Owing to the fact that the Missionary Committee and Executive were in possession of much information which the general members of the Council had not as yet received, it was decided that a full report be given slowly and clearly to the whole Council before any comment were made, and the following will give some idea of the ground covered in such report.
A resume was given by Pastor Dawson, in which he called the attention to the prophecies we have had over the years telling us that we would have increasing opportunities for preaching the vision as the days went by, and that companies of people would come to us for help and instruction,therefore it was with great joy and expectancy that was first heard officially from our Pastors in USA and Canada that they had come under the blessing of a Latter Rain outpouring and were being given the opportunity of preaching the Apostolic Vision to many companies of people, particularly in USA. Very soon, however, news began to filter through from individuals on that side writing to indiviuals in this country that strange things were taking place in our assemblies, and from these reports it seemed that barriers of church names, church teachings, etc were being swept away, and that steps were being taken to do away with the name of our church and even take down notice boards and remove church name from public announcement. It will be remembered that this was viewed with distress on this side of the water, and steps were taken by the Council to go and ask our brethren on the other side to defer such things until we had time to go over matters together. These disturbing events were of such major importance that a visit from USA and Canada to the Biennial Council in May 51 was ultimately arranged, and in that Council we had the benefit of the presence of Pastors J.J. Noot, F.C.People, and B.G.Evans.
In this Council, a minute was passed expressing the Council’s unanimous opinion that the Latter Rain experience of the Holy Spirit was a blessing from God, but fears were expressed concerning certain new teachings relating to the receiving of the promiscuous giving of gifts of the Spirit, and also in regard to prophecy as a gift of the Spirit, and also in regard to decentralization in contrast to what the Lord has shown us over the years, which matters were dealt with under Minutes 27 of May 51 Council.
Pastor Dawson also reminded the Council that the question of a delegation consisting of Pastor Poole, Dr. Wyatt, and Pastor Adams Mckeown and may be also Pastor C. Cousin, to proceed to our Missionary work in Africa in West Africa was mooted by Pastor Poole, but he was asked by the Council not to arrange anything of this nature until we had a clear understanding of the marital status of Dr. Wyatt. Unfortunately, this agrrement was not carried out by Pastor Poole, who without the knowledge of the Missionary Committee or the General Executive made arrangement with Pastor J. Mckeon, Pastor S.G. Elton, and Pastor D.C. Hopkins, to visit the work early in 1953. It will be remembered that this was discussed in the Council in May 52 when Pastor Elton was present with us, and it was there they decided to allow this visit to go forward as it seemed we had no option in the matter as arranged had gone so far. It will also be remembered that at this Council it was agreed that nothing was to be said or done by the visiting team against our established church practices.
After the Council as far as this Pastor Dawson handed over the meeting first of all to Pastor Wellings, Missionary Secretary, and then to Pastor Turnubll, General Secretary.
The following letters were read to the Council by Pastor Wellings :
Letter from Pastor J. Mckeon written from the Gold Coast after meeting of the delegation from USA, where great blessing was being experienced. Second letter from Pastor Mckeon reporting similar blessing, but stating that there were signs of great opposition from the enemy. Letter from Seaborne reporting blessing but also quoting certain adverse comments made by he brethren of the delegation, both on the platform and in private, concerning our letter from government, and stating that a lagre form of money had been collected to build a Wings of Healing Temple.
Letter from Pastor Mckeon written whilst on the boat coming home on furlough. Letter from Pastor S.A. Hammond reporting great times of blessing. Letter from Mr. Silas Willaims, endorsed as being corrected by Pastor Adegboyega, in which was stated that a large sum of the money had been collected for the building of Wings of Healing Temple. Letter from Pastor Wellings to Pastor Adegboyega. Letter from Pastor Wellings to Mr. Silas Williams.
Second letter from Pastor Hammond, enclosing a long report stressing the great blessing received. Two letters from Pastor Elton, Two letters from Pastor Wellings, Two further letters from Pastor Elton, Letter from Pastor Wellings to Elton, letters from Pastor Hopkins in which he states that although blessing was evidenced, the results were sterile.
