Assemblies of God and Elim Living In a Fool's Paradise
PART 2 - Part 1 was published in CETF #55 (March 2011).
He, who being often reproved hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy – Proverbs 29:1 (KJV)
Editorial Comment - The full article appears @ www.cwm.org.au and www.cwmfellowship.org It was emailed to Colin Dye and John Glass of Elim and to most AoG-UK leaders some of whom accused me of being bitter or questioned my right to communicate on the issue. One thanked me for speaking out and agreed that a re-structure of AoG was NOT the answer, wishing me well in the campaign. As these were personal emails I responded in each case personally. I am writing this at the end of another Ministry Tour in UK (June 17, 2011) when a number of people have spoken encouraging words and have promised to help in distributing CETF #56 which included the first part of the article. The only hope for a true revival is to mobilise a grass roots movement. It will never come through the current leadership, who have too great a personal investment in their Church Growth programmes.
Editorial Communication with Colin Dye – Elim - Due to the nature of this issue, diligent contact has been maintained throughout with John Glass and Colin Dye, who again wrote to me on June 1st 2011, stating that he was sorry that he was not disposed to take up my offer of a meeting as he had no confidence that my offer was genuine and stating that he would like to be put in touch with those to whom I am accountable. I considered this disingenuous and hypocritical as I had already indicated my willingness to discuss issues of accountability—mine and his—during a meeting which I had proposed. I blind copied my email to a person who I knew had former links with Kensington Temple and who, unbeknown to me at that time, had been an elder at KT. This person wrote to CD urging him to meet me. In the end and almost at the last minute CD agreed to meet me. This meeting occurred for about 90 minutes at a private home in Manchester on Friday June 10, 2011, two days before our return flight. Due to what I consider to be false accusations that I have “edited” Mr Dye's comments I have suggested to him that he publish what has passed between us on his web site. If he does not act in this way I may well publish all of it on one of our web sites in the interests of truth.
For more see News, Views and Letters to the Editor
Summary of Part 1 - see CETF #55 www.cwm.org.au
Ashley and Jane Evans lead The Influencers with heretical teachers Creflo Dollar and Bishop T.D. Jakes. Who are they influencing?
Colin Dye appointed Roberts Liardon (RL) as principal of Kensington Temple's prestigious Bible training centre – IBIOL.RL admitted to homosexual liaison with his former youth pastor for which he was disciplined requiring three month's absence from his preaching platform.
The first (new) AoG-UK national magazine RE promoted RL's book and published an article by Rob Bell who denies the authority of the Bible and has set himself to “repaint Christianity”. (RB is a UNIVERSALIST who has written the book Love Wins – see http://cetf.co/lqbSHy
All of this and more constitutes “the writing on the wall” for these formerly godly movements that have become theocratic bureaucracies who are Living in a Fool's Paradise or to use another metaphor, they are fiddling while Rome burns.
Part 2 In Britain, Australasia and America the writing has been on the wall for a number of years. In fact, as far back as the 1950s John Wallace in his UK-AoG Conference Chairman’s addresses warned that the denomination was in danger of going off track. He entitled his two messages Assemblies of God – Wither Bound and Repentance or Else. As a young minister, growing up in the movement to which I owe so much, I heard a number of AoG preachers refer to those messages, but I have to wonder how many within the Assemblies of God actually heeded the warnings.
John Wallace’s brother, James, for whom I have a very high regard as the late principal of the Australian Commonwealth Bible College (CBC) where I studied (1957-1959), gave similar warnings within the Australasian context. He was ruthlessly outspoken against the antics of conmen such as Oral Roberts2, T.L Osborne, and William Branham et al, who were beginning to make their impact upon the AoG scene back in those days Sadly most of my former Australian colleagues at national executive level ignored James Wallace’s warnings and in some cases said scurrilous things about him and his supporters. John and James Wallace were right and their critics are being continuously proven wrong.
Some of those named above and their false doctrines and wrong practices undoubtedly influenced the Assemblies of God in both Australasia and Britain. The Australasian leaders claim numerical increase, which is true in the cases of Australia and New Zealand. In Britain there has been a notable decline with “Assemblies” withdrawing. In each of the three countries there has most certainly been a “down-grade” which is as serious as that of C H Spurgeon’s day, to which the great preacher gave constant warning.
