What Profit Are Today’s Prophets?

1 07 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – June 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 6 – What Profit Are Today’s Prophets? – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

What Profit Are Today’s Prophets?

Rev. Bob Liichow

Some people might say “what’s the big deal brother Bob? There have always been crooks in the Church so just ignore them.” Sadly, this attitude is mirrored throughout the Church today which helps to explain some of the reasons why the Body of Christ is in such sad shape today. It is the same attitude that slams the door shut in the face of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons usually ending in a “God bless you” from the believer. Christians who respond like this are effectively saying “go to hell” because that is surely where those folks are headed unless someone shares the Gospel with them, thus giving the Holy Spirit an avenue to convict and draw them to faith if He so chooses.

Every genuinely redeemed person is an ambassador for the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 5:19) Growing up in a Diplomatic family (1) I have a pretty good concept of what the Apostle Paul meant by calling us ambassadors of the Kingdom. God vocalizes His appeal to the entire world via His people (The Holy Spirit speaks through His text to us). The Father uses the totally unique love that only we are empowered (Romans 5:5)  to share with one another (John 13:35) to demonstrate our true discipleship. He uses the foolishness of preaching (1Cor.1:21) and as His ambassadors/ministers/servants/disciples we open our mouths to evangelize. It is the Father who speaks (Matt. 10:20) through us by His Spirit.

As ambassadors for our Lord, we bring the Law, what God commands and demands of His people — the law that terrifies the conscious and brings despair to the soul driving individuals to flee to the solace of the Gospel! We then proclaim the glorious good news that our brother (Heb. 2:11) Jesus Christ, God the Son has come in the flesh and fulfilled all of the Father’s law on our behalf. Jesus died bearing all the sin of humanity on the cross; He was buried and rose physically from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven and He has promised to return for us again. Until that time, we serve as His representatives and we are the only “Jesus” the world will see, and trust me when I say — the world is watching your life.

The above brings us back to the point — it matters tremendously what people do and say in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I must admit I live in a pretty black-and-white world when it comes to doctrine and to me either someone is gathering or scattering, there is no middle ground (Luke 11:23), one is genuinely for Christ or he is against Him, it is just that simple.

To Christians the Bible is accepted as the only valid written revelation from God to man. This being the case when someone teaches something from the Bible that teaching has behind it the backing authority of the Creator of all existence. False teaching that is spawned from twisting biblical texts and is exceedingly dangerous because a percentage of gullible, biblically ignorant sheep will automatically follow the latest novel teaching (2 Tim 4:3) because they lack the tools to rightly discern truth from error, i.e. a solid doctrinal foundation. Also these novel teachings all appeal directly to the fallen flesh of man. The fallback argument of the false teacher is “it’s in the Bible.”

False prophets are equally as dangerous as false teachers; please never forget that there is no such thing as innocuous false teaching. The false prophet takes upon themselves authority that exceeds that of the false teacher. The false prophet (hereafter referred to at times as “profit”) calls upon the name of the Author of the Holy Scriptures as the direct source of their information and insight. When a person stands up in an assembly and gives a stirring word and ends it in “I, Jesus have spoken by my servant,” or “thus saith the Lord,” you have the attention of the listeners. If you can add some form of sign or wonder to accompany the revelation given one is almost guaranteed great financial wealth and a following of God’s gullibles.

Last month DMI presented a brief overview of how a few deluded souls became a movement in the late 1940’s that has developed over forty years into a distinct sect (2) within the professing Church and even within the rather diverse unbrella we call the charismatic movement. (3) The Church went from a handful of men claiming to be restored prophets in the forties to today where now throughout the globe are “schools of the prophets.” The majority of which these schools can be traced back to the disciples of the post WWII profits. Today the Church and the millions of sign-gift believers are being besieged by a myriad of men and women, all of whom claim to be hearing from God on our behalf both personally and for the entire Church and at times the entire world itself!

Ladies First

The prophetic movement has proven to be an estrogen-rich breeding ground for women seeking the spotlight as prophets. In the past, within some branches of the charismatic renewal, women were not allowed to serve as pastors, but when it came to prophetesses these sign-seekers had to admit that there were several in the Bible so they had to begrudgingly admit women prophets into the public assemblies.

This is not strange, after all Church history is filled with examples of pseudo-prophets in feminine guise. Montanus (4) whom we have designated as the Father (5) of charismatic extremism had the first two recorded restored prophetesses to the Church, namely Prisca and Maximilla. The following is recorded about these ladies:

His prophesying were soon outdone by two female disciples, Prisca or Priscilla and Maximilla, who fell into strange ecstasies, delivering in them what Montanus and his followers regarded as divine prophecies. They had been married, left their husbands, were given by Montanus the rank of virgins in the church, and were widely reverenced as prophetesses. But very different was the sober judgment formed of them by some of the neighboring bishops. Phrygia was a country in which heathen devotion exhibited itself in the most fanatical form and it seemed to calm observers that the frenzied utterances of the Montanistic prophetesses were far less like any previous manifestation of the prophetic gift among Christians than they were to those heathen orgiasms which the church had been wont to ascribe to the operation of demons. The church party looked on the Montanists as willfully despising our Lord’s warning to beware of false prophets, and as being in consequence deluded by Satan, in whose power they placed themselves by accepting as divine teachers women possessed by evil spirits. (6)

Widely popular for a while, Montanus was a revivalist of a sorts, taught a strict form of legalism which the flesh always loves and he gained two women disciples who left their husbands became “virgins” again and on top of that became pipelines from heaven. The rest of the orthodox Church decried Montanus and his prophetesses. Eventually the movement died out with the death of his prophetesses, according to Eusebius of Caesarea quoting Apollinarius of Hierapolis both of these frenzied liars hung themselves after the manner of Judas Iscariot. (7)   Another writer who wrote of these women said:

Montanus was dead, as was Theodotus, an early leader in the movement, who had probably managed its finances, for he is said to have been towards it a kind of ettipottos. The Anonymous states that at the time he wrote 13 full years had elapsed and a 14th had begun since the death of Maximilla. Priscilla must have died previously for Maximilla believed herself to be the last prophetess in the church and that after her the end would come. (8)

The end did not come with her demise, (nor did it arrive when Mr. Camping announced again that it would). The centuries roll on and we come along another self-proclaimed female prophetess, Mrs. Ann Lee of England comes along. She was an early “Pentecostal” revivalist and visionary. I have written extensively about Ann Lee and her impact on today’s Signs and Wonders Movement.

