[NOTE: I was asked to critique this book for the American Gospel 3, and so I decided to put my notes into an article. I do not normally cover the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) but since I did critique this book, I wanted to have the information in printed form. See Holly Pivec and her books for NAR information].
The Physics of Heaven, by Judy Franklin and Ellyn Davis (Destiny Image Publishers, 2012), contains essays by leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement that claims the church must restore the offices of apostles and prophets today like those in the Old and New Testaments, and that the church (meaing the NAR churches) must take over the culture for Jesus to return.
The New Apostolic Reformation leaders emphasize miracles and wonders, and believe that they can wield power in the supernatural realm. This unbiblical approach to the supernatural, an area that is God’s providence and that Scripture warns about, has led to the NAR’s embrace of New Age beliefs. The NAR believes that New Age ideas and practices were “stolen” by Satan from God’s people. This assumption is at the heart of their deception.
The main problem is not so much that New Age concepts are accepted, but that poor theology and poor hermeneutics led to this acceptance. New Age ideas area adopted in the NAR based on false assumptions and bad theology.
These are false assumptions expressed in the book:
1. Christians can reclaim concepts and practices from the New Age because these were meant for God’s people (“precious truths in the New Age” p. 18)
2. A counterfeit always means that originally it was something true or real from God
3. It is good and normal for Christians to operate in the supernatural
4. God is doing something new and giving new revelations (God is sending new sounds, vibrations, energy from heaven)
- Response to Assumptions: The False
No biblical basis exists for reclaiming New Age ideas or practices, especially if they are false or evil. New Age concepts are largely based on
What is not real
What is evil
Truth is mixed in with the false but that does not make it true/
We do not decide or discover what is true by looking at what is false. There are counterfeits but counterfeits are counterfeits because they are false and are not what they imitate
- Response to Assumptions: The Evil
One cannot reclaim for God that which is false or evil. Below are examples of New Age and occult practices that cannot be reclaimed because they are evil. These are listed and denounced in Deuteronomy 18:10-11
Divinatory arts such as astrology, tarot cards, palm reading, etc.
Contacting the dead or sprits
No Explicit or Implicit Mandate from God to Operate in the Supernatural
There is no mandate from God’s word to operate at will in the supernatural. God’s word does not give enough information on angels or demons to inform humans how they operate. Nor are any commands ever given to contact angels or to interact with them. When angels were sent by God, it was for specific messages or actions willed by God.
The supernatural is for God’s power, not humans. Attempts to manipulate supernatural energy or powers or to contact supernatural beings such as spirits (including angels) is an occult practice.
Fallen angels operate in this area but are opposed to God; what they are allowed to do is according to what God allows (see Job chapter 1). The closest Christians can come to this is through prayer and dependence on the Lord.
Christ Has Redeemed Everything?
An assertion is made in the book that Christ has redeemed everything. However, Christ redeems men through faith and one day creation will be restored, the old will perish and the new will come (Romans 8:20-22; 2 Peter 3:10-13
) , but this does not apply to practices that God has condemned.
Evil practices found in the New Age and the occult are not redeemed. Practices such as divination, sorcery, and spirit contact arose as ways to communicate with and get information from false gods. They are not counterfeits of anything connected to the biblical God. Nor is there any scriptural support
that such practices will be redeemed by God.
Misuse of Biblical Text and Erroneous Theology
Example 1: Vibrations
Claim: The book claims that the word in Gen. 1:2 about the Spirit hovering over the water can mean “vibrate.” From this false assumption comes much of the book’s focus on vibrations, that everything is a vibration, and that we can learn to receive new sounds or vibrations from God.
: The word in Genesis 1:2
does not mean “vibrate” and cannot credibly be used that way. The English word “hover” for this verse is the most fitting. This word is also used in Deuteronomy 32:11
which describes God as an eagle hovering over its young (Israel) in a protective way. (In Jeremiah 23:9
, the same word is translated in many versions as “shake.” The prophet Jeremiah’s bones shake or trembleat the terror of God’s judgment on the false prophets.)
Giving this word in Genesis 1:2 the false meaning of “vibrate,” and then extrapolating from that to the idea that everything is vibrating, and that God is releasing new sounds and vibrations we must be attuned to, goes beyond the text and the biblical truth that God communicates with words. He has never indicated otherwise. Even dreams given by God in Scripture are either in words or God provides an interpretation of them in words (as Joseph did with the dreams of the baker, the butler (foodtaster for the king), and the Pharaoh). Such a claim about God releasing new sounds or vibrations goes so far beyond logic and reason that it defeats itself by its own absurdity.
