III.B.6 The Manifested Sons of God

Part III  –  Application to Pentecostal Theology

Subpart B  –  The New Order of the Latter Rain

Article 6 – THE MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD

By Daniel Irving

To view this article in video format, click on the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_iUgzIWV7M&feature=youtu.be

a.   The General Doctrine

b.   Heretical Teachings of Orval Jaggers (1917-2004)

c.   Latter Rain Manifesto; George Warnock’s Feast of Tabernacles

d.   Scriptural Orthodoxy & the Manifested Sons of God

e.  The Stumbling Point of the Latter Rain; Presumption that Pentecost is a Bygone Work

Article 3 – THE MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD

a.   The General Doctrine

The first article under this subpart recounted the influence of Franklin Hall upon the dramatic movement of the late-1940’s called the Latter Rain Revival; an extraordinary witness which closely paralleled and intersected with the miracles and phenomenon attending the Branham ministry and other ministries arising in Branham’s wake.

While Hall is most remembered for his teachings relating to extreme-fasting as a means to spiritual power, it was his teachings concerning the manifestation and culmination of such power which might be regarded as the more historically significant.  This was the doctrine of the Manifested Sons of God, which is widely regarded as the signature doctrine of those revival years.

The doctrine of the Manifested Sons of God maintained that a select group of over-comers were to be chosen, purified, and brought through the necessary processes to bring in a literal and material millennial-reign of Christ.   Today, a broad net is generally cast upon the doctrine relegating it as an early charismatic heresy; a generalization which may be non-useful and an oversimplification.   The doctrine certainly had its heretical forms; most-notably that taught by Franklin Hall himself.  However, the doctrine was – and still is – held in many forms ranging from the dangerously and outlandishly heretical to a form that is scripturally-sound.   In this article we examine the doctrine and the its range of orthodoxy, beginning with the most clearly heretical form in which it was held by a leading Voice of Healing evangelist.

b.  The Heretical Teachings of Orval Jaggers (1916-2004)

One of the many preachers to have taken particular fascination with the Branham miracle-ministry was Orval Jaggers.  Some years following their interactions, Branham even commented that he had a difficult time trying to “shake away” this aspiring evangelist.[1]  While attending some of the early and powerful Branham meetings Jaggers became inspired to take up a campaign of itinerant evangelizing himself.  Almost immediately his became one of the most touted ministries of the Voice of Healing stable drawing many thousands to his meetings held across America.

Jaggers was one of the most aggressive self-promoters on the Voice of Healing roster.  A 1951 article by Jaggers (one of the many evangelists named as associate-editors of the magazine) is peculiar in its exclusive emphasis upon healing as constituting the message of the gospel.  For instance, he writes:

The greatest need in the world today is for the full gospel message, which includes healing for suffering humanity to be preached to the entire world by means of radio! . . . All the benefits of God’s word come to us through Pentecost!  We have healing because of Calvary, for because of the sufferings of Christ we are healed.  But we receive power to put the healing into operation in our body through Pentecost, that is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and manifestation of the Spirit, for it is the power of the Spirit that heals!  All miracles come through Pentecost, for a man of God can never have the gift of miracles or healing or any gifts of the Spirit until he has been baptized with the Spirit! The greatest need then is for this marvelous Pentecostal message to reach the teeming millions of the earth by means of radio as quickly     as possible!    [bold/underline mine][2]

Jaggers’ emphatic message of physical-healing was combined with the wholesale adoption of Franklin Hall’s heretical-teaching of the Manifested Sons of God; an amalgamation of Bosworth’s extreme version of the doctrine of healing via the atonement and Hall’s perpetuity of health in the natural body.  Jaggers would extend these teachings to the ultimate extreme that if one were rightly “born again” he would overcome death entirely so as to live forever within the present physical  body.  In the 1950’s Jaggers founded The Universal World Church in Los Angeles where he and his wife – referred to by the church affectionately as Miss Velma – proclaimed their doctrine of perpetual youth.  Miss Velma claimed to have received “the new revelation of Mamre” as the secret of eternal youth in the body.  Their church developed an elaborate ritual of multiple baptisms which they termed The Mighty Transformation Communion Miracle.  The doctrine and its rites were based in a further extension of the covenantal-principles that had been advocated by some Latter Rain teachers such as George Hawtin.  In 1961, William Branham made it clear that Jaggers’ doctrine was on the outside sound orthodoxy when he spoke publicly of his attempt to intervene with a word of correction to the minister.  Branham states that he personally warned Jaggers that he was approaching the end of his limb and that he should return to preaching the Gospel.

