Posts Tagged ‘latter rain’

Letter to the Editor: Bethel’s Attempt to Make “Same Old” Teachings Sound More “Mainstream”

To Lighthouse Trails Editors:

Bill Johnson of Bethel Church; Photo credit: Christianity Today | http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/may/cover-story-inside-popular-controversial-bethel-church.html

I wanted to write you about Bethel’s trend of trying to make their teachings sound more “mainstream” evangelical, even though their aberrant teachings are clearly not (as LT has pointed out over the past few years through booklets, blogs, etc.).

Bethel has gotten more sophisticated with their lingo and presentation of some rehashed Latter Rain heresies and “revival” pep-speak, but the calculated supposed “upgrade” that has escalated in the past few years has been an attempt to repackage their same old “kingdom-now,” Christian dominionism,” 7 mountain mandate,” into more palatable, mainstream language.

Why? Probably in an attempt to increase its already huge following (that continues to multiply over the Internet and worldwide: including its affiliated “Jesus Culture” band).

Who are they targeting? Not just young people who may not be familiar enough with God’s Word to discern error and unbiblical teachings, but Bethel is also targeting the unsuspecting, struggling evangelical who may not be familiar with some of the charismatic lingo, and “signs and wonders” and who are being enticed by the “power” and “revival” that Bethel falsely promises at every turn . . .

Here are several items with Pastor Rod Page (pastor of Lewiston Community Church, Lewiston, CA–20 miles from Bethel Church in Redding, CA), speaking about God’s Word, God’s heart, and God’s truth regarding those entangled, unaware that Bethel’s teachings (Kris Valloton, etc.,) are unbiblical and dangerous:

1) Link to 12/6/16 Herescope posting/article: “The Bethel Church Upgrade”: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-bethel-church-upgrade.html

2) Link to TBC Radio program: “Has Bethel Church Been Upgraded?” with Rod Page Part 1: https://www.thebereancall.org/content/has-bethel-church-been-upgraded-rod-page-part-1

3) Link to TBC Radio program: “Has Bethel Church Been Upgraded?” with Rod Page Part 2: https://www.thebereancall.org/content/has-bethel-church-been-upgraded-rod-page-part-2

Sincerely,

Concerned Believer

 

Coming into “Alignment”

LTRP Note: Kevin Reeves is the author of The Other Side of the River, which is an account of his years as an elder in a Latter Rain, “River” church.

By Kevin Reeves 

Back in about the early ’90s, my former church went through a series of divine healing videos put out by Charles and Francis Hunter, or “The Happy Hunters.” At the end of each video, we put the teachings to the test—not the scriptural test for truth, mind you, but the “practical application” of what we had just learned. By laying on of hands, usually administered by Jason (our pastor) but sometimes by others in the group, we often felt things—sometimes a sense like an electric current running through the body, sometimes “drunkenness” (I experienced this one time where I literally could not speak without slurring my words), and sometimes in a very strange manipulation of the limbs. This was particularly powerful. Once (and I was not the only one so affected), according to the command on the video, I stretched out my arms and brought my hands together in order to see if my back was out of alignment. Well, according to the Hunters’ criteria it was, and when I asked for God to heal me, right there in that room with about fifteen other people, my back seemed to move of its own accord, my outstretched arms and shoulders slowly rotating as if there was another person inside me doing the motions. There appeared to be a definite power at work unlike any I had ever felt before. I was thrilled. Even elder Smalley was impressed, pointing at me and exclaiming with a huge smile, “Look at Kevin!”

This manipulation went on for about ten minutes, when it gradually subsided and left altogether. We had seen many people on this video manifest in this way, so it was only natural that we should experience the same thing. Incidentally, I never did feel any lasting change in my back.

It wasn’t my spine that needed aligning—it was my heart. And that needed to be aligned using the plumb line of God’s Word. Although we could not find its precedent in Scripture, the experience was powerful,stimulating, and sometimes seemed to work. Even unbelievers who were occasionally brought to meetings testified of the power that coursed through their bodies and moved their limbs of its own accord. At least one, however, left our meeting hurting with worse pain than when he arrived.

Was it of God? What do you think? Its absence from the ministries of Jesus and the apostles should sound warning bells loud and clear. This was a formula prayer, the same thing Jesus had in fact warned against in Matthew 6:7.