A Moment of Shameless Self-Promotion   For a copy of the book (It really is a fascinating history of today’s enthusiasta and also very disturbing) Just send a check to DMI for $20.00 and receive a signed copy of “Blessing or Judgment?” (Revised from: Two Roots of Today’s Revival)  Please memo your check “book”

Ann Lee is certainly the first restored neo-Montanist prophetess in America and she opened the floodgates for much of the extremism which is so rampant today. Her organization, “The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing.” aka The Shakers were the first in America to (1) speak in other tongues; (2) experience so-called holy laughter; (3) spiritual drunkenness; (4) making animal sounds and expressions; (5) barking; (6) being slain in the spirit; (7) impart gifts by the laying on of hands; (8) led revival meetings and (9) giving verbal prophetic words from “God,” along with other expressions of spiritual excess commonly seen and experienced by hundreds of thousands of professing believers today.

The vast majority have no idea that what they are experiencing and inviting into their spiritual lives during their meetings comes directly from a demonic cult established here before our revolutionary war.

Ann Lee was only the first of many women to impact the spiritual lives of the multitudes. Since her advent the Church has suffered through Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Church of Christ Science (Christian Science) and first published her book Science and Heath With Keys to the Scriptures in 1875. (9) Although Eddy did not refer to herself as a “prophet” she did see her role as one restoring true religion. Ellen G. White along with her husband founded the Seventh Day Adventist cult and first reported having visions early in 1844. She is regarded as a prophetess by SDA members and her organization has led many astray into severe legalistic bondage.

Whatever stance one wishes to take regarding the role of women in ministry, history is replete with examples of how women can be used to spiritually influence large numbers of people and impact culture and the Church.

Without getting too off track let me condense Church history regarding the role of women into a few sentences and move on: Women have held no official role in the holy ministry, i.e. pastoral oversight of congregations for close to 1,600+ years across the denominational board. There have been minor exceptions, obviously, but nothing really sanctioned until round the time of the Wesley brothers, Charles and John (started Methodist movement around the mid 1700’s about the same time as Ann Lee was working in the USA).

It was with the coming of Methodism to America, women began to take on more active roles in these new frontier congregations. As Methodism took root in the US it developed offshoots the main one being the Holiness movement and from them eventually came Pentecostalism. During the Great Depression Aimee Semple McPherson rose from obscurity within Pentecostalism and became America’s first mega-church pastor and broadcast genius raking in millions of dollars. Sadly, she died with a tarnished reputation being caught as an adulterous and dying of a barbiturate overdose. Nonetheless, sister Aimee opened many formerly shut doors to other women to walk through including the charismatic mega-star Kathryn Kuhlman who almost single-handedly popularized the phenomena of being slain in the spirit by televising her healing crusades. The fraud, liar, SINister, and false prophet Mr. Benny Hinn sites Kuhlman as one of his main influences and he visits both her grave and McPherson’s to gain spiritual power (I kid you not.)   (10)

By the time Kathryn was on television (Believe In Miracles) in the late 60’s and early 70’s the floodgates for women’s equality in ministry with men was a fait accompli within the charismatic movement and many of its sub-camps. (11) Many of the movers-and-shakers (no pun intended) within charismania are women who are internationally recognized as prophetesses and they are having a huge impact on the lives of many of God’s gullible. (12) For the remainder of this article I will be exposing some of the members in their high powered skulk. (13)

Bonnie Chavda

I have not personally encountered Mrs. Chavda in action. I have sat under her husband’s ministry, even got slain in the spirit. (14) by Mahesh back in the early 1990’s. As often is the case in public charismatic ministry you will find the wives either ministering equally with their husbands or leading them, such as Joyce Meyer who leads and her husband takes care of the off-stage work. Gloria Copeland preaches and teaches along her husband Kenneth’s side (actually she is a better teacher than Kenny). Another famous example would be Marilyn Hickey, whose husband Wally is (was) an Assemblies of God pastor. No charismatic can ever forget Charles and Francis Hunter, the “Happy Hunters” who tag-teamed preached and healed across the globe for forty plus years. Even so we have the Chavdas, and who exactly are they?

With over three miracle-packed decades of experience, Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda lead Chavda Ministries international, a worldwide apostolic ministry. The vision of CMI is to proclaim Christ’s kingdom with power, equip believers for ministry and usher in revival preparing for the return of the Lord. (15)

I underlined the code words which I will attempt to unpack for you. Miracles are God’s calling cards has been the clarion call of the prophetic movement for many years now. Folks, please get this if nothing else from this issuemiracles do not create faith. Israel experienced DAILY miracles for forty years in the desert and DIED IN UNBELIEF. The premise that miracles are the method by which God draws and converts the lost is not shown in the Bible. It is a false premise. Thirty years of miracles? Ok, Bonnie where is the proof? This web site is not filled with x-rays, doctor’s affidavits, independent witness testimony of miracles. At best we have anecdotal stories from either the Chavdas (let another man praise you Prov. 27:2) themselves or unidentifiable individual reports. Next we read Mahesh and Bonnie are an “apostolic” team. When were there any female apostles? Sorry dear sisters, there were not any. Also who called them to be apostles? Where is the fruit of their apostleship?

