The New Wave (of the Holy Spirit)

In the early 1990s I came across a "swag" of new prophets and men of inspiration, trying hard to lead the church in a different direction.

The first was Reinhardt Bonke, a German, who at the time was ministering in South Africa, and who came to the Swedish city I was working in - Malmö - to preach at the invitation of the church I was attending, Elim Pingstkyrkan. They had an enormous rally, attended by thousands, and the first two hours of it were broadcast on the local radio station, commercial-free. Herr Bonke spoke in English, surpisingly to me because the people (particularly the older generation) would have been more familiar with German. Phrase by phrase was translated into Swedish by an interpreter standing at his side.

Most of what he preached was straight from the shoulder salvation stuff, albeit aggressively presented. As a relatively "baby" Christian myself, I picked nothing false in the teachings, and I suspect if I were to listen to the same address ten years later, I still would not, because at that time this group of evangelists distanced themselves from the likes of Kenneth Hagin (who had established a Scandinavian headquarters in the university city of Upsala, north of the Swedish capital, Stockholm) and others such as Kenneth Copeland.

It was later that I recalled that I had seen Bonke in a videotape of a meeting in Cape Town's very large Rhema Pentecostal church some years before, which accidentally showed an encouragement towards large sized offerings in the form of a close-up of the preacher himself putting a US $100 bill into the collection to "start it off".

In about 1995 or 1996 a South African by the name of Rodney Howard-Browne came to Adelaide (where I live) for a week of public meetings to encourage the faithful. Originally scheduled at the Paradise Assemblies of God - which now call themselves Paradise Community Church - the second night onwards they shifted from a 3500 seat church to a 10,000 seat public hall in the city of Adelaide.

Brother Howard-Browne made many enemies among traditional Assemblies of God folk during that time, and the Paradise church has gone through an enormous upheaval, mainly because of the insistence of their leadership - who incidentally have a stranglehold on the leadership of the whole Australian AoG churches through their National Executive - to align themselves with the teachings of Howard-Browne, Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland.

The year after the Howard-Browne visit, the same public meeting hall in Adelaide was used by the Assemblies of God for their National Convention. The keynote speaker was Benny Hinn who has been the subject of church investigations elsewhere. Just a few months before, Brother Hinn was the keynote speaker at a week long series of meetings sponsored by the AoG in Italy.

At the end of the first night, their National Executive cancelled Hinn's commission to speak, was removed from the conference on the grounds of his apostasy, and they provided their own speakers for the rest of the week to preach on acceptable doctrine.

When the Adelaide conference convenors were advised of this, those who protested received faxes telling them they were "accusers of the brethren" - a quote from the Revelation referring to Satan. This sort of action is standard practice among the circles of Hinn, Copeland, Howard-Browne, and associates, and there are many documented instances of it.

The title of this paper is taken from the name given by Andrew Evans to the whole concept of teachings promoted by him as senior minister at Paradise, and in his capacity as a member of the National their board of directors including being President for several terms. He has published an interesting pamphlet setting out why it is a must for all who wish to be regarded as Christians, and I have a copy from that time.

Brother Evans and his associates have made it abundantly clear to those of his congregation that he will not accept any biblical correction on the new teachings he has accepted and promoted, and in fact the membership of the AoG across Australia has paid enormous legal fees (as I understand it) on behalf of their senior brethren who took court action against one Adelaide brother (who I used to know several years ago) for daring to publicly voice an objection to these things. I believe that does not fit well with the apostle's teachings about taking one's brother to court.

In my research into this movement that has infiltrated not just Paradise, but many other churches through three surprising and apparently unrelated things, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that Christians need to be aware of wolves in sheeps' clothing. I have many dear friends in a number of churches who I can see are badly misled, and who are not prepared to say "that is wrong, it is unbiblical, you are out of line brother for teaching false doctrine". At the end of this paper I will explain these three unrelated practices which cause me concern because of their insidious teaching of false doctrine - both by omission of truth, and by distorting of truth.

So how are these men different from other preachers? Well maybe a few key points will show why I have concern for those who follow them...

This is scary stuff. I make no apology for what I have set out here.

IT IS ALSO NOT BIBLICAL

Now, why did I express concern for many brothers and sisters in mainline churches? I'll tell you why.

All of those beliefs permeate the teachings of the Assemblies of God in Australia. So,I'm not in the Assemblies of God, you may well say. You also may not be in Australia, such is the nature of the Internet.

Fine.

But have you heard of...

And finally, then, what about the nice cosy Bible Studies that your quiet local church runs...