This weekend Chuck D. Pierce, President of Global Spheres, Inc., is hosting the “Head of the Year Celebration” at his Global Spheres Center in Corinth, Texas. The full title of the conference, to commence September 20 and conclude on the 23rd, is From Recovery to Wholeness: A Year to Bridge the Past and Enter the Future. Since this upcoming year will be 5773 on the Jewish calendar, Pierce is claiming this is the ‘year of the camel’ as the number 3 in Hebrew was originally pictured as a camel. Speakers to include Pierce, C. Peter Wagner, Dutch Sheets, Jay Swallow, Trevor Baker, “Bishop” Bill Hamon, Paul Keith Davis, Venner Alston, Mark Chironna, Avner & Rachel Boskey, Rania Sayegh, Jeff Jansen and Robert Heidler.
The event is billed with the usual superlatives: “This is a time to keep your feet moving and go beyond where you have been in the past, until you drink and eat of the produce of your promise! The Kingdom of God will become the greatest influence in the earth realm.”
The subjects to be discussed at the Conference are the following:
See the Camels Coming to Bring the Rewards and Reimbursements for Our Sorrows!
Find Our Way of Escape from the Past!
Cross the Bridge of the Past and Enter the Glory of the Future!
Neutralize the Enemy’s Power, Recover Lost Strength, and Nourish Us into WHOLENESS!
See the Priesthood for this Hour Blossom!
Grow Up and Mature into One New Man!
Bring the Impoverished into a New Dimension of Prosperity!
I wish to focus on numbers 3 and 6.
To “Cross the Bridge of the Past and Enter the Glory of the Future” is very likely referring to fully accessing the power of the first century Apostles and ‘bridging’ this to our future ‘glory’. “Glory” in the hyper-charismatic / New Order of the Latter Rain sense means the erroneous and heretical notion of the attainment to the fullness of manifested sons of God/Joel’s Army such that these ‘elites’ will have received their glorified, resurrection bodies on the earth – contrary to 1st Corinthians 15:20-28, 50-54. These ‘glorified elites’ will possess powers exceeding those of the REAL 1st century Apostles with an even greater authority. These manifested sons of God (MSoG) will have the ‘divine’ authority to execute judgment and exact punishment upon those in opposition as explained by “Bishop” Bill Hamon (the “R-T” in the following means Resurrection-Translation):
…The positive purpose of the R-T is to enable the army of the Lord [Joel’s Army, or MSoG militant] to finalize the war against all evil. The army of the Lord will progress on in the war until they have accomplished all they can in their limited mortal bodies. The R-T is for the purpose of immortalizing their bodies. This will remove all the earthly limitations, thereby enabling the saints unlimited abilities. They will be able to travel in all space realms of the heavenlies the same as Jesus and the angels do now. They can move in and out of all dimensions of the natural and spiritual realms as Jesus did in His resurrected flesh-and-bone body.1
God’s great end-time army is being prepared to execute God’s written Judgments with Christ’s victory and divine judgment decrees that have already been established in heaven. The time is set when they will be administered and executed on earth through God’s saintly army. All that is destined and needed will be activated during God’s restorational Army of the Lord Movement…2
The “One New Man” is a reference to the hyper-charismatic / New Order of the Latter Rain doctrine of Christ’s “second coming” – the full-on heretical doctrine that Christ will only return IN a perfected body of believers culminating in this “One New Man” (also known as the “birth of the man-child”). This is what Hamon is referring to in the above. Two recent examples incorporating both of these false teachings (numbers 3 and 6 above) are: 1) Bill Johnson’s tweet from August 20, 2011 in which he states, “Jesus is returning for a bride whose body is in equal proportion to his head”, and, 2) Bob Jones statement at the 2011 “Piercing the Darkness Conference” held at Johnson’s Bethel Church, “Recently, the Lord spoke to me and said, I’m coming IN my people. Christ in you, the hope of glory. I’m comin’ IN my people.’”3
Bill Johnson spoke on a “corporate anointing” – otherwise known as the “Corporate Christ” concept, which is the same as this “One New Man” – at Bethel about 2 years ago:
…Here’s what I’m believing for – I know it’s never happened; but, I know that it must before the end. There must be, not just individuals – I’m thankful we have individuals that are rising up with such anointing, such strength, we have people scattered all over the planet right now that are just making a mess of things in all the right ways. We are so encouraged. But, what I’m believing for is a generation – a generation that’ll rise up with a corporate faith, a corporate anointing to press into realms because it’s my conviction that as much as God put on a William Branham, or a Kathryn Kuhlman, or a Wigglesworth, He’ll put far greater anointing on a company of people than He ever would on an individual. To do that, there must be that corporate sense of, ‘we have to deal with the issue of obeying the rules of this kingdom to tap into the resources of this kingdom’…we cannot use the principles of this world and expect to tap into unlimited resource of the kingdom of God…4
A new “word” on ’Joel’s Army’ was just posted on Bob Jones’ site and the Elijah List using Joel 2:1-11 as the proof-text. Paul Cain used these verses for Joel’s Army back in the late ’80s, though this is now denied. The following purportedly came out of an August 18, 2012 trance Bob Jones went in to while napping:
Shortly there will be a war that I will declare and it will be a great victory! For I am going to hire mercy-naries you see and I shall pay well when they work for Me. Health and peace of mind will be their pay and joy they never knew. Money will be the least of things for I will prosper them in all ways. Mercy-naries are professional soldiers that have fought in many lands and fought in many battles. They are well trained in the sword you see. The word of God I will put in them and that will be their victory. They shall know defeat no longer but they shall be victorious. They shall know honor in Me. There will be no defeat for them. They are warriors and I will give them the victory. My pay to them shall be love, joy and peace that they will have within themselves. This shall be the tip of the sword of which they touch many. They have been warriors in many religious churches. Now I call them unto “the church” and they will have a victory in Me. Amen. [Bold in original; underscore added.]
It is claimed that those chosen to be in this army “have fought in many battles and [have been] scarred by the religious spirit. This religious spirit will no longer be able to touch them because they have been healed and delivered from it.” Jones goes on to quote from Joel 2:1, then he declares:
These are the days Joel prophesied! The Father will blow the trumpet in Zion and call His army into formation. (Amos 1:1) These are not battle weary soldiers but warriors well-armed in the power of the word and the fear of the Lord. They march forward in the might of the Holy Spirit never breaking rank. They never strive against one another but move in unity forming God’s most powerful army.
Bob Jones continues to quote the Book of Joel moving to 2:7-10 (the following is in the NASB):
7 They run like mighty men,
They climb the wall like soldiers;
And they each march in line,
Nor do they deviate from their paths. 8 They do not crowd each other,
They march everyone in his path;
When they burst through the defenses,
They do not break ranks. 9 They rush on the city,
They run on the wall;
They climb into the houses,
They enter through the windows like a thief. 10 Before them the earth quakes,
The heavens tremble,
The sun and the moon grow dark
And the stars lose their brightness.
This is followed by a section boldly titled God is Declaring War!:
The Father declares war but the mercenaries fight it at His command. We are the soldiers of fortune on this land. Our fortune is to do His Will. There will be great prosperity in His peace of mind, joy and love. The voice of the Father is the only one they will hear as they march forward into battle. Their life is spent on doing the Father’s will. Not one will cower to the fear of man or be led astray by the enemy.
This “word” is completed by finishing the section in Joel:
11 The Lord utters His voice before His army;
Surely His camp is very great,
For strong is he who carries out His word.
The day of the Lord is indeed great and very awesome,
And who can endure it? [NASB]
These ideas have parallels in New Age / New Spirituality teachings. Here’s a quote from Alice Bailey from a century ago referencing the “Corporate Christ” concept corresponding to a false second Coming:
…Eventually, there will appear the Church Universal, and its definite outlines will appear towards the close of this [20th] century…This Church will be nurtured into activity by the Christ [ED: actually Satan/antichrist] and His disciples when the outpouring of the Christ principle, the true second Coming, has been accomplished…5
Here’s another New Age / New Spirituality site proclaiming a similar thing specifying that when this ‘Christ’ “reappears” (the belief is he never left), he will appear in many people at one time:
The Christ, when He comes into incarnation, will most likely project himself into many parts and be where he wants to be. This is called the Law of Divisibility, a term used in Agni Yoga that means a highly developed spirit—one who is able to contact, simultaneously, various people in various locations.6
Barbara Marx Hubbard, former US Vice Presidential candidate (in 1984, although Geraldine Ferraro ultimately made it on the Democratic ticket) and staunch New Ager, explicated a radical version of “Joel’s Army” in an unpublished manuscript from 1980 referencing Revelation 6:7-8 with the ‘pale horse’ of verse 8 representing those “elected to transcend with all their heart, mind and spirit”.7 This pale horse will “kill with sword” (Rev 6:8) the one-fourth of the population which refuses to “evolve” with the rest, deemed the “self-centered”8 – those who will fail to join the others into making the next evolutionary leap from homo sapiens sapiens to homo universalis (Universal Humanity). Compare this to Hamon’s and Jones’ words above:
Before this stage of power can be inherited by the God-centered members of the social-body, the self-centered members must be destroyed. There is no alternative. Only the God-centered can evolve…
Fortunately, you, dearly beloveds, are not responsible for this act. We are. We are in charge of God’s selection process for planet Earth. He selects, we destroy. We are the riders of the pale horse, Death.
We come to bring death to those who are unable to know God. We do this for the sake of the world…
The riders of the pale horse are about to pass among you. Grim reapers, they will separate the wheat from the chaff. This is the most painful period in the history of humanity.
Those of you who know what is happening – the one-fourth who are now listening to the higher self – are to be guides for the rest who will be panicked and confused.9
Is this the sort of thing Bill Hamon, Bob Jones and the other hyper-charismatic leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation have in mind for those Christians who refuse to unify with their false belief system? Must the earth be purged of those “self-centered” Christians – the ones who will not unify with these false ecumenical, pluralistic efforts – to pave the way for the “One New Man”? Placing Hamon’s and Jones’ quotes above alongside Marx Hubbard’s, one must really wonder which side Hamon, Jones and his cohorts are really on.
It seems that, just like Marx Hubbard’s theology, there must be a battle to get rid of those “self-centered” Christians with a “religious spirit” before the “One New Man” can emerge. That is, this war must be fought before “Christ” can ’return’ “IN his people” after which they become collectively “One New Man” a/k/a homo universalis (Universal Humanity).
…[C]ertain accusations about Paul Cain proved to be entirely false, having been based on untruths that were later acknowledged as such. Paul Cain met with the critic, as did John Wimber and others. Though the critic was reluctant to concede the wrong of the report as a whole, he later wrote a letter conceding the godliness of Paul Cain and the reality of his exceptional gifting.
- Dr. John White, foreword to David Pytches’ (revised) Some Said it Thundered1
The “critic” White refers to is obviously Ernie Gruen. These are very strong words although White would later agree that his overall statement was “intemperate.”2 This will be addressed in more detail a bit later. As stated in the first part of this article, the exoneration of Paul Cain by Gruen will be examined in full since this has been used by some to negate the entire Document. Toward this end, we will explore Cain in some detail as well as some of his closest allies of this period including Mike Bickle (International House of Prayer – more commonly “IHOP”), John Wimber and Jack Deere. And since there have been attempts at discrediting the Gruen analysis of the “drought prophecy,” this will be specifically discussed in detail in closing.
Here is the first page of the two page letter3 (three including the ‘15 points/errors’ enclosure):
In effect, point 2 and its sub-points appear to completely contradict nearly the whole of section VI.H in the Gruen Document.4 Let’s examine these points.
Point 2d indicates that Gruen and his staff relied on reports of William Branham’s sons regarding whether or not Cain ministered with the elder Branham.5 Branham’s sons claimed he did not. It will be assumed that Cain and/or Wimber and his staff provided absolute proof to the contrary.6 However, this brings up an associated issue to be discussed later in this article.
In his August 1990 Special Report, Albert James Dager rightly questions Cain’s exoneration given that Cain has openly endorsed KCF/GM:
…[H]ow can Cain be exonerated of GM/KCF’s excessive errors when he has openly endorsed that ministry and appears on their platform? One who endorses a work bears responsibility for that work and is identified with its fruit.7
Part of Cain’s endorsement of GM/KCF included his explicit affirmations of Bob Jones as both a foretelling and forth-telling prophet during this time as the Gruen Document and other sources illustrate.8 So, why were limitations placed on Jones’ ministry as a result of the Vineyard assumption due to his aberrant teachings and practices while Cain continued to be embraced as a prophet? In addition, wasn’t Cain guilty of point/error 9 in the ‘15 points’ referenced in the first part of this article (and enclosed with the July 1 letter) – “[p]ublic predictions of natural disasters, economic events, and divine visitations without the approval of government” – in his purported “earthquake prophecy” of December 1988?9
1 White, John. “Foreword” in Pytches, David. Some Said it Thundered. 1991 (revised, “new edition”), Oliver Nelson, Nashville, TN; pp xxii-xxiii 2 Beverley, James A. Holy Laughter & the Toronto Blessing: An Investigative Report. 1995, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI; p 126 3 Letter on file including attachment. 4 Gruen, Ernest J. & John J. Arnold, et. al. Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship (Grace Ministries). May 1990, self-published; pp 217-21. / pdf prepared for online posting by Tricia Tillin (Booth) <http://www.birthpangs.org/articles/kcp/Aberrant%20Practises.pdf>; pp 123-25. Hereafter listed as pdf first followed by original booklet; e.g.: pp 123-25 / 217-21 5 Gruen, Documentation. pp 124 / 218-19 6 Beverley, Holy Laughter; p 131 and Jackson, Bill The Quest for the Radical Middle: A History of the Vineyard. 1999, Vineyard International Publishers, Ladysmith, Cape Town, South Africa; p 182. Confusingly, at least one subsequent “Re-published” issue has different page numberings. The 2nd issue was Re-published in 2000 as VIP, Cape Town with the same page numbering as the first edition; whereas, the 2010 “Re-published for Amazon” issue (VIP, Cape Town also) has different page numberings. Herein and hereafter, all page numbers will reference the earlier edition followed by the later one, e.g.: p 182 / 175. Neither Beverley nor Jackson provides any specific proof. Is there perhaps an exchange between Cain and Branham recorded or an extant photo which would prove unequivocally? 7 Dager, Albert James “Latter-Day Prophets: The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets and the Kansas City-Vineyard Connection”Media Spotlight. Special Report, August 1990, Media Spotlight, Redmond, WA; pp 6. Report undated, however verified by Dager. 8 Beverley, Holy Laughter; p 131. Notes Beverley, “Cain’s explicit blessing of Bob Jones was a major error…After Jones was disciplined for…sexual misconduct…I was told that Cain never trusted Jones in the first place.” If he didn’t trust him from the beginning, why would he endorse him so enthusiastically in the first place? Beverley, however, was apparently ill-informed of some of Cain’s doctrines namely Joel’s Army and Manifested Sons of God [see below in this article “Paul Cain Did Not Teach Manifested Sons Doctrine?”] proclaiming he had “no problem affirming that Cain is orthodox in his basic theology” while acknowledging Cain (and Bob Jones) did teach Joel’s Army [p 123]. The Joel’s Army doctrine as taught by Cain (and Jones) is contrary to basic Christian orthodoxy. 9 Jackson, Radical Middle. pp 179-80 / 172-73. “Earthquake prophecy” discussed in some detail including discrepancies in its reporting.
Paul Cain Prophesies Earthquakes?
It’s imperative to understand the significance accorded Paul Cain. To this day, Mike Bickle refers to Cain as one of his “spiritual fathers.”10 Jack Deere was so taken with Cain that he insisted John Wimber meet with him. As James A. Beverley states, “From 1988 to 1991, there was no doubt Paul Cain had ‘superstar’ status in the Vineyard.”11 Cain had been established as the primary prophetic voice at Shiloh Ministries which, as noted in the first part of this article, was largely funded by Vineyard Ministries International [see second paragraph under May 12 in the timeline]:
Grace Ministries team leaders have recognized Paul [Cain] as having the senior prophetic authority over Shiloh and those in prophetic ministry who are based there.12
Wimber even claimed at one point that he was “bonded to Paul Cain for life.”13 One of the reasons for his high stature as a “prophet” was the “earthquake prophecy” which was said to have validated Paul Cain’s message to Wimber and Vineyard: “God has a strategic purpose in this for Paul and the Vineyard Movement.”14
The “earthquake prophecy” came in two parts: there was to be an earthquake in southern California on the day Cain would arrive – December 3, 1990 – and there was to be a big one in another part of the world on the day after Cain was to leave. Paul Cain left Anaheim Vineyard on December 7; so, this would place the second predicted earthquake on December 8. Mike Bickle, in his book Growing in the Prophetic, recounts:
…A week or two before Paul’s scheduled arrival, Dr. Jack Deere, who was at that time an associate pastor with John Wimber in Anaheim, asked Paul if God would grant a prophetic sign to confirm His message for John Wimber and the several hundred Vineyard churches under John’s leadership.
Paul answered, “The day I arrive, there will be an earthquake in your area.” That, however, is not an astounding prediction for southern California.
Jack asked, “Will this be the big one we’ve all been hearing about?”
“No,” Paul answered, “but there will be a big earthquake elsewhere in the world on the day after I leave.” 15
This “prophecy” was also recounted in Wimber’s Equipping the Saints (ETS) magazine specifying Cain’s face-to-face visit with Wimber occurred on the 5th of December.16 There was indeed an earthquake on December 3rd in Pasadena.17 However, John Wimber had later questioned himself as to whether this “prophecy” was actually predicted. Bill Jackson, in The Quest for the Radical Middle, relates:
While Wimber wrote the account as coming before the fact, he later doubted his memory when he re-examined the prophetic. He would later wonder privately if it hadn’t really come after the fact. This is a very important distinction to make because the fact was used to validate Paul Cain’s message to the Vineyard. In a phone conversation, Deere recounted to me in vivid detail the facts surrounding the prophecy, verifying that it did come before the earthquake.18
As stated above, part of this “prophecy” was Cain’s purported prediction that there would be a second “big” earthquake in another part of the world “on the day after he left” Anaheim Vineyard.19 Yet Wimber, in recounting the Deere/Cain conversation in the ETS Fall 1990 article, records the earthquake was to be, quoting Cain, “after I leave” which is less explicit on the timing.20
On the evening of Cain’s departure, December 7, 1988 – which, of course, is notthe day after – there was a catastrophic earthquake in Soviet-Armenia. Deere would later apologize for being unclear in how he stated this “prophecy” initially:
…When Jack Deere realized the error he said he remembered that Paul had not said “the day after I leave” but “after I leave,” thus leaving the timing ambiguous. He apologized for the misquote. It was these kinds of disclaimers that raised the ire of many toward the prophetic because it seemed like backpedaling.21
10 Bickle, Mike, International House of Prayer Encountering Jesus. “IHOP MP3 stores: Free MP3s” <http://www.ihopmp3store.com/Groups/1000021591/IHOP_MP3_Downloads/Free_MP3s/Free_MP3s.aspx> Disc 1 <http://ihopcontent.ihop.org/ihopcntnt/endis/FreeMP3s/Encountering_Jesus_D1.mp3> 18:45 – 19:35. Bickle also refers to Bob Jones as his other ‘spiritual father.’ As accessed 10/09/11 11 Beverley, Holy Laughter; p 130 12 Lambert, Steve “Shiloh: A Prophetic Sanctuary” Grace City Report. Special Edition, Fall 1989; p 11 as cited in Dager, Albert James “Latter-Day Prophets: The Kansas City Connection”Media Spotlight. Special Report, April 23, 1990, Media Spotlight, Redmond, WA; p 4. Also in Dager Vengeance is Ours: The Church in Dominion. July 1990, Sword Publishers, Redmond, WA; p 129 and Dager “Latter Day Prophets: The Restoration”; p 5. 13 Hill, Clifford “Kansas City Prophets” Prophecy Today. July/August 1990, Vol 6 No 4; p 6 14 Jackson, Radical Middle. p 179 / 172 15 Bickle, Michael, M. Sullivant, Growing in the Prophetic. 1996 (5th printing Feb ’98), Creation House, Oakland, FL; p 39. Emphasis added. 16 Wimber “Introducing Prophetic Ministry” Equipping the Saints. Fall 1990, Special UK Edition; pp 4-5 17 Jackson, Radical Middle. pp 179-80 / 172-73. Jackson erroneously records the date of the Pasadena earthquake as December 5 as it was instead on the 3rd. December 5 was the day Cain purportedly met with Wimber which is likely the source of the error. 18 Jackson, Radical Middle. pp 179, 189 / 172, 181. Wimber “wondered privately” in a conversation with Todd Hunter. Emphasis added. 19 Jackson, Radical Middle. p 179 / 172. Emphasis added. 20 Wimber, “Introducing Prophetic”; p 5. Emphasis added. 21 Jackson, Radical Middle. pp 189 / 181-82. Recounted to Jackson in phone conversation on April 2, 1999. Emphasis added.
Open Vision of Jack Deere’s Mother and Related Prophecy
Point 2b is problematic. Here’s the account as recorded in the Gruen Document:
Paul Cain claims a person’s dead mother appeared to him and talked with him.
Three people testified that during a conference in Kansas City in April of 1989, Paul Cain called a man out of the congregation and said, “Your brother is okay – your dead mother appeared to me and said he is in heaven with her.” 22
The concession states that it wasn’t necromancy since the woman who appeared to Cain in this open vision was a living person. This account is detailed in the following from an audio tape of that evening:
The portion below pertaining to the account in the Gruen Document is bolded; the rest is shown to provide the broader context. With the benefit of time and a later restatement of this particular account by Jack Deere, this can be analyzed in detail:
Last time the Lord gave me anything like this – and this is the burden of the Lord, Mike, I tell ya. It’s a burden of the Lord because I don’t wanna do it, I don’t wanna do this… I never will forget the reproach that came upon me…and because of the ignorance of… the people, they thought I was talking to the dead. Listen, talking to the dead is nothing new; I talk to the dead every time I get up in a place like this. It’s people walking over dead people that are far more dead than the dead people in the ground.
We misunderstood a lot of things. We take one little isolated Scripture out here that ‘the dead know nothing at all’ and think we’ve got the interpretation of that – if anybody sees someone face to face with the Lord that they’re talkin’ to the dead. That’s the craziest thing I ever heard of. Somebody saw Moses; somebody saw Elijah. Uh, I know Moses died. And, uh, somebody saw him, didn’t they?
…If one of your loved ones was with the Lord; and, you hadn’t had any peace about this, and the Lord just sent a little love note to you tonight, wanting you to have inner peace and happiness, wanting you to be strengthened to serve Him, He might just tell you He was face to face with him, do you believe that? He just might do that.
And, Jack…I want you to stand up; It’s gonna hit you with brute force tonight. Your mother came to me in an open vision this afternoon. Her name is Wanda; second name initial J. – Right? W. J., Wanda, and then she looks like somebody I know named Jean, so, that must be her middle name. And she’s talking about losing a jewel and that jewel was lost. And she feels a lot of guilt, and a lot of responsibility there. And you don’t know it, but the Lord said, “Cliff is in heaven.” And Cliff, uh – JEWEL – it’s Jewel Clifford, he is in heaven tonight because God saw something in the insanity that came upon him that was demonic. And God, who is a God of perfect justice and perfect equality, said that He took one item from your dad as He did from Abraham and accounted it for righteousness sake. And he did call on Him, and your father, Jewel, as, uh, Joel and Malachi in that day when the Lord makes up his Jewels [ed: Joels?].23
It’s not difficult to understand those in the audience being a bit confused about the details as Cain spoke this rather fast and it IS difficult to figure out the exact relationship each has with the others (except Jack with respect to his mother, of course) confounded even more by the fact that “Jewel” sounds a lot like “Joel.” Furthermore, it’s not difficult to understand confusion as to who was alive or dead with Cain’s long introduction about “talking to the dead.” However, yes, the woman here, Jack Deere’s mother, apparently was alive at this time.
To try to put this in perspective by restating: In an open vision that afternoon Cain saw Deere’s mother who was “talking about a jewel.” Subsequent to this or within this same vision, Cain is claiming he received a “prophetic word” about Deere’s deceased father, Jewel Clifford, with the Lord saying, “Cliff is in heaven.”
Jack Deere recalls this himself in his book Surprised by the Voice of God.24 Tragically, his father had committed suicide when he was just twelve years old and Deere went back and forth in his mind varying between believing his father was in heaven and believing his father was in hell after weighing positive and negative evidence respectively.25
…Then he looked directly at me and said, “Jack, would you stand up please.”
As I rose to my feet, Paul said, “I had a vision of your mother this afternoon. Her name is Wanda Jean. I saw her standing on a cliff looking for her missing jewel. That must mean your father’s name is Jewel Clifford. Then I saw your father. When I saw him, he was in heaven, face-to-face with the Lord Jesus. The Lord showed me that sometime before your father had died, like Abraham, he believed in the Lord, and the Lord counted it to him for righteousness.”
I was absolutely stunned. No one knew my mother’s real name. She hated the name Wanda. She would only use the name Jean. It was one of our best kept family secrets. Likewise, my dad never went by the name Jewel Clifford. Everyone called him Jack. I had never told Paul that my parents’ names were Jean and Jack, let alone that their birth names were Wanda Jean and Jewel Clifford. I knew the only way he could have gotten those names was by supernatural revelation from the Lord.26
Obviously, Deere was paraphrasing Cain’s words and with the passage of time slight variances may be understandable. However, note that Cain never said anything about Deere’s mother “standing on a cliff looking for her missing jewel” (although that is a great metaphor) but instead Cain records Wanda Jean as saying “she’s talking about losing a jewel and that jewel was lost.” Cain never does equate “Clifford” with a “cliff” as in ‘a hill with a steep face’ although he does refer to Deere’s father as “Cliff.”
Contrary to Deere’s definitive statement above, it is plausible that Paul Cain obtained his parents’ names by other means, even other supernatural means. This would not be the only time a Paul Cain “prophecy” was declared to be obtainable only from the Lord when that was not necessarily the case.27
In his book, Deere relates that the very next day after Cain delivers this “word” to him, Deere takes Cain to the pastor’s luncheon and he asks Paul why the Lord would choose to reveal this to him now as he had “put the whole subject out of his mind”:
As far as I knew, it didn’t trouble me any longer. I wanted to know if the Lord had shown Paul why he had given me this revelation.28
Deere goes on state that the Lord had revealed to Paul Cain that there was a root of bitterness “over the possibility that he [Deere’s father] might spend eternity in hell.” Deere claims that in retrospect the “word” had helped significantly in softening his heart.29 However, that evening, the very next night after Cain’s initial “prophecy,” Paul Cain expounds on the “prophetic word” he had provided the night before which conflicts with Deere’s account:
There was a revelation that changed a man’s life last night. Did you know this former Dallas Theological Seminary professor that was ministered to last night? What you didn’t know was the demons of hell came and they said, “We have your father. And, we’re gonna take you, we will take you to your father.” And then the Heavenly Father last night through His omniscience began to reveal, “No, your father, your father Jewel Clifford he is with the Lord – face to face with the Lord.” That was a transforming act of God; that was the mercy of God. I got to deliver it with the jealousy of God and that changed Jack Deere’s life…30
Deere’s book mentions nothing about being approached by demons claiming his father was in hell; in fact, Deere claims he felt the whole matter was no longer forefront on his mind during that time. According to Deere, Cain’s words to him on the way to lunch were, “Paul told me that after I had become a Christian, the question of my father’s eternal destiny troubled me more than I realized.”31 That’s a far cry from, “the demons of hell came and they said ‘we have your father…and…we will take you to your father’” which would obviously be very troubling and it would be doubtful that this would have been put out of Deere’s mind.