There job is to equip, i.e. impart spiritual gifts & power to believers so these empowered believers can go forth and become tools of God to usher in a global revival which MUST COME first. After this preparatory work of Christianizing the world is done then Jesus Christ can return. This according to sign-gift theology is the role of today’s restored apostle and prophet/prophetess. Jesus cannot return until the Church again embraces their ministries (apostolic/prophetic). They base this belief on the following text (there are others too):

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that you sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21

Since their role is pivotal in the return of Jesus it is only natural that they do all that is in their power to get the Church in agreement with them to hasten the return of Jesus. This is where the prophetic movement gets very bizarre and possibly dangerous. Let’s allow God through Bonnie to warn the Church in a vision she received in 1995:

In the vision, I was standing on a land map of the USA. The states stretched out from me in front and behind. I was facing west and above me, from horizon to horizon, was a ceiling of very thick, black, angry, clouds. Their appearance was that of an approaching terrible storm. In one place, there was an opening in the clouds. There, rays of very bright sunlight shown through. Seeing this, I understood that a spiritual storm was imminent, and that in the wake of this storm, hope, peace, and joy, would shine from heaven. I heard a voice say, “This is the refreshing: IT WILL BE VERY VIOLENT” (16)

In 1995 Bonnie warned the Church and the world what the next great time of refreshing would be like. She profalied (17) this during the height of the Holy Laughter Revival that a spiritual storm was imminent (uh, Bonnie, we’re still waiting) and of all the oxymoronic language we are told that “this is the refreshing—it will be very violent.” How refreshing is violence?

As I watched, a series of scenes from the movie adaptation of the American classic by L. Frank Baum, the “Wizard of Oz” passed before me. With each picture a voice described things that will take place as this coming “wind” moved over the land. I understood that it will not be sinners, false religions, or even political institutions, including the media, that will most vehemently question and oppose the coming “wind”. It will be institutions of Christian tradition and influence, including those who claim the “fullness of the Spirit.” (19)

Surprise of surprises it will not be the world that “hates” you (Jesus or the translators must have erred in John 15:8). False religions and polities will not be the forces questioning and opposing this latest move of God. Who will it be? It will be institutional Christianity (i.e. orthodox), Christian traditions and influence, and yup even some who claim to be filled with the Spirit (i.e. some Pentecostal types). Please note the separation between Church institution/tradition and the Spirit-filled folk. Never forget in the eyes of sign-gift enthusiasts you are a low-wattage, barely saved, spiritually weak and out of step with God. The entire movement, and sadly, much of the Church is driven with elitism, and it is always a stench.

…the Lord said, “There will be those who will call this wind “demonic” because of what it will make manifest. Demons will be stirred up, the flesh will he made obvious, things formerly hidden will be exposed and seen as they are in relation to My Spirit: BUT THIS WIND IS FROM ME?” (20)

Over the years Tracy and I have sat and heard myriads of flakes come into meetings and spout stirring messages, many of which contained provisos to cover any question of the message or the messenger. We see this tactic in Bonnie’s drivel—”there will be those who…” those folks include anyone who does not swallow-and-follow the restored apostle and/or prophet.

Please understand that these are not nice sweet folk theologically speaking. (21) If they perceive you as a genuine threat they will decry you publicly, pray for your ruin, prophesy your downfall, pray the Lord to kill you. I have heard men and women do all of the above in the name of Jesus. What is more I and this prtion of Christ’s ministry has been a recipient of hate-filled ugly prophetic words because (1) we left charismania and (2) because we cared enough to reveal the truth about what goes on behind closed “ministry” SINistry doors. Kenneth Hagin is well known for sharing about how God killed some folks who spoke against him. (22) Remember the false pathetic word delivered by Pastor Kilpatrick against Hank Hanegraaff in 1997 because Hank declared Pensacola to be a delusion (Hank was right on that one).

Rick Joyner, one of the pathetic movements premier prophetic voices allegedly received a vision about the end times (naturally) and guess who was shown to be taken captive by demonic spirits, chained, and covered in feces—you guessed it, people like you and me; normal conservative, confessional Christians. Who was leading and winning the spiritual battle? Why the super-empowered apostles and prophets and those who embraced their restoration message of present day truths! (23)

Bonnie in her absurd vision, which has not taken place, so much for imminent; she takes the usual approach of denouncing those in the Church who cling to the Bible as their guide for faith and practice. All you have to do is go online and read some of her prophetic utterances and those of any so-called restored prophetic voice and you will read an eerie similarity when it comes to the historic Church and its role (which is over by the way).

The witch was intent on killing Toto, destroying Dorothy, and enslaving the inhabitants of the land of Oz. The Holy Spirit said, “Do you know who I am in this picture?” Though this would certainly offend the religious and surprised me, the Lord said, “I am ‘Toto’- just like Toto is Dorothy’s constant comforter, friend, protector, and guide, I am with you!” Witchcraft wants to control the Holy Spirit and put God in a box! Miss Gulch is a picture of the spirit of witchcraft working through the arm of the flesh and legalism to “manage” define, and ultimately resist God through religious tradition and control. This spirit hates the anointing and God’s anointed ones because they are like the “wind.” You don’t know where it comes from or where it goes; you cannot trap the wind! The Holy Spirit, who is God Almighty and resident Lord of the church, but who, in utter humility will never exalt or impose Himself, will come only where He is recognized welcomed, and loved. He will be resisted and spurned by those who have not known Him intimately but have only known of Him by theological definition…The Lord said, The spirit of religion will refuse My army and resist their entrance to and possession of the resources of their kingdom. ( 24)

Those of us who believe, confess and preach the sole sufficiency of Scripture are really the ones who hate the Holy Spirit and His moves among His people and the earth. We who dare to measure what is taught and practiced by the light of contextual holy verse are somehow the ones who are against God! These folks have forgotten the example seen in the Book of Acts, their favorite:

These were more noble then those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11

The Berean Christians were acknowledged by Paul as more “noble” than the swallow-and-follow believers in Thessalonica. Why? The Bereans received the Word from Paul, but then checked the Scriptures daily to make sure what Paul was teaching was biblically correct. This implies that the Bereans had the skills necessary to rightly divide the Word of God as Paul delivered it to them, i.e. they had a solid hermeneutical template to work from. How many of us can say this today?