Letter from Pastor Hopkins, letter from Pastor Morris to Pastor Derry, Two letters from Okutuo in which he states that Pastor Morris had put an issue to the native Pastors in threat they had to decide whether they would be Apostolic or Latter Rain, and that as far as himself (Pastor Morris) was concerned, he was Latter Rain.
Letter of reply from Pastor Wellings to Pastor Okutuo, and to Pastor Morris, Letter Pastor Anyachor and Illechuku, letter from Pastor Wellings to Pastor Anyachor and Illechuku, letter from Pastor Koko. At this point Pastor Mckeon was given the opportunity to speak, but he said he preferred to speak later.
1. Pastor Hopkins at this juncture said he would place little reliance on Pastor Okutuo, as he thought this man was disappointed that he had not been called to be an Apostle.
2. Pastor F.H Williams now gave his report, both in conection with the meeting and his private conversations with Dr. Wyatt. This report was followed by a report from Pastor Hopkins.
3. Pastor J.D. Eynon now gave a summary of the activities of the Latter Rain people in New Zealand, with particular reference to Pastor Ray Jackson, who it will be remembered was called through Pastor Adam Mckeon in USA to be an Apostle and separated by Pastor Poole before he left for a visit to New Zealand.
4. Pastor J.F. Thompson then gave a report of Latter Rain activities in Australia, also with particular reference to Ray Jackson.
5.Pastor Turnbull then gave a report of the visit of Pastor A. Mckeon to the Antrim District (Northern Ireland) particularly in relation to Portlegon one and Ballymena, which visit was paid by Pastor Mckeon on his way back from West Africa to USA. During these visit, serious charges against the administration of the church were made in public by this Pastor, which charges were repeated by the Belfast District Witness leader who speaking in the afternoon witness meeting at the Belfast Easter Convention.
6. Pastor Turnbull also reported on a letter received from Pastor C. Cousen, in which it was stated that he and Pastor Philip intended to commence an undenominational work in Bradford.
7. Pastor Turnbull also then read two private letters from Canada, and also a letter from Pastor Poole advising us to be careful how we dealt with the work of the delegation to West Africa.
8. After this, Pastor Turnbull read a letter dated 17 march, from Pastor Rowe, and then a joint letter from Pastors Rowe Pridie, Hewitt, and Morgan, and further a letter from Pastor Pridie regarding India.
9. Pastor Turnbull then read to us the minutes of the Canadian and USA Missionary Advisory Board, in which the board stated that seeing they were desirous of registering their missionary work in the West Indies they would be glad of all the support that we could give them in order to help them get the work recognized by the Governmenrt. It was eveident from their funds and their administration of the field. It seemed strange to us that they should want to take advantage of our worldwide fellowship in order to establish something that so many of the Latter Rain people have said is only Babylonish because of its administration.
10. Further to all the above documents, which are of such length that it is impossible to incorporate them in this brief summary, Pastor J. Mckeon, C. Cousen, E.F. Williams, and D.C. Hopkins were given full time and opportunity to speak to the Council. It was arranged that all correspondence should be read first of all before the four brethren should speak, so that they could have full opportunity of commenting on the matters reported. It will be impossible for anyone not present in the Council when the above letters were read and reports made to visualize the seriousness of the matter unless some specific statements made in Council are recorded. The following is a brief record of such statements noted by Pastor Dawson as the meeting proceeded.
Pastor Mckeon reported a conversation with Dr. Wyatt, who it is evident, is the outstanding leader in the Latter Rain activities in USA, and who is very highly regarded by those of our Pastors who have come in contact with him. During such conversation Dr. Wyatt said to Pastor Mckeon-
i.That the Apostolic Church have strangled the Spirit of God;
ii. That we have men in office without Spiritual ministry;
iii.That our general Council is like a lot of deep litter fowls ( by which it is applied that our men are unable to get out of their confinement and spend their time in feather – picking, which is followed by cannibalism)
iv.That our system of equality of salaries is a self-righteous system;
v.That the Holy Ghost does not create offices and officers, but gives ministries;
vi. When asked by Pastor Mckeon how it was that such a system as ours had been brought into being when we relied so much upon the ministry of Apostles inception of the constitution Dr. Wyatt said our prophets must have been led astray by a wrong spirit. Pastor Mckeon also stated that Gideon could not build the altar of God until the altar of baal was destroyed, implying by this, of course, that our system of government was not of God. He also said that if we want to preserve The Apostolic Church as it is written we must put the Latter Rain outside, that the Latter Rain and The Apostolic Church will never mix, and that they are like oil and water they will never work together.
