Sunday, July 28, 2013

Caught In The Rain - Part III


In this last section, the current state of Latter Rain is assessed and all that has been presented in parts one and two are inducted to form conclusions. What follows is as objective as I can make it having time and distance expended from what I had experienced in that world. What I attempt to do here is add perspective and look at what happened. Not to judge in a critical sense but to present what history has recorded about Latter Rain and many of its leaders. This is not to in any way cast aspersions of those that still are ‘Caught in the Rain’ following their leaders faithfully – for it is not them who will be held accountable for the damage caused to so many. This is to lend perspective and as much objectivity to take the facts, not as one would feel about the movement and present a case that balances the ‘revelation’ some within this movement allege to hold. All this has been done before over and over. John the Apostle fought new revelation and exhorted those who were his friends in the faith to stand against the tyranny that such a mindset possesses. We fight the ‘new revelation’ in our time – these are those who add to the teachings of the Bible and take away others by their misinterpretation and their personal misrepresentation. As this study closes, conclusions can be made. It is my prayer and hope that the scriptures will in the end speak and shore up those who have been unwittingly used and abused and for them to no longer live in dysfunction but make for the exit and into the light.


Current State of Latter Rain

The influence of the Latter Rain movement has impacted most of the movements surrounding and after the Charismatic renewal during the sixties and seventies. The most prevalent ministries today that hold to Latter Rain teachings and their variants are moving more and more towards the sensational and experiential. While there are a few obscure groups that are what could be considered ‘hard-line’ Latter Rain, there are only a handful of these and they face the entropy of time as key leaders face end of life.  In most cases the key teachings of Latter Rain still exist in most Charismatic circles and in the remnant churches of Latter Rain that hold at least to some of the tenets of it. In the next exhibit, the key teachings will be enumerated and the current application of these tenets will be presented. This is to show the decline of application of whatever truth that was believed to have been re-discovered as suffering the mis-application that mostly time and the passing on of these tenets to the next generations would cause.

Laying on of Hands for:    
 1> Healing Forms varied amongst the Healing ministries and Latter Rain Proponents: Divine healing was practiced with the laying on of hands and prayer by the meeting leaders or those appointed. I some cases, demonic-caused maladies were identified and rebuked as the cause of such diseases. This lead to some of the doctrines regarding demonic possession of the believer Same
2>Baptism of the Holy Spirit Through the laying on of hands Same
3>Bestowal of spiritual gifts/blessings Same Same
4>Directive Prophecy For the sending forth of missionaries to foreign soil and for the equipping of saints in the ministry While still practiced for this purpose. Modern usage has devolved somewhat into less directive and more encouragement based. Blessing is sometimes emphasized and the identification of personality types and flaws are listed for the purpose of correction or encouragement. Prophecy takes on the character of condition-based. If the person performs adequately, the prophecy will hold and be fulfilled if not the prophet and the prophecy is absolved from the error. The example of Saul is often cited in these cases.
Manifestation of the Sons From the Body of Christ there would arise a company that would represent and so legislate the Kingdom of God starting from the End Times through Eternity.  This company would be a product of those who accepted the Latter Rain teachings. There are many forms of this teaching that survive today:
1. Dominion – Those that teach when the Sons of God arise, they will takeover the nations and so prepare the Earth for the Kingdom of God – Dr. Bill Hammond is a key proponent of this as are many others.
2.Elitist – Those that believe this company of people are the true church and that their particular belief systems will be identified by the Lord as being the true sons of God. The eschatological theories of how this is to be fulfilled are many and varied through out Latter Rain based ministries yet the common element is clear: these believers are set apart from the nominal church and will be the inheritors of the Kingdom of God while the nominal believer will be saved but their role and position will be of a lesser station ranging from being residents to being those who dwell in the twilight outside the New Jerusalem. True hard-liners of Latter Rain hold to this school.
Restoration of the Office of the Apostle and Prophet Mainly for the purposes to move the church into the full maturity – scriptures cited by key latter Rain proponents has been Eph 4:11-end of chapter. These ministries are required because they reflect the true form of church as set up by Christ through his apostles in the first century. The role of the Apostle and prophet had developed into full governmental authority and control by the 1980’s. This gave birth to the Discipleship movement and other groups who sought to implement the biblical pattern of leadership. After the demise of the shepherding or covering movement, many of the aspects of true biblical authority in practice were re-evaluated. There are some groups who still practice high degrees of authority and control at this time although they refuse to call themselves shepherding churches. What began as leadership by example became leadership by rule of law and precepts of the leader. Entire cultures in microcosm sprang up that revolve around the teachings of those that led.
Song of the Lord Experienced as a sovereign move of the Holy Spirit that took over and flowed though the congregation raising them in one voice/key in spontaneous praise. There are currently two forms of the song of the Lord today:
1>     freestyle –this is a major devolvement of the original heavily influenced by the Charismatic Movement. Contemporary worship services spanning many denominations allow for individual expression but the corporate and spontaneously Spirit lead worship is all but gone. Because of this, the services more appear as a concert than as worship.
2>     Liturgical – also a major devolvement. This is where at a certain place within the worship service, ‘spontaneous’ praise and worship is offered. This can occur and the beginning, end, etc of the songs being sung.
In either case the nature and origin of the Song of the Lord is suspect. For the most part it is sheer emotionalism (as in 1) or out of duty (as in 2). In either case, it is a rare occurrence to experience genuine praise and worship because the seeker of such has been conditioned against it.


