Archive for July, 2010

In my series of the Restoration Charismatics, I have come to the Latter Rain movement that began in the 1940’s.  I have discussed briefly the history and background of the movement.  Here I will begin to discuss some of the doctrines and when applicable give scriptural analysis for refutation of any doctrinal errs.   This blog will cover only the first two doctrines of Restoration and Manifest Sons of God.

As I have done research, I have learned that this movement still exists though on the fringe of Christianity.  However, some of the beliefs that were promulgated have infiltrated mainline Christianity either in its originality or in a slightly altered form.  It is a curious task to discover the roots of any particular doctrine and quite necessary, not to demonize or to divide any particular group of people but to think critically about one’s own faith and doctrinal beliefs.  I have no issues with any person and do not wish to marginalize or over-generalize but I do take issue with people who in leadership positions mislead those who look to them for guidance.  I do not doubt the sincerity of many of the people who are leaders in Restorationism or the sincerity of the believers.  However, problems arise when we accept another’s speech, sermon, revelation…etc. on the basis that they are an “anointed one” (or even a godly person) without seeking the scriptures.  Support for this can be gleaned from the doctrine of original sin.  “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  Even with the Holy Spirit’s leading, we are still sinners.  Thus, people even in their sincerity still make errors.  It is not enough for a leader to encourage his audience to search the scripture.  It is only enough when we as a body of Christ search the scripture for ourselves in the correct context and without denying the helpful nature of scriptural experts.  I can not emphasize how important it is for the student to evaluate context and seek expertise when they are studying the complexity of the scriptures.  By seeking instruction, we are not denying the individual priesthood of the believer.  For example, would we see an artist or retail clerk if we needed major surgery?  How much more should we then rely on experts to help us in our understanding the proper context of the Bible.  As the Body of Christ, let us first seek Him and be aware of our own fallibility.  Jeremiah 23:16-32

The Doctrines of the Latter Rain circa 1950 *

*these doctrines still exist in contemporary Latter Rain circles though they have been modified

click here for a link to the Latter Rain Page


1. Restorationism:  This doctrine had its origins in the Latter Rain and continues to infiltrate churches today.  Basically it calls for restoring speaking in tongues, healings, and prophecy.  However, more than that is the desire to restore lost truths which have been lost over the last 2 millennia.  This doctrine corresponds very closely with the doctrine of Manifest Sons of God.  Those who still follow this doctrine believe that these are the last days (even generation) before the rapture.  God is pouring out his spirit and delivering new revelations to people which have been unknown up until this time.  These people will become a select group of people. 

             Some well known Restorationists of the late 20th century and 21st century include: William Branham, Paul Cain, Rodney-Howard Browne, Oral Roberts, Earl Paulk, and Mike Bickle as well as others.  Paul Cain has said regarding end-time restoration: “No prophet or apostle who ever lived equaled the power of these individuals in this great army of the Lord in these last days.  No one ever had it; not even Elijah or Peter or Paul or anyone else enjoyed the power that is going to rest upon this great army.” According to Rick Joyner, “the prophetic word will be flowing with purity and accuracy unsurpassed in church history,” and Bob Jones claims that “ [the elect] will have permission to remit that which sin has caused in their life, like herpes and AIDS” ((Hanagraaff, p. 176).  Mike Bickle stated in Sept. 18, 2009 that “there is an annointing on the new covenenant…there is a greater grace…there is a greater level…that is within reach of the body of Christ and it is that greater measure that we are contending for…but we want to see numbers that are beyond the numbers seen in the book of Acts…” [12]

2. Manifest Sons of God: Based on the scripture from Romans 8:18-19, Manifest Sons of God refers to a group of Christians who are specifically selected for the end time restoration of the church. This doctrine not only defines a group of people which are the elect it also claims that these people will be the perfect church.  These people will be transfigured into heaven.  Click here for a modern Latter Rain Interpretation.   In the context of the verse, the Apostle Paul is referring to believers (the manifest sons of God) as a whole in the age of the church not the last generation.  The idea of a perfect church is also anti-scriptural.  Scripture makes it very clear that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), and even the Apostle Paul refers to how he wants to do good but he falls short of the mark (Romans 7:18-20).   

               Theologically this doctrine places the elect or the “true” church against the “false” church.  Those belonging to the true church will have the tendency to accuse those in the false church of not being Spirit led.  This tendency is accounted for in numerous examples from modern day followers of this doctrine. 

