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Part 3: The Destroyed Foundations - The Word

by Don Clasen
The Kingdom Gospel Messenger,
Vol.8, No.4, August 1996

"A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" Jer 5:30,31

Latter Rain Doctrine #5.  The Emergence of Joel's Army and the Manchild.

We looked at this distinct idea of  "the Manchild" in part one of this series in our review of George Warnock's "The Feast of Tabernacles", and how it is derived from such a far-fetched interpretation, I believe, of the meaning of Revelation 12:5. 

This Manchild, they claim, is a last days generational company of dedicated, pressing-in believers who will be figuratively "caught up unto God, and to his throne" to displace the demonic hierarchies there through spiritual warfare (vs. 7), thus binding the Devil who is holding back the last great outpouring.  Led by the restored apostles and prophets, they will "feed and care for" the woman, the larger Church world, who will be "out in the wilderness" undergoing purging by the Lord and persecution by the world. [1]

As this teaching has gained more and more acceptance, movements like "The Toronto Blessing" are apparently trying to precipitate this event by moving into this "birthing" of the Manchild stage.  But since they see themselves as part of this elite Manchild company, is the Manchild giving birth to itself?

Consider the absurd lengths all this leads to.  Francis Frangipane writes:

[God is preparing us] as He did Mary to give birth to the ministry of His Son.  [Finally, after all these years!]  Even now in the spiritual womb of the virgin Church, the holy purpose of Christ is growing, awaiting maturity; ready to be born in power in the timing of  God...the virgin Church is "in labour and in pain to give birth" (Rev 12:1-2)...even now, hell trembles and the heavens watch in awe, for I say to you, once again, the virgin is with child.  Before Jesus Himself returns, the last virgin Church shall become pregnant with the promise of God.  Out of her travail, the Body of Christ shall come forth, raised to the full stature of its Head, the Lord Jesus.  Corporately manifested in holiness, power and love, the Bride of Christ shall arise." [2]

Frangipane, who has a distant background in John Robert Steven's "The Walk", presents his view here that the Manchild is the "Body of  Christ", as opposed to the larger "Church" who somehow suddenly loses all her virginity and has to be purged out in the wilderness (Rev 12:6).  But in the Bible, the "Bride of Christ", the" Body of Christ" and the "Church" are all synonymous terms.

This Manchild Company is also spoken of as a "great army" made up of those in the Body of Chirst who ostensibly are more serious and dedicated (which are apparently those who follow the Latter Rain teachings and accept its teachers).  This army, already emerging, will soon go forth to judge both the Church and the world while seeking at the same time to evangelize the latter.   How they plan to do both at the same time I have yet to figure out, but the upshot of all this is that a new language of militancy has now been injected into the debate.  And nothing has promoted this trend more than the idea of calling the Manchild "Joel's Army".

This teaching is based upon a very big assumption (I would say, presumption)--namely that the language found in the book of Joel regarding a great "army of the Lord" is not to be taken historically and literally, but  figuratively.  That is, for innumerable centuries, this description of an army in Joel 2 was always understood to be a literal reference to the Babylonians whom Jeremiah, and now Joel, were warning were about to appear to judge God's people for their idolatry.  Others during this 20th century have interpreted it to be referring to the armies that all-but destroy Israel just before the Second Coming (Zech 14:2).

But by making this to be figurative, symbolic language, a far-fetched doctrine of "Joel's Army" as a great last days army of zealot Christians who will burst on the scene, going forth "conquering, and to conquer" (Rev 6:2), has now inflamed the imagination of multitudes.  This army overwhelms everything in its path, and nothing, human or demonic, can stand in its path.  And although this has had great appeal to all and sundry who look forward to being a part of this great military operation, it has had the greatest appeal to those in leadership who assume themselves to be among the apostles and prophets who are going to lead all this.   And furthermore, since Joel 2:7 says they shall not break their ranks", this they take to mean that everyone will be in implicit submission to these "generals" and other top brass and will do as they're told.  They look forward to commanding an army that marches in lockstep to their ambitions, regardless what direction religiously, politically or whatever, they end up taking it.   And of course, the Latter Rain emphasis on unity naturally supports this whole agenda.

One can imagine the other liberties in interpretation once this tack is taken.  "A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth; the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, nothing shall escape them" (2:3). 

This is variously said to be a reference to their "fiery preaching" which shall fill all faces with pain and the "blackness" of conviction (vs. 6), or to the dread fear of judgment that will come upon those they seek to purge of their sins.  Furthermore, since this army is invincible, these people cannot even be killed by their enemies.  In fact, they can't even be arrested because the power that was on Jesus in Gethsemane will be on them (Jn 18:6).   Instead they climb into prison windows "like a thief" to bring out those who receive their message.  This is quite a conclusion to come to in the light of true end times passages such as, "they shall lay their hands on you...delivering you up to the...prisons" (Lu 21:12).  And, "I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus" (Rev 20:4), and the like. 

Furthermore, in the light of all this, we are urged to humble ourselves and repent as Joel told Israel to do.  Yet if this army is come to attack Israel, and by type Israel must be the Church, is the Manchild/Joel's Army come to carry  the Church away into captivity?!

The truth about the book of Joel is that it's basically a literal word to ancient Judah, that if they liked the first avenging army God sent against them for their idolatry (the locusts), they're going to love His second army--the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar (2:11).  The fact that the Lord goes before these destroyers (2:11) does not automatically mean He is leading His people into battle here.  Irony of ironies, He does just the opposite!  He is leading Nebuchadnezzar, His "servant" (Jer 25:9) against His people because he promised them in Deut 28:49 that if they rebel against Him, He would personally bring judgment against them. 

Thus it is that the first chapter and a half of Joel describes these two destroying armies.  Chapter 2:18 to 27 then shifts into some promises God makes if they will but repent.  Verses 28 to 32 shift again into predictions of a future outpouring that began on the  Day of Pentecost (which Peter quoted from to explain what was already going on--Acts 2:17-21).  Then, those last three verses double up with Joel 3 to deal with events specifically surrounding the Second Coming.  And as I discussed in part I, the only allegorizing I believe to be legitimate in Joel can be found in 2:23 which could double as a description of the "early and latter rain" of the Tribulation/Millennial era Feast of Tabernacles. 