Another facet of many of these prophetic words is the admonition to go within the historic congregation and evangelistically pull people out from the local church via small home Bible studies (I am not against them with proper pastoral oversight), taking people to seminars, meetings, crusades. Historic churches are specifically targeted for mailing campaigns for massive youth meetings with Christian rock groups and spiritually super-charged speakers who can’t wait to IMPART something to your kids.

These kids often come back from these highly emotional super spiritual environment no longer satisfied with church as usual.  Blaring speakers, banner waving, hand clapping, dancing in the aisles makes a traditional church service seem boring and out of touch. There are many testimonies from pastors about how the “new wave” or “Pensacola fire” destroyed or divided their formerly peaceful congregation.

Next month DMI will continue this short series on the prophetic/pathetic movement and the devastation it is causing in the spiritual lives of many people.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

END NOTES

1. My father served for a period of time as Assistant Army Attaché and we lived in the American Embassy in Moscow during the height of the cold war with the USSR, (exciting times for a kid to be sure). My family held and attended various diplomatic functions which included foreign ambassadors, military leaders, etc…I was taught manners by my parents at a young age so as not to commit some social blunder.

2. As late as the 1970’s there were distinct lines doctrinally that denoted The Discipleship Movement from the Word of Faith Movement from the mainline Pentecostals and then came the Prophetic Movement which gave birth to the Apostolic Movement both of which cohabited and birthed the Signs and Wonders Movement. Today there is a great syncretism taking place where all of these movements are flowing together losing much of their former doctrinal distinctive.

3. I really do hate referring to sign-gift advocates as “charismatic” because ALL Christians are charismatic, we ALL have been gifted by the Holy Spirit, not just a few anointed folks.

4. Montanus, the Father of Charismatic Extremism is one of DMI’s privately published works, this is one of the few books written about the father of today’s extremism. Rev. Liichow has coined the term “neo-Montanism” to refer to today’s sign-and-wonders movement. If you would like to purchase as edition of the booklet please contact DMI.

5. Even though I worship among godly men whom accept the title “father” I REFUSE to use it or accept it when applied to me, i.e. I always correct the one calling me father. Why? Because to do so VIOLATES the CLEAR TEACHING of Jesus—Matthew 23:9 says “And call no (man) your father upon the earth for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” I do not care what Church tradition is, Jesus said CALL NO MAN your father upon earth. There is no other way to parse that verse. Either God’s Word is final authority or it is not (remember, gather or scatter?). Those who do violate the scriptures and are in error and should stop the practice.

6. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wace/biodict.toc.html?term=montanus underlining and highlights added for emphasis by the author.

7. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montanism,  obtained on 06-06-11

8. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wace/biodict.toc.html?term=montanus Underlining added for emphasis.

9. Obtained from http://en-wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Baker_Eddy . DMI has a large selection of her cults books in our archive.

10. Visit my fellow truth-tellers at Personal Freedom Outreach they have an excellent article on Hinn’s necromancy at http://www.pfo.org/bhnecro.htm

11. By the late 60’s early 70’s within “charismania” we had pretty well established sub groups including: (1) The Discipleship movement with Derrick Prince, Ern Baxter and others (2) The Word of Faith movement led by Kenneth Hagin initially soon to be cloned by sycophants like Buddy Harrison, Copeland, Price, and others. (3) The Jesus People movement more or less dribbled into forms of discipleship. Against these stood classic Pentecostalism, the Assemblies of God, The Church of God in Christ, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, etc.

12. I know there was no word “gullibles” until I scribed it. God’s gullibles are Christian people who are doctrinally ignorant and thus pray to those pandering the raccid balm of false doctrine which infects and sickens the sheep.

13. A skulk is a group of foxes, and these women are sly to say the least.

14. DMI has one of the few books in publication on the phenomena of being slain in the spirit. “ Every thing You Always Wanted to Know About Being Slain In the Spirit” * (But were afraid to ask) can be purchased with a donation of $12.00 to DMI {please make sure we know it is for this book}.

15. Obtained from: http://www.chavdaministries.org/Groups/1000047797/Chavda_Ministries_International/Home/About_Us/About_Us.aspx

16. Every group has its own lingo, I have had to re-learn the various religious dialect on my spiritual journey and now I am proficient in Sign-gift speak (all 5 movement), Presby-prattle, Baptist bellowing, Lutheran liturgical speak and others!

17. From a PDF file on DMI’s Research CD Rom “The Latter Rain Movement” available for a modest $15.00

18. Her entire failed vision is widely available on the worldwide web.  Profalie: the act of speaking a false verbal prophetic (pathetic) word, it is a unique combination of the two words “prophesy” and “lie” Latter Rain CD ROM, DMI 2010

19. Please understand I am not saying that there are not nice people who think they are prophets, I am referring specifically to those I address by name in this article and in other writings.

20. Read Hagin’s book “I believe In Visions” he writes of it there and other places.

21-23 available on the Latter Rain CD Rom.

