping on his foot. (2:48 minute video embedded below.)

More on Heidi Baker and the NAR

Heidi Baker’s participation in the apostolic and prophetic is not based on “guilt by association,” as some of today’s modern-day apostles claim when they want to deny they are a movement, but on extensive documentation of her significant role in the movement.

Baker is one of the ten contributors (shown in graphic at right) to the 2010 book The Reformer’s Pledge, along with John Arnott, Bill Johnson, Lance Wallnau, Chuck Pierce, C. Peter Wagner, Jim Goll, Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, Jim Garlow, and editor Che Ahn.  In a previous article I described Garlow’s claim that he was not familiar with the term New Apostolic Reformation and addressed reasons why it benefits the movement to avoid use of terms like NAR, “apostle,” and “prophet” when appealing to mainstream evangelical audiences. Other NAR-deniers have included Samuel Rodriguez and former National Association of Evangelicals president, Ted Haggard.

Heidi Baker and Lou Engle are two of the leaders providing “apostolic covering” for Burn 24-7, a youth-oriented group that participates in Lou Engle’s The Call events.  Burn 24-7 is led by Sean Feucht and is similar to The Call in focus, including teaching that homosexuality is caused by a literal demonic spirit. Baker has also participated in The Call, co-founded by Engle and Che Ahn, including in Jerusalem.

Heidi Baker and Lance Wallnau, a lead spokesperson for the “Seven Mountains Mandate” were the featured speakers just a few weeks ago at  a conference hosted by the ministry of Stacey Campbell, a current member of the Iris Ministries, Inc. board, and her husband Wes.   Another board member of Iris Ministries, Inc. is Kris Volloton, who leads the Bethel School of the Prophets and “has served on Bill Johnson’s apostolic team for over 33 years,” according to his bio.

The list could go on and on.

Puffing Baker

Why did Christianity Today decide to feature Heidi Baker in the May cover article, but make a point of denying her ties to the NAR?  I don’t know the answer, but this is not the first wide-scale promotion of Baker. She has been regularly featured in a multi-million dollar project by funded by the Templeton Foundation that has also included the promotion of C. Peter Wagner and most of the Revival Alliance apostles.

In the project these New Apostolic leaders are described as “exemplars of godly love” in a “study of unselfish love for all others without exception.”  That might come as a surprise to those well-versed in the NAR’s Dominionist agenda and attacks on those of other faiths.  It’s difficult to reconcile the “Flame of Godly Love” and “Institute for Research on Unlimited Love” studies with the NAR’s claims that its spiritual warfare networks can supernaturally destroy the icons or buildings of those of other faiths, and maim or kill other humans through prayer.  It’s also difficult to reconcile with leadership’s claims that others – including homosexuals, freemasons, and those of other religious faiths – are controlled by literal demonic beings.

Christianity Today’s article is subtitled “There are credible reports that Heidi Baker heals the deaf and raises the dead.”

Apparently this uncritical acceptance of Baker’s supernatural powers was referencing the study by Candy Gunther Brown, also funded by the Templeton Foundation. Michael McClymond, referred to in the article,  has also been part of the “Flame of Godly Love” project funded by Templeton. The 2012 Society for Pentecostal Studies conference described earlier in this article, included a presentation on Heidi Baker’s network by Margaret Poloma, also funded by Templeton. In the same session, titled Symposium on New Apostolic Networks and the Third Wave, McClymond spoke about Randy Clark’s apostolic network.

The Templeton-funded projects promoting apostolic and prophetic leaders will be addressed in future articles and an upcoming report by Talk2action’s Bruce Wilson.

Perhaps the staff at Christianity Today was misled by the beatification of Heidi Baker in the Templeton-funded studies.  Regardless, they owe their readers an apology and a retraction or correction of the article.

Part Two: Christianity Today Promotes NAR Prophet Heidi Baker

It was a pivotal moment in American evangelicalism when Christianity Today featured a New Apostolic leader on its May cover.  More shocking is that this historic development included claims by Heidi Baker that her only tie to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has been annual attendance at a conference.  The author and editorial staff failed to challenge this assertion or to include information about Baker’s significant role in the NAR or her role in Revival Alliance, a partnership that brought together the six major New Apostolic ministries of Baker, Che Ahn, John Arnott, Randy Clark, Bill Johnson, and Georgian Banov. It was an incomplete view of one of the most powerful women in the apostolic and prophetic movement and promoted Baker’s ministry without providing readers any information about the dramatic changes in structure and ideology that New Apostolics have introduced into the evangelical world.

Part One of this series included a description of the formation of Revival Alliance and the apostolic network’s sponsorship of the “apostolic alignment” of Todd Bentley at the Lakeland Outpouring in 2008.