In almost every case, Latter Rain and its subsequent variants, as Ron And Vicki Burks in their book Damaged Disciples so succinctly phrased it, are all culpable of a common practice:

“The present and former leadership maintains that it was not what was taught, but in how the teaching was applied. Bob Mumford expressed the problem as one of orthodoxy versus orthopraxy – doctrine versus practice. The concepts were misapplied. Overzealous application of spiritual authority has devastating after effects…”[1]

As so often occurs through church history, it is rarely the doctrines ‘recovered’ or touted to be ‘better’ understood that are ever at issue, it is the implementation them. Perhaps it is the wisdom of God to have not created a codex for the New Testament believer to live by. No, we are to follow the examples of those who have gone before us such as Paul and all the other apostles and prophetic writings of the Old and New Testaments under the direction of the Holy Spirit. It is challenging to do this given the passage of time and culture but our link to them is the Holy Spirit and His personal ministry to each and every believer. The Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit being the only infallible elements we will ever possess in this time must be the foundation of our faith and no other. The fallacy of Jesus’ time is our fallacy. The Jews over centuries had digested the law and the prophets and had constructed the mishna-torah – that is the second law. This was a collection of several hundred directives that if the Jew followed them would fulfill the law of God. This became the focus, the teaching of the rabbis and the gifted as they interpreted the oracles of God for the rest to follow. This created a way of life for the Jew that they could identify with the Laws of God in a complex but better understood form than the more general laws of God as given to Moses. In essence, when Jesus appeared on the scene, they did not recognize him from the very fact that he did not quite fit in or support the mishna but applied His own interpretation on the true meanings of the original Law instead of supporting the ‘precepts of men.’ How does this relate to the context of this work? It relates because history has repeated itself in every generation. The cycle is:

1.that the ‘revelation’ comes, it is received excitedly, the few that receive it spread it,

2.To the leaders, questions arise as to the application of the present revelation to the practical. Directives are developed that would allow for those attempting to follow in integrity of the revelation to do so, culture is formed, teachings published, teachings interpreted and applied as close to form as the original.

3.Miscommunication and misconception occurs leading to misapplication. This leads to variants that stress characteristics that seek to proffer the original spirit of the revelation but fall short due to lack of perspective by those left to implement from the originator.

4.That which was a spiritual walk becomes a natural walk (following the codex) and spirituality is directly assessed from the performance of the individual according to the codex of the group.

How does this differ from the times of Christ? It does not. It is history and human nature repeating itself…in every generation. The final stage of any movement can be summarized as follows by the Burks as they, from their exit point, assess the Discipleship Movement (A Latter Rain teaching) from which they were extracted:

“…does misapplication, though, explain the serious and lasting damage that has been done…Our problems go far beyond misunderstanding and misapplication. If misapplication were the only problem, then we would all have been guilty of being willing participants in our own abuse. No, in some way we had to believe that what was being done to us was somehow right – that those in the leadership over us were only doing what the scriptures taught and eventually things would work out for us. The doctrines we believed kept us from seeing the abuse that was happening right before our eyes”[2]

This is the lethal nature of misapplication of biblical truth. It leads the person to question not those who lead but causes the person to focus on self as the main cause of the misapplication, not those who have led them in the misapplication. This is its power over the individual –this is a key indicator of spiritual abuse in  its most deadly form. Here is the tragic dynamic: How could anyone leave a movement who espoused the doctrines of the Bible? There is the conundrum that many find themselves in presently. If the doctrines are followed by those who lead, then what one is sensing is one’s own rebellion and iniquity. The path is self-destructive and even if that one leaves or is extracted because of their lack of performance and their unrepentant attitude, the destruction continues. It continues in the very fact the person that left remains in the state of mind that they originally are at fault and because they are no longer with the fold, they are failures in the sight of man and God. Those who continue on in the movement look upon these who do not go on with the group that they no longer serve God. In many cases, those who leave the group lose their faith. This is a common over-reaction to the damaging environment in which they were steeped perhaps for years.  Those that are inside the group look at the mode of life and assess that the person no longer with them was not genuine in their faith and were essentially spiritually inferior and corrupt. Thus their compassion for the one who has left the group is absent and  their mindset towards these ‘apostates’ were justified - When in fact, it is the very damage inflicted from within the group that causes them to lose hope and thus their way.