“Do this, and this will happen.” How many times I heard that kind of spiritual reasoning in our congregation eludes me. But God simply doesn’t act that way. Jesus healed differently for different people, based on heart attitude, not a specific agenda, method, or ritual. One of the main points of the video, which fell right into line with our own doctrine, was that Christians should not be suffering under sickness. Well, if we believe that, then we will have a very hard time explaining away the sickness of sincere believers like Timothy (I Timothy 5:23), Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-27), and Trophimus (II Timothy 4:20). In congregations today that follow these doctrines of men, the many who suffer sickness, sometimes chronically, are placed in the position of being healed or being condemned for their lack of faith, either by church leadership, the congregation, or their own feelings. They believe they have failed God. Or worse, that God has failed them.

Other Articles by Kevin Reeves:

Slain in the Spirit: Is it a Biblical Practice? by Kevin Reeves

C is For Catholicism—An Evangelical Primer on Catholic Terminology

D is for Deception—The Language of the “New” Christianity

 

 

NEW BOOKLET: The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to the Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators

The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators by Mary Danielsen is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators, click here.

rp_bkt-md-kcp-lg.jpgThe Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators

By Mary Danielsen

When speaking of spiritual things, what goes around comes around. This is true of every false movement within Christianity, especially in the last days, because the enemy is not going to let a perfectly good deception go to waste but rather will redesign anything to appeal to a subsequent generation. If a particular aberrant teaching is not rejected by the church when it first appears on the horizon by those who perceived it with spiritual eyes, then this movement or aberrant teaching will continue to lead people astray into a future generation.

Add to that the current social media technology wherein deception can attain an unprecedented level of exposure through multi-media, blogs, and conferences, and you have the recipe for a perfect storm of apostasy containing every unbiblical element imaginable. The latter-rain prophet movement is a perfect example of how this works. Regardless of the teaching, or how absurd it is, there will always be a following due to the church’s death of discernment today. With that in mind, I present to you some information of the current crop of “prophets” and “apostles” within the evangelical church. You can file this subject under “Last Days Deception,” along with everything else in Satan’s bag of tricks.

I’m goin’ to Kansas City, Kansas City here I come.—Fats Domino

Back in the mid 1980s, a modest tremblor rattled many churches in the midwest when Kansas City Fellowship registered on the Christian Richter scale. The buzz we experienced here in Wisconsin was that there was a “great move of the Lord” going on there, and the movers and shakers were prophesying and prognosticating the path or direction of people’s lives and the church as a whole. Enter a strange form of spiritual peer pressure, which proposed that if you wanted to follow the Spirit, you needed to go there because, well, you never know where it might lead and you don’t want to miss out “on what God is doing.”

People began to flock to Kansas and return to their hometown churches with dramatic tales of miracles, signs, wonders, and forthtelling. While this move was preceded by the Latter Rain movement of the 1940s, along with the Manifest Sons of God, Kingdom Now theology, the Word/Faith behemoth, and the five-fold ministry, the Kansas City Prophet movement seemed to catalyze it all, taking previous Pentecostal excesses, spinning them in some sort of spiritual centrifuge, and spewing it all forward for a new generation. Those who embraced a “more is better” version of Christianity found themselves prone to seeking out an experiential spirituality.

The core team of Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson, Rick Joyner, and Paul Cain became the primary prophetic celebrities. The very first aberration, that continues to this day in this and offspring movements, is the emphasis on raising up personalities who claim to have certain prophetic or apostolic authority. The instruction and prophecy of the Bible takes a back seat while through the elevation of man and the emphasis on experience, Scripture is no longer considered the final authority. In this storm of apostasy, the cult of church celebrity takes a back seat to no one here, to the great peril of the church. This is a foundational problem, and so you can expect everything to skew from that point, and skew it does.

Regarding the forthtelling by Kansas City Fellowship, a couple questions need to be asked. First, is God revealing new and shiny future revelations to mortals, and second, is this additional information meant for more than just a few select? If so, it is a big deal. A very big deal. Now, if He is not doing this and these people are deceived deceivers, that is very big deal #2. Which is it, and is the church sufficiently concerned about either premise? When all this started out, the church was not concerned at all; if it had been, we wouldn’t have half the mess we have today. I hope that by providing some background and history of the KC prophets, you may be able to come up with some answers.

