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Archive for the ‘Charismatic’ Category

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

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In my first entry, I briefly wrote on the history of Pentecostalism.  I have since explained some troublesome doctrines within Protestant churches and some of the outliers which broke off of mainline Pentecostalism.  This blog will first relay the historical roots of the Latter Rain Movement with following blogs on the doctrine of the movement, and than a Scriptural exposition and analysis.  

            Riding on the first and second waves of the Pentecostal Revival (tongues and healings) during the early 20th Century, the Latter Rain Movement had its origins in October of 1947.  Students of the Pentecostal Bible College in Saskatchewan Canada broke off to found the Sharon Bible College.  It was during one of the chapel services, February 11, 1948, that a prophecy was given to begin a revival in order to seek afresh the spirit of God.[1]  The revival quickly spread throughout the U.S. and Canada but was claimed heretical by the Assemblies of God Churches.[2]  According to the minutes of the General Council, they “rejected the practice of personal prophecy accompanied by the laying of hands and the doctrine of the Manifest Sons of God.”[3]  “It’s lax exegesis of Scripture became the cause of their doctrinal drift on a variety of theological themes” [4]  “The Latter Rain Movement was condemned by the Pentecostal Assemblies of God as heresy in 1959. The teachings were kept alive through Demos Shakarian and the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowships and resurfaced in the 1960’s as the Charismatic Movement. The Vineyard Fellowships, the “Toronto Blessing,” and the Pensacola Revival are all Latter Rain influenced, even though the leaders will not admit it since the LRM was heretical.  Latter Rain teachers promoted the restoration of “Davidic Tabernacle Worship.” Services began with the emotional, repeated singing of praise choruses whereby the assembly came into the presence of God (or brought God into the assembly).” [5]

The major leaders of the Latter Rain included:

 Reg Layzell, George Wamock, George Hawtine/Ern Hawtine, Earl Lee, Murtile Beall, James Watt, J. Preston Eby, Thomas Wyatt

Current Direct Descendents of Movement:

Ministers Fellowship International, Portland Bible College, Kevin Conner; Dick Iverson; David Schoch; Violet and David Kitely

 Other People (abbreviated) influenced by the Movement:

Bill Hamon, Bill Briton, Rick Joyner, C. Peter Wagner, Paul Cain, Cindy Jacobs, Mike Bickle

 Doctrinal Beliefs:

 Personal Prophecy, Typological Interpretation of Scripture, 5-fold Ministry, Spiritual Elite Corps, Anti-Denominational, Non-Dispensationalist, Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Manifest Sons of God, Joel’s Army, One New Man, Corporate Christ, Melchizadek Priesthood, Harp and Bowl, Kingdom Now


[1] Holdcroft, T. The New Order of the Latter Rain Pheuma. The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies 2(2):48. 

[2] Schmitt, C. (2002) Floods upon the Dry Ground. Shippensberg, PA: Revival Press.

[3] Minutes of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, Resolution 7: “The New Order of the Latter Rain.”

[4] Hjalmarson L. “Hype or Hope” http://nextreformation.com/wp-admin/resources/Restorationism.pdf

 [5] Marat, Don. “Four Movements” http://www.zlcb.org/Four%20Movements.pdf

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In the past few essays I have written, I indicated that I wished to trace the history of the Charismatic revivals during the 20th century.  Some confusion has arisen as to what exactly I mean or meant by Charismatic revivals.  I am not referring to Pentecostalism or Charismatics as a whole-far from it.  While I may have doctrinal differences with these particular groups, it is not my intention with these essays to discuss them.  In fact let me mention briefly some highly reputable scholars within this denomination: Dr. Gordon Fee, Dr. Walter Martin, Dan McConnell, Charles Farah, Elliot Miller, H. Terris Neuman and Dale H. Simmons (Christianity in Crisis 21st Century, by Hank Hanegraff page13).  What I am trying to do is delineate some groups from the overall spectrum of the Charismatics -that is separate the wheat from the chaff.  There are some outliers who espouse doctrines which are either opposed to basic beliefs of Christianity or are heresies which do not align with scripture as a whole.  One commonality that they hold is the ideology of restoration.  Some major revivals which have come to my attention are as follows:  Latter Rain Movement, Toronto/Anahiem Vineyard, and the Kansas City Prophets.

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One of my favorite books is the C.S. Lewis series Chronicles of Narnia.  In writing about them, Thomas Williams describes creation, “In seeing creation in its relationship to God, we see beneath the surface to the soul of it; its wonder and beauty becomes a reality.  The muggles that surround us will disdain that vision, accusing us of being incurable romantics looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses.  ‘It’s a jungle out there,’ they say, ‘a treacherous, messed-up world, a vale of tears, an arena of struggle for survival, and to see things otherwise is simply not facing up to reality.’  But the Christian sees everything through a new set of lenses-not rose tinted but polarized.  Rather than coloring reality with an artificial hue, the Christian lens filters out the glare and shows it with new clarity.  We see the solid truth about creation-the original steel beneath the coating of rust.  The rust is not the truth about the metal; it is a blight that obscures the truth.”[1]

Do you believe that the earth is fallen and cursed?  Do you believe that because of the curse the only redeemable part of man is his soul?  It might surprise a great number of my readers to learn that that second belief is incorporated into our Christian theology due to the large number of Classical philosophers during the early church.  (more…)

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In the world of Evangelicalism there are many kinds of revivals in which people participate.  According to Webster’s dictionary, a revival is “(1) : a period of renewed religious interest (2) : an often highly emotional evangelistic meeting or series of meetings.”  In this instance, I believe each definition refers to a different kind of revival and will discuss each separately. (more…)

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 Along with the doctrine of Restoration, the Charismatic Movement also has two other underlying ideologies.  These are not just in the Charismatic Movement but have been apart of the church for centuries if not millennia.  I myself have been influenced by some of these ideologies and did not realize the lack of scripture backing them.  These two philosophies, Gnosticism and Pietism, are really cousins and in fact is could be said that Gnosticism is really a form of Pietism.  Let me start with Pietism. 

(more…)

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I would like to briefly discuss the background ideology of Charismatics, stemming from the earliest movement (Latter Rain), which is Restoration.  Restoration has had far reaching affects into Protestant Christianity and has been expanded upon by the Charismatic Movement.  There are many doctrinal elements in Restorationism which I will begin to expound upon later when I discuss the Latter Rain Movement and ensuing revivals.   I honestly, at this point, have not delinieated entirely between Charismatics and Restorationists.  I would like to separate the two and say that some Charismatics are Restorationists but I am not entirely certain if you can separate the two.  I would like imput or resources about this if possible.  However, I will qualify my arguments from this point onwards and refer to the groups I am discussing as “Restoration Charismatics.”  (more…)

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