As a contrast, it’s interesting to note that after initially ‘misquoting’ the timing of Cain’s “earthquake prophecy,” Deere later would recall “in vivid detail” the facts concerning that particular “prophecy” yet in a very personal “prophecy” – one that “changed a man’s life” – he adds the detail about his mother “standing on a cliff looking for her missing jewel” and either doesn’t remember or chooses for some reason not to disclose the fact that demons appeared to him telling him his father was in hell. In fact, the latter appears to conflict with his statement that he would go back and forth in believing his father was either in heaven or in hell.
Wouldn’t it seem more likely that a personal prophecy would be more ingrained in an individual’s memory than another one which is not so distinctly personal? This is even more curious in view of the fact that the ‘earthquake prophecy’ was purportedly spoken circa late November 1988 with Deere recollecting this in an April 1999 conversation with Bill Jackson32 – a full 10 years later – as compared to the fact that the ‘prophecy’ concerning Deere’s father was spoken in April of 1989 with Deere recounting this in his book published in 1996.33
22 Gruen, Documentation. p 124 / 220. Emphasis in original. 23 Cain, Paul “Who Will Ascend the Lord’s Hill?” cassette tape [PC05-002] The Jealousy of God. 3-tape set in clamshell, undated, MorningStar Ministries, Charlotte, NC; tape 2, side 2. While there’s no date listed, internal evidence points to it being at Kansas City Fellowship in April of 1989 since: 1) the venue is made obvious in various places in the recordings contained in this set; 2) Cain mentions things to occur in the ‘90s and some things to occur before the end of ’89; 3) Cain mentions “demonic killings in Mexico” he had just read about in the newspaper which is very likely the Matamoros ritual killings which made headlines in April of 1989; 4) an eyewitness recalls being there during this timeframe; and, 5) the details of this open vision seem to match up with the account spoken of in the Gruen Document [item VI.H.5] as corrected in the July 1, 1990 letter which is dated April 1989. Taking all this into consideration, this tape set is most likely from April 1989, and unless anyone can produce proof to the contrary, this will be assumed to be the account referenced in the Gruen Document. In a 1995 MorningStar Ministries catalog this set is listed as a 4-tape set including “Consumed by His Jealousy” as the fourth tape [PC05-004]. 24 Deere, Jack Surprised by the Voice of God. 1996, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; 176. Deere mistakenly mentions this as occurring at Metro Vineyard Christian Fellowship instead of KCF – that is, unless this “prophecy” was later recycled. 25 Deere, Surprised by Voice. p 177 26 Deere, Surprised by Voice. p 176 27 Beverley, Holy Laughter; pp 132-33 28 Deere, Surprised by Voice. p 177 29 Deere, Surprised by Voice. p 177 30 Cain, Paul “Recapturing the Jealousy of God” cassette tape [PC05-003], The Jealousy of God. 3-tape set in clamshell, undated, MorningStar Ministries, Charlotte, NC; tape 3, side 1. Undated but as noted above from 1989 and very likely April 1989. 31 Deere, Surprised by Voice. p 177 32 Jackson, Radical Middle. p 189 / 181. The “circa late November 1988” timing of Cain’s purported stating of the “earthquake prophecy” was gleaned from Bickle’s statement that this was “a week or two before” Cain’s arrival at Anaheim Vineyard in Growing in the Prophetic. p 39 33 Deere, Surprised by Voice. pp 176-177
Paul Cain a True Prophet?
Paul Cain was said to provide remarkable words of knowledge. Jack Deere’s book Surprised by the Voice of God is dedicated to Cain describing him as a “true prophet.”34 In a chapter detailing how to properly facilitate prophecy, Deere mentions that prophetic words should always be given with humility. He states, “The most skillful prophetic people I know avoid phrases like ‘Thus says the Lord…’” as this implies “a very high level of clarity and authority…that God is not giving to very many people today.”35 Yet, in another audio from 1989 at Kansas City Fellowship, Cain quips that he trades “words” with Bob Jones and John Paul Jackson each one prefaced with “thus saith the Lord”:
…I tell ya, I had a vision – I can’t get around John Paul without havin’ a vision – you know prophets when they get around each other they, if they don’t have anyone else to work on, they just work on each other. I mean they just say, “thus saith the Lord” and then they’ll turn around and say, “thus saith the Lord to YOU!” [audience laughter] and, then I’ll turn around and say, “thus saith the Lord to YOU buddy!” – and so on.Ya know it’s a really exciting thing. But every time I get around Bob he has a word from the Lord for me; and, I’m very humble – I don’t usually come back right away. But I go home and the Lord gives me some stuff that almost makes me explode, and I’m just BUSTIN’ to give you this. But John, I know this is irreverent…36
This is indeed irreverent, very much so, and obviously this lacks humility as well. We have to ask ourselves if a Holy God would take part in this sort of irreverent silliness. Perhaps Cain, Jones and Jackson feel they had “a very high level of clarity and authority” and thus could “prophecy” using the words “thus saith the Lord” at will. Maybe Cain was just joking around, but this is no laughing matter.
Take note that both Jones and Jackson would be limited in their ministries once Wimber/Vineyard took the reins of KCF in May of 1990. John Wimber was in the audience that day as this transcript makes clear; so, why did Wimber continue to promote and laud Cain as a prophet afterward while Jones and Jackson were restrained? This is especially important as Wimber claimed that Mike Bickle had asked him about KCF becoming a Vineyard as early as May of 1989 as he “was looking for pastoral accountability and a larger movement for KCF’s covering.” Wimber also states, “Mike regularly communicated with me during this time, and looked to me for pastoral care and direction.”37
In his book What Happened to the Fire?, J. Lee Grady makes observations about Cain after attending a conference in San Antonio in December of 1989.38 In a chapter titled “Fabricating the Anointing,” Grady records Cain as calling out ‘words’ to attendees such as “first names, cities, street numbers.” However, Grady notes that those called were mostly staff of the ministries who put on the conference (he knew some of these people personally) and that the information used to call these individuals out was accessible to Cain beforehand. Grady remarks that it was likely most attendees were astonished by what appeared to be “the remarkable demonstration of the word of knowledge”:39
…It seemed Cain had literally “read these people’s mail” by recounting personal information he could not have known about total strangers. But I found myself struggling with what happened that night…
…[I]t disturbed me that almost everyone who received these prophetic directives was part of the full-time staff of ministry sponsoring the conference. It also seemed puzzling that all the information Cain ostensibly received from God was printed in a staff address directory that I knew was easily accessible to conference speakers. Surely Paul Cain would not have studied that list prior to the meeting, then “recalled” the names and numbers to make us think he had revelatory powers!…40
Later on, Grady would interview Cain who stressed “no one has ever proved that he obtains information from any source other than God.” Grady also followed up on some “prophecies” given and discovered that, of the ones he checked, most of these predictions not only did not come to pass, some had actually proved to be quite the contrary. When asked for an explanation as to why these prophecies had not been fulfilled, Cain dodged the questions, but “through a friend, denied any wrongdoing.”41
34 Deere, Surprised by Voice. Dedication on unnumbered page preceding table of contents. David Pytches describes Cain as one who “would certainly fall into the category of a present-day prophet.” [Some Said it Thundered. 1990 (first edition, second impression), Hodder & Stoughton, London, UK; p 16; also in Pytches’ 1991 “new edition”; p 17]. 35 Deere, Surprised by Voice. p 193 36 Cain, Paul Joel’s Army. digitized audio from cassette tape, 1989, GraceMinistries, Grandview, MO; near beginning of side 2 at 39:08 – 39:45. Cain would go on claiming he had a “word from the Lord” for John Wimber. 37 Wimber “A Response to Pastor Ernie Gruen’s Controversy with Kansas City Fellowship” Equipping the Saints. Fall 1990, Special UK Edition; p 3. Also, it should be noted that Wimber referred to Cain as a prophet given his words regarding Cain and the New Breed teaching, “…it’s been prophesied by Paul Cain, and I think it’s a very important concept” in an undated tape circa 1989 or early 1990 [“Unpacking Your Bags” tape, undated, as sourced in Dager’s April 23, 1990 Special Report; p 12]. 38 Grady, J. Lee What Happened to the Fire?. 1994, Chosen Books – a division of Baker, Grand Rapids, MI; p 113 39 Grady, What Happened, p 115 40 Grady, What Happened, p 115. Emphasis added. 41 Grady, What Happened, p 116
Cain Absolved of Occultism?
One could argue that seeing a dead person – Jewel Clifford, Deere’s father – purportedly face-to-face with Jesus in heaven could be considered of the occult. Furthermore, it could be construed that the vision of Deere’s mother in which she was “talking about losing a jewel and that jewel was lost” is occultic since it involved verbal communication. Note that the July 1 letter states that it was discovered “on careful review” that this account was not necromancy which is presumably in the narrow sense of ‘communication with the dead’ rather than the broader meaning of ‘black magic’ in general. However, also note that Gruen specifically stated that the concessions were made on “points that could be disputed and argued about.”
Cain’s admitted association with and promotion of William Branham as “the greatest prophet that ever lived” raises an associated question as there are those who believe Branham was an agent of the occult. Kurt Koch relates that Branham was limited in his healing: “if my angel does not give the sign, I cannot heal.”42 The following, in his book Occult A-B-C, provides more indication of occultism:
Another evidence [of spiritistic (occult) healing] is the fact that…Branham [was unable] to perform cures when faced with born-again Christians who had committed themselves to the protection of [Jesus] Christ…When he [Branham] spoke in Karlsruhe and Lausanne, there were several believers in the audience – including myself – who prayed along these lines: “Lord, if this man’s powers are from You, then bless and use him, but if the healing gifts are not from You, then hinder him.” The result? On both occasions Branham said from the platform, “There are disturbing powers here, I can do nothing.” 43
This is not unlike an account as related by Constance Cumbey regarding New Ager Benjamin Crème in an incident after he spoke at a gathering. Following Cumbey’s praying aloud of the “Lord’s Prayer” while the other attendees were praying The Great Invocation – essentially a prayer to the New Age Christ, or antichrist – the expected “overshadowing” by ‘Maitreya the Christ’ did not manifest itself in Crème and he dismissed the crowd with, “That will be all.”44
While the following may or may not be related to the above, it is certainly of interest. Recall in the first part of this article that in March of 1990 Wimber, Deere and Cain were met with open opposition during a conference in Sydney, Australia. Jack Deere recounts a portion of this in his book The Gift of Prophecy.45 On the second night of the conference, Cain was apparently distracted and had a difficult time teaching. Nevertheless, both the audience and Deere were anticipating a Paul Cain prophecy session after the teaching was over. However, Cain “simply walked off the stage” instead.46
The next day when Deere inquired about this, Cain replied, “The price I pay for my gift is living with the disappointment of people and enduring the embarrassment of being deserted by the anointing.”47 [see “The ‘Christ Anointing’” section of “Christ" in the New Age article for more on “the anointing.”] Is it possible that the Vineyard/Wimber/Deere/Cain opponents in Sydney did something similar to what Koch and his associates or Cumbey had done thereby causing this particular episode of “embarrassment?”
In the following, from the same evening as the “prophecy” for Deere, Paul Cain reminisces about his first meeting in which he spoke at an A/G church near Dallas and recalls how he understood the background of someone in the audience:
I looked over and I saw a lady – and I’m not going to tell you how I see these things because right away you would say “oh, that’s the occult” – I just wanna make one thing very clear: the New Agers and the occult, I’d like for you to know that they got all this stuff from God in the first place. And the devil’s had it so long we think it belongs to him; I think it’s time we take it all back. Because God is the God of Light, He’s the God of the amber light and the glory…
Anyway, I saw this light over her and the vision came to pass. I said, “Lady sitting back here in the green and white polka dot dress, you’re from San Antone [sic], Texas and you’re cripple [sic]. Get up and run to that aisle immediately…” 48
Cain goes on claiming this lady, who “came in a wheelchair” although he “didn’t realize this at first,” ran “up and down the aisles” being completely healed. Continuing, Cain follows with another account in which he claims “the angel of the Lord” told him she had colitis.49 Is this angel similar to Branham’s healing angel, like the one Todd Bentley claimed in Lakeland in 2008? If so, is it possible that in the Sydney “embarrassment” the angel “did not give the sign” as would happen to Branham?
The transcript in VI.H.3 of the Gruen Document, “Smelling demons”,50 certainly displays the hallmarks of occultism:
When I was a young man and first received the anointing, I could smell a cancer; I could smell a demon; I could smell different types of sin. They all had a stench; they all had a different smell; they were identifying themselves. You could smell infidelity and adultery…51
This is transcribed from the “7 Spirits of God” tape which was one of those deleted in June 1990 [see previous post]. As of yet, this audio has not been recovered; so, this transcript cannot be either affirmed or denounced.
Perhaps a more clear case of occultism is found in the following. From the same evening Cain relates that Jack Deere was approached by demons who were trying to take Deere to visit his father in hell, Cain recounts how “the Lord” hit him on the chest:
…I told you the story when the Lord came to me one night I went to bed meditating on something that Augustine [ed: likely Augustine Acolla (also spelled Alcala)] said. He said, “Man was made to find his home in God and man can’t rest until he finds his home in God.” – or something like that. And I went to sleep meditating on that one night and I woke – well, I’m not even gonna tell you this ‘cause you wouldn’t believe it anyway, just leave me asleep if you want to. Call it a dream. Call it anything; but, I tell ya I call it ‘scary.’The Lord took his two fingers and began to punch me in the chest…” 52
Now THAT must’ve left a bruise! Dager notes “other phenomena akin to occult spiritual activity” have been observed while Cain ministered.53 It has been reported that one night in 1988 at Olathe Worship Center, a part of KCF, Cain caused a surge of electricity short-circuiting circuits resulting in the fire alarm system activating. Purportedly, unbeknownst to the KCF congregation, the local fire station was dispatched and the firemen were surprised there wasn’t a fire.54 A similar thing was claimed to have happened when Cain was speaking at the Spiritual Warfare Conference at Anaheim Vineyard in February of 1989:55
On the first occasion in Anaheim, an expensive video camera was short circuited. This was particularly unusual because the camera was battery powered. It was not plugged into any outlet.
The following night, the telephone system was blown-out [sic]. This was notable because no one was on the phone at the time.56
Apparently, on a subsequent night at the same conference, Cain himself speaks of these occasions. From audio of this conference, one of “Stadium Visions” available on his own site, Cain relates
…But, He’s gonna DO that and when He does you’re gonna have more than just a little omnipotent surge. You’re gonna have something MORE than something that’ll knock out the cameras and knock out the phone lines and knock out all the power lines and set off the fire alarms like it did in Kansas City or Olathe, Kansas and a little bit of that happened here [in Anaheim, CA]. You’re gonna have something MORE than that…57
Dager comments, “One must wonder if the Holy Spirit is a clumsy, out of control source of electrical energy. Such happenings are not dissimilar to those that occur during UFO sightings or poltergeist activity…”58
42 Koch, Kurt Occult A-B-C. 1986 (second edition), Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI; p 235 43 Koch, Occult A-B-C. p 235 44 Cumbey, Constance. video Discovering the New Age Movement. 2006, Radio Liberty Conference hosted by Stanley Monteith <http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8937919448007045479> starting at around 46:10. Cumbey described this ‘non-event’ as the “spookiest thing of the evening.” As accessed 10/15/11 45 Deere, Jack The Gift of Prophecy. 2001, Servant Publishers, Ann Arbor, MI; pp 72-74 46 Deere, Gift of Prophecy. pp 72-73 47 Deere, Gift of Prophecy. pp 73-74 48 Cain, Paul “Trembling at His Word” cassette tape [PC05-001] The Jealousy of God. 3-tape set in clamshell, undated, MorningStar Ministries, Charlotte, NC; tape 1, side 2. Undated but as noted above from 1989 and very likely April 1989. 49 Cain, Paul “Trembling at His Word” side 2 50 Gruen, Documentation. p 124 / 219 51 Gruen, Documentation. p 124 / 219 52 Cain “Recapturing the Jealousy of God” side 2 53 Dager, “Kansas City Connection” p 6 / Dager Vengeance. p 132 / Dager “The Restoration” p 7 54 Sullivant, Terri “Paul Cain’s Ministry: Recent Manifestations of the Holy Spirit” Grace City Report. Special Edition, Fall 1989; p 5 as cited in Dager “Kansas City Connection” p 6 / Dager Vengeance. p 132 / Dager “The Restoration” p 7 55 Sullivant, Terry “Paul Cain: Recent Manifestations” p 5 as cited in Dager “Kansas City Connection” p 6 / Vengeance. p 132 / Dager “The Restoration” p 7. Dager records this conference as 1988 rather than 1989 (presumably receiving this from Sullivant) which seems to conflict with the overall chronology as Cain was not introduced to Wimber until December 5, 1988. According to Jackson [Radical Middle. pp 179 / 171-172], Bob Jones purportedly told Bickle that Wimber would call him “in early 1988” opening the door “for future ministry” with Wimber and Vineyard. Purportedly, the call came “five days later” resulting in Wimber and Bickle ministering together in the UK in the fall of 1988. With this in mind, it would seem unlikely that Cain was at an early 1988 conference at Anaheim Vineyard. If this supposition is incorrect, the reader is asked to provide substantiation in order to correct this. 56 Sullivant, T. “Paul Cain: Recent Manifestations” p 5 as cited in Dager “Kansas City Connection” p 6 / Dager Vengeance. p 132 / Dager “The Restoration” p 7 57 Cain, Paul “Stadium Vision: Anaheim Vineyard” taken from February 1989 Spiritual Warfare Conference <http://www.paulcain.org/sandbox/newsite/pages/Stadium%20vision/stadiumvision.html> as accessed 10/15/11 58 Dager, “Kansas City Connection” p 6 / Dager Vengeance. p 133 / Dager “The Restoration” p 7
Paul Cain Did Not Teach Manifested Sons Doctrine?
The most confounding concession is point 2a which is the claim, “He does not hold to the doctrine of Manifested Sons, but totally denies ever having believed in that teaching.” The transcripts clearly indicate Cain was teaching the Manifested Sons of God (MSoG) heretical doctrine. The MSoG heresy is such that certain individuals will receive their imperishable, resurrection bodies [see I Corinthians 15:50-54] while remaining here on earth in an invincible state attaining immortality with the ability to go through walls, etc.
Dager, in his August 1990 article, states flatly
…[Gruen] is in error in saying that Cain does not hold to Manifest Sons of God doctrine; Cain’s teachings on Joel’s Army and on immortalization are purely Manifest Sons of God doctrine.”59
In Dager’s April 23rd article (and also in a chapter in his full-length book Vengeance is Ours as well as the follow up article in August), he provided his own proof that Cain taught MSoG by quoting from the KCF tape “A New Breed” – another one of the tapes on the June 1990 discontinued list [though, notably, not referenced at all in the Gruen Document] – which follows:
Now I know which is perfect is come [sic], that which is imperfect must be done away. But anyone knows that which is perfect has come. And we don’t have the full revelation – we haven’t grown up in the stature of Christ as we should. And there is no manifestation on a wholesale basis of the sons of God. And I’m not afraid to mention that even though I get shot down everywhere I go every time I mention the manifestation of the sons of God. I’m not afraid to mention any biblical, scriptural terminology…60
So my point is that there will be a manifestation of the sons and daughters of God. And it won’t be this baloney that we’ve heard of in the past; I mean, there’s been a few people who tried to walk through a wall like this over there and knocked their brains loose, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a true manifested son of God: if anyone walks through this wall over here, they’re not going to tell you about it – I mean, they’re just going to do it. And sons of God don’t tell you they’re sons of God, they’ll just show you! Amen!61
Dager clearly illustrates that Cain taught MSoG; however, are the Gruen Document transcripts in error or fabricated? We can safely say “No.” Existing digitized audio of the “Joel’s Army” tape – yet another one of the tapes on the discontinued list [identified in the Gruen Document as “JAPC”] – prove that the transcripts faithfully represent Cain’s words although a small portion is apparently edited.62 However, this missing section does not affect proving unequivocally that the Gruen Document does in fact show that Paul Cain was teaching MSoG which, as noted, is heresy.
“Joel’s Army” is another term for MSoG taken from a misapplication of Joel 2:1-11. The fact that this “Joel’s Army” is the same as Manifested Sons of God in the Paul Cain vernacular is evidenced by Cain’s words as quoted in item VI.H.6: “…this army is also in the New Testament…”
Using the digitized audio of the “Joel’s Army” tape, we can put Cain’s words in the Gruen Document in chronological order (excluding the portion not on the audio in possession obviously). Additional transcription from the audio providing more of the original context will be in plain text while portions from the transcripts of the Gruen Document will be italicized. The Gruen Document transcriptions are underscored as per the original, bolding is added for emphasis, and CAPS are used when Cain is emphatic. Repeats and stammers are mostly edited out.
Cain begins by talking about a vision of Bob Jones’ in which “the wind and the fire” are present and the pages of a Bible are turning. Notice that the portion from the Gruen Document (in italics, as stated) is claimed to be a direct quote from the Lord for Cain. There’s a second one for John Paul Jackson:
…And then…it stopped at St. John 15…He said that He’s the true vine and you’re the branches. It seemed as though the Lord reiterated that to my heart again…He had already shown me that a dozen times before. He said, “If you can get into this vine,if you’re really in the vine and you’re in the branch, then the life sap from the Son of the living God keeps you from cancer, keeps you from dying, keeps you from death, keeps ya from so many things.” And I said, “Yes Lord.” …And then it blew on over to St. John 16…it came alive…The Lord said, “That’s for John Paul. And just tell him that my Word is coming alive…”63
This illustrates that Cain is espousing the idea that the Lord is giving “new revelation” to certain “prophets” for the Church. So, how does one “really” get “into this vine?” The answer is revealed by the next section in which the ellipse […] in the Gruen Document is filled in providing the full context of Cain’s words. It all has to do with “intimacy”:
So this is a billion soul crusade, Bob. Your billion, your billion, my billion, and I want you to know that just fills me and thrills me and chills me, and Lord, please don’t let it kill me. It’s just so good. I’m going to live to see this, friends, I really believe it. If I can get through this message. So, they shut the Apostles…up in prison, they killed James, they stoned Stephen, and finally martyred all the Apostles with the possible exception of John, Saint John the Divine. I don’t think they killed him ‘cause he leaned on Jesus’ bosom and he had the heartbeat of God. God loved him so much. If you have intimacy with God, they can’t kill you. They just can’t. There’s something about [ya]; you’re connected to that vine; you’re just so close to him. Oh, my friends, they can’t kill [ya]. God takes care of them. He said, “I love them that love Me.” Isn’t that wonderful? So, I don’t think we have any record where they kill John…He may be the Enoch…as far as the martyrs are concerned. I don’t believe that he was martyred…64
That’s an interesting thesis: on the basis of the fact that the Apostle John had leaned on Jesus’ bosom and because neither Scripture nor, presumably, any extant historical evidence records John’s death, Cain conjectures that John was taken up like Enoch never experiencing a physical death. Consequently, if we were to have this same sort of intimacy with God we could not be killed. This sort of “intimacy” then provides the means to attaining manifested sons of God status – truly perfected saints, the invincible Joel’s Army:
…I saw that when they shut the Apostles up in prison; they killed all of them, and except maybe John. Many spiritual saints were slain also because of their testimony throughout the past centuries. But this is what God showed me: But this army is invincible. They are never put into prison; they are never delivered into the hands of their enemies…They go behind iron bars and iron gates and Iron Curtain and they enter into windows like a THIEF. Even those behind bars and in cells and in dungeons must hear the message that we preach and if it’s accepted they bring them out to freedom and to safety. And nothing shall escape it. WE have the authority then!65
So, this “intimacy” not only provides invincibility to the members of this army; it provides full earthly authority! However, this perfection may not come immediately:
…But we may not reach that kind of perfection right away…But we can repent right clear down to the bottom; we’re gonna get to that kind of repentance. And if we fail after repentance, we’re gonna repent again…66
According to Cain, God wants you to join Joel’s Army and enlistment will put both you and God “back on the map.” Has God ever really been ‘off’ the map?
…But nevertheless God’s gonna have a people that’s gonna put Him back on the map again. Amen. And He’s gonna put us on the map again, isn’t He. Let’s make up our minds to this fact. God’s going to – He’s not gonna make ya do it – but, I want you to know this army is going to be available to ya; if you want to enlist tonight…67
In the following, Cain makes it very clear that this perfected army is specified in the New Testament, not just the Old Testament. Not only that – it’s for the final, special end time generation only. And he identifies the generation he was speaking with at the time as that privileged generation of the end time. Cain identifies this Joel’s Army as the man-child, the overcomers, the 144,000 of Revelation 7, the bride of the Lamb, the manifested sons of God, and others:
…This army is also in the New Testament. It’s referred to as the man child. I know some of you’s gonna disagree with this; don’t you even stop to disagree. Revelation 12:25 [sic], if you disagree, just file it in Miscellaneous and don’t bother with it. When we get to heaven we’ll check it out, and you’ll find out I’m right. Here it is–this great army in the New Testament is aman child, Revelation 12:5; the overcomers, Revelation 2 and 3; the 144,000 servants, Revelation 7:3; the bride of the Lamb’s wife [sic]– see why they call me in on the carpet? – the revelation of the Lamb’s wife, Revelation 19:7 and 21:9; and the white horse. Revelation 6:2; the first fruit. Revelation 14:4; the precious fruit. James 5:7; the wise virgins. Matthew 21:1 – 13 [sic]; the manifested sons of God. Romans 8:19 – 23, and it’s certainly a remarkable fact that none of these names are expressions applied to the saints of God at any other time in history, but all of them are in their context and promises showing undeniably that they belong to the time of the end. The end time, let’s say the end time. They belong to the end time to this present generation, Matthew 24:34…the Lord says, “today, today, today.” And today harden not your hearts, but it applies to the end time, this is the end time and God wants us to realize once and again, in closing, that there’s gonna be a great company of overcomers prepared for this mighty ministry which I call the prize of all ages. And again, God’s offering to the believers ofthis generation a greater privilege than was ever been offered to any people of any generation at any time from Adam clear down through the end of the millennium…68
Note that Cain states “Revelation 12:25” which is an obvious error as the 12th chapter of Revelation ends with verse 17. In his zeal, Cain misspoke as he meant “Revelation 12:2-5” instead since these are the verses used to denote the “man-child” doctrine. Also, he mistakenly says “bride of the Lamb’s wife” instead of “bride of the Lamb” and he quotes the wrong Scripture for “the wise virgins” which should be Matthew 25:1-13 instead of 21:1-13 in all his excitement.