If the “Pentecostal Down-Grade” began in the 1950s, as recognised and warned against by John and James Wallace and others, it gained great momentum through the so called “Charismatic Renewal” when doctrine was largely jettisoned in favour of emotional and psychological sensationalism that masqueraded as a “move of the Holy Spirit” during the 1960s. This paved the way for the various so called “waves of the spirit”, of the 1980s and 90s, which were nothing more than the expending of human energy and sheer emotionalism—“Dancing and Demons”, John Wimber’s Signs and Wonders, Toronto, Pensacola, Peter Wagner’s “apostles and prophets” ad infinitum, ad nauseam. The problem in every case was a failure to test “the move” by Scripture hermeneutically understood and rationally (logically) applied.
The “down-grade” reached a watershed with Toronto and Pensacola. That is why I and others constantly allude to this “false move” as the one thing that those who were caught up in it, in any way, should openly confess and publicly repent over. It opened the sluice-gates to an avalanche of spiritualistic and new-age hypnotism that paved the way for the emergent church, a major proponent of which is Rob Bell with whom John Partington of Assemblies of God and his new “Re” magazine are now flirting. Ironically if you merge the title “Re” with the word “Bell” as they appear on the front cover of Issue 1 of this strange magazine you may see a truth – “Rebellious” – hmm.
THOUGH the mills of God grind slowly;
Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience he stands waiting;
With exactness grinds He all.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882)
In June of the year (2010) I drove many miles around England’s green and pleasant land and within South Wales—the Land of My Fathers. It is always a great joy to return to the countries of my birth and early ministry. (I led the Droylsden Pentecostal Church from 1962 to 1978 aged 22 to 39 in the then greater Manchester area, also called Tameside). Obviously there have been many changes, but the most impacting, by far for us, on the natural level, was the observation of the spread of Islam in many English cities, with what now appears to be the inevitable downgrading of the infrastructure and the general environmental standards—potholes and litter abound, similar to third world countries—and the perception that Islam has not yet touched the villages and hamlets away from the cities. Things in the country remain comparatively clean and pristine. Obviously Muslims are first targeting the large population sections of our society and they will swamp us by sheer weight of numbers as a result of their frightening birth rate.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), commented in his 1899 The River War :
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property - either as a child, a wife, or a concubine - must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.
Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science - the science against which it had vainly struggled - the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome - http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/read_churchill_islam.html
We do well to take heed. We are facing a creeping paralysis in our Fool’s Paradise.
At the “spiritual” and equally frightening level was the observable failure of the so-called Christian Church, including our own section of it. Why is this? Well it’s largely because the leaders have forgotten or ignored their real purpose. They’ve bought the lie that bigger is better and Church Growth should be our chief goal. In chasing this “will of the wisp” they ignore the fact that the Church is not primarily a social-welfare instrument but should always be a spiritual force no matter what the cost and irrespective of size and numbers. Paul, the apostle describes the Church as “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
The irony is that, in U.K., with all their efforts towards growth the opposite is what actually has occurred. For example in the years just prior to our family’s leaving UK for Australia (1978) the annual Assemblies of God Conferences boasted thousands of registrants year after year. It reached its zenith somewhere in the mid 70s of 10,000 registrants. Now if they get 500 they think they are doing well. And the latest I hear is that through the “influence” of John Partington and the present leadership AoG-UK will cancel their annual Conference opting for some strange “so-called” apostolic leadership. Ah well – Peter Wagner here we come with the disgusting Todd Bentley style experiments. May the Lord look in mercy on AoG-UK, but then it may well be too late. It’s Repentance Or Else as John Wallace warned those many years ago.