There is much to be charged to the shepherds who perform in such manner and there is much to be reckoned to them before the judgment seat of Christ. It is one thing to feed the flock with the word of God and quite another with the practices of any movement – Latter Rain has been notorious for making such errors.  It must be stated clearly, the faux pas of Latter Rain is nothing more than the ‘teachings as doctrines the precepts of Men’ – no matter what may be their basis, the teachings are not and never will be the in the spirit of the Scriptures and will ultimately lead to error and misapplication within the body of Christ left suffering in its wake. We wonder why movements do not go on but are replaced – it is ultimately the orthopraxis that is judged and found wanting. Eventually, there is only room for the teachings in these types of movements and sects ( in Hawtin’s  own words), and as such, when the teacher reaches end of life so do their movements.


In summary, in Jesus’ words, ‘you will know them by their fruits…’, is perhaps the basis upon which any movement must be assessed. It is not what is said or developed and taught that measures the true value of any movement. It is what it produces. Latter Rain has produced:

1.In the beginning, denominational exodus of churches from Pentecostal denominations that for the most part these churches that left do not exist today.

2.Spawned the Charismatic movement that caused many to leave the traditional safety of their church home and is a fore-runner to the Emerging Church Movement gaining momentum today (which is nothing more than the Charismatic Movement in another form or should I say no form at all).

3.Initiated the Prophetic movement of the 80’s and 90’s that perhaps in the beginning had the best of intentions but due to lack of oversight and accountability lead to the fantastic, heretical and in some cases the immoral. 

4.Birthed the discipleship and ‘covering’ movements of the 70’s and 80’s which caused untold damage and required spiritual recovery for thousands.

5.Produced the Apostolic Movement of the late 80’s up to the current time whereby the ministry of the Apostle and Prophet can and often do circumvent the teachings of the scriptures through their orthopraxis of the very same scriptures.

6.Caused stress on doctrines that divide the body of Christ into the camps of the elite and non-elite. These teachings can be taken to extremes that have eternal implications in terms of exactly where the believer will spend eternity.

7.Ultimately interject earthly authority between the believer and Christ. Much akin to the concept of vicar in the Roman Catholic church. The way, purpose and direction of the believer is through the direction of the vicar or their representatives. The eternal state is determined, judged and presented as the assessment of the one so positioned.

If the fruits be the judge of something, then the above is evidence laid at the feet of Latter Rain and its proponents. The lasting impact of Latter Rain perhaps will not be assessed and measured fully until the next century. However from this point in time, the vision of Belshazzar in the book of Daniel is relevant ‘MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPSHARSIN’.

MENE -God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it

TEKEL = You  have been weighed on the scales and found deficient.

UPHARSIN =Your kingdom has been divided and given to someone else.



It has been a long journey for me. I for one was caught in the Rain for over twenty years. Through those years I finally reached the conclusion that the direction I was going was not where I believed was wholesome and good. Even then, due to my own dysfunction, it took my dismissal. I know now that it is before the judgment seat of Christ the final assessment will be made. I have much to answer for I am well aware, as do we all. For those I have hurt, I ask heartfelt forgiveness. It is the only thing I can offer some. For those I have disappointed, I point to the One who will never disappoint. For those I love, there is a light in the window for you and I look everyday in hope for your return.

I have come out of the ‘rain’ and have seen the side of human nature when welded with the religious nature of man. I have lost my family, my ministry and perhaps my eternal place in God’s Kingdom according to some but as it says in Romans chapter 14.

Rom 14:4
Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

In the end, we stand by no man’s assessment and each will answer to God for his own life. This is the way of the scriptures. Let it be our way from now on.

I leave you with some last thoughts which echo the final perspective of every movement (even the good ones) that will eventually run its course and dissipate. It is a quote by J.E. Purdie of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada in the publication The Pentecostal Testimony, October, 1948 that at this time proves to be prophetic and yet will no doubt be the final thought of any movement that forgets the Rock from which it has been hewn:

“The history of the Church demonstrates that if any group of Christians leaves out the proper teaching on the infilling of the Holy Spirit and His normal operations, barrenness is bound to follow. On the other hand if they over-emphasize the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit at the expense of the Person of Christ and His finished work on Calvary, and justification by faith plus nothing, declension, unbalanced emotionalism and fanaticism will follow. If the revelation of the cross and the grace of God given to the Apostle Paul is left out, the enemy will sooner or later take the field.”[3]

Let us return to the Cross of Christ and cling to that stanchion and sure place. Let those who seek to go on in God never forget the finished work of Christ because surely error will follow. Latter Rain’s influence produced many tragedies. Let us learn from history and from the very voices who brought it forth:

“But we did not know that like Ephesus we had lost our first love, and must repent and do the first works over again…I shall never cease to thank God that I was vomited out of the belly of this whale also.