But if you accept the Latter Rain interpretation, then you are going to have to accept all the incredible militancy, confusion and hyperbole that such language brings with it.  And yet this is exactly what is happening, as a good number of Bible teachers around the world have latched on to such a scenario and have developed messages that draw upon other Biblical examples of fire, judgment and prophetic power.  These things include the Exodus plagues on Egypt; Elijah in II Kings 1 calling down fire on his enemies (despite Jesus' warning to the "Sons of Thunder" in Lu 9:55); the avenging angels of Ezekiel 9; and the ever popular Ananias and Sapphira.

I would like to go on record here as saying that I am not unsympathetic with the idea of expecting God to visit His people like a refiner's fire in the last days (Mal 3:2,3).  I would also concede that it is possible (though highly improbable) that the two witnesses of Revelation 11 who "smite the earth with plagues" and the like could represent the Tribulation saints as a whole instead of  just two literal individuals such as Moses and Elijah.  What I do greatly object to is the idea that the leaders of this "Manchild Company" have set themselves up as the apostolic and prophetic authorities who will presume to judge--not just the world, mind you, but  the Church as well--terrifying and manipulating the younger sheep with their dire and cryptic warnings toward anyone who dares question their revelations and judgment.

The crime of all this is that these people divide the Church of Jesus Christ over their twisted doctrine and practices while they presume to unite her, and yet do so upon the basis of a false, crackpot, hyper-spiritualized Latter Rain interpretation of the sacred inerrant Scriptures.  Moreover, they do it  by means of a strategy of ecumenism that devalues doctrinal truth while accepting any lame version of Christianity except, apparently, classical Pentecostalism, which they have accused since 1948 of being unbelieving doom-and-gloomers, not willing to go into the deeper things, etc., etc.   And with the success of Promise Keepers, Toronto, A.D. 2000, the Congress On The Holy Spirit, and scores of other huge "streams" all merging together, everything  keeps moving toward more and more acceptance of union with Rome (which is uniting with all other religions to the formation of Mystery Babylon). 

This leads to more and more mindless "unity" without a clear, Scripturally-disciplined eschatological vision; more and more reconciling of groups to one another instead of preaching the Gospel of individual reconciliation with God (II Cor 5:18-20); and more and more of a positive, militant, and triumphalistic end-times scenario.  Thus the stage is set for them to miserably fail in their attempt, well-intentioned or otherwise, to see the Church purified and empowered in the last days.  I don't think it could get any more ironic than this.

6. The Manifestation of the Sons of God

We also covered this idea in the first article, and it too has many versions.  As was mentioned, it takes a minor allusion to the return of the saints with Christ at His Second Coming and turns it into a major doctrine regarding this last days generation "lit up" with the Holy Spirit manifesting out of them to such a degree that the "visible glory of God" can be seen on them continually. 

That God will intermittently manifest His glory on and through His people during these last days I do not doubt.  But they seem to imply by this that it will be so continual and strong a thing that the Church (or at least the Manchild) almost takes on the appearance of supernatural beings, with unthinkable miracles falling off their fingers and "the visible glory" resting on them.  Some believe that this glory will be like that radiance which came upon Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mt 17:2) [3]

And since Jesus implied that that event would be a foretaste of the coming of the Kingdom in glory (Mt 16:28), and since the Latter Rain people assume they are the ones who will be bringing in the Kingdom themselves in the end, then a "visible, power" kind of glory, (as opposed to a "figurative, suffering" kind of glory) will be seen on them.

People who think such ways ought to take note of where all this can end up.  Franklin Hall  wrote a book in 1946 called, "Atomic Power With God Through Fasting and Prayer" that became something of a Bible of  its own during this era.  Historian David Edwin Harrell in his book, All Things Are Possible, the history of the Healing Revival of 1947 to 1958, quotes from one of  the figures of this era who said, "Every one of these men [the major evangelists] down through the years followed Franklin Hall's method of  fasting." [4]

Apparently these longs fasts didn't keep Franklin Hall in very good stead himself.  In later books, he also taught the Manifested Sonship and Manchild doctrines in conjunction with outright occultic ideas.  He claimed such people would attain to immortality, would never have to wash their bodies or clothes, and could bring down upon themselves the "visible glory".  This was described as an, "Immortal Substance...claimed to be seen on those who attended his meetings, as a fine gold and silver, sparkling material that emanates from sometimes visible" things which he called by various names--"IHO's" (Immortal Heavenly Objects), "UHO's" (Unusual Heavenly Objects), and "UFO's" (Unidentified Flying Objects). [5]   Beam me up, Scottie!  Now!

This "message of  Sonship" that so many so revel in is built upon some serious works-based concepts.  The Bible teaches that sonship is conferred upon every believer, not just some elite corps who have attained to a secret gnosis.  And this sonship is conferred by the Spirit of adoption, and by the grace of God at salvation (Gal 4:5).  Some take this thing so far that they develop different levels of things to be attained in stages (e.g., first there's servants, then there's friends, then there's sons, and last there's godhood, according to who you listen to).  If these people are looking for a greater consecration from the last days Church, they ought to stick to the simple Bible teaching about levels of maturity--infants, young men, and fathers (I Jn 2:12-14).

7.  A Spiritual Second Coming

Along a similar vein, with the Latter Rain hope of end time glorification is the assertion that there must be a coming of Christ to His people, by His Spirit and manifesting through them before He returns physically.  This is tied in with the Feast of Tabernacles being fulfilled in the Church as was discussed in part one.  Furthermore, in some versions, Christ's glorified saints during this time will be Christ on the earth!  Therefore, Christ's Second Coming takes place without Him actually having to be here Himself. 

Myself, I do believe in a great manifestation of God in the midst of a remnant Church of the Tribulation period, as was just discussed.  And I do believe in a Tabernacles fulfillment beginning during the Tribulation and culminating in the literal return of Christ to the earth.  But the idea of a spiritual Second Coming is so cultic and fraught with hyperbole as to be way off base.