The most disturbing indication of what is happening within my former denomination in UK presented itself when that pastor friend in South Wales showed me the new AoG national magazine referred to above. Throughout my ministry I have always been interested and vitally involved with literature. In my pastoral years in Manchester (1962-1978) I published and edited an evangelistic paper called Release, which circulated nationally through local churches of varying denominations and eventually touched countries beyond UK. I founded a company to carry out this work called Bethel Publications Limited, which continued for a number of years after we, as a family, left Britain and came to Australia in 1978. During my two-year pastorate in the Blue Mountains I published and edited an enlarged and revamped version of Release for local church evangelistic purposes and during my eight-year pastorate in Northern Victoria produced a newspaper called Stand up Australia. Later I was editor of the national Australian Evangel and am now editor of the international magazine Contending EARNESTLY for THE Faith (CETF) since 1994. I write these things simply to stress my interest in and concern about this method of communication, not to promote anything grandiose about myself. After all what’s great about editing and publishing magazines? It’s a lot of hard work!
When I say that I have NEVER closely examined any piece of literature that could by any stretch of the imagination be called “Christian” that is so infantile, puerile and plain silly as this “Re” magazine I am NOT exaggerating. I have already mentioned other serious impediments from a Christian perspective, apart from its puerility. It is the “spiritual” window into the Assemblies of God and possibly also into the Elim movements. In the remainder of this article I propose to further examine – Re. Now what was that, or maybe more pertinently what is it?
RE – John Partington (JP) in his editorial of the first issue defends the use of the title –
Well the truth is that the prefix ‘re’ is a wonderful description of our God. ... ‘Re’ in its simplest form means ‘again’, and without doubt our God is an ‘again’ God ...”
REALLY or should I ask RE-ALLY?
Let’s examine both claims i.e. that “re” means “again” and that this represents our God.
According to my Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (the full expanded edition comprises some 80 volumes) the derivation of the prefix is from a Latin word which signifies “in the matter of” or “referring to” in the general sense of “back” or “again”. The primary idea is “back” so if the secondary idea—“again”—features at all it must be related to the primary notion. This carries over into today’s parlance.
Everyone recognises that the prefix “re” in today’s world is an abbreviation for the words “regarding”, “respecting” or “relating to” which certainly do not include the idea of “again”. There are many words where “re” has no reference (there it is again) to “again”. It’s a ridiculous notion and it matters not how you spell that word or what its derivation ‘ridiculous’ means absurd, preposterous, comical, laughable and that’s what Mr. Partington’s claim amounts to.
To make things worse “Re” is going to be the title of this AoG publication indefinitely. Being so absurd, the idea that the new leader of AoG-UK is projecting is bound to wear thin – the sooner the better!! For you see JP and those whom he represents have done it AGAIN. They have overlooked what is basic to biblical “recovery” and that’s biblical “repentance”. Instead they simply put a new spin on the past in the vain hope that the spinning top will confuse their bewitched and bemused followers. They should come out into the open and confess to all that they got it wrong and have departed from the old paths of Pentecostalism.
For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed - Malachi 3:6.
In his writings (see “Re” Issue 1, May 2010, pages 5 and 38-42) JP has confused not only the true meaning of words but also the nature and character of the God of the Bible, who in His grace and mercy will give humans a second and a third chance—again and again—yet He Himself never changes. If we disobey His Word or go contrary to His ways once, He will not adjust either of them to something else for our benefit nor will He forgive forever. That’s not how the God of the Bible operates.
This is never more clearly illustrated than in the passage of scripture that I read in my morning devotions (26/07/2010)—Jeremiah chapters 35 to 39 inclusive. In chapter 36 we read that the “scroll” was cut up with a pen knife and burned (verses 22-25) and the king sought to kill Jeremiah and Baruch his scribe in order to destroy both the evidence and those responsible for it. What did Jeremiah do after God hid him? He simply dictated the exact same words to Baruch the scribe who re-wrote them in another scroll, that was read a second time to the rebellious king and his people, then judgment came. God’s Word is forever ”settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).
Amazingly JP actually quotes Jeremiah in the opening paragraphs of his article Will you not revive us again O God?(Pgs 39-42) yet he still misses the point and actually perverts the divine intent of Jeremiah’s words. Here are JP’s words:
One day while I was in Honolulu, I felt the Holy Spirit ask me as in Jeremiah 1, “What do you see?” .... I noticed a boy with Down’s Syndrome trying to pay for a DVD but not having enough money.