For we never know the depths to which we have sunk until we are able to view Babel at a distance. Then and then alone our heart gives thanks to God for deliverance from another of the harlot daughters of Babylon.” – George Hawtin

“But after a few years I was becoming more and more aware that the Spirit of God no longer hovered over us as He once did…Perhaps all of us who were involved, were responsible in one way or another, for causing the Holy Dove of God’s Spirit to be grieved. I knew I must leave…but I never lost confidence in what God had done, and would yet do”  - George Warnock

“When he observed that the teaching, revelation and practice was starting to clearly depart from the standards of the Word of God, he challenged the leaders. When the leaders continued to promote an extreme position on the manifestation of the Sons of God, and continued to accept revelation and prophecy without carefully balancing it with the written word, the writer withdrew…” – James Watt

May God bless us all and may those who find themselves ‘Caught in the Rain’ find the only shelter from the storm – Jesus.



Many thanks to:


My immediate family who have helped my through the most difficult and dark period of my life – they have truly visited the ones in prison and are examples of Christ to us all.


Mr. Craig Branch, Apologetics Resource Center, Birmingham, AL – whose insight and personal ministry to me and my wife has helped us regain a healthy perspective of ourselves and most importantly of God. I cannot call him my mentor but I hope one day to call him my friend.


To my Children because they are and always will be.


Lastly and most of all - To my wife who has lost more than anyone will ever know yet has had the courage to press on in what is right -- All my undying respect and love.



The Rogue’s Gallery of Latter Rain

Here are some figures that were influenced by Latter Rain that perhaps you were not aware.

Jim Jones – Jonestown, Guiana“By 1953, Jones began to recognize the potential in Pentecostal-Style, evangelical faith healing for attracting crowds, raising money, and serving as a pretext for integrating churches. Jones attended a Pentecostal, Latter Rain  convention in Columbus, Indiana , where he was told he had a special prophetic ministry; he created a sensation at a conference at the Bethesda Missionary Temple in Detroit by manifesting all the gifts of the Holy Spirit; he began to hold services at Elmwood Temple in Cincinnati, Ohio, calling people out from the congregation, discerning their ailments and healing through the laying on of the hands; he even traveled to Los Angeles at the invitation of O.L. Jaggers to participate in a healing convention” [4]


O. L. Jaggers – founder, The Universal World Church, Hawaii Jaggers was originally an Assembly of God pastor who was influenced by Latter Rain in 1952. There were many revelations that Jaggers and his wife Velma received. Currently, the church they founded states that they possess the Golden Altar that stands before the presence of God in heaven at Rev Rene Villanueva states: ‘Every manifestation of the Holy Spirit into the lives of the people on earth come from the Golden altar, that the prayers of all saints, of all ages, including every Christian on earth today ascend to God and are answered because of the Golden altar." (referring to Rev.8:3-4) (The Golden altar on earth Rev. Rene Villianueva P31).


Earl Paulk (Manifestation of the Sons/Dominionist) - In August 2005 long-time church member and soloist Mona Brewer and her husband Bobby, who was a major financial supporter of the church, filed a lawsuit against Earl Paulk alleging that she was manipulated into being his paramour for 14 years. Brewer says that the members were conditioned to give unconditional obedience to the pastor, who called himself “Archbishop Paulk,” and that he taught her that those who are spiritually exalted can have sexual relationships and it isn’t adultery. He called it “kingdom relationships.” She says that Paulk even shared her with family members and visiting Charismatic preachers. This case was featured on CCN’s Paula Zahn Now program on Jan. 19, 2006, but as of March 2006 Paulk’s television program was still broadcast on Trinity Broadcasting Network.


Paul Cain (Protégé of William Branham, Kansas City prophet/ Toronto Experience/Todd Bentley mentor) - In 2004, PAUL CAIN, the most prominent Pentecostal prophet, was exposed as a homosexual and an alcoholic (“Paul Cain, “Latter Rain Prophet of Renown Is Now Discredited,” The Plumbline, December 2004).


[1]  Burks, Ron and Vicki, Damaged Disciples,  Zondervan Publishing House, Academic and Professional Books, Grand Rapids, MI 49530. Copyright 1992, ISBN 0-310-57611-3, pg 87
[2] Ibid. ,pp87
[3] Riss, Richard, Latter Rain Honeycomb Visual Productions Ltd, 1295 Eglinton Ave. E, Mississauga, Ontario, LAW 3e6, Canada Copyright 1987.  pp 81.
[4]Chidester, David Salvation and Suicide: Jim Jones the Peoples Temple and Jonestown. Indiana University Press, Copyright 2003. Pg 3.