The Word Faith Movement Examined 8 History


One thing I MUST say about Pentecostals, is their sincerity and earnest desire for God. When they are truly born again, they are BORN AGAIN!!! I admire their enthusiasm for God – I merely wish to alert them to the heresies of the Word Faith Movements, and see them learn true Biblical doctrine. This way, they can use their fervor for God, instead of pursuing unrighteous mammon, or self exaltation. What a force for evangelism they could be if taught true doctrine! That is my prayer.

After Seymour, the next big splash in the Pentecostal movement, was the start of the Assemblies of God denomination in 1914. The Assemblies of God denomination was started when Charles Parham‘s Evangelical Association joined forces with the remaining few of Zion City (apparently nobody from Shiloh was invited…). Parham had recently run afoul of Wilbur Voliva, who – not content to steal Dowie’s Zion City from him while ill – filed charges of pedophelia against Parham. The Prosecuting Attorney examined the charges, and declined to prosecute, on the grounds of insufficient evidence beyond the allegations. It is probable that Voliva was trying to seize Parham’s association and try to combine that with Zion City. That failed. However, the aftermath of the charges was exactly that – the assemblies of God denomination was formed from the remaning members of Zion City and Parham’s followers. I do not think Voliva was involved in this, although I still have not had the time to research the history of the denomination.

The Assemblies of God denomination carried the fires until the appearance of Aimee Semple McPherson. In violation of the Scriptural mandate that women can not be pastors, she founded the International Church of the Four Square Gospel.

“Oh, don’t you ever tell me that a woman can not be called to preach the Gospel! If any man ever went through one hundredth part of the hell on earth that I lived in, those months when out of God’s will and work, they would never say that again.” (Wikipedia Entry on Aimee Semple McPherson)

This placed Pentecostalism on the map.

I do not tell the thrice-married Mrs. Semple McPherson Hutton she cannot preach the Gospel. The Lord tells her that. Whoever spoke to her in her hospital bed and told her to preach was not the Lord, as the Lord NEVER contradicts His own words!

33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. John 3:33 (KJV)

4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. Romans 3:4 (KJV)

7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments. Revelation 16:7 (KJV)

The Bible emphatically forbids women to teach.

2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 1 Timothy 3:2 (KJV)

34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 14:34-37 (KJV, emphasis mine)

11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 1 Timothy 2:11-13 (KJV)

The Bible teaches that there is a divine order – God the father over everything, Christ over His churches, the Pastor over the congregation, the husband over the wife.

3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3 (KJV)

One’s suffering does not negate the word of God. Bottom line. To my eyes, the reason Aimee Semple McPherson was suffering was her own flesh. Her ego cried for her to be the center of attention, to be in control, to dominate through the pulpit.

McPherson’s life started with her as a child, raised as a Methodist, playing “salvation army” with her siblings. Apparently, the desire to play “Salvation Army” never left her. She married Robert Semple in 1908, and moved to Chicago where they enrolled in William Durham’s “Full Gospel Assembly”. Durham’s association with Pentacostal groups has not yet been determined, but the name “Full Gospel” is highly indicative of being either related to the Assemblies of God or to Dowie’s Zion City. They eventually left on a missionary journey, similar to the Apostle Paul, going through Europe and ending in Hong Kong. Any plans they had were dashed as Robert Semple contracted dysentary and died. Aimee Semple moved back to New York, teaching Sunday School classes on the steamship jouney, from Hong Kong to America. She met Harold McPherson in 1912, whom she married.

By all accounts, Aimee Semple McPherson hated housework, hated taking care of children, and despised the life of a housewife.

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Ephesians 5:21-24 (KJV)

18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Colossians 3:18 (KJV)

1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 1 Peter 3:1-5 (KJV)

The issue Mrs. McPherson did not understand or like (more likely), is the submitting to Federal Headship. The Federal Headship is explained in Ephesians 5:23-24. Men have as much trouble submitting to the Lord Jesus Christ as women do to their husbands. However, it apparently is a key component of Christian discipleship, and produces spiritual maturity.