Following are additional examples documenting Baker’s very obvious leadership position in the apostolic and prophetic movement. See links at the end of the article for descriptions of the New Apostolic Reformation and apostolic government of the church. The movement’s goals include the reorganization and unifying of Protestantism under the authority of apostles and prophets.

Baker and Burn 24-7

Following is a short video of Baker with leaders of Burn 24-7.  This is a light-hearted and frivolous clip, but the embrace of the apostolic and prophetic structure is obvious.  Baker is part of the apostolic council providing accountability or “apostolic covering” to Burn 24-7.  The video features Baker, Burn 24-7 founder Sean Feucht, and another leader of the youth-oriented organization.  In this video they are celebrating the formation of their apostolic/prophetic council.

Under the “accountability” tab on the Burn 24-7 website, four apostolic leaders are shown – Julie Meyer, Lou Engle, Heidi and Rolland Baker, and Charles and Ann Stock. Lou Engle is co-founder with Che Ahn of The Call.  Julie Meyer is also a prophet and is well known in the movement for her prophetic rap style and prophecies about Sarah Palin during the 2008 election.

In another Burn 24-7 video Heidi Baker is described as part of the organization’s “apostolic council” and as  sharing “her prophetic voice and impartation.” The Burn 24-7 website also includes a handy “prophetic glossary.”

Revival Alliance and Wagner Leadership Institute

Randy Clark, one of the leaders of Revival Alliance (described in detail in Part One), is credited with bringing the holy laughter revival to John Arnott’s Toronto Airport Vineyard Fellowship in 1994. The subsequent multi-year revival is often described as the Toronto Blessing.  In 2001, Clark left the Vineyard movement and his church in St. Louis and moved his Global Awakening ministry to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in order “to work with Charles Stock, a non-Vineyard ministry” as reported by Charisma Magazine.  Charles and Ann Stock, listed above in the apostolic council of Burn 24 -7, lead Life Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Clark’s Global Awakening is now headquartered in Mechanicsburg Pennsylvania, close to Harrisburg, and includes the Apostolic Network of Global Awakening, the Schools of Healing and Impartation, and the Global School of Supernatural Ministry.

Global Awakening Partners with Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI-GA) to teach “training in the core topics of: Apostolic, Prophetic, Evangelism, Pastoral, Teacher and Seven Mountain.”  Heidi Baker is listed as a speaker for Global Awakening and regularly speaks at GA conferences.  WLI-GA courses include Raising the Dead 101, shown at right and including Heidi Baker.

Candy Gunther Brown, quoted in the Christianity Today article, has written extensively about the partnership between Baker’s Iris Ministries and Clark’s Global Awakening in her 2011 book Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing.  However, Brown makes no mention of the most prominent feature of the partnership – Revival Alliance which links the apostolic networks of Baker, Clark, Che Ahn, John Arnott, Bill Johnson, and Georgian Banov.  The formation of this network is described in Part One of this series.

Brown does reference Randy Clark’s apostolic network Global Awakening and it’s work with other apostolic  networks as follows,

“Global Awakening works closely with networks of local Pentecostal, Baptist, and new Apostolic movement  churches and ministries, such as Casa de Davi and Nova Geracao in Brazil and Iris Ministries in Mozambique, seeking to build international bridges among the groups in its global network.”

Brown does not describe or define how “New Apostolic churches” differ from denominational networks or describe how the growth of the apostolic and prophetic networks is overlaying current denominational structures.

Baker and Shara Pradhan

Heidi Baker co-authored a book in 2008 with her personal assistant Shara Pradhan.  Pradhan has worked with the late Jill Austin and with Mike Bickle at International House of Prayer and is currently working at Bethel Church of Bill Johnson, a Revival Alliance leader.  Following is a recent update from Pradhan about her work, including plans to return to Mozambique in June.  The video is book-ended by two of the most powerful women in the apostolic and prophetic movement or NAR – Cindy Jacobs and Heidi Baker:

*What is the New Apostolic Reformation and apostolic government of the church?

Link to “C. Peter Wagner Explains the New Apostolic Reformation.”

A pdf by Relationship Church in Dalton, Georgia provides the typical New Apostolic explanation for why evangelical churches must shift from a democratic structure to an apostolic structure.  Relationship Church is listed in Rick Joyner’s MorningStar Fellowship of Ministries.

 by Rachel Tabachnick

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One Response to Christianity Today Should Retract or Correct Cover Article on New Apostolic Leader Heidi Baker

  1. Steve Sponsler says:

    I was New into Christ (not ‘Christianity’) as of 5 years ago after 50 years. It was full steam ahead ready to soak it all in ..and got ‘Christianity’ Today..and was disappointed. At a time in the past I would never read it..now that I was reading it..i found it full of conflicting information and could hardly wait for the subscription to run out. Haven’t looked back since. Too much grief.

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