Furthermore, they believe that Christ must incarnate into His Body corporately in the end times, just as He incarnated into a single body the first time, but that thus far He has been unable to do so because the Church has been "disunited".

But all this of course leads to many and sundry slanders against the Body of Christ, that somehow it has been too individualistic all these centuries and full of anarchy, but now at the end of the age, she is at last seeing the light and is willing to "grow up" and evolve into one united "corporate Christ" on the earth.  And this of course fits neatly into the logic of dominion by the reign of  Christ on the earth through His people.

Thus the problem in the Church is not doctrinal chaos, sin and immaturity in the lives of the people.  The problem is that she is out of "divine order", "doing her own thing", or, as Bob Mumford would often put it during the Discipleship/Shepherding days, "she needs a 'Declaration of  Interdependence'", as if previous generations, far more godly than ours, never had such.

One can obviously see the ambitions behind such a logic, and the plans that such people have for God's people.  But the thing that brings it almost to the point of ridiculousness is the implication that Christ is not already in His people, individually or corporately.  Paul said, "ye [plural "you" in Elizabethan English] are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph 2:22), not "ye will be..."! 

Nevertheless, the focus no longer is, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done", amen'd by the Biblical cry, "Come Lord Jesus".  Now it's, "Come Holy Spirit!"  "More Lord!"  Such is the call of a Church with an agenda.

8. Enforced Unity

As was said above, since Christ cannot incarnate again into a divided Body, so the Church must be forced to drop all that divides her and all "rebels" purged.  Thus begins the "drive it into the ground" logic that insists on unity at any cost.

We looked at this issue of unity some in the first article and there is much more that can be said.  First, the Church already is united on one level by virtue of a common faith in Christ Jesus.  But, secondly, if we are as really passionate about a greater level of unity such as is mentioned in I Cor 1:10, where we are all "speaking the same thing...perfectly joined together in one mind and judgment", the only way to attain to it is by way of the Ephesians 4 route of "speaking the truth in love"...being "no longer children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine"...but coming into the knowledge of the Son of God, etc. (Eph 4:13-15).  It doesn't come by destroying, burying, and ignoring the truth in the name of a false "love".

In a study some time back between 13 developed nations, it was discovered that Korean students had the lowest self-esteem and the highest grades in math, while American students had the lowest grades in math yet the highest self-esteem.  Such is the wisdom of men, to get the cart before the horse.  American students are taught to have all this self-esteem regardless of whether they get top grades or whether they mug someone in the hall.  But true self-esteem is a by-product of seeking something else--of doing what is right.

People preoccupied with unity as a primary goal are seeking after something that is but a by-product of a much more fundamental achievement--the knowledge of  God and of His truth (Eph 4:13), and that's a process the Holy Spirit must work out without us forcing it.  The last days remnant Church is going to enjoy a much greater level of unity, it is true, but it will be the result of a voluntary gathering around the truth of  God, not through an intimidating, manipulative ecumenism.  It will entail some degree of a common discernment of the false doctrine and compromise that are building the Mystery Babylon church, along with a basic understanding of what is going on during the last of the last days.

There are two basic sources for the Church world being divided today.  The first is a carnal competition between denominations and people, or dividing over minor issues and, granted, these are not good things.  But these people take this situation, increasingly less and less a problem, as an excuse to build a straw man argument over the supposed need to downplay major controversies and trivialize major doctrinal truths all for the sake of a shallow "unity".

As Bill McCartney so zealously puts it, "Promise Keepers doesn't care if you're white... black... brown... Pentecostal... [or] Catholic.  Do you love Jesus?  Are you born of the Spirit of God?"  But right in that statement are two huge controversies in the Church of today--What does it mean to be "born of the Spirit"?  And, what does it mean to "love Jesus"?  The Biblical answers are not as simplistic as one might think.

Nowhere in the Bible are we told to give up our personal convictions for the sake of "unity".  Many denominations and groups have consciously formed around certain distinctives, not because they had a sectarian spirit, but because they deeply believe certain things while recognizing there are other sheep in Christ's fold too.   On the other hand, many groups believe things that are flat out wrong and ought to be scrapped.  But they're never going to do so unless these things are discussed.

Jude said of the false prophets and teachers of his day that they were corrupted by their only knowing things naturally, like brute beasts (Jude 10; I Cor 2:14).  So likewise, these unity robots do not understand that "the Church" is not an institutional, organizational, denominational kind of a thing anyway.  It's an invisible, spiritual organism, made up of living stones (I Pe 2:5).  It's invisible because "the Lord knoweth them that are his" (II Tim 2:19).  And it's invisible to the natural eye because the invisible Holy Spirit blows them and sometimes even their deeds about like the invisible wind (Jn 3:8).  Huge ecumenical "fair shews in the flesh" (Gal 6:12) however, are a quick and easy substitute.

These people also seem to be laboring under a delusion regarding what brings down the anointing.  Launching off of Psa 133, they teach that the anointing and last days revival will not come until we set aside our differences and come together in unity.  And when their predictions never come to pass, they retort that we're still too divided and must try all the harder.

But they've got it all backwards!  God's pattern before the Charismatic movement began trying to bring a superficial Pentecost experience to the Passover denominations through dinners and the like, was to move the glory cloud on, out of the ranks of those who didn't want to grow in God's truth.  Far from being hog-tied until God's people "unite" so that He can "incarnate" into them, God's pattern previously had always been to anoint and visit those who broke away from the self-satisfied to seek Him more purely. Most ironically, Azusa Street, the beginning of modern-day Pentecostalism, stands as a silent rebuke itself to such reasoning.

But these ecumenical movements don't operate that way.   Instead, they always get high-jacked by some "third way" group like the Latter Rain, who love--in the name of love--to bring in a totally different doctrine.  In this case, it's the rule of the Apostles and Prophets.  They think a new form of Church government is going to make it all work--a hierarchical government polity with Apostles and Prophets on the top (as if this hasn't been tried before in "Apostolic" churches and the like).  This is like the globalists claiming that the nation-state is the cause of wars.  The problem is not one of  form but of substance.

