Christianity: Details about 'Latter Rain Movement'

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The Latter Rain was a movement within Pentecostal Christianity which grew out of revival events in North Battleford, Saskatchewan between 1946 and 1948. The movement itself should be distinguished from those whom it ultimately influenced. Many branches of the movement ultimately led to cultlike groups, however many of the less extreme elements ultimately had postive effects on the Charismatic and Pentecostal renewal.

The Latter Rain expressed brought in a new focus on the spiritual elements of Christianity including personal prophecy and typological interpretation of Scripture. The term "Latter Rain" stems from Bible passages as Jeremiah 3:3 and 5:2, Joel 2:23, Hosea 6:3, Zechariah 10:1, and James 5:7. The idea of a "Latter Rain" was not new to the movement, but in fact was present from the earliest days of Pentecostalism, who believed at the time that return of speaking in tongues and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit marked the "Latter Rain" of God's Spirit, near the end of history.

Contents

Origin and Influences

The Latter Rain Movement had its beginnings in the years following World War II. It was contemporary with the evangelical awakening which was starting with Billy Graham at the forefront, as well as the Healing Revival with Oral Roberts, Jack Coe, and William Branham at the forefront.

In this revival context, the



Latter Rain swept across Canada and the United States rapidly, influencing many Pentecostal believers. Because of its grassroots and unstructured nature, history may never know the breadth of its influence. A few key figures are identifiable, however. George Warnock, wrote "The Feast of Tabernacles" which became very influential not only for its view of the feasts but for its approach to the Scriptures. One identifiable mark of those influenced by the Latter Rain is their spiritual hermeneutic. Kevin Conner is a very influential Bible teacher who came out of the Latter Rain and who has taken the best of these new ideas and blended them with the more traditional hermenuetics. His approach has influenced such leading ministers as T.D. Jakes. On the more extreme end is Bill Britton who was known for his teaching about Jesus as a "sample" or "example" son. John Robert Stevens and his movement "The Walk" are an example of a ministry which emerged from the Latter Rain. Others include Robert Ewing from Waco, Texas and Bishop Bill Hamon from Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Hamon has been very influential in the Charismatic movement, including being featured on the cover of Charisma Magazine.

When its proponents tried to mainline this new doctrine into the Pentecostal Churches and in particular the Assemblies of God it nearly split the church. Many felt that this was a false movement insinuating its way into the church which glorified men. Some pointed to the "ye are gods" as evidence of severe theological error. They were also concerned that the movement espoused a post-millennial rather than pre-millennial scenario of the "End Times." In 1959 the Assemblies of God condemned the



doctrine of the 'Latter Rain Movement' as heresy.

Some of the most ardent critics of the Manifest Sons of God and Latter Rain movements have come from within the Pentecostal movement itself. However, the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements, while rejecting the the more extreme elements of the theology, have with time been greatly influenced by other aspects such as the "fivefold" ministry and the laying on of hands.


Beliefs

  • The latter rain. Central to the Latter Rain movement was an expectation of the imminent return of Jesus. Based on an allegorical interpretation of scriptures such as Joel 2:23, the movement held that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost had been the "former rain" that established the Church, and that the current "move" of the Spirit was the "latter rain" that would bring the Church's work to completion, and culminate in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
  • The baptism of the Holy Spirit. Unlike mainstream Pentecostalism, which holds that the baptism of the Holy Spirit usually comes after prolonged "tarrying" or waiting for the Spirit, the Latter Rain movement taught that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit can be imparted on one believer by another through the laying on of hands.
  • The fivefold ministry. The Latter Rain taught that of the five ministerial roles mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher), the foundational roles of apostle and prophet had been stolen from the Church by Satan, but that God was restoring these ministries in the present day.
  • Christian ecumenism. The Latter Rain taught that God saw the church organized not into denominational camps, but along geographical lines. They expected that in the coming last days, the various Christian denominations would dissolve, and the true church would coalesce into citywide churches under the leadership of the newly-restored apostles and prophets.
  • The Manifest(ed) Sons of God. Some leaders of the Latter Rain movement taught that as the end of the age approached, a select group of "overcomers" would arise within the Church. These Manifest Sons of God would receive the "spiritual bodies" mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15. They would become immortal, and receive a number of divine gifts, including the ability to change their physical appearance, to speak any language, to teleport from place to place, and to perform divine healings and other miracles. They would complete the Great Commission, spreading the gospel throughout the world, and at last usher in the millennial reign of Christ.

See also

Books

Pentecostal scholar Richard Riss wrote a master's Thesis on the Latter Rain, which was repackaged as a book entitled "The Latter Rain" and is available from Honeycomb Visual Productions in Canada. This book is supportive of the movement. It is one of the only scholarly works available on the topic.


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Latter_Rain_Movement". A list of the wikipedia authors can be found here.