Raymond G. Hoekstra and the Latter Rain


During the 1940s, many Pentecostals became persuaded of the need for a renewal of Pentecostal revival. Despite the growth of the movement, the zeal of the first generation of Spirit-filled believers was waning, and organizational formations and doctrinal differences left the overall Pentecostal movement fragmented. A 1941 article by Albert Weaver, an early Pentecostal, noted: “The need for an outpouring of the Spirit upon His people, God’s spiritual grain, is not only a necessity, it is urgent. We are in great apostasy, and spiritual drought is visible everywhere” (5). In the midst of such dryness, some Pentecostals began to seek after a “new thing” to re-ignite the lost fervor, and the Latter Rain Movement, or “New Order”, which swept up many believers in its wild deluge, initially seemed to be a revitalizing force in Pentecostalism. Ultimately, the Latter Rain proved to be divisive and doctrinally unstable, presenting yet another significant crisis in the Pentecostal movement.The tenets of the Latter Rain are probably best summarized in a 1949 Assemblies of God resolution detailing the movement’s errors:

1. The overemphasis relative to imparting, identifying, bestowing or confirming gifts by the laying of hands and prophecy.
2. The erroneous teaching that the Church is built on the foundation of present-day apostles and prophets.
3. The extreme teaching as advocated by the “New Order” regarding the confession of sin to man and deliverance as practiced, which claims prerogatives to human agency which belong only to Christ.
4. The erroneous teaching concerning impartation of the gift of languages as special equipment or missionary service.
5. The extreme unscriptural practice of imparting or imposing personal leadings by the means of gifts of utterance.
6. Such other wrestings and distortions of Scriptural interpretation which are in opposition to teachings and practices generally accepted among us. (qtd. in Warner 16)

The resolution presents a clear picture of some of the aberrant notions of Latter Rain proponents. The movement was anti-establishment, and undermined general teachings about the Church, magnifying spiritual gifts over ecclesiastical authority and equating contemporary inspiration with Scripture.

The Latter Rain movement had its beginnings at Sharon Orphanage and Schools in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada where on 12 February 1948 Bible school students experienced “God moving in [their] midst in a strange new way” (qtd. in Warner 16). A lengthy prophecy detailed the coming move of God, and gifts of healing began to manifest at the school. The “revival” soon spread to the Northwestern United States and was carried throughout North America, where it impacted a number of healing revivalists. Promises of divine healing and spiritual renewal drew thousands into the stream, and evangelists carried the Latter Rain message to city after city attracting both Onenenss and Trinitarian Pentecostals who were willing to minimize doctrinal distinctions to embrace what they accepted as the latest iteration of revival.

In Indiana, one of the most well-known casualties of the Latter Rain movement was Raymond Hoekstra, pastor of Calvary Tabernacle. Bro. Hoekstra assumed the pastorate of the 32-member Fletcher Pentecostal Church in 1937. This was his first foray into pastoral ministry. Bro. Hoekstra had been saved as a young man at the Anchor Rescue Mission in San Jose, California and began his pastorate in Indianapolis only four years later (Hoekstra GPG 16; Basore). The small church grew rapidly to over 200 under his leadership, and they eventually razed the small frame building and erected a block structure renamed Calvary Tabernacle (Basore).

Bro. Hoekstra’s difficulties began in 1949 with a revival invitation to a child evangelist, David Walker, known as “Little David.” While Little David had early experiences at the Apostolic Gospel Tabernacle in Long Beach, California, his father, recognizing the boy’s call to preach at the age of 9, soon expanded his itinerary to include Foursquare and Assemblies of God churches (Walker LDMB 17 & Walker Interview). David Walker says that as a child he really had no sense of doctrine and felt comfortable preaching at Oneness and Trinitarian meetings (Walker Interview). He came to Calvary for revival, and Bro. Hoekstra scheduled a crusade in the 10,000-seat Cadle Tabernacle at the corner of New Jersey and Ohio where Little David preached to a full house. The meeting changed Bro. Hoekstra, as he embraced the mysticism of the Latter Rain movement. At Calvary, he began to believe that healing oil was flowing from his hands, and some saints claimed the same experience. He also began to question evidential tongues and told some tarrying for the Spirit to simply “repeat after me” (Basore).

 

 

The present coming together of the hearts of God’s people is a move of God in believers [sic] hearts. A divided leadership has taught Christians to separate themselves from other Christians over doctrinal and denominational differences . . . Christians have been chained to religious machines. Often they were forbidden to attend other assemblies or fellowship with other Christians because of doctrinal or organizational differences. (Hoekstra LR 36-37)

In September 1950, a brief announcement appeared in The Pentecostal Herald: “This is to advise all concerned that Raymond G. Hoekstra is not in fellowship with the United Pentecostal Church” (“Notice . . .” 11). After working with Little David for approximately three years, he went on to work full-time in prison ministry, a work that he had begun in Indianapolis visiting the reformatory at Plainfield and the state prison in Michigan City (Hoekstra GPG 17). Bro. Hoekstra never returned to the Apostolic Faith. Like so many others, he was washed away in the cloudburst of the Latter Rain, but he left behind a thriving church in Indianapolis that built upon his revival foundation to become one of the great assemblies of the United Pentecostal Church.

