If you thought apostles and prophets only lived way back in Bible times and have long since disappeared, think again. Contemporary people calling themselves apostles and prophets have many followers. They are vigorously active in churches in the United States and throughout the world. Odds are, some are active in your own community. These men and women claim they have the God-given authority, divine strategies and miraculous powers needed to advance God’s earthly kingdom so that Christ can return. And they offer people a choice.

If you submit to their leadership, then you too will work mighty miracles. You’ll become part of a great end-time army that will bring about a world revival and cleanse the earth of evil by calling down hailstones, fire and the other judgments of God described in the New Testament book of Revelation.

If you do not submit to their leadership then, at the very least, you will miss out on God’s end-time plans. And if you actively oppose the apostles and prophets, then brace yourself for the fallout. Others must be warned that you are the pawn of a powerful demon, known as the “spirit of religion.”

This may sound radical and unappealing, but the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) is growing rapidly. In the United States, it began taking off in the 1980s and 1990s, when prophets and apostles starting showing up in churches. Today, about 3 million people in the United States attend churches that openly embrace NAR apostles and prophets. And that number doesn’t include the many Pentecostal and charismatic churches that have not openly embraced these leaders, yet have been influenced by their teachings in varying degrees. People in these churches read bestselling books by NAR prophets — books like Rick Joyner’s The Final Quest or the apostle Bill Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth. Or they use a new, wildly popular NAR Bible, called The Passion Translation, produced by the apostle Brian Simmons, who claims that Christ visited him personally and commissioned him to release this new translation.

And we haven’t yet mentioned NAR churches in other parts of the world where the movement is growing most swiftly — Africa, Asia and Latin America.

NAR leaders call their new movement apostolic because they claim to be restoring apostles and prophets to the church. And they call it a reformation because they say it will completely change the way church is done — and its effects will be greater than the 16th-century Protestant Reformation.

That’s a bold claim. Yet many people who are part of this movement don’t know it’s called the New Apostolic Reformation. In fact, they may not even know they are part of a movement at all. And they may not be fully aware of all the extreme teachings associated with it. But they certainly know of — and follow the teachings of — men and women who believe they are apostles and prophets similar to the apostles of Christ and the Old Testament prophets.

Excerpted from God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement, by R. Douglas Geivett (professor of philosophy) and Holly (Peters ’99, M.A. ’05) Pivec, Weaver Book Co., December 2014. Used by permission of Weaver, www.weaverbookcompany.com. Geivett and Pivec are also authors of A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement, Weaver Book Co., December 2014.