This article is being published in honor of Rev. Mel Montgomery who recently departed to be with the Lord. Mel had a passion for reforming Charismatic doctrine and restoring the genuine flow of the Holy Spirit to the Church today. We shared this common passion and became spiritual friends as a result. I’ve taken the liberty to edit his article and make minor grammatical corrections. You can visit his website and familiarize yourself with old recordings of true ‘Word and Spirit’ pioneers of the faith that will enrich your life: brothermel.org
Some time ago Charisma News published an article in favor of “Apostolic Alignment”- the error that claims you need to come under an apostle to stay in alignment with heaven’s order. Here was my response:
Hmmm. . . “Apostolic alignment . . . keeps us out of error.” Well then, how did the error-saturated travesty known as the “Lakeland Revival” occur?
Ten of the greatest “apostles” and “prophets” of the New Apostolic Reformation and the New Prophetic Move flew down to Lakeland and “aligned” Todd Bentley. They whipped out their apostolic authority, praised Todd’s “purity” and “integrity”, and prophesied that the Lakeland “Revival” would increase and spread around the world, ushering in the return of Christ. Peter Wagner declared Todd Bentley to be properly “aligned.” Then two weeks later, the revival collapsed in sexual scandal, financial scandal, and revelations of an attempted cover up. Far from keeping Todd or anyone else out of error, the “apostles” and “prophets” were in partnership with Todd’s errors, some even going so far as to attempt to cover up his sin.
If I remember the account correctly, Charisma magazine sent someone down to investigate the revival and its claims of 17 people being raised from the dead, and countless healings and miracles. The investigator could not document even one single healing taking place, much less 17 people being raised from the dead (he did document that Todd Bentley kicked someone’s tooth out. However, we were never told if the man came forward to have his tooth healed). Todd and his staff became unresponsive to the investigator, specifically requesting that he not ask any more questions.
The investigator reported the facts to Charisma (and I commend Charisma for actually ascertaining the facts rather than falling for the falsehoods peddled by so many major Charismatic leaders). After reporting to Charisma, since the investigator had personal relationships with several of these so-called apostles and prophets, he contacted and met with some of them. He told them the facts he had uncovered of sexual misconduct, financial misconduct, false claims of miracles, and so on.
So . . . the apostles told him to expose it all, right? They put on sackcloth and ashes and wailed over the hoax that had deceived so many and brought disrepute to the gospel of Jesus Christ, right? LOL!. Nope. Instead, those he spoke with urged him to cover it all up and not expose any of it. Then within days, knowing what they knew, they flew down to Lakeland and proudly appeared with Todd on stage. They publicly praised Todd’s “integrity” and “purity,” gave him their apostolic “alignment” and then prophesied his continued success.
But, the jig was up. The investigator went ahead and exposed the lies and sin.
Hey, the track record for this whole “apostolic alignment” mess is not so good. Corruption saturated groups of men in modern times who set themselves up as apostles and peddle such erroneous doctrines is nothing new. Pentecostal historian Keith Malcomson’s book, “Pentecostal Pioneers” documents the fact that there was a well developed apostolic network of churches that arose throughout Great Britain in the 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s.
WIGGLESWORTH AND OTHER PIONEERS OF THE FAITH WOULD HAVE NONE OF IT
Members of Smith Wigglesworth’s Bowland Street mission began to agitate for Wigglesworth to bring his mission and ministry under this apostolic network. But Wigglesworth would have none of it. So some of his members split from his church and left, figuratively writing “Ichabod” over the door and declaring that God was finished with Smith Wigglesworth’s rebellion and refusal to come under “apostolic authority.” And Wigglesworth’s ministry collapsed, right? Hardly. He had some of his most productive years and anointed meetings after he refused to submit to so-called apostolic alignment.
What happened to the churches that aligned under the great apostolic mother church in Great Britain? The head “apostle” got off into deep error, and those churches that did not flee from “apostolic alignment” went into error too. Eventually the network collapsed, just like Lakeland. Rather than keeping anyone out of error, these two major apostolic alignment catastrophes actually partnered with, led into, or attempted to cover up, error and sin.
Smith Wigglesworth, Stanley Frodsham, Howard Carter, WFP Burton, David Du Plessis, Maria Woodworth-Etter, Aimee Semple McPherson, and many other early Pentecostals were well aware of this exaggeration of the apostolic ministry and not only did they not come under “apostolic alignment,” they absolutely refused to hold meetings for any church that was a part of it.
Since then, think of all of the major Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic ministers who never placed themselves under any so-called “apostle.” They never experienced “apostolic alignment.” How did their ministries turn out? Judge for yourself. A partial list would include: Kathryn Kuhlman, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, Lester Sumrall, T. L. Osborn, and even Billy Graham. Yes, Billy Graham. He sure went off into error and his ministry never amounted to anything without Apostolic Alignment!
Apostolic Alignment? No thank you. I’ll stick with Wigglesworth’s position on this error.
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