59 Dager “The Restoration” p 16 60 Dager, “Kansas City Connection” p 9 / Dager Vengeance. p 144 / Dager “The Restoration” p 12 61 Dager, “Kansas City Connection” p 9 / Dager Vengeance. p 145 / Dager “The Restoration” p 12 62 Cain, Joel’s Army. digitized audio from cassette tape; however, the tape is apparently edited. Frustratingly, the extant audio is missing the latter portion of item VI.H.1(the portion after the first ellipse of the last paragraph) and all of item VI.H.4 in Gruen Documentation; p 123-24, 124 / 218, 217. However, the remaining audio is quite enough to illustrate that the Gruen Document transcripts faithfully represent the audio/tape. It appears that the tape used for the Gruen transcription either had the sides reversed or the transcriber reversed the sides during transcription. The transcripts from the Gruen Document are put into their original chronological order as this may provide a better understanding of Cain’s overall message. 63 Cain, Joel’s Army; side 1 at 41:05 – 42:15. The digitized audio records the tape abruptly ending with “this concludes side one; please turn the tape over” and then after a short duration, the audio resumes at the same place at which side one ended. However, at 43:18 there is an obvious edit with Cain coming back in speaking on a totally different subject. This is apparently the section which had been edited. The quoted portion transcribed is from VI.H.1, third paragraph excepting the edited verbiage after the ellipse. This picks up soon after the transcription at footnote 35 ends. 64 Cain, Joel’s Army; side 2 at 53:21 – 54:39. Includes VI.H.1, first paragraph. 65 Cain, Joel’s Army. side 2 at 55:01 – 55:48. Includes VI.H.1, second paragraph. 66 Cain, Joel’s Army; side 2 at 1:03:19 – 1:03:37 67 Cain, Joel’s Army; side 2 at 1:04:12 – 1:04:30 68 Cain, Joel’s Army; side 2 at 1:05:37 – 1:07:26. Includes all of VI.H.6
Assessing Gruen’s Concessions
Let’s recap Gruen’s concessions specifically related to Paul Cain. As stated, “Paul Cain did minister with William Branham” [point 2d]. Assuming this is indeed true, it appears to be an honest mistake on Gruen’s part and a mistake which needed to be corrected.
While it is apparently true that the woman (Jack Deere’s mother) who appeared to Paul Cain in the open vision recorded in the Gruen Document was a living person [point 2b], it has been shown that this vision and the associated vision of Cain seeing Deere’s deceased father in heaven could be construed as of the occult. In addition, Cain’s association with and promotion of William Branham, who apparently used occult powers being rendered powerless when Christians were praying, adds more credibility to the possibility of occultism [point 2c]. Moreover, as mentioned above, there are other accounts which suggest the possibility of occultic activity.
Gruen’s only specific mention of anything related to occultism was the claim of necromancy, i.e. communing with the dead, associated with the open vision in which, as noted, the woman was actually still living. The “Smelling Demons” section may be considered a claim of occultism also which, as stated earlier, cannot be either affirmed or denounced since there’s no extant audio. Yet witness Gruen’s words in the concession, “We know of no occultism connected with him or his ministry.” Gruen may have still suspected it yet felt like he could not make a strong enough case. Let’s not overlook the words before the list of the three points, “it is obvious there are points that could be disputed and argued about.”
Using existing audio from the tape identified in the Gruen Document as “JAPC” (known as “Joel’s Army” and numbered among the tapes which were discontinued), it has been shown that the document faithfully represents these portions of the tape (to the extent of the audio recovered so far) thus proving that Cain did in fact teach the Manifested Sons of God heresy [point 2a]. Obviously if one teaches such a heresy this could call into question a proclamation of the individual being “a godly man and a man of integrity” as MSoG is not faithful to orthodox interpretations of Scripture and is blasphemous since it, in essence, equates man with God. So, why did Gruen concede these points?
The way point 2a is worded may provide a clue: “He does not hold to the doctrine of Manifested Sons, but totally denies ever having believed in that teaching.” This sentence is phrased rather peculiarly. This appears to state that Cain does not currently hold to MSoG, formerly adhered to this teaching as the Gruen Document illustrates, yet nevertheless denies ever having believed in this doctrine perhaps keeping in mind the tapes which had recently (at the time) been discontinued. Gruen’s statement would not necessarily contradict his preface, “In my limited dealings with Paul Cain, I have found him to be a godly man and a man of integrity.” With this, Gruen could merely be admitting he’s had “limited dealings” with Cain and each time Cain was found to display integrity and godliness. This discreet statement would not be inconsistent with the testimony of others.69
Furthermore, note that the phrase “We completely exonerate Paul Cain of any negative charges” is specifically in conjunction with “We know of no occultism connected with him or his ministry” in sub-point ‘c’ rather than the preface which would have necessarily encompassed all the sub-points: ‘a’ through ‘e’. Does this mean Gruen only intended the “we completely exonerate…” phrase to be specifically in connection with occultism such that the “negative charges” only pertain to occultism? As it’s written, it seems possible this phrase of exoneration does not apply to sub-points ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘d’ & ‘e’. It appears that each sub-point addresses one specific item namely: sub-point ‘a’ – Manifested Sons doctrine; ‘b’ – the alleged necromancy; ‘c’ – occultism; ‘d’ – Cain’s association with Branham; and, ‘e’ – a blanket apology.
However, we must concede the possibility that the list is placed in order with each sub-point necessarily following the other. In this case sub-point ‘a’ addresses MSoG as per the explanation two paragraphs above; ‘b’ addresses the alleged necromancy; ‘c’ exonerates Cain of MSoG, necromancy, and occultism while specifying that occultism is not known to be associated with him; ‘d’ speaks of Cain’s connection to Branham; and ‘e’ is a blanket apology.
James A. Beverley scrutinized the Gruen Document after having read a “scathing review” of Gruen in Wimber’s own Equipping the Saints magazine titled “A Response to Pastor Ernie Gruen’s Controversy with Kansas City Fellowship” from fall of 1990.70 This review was written and published after Gruen’s concessions above and included those concessions in the body of the report. Based on its contents, Beverley expected a poorly documented, biased work with texts being taken out of their context. However, upon reading the Gruen Document and comparing with KCF material Beverley commented, “…Gruen had every right to warn the charismatic world.”71
Beverley criticized Wimber’s article as “unbalanced and faulty.” He recognized a number of specific points that the Gruen Document brought forth including “the ridiculous wholesale verdict that Pastor Gruen’s accusations are untrue;” that “it failed to give sufficient acknowledgement of the…elitist spirit evident in the material documented by Gruen;” and, that it failed to recognize “an eschatology far removed from exegesis and [that was] rooted instead in thesubjective, mystical experiences of Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson, and Paul Cain.”72
In addition, Beverley states the ETS article was essentially Jack Deere’s report73 although this, if indeed true, in no way absolves Wimber of full responsibility since it bears his name. According to Beverley, John Wimber would later contact Gruen privately “to express his regret that their response to him was so careless and unbalanced.”74 Vineyard, however, never did publicly apologize.75 Jackson states Deere “was openly sympathetic toward Bickle” and “a source close to Wimber later came to believe that the facts had been somewhat biased toward KCF…”76 As for Gruen, he “decided the Lord did not want him to reply” to this report.77
While noting the biased nature of David Pytches’ book Some Said it Thundered describing it as an “overly optimistic interpretation of KCF,”78 Beverley relates White’s later agreement with Beverley’s charge of ‘intemperance’ regarding his foreword to Pytches’ book:
…Dr. White, in a spirit of graciousness, wrote me later and agreed that my verdict was correct. My view was based on his harsh statements about Ernie Gruen and his uncritical acceptance of Vineyard’s written reply about Gruen.79
It’s a shame there isn’t a further revision to Pytches’ book including a more balanced Dr. White foreword. Also note that contrary to a portion of White’s claim in the quote which begins this article, Gruen does not concede “the reality of [Cain’s] exceptional gifting” as Gruen makes no mention at all about Cain’s “gifting.”
Attempts have been made to discredit both the Gruen Document and Gruen himself over the years. Wimber’s Equipping The Saints article, Pytches’ book, and Jackson’s work have been used in this endeavor. Jackson mentions that it was “public knowledge” that Gruen “was in an immoral relationship at the time” but does not provide an adequate source for this statement.80 While it is true Gruen did begin divorce proceedings in May of 1993,81 nearly three years after his promise to stop sending out the Gruen Document (his marriage was subsequently restored about 2 years later82), these rumors of immorality have not been substantiated.
In any event, whether Gruen was involved in immorality at the time or not, the Gruen Document stands or falls with respect to its veracity. To the extent it can be proven true, it is true; to the extent it can be proven false, it is false. Notwithstanding the concessions in the July 1, 1990 letter and taking into account the findings here regarding the charge of MSoG, there is no evidence we have found suggesting that any aspect of the Gruen Document is false. (However, see below in “A Drought Evolves” section.) In fairness, any claim that a part or parts of the Gruen document is/are false should be accompanied by specific proof of same.
In assessing all the above, the following information must be kept in mind:
1) The July 1 letter was “a summary letter of the result” of the June 28 meeting consisting of Gruen and his staff with Wimber, Cain and Deere in which the Gruen Document was reportedly reviewed “page by page” by all parties involved. Presumably, these concessions were a joint decision by all since these were affirmed, or at least not denied either in part or in full, in Wimber’s Equipping The Saints article “A Response to Pastor Ernie Gruen’s Controversy with Kansas City Fellowship.”83
2) Paul Cain was celebrated by Wimber and favored by him to the point that he claimed the two were “bonded for life.” That’s a very strong connection between the two. Likewise, Jack Deere continued to promote Cain as a “true prophet.” Moreover, Vineyard Ministries International had a financial stake in Paul Cain in providing the majority of the funding for Grace Ministries Shiloh project by fall 1989 with Cain as its senior prophetic voice.
3) Given that we can prove the veracity of the large majority of the Paul Cain transcripts – over half of the portion specifically pertaining to Cain – thereby proving the “Joel’s Army” tape did indeed teach the Manifested Sons of God doctrine, why did Gruen state specifically that Cain “does not hold to the Manifested Sons doctrine, but totally denies ever having believed in that teaching” and why did Wimber and company agree with this? Is the analysis above correct regarding the interpretation of this statement; and, if so, does this mean Paul Cain, John Wimber, Jack Deere and Mike Bickle no longer adhere to and/or claim to have never adhered to MSoG? This will be the subject of two future articles – one specifically with regard to John Wimber, the other Mike Bickle.
4) Why was the Paul Cain “Joel’s Army” tape discontinued? If the claim is that Cain did not teach MSoG, wouldn’t this tape be kept in circulation by KCF turned Metro Vineyard Fellowship to illustrate that the Gruen Document was in error in order to ‘vindicate’ Paul Cain especially since the transcripts from this tape make up over half the information on Cain in the Gruen Document? Why were the other Paul Cain tapes discontinued some of which were not even referenced in the Gruen Document?
5) Gruen stands by the Document stating, “We still believe our documentation of the aberrant practices and teachings of Kansas City Fellowship are essentially accurate” in prefacing the three conceded points.
69 Beverley, Holy Laughter; p 131. Beverley states that most who meet Cain find him to be “a gentle man” and himself describes Cain as “delightful and warm” while Kenn Gulliksen extolled Cain’s “love and care.” Grady [What Happened p 116] states, “…several prominent leaders in the charismatic renewal endorse his ministry and vouch for his character.” 70 Wimber, John “A Response to Pastor Ernie Gruen’s Controversy with Kansas City Fellowship” Equipping the Saints. Fall 1990, Special UK Edition; pp 3, 27-30 71 Beverley, Holy Laughter; p 125 72 Beverley, Holy Laughter; p 125 73 Beverley, Holy Laughter; p 125 74 Beverley, Holy Laughter; p 126 75 Beverley, Holy Laughter; p 126 76 Jackson, Radical Middle. p 219 / 209 77 Beverley, Holy Laughter; p 125 78 Beverley, Holy Laughter; p 126 79 Beverley, Holy Laughter; p 126 80 Jackson, Radical Middle. p 219 / 209. Jackson has a duplicate footnote reference placing 6 in the text twice. The first one references the immorality charge while the second refers to the fact that Deere was openly sensitive toward Bickle which Jackson sources from Beverley. After checking the Beverley thoroughly, there is no mention of immorality whatsoever with respect to Gruen. Going back to footnote 5 in Jackson is Wimber’s “A Response to Gruen” article in ETS which similarly has no mention of immorality. This is not to make a counterclaim that there was no immorality; this is to illustrate, in fairness, that there’s no substantiation to the claim by Jackson. 81 Grady, J. Lee “Kansas City Churches Reconciled: Gruen Resigns After Announcement”Charisma. July 1993, Vol. 18 No. 12; p 54. Gruen made his statement on May 24, 1993 claiming, “My sin causing this resignation is not committing adultery, but committing divorce.” 82 Grady, J. Lee “Kansas City Churches Mend Rift” Charisma & Christian Life. September 1995, Vol. 21 No. 2; p 34 83 Wimber “Response to Gruen” pp 3, 27-30
A Drought Evolves
One of the most common attempts at discrediting the Gruen Document involves the “drought prophecy.” Like Paul Cain’s “earthquake prophecy” was used to validate Cain’s message to Wimber and the Vineyard, Bob Jones’ “drought prophecy” was claimed to legitimize Mike Bickle’s KCF “movement.”
From the opening in the Gruen Document:
For example, Mike regularly retells the story of how the so-called “prophet” Bob Jones predicted [on May 27, 1983] a 3-month drought which would finally end with a “drought-breaker” on August 23.
In telling this tale, Mike makes such statements as, “We watched it day by day…June, no rain…then on August 23, three to four inches of rain!” This is portrayed as God’s confirmation of their “Movement.” It sounded like a pretty impressive miracle until we checked with the National Weather Bureau and the daily newspaper accounts for that timeframe. We found the following:
a. Actual readings from the former Richards Gebaur Air Force base, which is only a few minutes from Kansas City Fellowship, show over seven inches of rain in June, which is well above normal!
b. The “drought-breaker” on August 23 actually produced less than one-third of an inch.
c. Of the 12 days it rained in June, [six] of them produced records of rains heavier than the “drought-breaker.” One day alone had over seven times the rainfall on August 23 – 2.35 inches. (See Section I)
From the beginning this could have never been considered a true prophecy.84
Gruen lays out the specific parameters as set forth in the Bob Jones “prophecy” as gleaned from the earliest recording of this event . This ‘drought’ was to be one of no rain from the time of Jones’ purported proclamation at the end of May until August 23rd at which point there was to be a drought-breaking rain. This is both very well defined and very straightforward.
Even though there was in fact a drought defined as ‘a prolonged period of less than normal rainfall’ in the late summer of 1983 beginning in July, Gruen’s point was to merely disprove the specific parameters of Jones “prophecy” which proclaimed a ‘no rain whatsoever’ drought to encompass all of June, July and August up through to the August 23rd ‘drought-breaker.’ To do so, all he had to show was that there was rainfall in June thereby negating the drought’s beginning and then show that even though there was rain on August 23rd, the amount was very small, much less than the reported 3 to 4 inches of ‘drought-breaking’ rain as reported by Bickle.
The Gruen Document transcribed two different tapes of this “drought prophecy.” The earliest, from Spring 1986 titled The Prophetic History of Grace Ministries, Volume 2 (a tape series among those on the June 1990 discontinued list), follows. This starts out with Bickle quoting Bob Jones:
‘This is the sign in the heavens, again…For three months there will be a drought in this city.’…The sign is (that) there will be a pattern in the heavens – a weather pattern, and you can’t manipulate weather patterns, so we said, ‘Okay, if it comes to pass, we know the word is true.’…But he says, ‘On August 23, God will send a sign from heaven…’ I said, ‘Bob, I hope this is right.’ Cause it was terrible. June – no rain…August 23, 6:00 at night, it rains, what, 3 to 4 inches of rain…It was a sign in the heavens that no man could have manipulated; it was spoken publicly for all to hear.85
Gruen left out a bit from the audio here (illustrated by the ellipses […]) as, again, his point was to show that the Bickle claim of no rain for the month of June and a pouring rain of 3 to 4 inches on August 23rd were untrue. Thankfully, we also have David Pytches’ Some Said it Thundered (original, unrevised first edition)86 rendition of this “drought prophecy” which corresponds to the Gruen account above while filling in some of the information missing in the ellipses.
Pytches transcribed KCF tapes as he states this in the “Acknowledgements”: “I want to express my appreciation to Kansas City Fellowship for their ready permission for me to quote from their unedited tapes…”87 Unfortunately, Pytches’ work does not provide footnotes and does not include any tape titles or numbers in the list of references in the back of his book. However, it appears as though he paraphrases a bit rather than quoting directly since some of the words don’t exactly match up to Gruen’s even though the basic details do:
“…[T]here will be the total withholding of everything for three months, although God will allow a little bit of liberty.
In this city everything will be withheld. For three months there will be a drought. That’s the sign! God has spoken!…for three months there will be no rain – not until 23 August.”88
Once again, to restate, according to this “prophecy” there was to be no rain at all, not a sprinkle, until August 23. Picking up where we left off:
Bob had given a specific date for the end of a drought which he predicted was about to begin.
This level of prophecy could certainly be nervy! Mike found himself becoming an expert weather watcher…To quote Mike:
“…For the whole month ofJune there was no rain! It was terrible! For the whole month of July there was no rain! It was terrible!
“No rain still during the first week of August or the second or the third. It was terrible! Bob Jones said the Lord had told him it would come on 23 August. We had all been poised since early dawn that day but by 1 p.m. there was still no rain. By six o’clock we were just resigned to wait for another day when suddenly it began. And did it rain? It poured! No man could have manipulated that. It just had to be God!”89
As Pytches’ clearly describes, the claim is that as “an expert weather watcher” Bickle saw not a drop of rain for the entire period of June, July and August until August 23rd at which time “It poured!” Yet when this is compared to actual rainfall as the Gruen Document states, June had above average rainfall for the area with six of those days well exceeding the .32” of rainfall on August 23rd.90 Furthermore, July and August, while having much less than normal rainfall, did indeed have some rain.91 According to National Weather Service archives, actual monthly rainfall in Kansas City in 1983 for the summer and early fall was as follows: June: 6.46”; July: 1.17”; August: 0.97”; September: 1.91”; and, October: 4.15”.92
Apparently, Bickle found out there really was some rainfall during the period of June 1 through August 22 since he revised this “prophecy” a bit as evidenced by the transcription of a recording from May of 1989 titled Overview of Our Prophetic History in the Gruen Document. Bickle backpedals a bit:
Then Bob stands up at the end and he says, ‘I got bad news.’ He says, ‘The Lord told me that there isn’t gonna be a revival being poured out at the end of this 21 days.’ He said, ‘Worse than that, we’re goin’ to the three months of total barrenness. And there’s gonna be a drought upon the city.’ He didn’t say that there would be, you know, not a, not a sprinkle of rain. He said there’d be a drought. He said through the city. And ah, I checked the newspaper once and found out that it rained an inch in the north over the summer. But ah, you know, I’m not sure exactly how much, or somebody did – I can’t remember all the those details, but we watched it day by day and there was a drought through those three months…93
In the earlier account there was the emphatic declaration of no rain yet the later account claims that Bob didn’t say there would be “not a sprinkle of rain.” The first account was three years after this all important prophecy was spoken in 1983, yet in 1989 it seemed they didn’t recall it quite right in the earlier account of 1986. Given that this was purportedly a “word from the Lord,” wouldn’t this have been meticulously recorded? This should have been especially important to write down as this “prophecy” was to confirm the “movement” at KCF.
Bickle “can’t remember all those details” yet he “watched it day by day”? Are we really to believe the “details” of something this important would not be remembered in view of the fact there was so much at stake? And he maintains there was a “drought those three months” including June in which, as stated, there was almost 6.5” of rain with more than a few of those days much more than “a sprinkle.” Continuing:
He (Bob) said, ‘The Lord will break the drought in the natural over Kansas City, and it’s a sign that He will, on an appointed time, break the drought in the Spirit, but not until He appoints the time.’
…And, ah, we’ve had several different theories when that drought was gonna break, but it hadn’t broke yet. And, ah, so, so much for all our theories. But there is an appointed time when the drought breaks in the natural as well as the Spirit. And he said, ‘And here’s the proof that there will, it will break on an appointed day in the natural.’ He said, ‘On August 23, the drought will end and the rains will come to the city.94
Once again, Bickle makes the claim that August 23rd would be the drought-breaker at which time “the drought will end and the rains will come to the city.” Bickle goes on reiterating how no one could humanly predict that it was to rain on a particular day three months later “to break a 3-month drought.” He proclaimed, “It was a supernatural sign to us.”95
Once Wimber/Vineyard took over the reins of Kansas City Fellowship, the “drought prophecy” was analyzed and explained in a much different way. Their claim was that Gruen was wrong in his dogmatic statement: “There was no drought…This prophecy did not happen. It was a total fabrication to promote ‘The Movement.’”96 Unfairly, they left out a very important part of Gruen’s complete statement which follows:
There was no drought. Anyone who went outside or read the newspaper could not have considered June a month of drought. The sprinkle of rain on August 23 was not considered a drought-breaker. This prophecy did not happen; it was a total fabrication to promote “The Movement.” From the start, this prophecy could never have been considered true.97
To reiterate, Gruen’s point was that the drought as “prophesied” was stated to have begun right away with the specific claim that June had no rain when in fact the rainfall that month was above normal. Gruen does not deny there was a drought as defined by ‘a prolonged period of less than normal rainfall’ as he earlier stated, “July and August were below normal in rainfall;”98 however, it would have been better if he had qualified his initial statement with something like “There was no drought as ‘prophesied’ by the specific parameters set by Jones.” Gruen’s conclusion “From the start, this prophecy could never have been considered true” is absolutely correct given the heavy rains in June.
The Wimber/Vineyard defense consisted of shifting the “prophecy” to one of very limited rainfall instead of no rain simultaneously moving the start date from June 1 to July 1. In addition, the August 23rd date was changed to merely a date of “prophesied” rain (admitting Bickle’s “mistake” in proclaiming a 3 to 4 inch downpour) instead of the drought-breaker yet no new drought-breaking date was specified claiming merely that the drought ended “in early October.”99 What was the date of the definitive drought-breaking rain?
Among other reasons, Pytches would publish a “new edition” of his book as he “corrected details in the case of one prophecy” which lined up with Wimber’s revised version.100 Using some of the portions already quoted above, we’ll compare the original Pytches rendition with his revised account by listing the ‘uncorrected’ followed by the “corrected” version:
…for three months there will be no rain – not until 23 August.
…there will be rain on August 23.101
…Bob had given a specific date for the end of a drought which he predicted was about to begin.
…Bob had given a specific date for rain during the droughtwhich he predicted was about to begin.102
…For the whole month of June there was no rain! It was terrible! For the whole month of July there was no rain! It was terrible!
The drought did not begin immediately. In fact there was heavy rain in June, but for the whole of July it was dry. It was terrible.103
Pytches continues with the same paragraph ending with “It had to God” as in the original account. Then he continues:
That was still not the end of the drought, however. Although it was not a total withholding of rain, the exceedingly dry period covered a full three months, except for the predicted break on August 23…104
Recall that in the very beginning of the original account – which matches the revised version – are the words, “In this city everything will be withheld.” So, why was this initial verbiage retained? It obviously contradicts with the words above “it was not a total withholding of rain…” And the “predicted break” consisted of a relatively scanty .32 inch which was hardly a break from the “exceedingly dry period” which admittedly contained sprinkles of rain during this time anyway. Pytches, like Wimber, does not specify a “drought-breaker” date.
So, initially in the 1986 version “total barrenness” meant “no rain” (matching Pytches’ original account), in 1989 it was changed to notmean “not a sprinkle of rain” in view of the fact that there was in fact rain in June, which was changed again in 1990 to the drought actually beginning in July since it was further discovered that June had higher rains than normal (matching Pytches’ revised account). Are we to believe that Bickle’s memory is that poor with respect to the “drought prophecy” yet he was certain that May 7, 1983 was the starting point of a 21-day fast which had just ended at which point Jones had purportedly proclaimed this “drought prophecy” and Bickle was certain of other specific dates in KCF’s history as well? Why would he have meticulously recorded these dates and not the beginning and end of the “drought?”
84 Gruen, Documentation. pp 10 / 11-12. Underscore in original; emphasis added. 85 Gruen, Documentation. pp 41-2 / 55. Underscore in original; emphasis added. 86 Pytches, David Some Said it Thundered. 1990 (first edition, second impression) [unrevised version], Hodder & Stoughton, London, UK 87 Pytches, Thundered 1990 (unrevised) unnumbered page just before Introduction 88 Pytches, Thundered 1990 (unrevised) p 89 89 Pytches, Thundered 1990 (unrevised) p 90 90 Interestingly, data recorded at Kansas City International Airport (MCI), which admittedly is 30 miles north of Grandview, shows that the 22nd was mostly cloudy or overcast beginning at 7am with a trace of rain [.07”] recorded at 1pm with the mostly cloudy/overcast conditions continuing into the 23rd. The next day, on the 23rd, data shows rain beginning around 7am with accumulation of .18” by 8am, another .04” by 9am followed by .04” at 10am. The mostly cloudy/overcast conditions continued into the night. This does not preclude the Bickle account of the 23rd from being true including no rain until 6pm, of course, noting the distance from KCF to the airport. This info was gleaned from Weather Underground <http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KMDT/1983/6/1/DailyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA> by inputting the airport code (MCI) and the applicable dates. As accessed 10/15/11 91 Weather Watcher (see link above) indicates rain at the airport in both July and August. Since the prophecy was for the entire city of Kansas City, rainfall at the airport must be included in any analysis. In Pytches’ account, which appears to be the same as Bickle’s, it’s explicitly stated there was no rain whatsoever until August 23rd. In August prior to the 23rd, the airport recorded .12” on the 7th with traces [less than .1] on the 9th, 15th, 20th and 22nd. 92 These totals are from the Weather Warehouse which takes its data from the National Weather Service <http://weather-warehouse.com/WeatherHistory/PastWeatherData_KansasCityDowntownArpt_KansasCity_MO_June.html> As accessed 10/15/11 93 Gruen, Documentation. p 41 / 53. Underscore in original; emphasis added. 94 Gruen, Documentation. pp 41 / 53-54. Underscore in original; emphasis added. 95 Gruen, Documentation. p 41 / 54. Underscore in original; emphasis added. 96 Wimber “Response to Gruen” p 28 97 Gruen, Documentation. p 42 / 56. Underscore in original; emphasis added. 98 Gruen, Documentation. p 42 / 55. Underscore in original; emphasis added. 99 Wimber “Response to Gruen” p 28. Actual rainfall for October as recorded at Kansas City International Airport (MCI) shows none until the 4th with a mere .21 inch of rain and no further rain until nearly an inch [.93”] fell on the 11th; however, this was followed by no significant rain (there was a trace [.02”] on the 16th) until the 19th with about ¾ inch [.79”] which was followed the next day with ½ inch [.57”] and the next with a bit under ½ inch [.40”]. However, as stated earlier, it’s possible there was more (or less) rain in other parts of KC. 100 Pytches, Thundered. 1991 new edition; p xxvii. The revised version also omits some verbiage from Cain’s account of the Lord purportedly appearing with him in his car [Pytches (first, unrevised) p 38]. Specifically, the words deleted were describing items Jesus purportedly wore during the incident: “…dressed in a monk’s black habit and wearing a skull cap.” In an August 1990 letter to Prophecy Today subscribers, Clifford Hill states the original Thundered was “at present out of print” although the publishers “intend on reissuing it” in a revised version. Hill also states, “John Wimber told me that he had identified ‘a number of factual errors’ in the book, and Mike Bickle has sent David Pytches a 60 minute tape of corrections.” Keep in mind that Pytches was given access to KCF/GM tapes for the original issue. 101 Pytches, Thundered. 1991 new edition; p 90. The original account [p 89] is listed first. 102 Pytches, Thundered. 1991 new edition; p 90. The original account [p 90] is listed first. 103 Pytches, Thundered. 1991 new edition; p 90. The original account [p 90] is listed first. 104 Pytches, Thundered. 1991 new edition; p 90. The original account [p 90] is listed first.