Example 2: Manifesting Into Reality
Claim (in Chapter 12): Continuing with quantum physics, the chapter’s author Ellyn Davis asserts that although some New Age ideas are wrong in many ways, some of the New Age beliefs are true because “all truth is God’s truth.”
Response: The statement “all truth is God’s truth” can only be considered if what is being referred to is true. However, nothing in New Age beliefs is true. New Age beliefs are rooted in a false worldview. Although some truths are mixed with falsehoods, the context and outlook are false, such as these New Age beliefs:
We can affect reality with our thoughts
Everything has consciousness and is interconnected through one universal consciousness
Our thoughts and emotions emit energetic vibrations
Man is evolving to higher levels of consciousness (usually via reincarnation)
Example 3: Speaking things into existence is another idea in the book. Three biblical passages are misused for this assertion.
(as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.
Response: This is about God, not creatures.
Second Misuse, Proverbs 18:21
: This verse states “the power of life and death is in the tongue.”
This is about the proper and improper use of words and how they can encourage, or discourage or damage people, not by using supernatural power but by thoughtlessness or the intent to harm. Proverbs 17:4
speaks of a destructive tongue in terms of falsehoods, Proverbs 25:23
speaks of a backbiting tongue, and Proverbs 26:28
A lying tongue hates those it crushes, And a flattering mouth works ruin.
Using the tongue to lie or to express hatred or bitterness is what these passages are about. There is no basis for thinking that one has a supernatural power over life and death with words, which is ironically a belief in the occult and New Thought.
Third Misuse, Matt. 17:20:
This passage where Jesus states that if one has faith like a mustard seed, he can tell a mountain to move.
Response: Jesus used this illustration to teach that with faith in God, one can surmount the most difficult challenges. It is God’s power but faith is needed. Jesus was not talking about literally moving a mountain, because there is no point in that. Jesus did not do frivolous things for show nor advise anyone to do so. God could, of course, move a mountain if he so chose, so recognizing his power to help us is the point.
Example 4: Consciousness, Mystical Connection
Claims: The author cites biblical metaphors like the “trees clap their hands” to say it is not hard to believe everything has a consciousness. We all share a mystical connection due to things like thinking of a friend who then calls you. The writer also cites the biblical phrase “all in Christ” to affirm her view we are mystically connected.
Responses: The image of trees clapping their hands is a poetic metaphor. It offers no basis for believing trees have “consciousness.” To have consciousness, there must be a mind and trees do not have a mind because God did not create them that way. “Living beings” (and “living creatures;” literally, “living souls”) in the Bible refer only to people and animals because they have a mind. Trees and plants are not called “living beings (souls)” in Scripture.
The phrase “all in Christ” is about the unity of believers in the body of Christ. No mystical connection is alluded to in Scripture (see example 6 on Panentheism).
Thinking of a friend who calls you could be coincidence, unless the Holy Spirit has had the friend call and has prepared you for it for some divine purpose. But in that case, it has nothing to do with a mystical connection with others.
Example 4a, Related to claim in Example 4: Stones can remember. These points are offered in the book to support this idea about stones:
- Citing Joshua 24:27 when Joshua sets up a stone to memorialize what God did at Jericho, and the stone is called a “witness,” the author writes that this means the stone “can remember what happened” (140).
- The claim is that in Luke 19:40 Jesus said the stones would cry out and Habbakuk 2:11 is about a stone crying out. All of this means all matter has memory (140, 142, 144).
: These are metaphors and this thinking is like animism, a worldview that spirits and intelligent forces can inhabit matter. As stated in the previous example, inanimate objects do not have minds or souls and cannot think or speak. Many passages in Scripture
point out that the idols (which were made from wood or stone) were mute and blind.
Example 5: Dimensions of Reality
Claim: “Different dimensions of reality” are claimed in reference to the “third heaven” in the Bible. There must be various spiritual levels, concludes the author.
Response: The third heaven is a term referring to where God is. The first heaven is the immediate area above us where the birds fly; the second heaven is outer space with the sun, moon, and stars.
The word for “heaven” in some parts of the OT also means “air.” This is referring to atmosphere or space.
This term third heaven was part of the terminology used at the time this was written and has nothing to do with “levels of reality.”