The main effect, if not outright purpose, of an organization like Promise Keepers is and will be to bring about this ecumenical unity.  They may see themselves as "building better fathers and husbands", better race relations and the like, things that are well and good enough in themselves.  But the legacy they are going to be known for is the building of an ecumenical army--"Joel's Army" as some are already calling it.  Just witness the "drive-it-into-the-ground" logic of its favorite theme lately--"Tear Down The Walls".  Time was when we used to build up walls (Neh 2:13), and there are no walls that need building up in our day more than the walls of sound doctrine.  Jerusalem will remain waste and vulnerable until we do.

Unity is a hobby horse that anyone can ride with their own agenda in mind, well-intentioned or not.  Unity and division are paradoxes in the Word of God that can be good or evil depending on the particular situation.  Unity is a by-product of seeking the truth.  The deeper the seeking, the deeper the unity, and nothing can change that.  Mere pragmatists have little understanding of this.

9.  Restoration of the Apostles and Prophets

We've already touched upon this distinctive doctrine above and elsewhere, but there is yet more to say.  As was stated, the significance to the Latter Rain of this idea is the restoration of  their supposed authority in the Church.  Apparently they see these kinds of offices primarily in a governmental rather than a functional role.

This  issue of authority is so foundational to Christianity or indeed, to any religion, that so much more is involved and at stake here than a mere opinion on the matter.  There is no more fundamental question one can ask in spiritual things than, "By what authority?" (Mt 21:23).  In fact, one could make the argument that the entire Reformation was fought over this question of authority.  Who speaks for God in the Church and in this world?  The Church hierarchy?  Or the Bible?  Who infallibly represents Him on the earth?  The Pope as the supposed Vicar (or "representative) of  Christ?  Or the Holy Spirit Who is present in the midst of His priesthood of all believers?  The Reformation overthrew the tyranny of authoritarianism and dogmatism and reestablished the Word and the Spirit and returned the Church back to the first three centuries when leadership represented the people before God (in intercession), before the cult-like shift to Romanism, where they came to represent God before the people.

The proper role of government in the Church's life is similar to the attitude of the Founding Fathers of the United States--government is necessary, but should be spelled out and limited as much as possible.  Just as an overreaching government intrudes upon the freedom of its citizens, so God cannot maximize His free working in the lives of His people in an atmosphere of oppression, manipulation, secrecy, and paternalism. 

Having mere respect of persons or "men's persons in admiration because of advantage" (Jude 16) is not the same as having  respect for the ecclesiastical office.  The idea behind the fivefold ministry is that they are gifts given to the Church to build it up, not use it for their own carnal ambitions.  Leadership's greatest role is to be examples to the flock, not lords over it (I Pe 5:3).  "Who then is Paul?, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed" said the true apostle to those glorying in men (I Cor 3:5).  Ecclesiastical authority in the Church is ordained mostly for the sake of organization, administration and disciplining sin.  Spiritual authority comes from moving in the leading and power of the Holy Spirit, and in the will of God.

If one wishes to use the army analogy again, one should note how unusual God's army is!  God's army does not need a military chain of command because He does not need one.  In this army, the Commander in Chief is instantly available to lead every soldier personally.  Try doing that with a human army

This over emphasis on submission to human authorities comes straight out of the evolution of Latter Rain doctrine and was first attempted through the disastrous "Shepherding" experiment of the 1970's.  Bob Mumford, Ern Baxter, John Poole, James Lee Beall and other staff and friends of The Ft. Lauderdale "Christian Growth Ministries" who led the Shepherding movement all had varying degrees of background in Latter Rain circles and doctrine.  In addition, it came out that they had developed a special working relationship with Ralph Martin and Steve Clark of the "Word of God", a radical Catholic headship community in Ann Arbor that took on many overtly cultic aspects over time.

This subject of authority really deserves a whole article by itself, and one day I may write one on it.  For now, let us just say that the Latter Rain restoration of the Apostles and Prophets is built on the same principle but with the idea that the real authorities are higher than mere pastors.  But first the Church's doctrinal distinctives must be so compromised and leveled that a different standard for determining truth will become necessary.  This will conveniently be provided by the coming of  these Apostles and Prophets who will guide the Church with their "new revelations".  It's a logic that leads back to a Pope as a "bishop of bishops", just like it did 14 centuries ago, because there's nothing new under the sun.

10.  The "Old Order" are the "Religious"

As we have mentioned before, in Latter Rain thinking, all the denominations are Babylon, and in truth they were somewhat prophetically right because all these groups as institutions seem to now be lining up for an ecumenical Christianity (even though they may not have back in 1948).  The scandal of all this of course is that the Latter Rain strategy thinks nothing of forwarding this along!  They ingratiate themselves to these same denominations, manipulate them, flatter them, and coax and cajole them to make this happen!  Such is the extent of the confusion and hypocrisy of this whole system of thought that these people now seem more like Jesuits in their tactics than forthright Christians.

As we have also pointed out before, in Latter Rain thinking there is no personal Antichrist figure on the horizon.  Rather, those their critics are the "antichrists"--those whom they deem to be the "religious", the ones who can't accept these wonderful changes, and must be purged from the earth by the "new paradigm" people.

I have personally never felt very comfortable when people carelessly throw around the term "religious".  I say that partly because the Bible speaks favorably of the term  (Ja 1:27), and partly because "religiosity" in the slang sense can mean any direction away from true spirituality, whether towards legalism or license.  And which is us is ever free from either of those ditches?   Nevertheless, it seems to me that it's within the Word of Faith and Latter Rain circles where this term  is used in the most promiscuous of ways.  Thus, anyone who questions any of this is accused of being "the religious", the "anti-anointing people", the "Book people"--so bound by the Bible that they can't get into the "things of  the Spirit". 

One recent good example can be found in the reaction of Richard Riss, the Latter Rain historian who is involved with the Toronto movement.  According to an Internet version of a Christianity Today article, Riss, upon first hearing  of  the Vineyard decision to separate with the Toronto Airport Vineyard, sent a letter to friends saying that Vineyard head John Wimber was "putting himself in the position of [King] Saul", characterizing his decision as being a "precipitous separation of the sheep from the goats." [6]   Riss later on apologized but his reaction shows how deep this mentality runs in these circles. 

