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Friday, May 4, 2012

Heidi Baker and the New Apostolic Reformation


Christianity Today is out with an extraordinary cover story by Tim Stafford on Heidi Baker. Her story is a powerful one and her ministry in Mozambique sounds like one that is bringing great hope to people. I doubt that she could have hoped for a more sympathetic presentation of her story for an American evangelical audience than what Tim Stafford has provided. But in presenting her personal story and her work in Mozambique, Stafford chose to be nearly silent about the broader framework of her life and ministry, a broader framework that is marked by her active participation in prophetic and apostolic ministries that are core components of what C. Peter Wagner calls a New Apostolic Reformation. Stafford does not completely ignore this important part of the story, but he might as well have because what he does include is very misleading. Here is the extent of Stafford’s coverage of Baker and NAR:

Though they have lost financial support due to their association with the Toronto movement, the Baker’s 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.

This is a very questionable characterization of her history. It implies that the only reason anyone would consider her active in NAR is that she attends an annual conference of a group with some people who are active in NAR. For the Bakers to say that she does not promote NAR is technically true in that there is no one group called NAR—anymore than there was one group called Reformation. And the fact that she does not call herself an apostle is besides the point—Cindy Jacobs does not call herself an “apostle” either, yet she is a central figure in the NAR world. What Stafford seems unaware of is that NAR is not limited to apostles at all--it explicitly draws on the leadership of "prophets" as well as apostles. Like Baker, Jacobs goes by the term “prophet”, but like Baker she is very active in what any informed person would call the NAR. Six very clear examples can be given to show that Baker should be rightly considered an active player in the New Apostolic Reformation.

1.     She is an instructor at C. Peter Wagner’s own school of ministry called the Wagner Leadership Institute.

2.     Her organization, Iris Ministries, is the major component of Partners in Harvest, under the “apostolic leadership” of “apostles John and Carol Arnott”.

3.     She is a founding member of the Revival Alliance (RA). RA organized and hosted an important moment in the history of apostolic restoration—the anointing ceremony of Apostle Todd Bentley, featuring significant participation by Apostle C. Peter Wagner. RA was so important to the apostolic authority of Todd Bentley that when his ministry later crumbled under the weight of serious ethical violations he specifically apologized to RA’s leadership.
4.     In 2011 she was a headline speaker at Voice of the Apostles 2011 conference. Her tape from the talk is published by the sponsors who are called Apostolic Network of Global Awakening. A video was produced of Heidi promoting Voice of the Apostles by talking about the many gatherings she has been to.
5.     She is one of ten authors of The Reformers’ Pledge, a major publication that features chapters by C. Peter Wagner, Che Anh, Cindy Jacobs, Chuck Pierce, Lou Engle and other noted NAR figures.
6.     She headlined a conference together with Chuck Pierce, the new leader of Wagner’s Global Spheres network of apostles. 

 These are just some of the examples--many more exist to demonstrate that Heidi Baker is active in apostolic and prophetic ministries, including those led by people who characterize themselves as part of the New Apostolic Reformation. Anyone who views or reads these links will have a hard time understanding why Baker tried to present herself as a peripheral figure to this movement, and an even harder time understanding why Stafford did not press her on this significant aspect of her public ministry. 



  1. Stafford did a really superficial form of reporting. Hard to even call it journalism...

  2. So easy to be critical guys. Look at the fruit. Having been born, lived and worked in Southern Africa and seeing this ministry, amongst many others, have such a profoundly positive impact on the lost, hurting and destitute I would be very careful to judge it. To then also judge Stafford who to me just gave an honest view of what he saw in Mozambique is quite remarkable. Maybe challenge, but at least be honouring with brothers and sisters in Christ.

    1. Rafiki--I am trying to be exactly that--careful. I have never written anything about Heidi Baker until now, and only in response to a particularly important claim she made in the article. I won't speak for Chip's comment, but I do not that both he and I have been mislead enough to know to ask questions and seek answers. That is what I am seeking to do.

    2. Why is that people don't include sound doctrinal teachings as part of the "manifestation" of fruit in a ministers life? Jesus did, so why don' they? Why do people ignore the fact that Simon the sorcerer was thought to be someone from God?

      Why do people only want to see miracles as proof of someones ministry? Do they not take to heart the warnings of our Lord and his real apostles regarding false teachers and sheep in wolves clothing? What about the "miracles" that the Egyptian magicians were able to perform that mimicked God's miracles. Only they could only go so far.

      Do they not remember there are lying wonders that Satan can perform, or that people can transform themselves into miniseries of light, as Satan can transform himself into an angel of light? Truly these are the last days when those with itching ears will not heed sound doctrine but will heap up for themselves teachers and will turn away from the truth and turn aside to fables. Truly the blind are leading the blind, and they will both fall into the ditch.

      These people are so worried about 'judging' another person that they miss what Jesus was really saying in regards to hypocrites in Matt. 7. We should use discernment gotten through sound doctrine to see if what these people say is so.

      Sigh. Here we have the seeds of the falling away Paul spoke of in 2 Thes. 2, and soon these tares shown by the wicked one will ripen, and bring forth destruction and persecution on the real saints of God, the likes of which will make the Spanish Inquisition pale in comparison.

      Is anyone ready for the great revival of the Anti-Christ's ecumenical false religion, and the reveal of his New and Improved satanic Babylonian kingdom? Many are not, they think all of this is a big "conspiracy theory." What will they think when they face martyrdom if they don't accept the mark of the Anti-Christ? Only time will tell.

  3. Thanks for this. Very helpful.

    1. Thanks. Please see the lengthier post I did on this story as well.

  4. Iris Ministries has wonderful web sites, and Heidi seems to be a very gifted communicator. As a missionary in Mozambique, however, I unfortunately have had to hear so many negative opinions about Iris Ministries voiced by fellow missionaries from many different missions organizations.
    The main criticisms seem to be using gifts of rice and clothes as incentives for people to become christians, a very powerful means as poverty is extreme here. People interested in missions will be familiar with the term "rice christians" and the long-term damage such policies has had on the results of mission in the past.
    Exaggerated claims about their work was another issue raised. It is really difficult to validate claims unless you are comfortable in Portuguese and take time to do research locally! I doubt that any foreign English-speaking journalist has any chance to critically review what Iris does in Mozambique.
    What I can say is that some of their co-workers are real and sincere Christians, and that this ministry is indeed spending a lot of money in Mozambique.

    1. This is very helpful to hear. I would love to correspond with you directly about your experience and what you hear. The only published study of the miracles is a limited one, based on only 24 people and with absolutely no follow up. It was published in the Southern Medical Journal. I will be writing about it at some point. I am ver interested to hear the perspective of other missions organizations and would love to hear from others in the area. Please pass along my name to others. I am doing a full length book on the New Apostolic Reformation and welcome these insights as I prepare the book. Bless you.

    2. Hi! Is it possible that you could share some of the information you are finding about Iris Ministries and Heidi Baker? I am doing a research about their work in Mocambique. Blessings!

    3. You will not get any verifiable proof from doctors that any of the miraculous claims made by Heidi Baker and/or IRIS Ministries are true because there is no verifiable proof available. There are 100s of seemingly regular, everyday people who will come to Heidi's defense and "testify" that they have seen it with their own eyes. Odd though that not one of those people, not even a single ONE of them...owns a video camera! Huh! Imagine that!?!

  5. I am a Zambian who has lived in Mozambique on and off since 1994. I am connected with friends who live in the same city that Heidi works in and their biggest problem with the Iris Ministries is the fact that they constantly give out stuff to locals causing many young people to have a begging mentality, totally destroying efforts in community development. I understand that God works miraculously because I have seen it in my own life BUT some of Iris Ministries claims dont add up because I have visited some of the areas she has spoken of stating a huge revival has occurred there but the truth is, nothing much has happened. I dont know if I will ever be really certain about the work she does because I have also met wonderful christians whose lives have been greatly affected(positively) by her ministry.

    1. Hi! My name is Kristian and I´m doing some research on Iris Ministries and Heidi Baker. Do you have any contact information to your friends in Pemba (I suppose) in Mocambique. I would like to know more about their opinion about Iris and their work.

      Best regards/ Kristian

    2. This is very helpful, and it all adds up. I always like to take a Gamaliel approrach, but I am afraid this "third wave" is part and parcel of the false revival leading to increased deception and the eventual heralding of the Antichrist. How many Christians who are not Bereans will fall for the Antichrist's great charisma and great social work---AND his counterfeit (Egyptian-style) miracles? Surely, we are living in the last days.

  6. apostles, prophets,who cares cut the red tape guys,thats what jesus did and over 2000 years later he is still the most talked about man in the wo rld.heidi doesnt do anything to be noticed she merely extends the love of christ to those the lord sends her, noyhting is ever going to be up to the worlds standards,she's doing the wil of god"laying hands on the sick,bringing sight to the blind, and set5ting the captives free,in jesus name. what r u doing

    1. There are those who if Jesus showed up in their backyard and gave them a bowl of rice and beans, told them to come as often as the needed, that it was free and limitless and He gave it simply beause He wanted to do, would write it off as poor missionary techniques.

      When dreams of changing a nation begin to become reality, that very ugly head of jealously strikes. It seems it is our "brrothers" who are some of the first to try and destroy the dream and at the same time throw those who dream the dreams of God into the first pit they can fnd.

      Love at all costs even at the risks of going past careful.

    2. I am sorry brother but I believe you are wrong in this. There was a term coined in the 18th century in England called "Souperism" which entailed preachers giving out soup but the receivers had to hear the gospel first. It is simply evangelistic bribery and the people receiving it know it. And remember the scriptures..Jesus fed people after they had followed him for three days..of their own accord and will.


    3. I tell you what I'm doing; asking the Lord to heal me from all the spiritual damage that woman (Heidi Baker) caused me!
      It's all about her: how much she loves God and how much God loves her, how much she suffers for God, how much she does ....then, instead of preaching the Gospel she ONLY focus about her personal devotion to the Lord and she woos Him in our presence to come to her!-Like if the Lord would ignore the rest of us!-She causes the people to idolize her and she does nothing to come out of that pedestal!-People leave her meetings more in awe of her than of Jesus!-I think the enemy uses her a lot too!
      Besides, if God called her to preach and gave her the power to heal the sick and has appointed many churches to send her millions of dollars, what is so special about her work?-Either it's her work or the work of the Holy Spirit and if it is of the Holy Spirit,then it's because of what Jesus did on the cross!-God doesn't share His glory with any man or woman!-The difference between the Catholic Church and the Pentecostal/Evangelical Church is this: the idols in the catholic church are dead while the idols in the pentecostal/evangelical church are ALIVE!
      And please, don't accuse me of touching the Lord's anointed ones because that word was given to the Jews of which I am one (in Yeshua) and it has to do with causing bodily harm!
      David didn't kill Saul but he rebuked him!
      May the Lord Jesus Christ ALONE be honored, praised,glorified and exalted!-Amen!
      Father, I thank You for the gift of Your Son!-May all the glory be given to Him and to you through Him!
      Even the precious Holy Spirit came to glorify Jesus!
      We should do the same!

    4. Shulamite - you hit the nail on the head:
      "-The difference between the Catholic Church and the Pentecostal/Evangelical Church is this: the idols in the catholic church are dead while the idols in the pentecostal/evangelical church are ALIVE!"

      I laughed right outloud. You have articulated (correctly) what I was trying to articulate but could not quite find the words!

      Amen and amen. Evangelicals run around searching for a living Messiah.

    5. Dan, I too laughed when I read your words,that I had articulated (correctly) what you were trying to articulate but could not find the words. Do you know why?

      English is my second language!-Portuguese is my first language!

      I'm glad you understood me!-LOL!

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. Shulamite, you are right on when you state, "God doesn't share His glory with any man or woman"! Kathryn Kuhlman use to state this ad infuntum in her great crusades. Unlike others, she remained humble and at every crusade would state repeatedly, "AND we vow to give you all the glory for the supernatural manifestations of your Holy Spirit here". No man or woman in the 20th Century or since, has been used of God to such a degree particularly in genuine healings and miracles, largely due to this fact of her humility. (Another thing she would often say was, "Don't even look at me; do not see Kathryn Kuhlman here. Pretend there's nobody else here but you and the Lord".)

  7. I have written a book on this subject called "The Fire of Heaven", by Robert Jones, Smashwords Publishing (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/238251). It is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of the signs and wonders movement, but in doing my research I uncovered some very troubling doctrinal errors. While we are all aware of the scandals in the prophetic movement, what I discovered on the doctrinal end of cessationism was equally troubling. The call of the book was to reopen and prayerfully seek the Lord's guidance in this area.

    One of the things I point out in the book is what you are doing in this article, which is condemning by association. If there are bad people in the prophetic movement, and someone is a part of the prophetic movement, then they are a bad person by association. I am sure you see the problem if we applied that same logic to all Christian organizations which have their bad apples.

    I also suggest some tests for the church to use, primarily the one the Lord gave us, people's fruits. The Bakers have produced such outstanding fruit that I think your condemning them on a mere connection by association to the prophetic movement does not really allow a fair measure of balance.

    Finally, I think the church is going to be shocked when it discovers their own errors in this area of cessationism. That does not mean the prophetic movement is right by default, but it does mean we have been standing on some very shaky ground.

  8. Well the Anti-Christ will bring peace to the world, can she top that?

  9. Heidi Baker exhibits the same jerking movements in her so called anointing as do those who practice Hinduism and the Kundalini spirit awakening.

    1. Yeah, I've noticed that, too. I've also noted the "WHOAs" and "OOAS", characteristic of the Toronto and so-called third wave movement. Kind of freaky.

  10. Have any of you watched the "Finger Of God" or "Furious Love" documentrys by Darren Wilson?

  11. Heidi preaches Christ and his love. Many lives have been changed, as you all admit. Even mine, at a distance (listening to her teachins online). So lets leave it at that, and respectfully and humbly leave our Christian brothers and sisters to God to 'sort out' any false beliefs or teachings, if there are any, in His own time and in His own wise and loving ways. None of us have full revelation of God, his word, etc. We're all just walking out our faith to the best of our ability... A little grace please.

  12. Lyn,
    I agree that we probably need a little grace at times, but the Bible teaches us that "the law came through Moses, but grace AND truth came through Jesus Christ" ( John 1:17) so grace, must be coupled with truth in order for the believer (whether they are an 'apostle' or just an 'anointed floor sweeper' in God's house,) to learn to live a balanced life. We must also take on board the apostle Paul who told Timothy to " study to be a good workman (student,) rightly dividing the word of truth," so that we won't be ashamed (of admitting that we taught/believed false doctrines.) (2 Timothy 2:15)

    I have seen here in Australia where I live, when Biblical truth is replaced by 'grace' - people become deceived, because they did not seek out the whole counsel of God on important matters, and individuals, churches and even whole movements have gone off track and become cultish in their desire for existential experiences, which do not line up with the safeguards listed in God's Word (1 John 4:1 etc.).

    Failure to discern the motives and influences behind 'new moves' of God, has lead to the lives of many people being shipwrecked and many have been discounted from ministry opportunities because they failed to do their homework. They have fallen into doctrinal error, various sins (sexual, financial, loss of credibility, a bad testimony - all of the above) and long term friendships and relationships (marriages) have been ruined.

    Sure, let's have some grace towards new converts, and love them enough to tell them the truth, and let's not become legalistic or judgmental towards others, who may still be sincerely wrong in their belief. But let's not make the horrible mistake of not telling them the truth either!

    Austin Hellier

  13. Thanks for much for further introducing me to Heidi Baker's ministry! I didn't know that she was involved in all of these ministries/movements, but now she has my unwavering support.

    I realise this was not at all your intention in writing this post, yet I would encourage you to not judge what you don't know. It's an extremely dangerous thing to do. Rather, pray for her. Pray God's will be done, not what you think should be done.

    If Ms. Baker is in error, God is more than capable of correcting her and if necessary, exposing her without our help.

    1. We judge those in the church and the Lord those in the outside.
      Read I Corinthians 5;12:
      " For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? :

      Exposing false doctrines, boasting and bad behavior is righteous judgement!

      You said that you had never heard of this woman before, and
      yet you are criticizing those who have know her and her involvement in all those alliances!
      Aren't you also judging?-The difference is: they know what they are talking about but you don't!
      Be in awe of Christ alone!

    2. I came back here because I just found this article about Heidi Baker!

      I'm so glad that finally I see someone else (besides me) noticing that when this woman speaks it's always more about her than about the Word of God!

      Here it is (I'll copy the link at the end):

      " Heidi Baker, an attractive blonde in her early fifties, then came on stage. A stage is what it was, as she appeared to be playing the house like a performance artist for the pentecostal circuit. She lay down or maybe crouched down and began alternately speaking in tongues interspersed with some sort of commentary on her mood and other things that I could not understand. Several times she yelled, "No spectating," apparently to get people to stop watching (gawking?) and start participating. She is engaged in a work in Africa with disadvantaged children, and some of her words may have been from a tribal language. “Shandababa or Shandabandai” was in every third clause or so, and either this is her favorite ecstatic utterance or it is some entity she calls on constantly.

      After twenty or so minutes of this, she stood up and launched into a long story of her life and her healings. To say it was all about her would be an understatement.

      "Silly" is a word my wife used to describe Heidi Baker's presentation. It was essentially void of content. She had her fans, however, and they moved up close and sat on the floor in front of the platform to be nearer to her. It was a confused and puzzling presentation over all. For me, it was discouraging."


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  16. Yes, she often intersperses her monologues with "shandala". I am guessing it is a word in her heavenly language, though I know that for some reason it is a word that is common in many people's prayer language. So it must be a word of universal meaning and application. Personally, I am not comfortable with playing 'round with my prayer lauguage in a public setting; it is something sacred.

  17. Too many have wasted time finding it ezieŕ to put down those who experience myty things. Where are believers willing to put their all inGod's hands like Heidi & very few others? Have naysayers put their all on the line for their mission? If you put your time into knowing God's ideas 4 u you have no time to put down those that do!

  18. Too many have wasted time finding it ezieŕ to put down those who experience myty things. Where are believers willing to put their all inGod's hands like Heidi & very few others? Have naysayers put their all on the line for their mission? If you put your time into knowing God's ideas 4 u you have no time to put down those that do!