Example 6: Panentheism
Panentheism is the belief that God is in creation and creation is in God; there is overlap of God with creation. Examples from the book include:
- Creation comes out of God’s being (pp. 4, 5); waves of light come from God’s being
- Light released by God is in and around us as God’s power
- “Heavenly energy is high voltage and extremely powerful” (p. 153; several places in the book talk about energy from heaven)
- Creation is distinct from the Creator, so nothing came out of God. It was created by God but not out of his being.
- Light that we see was created by God so it is not power from God and is not connected to his nature; light is part of creation
- There is no such thing as “heavenly energy.” There is God’s power but that is contained in God. He exerts it but it does not flow or leak out of him. Nothing of God is outside of God; God is God and all that is God is in God (see book All That Is God Is In God by James Dolezal).
- The Biblical text has been grossly misused by those who try to claim biblical support for panentheism. See CANA articles on books by Richard Rohr and Ann Voskamp.
Example 7: Angels
Claims, Ch. 9, The “energy angel” appears to the author after a conference to talk about the energy crisis and goes back with him to his hotel room, showing him the blueprint for a car that runs on water. They then go for a walk while the so-called energy angel explains this car to the author.
The angel tells him that since God spoke creative power, man can do so as well. Angels are waiting for man to speak words from God so that they can carry it out. We are partners with angels.
: Angels do not teach. Good angels serve God and in the Bible were sent to give messages and warnings related to God’s plans. Sometimes angels intervened, as when an angel released Peter from prison so he could preach. See CANA article on Angels
New Age Pseudoscience
A number of appeals are made throughout the book using scientific terms and concepts in an attempt to support the NAR beliefs. The writers use the same arguments as made by those in the New Age.
Example 1: Solfeggio Frequencies
Solfeggio Frequencies are referred to in connection with healing with sound. This idea is widespread in the New Age (and online).
Example 2: Quantum Physics
Claim (in Chapter 11): The author of this chapter affirms the ideas of New Age entrepreneur and author Deepak Chopra about quantum physics and states that the appearance of a scientist, Dr. Fred Alan Wolf, in the New Age film What the Bleep Do We Know?
lent scientific credibility to the New Age philosophies presented in the film.
Response: The film was produced by New Age cult leader J Z Knight whose loyal followers put this together. A popular actress, Marlee Matlin, starred in the film, giving it unwarranted attention. Chiropractor Joe Dispenza, who is New Thought/New Age, and John Hagelin, a follower of the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, also appeared in the film.
Dispenza and Dr. Wolf also appeared in The Secret
video and book, which is mentioned by the author of this chapter. The Secret
is rehashed New Thought
, which is a component of the New Age. The author and other writers of this book then use a phrase coined by this New Ager throughout the rest of the book.
This film, which I have seen, was lambasted by the scientific community. There are so many articles debunking the misuse of science and false claims in this film that they cannot be listed. No credibility was given to the ideas in the film by anyone except New Agers and those fooled by the film. The facts do not support any of the claims, because the claims are spiritual in nature and misuse scientific terms and ideas.
refers to Dr. Wolf as a “former physicist turned crackpot
” who spends time lecturing on how we can use quantum physics to turn wishful thinking into reality. Having a degree or being smart does not make one immune to spiritual deception.
The misuse of the term “quantum” is rife in the New Age. Those who use this term to try to support Eastern and New Age mysticism do not know what quantum physics is. Its misuse has entered the church and echoes the tactics of the New Age.
Example 3: The Schumann Resonance
Several pages in the book cite the Schumann Resonance. (The Schumann Resonance is used in the New Age to give credibility to beliefs about vibrations).
The claim for this is that the earth vibrates at this level (Schumann Resonance) and that humans can vibrate in harmony with this resonance to achieve better health and peace. Statements made in the book connected to this include:
The writer states that the brain waves of “psychics, shamans, Christian faith healers, Hawaiian Kahunas, etc….during healing moments” become synchronized with the earth’s geoelectric micropulsations – the Schumann resonance” (p. 40).
Why is the author including the brain waves of psychics and shamans with Christian faith healers? It seems that the author is presenting the idea that healing is based on a natural phenomenon of nature. This would, of course, rule out healing miracles being from God.
A claim is made that the Schumann Resonance is “essential to the life processes and health of organisms” (p. 62). On page 95, the writer refers to the “earth’s vibrational frequency.”
Response: The Schumann resonance is a product
of the physical dimensions of the space between the surface of the Earth and the ionosphere.