Mike Bickle and John Wimber
Back in 1982, Mike Bickle claimed to receive a prophecy in Egypt, which started The Mess. According to the IHOP (International House of Prayer) website,

While visiting Cairo, Egypt, Mike Bickle heard the audible voice of the Lord say, “I will change the understanding and expression of Christianity in one generation.”1

“God” told Bickle to move to Kansas City and begin a global work. Thus the Kansas City Fellowship was born; it is worth noting that this has been the formula for the genesis of nearly every major cult in the 19th and 20th centuries. A young man (or woman) receives a prophecy or sees an angel telling him he is chosen to do A,B,C or D, which usually involves starting a church or movement. See Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, William Branham (founder of the Divine Healing Movement), and so forth.

Around the same time Bickle was entertaining voices and angels, a man named John Wimber was bringing his version of church-growth mathematics into the evangelical church. The paths of Wimber and Bickle intersect significantly later on. But starting back in the ’70s, after leaving the Quaker church, Wimber moved on to Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California to study church growth. He came to believe that the Pentecostals and charismatics were leading the way in church-growth models, so he sought to incorporate signs and wonders, believing “that the Gospel is largely ineffective without signs and wonders.”2

During his time at Fuller, Wimber was greatly influenced by C. Peter Wagner, who is considered by most to be the father of church-growth methodology. This methodology spread across state lines to Illinois, home of Bill Hybels’ mega-growth model, Willow Creek. Wagner, also father of all things related to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), brought the church another gift in the ’80s and ’90s—the “territorial spiritual warfare” falsehood, which taught a generation that we can “take cities for God” and rid the planet of demons so Jesus can return. This strange “warfare theology” and bad eschatology has been around long enough for any sane person to see that our cities and byways are no more “Christian” than they were before and in fact are rapidly degenerating; thus, the fruit of that movement is non-existent. But that too does not keep an entire generation from believing in and giving their hard-earned money to false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing.

C. Peter Wagner himself will say that John Wimber was his mentor and parrots Wimber’s view that the only way churches will grow and produce revival is if they are accompanied by signs and wonders.3 So regardless of what cart came before which horse, what happened to Wimber? Let’s pick up there so we can move forward to our KC prophets.

The Vineyard churches actually began in 1977 when Wimber resigned from Fuller and began to pastor. He requested that Calvary Chapel (a fast-growing group of evangelical churches under the leadership of founder and pastor, the late Chuck Smith) be his covering. However, Wimber sought increasing spiritual power through a combination of psychology and charismatic practices, looking for signs and wonders to explain every imaginable problem known to humans. His church began heading in a direction that was not compatible with Calvary Chapel (according to Chuck Smith’s “distinctives”) as Wimber was drawn to practices that emphasized being “slain in the Spirit,” aura reading, visualization, and other Eastern mystical practices.4 As he shifted completely to an experiential approach to ministry, with nothing off limits including everything from name-it-and-claim-it prosperity teachings to Catholic validity of miracles, Chuck Smith challenged him on his low view of Scriptures and increasingly bizarre practices. Seeing two possible directions for the church under his care to go, one being to stress the systematic teaching of Scripture, the other, to rely on signs and wonders to extrapolate and confirm subjective truth, Chuck Smith offered other Calvarys the choice to stay or go, but he maintained a stand to protect the flock from hyper-charismaticism.

Wimber went on to start the Vineyard churches, which went global. Incidentally, the “Toronto Blessing” was birthed at a Vineyard church—Toronto Airport Vineyard—which not only is proof of the fruit of their deeds but highlights the danger of emphasizing what is perceived as the Holy Spirit’s work over the atoning work of Christ. After founding the Vineyard movement, Wimber left to continue his studies at Fuller, further validating his spiritual worldview in a class he taught called “Signs and Wonders and Church Growth.”

Joel’s Army

The “Day of the Lord” is re-interpreted by the false prophets to mean that Christ will come to His Church and incarnate (become God in flesh) an army of believers—thus giving them supernatural qualities to execute judgment on the Church.5—Jewel Grewe, Discernment Ministries

According to Ernest Gruen, a Kansas City pastor and “contemporary” (for lack of a better word) of the KC pastors:

Bickle was already convinced early on then, that this was a special movement and the beginning of a “new order” of things. He believed that this “worldwide movement” would see over a billion conversions, headed up by 12 different key churches in America. Kansas City would “cross-pollinate” with Vineyard and become a training center for end-time prophets and apostles. He believed that the KC movement had been established by the “two resurrection angels” which were present at Jesus’ tomb.6

In addition to such a mindset, Bickle believed that in the last days, God would raise up 300,000 to be leaders in “Joel’s Army”; hundreds of apostles would be trained there, and an “authority structure” would be put into place to oversee the end-time church and handle all the prophecies and signs and wonders.7

“Prophet” Jack Deere, who served with John Wimber at Vineyard Christian Fellowship, explains their view of this end-time army of God:

How is God going to bring judgment upon His Church and then judgment upon the land after His Church? He’s going to do it with a large and mighty army.8

Hey, if you are going to dream, dream big or go home, I say. Who has time for just studying the Word, praying, serving the flock, and worshiping the King? Small potatoes if you have a mind so puffed up you cease to even make sense at some point.