***

 

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The Fivefold Fallacy

22 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – Oct. 2005   Vol. 10 Issue 10 – The Fivefold Fallacy – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Fivefold Fallacy

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One of our primary ministry objectives is to equip our readers with enough accurate biblical information so they can defend the truth of God’s Word when confronted with the various biblical errors and heresies that are swamping the Church.

Defeating heresy requires going to the root and laying the axe there first, once the root has been severed the various limbs lose the source of their strength and wither and die. This is why DMI spent six months dealing with the core doctrines of the Word of Faith cult. Once a person sees the biblical fallacies within the central tenants of their belief system the truth of God’s Word will indeed set them free to begin to worship and follow Christ in spirit and in truth.

In my former ignorance as a charismatic extremist I studied the history of Pentecostalism and their leaders and began back then collecting original source materials from as many of these leaders as I could, the bulk of which now serves as the DMI archive. I was an active extremist when the “prophetic” became a movement in the early 1980’s according to its farcical father “Dr.”, “Bishop,” “Apostle,” Bill Hamon who is on record making the following statement:

That company of prophetess is being raised up in the 1980’s, God revealed to me that there are 10,000 prophets on the North American continent alone being prepared to be released within the Church. (1)

The fact that today virtually every Pentecostal and sign-gift charismatic believes that God has indeed restored prophets and apostles to the Church (2) are merely branches from the poisonous tree whose tap root is found in the false doctrine commonly referred to as the fivefold ministry.

Before we dive into the murky depths of this doctrine of men you must understand a key term of “restoration.” All of Pentecostalism from Montanus in 170 AD (3) to Edward Irving in the 1800’s to the so called Azusa revival and then later on the “Healing” revival of Post World War Two have seen themselves as a divine movement of restoration by God. Initially the belief in restoration was confined to divine healing, then later it included the sign-gifts, especially the alleged ability to speak in other tongues (4) and a general restoring of supernatural miracle power to the Church.

According to the extremist leaders (past and present) the Church somehow lost a great deal of its biblical knowledge, truth, insight and power. Obviously, this means somewhere down the line our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church (read Eph. 1:22) dropped the ball and allowed great truths to be forgotten or lie dormant until He could get through to certain anointed individuals to “restore” them back to the Church and bring us back on track. Hamon, a firm believer in dispensational demarcations gives us the following “chart” of divine restoration of the Church:

Hamon, Bill. Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Voice Today. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, p.20, 1987. This statement is from vol. one of a three vol. set on the Prophetic Movement.

Obviously, there are some exceptions. Some of the traditional Pentecostal denominations and other independent charismatic congregations do not believe God has set apostles and prophets back into the Church. However, these groups are in the minority. It is fair to say that easily 90% + people involved with some form of Pentecostalism endorse the reality of prophets and apostles today.

According to historic Pentecostalism, the gift of tongues was given for missionary purposes because the leaders of that time firmly believed that Jesus Christ was returning very soon and the Gospel needed to be preached throughout the World. There was simply no time to go to a mission school and learn foreign language. They believed God was restoring this gift to get the “Word” out. It was not until almost 50 years later when the fledgling charismatic movement was started that the concept of having a personal private prayer language became popular, that was not the original belief of Pentecostalism.

Year        Restoration Movement               Major Truth Restored
1500                  Protestant (5)                               Salvation thru grace thru faith
1600                     Puritan                       Water Baptism, separation of Church and state
1700                    Holiness                 Sanctification, the Church set apart from the world.
1800               Faith-Healing                      Divine healing for the physical body
1900         Pentecostal movement         Holy Spirit Baptism and speaking in tongues
1950      Latter Rain Movement              Prophetic presbytery, praise and worship
1960            Charismatic                                        Renewal of all restored truth
1970          Word of Faith                                      Faith confessions, prosperity
1980             Prophetic                              Prophets and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (6)

 

Four Major Movements

All Christians who have received God’s present truth (7) accept the last four groups —Protestant, Holiness/Evangelical, Classical Pentecostal and Latter Rain/Charismatic — as movements that were Holy Spirit directed and established by God. They are called major movements because each one restored one of the seven doctrines of Christ listed in Hebrews 6:1,2.   (8)

Present Truth or Present Day Truth is extremist code and it refers to the new revelations being given by the accepted restored prophets and apostles to the Church. These may be doctrines previously unknown and untaught in the history of the Church, they are “new” and must be accepted by faith in the one delivering the new revelation.

Doctrine of Christ                          Approx. Date            Restoration Movement
1. Repentance from dead works               1500         ……….        Protestant
2. Faith toward God                                        1800         ……….        Holiness/Evangelical
3. Doctrine of Baptism                                 1900          ……….         Classic Pentecostal
4. Laying on of Hands                                   1950          ……….         Latter Rain/Charismatic
5. Resurrection of Dead                                  ?                                             ?
6. Eternal Judgment                                       ?                                             ?
7. Ultimate Perfection                                   ?                                             ?

 

Hebrews 6:1,2 are not dispensational. The author gives no indication that he is referring to anything more than foundational doctrines that comprise orthodox Christianity. The writer is in a way unbraiding these Christians because they ought to be well established in these truths. In the prior verses he bemoans the fact that they ought to be teachers (Heb. 5:12) but are still only fit for the milk of God’s Word and not the weightier matters. According to Hamon and the other Latter Rain adherents it has taken God something like 450 years just to “restore” these doctrines to the Church, teachings that any well equipped pastor is transmitting to his flock to his Sunday school classes or from the pulpit.

Yet it is crucial that people buy into the concept of God continuing to “restore” lost truths and give new revelations to empower the Church for the last great world-wide revival which will Christianize the world and prepare it to be a suitable place for Jesus to return to. (10) If one is willing to believe that God has been in a process of restoring the Church then they are in perfect position to accept the next major fallacy which is the foundation of today’s so-called Prophetic/Apostolic movement.