Let’s compare this “drought prophecy” to the circumstances surrounding the 1988 “earthquake prophecy.” Jack Deere initially ‘misquoted’ the timing of the second earthquake, however later he recalled “in vivid detail” the ‘facts’ of this “prophecy.” As shown above, Deere had difficulty with details of a “prophecy” of a much more personal nature with both conflicting and added details coming later, so his memory would seem to be questionable. Mike Bickle would also incorrectly record the timing of the second earthquake in his 1996 book Growing in the Prophetic. John Wimber later was unsure whether it was actually predicted or not.
The circumstances surrounding the “drought prophecy” are similarly troubling. Given that the “drought prophecy” was initially one of no rain with very specific parameters including a drought-breaking rain on a specified date, it’s odd that the final Wimber (and/or Deere) version is one of limited rainfall, a different starting date, and no specified drought-breaking end date but instead a rather nebulous “early October” ending. To quote Beverley: “…many of Bob Jones predictions were announced ex post facto”105 – after the fact. Given the evolving nature of the “drought prophecy,” was it among those announced after the fact despite the claim to the contrary?
In each case there is no recorded proof either in written form or in audio to confirm these “prophecies” were given in advance. Given that the “earthquake prophecy” was to validate Cain’s message to the Vineyard and the “drought prophecy” was to provide legitimacy to the KCF “movement,” why weren’t these “prophecies” recorded in such a manner to prove their veracity? Absent any sort of proof, it would be prudent to remain skeptical – especially given the circumstances as outlined above in each of these.
If Cain were to have remained discredited in the Gruen Document, this could cast further doubt on the legitimacy of Cain’s “earthquake prophecy” which would in turn cast a long shadow on the Vineyard in general as it was Cain’s message which validated the Vineyard involvement in the “prophetic movement” in the first place. With stakes this high, the pressure to discredit the Gruen Document and to exonerate Cain must have been enormous.
The prophecy movement carries with it the seeds of deception. At worst in the discipleship/shepherding movement some shepherd told you what to do. In the prophecy movement it’s God(?) who tells you what to do.
In context, Buckingham, in the quote above, was speaking of the excesses in personal foretelling prophecies; however, the same could be said for much of the modern so-called “Apostolic/Prophetic” (New Apostolic Reformation aka NAR) movement in general. This would include both the foretelling and the forthtelling varieties, i.e. what some of these “prophets” are claiming God is saying today much of which is at odds with traditional, literal interpretations of Scripture.
Back in the late 1980s Kansas City Fellowship (KCF, aka Grace Ministries) in Kansas City, Missouri, pastored by the young Mike Bickle, was involved in a controversy regarding this new “Prophecy Movement.” This controversy centered around the so-called Kansas City Prophets (KCP) of which Bob Jones, Paul Cain, and John Paul Jackson were the most visible. Ernest J. Gruen, senior pastor of Full Faith Church of Love-West of Shawnee, Kansas, just the other side of the Missouri state line, had growing concerns about the teachings, prophecies, and practices at KCF. After showing concern about these aberrances to Mike Bickle and feeling as though these concerns were not being heeded, Gruen, after prayer, decided to preach his sermon “Do We Keep Smiling and Say Nothing” on January 21, 1990 detailing some of the problems at KCF.
The tape of this January 21 sermon was distributed throughout the US bringing media attention to the Kansas City area. During this time Gruen and some of his staff transcribed tapes distributed by Grace Ministries/KCF and analyzed those as well as teaching materials from KCF/GM resulting in the release of the 233-page Documentation of Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship (Grace Ministries) [hereafter identified as the “Gruen Document”or “the Document”] in May of 1990. The Gruen Document corrected three mistakes made in the taped sermon of January 21 all having to do with associated details.
Subsequent to this, there have been persistent rumors, speculations and allegations that Ernie Gruen recanted the Document in part or in toto. Is this true? While it is true Gruen conceded portions of the Gruen Document in a letter dated July 1, 1990 some aspects of this statement seem troublingly self-contradictory when compared to the 233-page Document. This raises a number of associated questions. Is this letter real, legitimate? If so, what factors contributed to the release of this statement? If so, were these concessions just honest mistakes or did Gruen fabricate these portions of the Document? Assuming these concessions were made, and given the importance of the Gruen Document, why does this continue to be the subject of rumor and speculation rather than established fact? This article will attempt to answer some of these questions.
This is not an attempt to dredge up the past. This is an attempt to arrive at the whole truth of the matter. Kansas City Fellowship would later become what is now known as the International House of Prayer – more commonly “IHOP” – which is recognized worldwide. Many other similar _HOPs, patterned after the Kansas City model, have been established throughout the US and around the world. In view of this, the history of this movement could be of importance to tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, especially since Mike Bickle continues to espouse KCF as part of the IHOP heritage.
Timeline of Events
A timeline of events specifically regarding Gruen and KCF as well as contemporaneous accounts and findings by others regarding KCF and Vineyard (the Association of Vineyard Churches, under John Wimber’s leadership eventually assumed control of KCF) will help in assessing the facts and will shed further light. All dates are from 1990 unless otherwise specified:
- January (inclusive dates unknown): A “massive” two week conference titled “Holiness” is held at John Wimber’s Anaheim Vineyard as mentioned in Bill Jackson’s book The Quest for the Radical Middle, a history of Vineyard. The book does not specifically list the featured speakers. Reportedly, there were 5000 registrants per week.2
- January 21: Ernie Gruen preaches the sermon “Do We Keep Smiling and Say Nothing.” The tape was distributed in the United States and apparently eventually ended up going worldwide. After its release over 40 Kansas City pastors united with Gruen.3
- January 22 (or 29):4 Mike Bickle responds with an open letter. The letter has not been recovered but portions are quoted in other sources:
I am very eager to meet with you to clear up these terrible misunderstandings. I leave the initiative for a meeting in your hands respecting your need to first hear from the Lord in a fresh way. I’d suggest that we call men with national ministries to come and sit with us in order to help us communicate.5
John Wimber, referencing Bickle’s January letter, in an article written after Gruen agreed to stop sending out the Gruen Document states:
Bickle declined to question Gruen’s motives or sincerity, instead claiming that much of Gruen’s accusations were based on a confusion of facts and wrong information.
Bickle took some responsibility for the confusion of facts, saying he should have been more diligent to communicate the nature of KCF’s beliefs and practices to Gruen in earlier talks. He added, “I will not respond to specific issues publicly to avoid further strife and hurt, but will gladly meet with you along with any of your leaders at your convenience.” 6
In an article in the September/October issue of Ministries Today, Lee Grady states this about the Bickle response to Gruen’s tape:
Feeling injured and betrayed, he wrote an open letter to Gruen, denouncing the charges as false and misleading. Most of the specific incidents described on the tape as evidence of KCF’s errors were grossly inaccurate, he said. But Bickle displayed gentility in his response and never once tried to vindicate himself publicly or deny that his ministry had made mistakes. “I open my heart to any correction you have to offer that relates to any of our problems,” he wrote Gruen.7
- March (exact dates unknown): At a conference titled “What the Holy Spirit is Saying to the Church Today” in Sydney, Australia, Wimber/Vineyard were confronted by some locals who wanted Wimber and company to go back home. Jack Deere and Paul Cain were on this trip.8 In April, a very critical report from Philip Jensen’s church – the group that criticized Vineyard – came out in the journal The Briefing.9 Deere would later write about the incident in a 1992 position paper.10
- March 20: Letter is sent to District Superintendents of the Assemblies of God (A/G) by Jewel van der Merwe (now Grewe) as a follow up to an earlier letter (date unknown) listing problems with GM/KCF. In the letter, she relays an account of an individual who moved to Kansas City the previous summer [‘89] as a result of guidance from “one of prophets in Kansas City.” Jewel was in the KC area in October of ’89, contacted the individual and relates, “She told me prophecies had gone out that thousands of pastors would be leaving their churches and moving to Kansas City to be part of what God is doing in the End-time…” When questioned on what authority the individual knew these prophets were of God, the conversation was abruptly ceased by the individual.
This matter has distressed me greatly for the last several months. We have spent hours transcribing tapes from the new prophets. I know that the Assemblies [of God] all over the country are going to be affected by what is happening because of the mass media exposure, massive conferences already planned for the near future and the amount of books and tapes being churned out at a rapid rate.
Listed in the letter are a number of serious errors being taught (from Bob Jones’ tapes/teachings and by extension Mike Bickle who was interviewing Jones on some of these) including the disbelief in a literal anti-christ, the intent to disband denominations including the A/G, the “Elect Generation” (elected seed) doctrine, the practice of the laying on of hands after which the individual “changes radically,” Melchisedek Priesthood teaching [which is taught in Rosicrucianism], disbelief in a literal Rapture, and the claim of power to remit sin. After this list, is the following statement:
…[T]his is just the beginning of the heresy they are teaching. The deity of Jesus Christ is being subtly undermined and replaced with the deification of man.
The letter explicitly identifies the overall teachings of the KCP/KCF as the New Order of the Latter Rain doctrine while pointing out that this was denounced as heresy by the A/G in 1948.11
- March 30: Gruen’s letter to Bickle in response to the January 22 (or 29) letter agreeing to a meeting with “national leaders.”
…I am now convinced that your group does not represent orthodox Christianity; that many of your church’s prophecies are from familiar spirits and actually divination; and that you are very close to becoming a Charismatic heresy and a cult group. The material that we have documented, from your own writings and tapes, has led me to this sad conclusion…
The local Kansas City situation is not the focus now, since we have followed the process and procedures commanded in Matthew 18 precisely through to the third step when we told it to the church [sic]. The message I preached on January 21, 1990, at this point, is no longer relevant. The issue is that you have started a movement that is promoting prophecies throughout the nation that are total fabrications in order to gain credibility for ‘your movement.’ You have done irreparable harm to the [C]hurch in Kansas City, and we do not wish to harm hundreds of thousands of people nationwide…12
Gruen went so far as to suggest twelve men who “would definitely be a fair and responsible group” six of whom he never met and four “only casual acquaintances.” At least one of those listed, Earl Paulk, explicitly taught Latter Rain doctrine including the Manifested Sons of God (MSoG) heresy. Obviously, Gruen was not aware of this at the time since he himself denounced MSoG in the Gruen Document. It’s apparent that Gruen was not familiar with some of his chosen group’s doctrines or affiliations. The full list follows:
Roderick Caeser, Jr.
- April 4: Gruen releases “Open Letter to National Leaders” to the Network of Christian Ministries (NCM). This amounted to a request for a “heresy trial” according to Jamie Buckingham which “would have forced that board into the unenviable and dangerous position of an apostolic council – something charismatics have violently opposed in years past.”13
…The purpose of the meeting would not be that Mike and I be reconciled, because we are totally convinced that many of his prophets prophecy by a familiar spirit and that they are a Charismatic heresy. The purpose of the meeting, therefore, would be for you to examine their doctrine and practices, to ascertain whether our conclusions are accurate; if not, we should be corrected. On the other hand, if our conclusions are accurate, equitable, and righteous, then this should be exposed and such action should be taken as you decide…14
In the letter, Gruen promised to have the documentation available by May 31st and to provide a copy to KCF. It is reported that Bickle and Gruen had agreed to a meeting with the NCM which was scheduled for July.15
- April (date of event in dispute): Bill Jackson’s The Quest For the Radical Middle,16 corresponding with John Wimber’s report in his own Equipping the Saints magazine,17 states that Wimber and Cain “had met with Gruen as early as April to try to resolve their differences.” Given that Cain was not specifically mentioned until the Gruen Document which wasn’t released until May, which seems to have provided the catalyst for Cain’s desire for a meeting with Gruen (see below), and that there is specifically mentioned a May 25 meeting consisting of Wimber and Cain with Gruen, it appears this is in error. This is further evidenced by continuing with the account as told by Jackson, “It was then agreed that Wimber’s associate Jack Deere, would meet with Gruen and his staff and consider all the charges.” This agrees with the May 25 account below as recorded by Jamie Buckingham. A May 25 date seems more likely since: 1) it follows the release of the Gruen Document; and, 2) the follow up meeting consisting of Deere with Gruen and his staff on June 12-14 was only about 3 weeks after May 25 rather than 6 or more weeks if this initial meeting was in April instead.
- April 23: Albert James Dager, author and publisher of Media Spotlight founded in 1977, publishes a Special Report titled, “Latter-Day Prophets: The Kansas City Connection” thus predating the Gruen Document. This includes an interview with Mike Bickle, partial transcriptions of GM/KCF tapes (one of which was not referenced in the Gruen Document), and other associated material (some of which were not in the Gruen document).18 Dager would incorporate this Special Report into his book Vengeance is Ours readapting this material by adding other information including bits from the Gruen Document.
Obviously, given Bickle’s interview with Dager, he was aware that Dager was to publish an article further evidenced by the fact that he subsequently sent a letter to Dager19 after GM/KCF came under Wimber/Vineyard (see below).
- May 12: Grace Ministries/Kansas City Fellowship becomes Metro Vineyard Christian Fellowship, more commonly Metro Vineyard Fellowship (MVF), after coming under the headship of John Wimber and the Association of Vineyard Churches (AVC).20 This was “a surprise announcement,” according to Lee Grady.21 Wimber then wrote to the Network of Christian Ministries apprising them of this change stating it would be best for him to take care of the problems thus side-stepping the possibility of a heresy trial.22
It’s important to note that “[Wimber] and Vineyard Ministries International [had] been the major financial contributors to the Shiloh [Ministries] project” – a part of Grace Ministries – by Fall 1989 or earlier. Shiloh “is a piece of land where various prophets can live together and share their revelations.” Wimber “is credited for a key role as a counselor in helping the team members establish some of Shiloh’s basic principles and practices.”23
- May (specific date unknown) : The 233-page Gruen Document is released. It contains Gruen’s letters of March 30 and April 4 as noted above, letters from other local churches in support of Gruen, testimonial letters reflecting negatively on KCF, transcripts of GM/KCF tapes, excerpts from teaching materials, and explanations as to the problems associated with the GM/KCF material. In the first section of the Document, Gruen concedes three mistakes in his January sermon/tape with respect to the accuracy of specific details of these accounts while affirming their essential truthfulness.24
The Document was apparently released just before, just after, or contemporaneous with the Vineyard assumption of KCF/GM. In a July/August 1990 Ministries Today article, Jamie Buckingham seems to place the release of the Gruen Document after the advent of MVF. After mentioning that KCF submitted to the Vineyard/Wimber leadership and Wimber’s subsequent letter to the NCM thereby averting a heresy trial, he then writes, “Gruen, nevertheless, released a 233-page spiral-bound ‘document’ listing numerous charges…”
Bickle and Cain immediately requested a meeting with Gruen and the board of the National Leadership Conference, which was then in session. In that meeting, Cain said Gruen was not playing “fair” by printing accusations against him without first contacting him. He and Bickle urged Gruen to withhold distribution of the document until Wimber could examine the issues. (It was offered free to all who called Gruen’s church at [phone number].) The NLC board strongly urged Gruen to consider their request. Cain said he was flying to Kansas City and would sit and wait until Gruen talked to him. Gruen refused to withdraw the book, but did agree to a private meeting with Cain and Wimber.25
Note that the National Leadership Conference (NLC) is different from the Network of Christian Ministries (NCM). It seems possible that the NLC would have been more amenable to the Bickle-Cain position as Gruen had already suggested the NCM meet with Gruen and Bickle to review KCF’s doctrines and practices.
Buckingham’s account implies that Gruen defiantly went on with completing and distributing the Document even though Wimber had promised to provide oversight and the NCM agreed to allow Wimber to provide this correction rather than going through with a heresy trial presided by the NCM. However, interestingly, Buckingham was president of the NLC board at the time – an important detail missing from the Ministries Today article above yet mentioned in the 1991 revised edition of David Pytches’ book Some Said it Thundered.26 The mere fact that a modified version of Buckingham’s article27 would appear in Pytches’ (revised) book – a positive view of KCF and the KCP – is troubling enough; however, when coupled with this omission, his objectivity could be called into question.
Compare the bolded portion above with the bolded portion below (The verbiage both directly preceding and following the words in this paragraph below are essentially the same as the above; however, the parenthetical statement about how to obtain a copy of the Gruen Document was deleted since this book was published in 1991, of course.):
…[Cain and Bickle] urged him to withhold distribution of the book until Wimber could examine the issues. As president of the NLC board I called a meeting in Ridgecrest, North Carolina, and we strongly urged Gruen – who was an NLC member – to consider their request. Cain said he was flying to Kansas City…28
In a July 1993 Charisma article, J. Lee Grady seems to place the release of the Gruen Document before the transition from KCF to MVF. The subject of the article was that both Bickle and Gruen “asked each other for forgiveness” thus resolving the three years long dispute in the aftermath of the events surrounding the Gruen Document.29 In this piece, Grady mentions Gruen’s taped sermon in one paragraph, in the paragraph following he discusses the 233-page document, and two paragraphs later he states:
Soon after Gruen aired the accusations, Bickle aligned KCF with the Association of Vineyard Churches…30
Given that the January sermon was nearly four months prior to the May 12 transition to MVF, this appears to indicate that Grady’s “soon after” comment did not refer to the tape but rather the Gruen Document instead thereby placing its release just before the May 12, 1990 transition date. Grady’s article in the September/October 1990 Ministries Today, seems to indicate the same thing implicitly in a similar way.31
Jackson’s book also infers that the release of the Gruen Document followed the change from KCF to MVF aligning closer to Grady’s account by mentioning the tape, followed by the Gruen Document, followed by the Vineyard acquisition:
In a surprise move, however, John Wimber stepped in during the month of May to cut off the controversy’s momentum. He announced that Kansas City Fellowship was going to become a part of the Association of Vineyard Churches…32
- May 25: Three hour meeting is held consisting of Gruen and his staff with Wimber and Cain33 on the Friday preceding Memorial Day which reportedly “totally changed the direction of the controversy,” according to Buckingham:34
Gruen, who later called it a “sweet meeting in the Spirit,” opened by saying, “I do not have war in my heart.” Wimber and Cain said they only wanted God’s best. The result was the issuance of a joint statement to all factions saying:
The opposing leaders trust each other’s integrity and spirit.
Vineyard leader Jack Deere, a former Dallas Seminary professor, will oversee a process to examine all the charges.
Wimber and Gruen want to model to the nation a “righteous method” of handling disputes.35
- June (specific date unknown): Tapes are discontinued from the Grace Ministries “Spring Catalog ’90” [see previous article here on CrossWise] including many of the ones transcribed or referenced in the Gruen Document and Dager’s Special Report. All of the Bob Jones material from the original catalog was deleted and much of Paul Cain’s. Following is a complete list of the deleted items with a corresponding letter denoting the tapes’ reference in either the Gruen (G), the Dager (D), or both (B):
Bob Jones Visions and Revelations B
An Interview with Bob Jones B
The Prophetic History of Grace Min. B
Endtime Prophetic Events (J.P. Jackson) G
Personal Testimony (Paul Cain) G
Our Father’s House (Paul Cain) n/a
7 Spirits of God (Paul Cain) G
Joel’s Army (Paul Cain) G
A New Breed (Paul Cain) D
Personal Testimony (Bob Jones) n/a
Rest in His Mercy & Grace (Bob Jones) n/a
Heaven & Hell (Bob Jones) n/a
Shepherd’s Rod Oct. ’89 (Bob Jones) G
An Intercessory Vow (Noel Alexander) n/a
Intercession With Angels (Mike Bickle) n/a
Video-Interview With Bob Jones *
Video-Interview With Paul Cain *
The asterisk is placed next to the Cain video as it contains the personal testimony on the single tape which is also deleted; so, it could be counted by extension with this in mind. Similarly, the asterisk is placed next to the Jones video for the same reason.. As to the others, we erred on the side of caution as the Gruen Document used its own nomenclature making it sometimes difficult to cross-reference with the GM catalog. Also noted is that Dager’s April 23rd article references Noel Alexander’s Intercessory Prayer: Kansas City Fellowship’s Theology, History and Practice.36 It seems plausible that the tape above titled An Intercessory Vow could have overlapping subject matter.
It’s rather curious that GM/KCF would discontinue the series which “is by far our best seller” – The Prophetic History of Grace Ministries – without having one to replace it [see previous post for list of then current tape offerings].
In the Fall 1990 Christian Research Journal it is reported that all the Bob Jones tapes were taken out of circulation as a result of Wimber’s “attempt at correction”:
…limitations on public ministry were placed on Bob Jones…Jones’s controversial tapes have been withdrawn from distribution and his ministry is limited to church leadership “behind closed doors.”37
Bickle later complained that he took the heat for some of the so-called Kansas City Prophets of whom he had no governing authority.38 While this may be true, Bickle certainly had control over whose tapes he would choose to distribute. Selling taped messages of these individuals – especially those taped at KCF – is explicit endorsement; consequently, any criticism leveled against him regarding an individual whose tapes he distributed, especially with regard to the tapes’ contents, is quite fair. Given that a large portion of the Gruen Document was specifically about Bob Jones, whose tapes Bickle had been selling, some of which included Bickle in conversation with Jones, then this criticism is not only fair, it is expressly warranted.
Also of interest is the fact that Jewel van der Merwe (Grewe) of Discernment Ministries released her first Discernment Newsletter in May, and the June newsletter specifically mentions KCF as well as Bob Jones and Paul Cain.39
- June 12-14: Meeting of Jack Deere with Gruen and his staff evaluating the concerns in the Gruen Document.40
- June (likely, though date unknown): 15 points/errors jointly prepared by Vineyard & KCF obviously prior to the June 28 date in which Bickle “repents” of these specific errors. Following is a list of these 15 in their entirety. Note that these items are mostly, if not entirely, reflected explicitly or implicitly in the Gruen Document. The 15 points/errors are preceded by a statement in all capital letters:
ERRORS THAT BOTH KCF AND VINEYARD HAD DISCOVERED PRIOR TO ERNIE’S REPORT AND HAD BEGUN TO CORRECT.
The lack of accountability for prophecies that do not come true or do not bear witness to the person receiving the ministry. The releasing of men to minister publicly in a teaching format who are not qualified as teachers.
The attempt by some prophetic ministers to establish doctrine or practice by revelation alone, apart from clear biblical support.
Dogmatic assertions in delivery of prophetic words.
On several occasions revealing negative prophetic words in public without first confronting the individual.
On several occasions revealing negatives in private without first confronting the individual.
Predictions concerning babies or marriages (except in cases of barrenness).
The conferring of governmental authority or staff positions on the individuals, as well as redirecting staff to different church locations without giving these words to the appropriate levels of leadership.
Giving prophetic words which affect a movement or church without going first to the appropriate levels of authority.
Public predictions of natural disasters, economic events, and divine visitations without the approval of government.
The use of prophetic gifting for controlling purposes.
Using types and allegories to establish doctrine.
Teaching or implying that KCF and Vineyard are an elite group or that we are the leaders of a new elite group about to be revealed by God.
Using jargon that reflects the teaching of groups that we do not wish to be identified with.
Calling John Wimber, or others, apostles and prophets verses (sic) using the terms “apostolic leadership” and “prophetic ministry.”
Manifesting an attitude of superiority through the possession of a secret body of information. Amos 3:7 is true, but the prophetic people are not to wear a garment of pride because of this knowledge.41
- June 28: Jack Deere, Paul Cain and Wimber present their response to the findings in the Gruen Document to Gruen and his staff. According to Wimber, “After several hours of discussion, Gruen agreed to stop his attacks against KCF and Paul Cain” promising to bring no new charges without contacting Wimber first.42
According to a not unbiased article in Charisma & Christian Life,43 later that day, at a KCF-sponsored conference, Wimber made a statement that he had begun to scrutinize the teachings of KCF, purportedly at Bickle’s request, “before Gruen had started his public questioning.”44 Interestingly, the article states, “They [Wimber and Gruen] had found only a couple areas of agreement”45 yet in Wimber’s own Equipping the Saints article he dogmatically declares the Gruen document is wholly untrue:
After reading every line of Pastor Gruen’s document, listening to his tape, and interviewing as many people involved as possible, my staff and I are convinced that the accusations against Kansas City Fellowship and Paul Cain are untrue. I find no evidence that they teach heresy; have an occultic spirit; have unethical practices; promote bizarre, unscriptural experiences; have cultlike tendencies or teachings; or use prophetic gifting to take over churches.46
After Wimber spoke, Bickle made his statement at the conference admitting the errors established in the 15 points/errors (which, as noted above, are essentially indicated in the Gruen Document) and “detailed mistakes made in reporting two prophecies that had been used to establish the legitimacy of KCF” claiming that “both prophecies were fulfilled” but “the later retelling of these fulfillments were exaggerated.”47 Were the “fulfillments” ‘merely’ “exaggerated” or were these “prophecies” actually fulfilled at all? Of the two “prophecies” mentioned in the article, only the drought prophecy is discussed (identified in the Gruen Document as item I.A48) and this will be more completely analyzed in a subsequent article.
Five years later, while maintaining “that most of Gruen’s accusations were untrue,” Bickle would admit, “God was disciplining us for pride and some wrong ideas.” He continued, “If it hadn’t have been Ernie Gruen, God would have used someone else. The message wouldn’t have gotten through to us if it had been kind. It had to be tough. We were wrong.”49 So, which was it? Did “KCF and Vineyard” discover the KCF errors “prior to Ernie’s report,” as the preface to the ‘15 points/errors’ above indicated, or was it Gruen who provided the impetus to change?