She became emotionally erratic, sulking in a corner, lethargic, then tempestuous with a raging temper. (wikipedia.org/Aimee_Semple_McPherson, note 15)

Next she would tackle household chores with prolonged obsessional detail and afterwards fall to weeping and praying. (Wikipedia.org/Aimee Semple McPherson, note 16)

Mcpherson claimed a voice constantly urged her to preach, to become a missionary. It cannot have been the voice of the Lord, as neither God the Father, The Holy Spirit, nor the Lord Jesus Christ ever contradict Scripture. However, Satan does contradict it.

In 1914, Mcpherson supposedly became ill, requiring an operation. Apparently, the operation was unsuccessful, and her history lists her as having been taken afterwards to a hospital room where patients of unsuccessful surgery’s are taken to die. The voice supposedly asked McPherson if she was going to preach. Apparently, she accepted, as she was healed. In 1915, Harold McPherson arrived home one day to find Aimee had taken the children and left, to pursue her dream of being a preacher and evangelist. She sent him a letter after a few months, inviting him to join her on her preaching ventures. He did so at first, but soon tired of living out of a car and fishing in ponds for their meals. He returned to Rhode Island in 1918, filing for divorce and citing “abandonment” as the grounds. The divorce was granted in 1921.

McPherson moved to Los Angeles in 1918, creating the Angelus Temple. The remnants of the Azuza Street Revival, looking for a place to attend, quickly flocked to her.

McPherson remarried in 1931 to actor David Hutton, who apparently had promised to marry another woman. The woman sued McPherson and Hutton, and won a $5,000 judgment (a very goodly sum in those days!). McPherson fainted upon hearing the news, falling and fracturing her skull. Apparently a true faint, and not a “slain in the spirit” moment.

Unfortunately, one of Aimee Semple McPherson’s teachings was that a divorced person should not remarry as long as their spouse remained alive – and Harold McPherson was still alive at the time. Fortunately for McPherson, the issue was solved rather quickly, as in true Hollywood style, Hutton soon divorced McPherson after reports of his infidelity.

Hutton, for his part, complained his financial allowance was too small, she humiliated him by limiting his powers within her organization and “inflicted grievous mental suffering.” (Wikipedia.org/Aimee Semple McPherson, note 27)

In other words, McPherson forced her husband to act in the role of the wife, while she acted in the role of Husband.

Reverend Robert P. Shuler published a pamphlet entitled McPhersonism, which purported that her “most spectacular and advertised program was out of harmony with God’s word.” (Wikipedia.org/Aimee Semple McPherson, note 100)

in 1926, it is alleged that McPherson faked her own kidnapping to have an extended adulterous fling with a married man, Kenneth G. Ormiston. The hoax extended from May 18 until June 23. She claimed to have been kidnapped and tortured. The matter found its way into a trial, with inconclusive results. Her supporters insist to this day that the incident truly took place, and that a mercenary was resposible. It is interesting that the Los Angeles Police and District Attorney’s office were unable to find this proof despite looking for a year.

It is reported that a young woman named Katherine Kuhlman faithfully attended the Temple Angelus, sitting in the balcony and taking copious notes on McPherson’s preaching,songs, stage presence, gestures, order of service, etc.

McPherson died in 1944 from an overdose of sleeping pills that had not been prescribed for her. In short, a drug overdose.

Around this time, we see the emergence of Finis J. Dake. It is surprising to me how many people read “Dake’s Annotated Study Bible”, and do not blink an eye at Dake’s plagiarisms of Mormonism with his assertion that God has a human body and lives on a planet called “heaven”. The Mormons say it is Kolob, but essentially it is the exact same teaching, names exchanged. Again, the following posts will be concentrating on the doctrinal errors of the Word Faith movement.

Finis J. Dake (1902-1987) became a Christian at age 17 around the year 1919, although the testimony of his salvation experience raises more questions than answers (The quotes I have seen are incomplete, and I cannot tell if he ever came to an awareness that he, like all men, was a sinner in need of grace, no mention of an awareness of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, and no mention of repentance and a urgent desire to be saved – instead, a reference to abandonining worldly desires similar to a Buddhist, and hours spent in prayer seeking God. The latter I have no problem with, but do question the feeling of “a deeper consecration to him” – this is not typical of a salvation experience, but more typical of someone trying to achieve salvation by works). He supposedly recieved a “special anointing” that allowed him to memorize large portions of Scripture (apparently without understanding them, which to me seems to be a useless gift!). Dake was ordained by the Assemblies of God in 1925 (the year after Smith Wigglesworth published Ever Increasing Faith), and moved to Zion, Illinois (the location of Dowie’s Zion City) in 1927 and even opened Shiloh Bible Institute in Dowie’s old house! It’s a little creepy to think that Dake would name his Bible Institute the same thing as Dowie’s… unless Dake had prior knowledge of Dowie and made this a deliberate act. This is the most likely explanation. This would mean that Dake would probably also be familiar with the writings of Kenyon, and probably Sandford. The similarities between Smith wigglesworth’s writings, E. W. Kenyon’s, Frank Sandford’s and Dake’s shows they probably influenced Dake with their teachings.

Like all other First Wave Pentacostal ministers I’ve discussed to this point, I have no record whatsoever of Dake enrolling in or completing Seminary or Bible College training – only the oft-repeated “anointing” that allowed him to have recall of portions of Scripture without knowing them. This is a claim to having the gift of Knowledge discussed in 1 Corinthians – which the Bible makes clear would cease when “that which is perfect is come”.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 (KJV, emphasis mine)

Dake achieved some controversy when he was arrested in 1936, prosecuted and convicted in 1937 for transporting a minor across state lines for immoral purposes, registering in three hotels as “husband and wife”. After his 6 month Jail sentence, his ordination was revoked by the Assemblies of God. Dake would eventually join the Church of God for the purpose of re-ordination, then soon after that leave to be independent. he remained non-denominational until his death from Parkinson’s Disease in 1987. I have found no public recantment, apology or confession of his pedophelia other than accepting a plea bargain prior to sentencing.

Dake is best known for his Dake Study Bible, which was begun during that six-month prison sentence. Dake finished the Study Bible 29 years after he was released from prison, containing over 35,000 notes and entries. It remains a must-have tool for Charismatics to this day.

Dake laid out two rules in his Study Bible which many Bible teachers (including Dake himself!) should heed:

  • We shall let what God says mean what He says and reject anytheory of men to the contrary.
  • Take every statement ofthe Bible as literal when it is at all possible and where it is clear that it is literal, otherwise, it is figurative.

The second apparently a restatement of the well known maxim, “take the Bible at plain sense, lest any other sense prove you nonsense.” However, as we shall see on the doctrine pages, Dake did not follow his own rules, and came to some absolutely bizarre conclusions and false doctrines.

Dake teaches an unScriptural Gap theory between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, and proceeds to draw up imaginitive accounts and charts – devoid of any true origin of Scripture – of the “Pre-Adamite World”. Such a conclusion does not come from reading the Scriptures but instead stems from a desire to unite Evolution with the Bible, in order to account for the “millions of years” scientists keep claiming for fossils.