Pastor C. Cousen said that in his opinion the visitation of God in Latter Rain is not here in our midst because we have strangled the Spirit, and the fact that Pastor Wellings has stated that he was still seeking the blessing of God is a proof that he has not received it. It is also a proof, he said, that the Latter Rain is a visitation of God in that men under it all over the world will not have a minding administration, and if we stated that our administration is synonymous with the Apostolic Vision then he could not agree. So much of our set-up is based on prophecy, but there is nothing but barreness.
It will readily be seen by those who were not present in the Council, after readily the above, that the matter was an issue between those who believe that the Lord had led guided us over the years and those who believe that the form of government amongst us was not in line with God’s will, and that the position was so acute that only a real affirmation of faith could meet the matter, it was therefore decided to ask all the 41 Apostles and 13 Prophets present to reaffirm their belief in the following words:
“I AFFIRM MY BELIEF IN THE TENETS OF THE CHURCH WHICH INVOLVES CHURCH GOVERNMENT IN ITS PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES AS EMBODIED IN THE CONSTITUTION SUBJECT TO THE AMENDMENT TO OUR PRACTICES WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN MADE AND MAY YET BE MADE IN THE COUNCIL OF APOSTLES AND PROPHETS AS LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD FROM TIME TO TIME.”
At this juncture, every Apostles and Prophet was asked to reaffirm his belief on the base of the above wording, one by one every Apostle and Prophet with the exception of Pastor J. Mckeon and C.Cousen, stood stating that he could not conscientiously accept this, and Pastor C. Cousen said the following: “ I believe with all many heart the tenets of The Apostolic Church, but do not accept the constitution interpretation of their governmental aspects in operation as at present in The Apostolic Church, in Great Britain”. With great sorrow the Council heard these two statements, realising themselves from our fellowship.
Such an eventuality as this amongst some our brethren had been envisaged in the Executive Meeting at Aberdare and Bradford, and a course of action unanimously agreed upon as a guide for the Council. This was now placed before the Council for approval, involving
(a) Return of ordination Certicificate;
(b) Surrender of church documents;
(c) Vacation of church houses;
(d) No further ministry on our platforms. This procedure was confirmed by the Council would like him and Pastor Cousen to withdraw. The chairman then expressed the opinion, supported by Pastor C. Cousen that such a course was no doubt the best to be followed, where upon the two Pastor left the Council meeting.
This action then made it imperative for the council to deal with the situation in every field, and steps were taken immediatey to cable the immigration officers in West Africa, requesting them not grant entry permits to anyone purpoting to be visiting our Apostolic work without the express sanction of the Missionary Committee in Bradford, this ban to apply to both our staff and to any further teams of Latter Rain ministers until such time as we can get the situation in hand.
It was also decided to send Pastor V. Wellings and C.H. Rosser to visit the leaders of the whole of the work in West Africa by the first available ship, it will be noted that this was confirmed later in prophecy, and that Pastor Rosser was called to permanent ministry on this field. The Missionary Secretary was instructed to write full detail of our decision to the appropriate immigration Authorities, and also to our Missionaries for a reaffirmation of faith in accordance with the wording agreed upon in Council. The General Secretary was also instructed to write to all the salary Pastors of the church in Great Britain, calling them especially to an area meeting of Apostles and Pastors, in order that they may hear a full report of the council proceedings and be asked for their reaffirmation of faith. He was further instructed to write to the autonomous countries with the same object in view.