The Fivefold Ministry

He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heaven, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: Eph. 4:10-13

This is the text that has been used since the mid 1940’s to make the case that the Church needs to have, in the words of the Latter Rain extremists, all five ascension gifts active in the Church for it to be brought to the full stature of Christ.

willybranham

What gave strength to the false belief that the Church needed all five of the ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4 was the advent of the ministry of William Branham. Without going into detail Mr. Branham was a unique individual, whose life was marked by many paranormal events. He grew up in the backwoods of Kentucky in 1909 and was virtually uneducated. Around 1946 he began a major thrust of his divine healing ministry.

He was supposed to be able to reveal to the individuals standing before him their names, what was wrong with them, where they lived, etc… Often before he would pray for them he would say “do you believe I am the Lord’s prophet?” the person would respond “yes” and he would say, “then go on your way your faith has healed you.” Branham attributed his ability to discern the thoughts and intents of people’s hearts as a gift from God who has appeared to Branham an told him He would bestow these two signs to him. (11) Due to Branham’s unique ministry and his own claims to be God’s prophet he drew a huge following. His ministry combined with some of the writings of Franklin Hall (12) was the impetus behind the formation of a new revival called “The New Order of the Latter Rain.”

There is some confusion over this aspect of Branham’s ministry, because on some of his audio tapes in the DMI archive he admits that he is helpless until his “angel” appears on the platform and that it was this being who actually revealed people’s lives to Branham. Once he was asked if what he did was by the power of the Holy Spirit, he said “no it was his angel.” Also it is well documented on tape and video that Branham used prayer cards that people filled out, and although uneducated, he may well have had a photographic memory which gave him to appearance of knowing these facts about people.

Franklin Hall wrote a book which became somewhat of a manual for this next “great’ move of God entitled “Atomic Power With God Through Prayer and Fasting.” This book is out of print today but it along with other out-of-print resource materials is available on a DMI CD entitled: The New Order of the Latter Rain for $15.00. Hall was a complete nut who wrote about how to levitate, how to achieve physical immortality and how to raise the dead. Hs writings were crucial to a sub-group within the NOLR called “The Manifest Sons of God.”

What has always amazed me about Mr. Branham’s ministry is that even though he was acknowledged as a false teach by other charismatic ministers he was accepted as a genuine prophet by them. He denied the Trinity of God, he taught that belonging to any denomination was a sign of the beast and would damn a person to hell. This teaching alone was primarily responsible for the mass exodus of pastors from the Assembly of God denomination, which came out with a statement against the New Order of the Latter Rain in 1949. It was also the reason behind the creation of all the independent charismatic congregations we have today. Not to mention the various false and unfulfilled “prophetic” words Mr. Branham is on record of spouting.

Some Canadians who attended some of Branham’s meetings took their enthusiasm back to their Bible school in North Battleford. It seems that from this seedbed the concept of a restored “Fivefold” ministry was birthed:

One of the points of controversy between the North Battleford brethren and the established Pentecostal denominations was the belief of the leaders at Sharon that the church had present-day apostles and prophets. Some of the first indications of controversy along these lines are in the June 1948 issue of The Sharon Star. According to George Hawtin: When one starts talking about prophets and apostles being in the Church in our day, the poor saints are shocked half to death. They raise their hands in holy terror and cry, “heresy! Heresy!” Now MY BIBLE SAYS: “GOD HATH SET SOME in the church, FIRST APOSTLES, SECONDAIRLY PROPHETS, THIRDLY TEACHERS, and after that miracles, then gifts of healings, etc. (13)

The movement became associated in people’s minds with the brethren in North Battleford who played a large part in initially spreading the revival. It also became associated with the practices of these brethren, including the laying on of hands and acceptance of present-day apostles and prophets. (14)

Mr. Hamon received his ”call” into ministry in October 1953 in one of the fledgling break away Latter Rain congregations. (15) from one of the restored prophets, which made an indelible impression theologically on the rest of his life. This initial false teaching of a restored fivefold ministry, like yeast in bread has spread throughout all of Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement and today it is not even questioned as valid.

One of the hallmarks of the New Order of the Latter Rain (LRM) and subsequently the Charismatic Renewal Movement is a doctrine of imparting the Holy Spirit and His gifts through the laying on of hands. In response to this error let me simply cite Dr. Martin Luther in his Smalcald Articles:

In these matters, which concern the external, spoken Word, we must hold firmly to the conviction that God gives no one his Spirit or grace except through or with the external Word which comes before. Thus we shall be protected from the enthusiasts—that is, from the spiritualists who boast that they possess the Spirit without and before the Word and who therefore judge, interpret, and twist the Scriptures or spoken Word according to their pleasure…Even so, the enthusiasts of our day condemn the external Word, yet they do not remain silent but fill the world with their chattering and scribbling, as if the Spirit could not come through the Scriptures or the spoken word of the apostles but must come through their own writings and words.

In short, enthusiasm clings to Adam and his descendants from the beginning to the end of the world. It is a poison implanted and inoculated in man by the old dragon, and it is the source, strength, and power of all heresy… Accordingly, we should and must constantly maintain that God will not deal with us except through his external Word and sacrament. Whatever is attributed to the Spirit apart from such Word and sacrament is of the devil. Luther, in dealing with the extremists of his day simply said that God does not give the Holy Spirit apart from His Word and sacraments. Whatever people want to attribute to the Spirit apart from the external word of God and sacraments is from the devil. (16)

This relegates the belief that one can bestow the Holy Spirit and His gifts (as if He was some commodity) through the laying on of hands as being of the devil and I agree with Luther on this matter. Like all error unless it is biblically excised from the Body it will spread. So the LRM enthusiasts took their initial error further and teach that not only is the Spirit given through their hands, but now also ministry offices are imparted (or activated) through their hands as well.