As I read his story my mind went to Acts chapter three and what we know as The Healing of the Lame Man. I almost became excited. Were we about to read of a modern “miracle”? But then the huge anti-climax. JP continues:
My prayer in the morning was, “Lord, today let me experience a miracle, see a God opportunity and have another exiting day of adventure.” When I found myself in that situation I had a choice as to what I saw. I paid for the DVD without the boy even knowing and walked out feeling ten feet tall ...
Now wait a minute. This is the new leader of the Assemblies of God in Great Britain and Ireland, in what must have been his inaugural address. Do you get it? He paid for a poor incapacitated boy’s DVD and he calls that A MIRACLE. I wonder if it was a good or a bad DVD and whether it would actually do the boy any good or harm? We are not told and I guess JP wouldn’t know anyway. But still he felt ten feet tall.
How different from the scenarios of scripture – both Acts chapter 3 and Jeremiah chapter 1. In the former the ambassadors of our Lord gave no financial benefit to the poor beggar—“silver and gold have we none”—but they did share a real miracle. In the latter Jeremiah never chose what he saw but he did receive the divine call to a supernatural ministry. And oh, by the way, Jeremiah saw two things on two separate occasions—both as the result not of natural observation but of supernatural vision cf. Jeremiah 1:11-12 with verses 13-19. Can you imagine Peter and John or Jeremiah for that matter “feeling ten feet tall”. The Christian and Pentecostal message has nothing to do with us or how we feel. It has everything to do with Christ and what He did and does on behalf of needy mankind. Until the AoG and Elim get back to that there is NO HOPE.
JP is clearly an ambitious man who is trying to solve a spiritual problem with a purely natural approach and a lot of hype thrown in. I tremble for the future of AoG in UK. What Mr Partington projects is pure, undefiled, motivational claptrap.
The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved – Jeremiah 8:20.
There is a time for harvest; there is a season that produces harvest. O the sad lament – “We are NOT saved ...”Superficially some have seen a measure of improvement in AoG-UK. The new “face” at the top has at least acknowledged past mistakes, declining numbers,
... discouragement, disarray and despair wondering who we really are, where we are going and what our purpose is? (Ibid page 39).
He calls for
... change and to embrace a new culture, a new DNA and a new outlook.” (page 40).
How sad then that he simply dishes up more of the same, without any mention of repentance and no meaningful Bible quotes in his entire editorial and his long article. He found space to quote Bill Cosby and Mikhail Gorbachev, but NOT the Bible, the Word of God, other than by mere reference to try to validate his ridiculous idea about the prefix “re” or to condemn the excessive reference to the so called Ephesians 4:11 ministries.
The Bible tells us that we should rejoice (Philippians 4:4), be refreshed (Jeremiah 31:25), be re-established (2 Chronicles 29:35), refine [that’s stretching things a bit] (Psalm 66:10), rebuild (Ezra 5:2), renew (Isaiah 40:31) and remind (2 Timothy 1:6). Ibid p. 40.
“Can you see the connection” he naively asks. Sorry John I can’t. There is no connection other than in your befuddled mind and hyped up sales pitch.
Dear Reader, if you are an Assemblies of God adherent please read those Bible references—all of them—and read them in context and you’ll see what I mean. Incidentally “rejoice” does NOT mean “joice” again, nor does it mean as the author of the article claims “rejoice again”, otherwise why does Paul repeat the word? It’s just one of the numerous occasions where “re” does not mean “again”!!
John Partington, who is this man? He certainly likes his own picture as it is full length on page 5, appears as a silhouette on pages 3 and 39, and occupies a full page in four colours on page 41. Just in case we missed it he’s there again in full colour on page 42.