Bob Jones’ Visions
Enter Bob Jones at this point. Bob’s is an interesting story. The fact that he was a major influence and mentor to Lakeland, Florida’s hyper-charismatic Todd Bentley should be enough information for those who follow such antics to make a decision to change course. Bob’s bizarre visions could fill a book, but back in the KC day, he was said to have had between three to five visions and bodily translations every night.

Jones’ visions began when he was only nine years old when the angel Gabriel supposedly appeared to him and presented a bull skin mantle, signifying his future office of a “seer.” He describes his young adult life as being one continuous alcohol binge, getting into trouble, and ending up in a mental institution for a brief stay. At that low point, he says that when he cried out to Jesus, “a voice spoke to me,” saying, ‘I can’t help you Bob, until you forgive them [people in his past]. Go kill them or forgive them.”9 His visions and interpretations of bizarre spiritual experiences, which are far too numerous to recount here, were foundational to the KC movement, and this is important to understand. Nevertheless, that did not prevent Bickle and his prophesying cohort Jones from laying hands on people and throwing “thus sayeth the Lord” around like softballs—believe me, it affected the personal lives of many.

Ernest Gruen, a Kansas City pastor and “contemporary” (for lack of a better word) of the KC pastors, wrote a very extensive exposé of the KC mess titled “What’s the Problem?” He also authored a 250-page indictment titled, “Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship.” In this document, he outlines numerous power abuses, false prophecies, Scripture manipulation, and outright heresies that were engaged in by the leadership there.

From that report, Gruen explains how one Kansas City psychologist, who counseled with well over a hundred persons who attended KC fellowship, gives a glimpse into the harm that was done in the name of advancing the interests of Kansas City Fellowship (later renamed Grace Ministries). Over a short span of time, he heard of many personal prophecies predicting sudden deaths, illness, financial ruin, and other impending physical issues, which all proved to be false. Needless to say, there appeared to be zero regard for the spiritual safety of the flock.10

Another brave soul who came out with a well-done exposé was Albert Dager, author of the newsletter, “Media Spotlight.” Dager was one of the first in a line of discerning believers who began to see heresy and apostasy being birthed in the church back in the 80s. His article, “Latter Day Prophets—the Kansas City Connection” is a thorough treatment of the excesses and abuses that many suffered at the hands of supposedly “godly men.”

Children were also led into the fray as these men taught that God was raising up a “super generation” of powerful humans who would usher in the end times. Children in their charge were taught to have out-of-body experiences, see angels, be slain in the Spirit, or be drunk in the Spirit.11

As if this weren’t bad enough (again, barely a surface scratch here), we also have exponential false teaching through Paul Cain, Rick Joyner, Francis Frangipane, John Paul Jackson, Jim Goll, and David Parker, all ready to oversee and manipulate a congregation that went from a handful of people, to over 3000 in a very short period of time, in six congregations.

Paul Cain
Paul Cain, a Scotsman and contemporary of Latter Rain guru William Branham, believes he was visited by Jesus Himself at age eight and again at eighteen years old and called to hold healing services. He held all the same convictions of Jones and Bickle when it came to manifestations of spiritual power. As researcher Mike Oppenheimer points out, Cain said William Branham was, “[t]he greatest prophet that ever lived in any of my generations or any of the generations of revival I’ve lived through.”12

Cain was referred to by Bob Jones as a prophet’s prophet of sorts, and Cain’s prophetic record is as abysmal as the rest. At least one of his prophecies revolved around a time when he said all sporting events would be canceled and stadiums used for revivals, displaying resurrections and healings on a global scale.13 He claimed to have regular visitations from the Lord and that every hypocritical TV preacher would be exposed by the end of the ’80s.

