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Title:Neo-Montanism: Pentecostalism is the ancient heresy of Montanism revived
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Body:Neo-Montanism [1901-present] Recent Pentecostal History and Roots

Pentecostalism is the ancient heresy of Montanism revived

See: Montanism: 2nd century heresy

The Early Roots: 1830's

Edward Irving

In the western world Pentecostalism generally traces its roots back to the teachings and experiences of Edward Irving, a Presbyterian Minister in Scotland in the early 1800's. After studying the Book of Acts he began to teach that what the early church experienced was to be normative for the church in his day. He was excommunicated from the Presbyterian Church over his heretical Christological doctrines. (Strachan, George, The Pentecostal Theology of Edward Irving, Hendrickson Publishers, 1973, pg. 13)

On March 28th 1830, a Miss Mary Campbell began to speak in other tongues and claimed she was divinely healed. The following year on October 30th 1831 her sister, Mrs. Cardale also began to speak in tongues and to prophesy.

Edward Irving formed his own church called the Catholic Apostolic Church and he soon ordained its first twelve apostles on November 7th, 1832. "He also expounded a detailed teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and gave the whole of his theology an immediacy by his expectation of the immanent second coming of the Lord. (Strachan, George, The Pentecostal Theology of Edward Irving, Hendrickson Publishers, 1973, pg. 18)He died shortly thereafter, but the movement he started, which became known as "Irvingites."

Edward Irving is to be considered among the first true Neo-Montanists due to his beliefs in:

In the restoration of the charismatic gifts, including prophecy

His unwillingness to submit to recognized Church authority regarding his beliefs

His approval of women in ministry (coincidentally, women were the first to prophesy in his movement)

His belief in the also immediate return of Christ, i.e. a strong eschatological emphasis.

Modern Roots: The 1901 Apostasy:

II. John Alexander Dowie

Like Irving, Dowie was a minister from the same area. He was originally a Congregational Pastor, who subsequently left his denomination and formed his own called the "Christian Catholic Church." (Burgess, McGee, Alexander, Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Zondervan Publishing House, 1988, pg. 249)

In 1901 he began to build a city of righteousness outside of Chicago which he named Zion.

He believed that he was the first restored apostle to The Church, and later came to believe he was the prophet Elijah, the restorer, sent to pave the way for the return of Christ which he too believed was immanent.

He taught that the Church would be fully restored to apostolic authority and power.

His beliefs coupled with those of Edward Irving formed the initial platform for the rapid spread of Neo-Montanist beliefs which were to soon be launched globally.

III. Azusa Street Mission

William Seymour had been taught about receiving the baptism with the Holy Ghost, (i.e. the gift of speaking in other tongues) by Charles Fox Parham in Kansas.

Parham had a small Bible school in which he taught the need for a restoration of New Testament Christianity based on the model shown in the book of Acts.

In 1901, a woman, names Agnes Ozman was the first recorded tongue-talking Pentecostal in American Church history, and William Seymour received the baptism at some point while at Bible school under Parham.

Seymour went to Los Angeles and began to preach about the Holy Spirit baptism in a barn/warehouse on Azusa.

What Eyewitness said about the Azusa Street Mission All these men are respected Bible scholars

G. Campbell Morgan described the Azusa Street activities as

"the last vomit of Satan." ("From Holy Laughter to Holy Fire" by Michael L. Brown, pages 197&198)

R.A. Torrey declared that this new Pentecostal movement was

"emphatically not of God, and founded by a Sodomite." ("From Holy Laughter to Holy Fire" by Michael L. Brown, pages 197&198)

H. A. Ironside said in 1912 AD both the holiness and Pentecostal movements were

"disgusting. . .delusions and insanities." ... "pandemonium's where exhibitions worthy of a madhouse or a collection of howling dervishes," were causing a "heavy toll of lunacy and infidelity." ("From Holy Laughter to Holy Fire" by Michael L. Brown, pages 197&198)

W.B. Godbey said of the Azusa Street participants and he claimed the movement was the result of spiritualism.

