Agape Press Attacks Every Nation

UPDATE (9 March 2007): Agape has withdrawn the story, and has stated that its linkage of EN with the New Order of the Latter Rain was “mistaken”. See here.

Don Wildmon’s Christian news service Agape Press lays into the neo-Pentecostal grouping Every Nation, in a report about the Bethel World Outreach Center:

Bethel World Outreach Center is a member of the Every Nation family of churches, which is part of “The New Order of the Latter Rain.” The “New Order” is a cult movement that covertly believes its leaders are the collective reincarnation of Jesus Christ.

That’s unexpectedly strong stuff. As I’ve covered on this blog before, Every Nation was formerly known as Morning Star International, and some of its leadership was previously associated with the controversial Maranatha Ministries (critics allege MSI/Every Nation is just a continuation of Maranatha). Bethel is just one of Every Nation’s many outreaches, but it’s not the first to find itself in controversy. Previous entries I’ve written on the subject (assisted, I should acknowledge, by some disaffected ex-members) have also noted how Every Nation-affiliated sites are often very cagey about their connections, and sometimes contain dates in their histories that simply don’t add up. While I’m not particularly interested in whether Every Nation is “orthodox” or not, these anomalies and controversies have caught my attention.

So what about the claims by Agape Press? I find it very hard to believe that any conservative Christian group would use the word “reincarnation”, and I think we can see that as a polemical interpretation of Every Nation’s alleged covert belief. “The New Order of the Latter Rain” (NOLR) is also probably better seen as a trend rather than as a tight organisation. The Religious Movements Homepage offers a neutral description of the NOLR that includes the following:

The movement was led by William Branham and Oral Roberts. Oral Roberts was a Pentecostal Holiness Preacher who started his own independent healing ministry in 1947 (Riss, 107). William Branham began his healing ministry in the fall of 1946. He claimed to be divinely inspired by an angel and his reputation as a healer grew quickly (Riss, 106). Stemming from Ephesians 4:11 of the Bible, the Latter Rain followers believe in the restoration of the five-fold ministry. This ministry consists of apostles, prophets, missionaries, evangelists, pastors and teachers with the addition of apostles and prophets being the most controversial (Melton, 418).

…The doctrine of Manifest Sons of God holds that “anointed” ones can enter into sonship and hence become divine (Holy Laughter link). The belief that humans can become gods is highly controversial because it blurs the line between creator and created (Melton, 420). Latter Rain supporters think the doctrine of sonship is aligned with Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:45-47 and Romans 8:19) so that “sonship is an actual gaining of the image and likeness of Christ” (Melton, 420).

Joel’s Army is another doctrine of the Latter Rain faith. This claims that the Latter Rain advocates must conquer and dominate the world in order for the new millenium and Christ to come.

Another common theme in NOLR is the “new thing” of Isaiah 43:19 and Acts 17:18-21. This belief is similar to gnosticism in that they are always seeking a “new thing” or revelation to escape the material world.

But does this apply to Every Nation, a grouping whose leader Rice Broocks was recently defended by Faith of George W Bush author Stephen Mansfield? With claims of a “covert belief” this is hard to say, and in the 1998 book The Apostolic Churches (edited by C Peter Wagner) Broocks writes that

None of us at Morning Star think we are in the same league as the original 12 apostles or that anything we say is equal to Holy Scripture (144)

Quite likely, the Agape journalist made use of a bundle of documents that an ex-member has put together, and who kindly sent me a copy a while back. This ex-member claims that the founder of Maranatha, Bob Wiener, had been “initiated” by a Latter Rain figure named Royal DeWayne Cronquist back in 1967 (the source was a phone call between the ex-member and Cronquist’s widow; Every Nation apparently rejects the link). Weiner was also quoted as having talked of the Body of Christ bringing “to birth a race of God-men and women”; the ex-member claims that these are now identified with the “Apostles and Prophets” of Every Nation and its affiliated organisations. There are also a number of polemical websites linking figures such as C Peter Wagner with the Latter Rain, such as this one.

But what can we infer leaving that polemical material aside, and accepting the possibility that Broocks may not share all the views of his mentors? We’ve got the fact that Every Nation is an “Apostolic Church”, and led by an “International Apostolic Team”. Rice Broocks also appears to believe that he has a special “spiritual power”. The “Joel’s Army” idea might well explain why Christian Reconstructionists appear to have influence with Every Nation (particularly George Grant, a non-member who has taught at Every Nation’s Victory Leadership Institute); it also chimes with warfare/Crusade rhetoric I’ve seen in some MSI/Every Nation materials.

It would be an unexpected twist if the definitive answers finally emerged thanks to a news source of the US Christian right.

*******

Religious Movements Homepage references:

Melton, Gordon J., ed. 1996. Encyclopedia of American Religions. Detroit, MI: Gale Research. “Latter Rain Revival, Independent Churches of the, pp. 418-420.