Sources:

Basore, Robert and Emma. Personal interview. 15 May 2008.

Hoekstra, Raymond G. God’s Prison Gang. Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1977.

Hoekstra, Raymond G. The “Latter Rain” Portland, OR: Wings of Healing, 1950.

“Notice to Ministers of the United Pentecostal Church.” Pentecostal Herald. Vol. 25 No. 9, September 1950, p. 11.

Walker, David. Introducing Little David: “Teen-Age Miracle Boy Preacher in the Ministry of Miracles, Preaching and Healing for the Nations. St. Petersburg, FL: Little David Books, 1955.

Walker, David. Personal Interview. 29 April 2008.

Warner, Wayne. “Reaction of the A/G to the Latter Rain.” Heritage 1 September 1987, pp. 16-19.

Weaver, Albert. “The Need for Spiritual Rain.” Pentecostal Evangel. No. 1398, 22 February 1941, p. 5.

Advertisements

13 Responses to “Raymond G. Hoekstra and the Latter Rain”

  1. w parsons Says:

    Sigh…history is repeating itself again with the Charismatic Movement hustling the same old same old with unbiblical miracles,”Prophets”,”Apostles”, and a hodge-podge of doctrines that are fit for the theological trashcan.

    Let us as Apostolic “…ask for the old paths where is the good way,and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls (Jeremiah 6:16).

    God bless you for this post.

  2. B G DRAKE Says:

    RAYMOND HOEKSTRA CAME TO OUR CHURCH IN PEORIA WITH LITTLE DAVID WHEN HE BECAME THE MANAGER FOR DAVID. DAVID HAD BEEN WITH US WHEN HE WAS A 12 YEAR OLD, AND HIS MINISTRY SHOOK OUR CHURCH AS A THOUSAND PEOPLE GATHERED IN A SUNDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING SERVICE. WHILE DAVID AND RAYMOND WERE WITH US LATER, A GREAT HEALING OCCURRED UNDER DAVID’S MINISTRY WHEN DAWN RICHARDSON WAS HEALED OF A TWISTED LEG THAT WAS TURNED AT A PERPENDICULAR POSITION TO HER LEFT LEG A RESULT OF A POLIO ATTACK WHEN SHE WAS A TEEN, ABOUT TEN YEARS EARLIER. WHEN SHE WALKED OUT ON THE PLATFORM AFTER RAYMOND GAVE A RATHER OVERDONE INTRODUCTION A MAN IN THE AUDIENCE SAID THAT THIS WAS THE BIGGEST FAKE HE HAD EVER SEEN. BUT IT WAS NOT A FAKE. MY FATHER AND I SAW DAWN COMING DOWN THE STREET LLITERALLY PULLING HER RIGHT LEG AFTER HER WITH A MARKED LIMP THE NIGHT DAVID PRAYER FOR. HE TOLD HER THAT SOME WERE HEALED AS THEY WENT, AND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AFTER PRAYER SHE WAS HEALED AFTER HER LEG AND SPINE WERE STRAIGHTENED IN HER SLEEP, CAUSING SOME BRIEF PAIN AND CAUSING HER TO SCREAM. BUT THE X-RAYS THAT SHE THEN PROCURED FROM THE CANTON HOSPITAL AND NEW ONES SHE HAD MADE PROVED A SIGNIFICANT MIRACLE OF THE UNCHANGED JEHOVAH-RAPH, JESUS THE GREAT PHYSICIAN. RAYMOND WAS NOT AS DEDICATED AS HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN AND WE HAD SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS CONDUCT AFTER THE MEETINGS WERE OVER. DAVID WAS NEVER QUESTIONABLE IN ANY OF HIS COMMITMENT IN THOSE AND SUBSEQUEST TIMES HE WAS WITH US WITH HIS WIFE KATHY. THANK GOD FOR HIS MERCY AND GRACE TOWARD HIS PEOPLE WHO PUT THEIR TRUST IN HIS PROMISE THAT HE KNOWS HIS OWN AND NO ONE WILL PLUCK THEM OUT OF HIS HAND. IT BEHOOVES ALL OF US TO PRAY MOMENT BY MOMENT (without ceasing) FOR HIS PRESENCE TO FILL OUR LIVES AND TO LET HIS WORD STRENGTHEN AND SUSTAIN US IN HIM. -B. G. DRAKE

  3. Edith Says:

    Latter Rain Mysticism is again rearing it’s ugly head in our midst. These “revival’s” and people “seeking after a sign” are what Jesus Christ warned about. He said an evil generation seeketh after a sign!!!