Dake gives it a slightly different spin, claiming the original world was destroyed – but nonetheless, a Gap Theory. As mentioned, We will be analyzing in depth the doctrines and teachings of the Word Faith movement. I will mention he claimed God had a physical body (denying the Biblical teaching of omnipotence), lived on a physical planet known as “Heaven” (Why this did not cause Charismatics to immediately reject his Bible I dont know – when I was a Charismatic before I was saved, it caused me to reject him immediately – I recognized it as being derived from Mormonism), and had some issues concerning the Trinity. We will deal with Dake’s doctrine in detail later. Some of the more bizarre theories include all three persons of the Trinity having body, soul and spirit, as do humans! This is the real source of Benny Hinn’s infamous announcement that each member of the Trinity was themselves a Trinity. When the uproar got too great, Hinn repented of the teaching – the right thing to do, and I applaud him for the courage to do so.

Dake would die in 1987 from Parkinson’s disease. For reasons unexplained, he was never able to positively confess his healing and health – unless the expalination could possibly be that his theology was drastically wrong and unBiblical.

The second wave of pentacostalism broke out in Canada, when a student at the Sharon Orphanages (a female – Not Anges Ozman this time, though) began to speak in tongues and prophesy of a revival. Why this excited anyone is beyond me – it seesm to me that everytime I’ve been present that prophesies were uttered, it was always “In a short time, I will send revival…” as if the person speaking were the Lord God. Usually is a word of some kind of testing, then shortly thereafter, a promised revival that would sweep the world. And by the next week, it’s forgotten by everyone except me, who’s constantly asking, “so… is this the test, right here? When does that get here?” Apparently, no, it wasn’t the test – although people very often did get testy with me about it.

I fail to understand the need for a claim of a “Second wave” when people were speaking in supposed tongues during the time prior to Azuza, during Azuza, and before the so-called “second wave”, during it, and AFTER it!. The Pentacostal mindset is apparently consumed with the idea that numbers equals Godliness – if more people are doing it, it is a work of God. The Bible teaches indeed the opposite, time and time again, such as Gideon leading the people to the water to drink, and the Lord forcing him to send home the vast majority of them.

From the second Wave, Katherine Kuhlman would be the next shining star. Her mother was a Methodist, her father a Baptist. She reportedly attended seminary, and was ordained a Baptist pastor (in violation of Scripture). I am unable to find an exact date of her ordination. She began preaching around 1923, at the age of sixteen. Kuhlman claimed (contradicting her supporters) she never went to Seminary, and was completely untrained, an assertion I can easily believe.

Kuhlman met a traveling evangelist named Burroughs Waltrip, who had abandoned his family to become a Evangelist. She married him in 1938, and they were divorced him by 1944.

Kuhlman started her “healing crusades” in the 1940’s eventually establishing a TV show in the 1970’s. Kuhlman angered many of her supporters in 1972 by having a private meeting with Pope Paul VI. Some began to question both her discernment and her theology. It shows how far Christianity has backslidden that this would go unchallenged today.

Kuhlman also created much controversy, in her admitting she loved fine clothing and ostentatious jewelry, in opposition to the command of Scripture that a woman not be givven to wearing ornate jewelry.

Kulhman eventually settled in Los Angeles, following in the footsteps of her idol, Aimee Semple McPherson. A Dr. William A. Nolen began a study of Kuhlman’s supposed miracles in 1967. His studies revealed that of the so-called miracles, many ended with the people worse off than before, including the one hightly televised event where a woman with Spinal Cancer threw off her back brace and ran across the stage. The next day her spinal column collapsed from the stress of the event, and she died. Dr. Nolen would have to conclude that out of 100 case studies forwarded by Kuhlman’s “ministry”, there were 0 out of 100 cures – a 0% rating, far less than a non-charismatic Pastor praying for the sick in his congregation, and having a few recover from their illnesses. God is not mocked.

Kulhman suffered from heart disease for 20 years, finally having open heart surgury. She would die from complications of that operation.

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Author: philipdean2013

Seminary graduate with a Ba. in Theology/Pastoral Studies, Happily married, Independent Baptist. I can't keep silent about what I see going on in Christianity any longer! Apostasy reigns around us, churches are sliding into worldiness, a whitewashed Gospel is preached everywhere... "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV) So, I'm speaking out. ...Why aren't you???