One of the most confused people I have read in Dominion circles would have to be Earl Paulk, Bishop of the Atlanta area Harvester Church, and one of the founding board members of Oral Roberts' Charismatic Bible Ministries.   Paulk has written, "By the turn of the century, denominations as we know them will no longer exist."  Why?  Because, "God will transcend denominations in the renewal of the apostolic and prophetic ministries to the Church."  Thus, "When the ministries of the apostle and prophet return throughout the decade of the 90's, so will the anointed power to judge the Church supernaturally...We may experience more judgments like that of Ananias and Sapphira." [7]

Another book by Paulk, That The World May Know, is devoted entirely to a feeble attempt to refute the claims of Dave Hunt's The Seduction of Christianity, wherein Hunt claimed that the Charismatic movement is awash in New Age  teachings and theological heresies (which it clearly is).  Paulk asks, "Who dares accuse Father Bertolucci of heresy because he honors the Virgin Mary with a reverence which is uncomfortable to many other Christians?  [Probably those who think it's idolatry.]  Who has been given the right to judge his views of spiritual authority?  [None, I take it, but those as discerning as Paulk.]...I contend that religious systems are the harlot church." [8]

 Here Paulk, indignant against people like Hunt for accusing the Roman Catholic Church--arguably the most "religious" institution in the world bar none--of heresy, is claiming that the real harlot is theologically conservative groups like the Dispensationalists!  I don't think you can get any more muddled than that!

When  Jesus came up against the Pharisees in His day, one of the main issues He raised was that they had promulgated so many traditions--"teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mk 7:7)--that they had both obscured the spirit of the Law of Moses in which they so gloried (Jn 5:45), as well as rejected everything about the New Covenant of grace through faith He had come to bring.  Considering the fact that the role this Roman Catholic hierarchy took in opposing the Reformers amounted to an almost exact parallel to this, one would think that such people would be more careful who they label the "religious" opposing the "new thing".

Paulk's claim here that, "By the turn of the century, denominations as we know them will no longer exist," may be more than just an idle threat.  In part 2 I mentioned the "Gathering of Eagles" conference at Whistler Mountain last year where intercessors and others were ostensibly called to seek God and "find out what the next step is" in this Latter Rain drama.   Just as this went to press, I heard of a conference for pastors and Church leaders in California, I believe, just this past month (May, 1996).  The conference, organized by C. Peter Wagner was entitled, "The Post Denominational Church".

At the same time, parachurch organizations are increasingly viewed to have more credibility, to be "more fresh" than the denominations.  Since I am not God and therefore do not know completely the mentality or heart of people, I cannot say with certainty if Promise Keepers has a deliberate agenda to do away with the denominational system.   I do know they include Catholicism as just another Christian denomination, in spite of its history of persecution of  the true Church and her claim to not just be another sister church, but the Mother Church.    Bill McCartney was part of the Catholic "Word of God" Community and its radical "Shepherding" practices in Ann Arbor until he left the University of Michigan to coach for Colorado..  A long article in the Detroit Free Press Magazine a few years ago about this community is a study of how a group can start out well yet end up all-but a cult in its practice, and manipulated by the Vatican at the same time. [9]  

McCartney, in a recent interview, stated that the two most important people in his life at present are James Ryle (his pastor), and a man named Bertolucci (not Father John), who is right under Steve Clark in what is left in the demise of the Word of God community.

Promise Keepers is on record for having stated that they probably will disband by  the year 2,000, having accomplished their mission.  But to what purpose are they "forming an army"?  As has been said, many see this to be "Joel's Army" which will destroy the "Old Order" of denominationalism.  While they present themselves as supporters of the local churches, the fact is their vertical structure of "national headquarters / ambassadors / point men / 4 to 5 family groups" is a chain-of-command system networked from outside the churches and headquartering back to Colorado Springs.  In this way, despite protests to the contrary, it is running cross-current to the vision and purpose of the local church, and of the local pastor's oversight and emphasis on doctrine.  Only time will tell, perhaps too late, if  Promise Keepers will ultimately swallow up men's ministries, first in the local church, then within regional structures, then ultimately on a national level.

Whatever form the scenario takes, the outcome of all this will be similar to what is happening in the secular world.  For just as the globalists are lying to the nations, telling them that world government will not destroy national sovereignties, so too will the denominations be lied to, slated to be swallowed up ultimately back into amalgamation with Rome.

This is not an accusation that PK or Mr. McCartney are deliberately deceiving the churches or are in a conspiracy with Rome.  Quite the contrary, I'm sure they believe they are doing only the most noble of things in all this.  Nevertheless, they most likely are and will be used to Rome's purposes.   This, and not the themes of fatherhood, racial reconciliation and the like, will be their ultimate significance.  And it will be their ultimate irony as well, for if there is any institution during the Church age which has followed the pattern of the Pharisees by "making the Word of God of none effect by your traditions", it would have to be the Roman Catholic system, which to this hour fights tooth and nail against the authority of sola scriptura.

11.  Spiritual Warfare

Time was when revival in the Church was a relatively simple thing.  Christian preachers understood the revelation of God, man and the Fall that the Bible actually teaches.  They understood that God's problem with man was not the Devil but man's own sin.  They understood that God will sometimes get so excited when men keep their motives right like young Solomon did (I K 3:9-13) that He will give things people aren't even demanding and believing for.  Therefore, revival was simply a matter of humbling ourselves before Him, confessing our sins, and beseeching His mercy to send a supernatural visitation of the Spirit.

Nowadays, in our infinite wisdom, we seem to be ending in the flesh having begun in the Spirit.  It seems that this badly mangled, Gnostic interpretation of Rev 12:7ff, gained as a major "revelation" out of the Latter Rain revival, is the true root of the modern day spiritual warfare, spiritual mapping and similar strategies.  Coupling with it an equally mangled exegesis of II Cor 4:4 about Satan literally blinding the eyes of the unbelievers, the current obsession is to do all this "wrestling" with demons and dismantling of demonic hierarchies over cities, states and nations.  In the one example in Scripture where we see anything even remotely related to this, Daniel is praying to God, and letting Him worry about removing the devil (Dan 10).

