Despite the Assembly of the Body of Christ's (ABC) assertion they are not a denomination, have no historical root, and sprang spontaneously from a prayer meeting at the
To completely understand the beginnings
In 1906 there was what could best be described as "a happening" at a small
This segment of religious history became known as both the Azusa Street Revival and the "Latter Rain Movement". From this revival / movement several denominations took root. Among these were the Assemblies of God, the Church of God in Christ, the United Pentecostal Church and, most importantly, the Pentecostal Church of God at the Sharon Orphanage in North Batteleford, Saskatchewan, Canada. It is from this root of the Pentecostal movement, the Assembly of the Body of Christ would sprout many years later.
Meetings held under the name “The Pentecostal Church of God” started in 1948 at Sharon Orphanage. These meetings were the seed that re-birthed the “Latter Rain Movement”. It is this movement, and several of its key players, that would directly influence my father, Ramon A Haas. It was principals and doctrines passed down from this movement that helped nurture the soil where the “Assembly of the Body of Christ” (ABC) denomination was planted twenty-
"The Latter Rain Movement began as a revival at Sharon Orphanage and Schools in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, among students assembled by former Pentecostal Assemblies ministers George Hawtin, and P.G. Hunt and Four-Square Gospel minister Herrick Holt
"(Melton 84) in 1948. This was a Pentecostal movement parallel to the healing movement that arose in the midst of the post-World War II evangelical awakening. The movement also bears similarity to the movement that arose at Azusa Street.
The movement was led by William Branham and Oral Roberts. Oral Roberts was a Pentecostal Holiness Preacher who started his own independent healing ministry in 1947 (Riss, 107). In the fall of 1947, Branham held meetings in Vancouver, B.C. and the meetings were attendedby many pastors and teachers (Riss, 106). Among those that attended werepeople from North Battleford and they "returned to supply the spark that ignited the controversial Latter Rain movement" (Riss, 106). Therefore, the Latter Rain Revival actuallyoriginated at Sharon Orphanage and Schools in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada. Former Pentecostal Assemblies minister George Hawtin, and P.G. Hunt and Four-Square Gospel minister Herrick Holt assembled the students (Melton 84). The need for a new revival such as the healing movements by Roberts and Branham and the Latter Rain movement, stemmed from the perceived "dryness" of the Pentecostal faith. Pentecostalism was lacking in the manifestations of the Spiritual gifts and the Latter Rain revival focused primarily on the Spirit so it catered to exactly what people wanted (Riss, 113). In 1949, Assemblies of God and Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada tried to suppress the revival and the revival was forcedout of the Assemblies of God church.
The reasons for denouncing the revival according to the Assemblies of God were "
(1) it relied too heavily upon present-day apostles and prophets (i.e., a self-appointed charismatic leadership); (2) it practiced the confessing and pronouncing of forgiveness by one member upon another; (3) it advocated the practice of bestowingspiritual gifts by the laying-on-of-hands; and (4) it distorted Scripture so asto arrive at conclusions not generallyaccepted by members of the Assemblies "(Melton, 84).
The revival continued to spread and ministers left the Assemblies of God church and took part in the Latter Rain movement. In the 1950s, William Branham and Oral Roberts were very influential in encouraging the spread of the Latter Rain revival. The revival died down slowly and most people considered the Latter Rain movement dead along with all of its doctrines. In actuality, the Latter Rain movement had quite an impact on Pentecostal beliefs and certain Latter Rain doctrines can
be seenin Pentecostalism such as:the fivefold ministry, the laying on of hands, the feast of Tabernacles and the foundational truths of Hebrews 6:1-2 (Riss, 124). Manifestations of the Latter Rain movement can be seenin the Vineyard movement and most recently the Toronto Blessing and Pensacola Revival. These movements are not new but reallyjust resurgences of Latter Rain. "