As the doctrine and worship practices of The Universal World Church grew increasingly bizarre and disturbing, Jaggers and his followers were pushed into further isolation from orthodox Christian circles.[3]   His non-orthodoxy digressed into even more heretical teachings which included his denial of Christ’s human birth and that Christ was even born a Jew. [3.5]  Some indication of his mentality might be gleaned from the titles of some of his books, e.g. Everlasting Spiritual Principles of Health, Omnipotence is Yours!, and Flying Saucers!

Although once very near the glory, his ministry degenerated into one of the most overtly deluded that modern times have seen.  However, this was not an entirely new heresy to mar spiritual revivals.  John Wesley writes of a certain fanaticism that occurred during the revival in London of 1762 that brought a reproach upon the Methodist message of sanctification.  Wesley writes:

Easily foreseeing that Satan would be endeavoring to sow tares among wheat, I took much pains to apprise them of the danger, particularly with regard to  pride and enthusiasm.  And while I stayed in town, I had reason to hope they continued both humble and sober-minded.  But almost as soon as I was gone enthusiasm broke in.  Two or three began to take their own imaginations for impressions from God, and thence to suppose that they should never die; and these, labouring to bring others into the same opinion, occasioned much noise and confusion. [3.5]

Jaggers’ teachings were proven false with his passing in 2004 at the age of 88.  Velma followed him that August at the age of 84.   On his passing he   left a small cult following engaged in one of the more extreme forms of modern idolatry.[4]

c.  Latter Rain Manifesto; George Warnock’s Feast of Tabernacles 

Whatever the nature of Franklin Hall’s teachings and whatever his influence upon the Latter Rain Movement, the only way to establish a clear association between a particular doctrine and a specific movement is for the leaders of the movement itself to officially or publicly assert the teaching.  This occurred in George Warnock’s 1951 book entitled Feast of Tabernacles which promoted the doctrine of The Manifested Sons of God.  Although written in a cautiously-vague way, the book constituted something of a manifesto for the movement.

George Warnock first became connected with the movement when he attended its historic camp meeting of July 1948 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.  He writes:

We were not disappointed.  There was a great emphasis not only in prophecy and other gifts of the Spirit but we were greatly impacted by the evident presence of the Spirit, the anointed Word in teaching, and the spontaneous prophetic utterances that came forth.  It was a corporate anointing – with the Spirit Himself very much in control.[5]

After attending this camp meeting, Warnock later accepted employment as an office clerk for the movement and stayed in that position for almost four years, working in what he describes as a “deacon capacity”.    During this time he wrote a book after being inspired by something he heard one of the movement’s young prophets speak to the effect that the Feast of Tabernacles remained yet future.  He undertook to write a treatise for the movement and describes the awareness of “much anointing” as he wrote the book.

Warnock left the movement shortly thereafter when he sensed that God no longer had a special presence with them.  He attributed this condition to a grieving of God’s Spirit by some of the leadership excesses.  Although Warnock does not specify, the particular excesses for which the movement was heavily criticized included elitism and authoritarianism that served to cut its leaders off from the wider field of those participating in the revival.   In leaving the movement, however, Warnock left a book that is generally regarded as the manifesto of the Latter Rain Movement.

Warnock wrote with the recognition that the Pentecostal generation had recently died-out – a point which he apparently associates with the dying-out of the Israelites that left Egypt forty years previous to their entering-in of Canaan.  After reference is made to “the restoration of Pentecost at the beginning of the century” he seems to imply it was necessary that the former- generation pass away that the present generation may “take the land” of new spiritual dimension.  He writes:

The old generation who disbelieved God perished in the wilderness.  But God sustained the new generation for forty years, humbled them, proved them, and prepared them for the conquest of Canaan.  And so it is that a new generation under new leadership arises out of the wilderness of modern evangelical circles to succeed a dying generation. 

Insight into Warnock’s perspective on the authoritarianism of the movement might be gleaned from the way he views the type in Caleb and Joshua as relating to the modern-day leaders of the Latter Rain movement:

Thank God there ariseth a new generation that has caught the vision.  A few Calebs and Joshuas have survived the blight and the dearth of the wilderness and are leading the saints in the power of the Spirit to the realms of victory.