Nevertheless, this emphasis causes people to believe that God will not, indeed, even cannot, send revival until the Church moves up to the plate and take its authority over the devil.  Thus the attention is taken to a great struggle and drama up in the heavens instead of where it really belongs--the battleground of the heart .

This kind of logic has become so widespread and over-emphasized now that recently Paul (David) Yonggi Cho, pastor of the world's largest church, claimed he had to fly a number of Japanese pastors he was trying to teach, to Korea, either because the spiritual oppression in Japan was too great or Korea has become a demon-free zone. [10]

Whether you understand it or not, this idea of dominance over the devil is the stated purpose behind the popular and now annual "March For Jesus".  I think the March can be a good way to lift up Christ's name publicly and proclaim our unity.  But its four British organizers--Lynn Green, Roger Forster, Graham Kendrick and Gerald Coates--have said that its real rationale is spiritual warfare.  As Coates put it:

Marching for Jesus is a prophetic act which demonstrates that the meek shall inherit the earth.  Each footstep on the march is an action which claims the ground and says-this is God's world and we are claiming it for God.  Our marching says that we do not inherit the world by buying it, not by inheriting, but by shifting the spiritual powers that have been allocated in the nations. [11]

Actually, I thought that was exactly how we inherit the earth--Christ gets it back for us at His return., not by this kind of works-based symbolism.

I also think it important that we note that these men are part of the British Restorationist movement (an offshoot of the Latter Rain movement), and that Restorationism has a certain belief as to how and why the Second Coming will take place.   According to Ron Philastre, an ex-member, the Restorationists have a:

teaching on praise [that] could be summed up like this.  Praise is the highest revelation in the Bible.  Praise is our weapon which will be used to defeat, destroy and overcome the last enemy, which is death.  Through our praise we will bring about resurrection life (which is also called the manifestation of the sons of God).  This bodily and sinless perfection will only then make it possible for Jesus to return to earth, but this restoration of perfect praise and a perfect church must take place before Jesus can return. [12]

I do not know if all of these men believe exactly this way, nor if they've since changed their minds.  But it reveals the basic mentality and logic of such circles, and therefore possibly much more behind the marching agenda.  Roger Forster, whose 1970's book "God's Strategy In Human History" I thought was just brilliant, seems to now throw all reason away saying, "We don't know how to engage totally the spiritual forces of darkness that are vested in the structures of society...We don't know what happens when we declare the victory of Jesus into the cosmos--what we do know is something happens." [13] It sounds like the oft-heard claim of many a cultist, that they "just know that they know deep in their heart that the Book of Mormon" or whatever, is from God. 

These men declared before the first march in London (1987), that "serious changes in the heavenlies" [14] would be the result, and then pointed to"Black Monday" later that year as their proof, when the stock market in New York and London crashed.  Are we expected to seriously believe that there has been any significant change in the "spirit of greed" or whatever over these financial centers as a result of this kind of trite symbolism?  I would say this is called "kidding ourselves".

So much effort could be saved if people would just properly exegete what the Bible says about spiritual warfare.  The "strongholds" (II Cor 10:4) we are told to cast down are "imaginations" (literally, reasonings)--ideas, beliefs, thinking, logic, that "exalts itself against the knowledge of God" (vs. 5), with this kind of a teaching being a prime example.  That "knowledge" there refers, of course, to true knowledge about God, not an esoteric knowledge God supposedly possesses as the Devil in the Garden intimated (Gen 3:5,6).  Nevertheless, this has become an integral part of the rationale and atmosphere behind Dominion thinking.

I would like to state here that I do believe God has given authority to the believer over all the works of the enemy (Mk 16:17; Lu 10:19, etc.), especially in the casting out of devils.  I also recognize that certain geographical areas do have higher levels and differing kinds of demonic oppression, and that God may, for His own reasons, lead believers at times to take authority over those principalities and powers.  But I also believe that what ultimately causes the needed breakthroughs is the revival Presence of God, honoring and anointing the sound doctrine that He needs to bear witness to; and that we in the Charismatic/Pentecostal circles have turned this practice into yet another formula or showy gimick that removes the focus from the weightier matters.

12.  Militancy

Once a militant, aggressive stance against the Devil in "spiritual warfare" was introduced, it was a whole lot easier to adapt this changed atmosphere to the next step of stomping on human enemies as well.  Earl Paulk again,  never one to miss the opportunity to make an extremist statement, quotes in his book, Thrust In The Sickle And Reap from Mt 13:40-42 (NKJV):

  "Therefore, as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of  His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire.  There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

Paulk's chilling commentary is as follows:

The book of Revelation makes it clear that John wrote his letters to the angels of the Church.  Who are the angels that God will use?  They are ministers called by God to boldly proclaim the Word of God....Today the trumpet sounds from the angels of the Church, God's ministers who cry out, "It is harvest time!"  Witnesses to God's power will shine as never before.  God will gather righteous people together to raise up a witness of Jesus Christ and judge the kingdoms of this world. [15]

Such kinds of gratuitous threats are pandemic in Dominionist circles and will go far to provide grist for the world's rationale of getting rid of "fundamentalist fanatics" who want to "cast them into the furnace of fire".  Typical also is the thinking of Royal Cronquist, once a close associate of John Robert Stevens of  "The Walk" cult  mentioned previously:

The greatest decision that the Church is going to have to make in these days ahead (and especially the ministries in the body of Christ) is to have to face that there are apostles of God, and that they must submit to that authority and to that office; they must submit to that foundation as though it was Jesus Christ, and whoever will not submit to that authority shall be destroyed from among the people...This Church (remnant) is to be...executing deliverance and judgment, in all authority and power, to all the people of the earth, first to and in the Church, then to all the nations of the earth...These first fruits people...will have absolute immunity to destruction and death in any form.  Even vengeance and wrath which is about to come, will not touch them, but they themselves will be the execution of this vengeance and wrath. [16]

If  the unity bandwagon isn't slowed down by the ministry of truth, but instead picks up more and more steam with emotion-based  pep rallies like Promise Keepers and the like, whipping up the people with claims to the power that is supposedly theirs, extremist voices like Cronquist's will become more and more accepted. 