Rick Joyner
Rick Joyner, founder of Morningstar Publications and Ministries, has been and remains an enigma on the Christian scene. In addition to Joyner’s significant role with this gang of prophets, he is a Supreme Council member of an organization called “The Knights of Malta” (an ecumenical—Orthodox, Evangelical, Catholic and Protestant—order). His own website confirms this to be true.14 According to an article by author and lecturer Roger Oakland,

The [Knights of Malta] order is sanctioned and “blessed” by the Vatican. . . . Pope Benedict XVI “invokes . . . the continued protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Each “Knight” . . . is required to take a vow. In this vow, the Knight pledges himself to “be guided by the ideas of the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem (started in 1090 and is the predecessor of the Knights of Malta).15

Joyner believes he is one of the warriors who will come against the Islamic horde on American soil. He is yet another self-proclaimed new breed of “super prophet” and “super-apostle,” all who intend to set up their earthly “kingdom of God” while redefining Christianity.

Where Are They today?
According to a 2005 Charisma Magazine article, Paul Cain admitted to being “involved in long-term homosexual activity and often got drunk, sometimes in public.”16 Bob Jones was discredited in 1991 when he was caught in a sexual misconduct scandal.17 He passed away in February of 2014 to glowing eulogies from his former contemporaries. Until his death in February of 2015, John Paul Jackson had his own ministry involving visions and dream interpretation. Mike Bickle, perhaps the highest profile prophet of them all, developed IHOP in 1999 (International House of Prayer) and continues on in his “prophetic” ways to this day. In addition to his heretical “prophetic ministry,” he has come out as a strong advocate for contemplative prayer (a prayer practice that involves eastern religion practices).18

John Wimber’s health began to spiral down in 1993 after being diagnosed with cancer. He suffered a stroke some time later, followed by bypass surgery. He died of a brain hemorrhage in 1997 after a fall at age 63.

Following all the prophet and apostle mayhem of the ’80s and ’90s, the “Seven Mountains (or Spheres) of Culture” is the latest deceptive fiasco by the NAR to rally evangelicals around their latter-day dominion-promoting theology with a mandate to “take back” the culture. Personalities like Bob Buford, C Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs (head prophetess of the movement), and Chuck Pierce continue to press their bizarre spiritual schemes. Included in this Seven Mountain teaching is legislating a form of morality in which all peoples will follow the Mosaic Law. Given the right political and cultural scenario, things could become remarkably dark and evil as we approach the consummation of this present age.

This assigns a different meaning to “go and make disciples of all nations.” By coercion? Through political channels? The church should reject the dominionism of these false prophets outright in favor of waiting for the return of Jesus Christ for His church, in a world completely ripe for judgment and mass deception.

This booklet is just the tip of the iceberg in exposing the Kansas City Prophets and other “prophetic” voices speaking to the church today. I hope this is enough information to show that this prophets and apostles movement is out-of-control and unbiblical. I encourage you to examine this more closely and weigh these things against Scripture. I have listed some helpful resources on the last page of this booklet.

The Bible warns that in the last days, there will be much deception and delusion.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith. (1 Peter 5:8-9)

To order copies of The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators, click here.

Endnotes – see below

Resources to learn more about the Kansas City Prophets, IHOP, and the NAR

Let Us Reason Ministries with Mike Oppenheimer: www.letusreason.org.
Herescope Blog: http://herescope.blogspot.com.
Believers in Grace with Pastor Bill Randles: http://www.believersingrace.com.
Media Spotlight with Al Dager: http://mediaspotlight.org.
Deception in the Church with Sandy Simpson: www.deceptioninthechurch.com.

Other Related Booklet Tracts by Lighthouse Trails
What You Need to Know About Jim Wallis and the Social-Justice Gospel by Mary Danielsen
I Just Had a Vision!” by Kevin Reeves
False Revival Coming? – Holy Laugher or Strong Delusion? by Warren B. Smith
The New Age Propensities of Bethel Church’s Bill Johnson by John Lanagan
10 Questions for those who claim The “Supreme Beings” of the Nations Are the True God by Sandy Simpson