Warnock does not identify particularly whom he regards as modern-day “Calebs and Joshuas” but it would seem a fair assumption that he was alluding to the remaining Pentecostal pioneers that had remained alive into the 1950’s, the most notable being F.F. Bosworth who had begun traveling with Branham in February of 1948 at nearly the same instant that the Latter Rain outpouring had occurred.  This remarkable-endorsement of movement-leadership with the fact that Warnock was employed at movement-headquarters strongly-identifies his book as sourced in the heart of the movement.  The fact he acknowledges a special anointing upon himself as he wrote the book further suggests his work as constituting the authentic (if vague) manifesto distilling the Latter Rain message.

Doctrinally-speaking, the book was much more moderate in its tone than had been the writings of Franklin Hall.   Neither did the book place substantial emphasis upon the well-being of the natural body as signifying the manifestation of God in mortal flesh.  Nonetheless, the book seems to thoroughly accept Hall’s more basic premise sourced in the teachings of Bosworth.  He writes concerning those that do not accept the new movement:

But they do not want to hear any of this talk about Christ appearing in the saints, and “being formed within you”.  And as for the manifestation of the Sons of God,” that is definitely not for our day and age.  True, they will admit God has it for us; it is part of our heritage, but not for now.  . . . You can receive an anointing on your mind, and receive thoughts from God that are holy, and speak His words occasionally, but you cannot have the “mind of Christ” in any degree of fullness so that you can actually think His thoughts, and say His words, and perform His works and live His very own life.  It is alright to be healed, but not to enjoy real divine health or Divine life to such an extent that your days will be lengthened excessively, without pain or feebleness or the abatement of your natural faculties.  [emphasis added]

Clearly, Warnock’s book did not operate as any course-correction for that error that had been leading much of the church astray into a humanistic-grasp of Pentecost.  The book also heralded the feast of Tabernacles in such a way as to promote a doctrine of Christian dominionism, ie. that the feast would be fulfilled in a literal, natural rule of these manifested sons of God over the world.

Although Warnock appears to have taken a more moderate-approach to the doctrine, much of his moderation might arguably be due simply to the ambiguity that characterizes the book.  There is little or no expository or defining of terms amidst abundant references to Old Testament figures and type.  A great deal of surmise is necessary to gather much meaning from the book.  What remains is akin to a general exhortation to the church to believe God unto the realization of new spiritual dimensions.  Because of the general ambiguity of Warnock’s book many of his statements are capable of both sound and heterodox implications at the same time.

d.   Scriptural Orthodoxy & the Manifested Sons of God

If there was a common denominator amongst those that asserted the doctrine of the Manifested Sons of God it would have to be common agreement in a gospel of bodily-health and even one of material wealth.   Therefore the undiluted form of the doctrine – which asserted the possibility of a physical transformation and a perpetual enduring of the mortal body – seems to have had origin in a fundamental trust and desire in the natural things of this world.  Therefore when Paul made such statements as “the life also of Jesus [being] made manifest in our mortal flesh”, these teachers tended to miss the association Paul was making between the manifestation of Christ in the believer and the deprivation and/or death of the mortal body.  The complete verse is:

For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.                 II Cor. 4:11

While the concept of a making-manifest of the sons of God is a true-gospel-principle having application in this mortal-body, this is not a principle analogous to health and wealth for the natural man.  Rather the principle is – if anything – an inverse-principle.  Therefore where the doctrine is taught consistent with this inverse-property of being “always delivered unto death”, it resonates with the teachings of Paul.   The Latter Rain’s view of the principle was reversed so as to constitute a doctrinal heresy.

e.  The Stumbling Point of the Latter Rain; Presumption that Pentecost is a Bygone Work

The early-Pentecostals bore the reproach of a message the world would not receive; the message that God had restored the Acts-chapter-two baptism in the Holy Spirit as evidenced by the speaking “with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance”.[6]  Not only did they bear the reproach of the world but they bore the scorn of respectable religion.  They were rejected by their friends, ridiculed in the workplace, lost employment, suffered division in their families, saw their children excluded and disadvantaged for the faith of their parents, and – in some cases – suffered physical violence.