"Satan's preachers, jugglers, necromancers, enchanters, magicians, and all sorts or mendicants," ("From Holy Laughter to Holy Fire" by Michael L. Brown, pages 197&198)

Clarence Larkin

"But the conduct of those possessed, in which they fall to the ground and writhe in contortions, causing disarrangement's of the clothing and disgraceful scenes, is more a characteristic of demon possession, than a work of the Holy Spirit. From what has been said we see that we are living in "Perilous Times," and that all about us are "Seducing Spirits," and that they will become more active as the Dispensation draws to its close, and that we must exert the greatest care lest we be led astray." ("From Holy Laughter to Holy Fire" by Michael L. Brown, pages 197&198)

These 5 well trained theologians were alive and active when the "Azusa Revival" began and they were well informed and had firsthand knowledge. Why is their testimony disregarded and the testimony of Biblically uneducated people accepted?

April 4, 1906 a revival began and 1,000's of people came to 312 Azusa to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This revival lasted from 1906 to 1913 (Burgess, Stanley, Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Zondervan Publishers, 1988, pg. 31) and during these nine years 1,000's of Pentecostal missionaries went forth establishing ministries around the world. Among most Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, Azusa is revered as a genuine move of the God in restoring the Church to true power and authority. However, it is also true the Azusa street meetings were also filled with spiritualist mediums, hypnotists, and others who had a deep interest in the occult. In 1907, Parham was arrested and charged with sodomy in Texas and lost all credibility with the neo-Pentecostal movement he started! By the end of 1913 there were growing factions within the fledgling movement and in the end several independent Pentecostal organizations were formed due to not being able to resolve their leadership and doctrinal differences. Four of these organizations exist today:

The Church of God in Christ (black Pentecostal's) formed 1907

The Assemblies of God (white Pentecostal's) formed 1914

The United Pentecostal Church (both black and white members) formed 1914 (The following are the key doctrinal beliefs that distinguish the Oneness Pentecostal movement: Modalism - Jesus is the only person of God; Doctrine of "trinity" considered to be demonic; Speaking in tongues is an essential sign of salvation; Denial of the existence of Christ prior to the incarnation. Baptism "in Jesus' name" alone is necessary for salvation.)

The Pentecostal Church of God (mostly white members) formed 1919

Rodney Howard Browne commends Charles Parham and William Branham as men of God. Both of these men, as well as the movement that started as a result of Branhams efforts were cut off from credible Christian institutions and movements as follows:

1906 Charles Parham "excommunicated" from the Azusa Street revival.

The Latter Rain movement was forced out of the Assemblies of God church in 1949: " These doctrines caused division in traditional Pentecostal churches. They led to the condemnation of the `The New Order of the Latter Rain' by the Assemblies of God in their general council in 1949. After this action, many Assembly ministers resigned or were excommunicated for their involvement and formed independent Latter Rain churches. Most of these churches were small. Their evolving doctrines became increasingly heretical and, many degenerated into clearly definable cults (Church of the Living Word, The Body, House of Prayer, etc.)." (Old Wine in New Wineskins: A look at the Kansas City Fellowship, Stephen F. Cannon, Personal Freedom Outreach, 1990.)

The Pentecostal and the Assemblies of God denominations grew out of the Azusa street revival. Charles Parham was removed from the movement out of concerns about heretical teachings.

"Rodney Howard-Browne speaks glowingly of Charles Parham, apparently unaware that Parham was thrown out of the Azusa Street work in 1906 and banned from that time on. Parham spent the rest of his days denouncing W.J. Seymour and the Azusa Street revival." (see Synan, "The Holiness Pentecostal Movement", pg. 112).

IV. Early Neo-Montanist Healing Cults & Sects

Four Early antecedents to the healing revival

"Prophet" Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, believed not only that he was a prophet of God but that he had divine healing power and laid hands on many sick people and sent out anointed handkerchiefs to the sick. (1835)

John Humphrey Noyes, founder of the Oneida Community prayed for the sick and taught sickness was due to personal sin and the work of demons. He expected supernatural signs and miracles to be exhibited today as they were in the early Apostolic Church.

Ellen Gould White, founder of the Seventh Day Adventist sect, was considered a prophet, and she too prayed for the sick, laid hands on them, and taught divine health. (1840's)

Aimee Semple McPherson, nationally known healing evangelist in the 1920's - 1930's. Founded and headed the Foursquare Gospel Church, led a controversial life and died of a drug overdose in 1944.