What is the role of these restored ascension gifts of apostle and prophet in the Church according to the extremists today?

The full restoration of apostles and prophets back into the Church will then bring divine order, unity, purity and maturity to the corporate Body of Christ. The saints will be equipped and activated in the supernatural power of God to be a witness and demonstration to all nations of the powerful kingdom of God. (17)

According to Hamon and may others in this movement, they see their role as being pivotal in bringing the Church to a place of completion thus enabling Jesus Christ to return. They base this belief on the following proof-text:

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you; Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21

They interpret this text to mean that Jesus must stay in heaven until the times of restitution (restoration in some translations) of all things, which, obviously, has to include the ministry of both the apostles and prophets. Without all the five ascension gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4 being active with the apostle and prophet having the preeminent roles in activating (18) the other ministries the church will remain out of divine order, in disarray, impure and immature.

Hamon and others see the restored fivefold ministries as a divine hierarchy, with the apostle being at the top and the prophet either next to or directly beneath him or her (depending on whose book you read). Everybody else is beneath them. The restored apostles and prophets are to give divine direction to the Church. These heretics have set themselves up not only to be the judges of doctrine but also the formulators of new doctrines.

Please understand that the stated goal of this movement is to demolish every denominational distinction and to enforce spiritual unity through the use of supernatural power. They foresee the day when every city will have one Church with many pastors, but each city will be led by a group of apostles and prophets, who will hear from God and give direction for the Church without walls. Hamon has gone so far as to explain how the fivefold “mafia” will work within the “city church.”

When the fivefold ministers come together to consider doctrines and practices this way, they will need to keep in mind several areas of insight; (1) the claimed revelation from God; (2) the fruit of the ministry among those who have received the doctrine or practice; (3) the supernatural working of God accompanying it; (4) the Logos and rhema word of God application and authority for the doctrine or practice; and (5) the witness of the Spirit and the unified consent of those present. (19)

All five of these principles for establishing doctrine, as Hamon calls them, are completely subjective. Let me break omerta and decode the lingo in Hamon’s directive. The claimed revelation from God refers to the belief that God is giving forth-new revelation to/through His restored prophets and apostles. Then they look at the subjective experiential fruit among the people espousing the latest revealed truth. Are the people happy? Is it causing numerical growth and financial giving, are people reporting a deeper walk with Christ in a pietistic sense? Number three, we have to check out the signs and wonders, after all, God confirms His word with signs following (mark 16:20). Any new doctrine or practice must have some variety of paranormal activity validating its divine origin. These signs do not have to have a biblical precedent (see rule number 4), thus just have to be accepted as coming from God and can easily fall under the aegis of being “new wine” of the Holy Spirit such as was seen in the Toronto Blessing experience. Fourthly, the Word of God must be considered. Not to worry, if what is currently being proposed as new doctrine or practice, even if hitherto unknown in the 2,000 years of recorded Church history, cannot be found within the context of Scripture there are tow fall-back positions. (1) What is being taught and experienced is present day truth (read 2 Peter 1:12). (2) What is being taught and/or experienced is part of something Jesus did, but it is not recorded in the Bible (read John 21:25). (20)  These two arguments are commonly cited today. They are used as a means to get away from the absolute authority of God’s external word, the Bible. Lastly, we have the subjective “witness” of the spirit by the restored fivefold ministry. In other words, this means that the gathered group of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers all sit around and say “yup seems ok to me.” It is very apparent that the Word of God is not central in their thinking, It no longer serves as the sole source of all faith and practice.  Please keep in mind, this aspect of the charismatic movement is growing very rapidly and almost universally endorsed within the movement overall.

Does The Fivefold Ministry Exist Today?

In a word, no it does not exist today. The LRM has twisted this text, like so many others, and have tried to make it say something that it does not say at all. To begin with we have to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture and even that must be done within the context of the verses examined.

Jesus said “I will build my church”  (read Matt 16:18)  so we know that the Church is being constructed by no less than God the Son. Furthermore we see in the Scriptures that Jesus is referred to twice as the “Head of the Body” (read Eph. 5:23 and Col. 2:19). What is more He is also referred to as “being the chief corner [stone];“ Eph. 2:20.

Most theologians would agree that The Lord Jesus Christ began to build His Church on the Day of Pentecost. By that time He had already chosen who would be His Apostles and they had received the Holy Spirit (read John 20:22). (21) For simplicity’s sake let me just say that the foundation of the Church was laid in the beginning and is detailed for us in the Book of Acts.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; In whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord; In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Eph. 2:20-22.

When you build a house you first lay the foundation. The foundation of the Church was laid by the genuine Apostles and Prophets with Christ Jesus as the chief corner stone. Once the foundation has been laid the master builder proceeds to erect the superstructure.

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; …1 Cor. 3:10-12

This is exactly what the Apostle Paul stated in the text above. He has laid (past tense) the foundation and others build on that foundation. There is no other foundation which can or needs to be laid than that which has already been laid, which is Christ Jesus! Then Paul goes back to commenting on how one may build on that original foundation.

Brothers and sisters Jesus Christ is not asleep at the right hand of the Father, but is active and alive among us today. He has been superintending His Church since its inception. He has been building upon the original foundation laid by the original genuine Apostles and Prophets through the faithful ministry of the proclamation of the Gospel and sacraments carried out by evangelists and pastors. I might as well add at this point that the Greek text does not divide pastors and teachers as two gifts but is better-translated pastor-teachers. I acknowledge that in other places teachers are mentioned apart from pastors, but this text, which the heretics abuse does not even hold forth the concept of a fivefold ministry linguistically! At best, if they wanted to be honest with the text they would have to say God is restoring a fourfold ministry.