The conference referenced above in which Bickle “repented” was the “3rd Annual Grace Ministries Leadership Conference” held from Monday June 25th through Friday the 29th which was advertised in the “Grace Ministries Spring Catalog ’90.” This catalog was most likely released prior to March 1st as the advertisement mentions this date as the beginning point to write for “conference brochure and registration forms.” At the time of publishing, featured speakers were to be John Wimber, Paul Cain, Ralph Mahoney, Bob Jones, and Leonard Ravenhill, with “other speakers” listed as Bickle, Rick Joyner, Francis Frangipane, David Parker, David Ravenhill, “and other Grace Ministries team members.” Presumably, the featured speakers were recognized as “leaders” given the title of the conference. This is noted since Wimber was critical of Jones being in leadership and he stripped Jones of leadership status as part of the “corrections” made upon the KCF transition to MVF. Thus, it is assumed that Jones did not speak at the conference.
- July 1: Gruen sends a summary letter to John Wimber regarding the June 28 meeting. Included is the promise to stop distributing the Gruen Document after July 30.
Also in this letter, Gruen concedes some “points that could be disputed and argued” in the Gruen Document while affirming the “essential accuracy” of the Document. The three concessions are; 1) the use of some testimonies as these “have the possibility of being totally true or…giving disgruntled people an opportunity to express their grievances;” 2) completely exonerating Paul Cain of “any negative charges;” and, 3) the retraction of the story of a baby who died after receiving personal prophecy in his sermon of January 21 as the account has not been documented. Point 2 is the most troubling as this seems to contradict the whole of item VI.H in the Gruen Document. The whole of the contents of this section of the letter will be detailed in the second part of this article with sections discussed in full.
As to the first point, Gruen “is careful not to say that the testimony of a disgruntled person is not true, but only that it could give opportunity to attack one’s ministry,” as noted by Dager.50 Personal testimonies can provide added weight to other evidence; so, testimonies are not to be wholly discounted as Gruen’s statement infers. Gruen’s concession on this point was in part rather than in toto.
In this letter Gruen states
While I do not regret releasing the documentation or preaching the original sermon, I do realize that I have caused pain to many individuals in the body of Christ. I sincerely apologize for any unnecessary pain that I have caused. We at Full Faith do not want to continue to cause pain or hurts. We do not want a war with Vineyard or Kansas City Fellowship…
…[W]e release the entire situation of Kansas City Fellowship into your [Wimber’s] hands. We recognize that it is not now our responsibility to provide either correction or approval of Kansas City Fellowship. We believe that you are sincerely trying to bring the balance and correction that is needed. We also understand that this will involve a process that will take some time. We again wish to express our confidence in you, John, and state publicly that we completely and fully trust in your integrity.
…Ultimately the issue is in God’s hands. His sovereignty is the final court of appeal. He will bring to all of us the balance and correction that we need. Because we believe in the sovereignty of God, we are willing to submit this whole controversy into His hands. We give you permission to copy these pages as a unit, to use in any way you desire.51
Included as an enclosure with this two page letter are the 15 points above. All three pages were to be sent with the Gruen Document to all those receiving the document from that time until July 30 (at which point the Document will no longer be distributed). In addition, all who previously received the Document were to receive this notice.
- July 5: Gruen letter is released to be used as a cover for the July 1 letter and enclosure. The legitimacy of both letters is evidenced by an extant copy of all 4 pages (July 5 letter, two page July 1 letter, plus one page enclosure) with a fax date/time stamp originating at Full Faith Church of Love-West (stamped “Jul-12-90” at 12:37-39).52
Following is the letter in its entirety:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As one of those who has received a copy of the [D]ocumentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship, or is now receiving a copy of our documentation, enclosed is a copy of a letter I sent to John Wimber together with a statement to us from Vineyard Christian Fellowship concerning KCF.
This letter is the result of meetings with John Wimber and other leaders of Vineyard Fellowship, and a subsequent decision made by myself, the other Full Faith Church of Love pastors, and the elders of FFCL West.
KCF has now become part of the Vineyard association of churches. We ask for your continued prayers for all those involved.
Pastor Ernest J. Gruen 53
- July 9: “A Statement from Derek Prince” is released due to persistent questions posed to him regarding KCF. Prince is very critical. He recounts a conversation that he had with Mike Bickle in March of 1990 which is followed by his scathing assessment of KCF/GM:
…At this time I was asked by Mike Bickle to counsel with him and some of his leaders. I spent nearly three hours in discussion with them. I told them that I felt they were receiving and propagating error. Our meeting was conducted in a friendly spirit and ended with prayer, but no conclusion was reached.
Subsequent to this encounter, I studied [the Gruen Document]…It is based mainly on material published by Grace Ministries, or on transcripts of tapes made in Kansas City Fellowship which they themselves circulated.
Very briefly, I can sum up the main conclusions I have reached:
The material circulated by Kansas City Fellowship contains many statements which have no basis in Scripture and are frequently contrary to Scripture. Some of the purported “revelations” could be described as absurd and even blasphemous.
Much of the material is permeated by what I consider to be occult influence.
The overall affect of the material is to divert attention away from Jesus Christ and the Scriptures and toward subjective experiences and human personalities.
The circulation of the material from Kansas City Fellowship has exposed the Body of Christ to much error and confusion.
These errors are deep-rooted and longstanding, dating at least as far back as 1983.
Any effective remedy would require open confession and renunciation of the errors practiced and a radical elimination of the occult element. All this should be communicated as widely as the errors have been circulated. A mere change of label or of leadership, by itself, is not sufficient.54
Prince goes on to stress that it’s the “doctrines and practices” and not the individuals he is judging. He continues:
…We are living in a period when it is more important than ever for all of us to cultivate “the love of the truth.” (See 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.)55
Yes, Derek Prince was part of the “shepherding” controversy; however, his words and advice here are spot on!
- July (specific date unknown): Albert James Dager releases Vengeance is Ours: The Church in Dominion which incorporates and expands on the Special Report released on April 23rd in a chapter titled “Who Are the Apostles and Prophets?”56
In a letter sent out in July to those on Dager’s Media Spotlight mailing list in which Dager announces his book, he also mentions a forthcoming Special Report on Vineyard.57 This report, released in August, contained two articles. One was authored by John Goodwin, a former associate of Wimber at Vineyard, while the other was another update on Dager’s April 23rd Special Report discussing Gruen’s July 1 letter including an analysis on Gruen’s exoneration of Paul Cain.
The Cain exoneration by Gruen will be examined in detail in the second part of this article. And, as noted above, the ‘drought prophecy’ will be fully analyzed as well.
“…The deep conviction of my heart is that we have, in Kansas City, the beginnings of a Charismatic heresy which is far more significant than the shepherding controversy. I believe that this could split the body of Christ and cause untold damage to tens of thousands of Christians, as well as hundreds of churches across America.”
- Ernie Gruen, January 21, 1990 “Do We Keep Smiling and Say Nothing”
The former Kansas City Fellowship (KCF), aka Grace Ministries, in Kansas City, Missouri was founded and pastored by Mike Bickle in 1982 who now leads the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in the same city. KCF was embroiled in controversy centering around the teachings and practices of Bickle and the so-called Kansas City Prophets (Bob Jones, Paul Cain and John Paul Jackson) resulting from a tape “Do We Keep Smiling and Say Nothing?” circulated in January 1990 and a subsequent published document in May of the same year titled “Documentation of Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship (Grace Ministries)” both by the late Ernest J. Gruen, then Senior Pastor of Full Faith Church of Love–West in Shawnee, Kansas. This document referenced and transcribed tapes distributed by KCF/Grace Ministries and other KCF/GM printed materials.
John Wimber of Anaheim (California) Vineyard was brought in to bring “correction” and guidance to KCF resulting in the name changing to Metro Vineyard Christian Fellowship on May 12, 1990 as the church fell under the umbrella of the Association of Vineyard Churches (AVC).1
I have recently received some material from the KCF days including a giant fold-out [17” x 23.5” double-sided] Grace Ministries “Spring Catalog ‘90” listing audio cassettes (single and multiple sets), a few videos, and some books. It also includes listings of music by Julie Meyer as far back as 1986.
The catalog features material from Bickle, Jones, Cain, J. P. Jackson, Rick Joyner, Francis Frangipane, Leonard Ravenhill (including conferences with him alongside some of the others – a surprise for me), David Ravenhill, David Parker, Noel Alexander, Michael Sullivant, Wimber, Bob Scott, Terry Virgo, Jim Goll, Gary Schmitz, Reuven Doron and Ed Pioreck. The descriptions accompanying the individual items illustrates the relationships between and among these individuals at the time providing an interesting historical snapshot. I will refrain from making any commentary in the body of the texts below as I want the texts to reflect as closely as possible the original catalog and I don’t wish to detract from them.
In addition, apparently distributed and accompanying the catalog itself around the time of this controversy was a separate plain sheet of paper which states “PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BEFORE ORDERING” with handwritten “FROM GRACE MINISTRIES” and “JUNE 1990”:
“The following tapes have been discontinued since this catalog was printed and are not available at this time. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused for you.”
While the date could conceivably have been written by anyone and therefore not necessarily be accurate, the timing does make sense in view of the then current controversy given that a number of these “discontinued” tapes were transcribed and excerpted in the 233 page spiral-bound Gruen document. If accurate, this would likely be part of the “correction” John Wimber was bringing to KCF.
Paul Cain had been associated with KCF since 1987. Wimber had Paul Cain speak at his Anaheim Vineyard church at least as far back as December, 1988; so, presumably, Wimber should have already been familiar with the teachings and “prophecies” of Cain before KCF’s transition to MVCF (known more commonly as Metro Vineyard Fellowship or MVF). Paul Cain’s website has an audio of his Anaheim Vineyard “Stadium Vision” “Joel’s Army” prophecy taken from the “Spiritual Warfare Conference” of February,2 1989. [A YouTube version (with overdubbed music) is also currently available.] Yet it was Wimber who was brought in for “correction.”
The “discontinued” items include all the Bob Jones material (save for some included in the multiple sets featuring multiple speakers) yet Jones was apparently still in “ministry” after this – at least up until his discipline and removal discussed in a letter dated November 7, 1991 for “using his gifts to manipulate people for his personal desires, sexual misconduct, rebelling against pastoral authority, slandering leaders and the promotion of bitterness within the body of Christ.” He was apparently in a leadership position at that time as evidenced by this same letter written by Wimber regarding Jones’ “serious sin” according to the words beginning this letter: “When a leader falls into sin…”3 If the content of Jones’ tapes were presumably so damaging to KCF/MVF that they had to be pulled from distribution, why was he still in leadership?
In a letter dated November 4, 1991 written to MVF and signed by Jones on Metro Vineyard Fellowship letterhead is the following excerpt:
In recent months, I have manipulated certain people for selfish reasons on the basis of my prophetic gifting. I have been guilty of sexual misconduct, and I deeply regret this. (I have not committed adultery).
I deeply resented the published restraints placed upon me in my ministry by John Wimber in July 1990, and this resentment created an imbalance in my reasoning ability. Now I believe that these restraints were right.4
Exactly which “restraints” were put on him given he was still a “leader” according to Wimber’s letter?
In the International House of Prayer’s “Encountering Jesus” series, a history including the KCF days, Mike Bickle had this to say about Jones and Cain, “The two men that have been my spiritual fathers in different ways and at different times — Bob Jones and Paul Cain. When I look over my 30 years plus of walking with the Lord those two men are significantly, clearly I would have to call my spiritual fathers through all these years.” And, he goes on to claim, “And, Bob Jones, from ’82 to ’92, from those 10 years, I had nearly daily communication with Bob…”5 Clearly, the history of KCF/MVF is of continuing importance.
The tapes excerpted in the Gruen document and other KCF-associated tapes have been referenced quite a bit in various sources. Some of the audio has been digitized with full and partial transcripts existing. However, not all of these are readily available for the researcher and hence my desire to collect these. The Grace Ministries catalog aids immensely in the search as it provides catalog numbers, titles and in many cases descriptions of contents. If you have any of the following items, please contact me privately here:
Following is the complete list of all the tapes included in the catalog (not included are the books and music which are on the back side of the original catalog along with an order form) even though I’m not sure I would want allof the material as some is redundant. I’ve listed first those items in the separate “discontinued” list – as I deem these of higher importance – with notes (when available) from the larger catalog for explanation. I’ve changed the order of the “discontinued” list by grouping tapes by speaker for (hopefully) easier reference. Following the contents of “Spring Catalog ‘90”, which are categorized in the same order as the catalog itself, are some tapes and teaching papers listed in the Gruen document which are not included in this catalog.
A4PHG The Prophetic History of Grace Ministries – This four tape series is by far our best seller. This is the album that is often simply referred to as “the history tapes”. Unfortunately, the audio recording quality of the original masters is poor, but the content is the reason we have sold so many of these albums. Mike Bickle recalls and describes both the miraculous events as well as the discouragements and setbacks that surrounded the establishing of Grace Ministries in Kansas City.
V1BJI Video-Interview With Bob Jones – This five hour interview was recorded during the Celebration Feast in May of 1988. Mike Bickle talks with Bob Jones for approximately five hours covering a wide variety of topics ranging from angelic visitations to demonic deliverance.
A4BJV Bob Jones Visions and Revelations – This four tape series was recorded over three evenings in September, 1988. Kansas City Fellowship pastors interview Bob Jones for nearly five hours about recent visions and revelations. Among other things, Bob discusses what believers are doing in the eighties (both positive and negative) that will determine how God will be able to use them in the nineties.
A4BJI An Interview with Bob Jones – four tapes [see V1BJI above for description]
60608 Personal Testimony
81231 Heaven & Hell
90226 Rest In His Mercy & Grace
91010 Shepherd’s Rod Oct. ‘89
V2IPC Video-Interview with Paul Cain – This two hour video was recorded during the Celebration Feast in May of 1988. Mike Bickle talks with Paul Cain about his personal testimony, his early days of ministry in his teens and his tent ministry and healing revivals in the 1950’s.
70512 Personal Testimony
70628 Joel’s Army
70629 7 Spirits of God
70929 Our Father’s House
71001 A New Breed
30510 Intercession with Angels Da. 10
John Paul Jackson:
JPJCC Being Conformed to Christ: Taproot of End Time Prophetic Events
90326 An Intercessory Vow
The remaining includes the rather lengthy list remaining on the “Spring Catalog ’90.” It is possible that individual tapes have been separated from the multi-tape sets yet are identified individually with catalog numbers or names corresponding to the single tapes – yet another reason I wish to have complete descriptions which sometimes includes individual titles within a series/album [noted in the following by underlining]. Care was made to transcribe exactly as written including grammatical errors and such, but I did not want to detract from the overall content by marking these errors with the usual “[sic]”; however, it’s certainly possible I’ve made some mistakes of my own. Specific items from the discontinued list above will be denoted with an asterisk (*) with no further descriptions rather than duplicating the above. I’ve omitted prices and moved the catalog number to the beginning of each item for easier reference.
Audio Tape Albums:
A7TFM Experiencing The Father’s Mercy – These seven tapes by Mike Bickle on God’s mercy and grace, reveal the never-ending compassion of the Father’s heart toward His children when they’re sincerely trying to grow, yet often find themselves falling short. This message has helped many believers overcome the discouragement of personal failure and learn to entrust their lives to the Father without reservation. Titles includes: The Tender Mercies of David, His Mercy Endureth Forever, Elijah: Loving Mercy, The Compassion of God and Mercy That Leads to Righteousness.
A8PIJ Pursuing Intimacy with Jesus – Mike Bickle shares with passionate insight on the splendor and majesty of the person of Christ Jesus. Mike goes on to elaborate on the importance and relevance of that knowledge to both the individual and the church. Titles in this eight tape series include: An Old Testament Love Song to Jesus, The Glorious Man Christ Jesus and Revival of Intimacy.
A6PEM Your Personal Eternity in the Making – This six tape album by Mike Bickle develops the often overlooked theme of eternal rewards, judgment and evaluation for the born-again believer. Mike challenges the listener to make a realistic reappraisal of this life and values, in light of eternity. Titles in this album include: Eternal Rewards for Good Works, The Judgment Seat of Christ, Six types of Eternal Rewards , and Eternal Rewards According to Motives and Ministry.
A5CSH Cultivating Spiritual Hunger – This five tape series is for those who long to gain spiritual ground, but lack the motivation to begin the journey. In his practical down-to-earth style, Mike Bickle offers helpful insights and encouragement for every believer who longs to increase his desire to seek the Lord.
A4PCT Paul Cain’s Life Testimony – This four tape series was taken from the video tape series recorded in early 1990. Paul covers material ranging from his grandmother, and mother, his childhood, his early years in ministry, the “silent years,” his current ministry and a prophetic look at the future. AVAILABLE AFTER 4-1-90
A5ROW Revelation of Worship – Mike Bickle stirs the spirit of the believer to new depths of worship by expounding various themes on the topic from the book of Revelation. In this five tape series Mike paints a vivid image of the never-ending worship which surrounds the throne of God. Mike, as always, offers some very practical how-to’s on the subject of worship as well. Titles include: Foundation of Worship, Prophetic Worship, Understanding Worship – Rev 4, and Worship: Revelation of the Throne of God.
A6GTT Growing Through Personal Trials – In this six tape series Mike Bickle offers encouragement for those who are struggling with circumstances, disappointments and injustices in their personal lives. Mike brings into perspective the spiritual gains to be made through perseverance, and overcoming those trials. Titles include: Perplexity in the Ways of God, Job: Patience in Trials, and Job and God’s Integrity.
A5PGG Preparation to Experience God’s Glory – In this five tape series Mike Bickle explains the relationship between God’s presence and His judgment. These essential truths will have increasing relevance in the days ahead, as the Lord’s anointing is poured out upon the earth. Using Exodus 32-34 as an example, Mike teaches the higher accountability which accompanies the greater manifestation of His presence.
A6PFD Practical Foundations For Devotional Prayer – This brand new 6 tape series from Mike Bickle includes: Principles of Beholding the Lord, Developing a Vocabulary in Prayer, Mary of Bethany: Wasting Your Life, Principles of Spiritual Hunger, and two other messages which will challenge the believer to lavish their life upon Jesus.
A16SW Spiritual Warfare Conference – This 16 volume set includes messages by Bob Jones, Rick Joyner, Francis Frangipane, David Ravenhill, David Parker, and Michael Sullivant. Messages include: The Apostolic Standard, Identifying Principalities, Pulling Down Strongholds, and Binding the Strongman.
A7SFI School For Intercessors – This 7 tape series by Mike Bickle was given at the Vineyard in Anaheim California in April, 1989. It is, without doubt, Mike’s most thorough and comprehensive teaching on the subject to date. Mike lays out both the theology and the practical “how-to’s” of intercession, dealing realistically with the obstacles to developing corporate intercession.
A4PCN Paul Cain November ’88 – Paul draws upon more than four decades of prophetic ministry in sharing three messages about God’s purposes in this generation. Included in this series is: Given As a Token, Behold I Will Come Quickly, and My Father’s House. Paul describes one of his many personal encounters with God in which the Lord speaks of His longing for a group of men and women who will make Jesus their “magnificent obsession.” Also included in this set is a fourth tape which contains Paul Cain’s dramatic personal testimony.
A6PPP Power Purity & the Prophetic – This six tape set was given by Paul Cain in May of 1989. In includes: The Original Extract, Extracting the Precious From the Vile, A Picture of the Church in America, The Dwelling Place of God, and a remarkable two tape set entitled Principles For the Prophetic Ministry in which Paul talks about the specific how’s of the prophetic ministry.
A8LRI Leonard Ravenhill: Intercession and Revival – This eight tape series embodies the wisdom and passion formed during the more than 60 years of full-time ministry. Leonard Ravenhill delivers a stirring message for holiness, revival and intercessory prayer. Included in this series is: A Vision for an Unsaved World, Be Strong and Do Exploits, A Living Hope Through the Resurrection, The Excellency of Knowing God, Repent! Repent! Repent!, and Give Me Souls or I Die.
A8FLC Leadership Conference: Fall ’88 – Team members discuss the evolving strategy and emerging network of Grace Ministries. This eight tape series includes: Builders of Strategy, The Why and How of Team Life, Strategy for Reaching a City and It’s Region, and The Grace Ministries Network. Also included in this series is a tape of worship, prayer and prophecy as well as two tapes featuring Bob Jones entitled: Bob Jones: Questions and Answers and Bob Jones on Pastors and Prophets.
A32SL Leadership Conference: Spring ’89 – This remarkable set of 24 tapes includes material by Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, Leonard Ravenhill, Reuven Doron, Francis Frangipane. Rick Joyner, David Parker, Noel Alexander and others. More than 2000 leaders from across America, and beyond, gathered for this series of meetings.
A6FHS Fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit – This six tape series by Mike Bickle was recorded over a three month period in late 1982 and early 1983. These were some of the very first messages ever spoken at Kansas City Fellowship and are still very popular. In this set Mike builds a solid foundation on which all other ministry must come forth. Mike teaches, as have others through the ages, that the secret of enjoying the Lord through personal fellowship is the basis for a triumphant life and fruitful ministry. Mike’s practical “how-to’s” have made this series a best seller.
A4WOG The Ways of God – In this four tape series Mike Bickle covers some of the most fundamental precepts about the nature of God and his relationship to man. Titles in this album include: The Fatherhood of God, A Testimony of Pleasing God, How a Loving God Can Send Men to Hell, and The Knowledge of Acceptance.
A3POP The Perils of Perfectionism – Mike Bickle taught this three tape series in 1987 and it has remained popular ever since. Mike carefully probes the issue of perfectionism among believers, presenting a biblical balance between a godly desire to give Him our best, versus an ungodly anxiety that restrains us because of our fear of failure. So many Christians find themselves doing too little in the Kingdom of God because their natural parents or others taught them that if they can’t do it perfectly it’s not acceptable. This series challenges that myth and encourages believers to step out in faith and give the Lord their best.
A4CTH A Call to Holiness – Noel Alexander shares a resounding call to that rare but precious life of holiness entitled End Times Holiness. Mike Bickle then offers some of his best practical “how-to’s” on the subject on three other tapes entitled: Walking Free From Adultery and Fornication, and Taming the Tongue (part 1 & 2).
A4JOG The Judgment of God – In this four tape album Mike Bickle identifies and teaches on three areas that can lead a believer into God’s judgment. As always, Mike’s teaching is thoroughly biblical and full of practical ideas that can be applied to a Christian’s daily walk. Titles included in this series are: Criticism and the Judgment of God, Tithing and the Judgment of God, and a two part message entitled Immortality and the Judgment of God.
A4THS The Holy Spirit – This four tape series of foundational teachings by Mike Bickle includes: Ministering the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Understanding the Gift of Tongues (Part 1 & 2), and Bestowing the Holy Spirit. Mike addresses these topics from a thoroughly biblical perspective with a candid discussion about why the role of the Holy Spirit has been the subject of so much controversy within the church. Mike encourages believers to do more than just “receive” the Holy Spirit, but to actually begin utilizing the gifts in their daily walk.
A4IIP An Introduction to Intercessory Prayer – This set of four tapes is basic to the Grace Ministries vision and calling. Mike Bickle shares two messages entitled: Understanding Intercessory Ministry Teams and Seven Intercessory and Devotional Prayers. Also in this album are two messages by Noel Alexander including: The Time for the Watchmen has Come and The Power of United Prayer and Fasting.
A8CC1 Grace Ministries Commitment Classes: Vol. 1 – This volume contains the first 8 of the 13 recently revised and updated 1989 commitment classes which are taught at Kansas City Fellowship. Mike Bickle’s topics include: The Wineskin and Values of Grace Ministries, The Overall Vision and Structure of Grace Ministries, The Local Vision and Structure of Kansas City Fellowship, Heart Standards and Ministry Style, The Kingdom and the End Times, The Apostolic Gospel and God’s Eternal Purpose, The Nature of the Local Church, and Spiritual Authority and Eldership.
A5CC2 Grace Ministries Commitment Classes: Vol. 2 – This five volume set will complete the revised and updated 1989 Commitment Class series with tapes 9 through 13. This series will not be complete or available until approximately July 1, 1990.
A10P2 Prophecy II Conference – Vineyard – This 10 tape series from July 1989 at the Vineyard in Anaheim, California features Paul Cain, Mike Bickle, Bob Jones and John Paul Jackson.