After leaving the council, Pastor C.Cousen asked for a public announcement to be made the same evening (Thursday) during the meeting that was to be held in the Great Horton Church, and in conjunction with the chairman of the Council, Pastor C. Cousen drafted the following notice, which was read at the close of the public meeting. The first three days of the Council have been taken up with the matter of Latter Rain; as a result, this afternoon all the Apostles and Prophets were asked to reaffirm their acceptance of the tenets and oresent practices of The Apostolic Church in the following minute “I AFFIRM MY BELIEF IN THE TENETS OF THE CHURCH WHICH INVOLVES CHURCH GOVERNMENT IN ITS PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES AS EMBODIED IN THE CONSTITUTION SUBJECT TO THE AMENDMENT TO OUR PRACTICES WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN MADE AND MAY YET BE MADE IN THE COUNCIL OF APOSTLES AND PROPHETS AS LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD FROM TIME TO TIME.”
We are sorry to report that Pastor James Mckeon rose and said that he could not conscientiously accept this minute, Pastor Cecil Cousen said the following “ I believe with all my heart the tenets of The Apostolic Church, but do not accept the constitutional interpretation of their government aspect, as in operation at present in The Apostolic Church in Great Britain.”
The outcome of this is that, as from today, these two brethren are no longer ministers with us, and have been asked to return their ordination certificates, and the council informed them with the regret that they along with other Latter Rain ministers could no longer be asked to minister on our platform. A full recitals of the facts which have a cumulated over the last two years in many countries, and which are the reasons for such a decision, will be given to officers and saints as soon as possible. Further to this, a circular was prepared by the full council which was to be circulated to all the assemblies to be read on Sunday, 17 May. Another circular dated 8 May, was sent to all Apostles and Pastors.
For the convenience of those not present and the records these two circulars are set down in this report, from the first circular it will be clearly seen that the council has not taken a stand against any blessing of the Spirit of God, whether it is called Latter Rain, the new anointing, or an outpouring of the Holy Ghost, but the stand that has been taken is against the very strong attack that is made against the form of divine government, the Lord has confirmed amongst us over the May years, not only by men who know nothing of the benefits of such government but also by some of our Pastors who have received the Latter Rain blessing and are convinced that our form of government is not divine.
Circular letter to be read in the assembies on Sunday 17 May, 1953
Greetings of peace and love;
At present we are in the midst of our Quadrennial Council, held at Bradford. This council is the most important held in the church, and is international in character. One of the first items on the agenda was the consideration of the Latter Rain movement, visistation, and activities. The first news we received of this visitation come from our Pastors in Canada and USA about three years ago. We heard of great blessing that accompanied this visitation, which rejoiced our heart, but other news gave us deed anxiety, such as the taking down of the name Apostolic Church from our Churches, and that our work in America was going to decentralize because the Latter Rain leaders said that all organization was Babylon.
In the council, there were many report from various parts of the world concerning the adverse effects which leaders from among those who believe in the Latter Rain visitation had our upon work. The first report came from our work in Nigeria and the Gold Coast, where a Latter Rain delegation had paid a visit. On the one hand, there was news of great blessing, but on the other hand there were many things which alarmed us and disturb us deeply, some of which are as follows:
a. To our Missionaries the delegation stated that all organisations, including our own, is Babylon; that is, that it originates from man and not from God, and breeds confusion. Yet at the same time they endorse our organization in the Ilesha and Calab areas
b. That the constitution, which provides an equality of salary for all our church ministers, is an act of self righteousness.
c.That our organization has strangled the Spirit of God amongst us.
Again when the Latter Rain delegation were in the Gold Coast, they gathered money and promises ( nearly £ 3,000) to react wings of Healing Temple in Accra which would be non-sectarian undenominational church, thus proving that they do not hesitate to establish something different from our established work.
Pastors Eynon and Thompson, representing New Zealand and Australia, related the activities of the Latter Rain leaders in these countries. Direct attacks were made by the Latter Rain leaders on our churches, with the object of dividing the work. It was declared that we must pull down the name of The Apostolic Church and abolish the tenets and the constitution, otherwise we would not obtain the blessing of the Latter Rain. Great extravagances and lack of discrimination were evidenced in the imparting of gifts and laying on of hands. But we are glad to say after many bitter and agonizing conflicts, the Apostolic Fellowship has been preserved direct.