Kathryn Kuhlman was ordained a Baptist minister, but did not associate her ministry with any denomination She was heavily influenced by the Azusa street revival, and by the Roman Catholic church. She was well known for the manifestations that occurred at her meetings, including "laughter". She is said to be responsible for the introduction of the manifestation of "Slain in the Spirit". There were some differences to the current movement, though, in that she insisted that her meetings be orderly. Manifestations interrupting the service were not permitted. She was highly regarded in many Christian circles, and strongly influenced Benny Hinn and John Arnott.

All four of these individuals thought that their organizations were in fact restoring true Christianity which had been lost over the years. All of these groups initially believed in a restoration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit including prophecy. They can be classified as Neo-Montanist due to:

Their belief in the current gift of prophecy as divine revelation

Their acceptance of women in authority

Belief in extra-Biblical revelations

Unwillingness to submit to other recognized Church authorities

V. William Branham the Father of Neo-Montanism

Started out with Missionary Baptist church. After a short stint, he joined the United Pentecostal Church (God Can Do It Again, Kathryn Kuhlman, Prentice-Hall, 1969.). He later rejected all denominations as being of the antichrist and formed the Branham Tabernacle as an independent church.

After World War II, another healing revival broke out all over America and the world.

The original initiator of the revival was William Branham.

Branham considered himself to be a prophet sent from God to the last Church age who was given 7 visions regarding the end times.

Branham's teachings were foundational for the formalization of Neo-Montanism as a dynamic movement within the Church beginning in 1947 in N. Battleford Canada.

Branham taught that gifts of the Holy Spirit could be transmitted through the laying on of hands via a man who possessed such gifts.

He believed in further revelation given by angels, dreams, visions, and prophecy.

He strongly taught that Jesus was returning very soon and would severely judge America

Even though William Branham denied the Trinity and taught it was a demonic doctrine believed only by those of the whore Babylon false church - he was still revered as a true prophet by almost every major Pentecostal and Charismatic ministry (who are Trinitarian). Even though he believed in numerology and taught that God had made the Great Pyramid - he is still accepted as a true prophet. Even though many of his prophecies regarding future events did not come to pass - he is still regarded as a true prophet. Even though the majority of his teachings are totally in error and diametrically opposed to the plain teaching of Scripture, he is still held up as God's true prophet.

William Branham's heretical theology:

God's Word consists of the zodiac, Egyptian pyramids and scripture.

Doctrine of trinity is considered demonic

The claim that he was Elijah the prophet

Millennium to begin in 1977.

That he was the seventh angelic messenger to the Laodicean Church Age (Footprints, pg. 620).(Using the dispenational theory that each of the churches in Revelations represents an age of the church, the current one being the Laodicean Church Age).

That anyone belonging to any denomination had taken "the mark of the beast" (Footprints, pp. 627, 629, 643, 648).

That he received divinely inspired revelations (The Revelation of the Seven Seals, Branham; Spoken Word Publications, Tucson, Ariz., n.d.; pg.19; Questions and Answers, Book 1, Branham; Spoken Word Publications, Tucson, 1964; pg. 60.)

The fall of man happened when Eve had sexual relations with Satan, that his sexual union produced Cain.(Branham said that "every sin that ever was on the Earth was caused by a woman....the very lowest creature on the Earth" The Spoken Word, Vol. III Nos. 12, 13, 14;, Branham; Spoken Word Publications, Jeffersonville, Ind. 1976; pp. 81-82. Quoted in The Man and His Message, pg. 41).

Branham denied the biblical triune Godhead. He pronounced it a "gross error" (The Spoken Word, pg. 79) and as a prophet with the authority of a "Thus saith the Lord," revealed that "trinitarianism is of the devil" (Footprints, pg. 606).

Unsaved descended from the serpent.

VI. Branham's Errors Are Embraced, Expanded Upon, and Propagated Resulting in the Formal Establishment of Neo-Montanism as a Force Within the Church

George Hawtin, Percy Hunt and George Warnock took Branham's teachings on Apostolic Restoration of the Church and disseminated these teachings to 1,000's through their Bible School called Sharon in Canada.

