In February 2019 a huge event was held in Orlando that attracted 50,000 young people. It was birthed by one of the so-called apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and included many leaders of that movement. There was high energy and determination; there were encouraging declarations; there were many prayers and expectations. It was all for the Great Commission “to catalyze every believer into a lifestyle of Christ-like action,” but the question is: Was there any fruit? Why or why not?
The event was called The Send. Its purpose was to initiate a worldwide revival to bring all people everywhere under the umbrella of the church and the authority of Jesus Christ. On the surface, it looks so good. Who could argue with the premise that we should evangelize the nations to bring them to Christ?
Unfortunately, there are a few problems.
Undoubtedly, some number of the youth assembled in the Orlando stadium were unsaved, probably also unchurched. Doubtless, many who attended were born again. Saved or not, that doesn’t necessarily make a difference as to whether or not they were deceived.
What could possibly be wrong with what went on at this all-day rally for Jesus? If we’re rah-rah! for Jesus, isn’t that all we need?
The answer is no. We also need true, Biblical doctrine behind whatever we do. We need knowledge and understanding. Lacking that, we go in ignorance and error.
The main thrust of The Send was to energize these masses with the mission of Matthew 28:19 to go into all the nations. However, what will these young people go with? For what purpose?
These youth were exhorted to win the world for Christ, to heal the sick, and to emphasize the move of the Holy Spirit in their efforts. Again, who can argue against that?
I for one.
During the entire day, from what I’ve seen, not one of the leaders on stage proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ as being about redemption from sin; that it requires repentance, surrender, salvation, the Lordship of Christ, and the hope of His resurrection. Nor did they happen to urge those listening to read the entire Word of God and to believe it. Worse, they proclaimed a future entirely devoid of what Scripture declares will occur in this world, and is currently happening. No one told these youth that if they go out in the Name of Jesus, there is a high likelihood they will be persecuted. No one told them that Jesus is returning soon, because the leaders of The Send don’t believe that He is.
The Send promoted evangelism, but did so without a Biblical foundation. These young people were told to go out and win people to Christ in the absence of helping them to truly acknowledge and confess their sin so they could lay it down at the foot of the cross. If those who heard the words of the “apostles” and “prophets” on the stage didn’t get that message, how could they convey it to others?
The entire event was based on feelings; the crowd was effectively told to seek the experience of healing for themselves and others, and through that, many would come to Jesus.
When they were told that God was doing a new thing in the earth and that, through them, the whole world would turn to Jesus, they believed a lie. The world is on a downward trajectory. It is moving increasingly toward lawlessness, disobedience, and rebellion. All we have to do is read the Bible and believe it, not to inject our own wishes and desires onto Scripture. It is not our work that will bring the return of Jesus; it is God’s doing alone. The promotors of this event believe that Christians must bring the world into submission to Christ. Why? Because they’ve had “new revelation” from God.
The reality—what the Bible says—is that soon the Church of Jesus Christ will be Raptured. There will be a 7-year Tribulation. After that, Jesus will rule and reign on the earth for 1,000 years. In all this, God is in charge. He will make it happen exactly as foretold in Scripture. For the promoters of The Send to tell these youth that it’s their efforts that lures Jesus back and brings peace on the earth is a satanic lie.
Jesus had a few things to say to His disciples before He was crucified. Typically, we say that someone’s last words are important. In that respect, what Jesus instructed in those final hours should guide us as well as them.
In John 13-17 we have significant detail about the last supper; what Jesus said and did. In this space we can’t cover everything completely, but let’s quickly look at a few of them.
Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. They were to serve others as He did.
Jesus told them to abide in Him and to do so by keeping His commandments. They were to live their lives for God and His kingdom, not for the world. Yes, the disciples could ask the Father for good fruit (such as healing) as a witness, but to simply go out in the name of healing without the Gospel wasn’t something Jesus taught.
Jesus gave them the Great Commandment to love God by loving others (Matthew 22:37-38). Because they were no longer servants, the disciples were actually friends of Jesus. Because of that, they could bear good fruit in His Name.
Jesus warned the disciples that many would hate them because they came in His Name. Through that hate, the disciples would face much persecution, but Jesus would be with them always. Indeed, they would have tribulation; but, through Jesus, the disciples could persevere because He has overcome the world.
Through the Holy Spirit, the world would be convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment. In all this, Jesus would be glorified and made known.
As the disciples went into the world, their purpose was to declare Jesus’ Name to the glory of God Almighty. The disciples would make other disciples. The Word would be preached, and the love of the Father would go forth.
Because the disciples had been with Jesus for three and a half years, they had the foundation by which to go out into the world. They would win many to Christ, but time was short. As He had previously instructed, difficult times would come and many would fall away. He never conveyed the message that His disciples could clean up the world and make it righteous so as to hand it to Him on a silver platter when He returned.
This is the belief of the NAR folks. They believe in Dominionism; that the dominion of Christ in the world will be accomplished through their doing. The Kingdom Now is what they seek to bring about. The end they proclaim is absolutely contrary to what God declares is coming soon. We don’t have new revelation and a new reformation as the name of their movement implies.
The deception of NAR propagated through events like The Send is a tragedy. It sends forth ignorant young people who don’t know the Word of God. It attempts to win others to Jesus through a healing ministry that lacks the Gospel of sin and repentance. It emphasizes experience and feeling rather than the Word of God.
We need to pray that these enthusiastic disciples who are going forth as a result of The Send will come to know the real Jesus, the real Gospel, and that they will go into the world preaching righteousness and holiness. In that, they will truly see good works: healings and other miracles. More importantly, they’ll see salvation in Christ alone. They’ll likely also experience persecution and suffering.
To go out unprepared, perhaps even unsaved? This is a recipe for failure.
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and serves as Missions Director at his church. He is also a prolific author. His Whirlwind Series is comprised of three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is A Time. All these books are also contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has a standalone novel of supernatural suspense, The Tattooed Cat. He released Alien Revelation – The Unveiling, the first novel in a new series: The Sons of God Chronicles in September 2019. His intent in all his writings is to bring a strong Christian witness to what people read. You can reach him via his website at www.GaryRitter.com or his Facebook Author page at https://www.facebook.com/gritter3390. You can also see his video Bible teachings on his Gary Ritter YouTube page – look for the fish symbol.