Many of the people involved with the Toronto Blessing see this move of theirs to be the beginning of the great last days revival which will come upon the now-united Church, while those who "don't move on" are part of the "Old Order" and must be purged.  Two examples of this militant frame of mind include:

A letter containing an anonymous death threat sent to a man in England who objected to the Toronto experience coming into his church.  The "prophet" who sent this apparently claimed that the vicar in charge of his church had laid hands on him and anointed him as the "sword of God" to "strike down and cast into hell devils such as you."  He said he'd been given the power of prophetic speaking against opponents of the new move and ended with a prediction that this hapless dissenter would die in a car crash.

At one of the Whistler Mountain gatherings a lady related a vision where she claimed the Lord handed her a spear and a shield and an Indian warbonnet.  A war hoop then went up.  As someone so astutely observed, such militant things as war dances are the antichrist spirit, and history is strewn with the damage wrought against the Gospel by people who have spoken and acted like fundamentalist Muslims enforcing conversion to one's point of view.   The New World Order people are already referring to born-again Christians as "extremists" and "cultists".  I see no reason to play into their hands.

13.  Unbelievable Miracles

Literally.  I do believe the last days Church will be endued with power from on high, but the lengths to which the Latter Rain mentality run go to the extremes of hyperbole and vanity.  Rick Joyner in "The Harvest" for instance, speaks of "the most powerful army ever assembled...with the least of them having more power than the greatest of their enemies."  "To be numbered in this army," he claims, "will require a training and spiritual discipline exceeding the physical and mental discipline of elite military units."  I assume this would mean units like the Navy SEALS and the Delta Force.  I try to stay in shape, but if I have to get to where they're at to make it in the last days, my goose is cooked for sure!

The superlatives never stop.  This "new breed" will "direct the greatest events in history," he says.  The news media will follow these apostles around like they were national celebrities.  "Large cities will have zero crime."  That's large cities folks, with  zero crime!  "Whole nations will give themselves to periods of prayer and fasting."  That's whole nations.  "Prisons will become churches which give the Body of Christ some of its greatest teachers...whole nations [will] acknowledge Jesus...Teenagers will be the backbone of the revival, preteens some of its greatest evangelists," yada, yada, yada. [17]

In addition to such claims, it is also usually stated that people in unbelievable numbers will come to the Lord during this time.  The usual number is from one to two billion up to half the world.  I know the number will be large but such figures seem excessive to me.  The reference to whole nations being saved is apparently derived from Isa 66:8 which is a specific prophecy about Israel on the day when Christ returns.  It may also be derived from Rev 7:9, which mentions "all nations" harvested from the earth, along with every "kindred, people and tongue".  But what this obviously means is a representative number out of every nation, not "whole nations". 

In the last days, the nations of this world are going to hate us , not hail us as heroes (Mt 24:9).  The only kings and rulers we're going to stand before will be ready to kill us (Lu 21:12).

A lot of these kinds of attitudes are the result of a doctrine very popular in Word of Faith circles but also in Latter Rain as well, and that is the idea of the Pattern Son.  It teaches that the anointing on Jesus Christ was no more than what any believer can appropriate, even though Jn 3:34 specifically says that unto Jesus did the Father give the Spirit "without measure".  Nevertheless  we too, it is said, can have the same kind of powers He had if we would just learn the "revelation knowledge" He had. Thus, Jesus is not so much "The Way" as He is the "Way Show-er", the pro who shows us amateurs how it's done.

Although obviously Jesus is a great example for the Christian to imitate,  it's mainly meant in the sense of imitating His character.   As the Christian does this, God is free to minister His power to and through the believer as seemeth good to Him.  Jesus' power was not something He sought through the cultic-like pursuit of "revelation knowledge", but something God worked graciously through Him to establish His Messiahship, and meet human needs.   This other scheme gets it backwards and  has Christ more as the "great guru", the "Ascended Master" who has mastered the gnosis and now passes it on to us.  It is a prescription for deception.

14.  A Spiritualized Rapture

Often in Latter rain doctrine, the Bible teaching on the Rapture, or the catching up of those few believers who survive the Tribulation to the coming of Christ is inverted to be referring to the removal of the wicked per the "two shall be in the taken and one left" in Mt 24:40, 41, etc.  It could be that this was what was behind the failed Rev. Hinckle prophecy that "God would remove evil from the earth" on June 9, 1994.

But a more popular version is that the Rapture becomes that point in time when the "sons of God" reach "manifestation" and are immortalized with Christ only having to return "in the Spirit".  This is the view apparently taken by Latter Rain historian and scholar Richard Riss:

If you've ever experienced the presence of God or the infilling of His Spirit, then you've been given a hint or an intimation of the ecstasy or "rapture" awaiting those who eagerly await His appearing.  To be caught up in the clouds of glory to meet the Lord in this atmosphere of spiritual authority does not necessarily entail a literal bodily removal.  The statement, "And thus shall we always be with the Lord," tends to suggest, at least to me, that we will always be in the caught up state.  That is, we will be in heavenly places with Him from this point onwards and forever my way of thinking we can be in heavenly places while we're still on earth." [18]

To call such a literal event of yet-future history only a "caught up state" shows the degree to which the Latter Rain people are willing to incessantly spiritualize and allegorize the Scriptures.

15.  Replacement Theology.

Although this is not something all Latter Rain people accept, it still is consistent with the theory.  It refers to the idea that, since national Israel rejected Christ, she has been replaced by the Church who is now "spiritual Israel".  Therefore, there is no real significance to the modern day rebirth of Israel in Palestine in 1948, and thus all the Old Testament promises to Israel must be spiritualized and applied to the Church.

This has long been the view of  the Roman Church as well as every Millennial view except the Pre-Mil view, which sees Millennial promises for both Israel and the Church.  The Dispensational Pre-Mil view, as we said in the first article, puts forth the Pre-Trib Rapture which then places the burden of Tribulation evangelism on 144,000 brand-new Jewish converts.  The unrealistic nature of this kind of a scenario has prompted the Latter Rain people to jettison classical Pre-Millennialism as well but with the danger of course, of breeding a neglect for the Jews on one end, to that of outright anti-Semitism on the other.  Groups called the "Identity" groups with racist theologies to one degree or another think this way.