In 1948 a woman prophesied a great move of God coming from Sharon

At the next Sharon campmeeting Latter Rain Doctrines were formalized and disseminated

The result was 1,000's of Pentecostal believers left the 4 major Pentecostal denominations and joined independent Pentecostal organizations teaching these restored truths

Latter Rain teachings are denounced by the Assemblies of God in 1950, but resurface in the charismatic movement of the early 1960's.

Latter Rain Doctrines include:

The restoration of the office of the Apostle and Prophet to head the Church. The Pastor, Teacher and Evangelist all function under them.

Restoration of all the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit - with an emphasis on prophets and prophecy. Prophecy meaning a direct revealed word from the heart of God through the mouth of His prophet or prophetess

Women given equal roles in authority in the Church

Casting out demons from Christians

Rebuilding the Tabernacle of David, i.e. continual prophetic praise before the Lord

The dominion of the world by The Church

The defeat of physical death by ascended believers called Manifest Sons of God

Unity of the Body, i.e. all churches submitting the Apostolic and Prophetic authority

VII. The Widespread Effects of Neo-Montanism Today

Today charismatic ministries and churches are among the fastest growing segment of the Body of Christ.

The world's largest congregations are charismatic and Neo-Montanist in doctrine, i.e. Paul Cho's congregation in Seoul Korea is over 700,000 members. Many mega-churches in America with over 5,000 members are Neo-Montanist.

The largest television ministries are Neo-Montanist:

Paul & Jan Crouch - owners of Trinity Broadcasting Network with 100's of stations globally

Kenneth & Gloria Copeland - both accepted as Prophets & Teachers

Kenneth Hagin - widely acknowledged Prophet

Bernard Jordan - acknowledged Prophet

Bishop Earl Paulk - propagator of Latter Rain Doctrines, Bishop over 3,000 churches

Pat Robertson - speaks prophetically, prolific writer, television host, owns The Family Channel

Morris Curello - bought PTL, a Latter Rain proponent and speaks as a prophet

Healing Evangelist & Teacher Benny Hinn

4. Christian Bookstore Shelves are filled with books, tapes, and videos on how to grow prophetically, how to hear the voice of God, how to flow in the supernatural, etc. Some examples of these books are cited below:

Understanding God's Prophetic Move Today - by Dr. Noel Woodroffe

Prophets and Personal Prophecy - Bishop Bill Hamon

The Elijah Task, A Call to Today's Prophets - John and Paula Sandford

Growing In the Prophetic - Mike Bickle

5. The role of women as Pastors, Teachers, and Prophetesses is widely taught, practiced, and endorsed.

6. Major Teaching Ministries are headed by women:

Gloria Copeland

Joyce Meyers

Marilyn Hickey

Jackie McCullah

Annette Capps - seen as a prophetess

7. Extra-Biblical experiences are accepted and endorsed:

The Holy Laughter Movement via Rodney Howard Browne has swept the Church world

The signs and wonders Movement - being slain in the spirit, barking, trances

Dreams and Visions - books on alleged dreams and visions from God are widely accepted even thought the accounts vary in specific details with each other


Montanism is alive and well and growing very rapidly today. For the most part it wears a mask of orthodoxy, however, it has taken the worst elements of the original Montanism and expanded them to new depths of error. Remember that error always compounds itself unless it is checked and denounced by the plain teaching of the Scriptures. Heresy thrives when people are asleep and have a shallow in their devotion to God and the study of His Word.

Modern Pentecostal Timeline:

The Flow of Current Heretical Beliefs

The Lineage Of Modern Pentecostal churches

E.W. Kenyon 1886-1948

Father of the Word of Faith Movement

Franklin Hall, William Branham, George Warnock

Fathers of the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God/Kingdom Now Movements

1946 Frankin Hall wrote "Atomic Power with God Through Prayer & Fasting"Gordon Lindsay's "Voice of Healing" newsletter and Thomas & Evelyn's Wyatt's worldwide radio broadcasts spread his fasting message.

