The Australian Assemblies of God ceased to be Pentecostal back in 1977 when the ‘Apostles and Prophets’ of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) cult performed a coup d’état on the AOG back in 1977 – with Apostle David Yonggi Cho leading the assault along with Andrew Evans, David Cartledge and other self-appointed ‘apostles and prophets’. NARpostle David Cartledge played a significant role in undermining the AOG and rolling out the NAR Apostolic Regime from the 1960s to the overthrow in 1977. You can read about the takeover in Cartledge’s book ‘ The Apostolic Revolution’ (foreword by leader of the NAR, C. Peter Wagner):
A WARNING ABOUT WHAT YOU WILL READ:
Just like the false prophets and corrupt leaders in ancient Israel, ‘Apostles and Prophets’ from the NAR (like Cartledge), try to rewrite history, emphasizing the lunatic fringe and cult leaders who capitalized off the Pentecostal movement. Those in the NAR often point to early heretics such as Charles Finney, Alexander Dowie, Charles Parham or even William Seymour, rewriting history so they can anchor their heresies in the past to give their movement, legitimacy today.
Pentecostalism developed theologically from the Holiness Movement, through the Welsh Revival up to the formation of the AOG in 1914 onward. With the attempt to usurp Pentecostalism (by the likes of Parham/Seymour) and cultish movements (like the Oneness cults), the AOG was formed in 1914 to resist these dangerous men, attempting to pen what it was Pentecostals believed.
In typical NAR fashion, David Cartledge attempted to rewrite Pentecostal history, linking its births to the Azuza cult rather than rightly acknowledging the origin of Pentecostalism, the Holiness Movement, its theological development with the Welsh Revival and its further theological grounding within the foundation of the Assemblies of God in 1914. In the early Pentecostal literature we obtained, it is apparent they clearly rejected the ministries of those who claimed apostolic and prophetic status (such as Parham and Seymour).
You will notice that Cartledge uses the phrase ”Classic Pentecostal’. Classic Pentecostal is a term coined by the Australian AOG to class original Pentecostalism which rejected the apostolic and prophetic teachings of Azuza, Latter Rain and Charimaticism. Although Cartledge tries to link Pentecostalism to the fanatical fringe and downplay actual Pentecostalism, he couldn’t help but use words that highlighted that Pentecostalism was more resistant and conservative to the unbiblical elevations of spiritual offices, gifts and activities.
The point of publishing this section from his book is to highlight:
- That the NAR do acknowledge the Latter Rain movement and consider it legitimate in the development for their movement.
- How they are willing to re-write history in order to bolster credibility for their beliefs, practices and movement in general.
The information below should prove insightful for our readers.
THROWING OUT THE BABY WITH THE BATH WATER.
Prophetic reinforcement or redirection of the lives of emerging ministries is a feature that is closely associated with the apostolic function, as well as being the primary expression of prophets. Most of the original Pentecostal churches experienced this ministry regularly to a notable degree. Despite this, there was a marked decline of prophetic pronouncements, and especially of ‘personal prophecy’ after the initial phase of restoration.
The next generation of Pentecostal leaders reacted against most prophetic ministry except the generalised public words of edification, comfort and exhortation. In fact the use of prophetic direction was strongly discouraged during the middle decades of the Twentieth century. In some instances the practice of prophesying over individuals was actually banned as being unbiblical or unwise. Most of the Classic Pentecostal denominations took a very conservative posture relative to prophetic ministry.
There is no doubt that many abuses had occurred, and there were numerous occasions when manipulative or unwise statements purporting to be prophecy were made. It is clear that biblical tests should be applied to all words that claim prophetic inspiration. Rather than follow this testing process many of the Pentecostal denominations discouraged , or abandoned the practice of personal prophecy altogether.
It was a case of ‘throwing the baby out with the water’. Unfortunately, this attitude stifled the proper development of a life giving function in the Church, and tended to polarise those ministries that showed apostolic and prophetic capability. The early Pentecostals were frequently blessed and guided by prophetic words, dreams and visions. They also developed a framework for the recognition of this volatile ministry. Right at the beginning of the Azuza St revival there is a clear declaration that apostolic gifts had been restored. Seymour called the official newspaper of the revival – ‘The Apostolic Faith’. He also declared openly his belief that Charles Parham was the apostle of the Pentecostal doctrine.
Within a generation the leaders of the main Pentecostal denominations had moved away from their inspirational roots to a more sterile but predictable, and controllable process of guidance and confirmation. Minutes of business meetings were more often quoted than prophetic words. They had become more comfortable with scribes than apostles and prophets.
By the mid 1940s the Assemblies of God in the USA were seeking association with the National Association of Evangelicals. There was no definite decision to jettison the manifestations of personal prophecy and revelational guidance. However, it is likely that the attitudinal shift of emphasis in this major Pentecostal body was enough to send a message to their own constituency, as well as the rest of the Pentecostal movement around the world. By deleting a potentially troublesome factor from their churches, the Assemblies of God promoted the idea among their new Evangelical associates that they were ‘moderate.’ This assisted their acceptance in the mainstream of orthodoxy.