16.  An Exalted Place for Canada.

This may sound a bit strange to you but in some versions of Latter Rain eschatology, the nation of Canada plays a major role in end-times evangelism.  This is so no doubt because the original Latter Rain revival took place in 1948 in that nation.  Furthermore, it took place at a ministry with three buildings located on the North Battleford airport.  The fact that the Toronto Airport church has three buildings on an airport I'm sure holds a lot of symbolic meaning for them.

This mythological place for Canada was strengthened by a prophecy give by "Paul Yonggi Cho of Korea and twenty other prophets", according to Riss, that "the last great move of the Spirit will originate in Canada, and by seventy Canadian cities will be brought to the 210 nations of the earth before Jesus returns." [19]   Seventy cities?  I didn't think Canada even had that many cities!  Based upon such prophecies it is no wonder the Toronto people have tried so desperately to read so much significance into what they have been experiencing (or forcing, depending on your point of view).

Canada is a wonderful country and I have hardly ever met anyone from there that I didn't like.  But I feel very clear that the last great move of the Spirit is not going to originate anywhere in particular, but will hit the Church simultaneously around the world and will be driven by world events and the timing of God.   The only nation I see as having any particular end-times significance is Israel.

In the battle over unity in the Church, it is often heard that we shouldn't judge and we shouldn't push doctrine.  Well, when it comes to judging, I agree to a point--none of us is God nor has any right to be the ultimate judge of the spiritual state of a man.  But as far as doctrine is concerned, my question is this--what else do we have? 

Jesus came bringing doctrine--"My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.  If any man will [lit., is willing to] do his will, he shall know the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" (Jn 7:16,17).  We have been looking at a lot of doctrinal issues thus far, for it is the God-ordained way of knowing God and of knowing what is from Him and what is, as Jesus put it above, from ourselves--our experiences, our feelings, our opinions.

The author of that research paper on John Robert Stevens and "The Walk" well summarized the whole question at the end of his report:

The issue today, as always, has been the issue of when Satan came to Jesus.  The way of the Cross as opposed to the way of power...Do we come into it [power] by direct route, in seeking spiritual power, and seeking influence over men?  Or do we come into it by the way of the Cross?  And it seems like the root, the essence, of every one of these false movements is that it's a road to spiritual development: "Develop yourself spiritually".  But the Jesus they preach is not the Jesus that Paul preached: he's not the crucified Jesus. [20]

In some ways you may be thinking, "This is all too incredible to be taken that seriously," and in some ways I would have to agree with you.  For I do think that so much of what we have been looking at is sheer spiritual delusion that will never come to pass the way they expect it to.  But on the other hand, although most leaders would readily disavow being Latter Rainers, these doctrines have found a way into the public mainstream one at a time, and when put together, paint an increasingly-accepted vision of the last days, and one that people really are embracing

And as such, sooner or later, people are going to be forced to take a stand with God for the Gospel that was "once and for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3), or on behalf of this false alternative.  The choice is ours.



[1] In some versions, it's the apostles and prophets alone who minister this care to the woman while she's in the wilderness.

[2] In The Presence of God, by Francis Frangipane, (New Wine Press), 1994, pp. 153-57.

[3] See for example, Francis Frangipane, The Days of His Presence, (Cedar Rapids: Arrow Publications), 1995, p. 64.  Although Frangipane goes to lengths to deny he is teaching "Manifest Sonship", he still includes in the word Parousia (Second Coming) the meaning of "Presence", such that, during the entire last days time frame, God's Presence will be seen emanating out of believers as haloes and the like, before the actual physical return of Christ.  See pp. 157-59.

[4] David Edwin Harrell, Jr., All Things Are Possible: The Healing and Charismatic Revivals in Modern America, (Bloomington, IN:Indiana University Press), 1975, p. 244.

[5] Albert James Dager, Vengeance Is Ours: The Church In Dominion, (Redmond, WA: Sword Publishers), 1990, p. 52.  Taken from The Return of Immortality, by Franklin Hall, (Phoenix:Hall Deliverance Foundation, 1976, p. 60.

[6] Internet version of a Christianity Today article set to run in the Jan. 8, 1996 issue.

[7] Spiritual Megatrends, by Earl Paulk, (Atlanta: Kingdom Publishers), 1988, pp. 37, 51, 38, and 51 again.

[8] That The World May Know, by Earl Paulk, (Atlanta: K Dimension Publishers), 1987, p. 16.

[9] "The Rise and Fall of a Heavenly Empire" by David Crumm, Detroit Free Press Magazine, Sept. 20, 1992.

[10] Cited by Tillin in tape 2.

[11] March For Jesus, by Kendrick, Forster, Coates and Green, (Kingsway Pub: UK), 1992, p. 131.

[12] "The Restoration Movement" by Ron Philastre, unpublished paper, 1984.  Quoted in "New Wave Theology" by Rev. Robert Crabtree, Ohio Assemblies of God position paper, 1987, p. 23.

[13] "March For Jesus", p. 140.

[14] Ibid, p. 37.

[15] Quoted in Dager, pp. 98-99.

[16] Ibid, p. 98.

[17] The Harvest, by Rick Joyner, (Charlotte, NC:Morningstar Publications), 1989, pp. 6-13.

[18] Cited by Tillin in tape 2.

[19] James A. Watt, 2nd page of his Foreword to Richard Riss', "Latter Rain" (Mississauga, Ont.:Honeycomb Visual Productions), 1987.

[20] "John Robert Stevens and the Church of the Living Word (The Walk)", unpublished manuscript from Spiritual Counterfeits Project, P.O. Box 4308, Berkeley, CA 94704, p. 240.

© 1995-2013 Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministries. All rights reserved. Cross+Word Website:  This document is the property of its author and is not to be displayed on other websites, redistributed, sold, reprinted, or reproduced in printed in any other format without permission. Websites may link to this article, if they provide proper title and author information. One copy may be downloaded, stored and/or printed for personal research. All spelling and phraseology is UK English.