Every planet and moon that has an ionosphere has its own set of Schumann resonances defined by the planet’s size…..[snip]…7.83 Hz has a wavelength of about 38,000 kilometers. This is about the circumference of the Earth, which is why its atmospheric cavity resonates at that frequency.>
From Facts and Fiction of the Schumann Resonance
by Brian Dunning at https://tinyurl.com/3zhpne88
The Schuman Resonance is not put out by nor has anything to do with the earth or with humans. It is a measurement having to do with the space around the earth due to the circumference of the earth. Therefore, it cannot exist with humans. We do not have a circumference of 38,000 kilometers.
Example 4: Energy, Biomagnetic Fields
Claim, p. 40: Energy and biomagnetic fields from human hands can heal.
Response: Here is a refutation of that from Dunning (same source as for previous point):
Human bodies do not have an energy field: in fact there’s not even any such thing as an energy field. Fields are constructs in which some direction or intensity is measured at every point: gravity, wind, magnetism, some expression of energy.
Energy is just a measurement; it doesn’t exist on its own as a cloud or a field or some other entity. The notion that frequencies can interact with the body’s energy field is, as the saying goes, so wrong it’s not even wrong. From same article as above
The NAR teaches energy healing and that this was “stolen” by Satan.
Response: Energy healing is a summoning of and/or manipulation of an invisible force or power for a desired end. This is an attempt to command and/or use supernatural power and the only word for this is sorcery.
Although NAR leaders attempt to place the Holy Spirit in energy healing, the differences are striking:
- Healing by the Holy Spirit does not involve summoning or manipulation
- The Holy Spirit is not an energy or force but is God, the third person of the Trinity
- The claims for energy healing are based on false assumptions, misuse of scientific terms, and the fallacy of equivocation and have been debunked
Bad Theology/Misuse of Scripture: This abounds in the book. Scripture is either misused for claims or no evidence is provided for claims. Here are some examples:
1. Page 7, Christ’s atonement means we should be back in the garden but our minds have not been transformed yet.
2. Christ has redeemed everything.
3. We will be transformed by a new sound from heaven, “vibrations” from heaven, p. 20 and Chapter 15. This is a main theme throughout the book.
4. A positive vibration is like a portal into heaven (23).
5. “When God breathes on a thing, it smells like apples”
is stated, based on Song of Solomon 7:8
Response: This passage in the Song seems to be addressed to a woman; it is metaphor; and it says “may it smell like apples.”
6. “We’re being prepared for the priesthood of Melchizedeck” (25)
: Only Jesus is “the priest forever after the order of Melchizedeck
” (Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews 5:6
). For anyone to claim such a priesthood is hubris of the vilest kind.
7. “Our genetics are getting aligned with the Father’s genetics” (26)
Response: Man is created and cannot have genetics like God even if God were to possess genes. God does not have genes because he is uncreated.
8. “We’re going to take authority over everything down here and literally give it back to the Father” (27)
9. “Total authority was given to man” (27)
10. “Sacred languages” such as “Hebrew Sanskrit, Egyptian, and Tibetan” and “sacred vowels” (88)
Response: Why are they “sacred?”
11. God is a “prolific talker” (99) and “reveals himself on wavelengths we have not yet learned to recognize and receive” (100)
12. Curses and evil can reside in matter (142)
: This is animism, not biblical teaching. Evil is not a thing or force that can reside anywhere. Evil arises from actions. Curses in the Bible are God’s judgment. No creature has the power to curse (see CANA article on Curses
13. Faith is an energy force (from NAR prophetess Annette Capps, 145)
14. Trips to heaven, p. 158 (several places in book)
False teachers/organizations referred to in a positive way:
1. Page 3, Ted Dekker, a fan of Richard Rohr who seems to be either New Age or Perennial
2. Page 18, William Branham, a faith healer who denied and denounced the Trinity
3. Page 155, John Lake was a dubious “faith healer;” there were scandals about him
4. Page 161, HeartMath Institute, which operates on New Age beliefs and pseudoscience
Biblical discernment requires knowing and recognizing what is true and measuring ideas by facts and truth.
o Discernment is not seeing a false or evil idea and then concluding it is a misrepresentation of something true.
o Discernment is first knowing and recognizing truth and distinguishing that from the false.
o If facts do not support the claims and/or if the claims are spiritual in nature, then they must be rejected.
o Facts come from God’s creation and God’s creation will support claims with facts
*Regarding the NAR claim for restoring the offices of prophet and apostle: The church is built on the foundation of the apostles (Ephesians 2:20
) and so their work is done. Moreover, Christ’s apostles had to have seen the risen Christ to be an apostle (Acts 1:21-22, 10:38-41; 1 Corinthians 9:1
). To learn more about the NAR, see books by Holly Pivec.