80814 Overview of Romans 5 & 6
80612 Loving Mercy
80214 Discerning The Various Seasons
71108 The Glory of Sexual Purity (2 tapes)
50106 Cultivating the Secret Life in God
40529 Promotion By Humility
30508 Understanding Fasting
30430 Understanding Intercession Is. 62:6
30423 Understanding Intercession I Cor. 3:9
30123 Understanding Worship Rev. 4
30501 Spirit of Prayer Ze. 12:10
30424 Spirit of Prayer Ha. 2:9
30517 Eph. 6:10-15
41230 Commitment to Financial Integrity
90319 The Father Heart of God (Jn 17:24-26)
90108 The Mystery of the Will of God
41127 Losing Your Life
30227 Understanding the Love of God
90613 Revelation of the Father’s Mercy
90702 The Good Intentions of the Heart
90604 Discerning the Religious Spirit Mt. 18:1
90611 Discerning the Religious Spirit (Pt. 2)
90730 Value of Significance
31115 How to Know God’s Will (2 tapes)
90801 Establishing Your Life Vision
90723 The Value of Acceptance
90627 Confidence Before the Father: Our Greatest Joy
90402 Five Steps to the Knowledge of God John 17:22-26
90903 Discerning the Will of God
80726 Job & God’s Integrity
70602 Eternal Rewards
70503 The Value of Daily Diligence
70502 Apostolic Prayer
60212 Personal Prayer
81002 A Vision for Personal Ministry
91001 Restoration of the Church
91212 Three Tensions of End-Time Prophecy
AA28A Power of Meditation on the Word
91210 Cultivating an Intimate Knowledge of God
80609 Freedom From Unsanctified Emotions
81211 Scheduling Your Time
91000 Principles for Nurturing the Prophetic Ministry (2 tapes)
90623 Principles of Spiritual Maturity (2 tapes)
91100 Introduction to the Song of the Lord
61118 Spiritual Authority
60708 Sinning Against Unity
80330 The Jezebel Spirit
90328 Prayer Challenge (with Bob Jones)
90604 Religious Spirit
90815 The Hope for This Generation
90910 Freedom From Sin by the Cross
90709 Holy Spirit
AA218 Princes of Israel take the Lead
91224 Name of Jesus
AB06A Gladness of Heart
AB11A Deliverance From Mourning
91108 Making Godly Choices
95555 How to Study the Bible
80524 The Pruning of the Lord
80809 Maintaining Your Spiritual Equilibrium (2 tapes)
70303 Discipleship in the Word
90117 Walking in the Comfort of God
90820 Eyes to See the Goodness of the Lord
90822 Engage Your Faith
90716 Testing the Spirits
90604 The Symptoms of Self-Righteousness
90411 The Privilege of Loving Jesus
91022 Learning to Delight in Mercy
AA16B The Source of Joy
AB11B It’s Time to Rebuild
80320 The Purpose of Patience
90207 Forbearance and Confrontation
90122 Judgment and Mercy – Joel
90305 Overcoming the Fear of Man
90618 God’s Blueprint for the Christian Family (2 tapes)
90709 The Four Foundational Standards of K.C.F.
90806 God, Your Work & Money (3 tapes)
91008 Achieving Oneness in Marriage
91015 Restoring Intimacy in Marriage
90219 New Leaders for a New Purpose
90222 Binding the Strongman (2 tapes)
90221 Samson: Conceived out of Barrenness
90418 Abrahamic Covenant (2 tapes)
90813 Overcoming the Enemy
90905 Abraham: The Price of the Promise
91024 Simeon: A Transient Man
90917 Understanding Prophecy & It’s Fulfillment
AA07B A New Breed “David’s Warriors”
91217 The Presence of God
AB04A The Kingdom of God in Your Midst
9021A Worship in the Beauty of Holiness
70811 The Prophetic Church (2 tapes)
91222 Paul Cain’s Early Ministry
91217 Intimacy with God
9LC23 The Vision of the Harvest
91101 Enjoying God’s Grace (2 tapes)
John Paul Jackson:
8LS13 Responding to the Prophetic Call
60831 Interpretation of Dreams & Visions
88LS9 The Jezebel Spirit
8LC5A Prophetic Administration (2 tapes)
90919 Wisdom in Handling the Prophetic
90521L God’s Remedy for Rejection
90725 The Antidote Called Hope
AA14B Securing Undistracted Devotion
AA09A The Fatherhood of God (2 tapes)
V3PCH Paul Cain’s Life Testimony – Highlights – This 60 minute video highlights Paul Cain’s life and ministry. Taped excerpts from the six hour full-length tapes are intended to provide an introduction for those who are unfamiliar with Paul Cain. [AVAILABLE AFTER 4-1-90]
V4PCT Paul Cain’s Life Testimony – This six hour series was recorded in early 1990. Paul covers material ranging from his grandmother, and mother, his childhood, his early years in ministry, the “silent years,” his current ministry and a prophetic look at the future. [AVAILABLE AFTER 4-1-90]
Items listed in the Gruen “Aberrant Practices” document not included in above catalog:
- Bob Jones Speaks to Dominion School, Fall 1989
- Bob Jones Prophecy: Olathe Christian Fellowship, part I
- Bob Jones, Lee’s Summit, February 1988
- John Paul Jackson with Bob Jones, KCMO, September 23, 1985
- Interpretation of Dreams and Visions, John Paul Jackson
- Prophetic Events, part I, John Paul Jackson
- Prophetic Events, part II, John Paul Jackson
- Visions and Signs, John Paul Jackson
- Maranatha World Conference, Mike Bickle, October 1989
- A New Breed, Bob Jones, 1989
- Night of Enlightenment: Bickle, Wes Adams, Larry Fry, John Paul Jackson, October 7, 1987
- The Fact in the New Order in God’s Work, Bickle, October 26, 1986
- New Order Illustrated – David/Saul, Bickle, October 1986
- New Order Illustrated – David/Saul, Bickle, October 26, 1986
- Olathe Christian Fellowship, Bickle, February 8, 1987
- Prophetic History 1, 2, 3, Bickle Spring 1986
- Remembering Our Heritage, Bickle, May 5, 1987
- Vineyard School of Prophecy, Bickle, Jones, 1989
- Vineyard Pastor’s Meeting, David Parker, March 2, 1990
- The Angelic Realm, Part I, “The Heavenly Identity, Nature & Service of Angelic Beings”
- The Angelic Realm, Part II, “The Ministry and Relationship of Men and Angels”
- Commitment Class, Part I, “Dominion & New Testament Church Life,” Week II, “The City Church,” Mike Bickle
- Grace Ministries Leadership Conference, Session 1, “Preparation of a New Wineskin,” Mike Bickle, 1989
- Grace Ministries Leadership Conference, Session 4, “The City Church,” Bickle, 1989
- Gathering of Prophets, Lecture Notes, Bickle, 1989
- “Emergence of Joseph Company,”Grace Ministries Leadership Conference, 1988
- The Prophetic Church, Part I, “A New Order of Men”
- “Strategy For Reaching a City & Its Regions,” Bickle
I’m also collecting ANY teaching papers from the KCF/Grace Ministries era (1982-1990)!
“…Not just the mantle of William Branham, how about the mantle of Jesus Christ? That’s even a bigger one there…”
- Kris Vallotton, August 15, 2010
Kris Vallotton is Senior Associate Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California under Senior Pastor Bill Johnson. The above quote of Vallotton follows an August 15, 2010 sermon of Bill Johnson titled, “The Real Jesus” (with complete context below). Johnson had just spoken of his desire for a “corporate anointing” and Vallotton was making a few comments after this sermon. The following YouTube video1 captures both Johnson and Vallotton (my understanding is this video is available at www.ibethel.tv if one registers at the site):
Here’s a portion of Johnson’s “word”:
“…Here’s what I’m believing for – I know it’s never happened; but, I know that it must before the end. There must be, not just individuals – I’m thankful we have individuals that are rising up with such anointing, such strength, we have people scattered all over the planet right now that are just making a mess of things in all the right ways. We are so encouraged. But, what I’m believing for is a generation – a generation that’ll rise up with a corporate faith, a corporate anointing to press into realms because it’s my conviction that as much as God put on a William Branham, or a Kathryn Kuhlman, or a Wigglesworth, He’ll put far greater anointing on a company of people than He ever would on an individual. To do that, there must be that corporate sense of, ‘we have to deal with the issue of obeying the rules of this kingdom to tap into the resources of this kingdom’…we cannot use the principles of this world and expect to tap into unlimited resource of the kingdom of God…” 2
After finishing his sermon and following up with some prayer, Johnson relinquishes the podium to Vallotton who goes on to reveal a purported conversation he had with God:
…so, I was in a prayer chapel and laying on the floor and I said, “God would you give me the mantle of William Branham?” And, He said, “Well, how could I do that? If I did that it would destroy you.” Then, I was layin’ there and it was like, the Lord asked ‘how could I do that’ so then I said – I waited about a few minutes – I was thinking about and I said, “Well, you could put the same mantle on a whole generation then we wouldn’t stand out from one another.” He said, “Alright, I’ll do that.”
Isn’t that awesome? That’s what the Lord wants to do. He wants to put the, He wants – not just the mantle of William Branham, but how about the mantle of Jesus Christ? That’s even a bigger one there, and, uh, He wants to put it on every single person.
So, wasn’t that just a great word that Bill brought us right there…”3
I agree “that’s even a bigger one there” but not in the same way as Vallotton, I’m sure. First, note that by the usage of the word “mantle” Vallotton is equating it with Johnson’s “anointing.” Bill Hamon states these terms are similar in meaning if not synonymous. He defines “anointing”:
“An in-depth study of the word anoint reveals that it was used to consecrate people to a particular position or ministry…In present-day application, this means the manifest presence of God upon a person to meet specific needs.
“…Mantle has a similar meaning. If someone has prophesied that you have a prophetic mantle, it implies that you can minister in prophetic ministry…”4
It follows then that the desire to “put the same mantle on a whole generation” would be the same as what Johnson calls a “corporate anointing.” Further, this “mantle of Jesus Christ” would be akin to a “corporate Christ anointing.” This is the heretical manifest sons of God (MSoG) teaching. [For more on Bill Johnson and MSoG, see Bill Johnson's 'Born Again' Jesus, Part II.] The most extreme view of MSoG culminates in the “Birth of the Man-Child” teaching in which the “birth” of the corporate Christ is through the corporate Church body. More on this in a bit.
William Marrion Branham’s Doctrine and Practices
Both Johnson and Vallotton promote William Branham. Who was William Marrion Branham? There’s already quite a bit of info available regarding Branham, so, briefly: he declared a number of foretelling prophecies which failed to come to pass, he denied the Trinity, and his doctrine included a belief in pyramidology and astrology in conjunction with the Bible. He also taught the Serpent Seed doctrine in which the claim is that the serpent in the Garden of Eden mated with Eve resulting in a tainted lineage beginning with Cain and continuing to this day.5 Apparently emanating from this perversion of the The Fall is the following from Branham:
“Who does the world belong to? The Devil. Who controls it now? The Devil. Exactly right. The Devil controls the world…”6
Yet Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” [NIV 1984] In the book of Job, Satan must receive God’s permission in order to test Job [Job 1:6-12 and 2:1-6]. And, in Job 38:33 is the following: “Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?” [NIV 1984] God is sovereign over all.
Branham’s son, Billy Paul Branham, reiterates his dad’s claim that he was the end-time spirit of Elijah:
“The Word of the Lord has promised that He would send to the earth once again the spirit of Elijah in the form of that end-time messenger who is the angel to the Seventh Church Age in the these final closing days of time. We firmly believe that this promise was fulfilled in the vindicated ministry of our precious brother, William Marrion Branham.” 7
Branham also taught that all Christian denominations lacked full revelation (Branham’s, that is), that denominations were the mark of the beast [Rev 13:16], and, thus, all those attending denominational churches were not really saved and are, in fact, antichrist.8 All congregants of denominations are actually the pale horse, death, of the fourth seal of Revelation [Rev 6:7-8] and will be killed off by the collective white horses made up of Jesus and the ‘church’ [Rev 19:14].9
In addition, Branham denied everlasting torment claiming the lake of fire was created and hence could not be eternal:
“…Anything that was created is not Eternal…That’s the reason there cannot be an Eternal hell. If anybody ever tells you that you’re going to burn in an Eternal Hell, I want the Scripture for that…”10
Well, here’s the Scripture: “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” [Rev 20:10, NIV 1984; see also Matthew 25:41-46, etc.] It should be noted that Branham affirmed eternal life for the believer11 even though mankind is, of course, created thereby illustrating one of many contradictions in his teachings. Some claim that Branham was orthodox in the beginning yet went astray toward the end of his life and ministry.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us – eternal life. 26 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. [I John 2:19, 24-26 NKJV]
Clearly, Branham was a false teacher propounding heresy. Branham claimed – and others claimed as well – that he was a prophet and a healer; but, with such aberrant theology, why would we believe he was truly of God? Is the sole criterion of a Christian the miraculous [see Matt 7:21-23]? Aren’t we to worship in both spirit and truth [John 4:23]? Given this, why would Bill Johnson promote Branham’s “anointing” and why would Kris Vallotton want his “mantle” as a “corporate mantle” / “corporate anointing?” Would God really want to give anyone, let alone the entire church corporate, the “mantle” of one like William Branham? Does God really talk to Kris Vallotton in this manner?
The “Mantle of Jesus Christ”
Setting aside for the moment the obvious blasphemy of even suggesting such a thing, what would it mean to receive the “mantle of Jesus Christ?” The context of the message in the video/audio seems to be, in general, the “greater works” teaching prevalent at Bethel. This may point to the Jesus Christ during the Incarnation as the model for this “mantle.” If this is the case then, given that Jesus’ primary purpose was to lay down his life in propitiation for the collective sins of mankind, would this be a part of this “mantle” as well?
Or, does this “mantle” refer to the current glorified Christ and/or Jesus at the Second Coming, when He returns to complete all of God’s purposes including the final judgment and the consummation of the Kingdom of God? This is certainly a possibility as will be made evident below. Either way, however, or if this “mantle” includes Jesus both at the Incarnation and in His glorified state, this is blasphemy of the highest order as it equates mere men to God. While Christians will receive a new glorified body in eternity, we will never become equal to Jesus Christ who was, is, and always will be God.
This phrase “the mantle of Jesus Christ” is not without precedence, however, as “The Mantle of Jesus” is the title of a ten year old article in which it is claimed the entire Church body will “operate in all the anointing that He [Jesus] did” as we “transition into the manifestations of the sons of God”:12
“…As we come into the unity of the faith the mantle of Christ will arise upon us, in ONE HEART and ONE MIND. It is the will of Father for us to be in unity of heart and mind as this occurs the scripture will be fulfilled.
“…We will not come into the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, the perfect man until we stop causing separation of the mantle of Christ. There still is a season where these callings and anointings will operate separate but soon as we grow in Christ and become ONE MIND and ONE HEART we will beat together as the BODY of CHRIST.”13
Bill Johnson’s friends Bob Jones and/or Todd Bentley could not have been much more straight-forward than that in their respective manifest sons of God teachings.
In addition, “the mantle of Jesus Christ” is mentioned by The Order of Christ~Sophia [Sophia means “wisdom”] as it’s included in their “Purposes” statement which is based on the “ancient Wisdom Teachings,” or, in other words, New Age / New Spirituality teachings. Among other things, the site desires “that all may know the love of their Creator and the reality of their Divine Birth” and to demonstrate to all “the Christ Consciousness and the Way of Return to the Creator.”14 Part of “ancient Wisdom Teachings” is the belief that we can attain sonship as fully manifested sons of God here on earth.
The Manifestation of the Sons of God
As noted at the beginning of this article and evidenced by the immediately preceding section, this “corporate anointing” and “corporate mantle” which Johnson and Vallotton refer to respectively in the context of the video/audio is tantamount to manifested sons of God (MSoG) doctrine. To illustrate further, I’ll quote from a few other proponents of this teaching. Bill Hamon explains this teaching in his 1997 book Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God [with foreword by C. Peter Wagner and endorsements by Oral Roberts, Cindy Jacobs among others] which come to the enlightened via so-called “present truths”15 purportedly by the Holy Spirit. These manifested sons of God will emerge “in one generation”16 displaying all kinds of “signs, wonders and miracles”:17
“…God has predestined a certain quantity of members with Christlike qualities for the full functioning of His eternal Church…”18
“The [New] Apostolic Reformation will cause believers to manifest the supernatural grace, gifts, and power of God. The one-man show will be over…”19
“God has released the Holy Spirit to bring His revelations and activation to the end-time Church. This will bring forth the last generation of mortal people, unlimited power…dedicated to fulfilling God’s present-truth purposes.”20
This will culminate in what Hamon terms the “Resurrection-Translation” (R-T) of the saints – his terminology and version of the Rapture:
“…We must realize that the Resurrection-Translation (R-T) of the saints does not take place because of a negative situation on earth. It is a positive event that takes place to fulfill God’s timely purpose.
“…The positive purpose of the R-T is to enable the army of the Lord [Joel’s Army, or MSoG militant] to finalize the war against all evil. The army of the Lord will progress on in the war until they have accomplished all they can in their limited mortal bodies. The R-T is for the purpose of immortalizing their bodies. This will remove all the earthly limitations, thereby enabling the saints unlimited abilities. They will be able to travel in all space realms of the heavenlies the same as Jesus and the angels do now. They can move in and out of all dimensions of the natural and spiritual realms as Jesus did in His resurrected flesh-and-bone body.”21
These fully manifested sons of God, or, Joel’s Army, will execute judgment on those who will not go along with their plans. Hamon claims Joel 2:1-11 is a prophecy for this near future ‘army of God.’22
“God’s great end-time army is being prepared to execute God’s written Judgments with Christ’s victory and divine judgment decrees that have already been established in heaven. The time is set when they will be administered and executed on earth through God’s saintly army. All that is destined and needed will be activated during God’s restorational Army of the Lord Movement…” 23
“…The New Breed will be those that are partaker of the divine nature. As you begin to grow into the likeness of Christ you’re gonna begin to partake of the divine nature. And, once you begin to grow up in that-a-way you’ll continue to mature until you look like Christ all over the world. Jesus was one person. Now get ready for Jesuses [sic; plural of “Jesus”] all over the world.”24
Johnson, himself has referred to a “new breed of believer” resulting in “a reformation [that] will impact society on all fronts”25 in his book Face to Face With God. Recall Johnson’s words from the above transcription, “I know it’s never happened; but, I know that it must before the end.” Here’s Bentley from May 28, 2008 at Lakeland making explicit references to what is called “birthing the man-child” – the ‘birthing’ of the “corporate Christ” which he states is a prerequisite for Jesus Christ’s return:
“‘Tonight is a crossing over and we have a moment,’ says the Lord, ‘where we can labor and travail until Christ is formed in you…’
“…I feel if we gave it a big push that we can literally form Christ – Christ in you. I’m talking about a maturing of what God has placed on the inside of your spirit. It’s gonna come out of the birth canal – it’s gonna come out of the womb – because there is a labor and there is a travailing that is going on in the spirit…
“…Under the anointing you make a declaration and it forms tonight…
“…We’re going to go back into travail right now until Christ is formed. God promised a day where heaven and earth must retain Him until the restoration of all things. Heaven will hold back the coming of Jesus Christ until sons and daughters come into maturity. It’s called the Manifestation of the sons of God.
“Heaven will hold back the Second Coming… A mature church manifests the glory of God. A mature church manifests the Word of God in truth and power. A mature church walks in holiness and character. A mature church walks in miracles, signs, and wonders.
“I’m talking about a maturity tonight – and it’s being formed in you. Let Christ be formed in maturity. Let the full man, let the fullness of God come forth, and let the womb open tonight… and let there be a great birthing…”26
Obviously, MSoG is not Biblical. One of the proof-texts used is Romans 8:15-24. And, as the Apostle Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 15:23-28, it is clear that Jesus is the one who puts “all His enemies under His feet” – not the Church. Heaven will not “hold back the Second Coming” due to the failure of the Church to somehow prepare the way for Christ’s return. If Jesus is waiting for a “perfected Church” as some erroneously teach (based on a faulty interpretation/proof-texting of Ephesians 5:27), He’ll be waiting for all eternity as we are inherently imperfect and will never be perfected this side of glory!
The New Age of the Manifested Sons of God
Constance Cumbey, in her 1985 book A Planned Deception illustrates how an adamant New Ager from a Unity Church in Kansas City recognized the Manifest Sons of God doctrine as taught in hyper-charismatic churches, or “Neo-Pentecostalism” as being New Age in nature [see also Ascended Master under “Glossary of New Age/Occult Terms and Concepts” and “Jesus of Nazareth / Master Jesus” in the “Christ” in the New Age article on this site]:
“Rev. Ernest Ramsey, an associate pastor at Unity’s Kansas City Founder’s Church, Unity on the Plaza, is an enthusiastic follower of the Alice Bailey and Benjamin Crème teachings. In his Research Report #2, he tells of something he was led to by a spirit guide – what he terms ‘Neo-Pentecostalism.’ An aberrant branch of Pentecostalism, this is more commonly known as ‘Manifest Sons of God.’ That movement is also referred to as ‘Sonship’ or ‘Overcomers.’ Ramsey concludes based on even less evidence than I have personally collected that this is part of the New Age Movement.
“…The most interesting section of Ramsey’s report dealing with ‘Neopentecostalism.’ Ramsey spent a semester at one of the Neo-Pentecostal or Manifest Sons of God seminaries – in upstate New York ‘at a location surrounded by tall pine trees.’ Already familiar with the Alice Bailey writings, he was amazed to see that there was a branch of Pentecostalism that embraced the same teachings – albeit using different terminology.
“Like those seeking the ‘Age of Aquarius’ these people too were seeking a ‘New Age.’ Like the other New Agers, these people taught that ‘The Christ’ was an anointing – not necessarily one man. They taught that Jesus was a pattern son who was to be a sign of something even greater to come – the ‘Manifestation of the Sons of God.’They too believed the earth was to be cleansed of evil. And chillingly like the other New Agers, they believed they were to be ‘God’s’ instruments to do such cleansing. The New Agers believed they were gods. The Manifest Sons of God likewise taught that if one accepted their ‘new revelation’ that they themselves would actually become Christ at the time of the unveiling or manifestation of the Sons of God….”27
Theosophist/New Ager Alice A. Bailey (mentioned above by Cumbey), in her 1937 book From Bethlehem to Calvary, an occult rendering of the life and work of Jesus Christ, teaches the MSoG doctrine:
“Let me state here briefly and succinctly, what it would appear really transpired when Christ died on the Cross. He rendered up the form aspect and identified Himself as Man with the life aspect of Deity. He thereby liberated us from the form side of life, of religion and of matter, and demonstrated to us the possibility of being in the world and yet not of the world,*living as souls, released from the trammels and limitations of the flesh, while yet walking on earth…”28
The asterisk above denotes a reference in the original text to John 17:16 illustrating one of many instances of proof-texting. Note that, according to Bailey, Christ did not die for our sins so much as He died for our own deification – becoming a model, a pattern to follow in attaining our own godhood. The last part of the last sentence above is describing manifested sons of God with the claim that Jesus Christ had released us “from the trammels and limitations of the flesh, while yet walking on earth.” Bailey is also describing the dualistic Gnostic concept which recognizes the spiritual realm as the ‘real’ with the material realm as illusion and/or intrinsically evil. This is also alluded to in Bill Hamon’s book Eternal Church in which he states:
“…When the Church realizes its full sonship, its bodily redemption will cause a redemptive chain reaction throughout all of creation…”29
This sounds not unlike the Kabbalistic doctrine of divine sparks which are within all matter requiring mankind to liberate and redeem them to perfection.
In the following, Bailey is a bit more explicit in her manifested sons of God teaching:
“…Its form [orthodox religion] must be sacrificed upon the Cross of Christ in order that it may be resurrected into true and vital life for the meeting of people’s need. Let a living Christ be its theme, and not a dying Saviour…Mankind can descend from the cross as Christ did, and enter into the kingdom of God, a living spirit. The sons of God are ready to be manifested…”30
The book goes on to quote Romans 8:16-24, just as those in hyper-charismatic churches do in promoting MSoG teaching. Continuing with Bailey:
“Towards this glorification of God we are all moving. Some of the sons of men have already achieved, through the realisation of their divinity.”31
In addition to the ability to travel between the physical and spiritual realms at will, other characteristics of the fully manifested son of God are an impossibility to sin,32 being group conscious33 (the recognition of the imperative of unity), and a cessation of ongoing reincarnations.34 In the following, Bailey equates the attainment of sonship with entrance into the Kingdom of God and describes how Christ’s Incarnation furthered this possibility:
“…Christ’s incarnation, apart from its historical value, and apart from the keynote which He sounded, marked the closing of a great cosmic cycle, but it marked also the opening of that door into the kingdom which had opened only occasionally theretofore, in order to permit the entrance of those sons of God who had triumphed over matter. After the advent of Christ, the door stood wide open for all time, and the kingdom of God began to form on Earth…”35
This “door into the kingdom” is also known as a “portal” or “veil.” The initiate “triumphs over matter” through meditation i.e., seeking the ‘presence of God,’ which brings increasingly deeper levels of “Christ consciousness,” or, in reality, increasing soul-control/possession. [See “Christ Consciousness” section of “Christ” in the New Age.] Bailey makes it clear that the ultimate purpose is to build the kingdom now and this purpose can only be accomplished by both the individual and the entire human race attaining divinity.
“It is time that the Church woke up to its true mission, which is to materialise the kingdom of God on earth, today, here and now…”36
“This divinity in man must be brought to the birth, both in the individual and in the [human] race, and thus can the kingdom of God on earth be brought into being.”37
Obviously, this is not the true Biblical Kingdom of God which should make the reader wonder just which kingdom Dominionists/Restorationists/Kingdom Now adherents are seeking to build. [SeeFifth Kingdom in Nature and Kingdom of God under “Glossary of New Age/Occult Terms and Concepts” section of “Christ” in the New Age.]
The late Earl Paulk made a distinction between the “Gospel” and the “Gospel of the Kingdom” in a glossary near the end of his 1984 book Ultimate Kingdom. Here are the two definitions respectively:
Gospel: The good news of God’s redemption to man. [Luke 4:18, 9:6; Romans 1:16; Ephesians 6:15]
Gospel of the Kingdom: The good news principles of daily life taught by Jesus that the Church must demonstrate as a witness to the world in order to return the rule of the earth to God. [Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 24:14]38
Notice again how it’s the Church which must “return the rule of the earth to God” which is, as already noted above, unbiblical. Bill Johnson, in his book When Heaven Invades Earth also differentiates between the “Gospel” and the “Gospel of the Kingdom”:
“…the company of people who have joined this quest for an authentic gospel – the gospel of the kingdom – is increasing.”39
There is also a teaching in the New Age in which when “Christ” – actually the antichrist – ‘reappears’ (the belief is He never left the earth), He will have the ability to manifest Himself in many bodies at one time not unlike the “Birth of the Man-Child”40 teaching of MSoG.
“The Christ, when He comes into incarnation, will most likely project himself into many parts and be where he wants to be. This is called the Law of Divisibility, a term used in Agni Yoga that means a highly developed spirit—one who is able to contact, simultaneously, various people in various locations. For example, a Master can be seen in various groups at the same time. He can even be in different planes serving and teaching on different levels to meet various needs of the people. He can do different jobs in different places at one time. He impresses the space with his images, and so forth.”41
Paulk also defines “Man Child” in his glossary as “Jesus Christ” (while referencing Revelation 12:5, 13).42 Francis Frangipane, in his book In the Presence of God, espouses this “Birth of the Man-Child” doctrine implicitly in a chapter titled “The Virgin Shall Be with Child”:
“Secure this thought in your mind: when the Spirit ofChrist comes into the physical world, He must enter through a physical body…When Christ first entered our world as a child, it was Mary whom God chose to give Christ birth. Mary’s life symbolized the qualities the Church must possess to walk in the fullness of Christ…[God is preparing us] as He did Mary to give birth to the ministry of His Son. Even now, in the spiritual womb of the virgin Church, the holy purpose of Christ is growing, awaiting maturity; ready to be born in power in the timing of God…the virgin church is ‘in labour and in pain to give birth (Rev 12:1-2)…even now, hell trembles and the heavens watch in awe, for I say to you, once again, the virgin is with child. Before Jesus Himself returns, the last virgin Church shall become pregnant with the promise of God. Out of her travail, the Body of Christ shall come forth, raised to the full stature of its Head, the Lord Jesus. Corporately manifested in holiness, power and love, the Bride of Christ shall rise.”43
As evidenced by the title of his 1985 book Held in the Heavens Until… Paulk believes we either hinder or hasten Christ’s return. Paulk made no bones about his belief in MSoG as he writes:
“…When I say, ‘Act like a god,’ I can hear people saying, ‘There he goes with the theory of the manifest sons of God.’ Forget about theories! Forget about doctrine! Just go back to the simple Word of God! We are ‘little gods,’ whether we admit it or not…”44
Paulk goes further by explaining that we are an “ongoing incarnation of Christ”:
“…Jesus was the firstfruit of God’s incarnation, a man living out God’s perfect will. Now He says, “…My people will bring forth life as they become the ‘incarnate Word’ on planet Earth.” …the Church is the ‘ongoing expression’ of God.”45
“All things have been given to us, even to the point of allowing us to share the divine nature of Jesus. Sharing His nature is a definition of the ongoing incarnation of God on the earth. ‘Christ in us, the hope of glory.’ His inheritance is already ours.”46
“…The Seed, Jesus Christ, multiplied Himself by sending the Holy Spirit to indwell His followers…
“…the Holy Spirit within us makes us become the incarnation of God. The seed begins to grow within individuals, and grows corporately into a tremendous church…”47
Bill Hamon wrote regarding Paulk on the Rapture that his view “to most Evangelicals and Pentecostals [is] a denial of the rapture bordering on heresy”:
“He [Paulk] taught that the departed saints would be resurrected and the living saints would be translated in the twinkling of an eye, but this was not for the purpose of leaving the earth. Rather, it was for establishing God’s divine order for the human race and Christ’s rulership over all the earth.”48
Please note this is essentially what Hamon teaches (see above). Even though Hamon does not specifically mention the already departed saints, it is inferred by the “Resurrection” part of his “Resurrection-Translation” doctrine for “resurrection” can only refer to the deceased. While I may not have found what Hamon refers to explicitly regarding Paulk (if I do find something more definitive, I’ll update this portion), here’s Paulk, once again, from Held in the Heavens Until… inferring this as he continues in his line of thought from above [this may well be the quote Hamon had in mind]:
“…‘Christ in us’ is God’s continuing incarnation…The Church is Christ’s body, the incarnation of Christ today. The mystery which has been hidden but is now revealed to His saints is ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’ The mystery of this generation is Christ in us. We never understood that mystery fully. We pray to a ‘God beyond the clouds in heavenly places’ when Christ is in us. The hope of glory is not in the heavenlies – the ‘hope of the heavenlies’ is on earth! Every departed saint is gathered, waiting to see how many of us are going to receive understanding and bring Christ from the heavenlies. They are waiting for total redemption as we are.