             According to a contemporary web-site of the Latter Rain, the false church is living in the Stone Age and they do not understand what the Spirit led Christians are doing.  They have not experienced the power of the Spirit and they are too preoccupied with doctrines which divide and cause quarrels among Christians. [1] 

              While to some the idea of a false church and a true church is rather bizarre, this thinking is not just part of the Latter Rain anymore.  In the 1980’s a Christian movement at Toronto’s Airport Vineyard had its leader proclaiming a similar concept.  John Wimber had a vision that God would send His church into a time of deprivation (beginning with Jim Bakker).  Following this period, the church would engage in a civil war with the false church opposing the true church.  In his vision, the false church wore clothing which resembled the gray suits of the Southern States during the American Civil War and the true church wore the blue of the North. (I’m intrigued at the political connotation here as well.  How does one interpret a multi-faceted historical period with such a bias?  Did God consider the North righteous and the South not so much?  This is imposing a human interpretation on a historical event and spiritualizing it-placing words in God’s mouth.)  The gray was described as those who reject the things which advance the Spirit of God but cling to intellectualism.  The blue are the true followers of the Spirit.[2]   Wes Campbell, James Ryle, and Rick Joyner have all seconded this vision.  Joyner has furthered the civil war position by claiming that when the true church dismantles the church as we know it, they will rebuild it and forbid the intellectuals from participating.[3]  John Arnott leader of the Toronto Airport Vineyard prophesied of a great civil war in which much blood will be shed.  According to Arnott, “human reason/wisdom kills [the] Word of Faith.”[4]  Another church leader, Paul Cain has stated “I want you to know he’s coming to the church before he comes FOR the church. He’s gonna perfect the Church so the church can be the Image, and be him, and be his representation.” [5]  Bob Jones also believes in this special and perfect church, “There is a ministry after the five-fold called the ministry of perfection – the Melchizedek Priesthood . . . your children will be moving into the ministries of Perfection . . . [6]   These people will not only be “man-Gods,” according to Benny Hinn, but will also “have the power to raise people from the dead, that even death won’t stand before the power of the Church. We’ll see those four days Lazarus kind of deals. The Lord’s going to begin to give those in the days to come.”[7]  Mike Bickle of IHOP also falls dangerously close this alienation of a false church.  In a 2009 sermon, Bickle preach against intellectualism (i.e. religious opinions).  “At 4:00am on October 5, 1990, the Lord appeared to me in a trance. Suddenly the Lord was standing before me, looking straight into my eyes. He said, ‘No one with a control spirt can fully experience My kingdom.’ He paused for about 3 seconds. The words possessiveness and religious opinions came clearly to my spirit.” [11]

            In Earl Paulk’s writing, the false “intellectual” church is demonstrating the attitude of the anti-Christ.  This false church will persecute the true Christians.   “ …The greatest test of the spirit of the antichrist is its attitude toward the church. The attitude isn’t directed toward Jesus…”[8].  Thus, if you follow this line of thought the logical end is this: if you disagree with the theology of the “true church” you will be cast aside as the false church and you have no hope of becoming anything other than the spirit of the Anti-Christ.

                     As seen above, the separation of the elect is not something new within Christian circles nor is it in other religions.  One of the hallmarks of a cult or a mystery religion is this separation of the elect who are initiated by partaking in a particular revelation.  The Latter Rain followers firmly believed that they had received a special calling from God-even separating them from believers in their own religion.  This is doctrine of special election can also be seen in the Jehovah Witness groups.  For example, “Thus we have a family of God …. Now we appear like men, and all die naturally like men, but in the resurrection we will rise in our true character as Gods [refers to the elect becoming perfect],…”[9]  And also, “The New Creature does not need any imputation of merit,’ for the New Creature is sinless.”[10]  These statements lead to the perfect elect of 144,000 in the Jehovah Witness theology.

[1] Latter Rain Page, “Manifest Sons of God”  accessed 3/23/2010.

[2] Hanagraaff, H. Conterfiet Revival p 168

[3] ibid p 169

[4] ibid p 51

[5] Paul Cain: Nov 88, Tape: “My Father’s House”

[6] Bob Jones, Kansas City Fellowship tape from 1988

[7] Mike Bickle, School of Prophecy, Session 7, Vineyard Ministries, 1989

[8] Earl Paulk, The Wounded Body of Christ, Dimension Publishers, 1985

[9] Watchtower, 10 & 11/1881, p. 10, Reprints, p. 301

[10] 1916 Convention Report, p. 213

[11] Bickle, M. (Sept. 18, 2009) “Encountering Jesus: Visions, Revelations, and Angelic Activity from IHOP-KC’s Prophetic History – Session 3 Healing Anointing: Jehovah Rapha, Dominus and Other Visions”  Sermon Notes. website accessed 7/07/2010 http://cds045.dc1.hwcdn.net/b8k7w4a8/cds/doc/PH03-_Healing_Anointing_Jehovah_Rapha_Dominus_and_Other_Visions.pdf

[12] Bickle, M. (Sept. 18, 2009) “Encountering Jesus: Visions, Revelations, and Angelic Activity from IHOP-KC’s Prophetic History – Session 3 Healing Anointing: Jehovah Rapha, Dominus and Other Visions”  Transcript of Sermon Video. website accessed 7/07/2010 http://mikebickle.org/resources/resource/1644?return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fmikebickle.org%2Fresources%2Fseries%2Fencountering-jesus-visions-revelations-and-angelic-activity-from-ihop%25E2%2580%2593kc%25E2%2580%2599s-prophetic-history


Read Full Post »