Endnotes
1. http://www.ihopkc.org/anniversary.
2. Albert Dager, “The Vineyard: History, Teachings, and Practices” (Media Spotlight, 1996, http://www.mediaspotlight.org/pdfs/The%20Vineyard.pdf), p. 6.
3. http://www.talk2action.org/story/2009/5/28/19033/8502.
4. Albert Dager, “The Vineyard: History, Teachings, and Practices,” op. cit., p. 11.
5. Jewel Grewe (Discernment Ministries), “Joel’s Army” (http://herescope.blogspot.com/2006/02/joels-army-day-of-lord.html).
6. Pastor Ernest Gruen and staff, “Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship,” Section II: The Movement; Part B. (http://www.banner.org.uk/kcp/Abberent%20Practises.pdf).
7. Ibid.
8. Jack Deere, “It Sounds Like the Mother of All Battles “Joel’s Army” (Vineyard Ministries International. 1990, audiocassette message); as quoted in “Joel’s Army” by Mike Oppenheimer: http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain10.htm.
9. Mike Bickle with Bob Jones, “Visions and Revelations” transcript, series of five tapes (http://www.ihopnetwork.com/ihop/BobIHOP/FullText.pdf, 1988).
10. Pastor Ernest Gruen, “Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship,” op. cit.
11. Ibid.
12. Paul Cain, “Selections from Kansas City Prophets,” taken from Mike Oppenheimer’s article “Prophet Paul Cain” (http://letusreason.org/Latrain5.htm).
13. A talk given by Paul Cain at Christ Chapel in Florence, Alabama on August 30, 1995 (evening session); see: “The Significance of Filled Stadiums” by Ed Tarkowski, http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/pgn3_sd2.htm.
14. http://www.morningstarministries.org/about/questions-and-answers/knights-malta-rick-joyner#.VWp5AyJ0zq4.
15. Read Roger Oakland’s article “Will the Evangelical Church Sell out the Gospel for a Dominionist Political Agenda?,” http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=7114.
16. J. Lee Grady, “Prophetic Minister Paul Cain Issues Public Apology for Immoral Lifestyle” (Charisma Magazine, http://www.charismamag.com/site-archives/154-peopleevents/people-and-events/1514-prophetic-minister-paul-cain-issues-public-apology-for-immoral-lifestyle).
17. “Pam Sollner, “Minister removed after confession of sexual misconduct” (The Olathe Daily News, November 13, 1991; http://www.religionnewsblog.com/16929/minister-removed-after-confession-of-sexual-misconduct).
18. See John Lanagan’s article “Mike Bickle of IHOP-KC Instructs followers on Contemplative Prayer”; http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=7574.

To order copies of The Perfect Storm of Apostasy – An Introduction to The Kansas City Prophets and Other Latter-Day Prognosticators, click here.

The Passion of the Presence and the Purpose of the Passion (and Francis Chan and John Piper’s Involvement with IHOP)

 I went to a John Wimber workshop…. He said he sees the next 20 to 30 years as the time when more signs and wonders will be done than ever in history and when the secular media will be overwhelmed and have to report it every day as great revival spreads. John Piper[1]

By Herescope

IHOP In An Era of Celebrity-Driven Christianity 

Evangelical leaders are currently rushing to associate themselves with major youth events that are becoming increasingly popular in the Christian world. These mass youth rallies were developed over the course of several decades by Mike Bickle’s IHOP (International House of Prayer) movement, which is interconnected to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). IHOP and the NAR share both personnel and doctrine, with roots that go back into the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God cult.[4] Previously we have extensively documented the history of the camaraderie of IHOP and NAR.[5]

This rapidly rising youth movement in evangelicaldom is characterized by its emphasis on generating fervent passion. Why are evangelical leaders rushing onto this bandwagon? Why are Francis Chan, John Piper, [both contemplative advocates] . . . and other prominent teachers placing themselves on center stage (literally) of these IHOP-orchestrated mass rallies?[6]

Superficially, one might assume that it is merely for the immediate stardom and pizzazz that comes with such celebrity status in a youth event rocking with fervor, bright lighting, and loud acclamations.[7] . . . But is it conceivable that these leaders also happen to agree with some of the IHOP doctrine? After all, it is impossible to separate the activities at these youth events without encountering the foundational beliefs that give rise to them.

Of course, it can be argued that just because an esteemed evangelical leader shares the stage with adherents and promoters of these IHOP/NAR doctrines doesn’t mean he/she agrees with their teaching. However, it is important to note that an evangelical leader’s very appearance at these events lends legitimacy and credibility to this movement – a movement that has been aggressively attempting to distance itself from its former cult status, remake its image and become respectable.

The doctrine of the IHOP believes that these mass youth stadium rallies are for the “purpose” of invoking the “presence” of God through generated “passion.” These three terms – passion, presence and purpose – are derived from some very strange esoteric doctrines that originated in the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God cult.