Riss, Richard M. 1988. A Survey of 20th Century Revival Movements in North America. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 105-124.

Riss, Richard M. 1979. The Latter Rain Movement of 1948 and the Mid-Twentieth Century Evangelical Awakening. Vancouver, BC: Regent College, MA Thesis.

6 Responses

  1. […] Nation (see blog Christian Dem for more details on Feste). Every Nation has been the subject of this blog several times before; EN is also involved with PRC Compassion. Possibly related posts: […]

  2. […] puffed beforehand by the American Family Association’s Agape Press (which has formerly denounced the US neo-Pentecostal grouping known as Every Nation as a “cult”). It is most curious […]

  3. Every follower of Latter Rain should research Tricia Tillen, expert in the subject . as she shows the demonic influence of the dreams and visions being channeled by so called ‘apostles’ of today! Latter Rain (and Purpose Driven Life) are 100% connected to the occultic agenda to bring in the antichrist called “NEW BEGINNINGS”…..Also what Jane Lead 26th century pyschic predicted re: “showers” is now occuring in the churches. Charismatic Occultist Rick Joyner is literally bringing in the antichrist with his push of the militant church idea to eliminate those that “go against the spirit” Those that follow the Logos, the written word of God vs. spirit realm revelations. He teaches that they are the ‘antichrist’! The “Davids’ vs the “Sauls” Latter Rain is also connected to the channeling of occultist Alice Bailey who said that in order for the “Christ” (anti) to come the world must unite, get rid of written doctrine and declare that men are man-gods. Check out the TBN crowd pushing that we are man-gods! Hinn, Crouch etc. Also Mike BIckle claims ‘doctrine gets in the way of worship” ! Then you see those that are pushing for unity or the “Christ” wont come! Everyone is looking for “THE KING” but they are looking for the false King! Jesus said He comes first as the Bridegroom to Rapture His church from the Tribulation THen He returns WITH His church after the Tribulation. But the occultists and LR’s say ‘the King” is coming now. Check out Constance Cumbeys research into the occultic plan to stage a return of the “Christ” in the sky with technology, decieving the world! (Thessalonians says that the antichrist will come with power deceiving many!” If only they all would forsake the ego trip of ‘being an apostle” (false) and stick to the confines of BIblical dispensations. Contend for the faith once delivered!”

  4. Jan,

    RB wrote, “It would be an unexpected twist if the definitive answers finally emerged thanks to a news source of the US Christian right”

    The “unexpected twist” showing the “definitive answers” is coming soon. Analyzing all the aspects of a 350-year heresy leading up to the so-called “restoration of the office of Apostles and Prophets” (which Every Nation is integrated) and showing that is is based upon reincarnation takes time, especially if the evidence is to be presented in a scholarly format.

    Contend for the faith once delivered is work. Contending is work.

    However, for those who would like to see an encapsulated summary of the findings, here’s a link:

    http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/?s=Jane+Lead

  5. Researching Latter Rain brings Revelation to even a more specific light. The ‘cup of abominations’ that we read about is identical to the “New Wine” that Mike Bickle, Cindy Jacobs, and Rick Joyner etc promote. This substance that the fasle apostles promote is the very same as what Jane Lead 16th century mystic promoted to bring “unity”. No where in Scripture does it say that the world would be unified when Christ returned. The world says come together, Jesus said :Break apart! Now Mike Bickle says the church will execute judgment during the tribulation and he’s right! EXCEPT the church HE is talking about is the ONE WORLD Harlot church that Jesus predicted. Also, these false prophets such as TBN and Rodney Browne are pushing for the churches to join the “River”. This anti Biblical unity came from occultics and the churches are right on the same bandwagon. This apostasy is to be expected but if only the church would return to the Written Word of God ONLY and not the deception of dreams, visions, trances, and altered states of “worship”. The numerous “Anointings” that is so popular is against what I John tell us. We are anointed ONCE. Anything else is Satanic. Anyone questioning his church should read “The Other Side of the River” by Kevin Reeves. He came out of his church when he began to compare Scripture to the experiences going on. Now that the churches are outside of the safety of Biblical dispensationlism, they are grabbing at anything and anyone to ‘fit” their ‘prophecies”. Yet, thanks to false ‘prophets’ like Rick Warren and C. Peter Wagner, a false gospel is leading churches by the nose to bring in the antiChrist. “And men shall no longer endure sound doctrine.!” II Timothy 4

  6. […] West regards the NAR to be a “cult”, and it is the case that the movement’s emphasis on personally charismatic leaders empowered by the Holy Spirit has led to some troubling situations (such as the Todd Bentley fiasco). The AFA has attacked trends in neo-Pentecostalism previously. […]

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