Major Ministers Impacted by Franklin's Hall teachings

Gordon Lindsey

Oral Roberts

William Branham

A.A. Allen

W.V. Grant (senior)

Tommy Hicks

Dr. Waltrip (Katherine Khulman's husband)

Kenneth Hagin

Word of Faith Movement 1967-1985

Kenneth Hagin starts Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa and is responsible for launching 1,000's of Word of Faith Churches and Ministries globally. Main center for propagation of Word of Faith Doctrines

Post World War II Healing Revival Sweeps America & the World 1946-1967

William Branham

A.A. Allen

Oral Roberts

Little David Walker

Katherine Khulman

T.L. Osborn

Buddy Harrison

(Kenneth Hagin's son-in-law)

Founder Harrison House Publisher, main publisher of Word of Faith doctrines

Pastor of Faith Christian Fellowship Church (FCF).

FCF Tulsa serves as the "covering" for 100's of FCF congregations worldwide, all of which teach Word of Faith doctrines

1947 William Branham's ministry was beginning to be widely accepted until his death in 1965. Coined phrase "Latter Rain"

Kenneth & Gloria Copeland

(got initial tapes of Hagin from Buddy Harrison) De-facto leader of current Word of Faith Movement

North Battleford Saskatchewan

1947 George Hawtin & Percy Hunt run the Sharon Orphanage: Read F. Hall's book & see Branham's ministry. Fast & Pray according to Hall's principals for one year and begin to teach Hall's principles at their Bible School. Elim Bible Institute also is teaching Restoration at this time with no apparent connection with N. Battleford.

Other Word of Faith Proponents

Jerry Savelle (Copeland's disciple)

Jesse Duplantis

Norval Hayes (Lester Sumrall disciple)

Charles Capps (ordained by Copeland)

Marilyn Hickey

Robert Tilton

Benny Hinn (Assembly of God )

Discipleship/Shepherding Movement


Derek Prince (Florida)

Don Basham

Juan Ortega (Argentina)

Ralph Martin (Word of God Community)

"Covering" concept, Authoritative rule

June 1948 George Hawtin teaches on the Restoration of Apostles & Prophets to the Body of Christ to the Sharon Assembly. That same year Israel becomes a nation again.

February 11, 1948, young woman prophesies at great revival is about to take place at the school

Television Ministries Rise Trinity Broadcast Network

Paul & Jan Crouch

World's largest Christian television network disseminating Word of Faith Teachings & Kingdom Now Teachings globally - showcases Benny Hinn's crusades

Praise the Lord Television Network

Jim & Tammy Bakker

Christian Broadcasting Network

Pat Robertson (Kingdom Now Proponent)

July 7-18 1948 Sharon camp meeting, 1000's attend and the teachings of the Latter Rain begin to be widely taught among Pentecostals. Including doctrine of laying on of hands for Holy Ghost Baptism, Apostles & Prophets, Present Day Truth concept, Ascension Gifts,

1949 George Warnock begins to teach on the "Restoration of all things" involved with Sharon Brethren

1951 George Warnock publishes "Feast of Tabernacles" a manual for Latter Rain Doctrines & Practices

1956 Assembly of God begins to denounce Latter Rain Doctrines as Heretical and movement dies down

Latter Rain Doctrines Become Prominent Again in Word of Faith & Kingdom Now Ministries

Some of the Modern Day Prophets & Apostles

(Restoration of the Ascension Gifts)

Kenneth Hagin - Apostle/Prophet

Kenneth Copeland - Prophet

Paul Cain - Prophet (past associate of William Branham)

Frank Hammond - Prophet (largely responsible for Prophetic Movement & started "School of the Prophets")

Bernard Jordan - Prophet

Rick Joyner - Prophet

Bob Jones - Prophet (Vineyard Church)

Alan Vincent - Apostle

Turnel Nelson - Apostle

Jefferson Edwards - Apostle/Prophet

Prophetic Movement

(1985-1991- ongoing)

Frank Hammond

Bernard Jordan

Rick Joyner

Kansas City Five Prophets

Apostolic Movement


Archbishop Earl Paulk

Archbishop Benson Idahosa

Alan Vincent

Turnel Nelson

Signs & Wonders

Benny Hinn Ministries

Mehesh Chavda

Morris Cerello

Rodney Howard Browne

Toronto Airport Church

(formerly Toronto Vineyard)

Vineyard Church Movement

John Wimber

Laughing Movement

Rodney Howard Brown

Randy Clark John Arnott (Toronto Vineyard)

From Toronto Airport Church to various churches world-wide

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