I received an email about the Kingdom Now theology that was taken from Discernment Ministries Newsletter. The article, by Jewel Grewe, gave a thumbnail history of the Latter Rain teaching/controversy of the late 1940's and then how it was picked up by some of the Charismatics of the 1970's, especially the CGM group (the Shepherding folks). Then she showed how this teaching has invaded once again, this time into the Third Wave Charismatic movement.
I have an interesting perspective on this from two fronts in which I was involved in approximately from 1999-2003. The first was an email discussion group which dealt with contemporary Pentecostal issues. Almost all of the participants were Assembly of God pastors. One of the members of the group was the esteemed (and I found out from the article lately deceased) Opal Reddin, professor at the AG Central Bible College. I felt very fortunate to be a part of this group and saw the frustration from most of them over the Pensacola (and Toronto, etc) "revival." Brownsville in Pensacola is an Assembly of God church and so that why they were concerned with what was happening there. Most of the pastors on the list could see the deceptions described in the Grewe article. In fact, here is a quote from that article. Some of the pastors on the list were saying similar thigns.
A former member of the Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida explains that, “it seemed as if most of the people I knew very well, began to realize that the promise of ‘there must be more’ wasn’t happening as promised. Also gimmicks and false prophecies obviously didn’t pan out as well. What happened was that people got messed up…the end effect it had was to ‘ruin’ people for the simplicity of the gospel and ‘normal’ church life.” These had once been solid people and they became “spiritual gypsies” unable to find a church home. He then made a startling comment: “You would be amazed at how many Brownsvillians don’t attend any church regularly right now.
I could have also written that myself because of the second place I was involved with during those years. Destiny Image Publishers (a Third Revival publisher) opened up a chat room for mainly Brownsville people. I was in that room for three years. And believe me, it was god-awful. The reason I say this is because of the fantasy world these people were in. It was obvious that so many were very dysfunctional, and instead of helping them Biblically, Brownsville and other revival churches were just feeding them more fantasy. I knew that within a couple of years most of these people would reach critical mass and begin to drop out of revival churches like flies. Others would find a more gospel preaching Pentecostal or Charismatic church. Others would probably disdain the Charismatic church for a more non-C/P one. Others would just drop out altogether. And then there wouldl be that few who would keep up the pace of legalism the Third Wave offers - constant fasting and prayer, "radical worship," seeking God in mystical ways, flying around the country to hear and be prayed for by the "anointed" ones, and so forth.
And now back to the Contemporary Pentecostal Issues email list......one of the pastors was so fed up with this that he and some other pastors crafted a resolution to be presented at the 2000 meeting of all the AG pastors. That year it was held in Orlando...and guess who the keynote speaker was. Steve Hill. The same Steve Hill who "started" the revival at Brownville Assembly of God in Pensacola, FL. That was the last straw for these pastors. They felt some of their leadership was selling them out.They simply wanted to reassert what their denomination passed in 1949 - a stance against the Latter Rain teachings.
It was no surprise when the resolution, named Resolution 16 was tabled. Thankfully, later, it was adopted with some revision. But the main parts of it were still intact. You can read Resolution 16 at the AG website. It goes into a refutation of the Latter Rain teaching in their churches. Sadly, there are still many AG churches that are knee-deep into this, noticeably the AG chruch in Redding, CA as well of course, Brownsville in Pensacola, FL.
And now back to the Grewe article for a moment......she points out that the seeker-sensitives (read that Rick Warren) are into some of the Kingdom Now (read that latter rain). Emphasis however would be on the word some. Since most of these churches are not C/P's, they aren't [yet] into the apostles and prophet stream. I have said repeatedly here that in a few years, please do not be surprised to see the Third Wavers, seeker-sensitives and emergents combine into one huge apostate church. And then....there will be the rest of us cross-centered, Christ-centered, Bible centered Christians --- the Remnant. And guess who I think will be persecuting us. I'm sure you can see where I am going with this. And believe me, I am not one of these people who thinks there are conspiracies all over the place. So I believe this comes out of a fairly mature outlook on my part.
To end this post, I want to quote the Grewe article as she quoted Opal Reddin's warning just before her death. This truly IMO is a prophetic word for the church:
“As you have opportunity, please tell any and of our all of our A/G churches that I for one see Rick Warren and his deceptive "Purpose Driven books and practices" to be the gradual downfall to each church becoming involved. Some of my reasons:
1. His SHAPE, Jung-oriented spiritual gifts tests destroy the very meaning of "spiritual gifts, and hence all Pentecostal churches will become redundant." Those taking them as having any degree of value will find (too late) they were grieving the Holy Spirit. This is one of the main hindrances today to people receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
2. His "Gospel" excludes repentance as a necessary step toward salvation, and it IS necessary, according to Jesus. Warren's "Gospel" is "another gospel" of works," No wonder the Catholics and homosexuals feel at home in his pastor's conferences!
3. Every one who signs the covenant of membership is in the process of disobeying our Lord's commands to swear not.
4. Every A/G minister and memory should read Who's Driving the Purpose Driven Church? by James Sundquist and Deceived on Purpose by Warren Smith.
For these and other well-considered reasons, I plead with every A/G church and member to avoid Rick Warren's beliefs and practices in every way possible. We must get back to the things that brought the manifest presence of God into our midst, when gifts of the Spirit convinced unbelievers of their need to repent and get right with God. The Full Gospel will still bring sinners to salvation, and saints to full obedience as we anticipate our Lord's return in Glory."
Grewe then comments:
Opal understood the “Kingdom Agenda” of the Purpose Driven Church and all of the ramifications. Her heart was broken at the thought that so many that she loved were rushing headlong into this deception.
Then Grewe contrasts what a real church looks like in her denomination, AOG.
On a positive note, I was blessed several weeks ago to visit an Assembly of God church in Nashville, Tennessee and find the people on their knees at the altar repenting and calling upon the Lord. I immediately felt at “home” because I sensed the moving of the Spirit and knew that the Lord was well pleased.
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Now the surprise ending to this post. I actually do believe in much of the latter rain teaching BUT not the kingdom Now extreme, the definition that some are giving to apostles, and that horrid Manifest Sons of God teaching. But, I do beleive it is incumbent on each of us to follow God's leading in our lives to bring as much of heaven to earth as possible WITHOUT compromising the Word and without manipulation or making our mantra "the end justifies the means." That is never God's way. Jesus gave us a model prayer and in it He said,
.....Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.....
I also believe in apostles and prophets FOR TODAY...BUT not what passes for these in the Third Wave. As I've said before here, the true revival of the future will be a quiet, non-bragging one. There will be no deliverance churches, healing churches, Holy Spirit churches, revival churches, and so forth. There will just be the churches - centered around the Trinity and Christ and the cross.
The prophets will have 100% accuracy - not the 60-70% of the Third Wave prophets; apostles will be people in unreached lands - not people trying to get over already established churches without many signs and wonders to establish them as true apostles. Healings and miracles and prophetic words will be quiet, and ordinary in a sense, completely centered around what Jesus did for us at the cross and at the Resurrection.
If you see this rejoice. If you see more of this-in-your-face, exxagerated, and at times, lying, fantasy, Third Wave-type church---then run, run for your life!!
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