Before reading this article, it is worth familiarizing yourself with William Branham’s influence on the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International.
This is because Branham played a central role in developing the theology of the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) cult. One of William Branham’s close friends and disciples was Oral Roberts. In her book ‘Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel’, Kate Bowler talks about how Oral Roberts in 1947 started pushing what is commonly known as the prosperity gospel. Bowler records how Roberts taught how Christians are to prosper by twisting 3 John 2.
Oral Roberts’ theological twist on 3 John 2 is a result of Franklin Hall and William Branham’s false signs and wonders ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’. Read below how the NOLR gospel evolved through Oral Roberts into developing the Prosperity Gospel:
“Robert’s miraculous youthful recoveries from tuberculosis and stuttering had sent him headlong into his ministerial vocation. Then, in 1947, Roberts uncovered a biblical imperative to prosper tucked into 3 John 2: “Beloved, I wish above all things that though mayst prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth.” His 1952 autobiography (the first of many) described it as, “the greatest discovery I ever made” and the foundation on which his sprawling ministry stood. His radio program, Healing Waters magazine, and first book, If You Need Healing – Do These Things! Soon followed. Oral Robert’s mushrooming ministry and prosperity theology developed hand in hand. His expectations for divine recompense grew with his fundraising needs as his magazine, radio, and (later) television audiences swelled. His 1954 introduction of the “Blessing Pact” promised that God would repay contributors for their donation to Oral Robert’s ministries “in its entirety from a totally unexpected source.” The same year he offered his first calculus of spiritual returns, predicting a sevenfold return for donors. His publication God’s Formula for Success and Prosperity (1956) offered believers a systematic approach to divine blessings, though it stopped short of Hagin’s immutable laws.”
Source: Kate Bowler, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2013, pg. 49.
A few pages further, Bowler brings her readers to the New Order of the Latter Rain and the restorational heresy emphasis on the fivefold ministry. Notice how even Bowler observed the spiritual emphasis in the NOLR of god creating “heaven’s true sons and daughters.” This heresy is what is now called in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) as the sonship doctrine, or as we call it (because the NAR have a few names for it) the Spirit of Adoption/Sonship (SAS) heresy.
Bowler also pointed out that these teachings of the NOLR faced “rejection by Pentecostal denominations.” She observed how the NOLR spread “across Canada and the United States garnering support in a network of new and existing churches, periodicals, conferences, and Bible schools.” Bowler even mentioned the influence of Franklin Hall and Latter Rainer Thomas Wyatt, among others who also influenced Branham’s “wider healing revival and some of the earliest proponents of divine wealth.”
“Another revival burning across the Canadian prairies added to this growing consensus on financial faith. Centred largely on power in healing, prophecy, laying on of hands, and the restoration of ancient “fivefold” ecclesial offices (apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers), it was called the “Latter Rain” movement, taken from Joel 2:23, for its belief that it was the last outpouring of the Holy Spirit that preceded the Lord’s return. When its leaders began preaching that Pentecostals should claim a stronger measure of God’s creative power as heaven’s true sons and daughters, denominational critics called it an “overrealized eschatology.” The fruits of the spirit, as far as they were concerned, were not just ripe. They has spoiled. Not to be deterred by its rejection by Pentecostal denominations, its evangelists fanned out across Canada and the United States garnering support in a network of new and existing churches, periodicals, conferences, and Bible schools. Among them, Sylva and Lawrence Iverson and their son Dick Iverson, Franklin Hall, and J. Mattzon Boze (editor of The Herald of Faith) became significant leaders in the wider healing revival and some of the earliest proponents of divine wealth. The radio minister Thomas Wyatt has been washed in the Latter Rain. He founded the popular Wings of Healing ministries with a divine imperative to preach faith for human prosperity. He had whittled his ministerial wisdom down to a simple law of faith; “If we will use faith as an operating force, we can control the physical realm, for faith operates on the basis of spiritual laws which are effective in the physical realm.” He taught, like Hagin, that Christians enjoyed direct access to God’s creative power and the resulting ability to control the material realm. Despite his triumphant message, Wyatt did not apply this rigorous faith to all aspects of his life and ministry.”
Source: Kate Bowler, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2013, pg. 50.
These dangerous false healing teachers were pushing the Latter Rain health and wealth Gospel of the Kingdom on influential figures. And this is where Bowler writes how the FGBMFI became theologically established – in this Latter Rain heresy and its false gospel. Even Bowler reports that FGBMFI “served as a faithful companion” to independent Pentecostal revivalists (which is problematic in itself).
She even goes on to state that FGBMFI was responsible for providing a “popular platform for ministers like Oral Roberts, John Osteen, Jack Coe, Gordon Lindsay, R. W. Culpepper, William Branham, and Kenneth Hagin.”
This list is important in this order:
- William Branham – main heretical teaching of the NOLR.
- Gordon Lindsay – Branham’s right hand man to promote his teachings through Branham’s ‘Voice of Healing’ publication.
- Oral Roberts – disciple of Branham’s NOLR gospel and heresies.
- Jack Coe – a propogater of Branham’s gospel, traveling on Branham’s salvation-healing campaign.
- R. W. Culpepper – a propogater of Branham’s gospel, traveling on Branham’s salvation-healing campaign.
- Kenneth Hagin – a propagater of Branham’s gospel and Latter Rain heresy. Came later in the 1950s.
- John Osteen – well… you can probably guess what he preached if he was embraced by the FGBMFI…
Bowler reported that, “The relationship spurred revivalists and the new organization to lively justifications of godly finances.” In other words, all the above mentioned were infected by the Latter Rain heresies to push the idea in FGBMFI the developing error of the sonship heresy and prosperity gospel.
To end, we let Kate Bowler provide insight into the FGBMFI.
“The newly established Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI) promoted the prosperity gospel as a marvel of modern Pentecostal faith. Founded in 1952, the organisation spread rapidly as an association of spirit filled businessmen who gathered in local chapters and annual conferences across the country. The fellowship was not only a sanctified alternative to the weekly meetings and pancake breakfasts of other popular organizations, like the Lion’s Club or the Rotary Club, but also a place that reconciled old time religion with mounting expectations for economic success. Their annual events were rather grand affairs held in high ceilinged ballrooms; row upon row of long banquet tables where men of commerce could exchange business cards and hear an inspiring message. Whether listening to a baseball player or a Holy Ghost preacher, this participation encouraged spirit filled men across the country to benefit not only from common wisdom (“Reach for the stars!”) but also introduced them to the budding prosperity theology of the healing revivalists. The fellowship served as a faithful companion to independent Pentecostal revivalists, not only in its distance from Pentecostal denominations but also as a popular platform for ministers like Oral Roberts, John Osteen, Jack Coe, Gordon Lindsay, R. W. Culpepper, William Branham, and Kenneth Hagin. The relationship spurred revivalists and the new organization to lively justifications of godly finances. At the signing of the Articles of Incorporation, G. H. Montgomery, editor of Oral Robert’s Healing Waters magazine, preached a rousing sermon denouncing poverty as “of the devil,” and its first issue showed how being a Full Gospel Business Man “makes God his Partner and assures him success.” Its founder Demos Shakarian rallied them to search for the power of God “available to them for use in their business, to direct and guide them. If our lives are holy and consecrated to God, then we have boldness to come to Him and ask and receive the things He has intended that we should have. Pentecostal businessmen would learn to invest spiritual meaning in the marketplace and cultivate religious pride in entrepreneurship.”
Source: Kate Bowler, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2013, pg. 52.