“Presence” is popular. Recently Warren Smith published a book in which he made us aware of an increasingly popular belief that Christians can invoke the “presence” of “God” (or “Jesus”) by their contemplative activities. For endnote material and to read this entire article, click here.

Latter Rain: The Spawning of Apostasy

by Kevin Reeves 
LTRP Note: The following article by Kevin Reeves describes the background of much of the Word-Faith, River movement, Latter Rain, IHOP, Joel’s Army, Apostles and Prophets movement, etc. taking place today. Mike Bickle, Rick Joyner, John Wimber, and many others rose out of the 1940s Latter Rain movement. Followers believe that the Latter Rain “revival” is the latter rain referred to in such Scriptures as Jeremiah 3:3, Joel 2:23, and Hosea 6:3. These movements have now intersected with the contemplative prayer movement; now combined with Purpose Driven, the emerging church, Willow Creek, etc., a powerful mystical body is merging as an apostate, end-time church.

“The Headwaters of the River”
by Kevin Reeves

In February of 1948 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, a community of believers met to seek God for His power. A power did manifest. Miracles were reported, and Christians from all over set out on a pilgrimage to get this power. The Latter Rain movement emerged full-blown, evidencing supposed signs and wonders, prophetic utterances, and impartations via the laying on of hands. The movement was also marked with a spirit of elitism, false prophecies, and an inbred authority structure based upon the new “word of the Lord.” When the Christian community was faced with the decision between solid biblical teaching and awe-inspiring miracles, many swung their legs over the fence of indecision and jumped with both feet into one of the first major 20th century tributaries of the “River.” The reasoning went that a new thing, based on the prophecy in Isaiah 43:18-19, had sprung up. All concerns about doctrine or practice could be dealt with sometime down the road, if at all. The pendulum had swung from the Word to experience as the final arbiter.

What many do not realize is that two issues factored heavily into this revival. The first is that a 1946 book written by Franklin Hall, called Atomic Power with God Through Fasting and Prayer,1 was read and promoted by the revival’s leaders. The other is that one of the foremost prophets of the era, William Branham, had imparted his ministry power through the laying on of hands to some of those involved in this revival. His teachings were a strong determining factor in the Saskatchewan revival’s course.

The Franklin Hall book is a strong call to return the church to a pattern of fasting and prayer. While the premise of fasting is itself biblical, the book strangely asserted that without the discipline of fasting, prayer goes unanswered. As proof, Hall even cites the answered prayer received by pagans offering supplications to their false gods. In his excellent analysis of Dominion doctrine and practice, Vengeance Is Ours: The Church in Dominion, noted Christian researcher Al Dager astutely observes:

If we analyze Hall’s claims, we must come to the conclusion that those who pray to demons will have their prayers answered if they fast, but Christians will not have their prayers answered if they don’t fast. At the least, it seems, they would be hindered greatly.2

In another of Hall’s books, he wrote that the church would eventually produce an elite group of overcomers with the power to defy the laws of gravity, to walk upside down, and even attain to present immortality. He also spoke of a shining gold dust appearing on the skin of believers. Interesting that reports of this kind of phenomena have been circulating in River churches–even though at least one chemically-analyzed “gold dust” sample proved to be nothing more than children’s plastic glitter.3

William Branham, called by some in today’s prophetic ministries the greatest prophet to have ever lived, had also drunk deeply of Hall’s teachings, including Atomic Power with God Through Fasting and Prayer. Emerging into the late 1940s spotlight with a reputation for accurate words of knowledge and miraculous healing power, Branham astounded the multitudes. It was said he could tell a person he’d never before met what conversations the person had and the situation which he was facing, and he could speak restoration to a chronically diseased part of the body and heal it. He made it known that he was a prophet of the Lord, and his preaching drew the crowds. But what those same crowds didn’t generally hear were some of his other pet doctrines.

Branham taught that Satan had sex with Eve in the Garden of Eden, and Cain was the result of that union. He taught that he himself was the seventh angel of the book of Revelation, that he was Elijah the prophet, and that a belief in the Trinity was of the devil. But as long as he kept these beliefs under his hat and continued to wow the mob, the invitations to speak at churches worldwide kept pouring in.