“If God’s love is going to be manifested on planet earth, who is going to demonstrate it? Christ in us, the hope of glory. God has no other place to show His love except through His body.”49
I do believe God is quite capable of displaying His love apart from the Church body.
This article has shown that a “corporate Christ mantle” or “corporate Christ anointing” is akin to Manifest Sons of God teaching. Further, the logical conclusion to this teaching in most quarters is an establishment of the “Kingdom of God” through these manifested sons. These doctrines have a direct parallel to New Age teachings. Given that MSoG along with its associated doctrines are not Biblical, we must ask ourselves: Which Kingdom is Johnson, Vallotton, Hamon, Jones, Bentley, Frangipane, (and the late Paulk), et al actually attempting to establish?
1“ChasingRiver” The Real Jesus – Part 4 – by Bill Johnson. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHcRI60j0HI&feature=related>; as accessed 07/03/11 2 “ChasingRiver” 0:36 – 1:30, emphasis added; as accessed 07/03/11 3 “ChasingRiver” 7:28 – 8:10, emphasis added; as accessed 07/03/11 4 Hamon, Bill. Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Moves of God. 1997 (2nd printing), Destiny Image “We Publish the Prophets”, Shippensburg, PA; p 282. Bolding in original, underlining added. 5 Branham, William Marrion. The Revelation of the Seven Seals. 1993, Voice of God, Jeffersonville, IA; pp 425-27. From sermon tapes of March 17-25, 1963. 6 Branham; p 426 7 Branham; introduction 8 Branham; pp 259, 249-95 9 Branham; pp 281, 249-95 10 Branham; p 435 11 Branham; p 436 12 Jesus “R” Ministries. “The Mantle of Jesus” <http://www.jesusrministries.org/Mantle%20of%20Jesus.htm>; par 2, 3; as accessed 07/03/11 13 Jesus “R” Ministries; par 3, 5. Emphasis added. Also note the very last paragraph uses Joel 2:1-18 presumably for the Latter Rain version of Joel’s Army as well as the IHOP version. 14 Order of Christ~Sophia (Centers of Light) “Purposes” <http://www.orderofchristsophia.org/OCS_purposes.html>; points 3, 6, 5, 6 respectively; as accessed 07/03/11 15 Hamon. Apostles, Prophets; p 13 16 Hamon. Apostles, Prophets; p 11 17 Hamon. Apostles, Prophets; p 13 18 Hamon. Apostles, Prophets; p 11 19 Hamon. Apostles, Prophets; p 13 20 Hamon. Apostles, Prophets; p 18 21 Hamon. Apostles, Prophets; pp 264-65 22 Hamon. Apostles, Prophets; pp 255-56 23 Hamon. Apostles, Prophets; p 252 24 MorningStar Ministries, Media Store, VS19-000D. “Todd Bentley Healing and Impartation Service, 08-08-08” DVD. A truncated version is on Jones’ site: <http://bobjonesnew.unionactive.com/Docs/Words%20of%202008/2008-09-The_New_Breed.htm> 25 Johnson, Bill. Face to Face with God. 2007; Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL; p 139. Emphasis added. 26 Bentley, Todd. Monologue from Lakeland Revival, Day 57 May 28, 2008. Originally accessed here: <http://injesus.com/index.php?module=message&task=list&GroupID-WB0062AX> access date unknown, website link no longer valid. 27 Cumbey, Constance. A Planned Deception: the Staging of a New Age “Messiah”. 1985; Point Publishers, East Detroit, MI; pp 171-172. Emphasis added. Also available as a free download: <https://public.me.com/cumbey> “A PLANNED…ULL BOOK.pdf” pp 78-9 28 Bailey, Alice A. From Bethlehem to Calvary. Copyright 1937 by Alice A. Bailey, renewed 1957 by Foster Bailey; Lucis, NY, 4th paperback edition, 1989; Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, New York; p 187. Emphasis added. 29 Hamon, Bill. Eternal Church. 1981 (2003 revised ed), Christian International, Santa Rosa Beach, FL; pp 359-60 30 Bailey. Bethlehem; p 189. Emphasis added. 31 Bailey. Bethlehem; p 189. As per original (sentence fragment in orig.). Emphasis added. 32 Bailey. Bethlehem; p 202 33 Bailey, Alice A. The Rays and the Initiations. 1960 Lucis, NY, 2nd paperback ed, 1976, Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, New York; p 694 34 Bailey, Rays; p 697 35 Bailey. Bethlehem; p 184 36 Bailey. Bethlehem; p 210 37 Bailey. Bethlehem; p 50 38 Paulk, Earl. Ultimate Kingdom. 1984, K Dimension Publishers, Atlanta, GA; p 335 39 Johnson, Bill When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 27. Emphasis in original. 40 Booth, Tricia (formerly Tillin), The Birthpangs of a New Age. “The Birth of the Manchild” <http://www.birthpangs.org/articles/latterrain/manchild.html>; as accessed 07/03/11 41 World Service Intergroup website. Dubois, J.D. “The Christ, His Reappearance, and the Avatar of Synthesis” <http://www.worldserviceintergroup.net/#/christ-reappearance/4543145171>; par 5; as accessed 07/03/11 42 Paulk. Ultimate. p 337 43 Frangipane, Francis. In the Presence of God. 1994, New Wine Press, UK; pp 153-57 as cited in Booth, Tricia “The Birth of the Manchild”. Emphasis added 44 Paulk, Earl. Held in the Heavens Until…: God’s Strategy for Planet Earth. 1985, K Dimension Publishers, Atlanta, GA; p 171. Emphasis added. 45 Paulk. Heavens. p 163. Emphasis added. 46 Paulk. Heavens. p 197. Emphasis added. 47 Paulk. Heavens. p 227. Emphasis added. 48 Hamon. Apostles, Prophets. p 199 49 Paulk. Heavens. p 229. Emphasis added.
[Part of this testimony first appeared here and is titled "I Was at IHOP and FSM for about 3+ Years..." In a subsequent comment on that blog article, "Stephanie" added some more to her testimony. She graciously revised her testimony to include both the original and her additional comments for publishing here at CrossWise. Bill over at Beyond Grace has recently published two other testimonies. Please take the time to read both The Mother of all IHOP Casualties and Red Flags over IHOP - Devotion or Deception?. I had previously made a passing reference to another one of the second author's articles (Red Flags... author "Ariel") in a previous CrossWise post -- The Kingdom of God is at Hand, part II (at footnote 5).]
I grew up as the only Christian in my household. My parents came to know Jesus when I was about 10. My Father began to backslide after his grandmother died which took a pretty big toll on his relationship with my brothers, my mother, and I. Off and on since I was in about 7th grade, I had severe night terrors and nightmares. I attended a Bible High School as well as a Bible College after I graduated. I often tried to find a reason and a way to stop my night terrors, with little to no answers.
Meanwhile, my family was extremely rocky to say the least. My dad was an absentee, my youngest brother was abusive, and my mom was enabling them both. I always wanted to help them, but neglected myself in the process. Wanting to get closer to the Lord, I decided to go to an extension campus in Hawaii (without praying about it and for pretty selfish reasons). I knew I probably wasn’t supposed to go but went anyway to escape from everything else going on in my life.
The Pastor who ran the campus quit 3 days before our arrival and a local apprentice to the pastor was put in charge and (very) reluctantly took the position. It was a pretty messed up situation, to which I and everyone else on campus (about 20 people) ended up leaving as a result. At this point, my walk was very dry and I felt so out of place no matter where I was. I just needed a place I felt I could fit in and, at the same time, draw closer to the Lord and get some answers for weird things that would happen (like the night terrors).
Then a friend told me about the International House of Prayer (IHOP). I heard that my favorite band was going to play at their “One Thing Conference” in December. I decided to go, for three reasons:
1. To meet the friend who told me about IHOP
2. To see my favorite band
3. Hopefully get closer to the Lord and find some answers to my questions
At this time, I had absolutely no experience in anything the Charismatic church teaches and was clueless about manifestations, deliverance ministry, baptism of the Holy Spirit, etc. At the same time, I was very desperate to be loved and accepted by God and by people, and I was desperate to feelanything. I felt so dry and empty. I just needed someone to be there for me and understand… I needed Jesus.
SO I went to the conference and had some very different experiences. I heard people speak in tongues for the first time. People talked about Angels and Demons like it was a normal every day experience, and I heard doctrines that I’d never heard before. I was also told that all the other churches in America were dead, dry, and boring and were, therefore, without Jesus. Because my walk was dead, dry, and boring, it seemed right to me. And the experiences I had that weekend, although strange to me, felt good and exciting. Because of the conference, I decided that I wanted to go to FSM [ed: Forerunner School of Ministry], in hopes of finding Jesus and acceptance there.
I attended IHOP/FSM and was heavily involved for about 3+ years.
My first semester there, I had nothing but good things to say about IHOP because I was still learning all these new things that I found to be fascinating, and I felt I was accepted by everyone else who was “just like me.” I also thought I found answers to my night terrors, when they explained it was because I “had demons” that needed to be delivered. After going through several of their deliverance ministries, however, the terrors only got worse and more frequent.
It wasn’t until my second semester (after going home for Christmas break) that I realized I had completely disconnected from my family, friends, and reality. All of my closest friends and family members sat me down (individually) for an intervention, of sorts. They would tell me things like that I’ve changed and I seemed happy and “on-fire” for God, but that something was off and something was wrong. And when I would tell them some of the things I was learning or experiencing, they only became more worried and they confronted me with scriptures, which got me thinking. So going back into my second semester, I was a lot more confused and had a lot more questions.
Slowly but surely, the Lord chipped away at my heart and showed me very clear scriptures to cause me to question the things that would go on there. After realizing this, I started feeling really weird about some things that were being done and said there, so I took it to the Lord, as any “Berean” should. I started looking up the scriptures my teachers would give us in handouts to explain some of their doctrines, and I realized that not one of those scriptures had anything to do with those doctrines. They were either taken completely out of context or just had nothing at all to do with what the doctrine was (ie: deliverance, manifestations, etc). So, I became even more confused and concerned. I started asking very genuine questions about where certain things were in scripture (like deliverance ministry, false prophesies, manifestations, etc.) because I wanted to be sure that I was doing the right thing in God’s eyes. I just wanted it to be explained to me because I didn’t understand the doctrines and I didn’t understand why the scriptures weren’t lining up with my experiences. When everyone would “feel the presence of God” or everyone would “break out into manifestations of God,” I wouldn’t feel anything and I would almost never experience what everyone else did. So, most days, I felt like an outsider because everyone but me was “getting it.” I started feeling confused and rejected by God, which is why (again), I turned to scripture.
I noticed that, when I started asking questions, that I had been “red flagged.” What I mean is that I had particular people in leadership following me around and keeping tabs on me. I was moved out of my core “Omega” group and into one with Sabrina Walsh who was a former, practicing witch and was also a leader at FSM. She and her husband were in charge of the “Signs and Wonders” classes where they teach kids how to prophesy and perform miracles. I was put in the group because I was to be “monitored.” After changing groups, I began having strange dreams and getting attacked on almost a daily basis.
As I read more scripture, I also began to realize that much of what they were teaching and practicing was extremely unbiblical and even dangerous. We were constantly fasting and in the prayer room. After starting to eat more and going to the prayer room a little less, I felt my head start to clear up and I didn’t like what I was seeing and how I felt. I often went back and forth, in my mind, between wanting to feel what everyone else felt, and realizing that it wasn’t from God, trying to figure it out. Half-way through my third year of school, I was brought into a room with several staff members (including Walsh) who accused me of many things that I hadn’t even come close to doing and they said something to the effect of:
“We know that you have father issues that need to be resolved (I didn’t) and we can tell that you are heavily oppressed by many demons. However, we are incapable of this level of deliverance on someone. We just don’t have the time or the resources. So we are going to send you to this wonderful place in Toronto, Canada. This rehabilitation facility is capable of handling your type of situation. We’ve sent many students there who have come back completely delivered. We are going to send you there. You cannot come back to IHOP or FSM until we have a written letter from them stating that you have been delivered. In the current state you are in, you’re a danger to the other student’s growth and spiritual being.”
…To which I told them I would certainly go, but had no intention of actually going. I said I would go because I was very much afraid of what would happen if I told them I wouldn’t go, and was afraid until I moved back home. After the meeting with them, I immediately called my Dad, who I’d been told not to talk to anymore because he said IHOP was a cult. At one point, they also told me that I needed to stay away from my mom (who is my best friend in the world) because she had demons and was pulling me away from God (which was anything but true). My Dad booked the first flight to Kansas City. At that time, my mom and I owned a home in KC and we had been helping students that went to FSM by providing rooms with low rent. I had an excellent relationship with each person in the house. Within two weeks of being pulled into the office ALL of my roommates – my friends - moved out. When asked directly, they either had no response or told me that the school had told them it was an “unsafe environment” because I and my mother “had a demon”.
I was absolutely crushed. All I ever wanted was to know God and at the time I felt completely rejected by Him. When I finally left IHOP, I was not all the way better. I was actually worse than when I started because I was more confused, felt rejected, and still needed help. My head felt like it was covered in a fog. I would constantly go back and forth between “I know what happened was wrong” and “God was the one taking me out of there to save me” all the way to “IHOP was right” and “there is something wrong with me.” Like I said, I was a complete mess and it took a whole lot of love and prayer to get me out of that state of mind. I even flew to Illinois to go to my friend’s church (the same one who told me about IHOP in the first place) to try to get “Delivered” of this demon that IHOP told me about because I was so messed up. After that trip, I walked away from the Lord completely for about 6 months and was absolutely miserable both in and out of the church.
It wasn’t until I came back to my Calvary Chapel church that life started to become normal again. Even then, it took a really long time. I was able to let go of needing to feel something that wasn’t there and just focus on the truth of the Word of God and loving and understanding who God is. He is never-changing, always loving, arms-wide open, ever wise, ever beautiful, ever strong, amazing, orderly, and truthful God. He is my best friend, my Father, my peace, and my joy. And it didn’t take barking like a dog, falling over, being “drunk,” or being “delivered” from a “demon,” to do it. It was straight-up surrendering to His will and letting go of mine. It was repentance and it was loving God, even if it seems “Boring.” It was just worshipping at his feet, reading His word, fellowship with believers, accountability, etc… going back to the basics. The gospel is truly simple and God is very straight-forward. He is not the author of confusion.
I thank God for my Calvary Chapel pastor back home (and the amazing women at my church) who spent every minute praying for me, speaking life over me, and bringing me back to the truth of the Word of God. I almost lost faith and hope many times. But God is so amazing…He spared my life and got me out of there.
I grieve for the people I love who are still stuck within the lies of IHOP and for the many who are recruited to IHOP daily. I pray for their souls and I pray for the truth to be made known to them. If ever there was an “antichrist spirit,” this is it.
I’ve kept all of my journals, notes, books, and materials from when I was there. When looking back on the things I wrote and the things I would say…it’s like I was a mindless drone who repeated everything I heard. It scares me to think that so many people are being deceived, so many families ripped apart…so many lives destroyed….and all in the name of “Jesus”. God help us and God forgive those who tarnish and blaspheme Your name!
In the most recent “Prophetic Insight” from Charisma, Bill Winston has a piece titled A Time for Justice in which he states it’s time to “wrap this age up.”
“I have been teaching for several months that we are in a “set time” for the manifestation of God’s people. We are standing in the midst of what God has been prophesying for generations. The kingdom of God is here, and I believe it is our responsibility to wrap this age up.”
Is this Joel’s Army mobilizing? This is what the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) means when it says “the violent” will “take it [the kingdom] by force.”
“In Psalm 102:13 David makes a prophetic statement during his prayer saying, “You will arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favor her, yes, the set time, has come.” In this passage, “Zion” refers to the church and “set time” to an actual chronological moment in history when something will occur.”
Sorry, Mr. Winston, but “Zion” refers to Jerusalem. Once again we have the NAR/WoF using Replacement Theology — applying blessings (rather than cursings or chastenings — rather conveniently) of the Nation Israel to the “church.” This is antisemitic to the core.
”An important part of this teaching about the manifestation of the church is “vengeance” and “recompense”; but God’s vengeance is not defined the way most people think it is.”
I would say rather, the NAR’s “vengeance” is not the way God would define it. Jesus Christ’s Second Coming will usher in the consummation of the Kingdom of God. Man will not, as the NAR will find out at the REAL end of this age — much to their chagrin.
[It will probably be best to read or review part I before reading this article. In addition, it is important to view The Kingdom of God is at Hand, Part II as this provides more insight into Bill Johnson’s theology and its possible New Age implications. Once again, I’m indebted to all those who’ve assisted. Thank you!]
In part I, we discussed the Christology of Bill Johnson based on his words from a portion of his sermon series titled Jesus Is Our Model as well as quotes from other sources. In part II, we will look further into Johnson’s doctrine and compare it to some other aberrant theology. Here’s the same part of his sermon which was referenced in the first part:
“…Did you know that Jesus was born again? I asked… the first service and they said, “No.” But I will show it. It’s in the Bible. He had to be. He became sin.
In Hebrews 1 it says this, “For to which of the angels did he ever say, ‘You are my son. Today I have begotten you’?” And Acts 13 explains that: “God has fulfilled this for us, their children, in that he has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are my Son, Today I have begotten You.’ And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption.” He was born through Mary the first time and through the Resurrection the second time. He was ‘born again.’” 
Word of Faith Connections and Disconnections
Kenneth E. Hagin, who borrows heavily from E. W. Kenyon, used the same verses as Johnson in speaking about a ‘born again’ Jesus. Hagin starts out in Hebrews 1:4-5 explaining how Jesus inherited His “more excellent Name”. Then, just as Johnson does (or, perhaps the converse is more correct as it appears Johnson is copying Hagin), Hagin proceeds to Acts 13:33 to ‘explain’ how and when Jesus was born again:
“When was it that Jesus was begotten? When He was raised up! On that Resurrection morn!” 
So far this is practically identical to Johnson in terms of the method used although Hagin writes in his idiosyncratic Southern style in explaining his view. While Johnson does not provide his reasons as to why Jesus was ‘born again,’ Hagin does:
“Why did He need to be begotten, or born? Because He became like we were, separated from God. Because He tasted spiritual death for every man. His spirit, His inner man, went to hell in our place.”
“…Physical death would not remove our sins….”
“Jesus is the first person ever to be born again.”  [emphasis added]
“Spiritual death means something more than separation from God. Spiritual death also means having Satan’s nature.” [emphasis in original]
Can we conclude that Johnson may believe that Jesus died spiritually as does Hagin? It’s certainly possible; however, absent an explanation from Johnson himself we are still left wondering. There is one important difference between Hagin’s and Johnsons’ renditions, though. Hagin claims Jesus was “not born as He took on flesh” because He “preexisted with the Father” stating that Jesus “just took upon Himself a body.” Then, he makes the definitive claim that Jesus died spiritually on the Cross requiring that He be born again. However, Johnson states that Jesus was “born through Mary the first time” and had to be ‘born again’ because He ‘became sin’ with no further explanation.
Kenneth E. “Papa” Hagin is known as the “Daddy” of the Word of Faith movement. If that’s the case, then E. W. Kenyon is the grandfather since Hagin largely emulates his teachings. Kenyon’s doctrine has much in common with New Thought  and that’s because he was a follower of founder Phineas P. Quimby’s teachings. For an excellent expose on Word of Faith read Atonement Where? by Moreno Dal Bello.
Some New Age doctrine seems to come from New Thought ideology:
“The New Thought movement, which originated in the late 19th and early 20th century, has at its core a belief that a higher power pervades all existence, and that individuals can create their own reality via affirmations, meditation and prayer. Early New Thought groups emerged from a Christian Science background, and many New Thought writers refer back to the Bible as their foundation text. New Thought resembles in some respects New Age philosophy, although some… …groups dismiss a connection….” 
While Johnson may diverge a bit from Word of Faith teachings, it seems he has much more in common than not with this false doctrine as much of the rest of this article will confirm.
Baptism in Confusion
There was an unanswered point in part I of this article:
… The view of Jesus being God’s Son at or through the Resurrection is only unorthodox if the belief is that Jesus was not the Son of God before this event….
Bill Johnson quoted Matthew 3:17 from the NKJV, “‘This is My much loved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”; so, it would seem that he believes Jesus was the Father’s Son at baptism, if not before. However, the question that remains is if Johnson believes Jesus was divine at any point before baptism. It also seems possible though that Johnson believes Jesus was divine at the Virgin Birth (His Incarnation) even though his claim is that Jesus did not become The Christ until baptism at which point He received this ‘title’ of Christ. As pointed out in part I, this, of course, creates a contradiction within Johnson’s theology as Christ is the transliterated Greek word Christos which is taken from the Hebrew word meaning Messiah of which there can be only one; however, Johnson states we all can receive the same “anointing” as Jesus did. This would mean, in effect, we, too would attain the ‘title’ of Christ – which is tantamount to calling us individual Messiahs!
Passages such as the following from his 2007 book Face To Face With God aid in perpetuating this contradiction:
“…The outpouring of the Spirit comes to anoint the church with the same Christ anointing that rested upon Jesus in His ministry so that we might be imitators of Him.” 
Johnson makes it clear that Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist was what is known as the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” and it’s this baptism which provided the ‘power’ of the Holy Spirit which Jesus needed to perform the works of His earthly ministry. And, again, it’s this baptism all believers must receive in order to live a life of miracles, signs and wonders according to Johnson. 
Johnson explains this by differentiating between the Holy Spirit indwelling which “comes about at our conversion” and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which is “upon” the believer. Johnson declares emphatically “He’s in me for my sake, but He’s upon me for yours! ” in affirming the supposed tangible nature of this “anointing.” He uses the Apostles – the real first century ones – as an example claiming Jesus Christ “breathed” the Holy Spirit indwelling into them in John 20:22:
“…In the lives of Christ’s disciples, we see this take place in John 20:22, when Jesus met with them, ‘breathed on them’ and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ But at His ascension [sic], Jesus told these same people that the Holy Spirit was going to come upon them. The Holy Spirit was already in them, but He was going to come upon them with power… ”  [emphasis added]
This raises some questions such as: Why didn’t Jesus “breathe” the Holy Spirit in/on them sooner? Given that the 72 were sent out (Luke 10) well before the events recorded in John 20:22 which took place while Jesus was on the earth in his post-resurrection body, why didn’t Jesus have the Holy Spirit indwell them at that time or before? Or did Jesus do this for the 72 and not the eleven (the twelve minus Judas Iscariot)? And, if the 72 weren’t – to use Johnson’s theology – both indwelled with the Holy Spirit and Baptized in the Holy Spirit, how could they have healed the sick and driven out demons?
Johnson states that the Holy Spirit “was already in Jesus’ life”  when Jesus received the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” at His Baptism by John. How can this be reconciled with Johnson’s belief that this ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit’ could only come after Jesus’ Ascension? Since John’s baptism was one of repentance, how could he provide Jesus a “Baptism of the Holy Spirit?”
Scripture shows that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove. This was an identifying sign that Jesus was the Son of God. This was not an “impartation.” The Apostle John makes this distinction clear:
32 Then John [the Baptist] gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” [John 1:32-34 NIV]
Orthodox Christianity attests that prior to the events of the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 the Holy Spirit indwelling was “selective and temporary.” The permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit was not available until after Jesus Christ’s Ascension. While most, if not all, Pentecostal and charismatic denominations believe in a second baptism or “blessing” – known as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit – (also the view is that sometimes these two can occur simultaneously rather than being separate events) many other Christians do not.
Sinless at the Other Side of the Cross
“Jesus Christ was entirely God. He was not a created being, yet He became a man and lived entirely within man’s limitations. His ability to demonstrate power, walk on water, and carry out countless other divine manifestations was completely due to the fact that He was without sin and was totally yielded to the Holy Spirit. He became the model for everyone who would experience the cleansing of sin by the blood of Jesus.
“The forgiveness that God gives puts every believer in a place without sin. The only question that remains is how empowered by the Holy Spirit we are willing to be.” 
This is worded very poorly and seems to suggest heterodoxy. Johnson can be quite explicit in some passages as he writes; so, it’s curious why he wasn’t more careful with this one. He had already stated that Jesus “laid His divinity aside” and when this statement is added to just the bolded portion in the first paragraph we seem to have a “Jesus” that “became man” (at birth/Incarnation?) and performed supernatural acts “entirely” by yielding to the Holy Spirit’s power. Taking the entire first paragraph as a whole this could lead to the conclusion that during His earthly existence Jesus was not God in human flesh but, rather a man who lived a life powered by the Holy Spirit after Baptism even though He preexisted as God.