God does not need to “restore” apostles and prophets to the Church in order to bring us to perfection. No one apart from the lunatic fringe has ever claimed such a thing until the advent of the neo-Montanist movement. They laid the foundation, they received the Word of God and the canon is closed. The Scriptures are all we need as our guide for faith and practice and anything which is not in accord with the context of the Bible is to be rejected as false doctrine and false practice. These deceivers insult the authority of the Scriptures by their claim to additional revelation and restoration and what is worse they insult the Author of the Scripture and the Holy Spirit Himself. The so-called restored apostles and prophets are on very dangerous ground indeed and the Church needs to mark them and sound a warning to our brothers and sisters not to be led astray by such people.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.     Romans 16:17    ♦

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Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Hamon, Bill    Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Voice Today.   Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, p. 20, 1987. This statement is from vol. one of a three vol. set on the Prophetic Movement.

2. Obviously, there are some exceptions. Some of the traditional Pentecostal denominations and other independent charismatic congregations do not believe God has set apostles and prophets back into the Church. However, these groups are in the minority. It is fair to say that easily 99% + people involved with some form of Pentecostalism endorse the reality of prophets and apostles today.

3. DMI has one of the few books in publication on Montanus entitled Montanus, Father of Charismatic Extremism. It can be ordered for 8.00

4. According to historic Pentecostalism, the gift of tongues was given for missionary purposes because the leaders of that time firmly believed that Jesus Christ was returning very soon and the Gospel needed to be preached throughout the world. There was simply no time to go to a mission school and learn a foreign language. They believed God was restoring this gift to get the “Word” out. It was not until almost 50 years later when the fledgling charismatic movement was started that the concept of having a personal private prayer language became popular, that was not the original belief of Pentecostalism.

5. I will not be too exacting regarding Mr. Hamon’s inaccurate assessment of Church history, however he is referring to Martin Luther (as he does later in his book). Luther and Lutheranism are not part of the Protestant Reformation, nor are Lutherans Protestants denominationally; we are original “Evangelicals”.

6. Hamon, Bill,   Prophets and the Prophetic Movement God’s Prophetic Move Today.  Shippensburg, Pa; Destiny Image, p. 24, 1987.

7. Present Day Truth is extremist code and it refers to the new revelations being given by the accepted restored prophets and apostles to the Church. These may be doctrines previously unknown and untaught in the history of the Church, they are “new” and must be accepted by faith in the one delivering the new revelation.

8. Hamon, Bill,   Prophets and the Prophetic Movement God’s Prophetic Move Today. Shippensburg, Pa; Destiny Image, p. 37, 1987.

9. Ibid. p. 38

10. The New Order of the Latter Rain which has its beginning in the mid 1940’s differed from classic dispensational systems in that it taught that the goal of restoration was to enable the Church to take complete dominion over the entire world (often referred to as Kingdom Now or Dominion Theology). The leaders of the prophetic/apostolic movement do not teach in a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church which is common among mainline Pentecostal groups, most Baptists, and even the Word of Faith cult.

11. There is some confusion over this aspect of Branham’s ministry because on some of his audio tapes in the DMI archive he admits that he is helpless until his “angel” appears on the platform and that it was this being who actually revealed people’s lives to Branham. Once he was asked if what he did was by the power of the Holy Spirit, he said “no it was his angel.” Also it is well documented on tape and video that Branham used prayer cards that people filled out, and although uneducated, he may well have had a photographic memory which gave him to appearance of knowing these facts about people.

12. Franklin Hall wrote a book which became somewhat of a manual for this next “great” move of God entitled “Atomic Power With God Through Prayer and Fasting.” This book is out of print today but it along with other out-of-print resource materials is available on a DMI entitled The New Order of the Latter Rain for $15.00. Hall was a complete nut who wrote abut how to levitate, how to achieve physical immortality and how to raise the dead. His writings were crucial to a sub-group within the NOLR called “The Manifest Sons of God.”

13. Riss, Richard.  Latter Rain,  Etobicoke, Ontario; Honeycomb Products, p. 71, 1983.

14. Ibid p. 76. Underlining added for emphasis.

15. Hamon, Bill   Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Voice Today.  Shippensburg, PA. p.2 1987

16. Tappert, Theodore  The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Philadelphia, PA Fortress Press, pp. 312,313. 1959. Underlining added for emphasis.

17. Hamon, Bill. Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Move Today. Shippensburg, PA. , p59 1987.

18. The term “activate” is a term used within the prophetic/apostolic movement to refer to the alleged ability to not only impart the Holy Spirit and His gifts, but also to anoint and empower men and women into every ministry field including that of apostle and prophet. The concept of activation is central to Latter Rain Theology because God only uses these restored apostles and prophets to genuinely impart ministry gifts to God’s people.

19. Hamon, Bill.  Prophets and Personal Prophecy God’s Prophetic Move Today. Shippensburg, PA. , p 180 1987.

20. This is an especially dangerous position that the charismatic movement has taken regarding judging so called new doctrines and experiences. When questions about the total lack of biblical precedent regarding being slain in the spirit, holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness or other novelties, they simply respond that they were no doubt found in Jesus’ ministry but not recorded in the Bible. We are then required to take it on “faith” when the restored leaders tell us that this is indeed proof of a new “move” of God. Every bible-based cult group took this approach when they attempted to support their views, eventually the cult group took this approach when they attempted to support their views, eventually the bible is always cast aside the writings of the cult leader or becomes interpreted by the cult leaders insights.

21. A careful reading of the Book of Acts will demonstrate that only the Apostles were authorized to “impart” spiritual gifts. Those who were empowered by God through these genuine Apostles are never shown bestowing the Holy Spirit or His gifts to others. Throughout Church history it is only people captivated by spiritual enthusiasm or who are heretics that have believed/taught that they had the authority and power to give the Spirit to others.