The Latter Rain stood in benefit of the doctrinal light that had gone before, including the efforts of those that had labored for truth in their own era.  They stood as beneficiaries to the early Pentecostals just as the Pentecostals stood beneficiary to the Holiness Come Outers, who in turn stood beneficiary to the Wesleyans, who in turn stood beneficiary to those faithful to the reformed and evangelical truths.  True restoration of the church stands on the back of those that went before.  Somehow, the Latter Rain Movement seems not have perceived this dynamic in regards to the so-called new truth its leaders were putting forth during the outpouring.   Jesus told His disciples:

I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor; other men labored, & ye are entered into their labors.                               John 2:38

If the pain, labor, and experience of early-Pentecost meant anything, then it was a truth for those of the 1948 outpouring to hold-fast and to show-forth so as to enter “into their labors”.  The restoration of doctrinal truth in the restoration of the miracle of the baptism in the Holy Spirit did not diminish in its meaning or efficacy simply because the old generation had passed on, and a new generation had taken its place.  Incumbent upon the 1948 movement was the duty to faithfully preach, teach, and to exhort the coming of Jesus Christ in light of the restoration of that truth, in order that men of their generation would believe unto the effectuating of His covenant!   Who else was left to enter upon this labor?  Not those of early-Pentecost!  With very few exceptions, the last of the Pentecostal-pioneers had passed-on by 1948.[7]  Who else was empowered by the anointing of Christ?  Not the evangelical denominations!  The recipients of the Latter Rain outpouring were a new generation powerfully anointed to carry the truth of the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ into their own generation as faithful and wise stewards of God.

The Latter Rain Movement zealously preached a message that God would “do a new thing”.[8]  These were not required to strive as if trailblazing new doctrine apart from their predecessors.  They were called to enter into the God-sent successes that had gone before.  As a movement they were called in  faithfulness to the truth that had been striven for before; a truth concerning which they were only receiving the baton!  God would “do a new thing”, but not so as to cast aside that revealed before.  They now stood as custodians.   “Other men labored”, these merely “entered into their labors”.   If the fields be “white already unto harvest”[9] we must not “lift up our eyes” without respect to those that labored to bring it to this time!  Their labors must be considered along with the light of truth they held forth in obedience to God.

While the kingdom of God may seem to come in power at relatively rare moments and to relatively-few populations, those times and peoples to which the kingdom of God comes bear a tremendous weight of the revelation they receive – a weight they cannot bear although they try.   Some may strive-well by human standards and others not so well. The true test of faith that brings overcoming is fulfilled in the revelation that the weight can only be borne by Christ.  This is the revelation that fulfills the proclamation of North Battleford; “Behold, I will do a new thing”.

[2] Voice of Healing April/May 1951 Ed. pg. 5  Exhaustive Efforts of Jaggers Touches Millions by Radio

[3] Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, © 1988 Regency Zondervan pg. 476.

[3.5]  See Jaggers televised sermon; Where did God Come From?;  Or if He was the son of a Jew or a Gentile, then He was not God incarnate, He was the greatest deceiver in the history of the human race.  If He came from any earthly human nationality then His sufferings and His shed blood, His death, had no vicariousness and no substitutionality for the salvation of the human race.” 

[4] This is particularly the case for the Hawaiian fellowship of the Universal World Church of God whose worship centers upon an elaborately-adorned golden altar they say is necessary to approach if one is to know God and from which they presume to receive an “anointing”.  They continue in Jaggers’ heretical-teachings, and most notably in his doctrine of The Revelation of Mamre which promises them perpetual- youth in the body.

[5] A Brief Outline of My Life article by George Warnock from his website.

[6] Acts 2:4

[7] For discussion see Part III, Subpart B, Article 3, Section a; “A Remarkable Generation Passes On”.

[8] See previous article, I.I.2 The Waxing & Waning of the Movement for treatment of this.

[9] John 4:35

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About Lamp-Stand

I was converted to the faith of Jesus Christ in 1982 at which time I received water baptism and Spirit baptism. In the Spring of 2008 I was led of the Spirit through a process of repentance upon which I had an encounter with Christ that worked a profound change upon my inner being. I became aware that I had been forgiven a great debt of sin. I soon felt the Lord's direction that I close my office that my energies not be divided from the study of doctrine.
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