The second paragraph of the Johnson quote above creates two problems, especially when viewed in its full context in the whole of both paragraphs. The first is that it can be construed that Jesus could have sinned but did not solely because of submission to the Holy Spirit. Further support for this view comes from this quote from part I: “…He sought to fulfill the assignment given to Him by the Father: to live life as a man without sin…”
Secondly, it can be understood – in fact it seems to state outright – that believers can live a sinless life if they “are willing” to be fully empowered by the Holy Spirit. If this second view is not entirely driven home above, Johnson makes it clear in his words below by claiming believers are now dead to sin and its nature:
“Many believe His power exists only to help us overcome sin. This understanding stops very short of the Father’s intent for us to become witnesses of another world. Doesn’t it seem strange that our whole Christian life should be focused on overcoming something that has already been defeated? Sin and its nature have been yanked out by its roots…”
“…Many in the church are camped on the wrong side of the Cross… …I don’t need power to overcome something [sin] if I’m dead to it”  [emphasis added]
The human sin nature does not ever leave us this side of glory since it’s a part of the human condition as a result of the The Fall in the Garden of Eden. It’s a struggle of all humanity – unsaved or saved. The Holy Spirit indwelled believer can choose to be led of the Spirit or to succumb to the sinful nature [cf. Galatians 5:16-26]; but, the believer never lives in a sinless state until the other side of Glory. The Apostle John states it quite succinctly:
“8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” [I John 1:8 NIV]
This is another example of the already but not yet  as discussed in both The Kingdom of God is at Hand articles on this blog. The Apostle Paul speaks of the struggle with sin and outlines the process of sanctification in Romans chapters 6, 7, 8 and 12 by a life lived by and through the Spirit. For a good discussion on sanctification see Sanctification – Set Apart.
Kenneth E. Hagin’s view is similar to Johnson’s:
“You see, as long as I believe that I receive forgiveness of my sins, and that’s all (not remission, but just forgiveness), then I remain in the position where Satan will dominate me all my life….” 
By making the distinction between “forgiveness” and “remission” Hagin seems to be saying that sin will, just like a sickness in remission, be absent from the believer for an indefinite period of time. He also speaks negatively about the Cross while promoting the Resurrection side:
“The Cross is actually a place of defeat, whereas the Resurrection is a place of triumph. When you preach the cross, you’re preaching death, and you leave people in death.” 
This negative view of the Cross bears a resemblance to the Theosophic/New Age/occult/esoteric teachings of Alice A. Bailey from a book from 1937:
“The outstanding need of Christianity today is to emphasize the living, risen Christ. We have argued too long over the death of Christ, seeking to impose a narrow sectarian Christ upon the world. We have fed the fires of separation by our Christian divisions, churches, sects and ‘isms.’ ‘Their name is legion,’ and most of them are founded upon some sectarian presentation of the dead Christ, and of the earlier aspects of His story. Let us now unite on the basis of the risen Christ…”  [emphasis added]
Notice how Bailey refers to the denominational orthodox Christian view and their focus on “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” [I Corinthians 2:2] as “legion” just like the self-ascribed name of the demons who inhabited the man from the region of the Gerasenes in the account of Mark 5:1-17. While Johnson does not go any where near as far as Bailey does here, he does speak negatively about denominations and “religion” throughout his books; and, at one point he even called our present age the “post-denominational era.” 
The question is: why would a New Ager speak positively about any aspect of the Cross? Wouldn’t the New Ager look upon Christianity in general with utter disdain? This question will be answered as we progress through this article and part III. And, why would Johnson and Hagin – purported ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – speak negatively on any aspect of the Cross? Shouldn’t this be the central focus of Christianity as the Apostle Paul stated numerous times?
The Resurrection of the Latter Rain
If there was any doubt, Johnson makes it clear that he adheres to Latter Rain (or New Order of the Latter Rain) doctrine – an aberrant branch of Pentecostalism/charismaticism:
“On the Day of Pentecost, Peter declared that the promise of Joel 2 was fulfilled. …Yet, that day was only the initial fulfillment of the promise – the Spirit was poured out on that day, but there is a day coming in which He will truly be poured out on all flesh….”  [bolding from emphasis in original]
The way this is worded it sounds as though Johnson is adhering to universalism – a New Age concept that all will be (or can be) saved. In a video advertisement for a recent ”Open Heavens” conference (October 13-15, 2010) once again Johnson stresses the word “all”:
“What does it mean to you when it says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on A-L-L flesh?’ Everywhere I go IS an open heaven. Miracles follow those who believe. Whenever He restores something, he restores it to a place greater than before. I’ve lived without miracles, and I’ve lived with miracles. With miracles is better.” 
Continuing with Johnson from the quote above regarding Joel 2:
“…This is a fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit being poured as the early and latter rain. The early rain was the first century, and the latter is now.” 
As justification for his position, Johnson uses the water turned to wine at the wedding in Cana and Job’s returned possessions as ‘proof’ that God “saves the best for last” and to disagree with him is “at best pure ignorance or at worst unbelief.” Yet the Assemblies of God – the denomination of which Bill Johnson was formerly a part – denounced Latter Rain as heresy back in 1949.
The Latter Rain movement went underground in the 1950s but emerged again in the 1970s and has gained momentum since then.
Here’s Johnson claiming we can seek to emulate Jesus in His glorified state as described by John in Revelation 1:13-16 by the power of the ‘other side of the Cross:’
“The ‘as He is, so are we’ [1st John 4:17] declaration is far beyond what any of us could have imagined; especially in light of the glorified description of Jesus in Revelation, chapter 1. Yet, the Holy Spirit was sent specifically for this purpose that we might attain… ‘to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’
“The Holy Spirit came with the ultimate assignment at the perfect time. During Jesus’ ministry, it was said, ‘The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.’ …why didn’t the Father send Him until Jesus was glorified? Because without Jesus in His glorified state there was no heavenly model of what we were to become! …As He is, so are we in the world.
“The Christian life is not found on the Cross. It is found because of the Cross. It is His resurrection power that energizes the believer…”  [bolding from italicized original; underlining added for emphasis]
Johnson speaks more on this “resurrection power” for the believer:
“At some point the reality of the resurrection [sic] must come into play in our lives – we must discover the power of the resurrection [sic] for all who believe.
“…we must follow Him all the way – to a lifestyle empowered by the resurrection!”  [bolding from italicized original, underlining added for emphasis]
Johnson’s words above are similar to some of Kenyon’s as taught by Hagin. After stating that as representatives of Christ “[w]e are Christ” “not only collectively, but individually” Hagin quotes 1st John 4:17 just as Johnson does above: “As He is, so are we in this world.” Then he poses the question: “when we get to heaven?”  to which he answers:
“No! In this world! Glory!” 
And, here Hagin quotes Kenyon directly:
“Oh, that our eyes were open; that our souls would dare rise into the realm of Omnipotence… …that we would act up to our high privileges in Christ Jesus.” 
“…so far, none of us have been able to take a permanent place in our privileges and abide where we may enjoy the fullness of this mighty power….
“But we have a conviction that before the Lord Jesus returns, there will be a mighty army of believers who will learn the secret of living in the Name, of reigning in life, living the victorious, transcendent, resurrection life of the Son of God among men….” 
“If our minds could only grasp… …that Satan is paralyzed… …it would be easy to live in this Resurrection Realm.”  [emphasis added]
Manifest Sons of God: The New Breed
This sounds very close to, if not is by definition, Manifest Sons of God (MSoG) doctrine. Known by other names such as Sonship[not to be confused with the orthodox doctrine of the same name], Overcomers, Joel’s Army and New Breed among others, MSoG is part of Latter Rain (or New Order of the Latter Rain) which teaches that certain individuals can obtain their resurrected, glorified bodies, as in 1st Corinthians 15:35-55, in the here and now before the Rapture and/or the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Yet, as verses 51 and 52 of 1st Corinthians make clear, all true believers in Jesus Christ will receive resurrection bodies at the same time. This false teaching is largely based on a faulty interpretation of Romans 8:19-23:
19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from the bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. [NIV; emphasis added]
Verses 24 and 25 which follow the above make it clear that this is a future promise; and, as 1st Corinthians 15:50-52 and 1st Thessalonians 4:15-17 attest, the dead in Christ are raised first a nanosecond before the living and all this occurs “in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye” [NIV] at the same time. No living person precedes another living person and no living person will receive their resurrection body before the dead in Christ receive theirs.
For more on “resurrection power” and “Resurrection Life,” here’s Todd Bentley from August 08, 2008 at Rick Joyner’s Morningstar Ministries speaking of the fourth stage/floor/level he saw in a vision:
“I got up to the fourth floor, the door opened, it was Romans 8, the manifestation of the sons of God, power, dominion, and it was called ‘Resurrection Life.’”  [emphasis mine]
Bentley claims that at this point he enquired of God about the difference between raising the dead and “resurrection life.” In his account, God answered explaining that “resurrection life” will result in a coming “corporate anointing” in which people will be raised from the dead just because of “the anointing in the atmosphere.”
“And that’s when I said, ‘God, I’m not focused on raising the dead anymore, I want resurrection life.’
“Do you know raising the dead isn’t something that happens? Raising the dead is a person. Resurrection isn’t something that happens – resurrection is a person. Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection, I am the life.’ Raising the dead is Jesus. When the dead are raised, it’s Jesus. …Resurrection is Jesus, not something that happens.” 
Following along with this train of thought leads to the ‘we are Christ, we are Jesus’ similar to Johnson’s ‘Christ anointing.’ Bentley continues:
“God’s going to move the church into such a realm… But, we’re moving into a realm of Romans 8: resurrection life; power; dominion over every sin, sickness, disease, death. …Because everything is the person of Jesus. [ed: panentheism?] And, we are pressing in for that ‘Romans 1:4 anointing.’”  [emphasis added]
Bob Jones relates just what this “Romans 1:4 anointing” is:
“What He’s doing now is bringing you to a level of maturity where you grow up. And, if you grow up you’ll never regress, you’ll continue progress year by year. So, what he’s talking about is the New Breed, is this: it’s Romans 1:4 – the spirit of holiness. So, for years I tried to get understanding of what the spirit of holiness is for it’s different than the Holy Spirit…”  [emphasis added]
Different than the Holy Spirit?! What ‘spirit’ would THAT be?! Continuing with Bentley:
“Do you know how Jesus was raised from the dead? By the spirit of holiness and declared by the resurrection of the dead…” 
Clearly, it was the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus Christ’s lifeless human body. However, it’s less clear which kind of spirit Jones and Bentley are speaking about (or, maybe it’s not). Continuing from the above:
“…And, I just believe there’s an impartation to call forth ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’ – the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.’” 
True Christians already have the Spirit who raised Jesus Christ from the dead – the Holy Spirit indwelling – and the “hope of glory” at initial conversion. Why the need for a further ‘impartation?’ These ‘impartations’ seem to have more in common with the occult than Christianity especially as Bentley describes them as “levels” or “stages/floors” which sound eerily like “initiations.”
“And, I want to take one moment church, and I want to press in, I want you to press in with me, to go from one floor, to two floors, to three levels, to four. And, let’s progress and let’s say, ‘God, beyond raising the dead, beyond notable miracles, beyond healing, let there be a release in the Church of the realm of glory and power and dominion and authority that affects everything that’s death and decay around us.’ And, it’s true victory, it’s true resurrection life, true resurrection power, and true resurrection glory…
“People will be made alive – born again.”  [emphasis added]
So, according to Bentley, this “resurrection life” makes one or leads one to be ‘born again?’ Going back to Johnson: The original sermon series from which Bill Johnson makes the ‘born again Jesus’ comments is titled Jesus is Our Model – a theme echoed in his books. So, is he saying essentially the same thing as Bentley; i.e., is Johnson saying that we are to become ‘born again’ and achieve “resurrection life” using Jesus as our model given that – according to Johnson in the transcript – Jesus was “born again through the Resurrection?”
While it is possible that Johnson means something a bit different than Bentley, the wording and implications look the same. However, one must take into account the fact that Bill Johnson feels so strongly about Todd Bentley that he defended him during Lakeland. [Here's the corresponding video with him reading an email beginning around the 21:00 mark.] In response to this question: “What do you think of Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Revival” Johnson answers:
“Have you spent time with Todd? Do you know him? …Have you laid hands on him and prayed? Has he laid hands on you and prayed? Have you grieved over tragedy together? Have you celebrated victory together? Has he sought your counsel?…Have you ever received his counsel?
“I didn’t think so. I have. And I’ll continue to support those who I have walked with in life and ministry. He’s my friend…” 
Obviously, they had a close relationship not just in their association within ministry but in their personal lives as well. While this still doesn’t definitively prove a connection regarding their respective doctrines, it shows each was likely aware of the other’s. Also, Johnson lists both Todd Bentley’s Fresh Fire USA Ministries as well as Bob Jones as “Friends” on one of his sites. In his book Face to Face With God, Johnson writes on the New Breed himself:
“We are in the throes of change; a reformation will impact society on all fronts. This is happening largely because today there is a new breed of believer.”  [emphasis added]
If that’s not convincing enough when added to all the above that Johnson is teaching MSoG, consider this. Todd Bentley was one of the endorsers on at least two of Bill Johnson’s books: When Heaven Invades Earth and The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind. Similarly, Bill Johnson endorsed four of Bentley’s books including Journey into the Miraculous from 2008 in which he writes in his endorsement:
“I love this book. …this book is more than a story about his life. It’s a prophetic declaration of God’s intent for an entire generation….” [emphasis added]
The Militant Joel’s Army of the Manifested Sons of God
Right in the first chapter titled “The End-Time Healing Revival” of Bentley’s Journey into the Miraculous are some “prophetic words” of Bob Jones, Paul Cain and even Benny Hinn(!); and, on the very first page:
“For 20 years, the prophets have foretold about a youthful generation that will rise up… In 1973, the Lord showed Prophet Bob Jones this coming anointing that would fall on God’s people. Bob told me that I was part of the ‘first fruits’ wave of a billion people whom God would light on fire.”  [emphasis added]
Then, referring to a quote of Paul Cain in a section titled “JOEL’S ARMY,” Bentley relates:
“…They’d learn patient endurance, how to demonstrate the power of God, and, having learned all, stand against the enemy. As Christian soldiers, they’d have the mind of Christ, and ‘partake of the heavenly calling, and be a new breed, God’s dread champions.’” 
This is “Joel’s mighty army” Bentley is speaking of “as described in Joel chapter 2” who are “the army of God – not a wicked army (as some have thought).” However, it should be noted that Biblical scholars generally agree that the army of Joel 2:1-11 refers to both a locust plague and the Assyrian army who chastened the Nation Israel in the 7th and 8th century BC. And, there is likely a future fulfillment in the ‘Day of the Lord’ identified in Zechariah 14:2 as an evil army (also see Revelation 9:2-9) arrayed against Jerusalem which will be defeated by the Lord Himself (Zech 14:3-4; Rev 19:15).
In the following, Bentley quotes Paul Cain from the Grace City Report Special Prophetic Edition, from Fall 1989:
“‘They are the ones with feet of iron not mixed of clay, with the wisdom of God alone, not imitators of other men of God. Some of the superstars of the church will fall. The Lord will have an army of holy anointed vessels to usher in His Kingdom so that no one man can take credit for it. It will be to the glory of God alone.’” 
For those unaware, according to the Latter Rain view, Joel’s Army/Manifested Sons of God will be exacting judgment and penalty unto death if necessary upon those in the Church who do not go along with this “end-times move of the Spirit” as per Rick Joyner’s “vision” in The Final Quest  and earlier MorningStar Journals from Joyner’s MorningStar Ministries. This dispensing of “God’s judgment” or “cleansing of evil” was spoken of in Constance Cumbey’s 1985 book A Planned Deception as one of the stated goals of both New Agers and Manifested Sons of God. This “old-order brethren” is referenced in Bentley’s book as spoken of here in the following quote from Paul Cain’s You Can Become the Word! at a 1989 Vineyard Prophetic Conference:
“…God has invited us to have a role in establishing a new order of Christianity… God is offering to this generation something He has never offered to any other generation…beware lest old-order brethren rob you and steal this hope from you.”  [emphasis added]
Oddly, Bentley even quotes Jewel Grewe of Discernment Ministries(!) from one of her Discernment Newsletters in quoting Paul Cain:
“As Paul Cain says, these days will be marked by miracles; ‘All the sick are gonna be healed, the dead are gonna be raised and nations are gonna turn to God in a day.’ (Bob Jones and Paul Cain, Selections from the Kansas City Prophets, audiotape from discernment newsletter).”  [all as per original except bolding/underlining for emphasis]
Since Bill Johnson endorsed Bentley’s Journey into the Supernatural and claims that he “loves this book,” it’s fair to say he agrees with Bentley’s views regarding Joel’s Army as stated in the quotes above. Then, by extension, perhaps Johnson agrees with Todd Bentley’s and Bob Jones’ words from the 08/08/08 DVD as referenced above as well especially since Johnson has already identified with the New Breed which is another name for Joel’s Army or Manifest Sons of God.
“…It’s the Spirit of God that makes this thing [the Bible, which he’s holding] come alive to where we actually have the privilege of the Word becoming flesh in us again, where we become the living illustration and manifestation of what God is saying.”  [emphasis mine]
The bolded portion above is reminiscent of what is known as “birthing the man-child” – yet another euphemism for the purported Manifested Sons of God. Also, it needs to be noted that this bolded portion sounds like it relates to the title of the piece from the Vineyard Prophetic Conference of Paul Cain mentioned above: You Can Become the Word! In addition, the above quote sounds quite a bit like some words by the late Earl Paulk from his 1985 book Held in the Heavens Until…:
“The living Word of God, Jesus Christ, was conceived in the womb of a virgin. The Word became flesh in the God man, Jesus Christ… Likewise, the Word of God must be made flesh in the Church in order for us to bear witness to the Kingdom which God has called us to demonstrate”  [emphasis added]
“…Natural conception and birth graphically symbolize God’s offspring in His Church. The Church is the womb of God’s Kingdom. God wants to quicken His Word, to bring it alive in us, causing us to live by His Word, not by sight or natural understanding.”  [emphasis added]
“All things have been given to us, even to the point of allowing us to share the divine nature of Jesus. Sharing His nature is a definition of the ongoing incarnation of God on the earth. ‘Christ in us, the hope of glory.’ His inheritance is already ours.” [emphasis added]
Taken together, these quotes seem quite similar to the New Age view of bringing in the “Kingdom of God” as mentioned in the “New Age Kingdom” section of The Kingdom of God is at Hand, part II article on this blog.
By quoting “Christ in us, the hope of glory” as Paulk and Bentley both do, the implication in their respective contexts above seems to infer our own divinity. This sounds eerily similar to the New Age/Theosophic/esoteric/occult teachings of Alice A. Bailey working as a medium for one of the “Masters of Wisdom” identified as “Master DK” or “Djwhal Khul” from her 1948 book The Reappearance of the Christ:
“…Inherent in the human consciousness… …is a sense of divinity. …‘As He is, so are we in this world.’ (1 John IV:17) is another Biblical statement. …‘Christ in us, the hope of glory’ is the triumphant affirmation of St. Paul.” 
Of course, both Johnson and Hagin quote 1st John 4:17 above in the “Resurrection of the Latter Rain” section. Restating part of Johnson’s quote:
“The ‘as He is, so are we’ [1st John 4:17] declaration is far beyond what any of us could have imagined; especially in light of the glorified description of Jesus in Revelation, chapter 1. Yet, the Holy Spirit was sent specifically for this purpose that we might attain… ‘to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.’
“…why didn’t the Father send Him [the Holy Spirit] until Jesus was glorified? Because without Jesus in His glorified state there was no heavenly model of what we were to become! …As He is, so are we in the world.
“The Christian life is not found on the Cross. It is found because of the Cross. It is His resurrection power that energizes the believer…”  [bolding from italicized original; bold/underlining added for emphasis]
This focus on the “Resurrection side of the Cross” at the expense of the Cross itself as Johnson, Hagin, Bentley and others do above, as evidenced by quotes in this article, is yet another aspect of the New Age religion as referenced in the “Sinless at the Other Side of Cross” section above. Quoting Bailey again in The Destiny of the Nations from 1949:
“In the Aquarian Age, the Risen Christ… …will not this time demonstrate the perfected life of the Son of God, which was his main mission before; He will appear as the supreme Head of the Spiritual Hierarchy, meeting the need of the thirsty nations of the world – thirsty for truth, for right human relations and for loving understanding. He will be recognized this time by all and in His Own Person will testify to the fact of the resurrection and hence demonstrate the paralleling fact of immortality of the soul, of the spiritual man. The emphasis during the past two thousand years has been on death; it has coloured all the teaching of the orthodox; only one day in the year has been dedicated to the thought of the resurrection. The emphasis in the Aquarian Age will be on life and freedom from the tomb of matter, and this is the note which will distinguish the new world religion from all that have preceded it.” 
This “death” emphasized over “the past two thousand years” is the preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The “paralleling fact of immortality of the soul” is the ‘fact’ of “inherent divinity.” This “Spiritual Hierarchy” is also known as the “Masters of Wisdom” who are, in reality, demons. Their “Risen Christ” is actually referring to the coming antichrist.
Are Bill Johnson and company teaching and preaching a New Age Christ whether unwittingly or wittingly?
 “ewenhuffman” Jesus is our Model- Sermon of the week 20 Dec 09. <http://ewenhuffman.podbean.com/2009/12/23/jesus-is-our-model-sermon-of-the-week-20-dec-09/> 33:48 to 34:57; as accessed 11/08/10
 Hagin, Kenneth E. The Name of Jesus. 1979, 3rd printing 1981; Rhema Bible Church aka Kenneth Hagin Ministries / Faith Library, Tulsa, OK; p 28
 ibid. p 29
 ibid. p 31
 ibid. p28
 Affiliated New Thought Network The Philosophy of New Thought. <http://www.newthought.org/new_thought.html>; as accessed 11/08/10
 THE WORD on the The Word of Faith (a GroupBlog) Atonement Where? By Moreno Dal Bello <http://thewordonthewordoffaithinfoblog.com/2010/10/15/atonement-where-1-mdbello/>; as accessed 11/08/10
 Hare, John Bruno / Internet Sacred Text Archive New Thought. <http://www.sacred-texts.com/nth/index.htm>; as accessed 11/08/10
 Johnson, Bill When Heaven Invades Earth. 2003; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; p 99
 Johnson, Bill Face to Face with God. 2007; Charisma House, Lake Mary, FL; p 77
 ibid. p 99-102
 ibid. p 78
 Johnson, Op.cit. When Heaven Invades Earth. p 134
 Johnson, Op.cit. Face to Face with God. p 78
 ibid. p 21-22
 Johnson, Op.cit. When Heaven Invades Earth. p 145
 Got Questions? What Was the Role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament? <http://www.gotquestions.org/Spirit-Old-Testament.html>; par 4; as accessed 11/08/10
 Johnson, Op.cit. Face to Face with God. p 199
 Johnson, Op.cit. When Heaven Invades Earth. p 79
 ibid. p 110
 Fee, Gordon D. and Douglas Stewart How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. second edition, 1993; Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; pp 133-134
 AllaboutGOD.com / All About Following Jesus Sanctification – Set Apart. <http://www.allaboutfollowingjesus.org/sanctification.htm>; as accessed 11/08/10
 Hagin, Op.cit. p 55
 Hagin, Kenneth E. The Believer’s Authority. 1986, 2nd ed.; Rhema Bible Church aka Kenneth Hagin Ministries / Faith Library; Tulsa, OK; p 16
 Bailey, Alice A. From Bethlehem to Calvary. Copyright 1937 by Alice A. Bailey, renewed 1957 by Foster Bailey; Lucis Trust, 4th paperback edition, 1989; Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, New York; pp 238-239
 Johnson, Op.cit. When Heaven Invades Earth. p 90
 Johnson, Op.cit. Face to Face with God. p 76
 ibethelTV Open Heavens 2010. < http://vimeo.com/15808994 > as accessed 03/26/11
 ibid. pp 76-77
 ibid. p 77
 Wikipedia The General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States of America. “Relations with other denominations and renewal movements” <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Council_of_the_Assemblies_of_God_in_the_United_States_of_America>; as accessed 11/08/10
 Johnson, Op.cit. When Heaven Invades Earth. p 145
 ibid. p 146
 Hagin, Op.cit. The Name of Jesus. pp 106-107
 ibid. p 107
 ibid. p 49
 ibid. p 52
 ibid. p 53
 Bentley, Todd Todd Bentley Healing and Impartation Service 08-08-08. DVD; available at MorningStar Ministries Store <http://www.morningstarministries.org/Store/Products/1000013034/MorningStar_Store/Media_Store/Teaching_Sets/All_Teaching_Sets/DVD_Teaching_Sets/Todd_Bentley_Healing.aspx>; 1953:26 – 1953:37
 ibid. 1953:37 – 1954:44
 ibid. 1955:18 – 1956:00
 ibid. 1956:00 – 1956:38
 ibid. 1934:39 – 1935:10 (Bob Jones speaking)
 ibid. 1956:38 – 1956:46
 ibid. 1956:46 – 1957:00
 ibid. 1956:58 – 1957:53
 Bill Johnson Ministries, Questions and Answers. “UPDATE: What do you think about Todd Bentley and the Lakeland Revival? June ‘08” <http://www.bjm.org/questions/11/update-what-do-you-think-about-todd-bentley-and-the-lakeland-revival.html?file=regarding-todd-bentley>; as accessed 11/08/10
 Bill Johnson Ministries, Friends. <http://www.bjm.org/friends.html>
 Johnson, Op.cit. Face to Face with God. p 139
 Both books from Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., copyright 2003 and 2005 respectively
 Journey into the Miraculous, Sound of Fire Productions, Ltd.; 2003 / Journey into the Miraculous, Destiny Image; January 1, 2008 / “Endorsements” ; The Reality of the Supernatural World, Destiny Image; June 1, 2008; “Endorsements” / Kingdom Rising, Destiny Image; October 1, 2008: pp 15-17
 Bentley, Todd Journey into the Miraculous. 2008; Destiny Image, Shippensburg, PA; “Endorsements”
 ibid. pp 21-22
 ibid. pp 22-23
 ibid. p 23
 Gaebelein, Frank E., Gen. Ed. “Joel.” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 7. 1985; Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI; pp 245-250. with contribution by Richard D. Patterson
 Bentley, Op.cit. p 23
 Joyner, Rick The Final Quest. 1996, 2nd ed.; MorningStar Publications, Charlotte, NC; pp 36-38
 Cumbey, Constance A Planned Deception. 1985; Pointe Publishers, East Detroit, MI; p 172
 Bentley, Op.cit. pp 24-25
 ibid. p 25
 “whizzpopping” You Tube video, Bill Johnson – Friendship with God. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4RZ_ctiwlE>>; 1:24 – 1:37; as accessed 11/08/10
 Booth, Tricia (formerly Tillin), The Birthpangs of a New Age. “The Birth of the Manchild” <http://www.birthpangs.org/articles/latterrain/manchild.html>; as accessed 11/08/10
 Paulk, Earl, Held in the Heavens Until…. 1985; K Dimension, Atlanta, GA; p 156
 ibid. p 197
 Bailey, Alice A. The Reappearance of the Christ. 1948, Lucis Trust, 9th printing 1979 (4th Paperback ed.); Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, NY; p 145
 Johnson, Op.cit. When Heaven Invades Earth. p 145
 Bailey, Alice A. The Destiny of the Nations. 1949, Lucis Trust, 5th printing 1974 (2nd Paperback ed.); Fort Orange Press, Inc., Albany, NY; pp 150-151