In Antrim District, Ireland, Pastor Adam Mckeon, preaching in our church in Portglenone, and later town in the Hall, publicly attacked the life’s and practices of The Apostolic Church. We also received received a letter from Pastor C. Cousen and P.C. Rhodes, stating their intention of commencing a non-sectarian undenominational church in Bradford.
The whole of the above and other report were considered by council, and it was readily seen whatever blessing came, there was also a great amount of conflict and confusion. After nearly three days spent in careful and spiritual discussion on this vital subject, and in brotherly and lovely fellowship, the difference between The Apostolic Church and the Latter Rain beliefs become manifest, and it was very evident to all present that they were irreconcilable and incompatible.
The chief difference of opinion centered on church government by Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastor, Teachers, Elders, and Deacon was believed by us as a church. This form of government is centralized, while it is maintained by the Latter Rain that local government is the correct method. God has from the inception of our church led by us to a centralized form of divine government through prophetical ministry by all the main channels amongst us, and not the independent form. This diversion of conviction could not, as can be clearly seen, be reconciled.
Finally, it was decided to have personal affirmation concerning the tenets of our church by each Apostles and Prophets in the Council. These tenets based on the scriptures and confirmed by the word of the Lord, are unchangeable and constitute the foundational articles of faith of The Apostolic Church worldwide. The following is the wording of he affirmation put before the council for acceptance: “I AFFIRM MY BELIEF IN THE TENETS OF THE CHURCH WHICH INVOLVES CHURCH GOVERNMENT IN ITS PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES AS EMBODIED IN THE CONSTITUTION SUBJECT TO THE AMENDMENT TO OUR PRACTICES WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN MADE AND MAY YET BE MADE IN THE COUNCIL OF APOSTLES AND PROPHETS AS LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD FROM TIME TO TIME.”
All the council members who were present accepted the affirmation without reservation, J.D Eynon, C.H. Rosser, J.F.D. Thompson, S.A. Facius, I. Martin, S.M. Mckibben, B.J. Noot, D.H. McGill, W.H. Graham, A.H. Lewis, W.H.Lewis, W.L. Rowland, J.O. Jones, J. McGee, F. Shanklin, W.W. Pearson, I Macpherson C. Powell, J.B. Clyne, F.H. Williams, J. Cardwell, J.S Templeton, E.F. Haddocks, H. Mitchell, O. Roberts, H. Cousin, C.C. Ireson, H.W. Ogilvie, V. Wellings, J.F. Philips, D.T. Rennie, H. Dawson, T.N. Turnbull, W.J. James, W.J. Thomas, B.J. Matthews, J.MacNeil, J. Angelli, L. Philips, C. Forrest, H. Knight, T. Stephens, J. Kane, D. Williams, H. Taggart, and H.E Coote.
Two members of the council were unable to accept it viz. Pastor James Mckeon and C. Cousen. This meant the termination of fellowship of these two Apostles in The Apostolic Church. We are very sorry to convey this news to you, and our hearts were sad when they parted from us. We wish as a council to make it make it clear that we believe in the blessing of God, whether it is called Latter Rain, new anointing, or the pouring out of the holy spirit as spoken of in the scriptures. Further more, we contend that this outpouring of the Spirit can come into our own fellowship, as well as to any other body of people. Unanimously, we the council members, are all out for the blessing, and welcome such into our midst, but we do not believe that it is essential to decentralize to have this blessing. On the other hand, we believe it is imperative that by the preparation of the heart as the scriptures reveal we can have the pouring out of the Spirit and the blessing of God.
We believe as a body of people that God has committed to us a revelation and vision of truth that we must carry to the nations. Our vision is the same as that committee to the early Apostles and Prophets amongst us, and we exhort one and all to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. This is what we have all done for so many years and our only desires are to continue to do so. May the Lord bless you all.