It is plaintively obvious that Mr Partington the replacement General Superintendent of AoG-UK is second choice. First choice was Danny Guglielmucci of Adelaide, Australia, who acted as JP’s mentor. The wheels had already been set in motion and an announcement of an approach to Danny and possibly of his appointment would have most certainly been made had it not been for the breaking of a scandal in connection with Hillsong, Sydney. Michael Guglielmucci, Danny’s son had presented himself as a young man suffering from terminal cancer. He went so far as to sing a song on public television with oxygen mask and tubes as if he were about to die. The song went to the top of the Aria Charts boosted mainly by the inevitable sympathy vote. Huge sums of money changed hands by way of donations and other things. Then came the announcements by Michael and by Danny. It was a total fraud. Michael had never suffered from cancer in his entire life
While Michael’s parents tried to distance themselves from their son’s lies and fraudulent behaviour it was difficult for people to accept their claim that they were in the dark throughout given the circumstances. It was undoubtedly as a result of the breaking of this scandal that the offer of the position of General Superintendent was diverted from Danny Guglielmucci to John Partington who had moved from Britain to work with Danny at his Edge Church in Adelaide.
Danny Guglielmucci has learnt the modern corrupted AoG craft well. In his earlier days when he served in some associated position to senior pastor Andrew Evans at the Paradise AoG he frequently was “used” to make difficult platform announcements to cover embarrassing situations. What goes around comes around, but the modus operandi tends not to change and those who don’t know are just kept in the dark. It’s best that way you know! That’s how natural politics operates and that’s how theocrats carry out their business. Then when a scandal breaks just go into “damage control” but never come out and tell the full story; after all why tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, when you can project a “cover up” with smoke and mirrors and by telling half truths. Why should the common folks know everything when the bourgeoisie can handle it? After all that’s what leadership is all about. No! The Bible calls it Nicholaitanism and God hates it cf. Revelation 2:15.
This really is what this new "Re" is all about, is it not? Don’t reveal anything and take your readers and supporters for a deceptive ride. Don’t tell your readers that popular author of God’s Generals and recently appointed principal of Kensington Temple’s (Elim) International Bible Institute of London (IBIOL), was disciplined, albeit inadequately, by his then church for having a homosexual affair with his youth pastor. He was excluded from his pulpit for a mere matter of months and was then back again preaching. Now he’s the principal of the Bible College of Elim’s showpiece Church – Kensington Temple, London. Shame on them and shame on John Partington and Assemblies of God in UK for giving Liardon such publicity. Stay quiet about these things and just go ahead and advertise his books (page 68).
Include a full page advertisement in your more than 70 page glossy magazine of sensational money preacher Morris Cerullo (page 23) but don’t publish anything about his money rorts or his detractors and critics who allege that he’s a fraud who falsely claims healings, none of which are ever verified simply because they are fake. Take a look at the YOU TUBE evidence. Then for good measure throw in another full page of AoG-UK “evangelist” Melvin Banks with his sensational and equally suspicious claims of healing (page 34) and include two pages about the daddy of them all, the late Oral Roberts with his “Let me share a few secrets” (pages 69 and 70) and confuse everybody by publishing alongside the Oral Robert’s baloney a photograph of George Jeffreys who may indeed be a true Hero of the Faith,though personally I’ll leave that for “the Judge of all the earth” to decide. We know that Oral Roberts was an arch heretic whose legacy includes the abominable “seed faith” doctrine which has deceived millions and bereft orphans and widows of their money and made him and his family enormously rich. Paul Crouch of TBN22 and many other faith prosperity teachers still rake in the money based on this false teaching
A son of two of our good friends in South Wales and a mild critic of some of my work some time ago suggested that I should include some positive suggested remedies for AoG. Personally I now find that extremely difficult if not impossible. Obviously there are some good, godly men and women and churches within AoG-UK and the renamed Australian Christian Churches (ACC) of Australia, but the “movements” as they were founded and intended no longer exist. They are now backslidden denominations that to a large extent have become ecumenical.
During my time in UK I learned of yet another former pioneer AoG that withdrew under protest – Crosskeys, South Wales. My strong suggestion is that many others would do well to follow their lead. Let the religious bureaucrats continue with their silly “Re” nonsense. True servants and soldiers of the Lord are made for nobler and more sensible stuff.
Rise up, O men of God!Have done with lesser things.Give heart and mind and soul and strengthTo serve the King of kings.Author William P. Merrill (1867-1954)
Philip L. Powell
Brisbane – January 13, 2011 –
The River is in FLOOD. Today is its highest peak.
NEXT – PART 3 – A look at Classic Pentecostalism in the Light of the Elim and AoG departures
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