From the 1940s to the present time the Assemblies of God in the USA has officially maintained an ultra conservative posture in respect of personal prophecy. This affected the rest of the Pentecostal movement, including the Assemblies of God in Australia.
One major factor that accelerated an official rejection of both apostolic ministries and personal prophecy was the so-called ‘Latter Rain Revival’. A significant outpouring of the Spirit occurred in 1948 in a Bible school belonging to the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, located in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. The main features of this renewal were manifestations of the Spirit that had been common during the Azuza Street revival a generation earlier. It was characterized by joyful expressions like dancing before the Lord, clapping in worship and spontaneous spiritual songs. There was much prostration that they called ‘being slain in the Spirit’. Laying on of hands to impart spiritual gifts emerged as key feature [sic] of this new work of the Spirit. Visions and revelations were common. Another prominent and controversial factor occurring in this Bible school revival was personal prophecy.
It is apparent that some uncontrolled, and even bizarre manifestations were also taking place. The official reaction of the main Pentecostal groups in Canada and the USA was to classify everything occurring at North Battleford as fanatical. The entire renewal was resisted rather than attempting to identify the work of the Holy Spirit in the midst of fleshly manifestations, and bring correction. Lester Sumrall commented on the reactions by the main Pentecostal denominations:
“The Latter Rain broke out in Canada, then moved down into Detroit into an Assembly of God church. They were blessed, happy, rejoicing and dancing but the major denomination’s headquarters came against it. It was a gift of prophecy movement and almost everyone was against it. Although I was a young man I was grieved because of the way the Spirit was quenched in that move. I am not afraid of wildfire but I am afraid of icebergs.”
Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church with advice that would help the modern Pentecostal church in dealing with such outbreaks of passionate renewal.
“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold onto what is good. Avoid every kind of evil.”
Within a short time the official reaction had polarised the Bible school and a number of Pentecostal churches in Canada and the the USA. Any possibility of the ‘revival’ being corrected and contained within the mainstream of the two Pentecostal denominations was lost. The churches adopting the revelations and practices that became known as ‘Latter Rain’ were forced out, and coalesced into a new movement.
One of the features that soon emerged among these churches was the identification of the ministry gifts of apostles and prophets that were already being spurned by the official Pentecostal denominations. It may be that the decline in acceptance of these two ministry gifts by the main Pentecostal groups was a factor in the strong emphasis on them in the emerging of the Latter Rain churches.
[…] At the other end of the spiritual spectrum the small group of Latter Rain churches were forced into isolation and all contact between them and the mainstream of the Pentecostal movement was lost or avoided. Fifty years later the mention of such practices as ‘personal prophecy’, or ‘apostolic ministry’, is often consigned to the theological dustbin as being ‘Latter Rain’!
In May 1984 I brought a prophetic word to Wally Odum, an Assemblies of God minister in the USA. The Holy Spirit clearly identified his life and ministry through this, and inspired him to reach out for his destiny. When he told his father, (a former District Superintendent of the Assembles of God) about the prophecy and it’s impact, he said, “It sounds like Ratter Rain”, and warned him about accepting this practice. Instead, his son pursued the vitality of spiritual life that had been generated in him through this personal ministry of the Spirit. He recently visited Southern Cross College where I am the President, and returned the favour! He prophesied over me, and every member of our graduating class with great power and clarity.
It must be made clear that there was much in the emergence of the Latter Rain group of churches that gave rise to concern. Some of the practices were bizarre. The doctrines developed to support the activities of Latter Rain preachers were from a hermeneutic that was based almost entirely on subjective personal revelations, rather than a credible approach to interpretation of the scriptures.
[…] There is no question that the Latter Rain teachings are based on a similar hermeneutic to that of Oneness – the idea that a personal revelation is need to understand them. The promise of Jesus that the Holy Spirit would guide his disciples into all truth and show them things to come is used as the basis for the supposed revelation of the name of God.
In the minds of most Assemblies of God leaders both groups are the same, and Latter Rain people are frequently called ‘Jesus Only’. Although this is incorrect, it is virtually impossible to correct the misconception. Latter Rain suffers from guilt by association. However, much of this is self inflicted through the use of a similar basis of interpretation of scripture.
The unfortunate byproduct of this is that it was more convenient for the Assemblies of God leaders to ‘throw out the baby wit h the bath water’ than to sort out the credible from the incredible. The nett [sic]effect of this reactionary policy is to abandon the middle ground of restoration to erratic groups. As a result, consideration of the validity of apostles and prophets and personal prophecy did not occur in the highly charged atmosphere of dispute and division. Everything that the Latter Rain leaders adopted was considered to be suspect. Their recognition of apostles and prophets in the modern church guaranteed the rejection of this value by the Assemblies of God. Most other mainstream Pentecostal denominations from the early 1950s until the present followed suit.”
Source: David Cartledge, The Apostolic Revolution: The restoration of Apostles and Prophets in the Assemblies of God Australia, Published June 2000/August 2000, (Publisher: Paraclete Institute, AUS). Pg. 47-50, 52-54.
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Categories: New Apostolic Reformation (NAR)