His life certainly appeared marked by the miraculous. And Branham had no hesitation to say so. His testimony included a halo around him at his birth, and an actual photo of him in later life shows what appears to be a ring of light around his head while he stands at the pulpit preaching. It’s what his followers have sometimes called The Pillar of Fire. This strange phenomenon supposedly happened in grander manifestation on June 11, 1933 as Branham was baptizing converts in the Ohio River near Jefferson, Indiana. Hearing a voice tell him to look up, Branham beheld a mysterious, star-like light in the sky, which rapidly descended until it rested just above him. Some in the crowd of 4,000 fell in worship, others ran in terror. The voice commissioned Branham, telling him that as John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Messiah, so Branham would be the forerunner of Christ’s second coming.

On February 28, 1963 a few miles from Tucson, Arizona, an immense, bright ring of cloud appeared in the clear sky. Branham claimed he was caught up into its midst where it turned out to be “seven mighty angels” who had appeared to give him yet another divine commission; this time he was to make known to the church the mystery of the seven seals of the book of Revelation.4

Taken at face value, this means that the incomplete church had waited two thousand years for Branham to appear on the scene.

A presence made itself known around Branham throughout his life. He had been followed since childhood by a spiritual being that, when Branham reached manhood, manifested as a young man with long hair and flowing robes. Stepping out from a ball of brilliant light, this being commissioned him to go out and heal the afflicted and said that he would know of diseases present that affected an individual by vibrations in his left hand. Branham also claimed to have been given another spiritual gift–he would know what was in the hearts of men.5

Killed by injuries received in an automobile collision in 1965, Branham has physically faded from the scene, but his legacy of incredible tales, supernatural signs, and prophetic anointing lives on. He has a following to this day.

Branham’s tradition of sensing the anointing in one’s hands is something that continues as well. Many of those within the old Latter Rain ranks, and in the Faith Movement that followed, claim heat or vibrations in their hands which they believe indicates the presence of God for healing…. While Branham and Latter Rain proponents claimed allegiance to God’s inerrant Word, their practices and peculiar doctrines denied it. Here are some of the basic beliefs they do adhere to:

* A great, end-times army will arise and take authority over the earth, putting Satan and his minions under their feet.

*The last days remnant of the true church (meaning those adhering to the Latter Rain doctrine) are the elite.

* Specific desirable anointings can be imparted from person to person by the laying on of hands.

* The church needs to experience restoration of all the gifts and revelation knowledge of who we really are in order to walk in fullness of power and finally be complete.

* Modern apostles and prophets must be set up in the church and the elect must submit to them.

* Restoration of the five-fold ministry of Ephesians 4:11 must take place for that authority structure to be erected.

* The church must come into complete physical unity.

* The rapture of believers is a myth, spawned by Satan to corral the church into a retreat mentality.

Some Latter Rain adherents no longer wait with yearning for the redemption of our bodies at the Second Coming. Now, in place of the rapture, they teach to expect Christ to come in us, instead of for us.

According to the Bible, believers in the last days are not, in triumph, going to make the nations fall at their feet (Matthew 24:9). And as for the need for restoration of revelation knowledge in order to be complete–we’ve always been complete in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:10). We have always had all the authority (Matthew 28:18; Titus 2:11-15), gifts, and revelation knowledge needed to live righteous before Him and be witnesses of Christ before a lost world (II Peter 1:3)…. The God of the Bible is big enough to carry on the work of the Spirit’s empowering throughout world history. He doesn’t need to create it over and over, as Latter Rain doctrine insists. The canon of Scripture is forever closed. Prophets, by their pronouncements, add to the Bible. This was their purpose before the complete written testimony was set down. There is nothing lacking in the scriptural record. Today’s supposed prophets add to the Bible. While they vehemently deny this, a quick glance at their words from the Lord is enough evidence to stop them cold.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (II Timothy 4:3-4)

(For more information on this, read The Other Side of the River by Kevin Reeves.)

Notes:

1. Franklin Hall, Atomic Power with God Through Fasting and Prayer, 1946.
2. Albert James Dager, Vengeance is Ours (Redmond, WA: Sword Publishers, 1990). p. 51.
3. Mary Owen, “Oregon church says gold dust, feathers fell during meetings” (Charisma magazine, September 2000, http://www. charisma mag.com /display.php?id=517, accessed 02/07); also see “There’s Gold in Them Thar Teeth” by Mike Oppenheimer, http://www.letusreason.org/Pent5.htm, accessed 02/07.
4. Mike Oppenheimer, “The Teachings of ‘the Prophet’ William Branham” (Let Us Reason ministries, http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain4.htm, accessed on 01/07).
5. Ibid. For photos, history and detailed information on William Branham, see http://www.biblebelievers.org.


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