    Saints we don’t seek after signs because real miracles, and healing “follow” them that believe.

    Wake up! We need to stay far away from these lying signs and wonders.

    Sister Edith

  4. Ruby Haskins Says:

    God always keep His word and He says He honors faith. There will be those whosincerely believe they are living for and doing the will of God, healing, casting out demons in His name and yet at judgement when they argue their case with Him concerningthese things, He will tell them, Depastrt from me. Inever knew you.

  5. T. Mille Says:

    Greetings from Sharon Orphanage and Schools at N. Battleford, Saskatchewan, site of the outpouring and visitation of 1948. If there are any questions regarding this Move of the Spirit I will be happy to answer them. We just completed our latest Camp Meeting here at Sharon with nearly 1000 attending. (July, 2008) from Terry Miller: sharonbroadcast@yahoo.com

  6. Damon Persiani Says:

    I have a 78rpm record entitled “Only Believe” & flip-side “The Haven of Rest” sung by Little David. It was apparently recorded in the studio of WCAV, Norolk, Virginia, in circa 1949(?). The label reads: “LITTLE DAVID RECORDINGS”, and is in very good condition, being eminently playable. So long for now. I enjoyed learning more about Little David’s life.

  7. B G DRAKE Says:

    Miracles have continued from the time of the creation to now. People who are oriented tob elieve the days of miracles are over are deceived, because there never was a “days of miracles.” God always did miracles: R.A.Torrey wrote a marvelous book on Divine Healing relatiing many wonderful miraculous works of the Lord Jesus. John Wesley, A.B.Simpson,
    Andrew Murray (who wrote a wonderful book on Divine Healing and the miracle working power of God, and thousands through the church age witnessed and saw God at work. Sadly the potentates and fundamentalist pharisees who delived they had it all right and everyone who didn’t bow to their dogmatics had it all wrong, and the pontiffs who thought it fair game to hunt and kill those who believed in Jesus without the approval of the prelates of the church (so called), have deminished and degraded true children of God. My parents were saints. They loved the Lord with all their hearts. Thousands came to Christ through their ministry. Dad left his practice as a physician and became a full time evangelist then pastor. He built a church where Billy Sunday, Katherine Kuhlman and others had great crusades in his church. Dad preached the cross and salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ alone for 55 years before he went to be with His Lord and Saviour. The truth has been obscured by those who think they are saved by refusing to believe certain basic truths – such as that Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday, and two thousand years ago when He revealed His willingness and compassion to heal the sick and cast out demons. To say that the reason people will be thrown out of heaven because they believe that Jesus works miracles is absurd. It was works of iniquity,and these were not healings, or else Jesus told His disiples to go out and work iniquity. Works of iniiquity are works of unrightousness. Period. I have known several over the years who believed they were irrevocably saved becaused they believed in a doctrine, rather than put their trust in Jesus alone to save, and consequently were sinful in their lives.
    To live in sin without repentance and without trusting Jesus to wash us with His blood daily, and uproot unrightousness from our hearts is the work of iniquity that Jesus rejects and will reject someday. Finally, let me add that the Waldenses that were murdered by the thousands were believers in the power of God in the early centuries, so were the
    Albigenses (the catholics called heresies because they wouldn’t bow to their demoninion and dogma), the Finish Minnonites, etc. My Bible tells me that my God is unchaning, glrious, responsive, and loves us to come to Him in time of need. “No good thing will He with-hold from them that walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

  8. Dan Alicea Says:

    I find the “Oil Doctrine” eerily similar to the HMH doctrine espuused by some in the movement … and ironically widely accepted today. I guess one man’s prophet is another man’s heretic.

  9. Pam Coley Says:

    I have a picture of Little David which is believed to be At Indiana University. 1937 -38

  10. AMOS KUTZ Says:

    LITTLE DAVID WALKER CELEBRATED 50 YEARS OF PREACHING IN 1993. HIS WEBSITE IS BIBLEMISSIONS.COM. I HEARD HIM IN THE LATE 70’S IN MUIR, PA. HE WAS A VERY HUMBLE SINCERE BROTHER PREACHING THE GOSPEL. STILL MINISTERING. THEY RESIDE IN MOUNT JACKSON, VA

  11. Business 2 business Says:

    really interesting topic, thanks.

  12. Elmo Hudson Says:

    How can I order the books of Little David Walker Boy evangelist? I know several people that was under his ministry in Lansing, Michigan that would like to buy his books.

    • TheOldLandmark Says:

      I am not certain where you can actually purchase David Walker’s books. You may be able to order them for temporary access through your local public or academic library.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: