Anyone reading the latest articles at the churchwatchcentral site will notice straight away that they are attempting to rewrite the history of Pentecostal movements in Australia.
They are doing this to perpetuate the myths and memes they have fabricated for their followers.
One could say that their fowl attitude is something they need to deal with for themselves before God, but the problem for the Body of Christ is that the churchwatchers have infiltrated popular anti-charismatic, anti-pentecostal blogs such as Irate Crustacean Radio and PullApart&Pin, who seem willing to pander to their unseemly anonymity (at least one of them has even allowed himself to be added to their ‘team’).
This, of course, means that churchwatcher’s wonky take on the history of the AOG is likely be recycled throughout these so-called discernment sites, and, even worse, on secular media outlets that reject Pentecostal and charismatic theology.
Fabricated history class
Here is churchwatcher’s introduction to an article criticising, amongst others, the much loved and very faithful and anointed ministry of Andrew Evans, who remains one of the most revered and respected ministers in Australia, now in his eighties, and considered one of the fathers of the faith in this nation.
However, honouring elders means nothing to the churchwatcher clan. Applying the utmost disrespect for the many years of faithful ministry put in by this brother in Christ, churchwatcher mangles the truth in the most abysmal way. Thus they confirm Jude 1.8.
Churchwatcher reproduces an account of the early ministry of missionary Fred Evans, Andrew’s brother, and a member of a family of ministers and preachers that can be traced back to the Welsh Revival.
But before he does this, rather than let Fred speak for himself, churchwatcher sets the scene for his mischievous piece with these unwarranted words:
‘Pentecostal Pastor Philip Powell personally witnessed the destruction of the Australian Pentecostal AoG thanks to the instrumental role the Evans family played. Back in 1977, Andrew Evans performed a coup d’etat on the Australian AOG when he was elected as Superintendent of the Australian Assemblies of God.
The New Apostolic Reformation cult preach a false Jesus, false gospel and New Age metaphysical teachings and strategies in an attempt to bring heaven to earth.
David Cartledge in his book ‘The Apostolic Revolution’, documented how Andrew Evans and an elite few undermined the very foundations of the AOG Executive and bullied, intimidated the AOG to conform to the totalitarian regime of the Charismatic Renewal (aka New Apostolic Reformation).
That’s a series of opinions, not a reality. Churchwatcher often uses his personal viewpoint, along with a certain amount of bias, supposition and innuendo, to embellish a claim. The only real truth in those paragraphs are the names of the players. All other statements are baseless accusations. He goes on:
As a result, Andrew Evans sons (Ashley Evans and Russel Evans) and his associates (David Cartledge, Frank Houston, Brian Houston, Reg Kliminiok, Steve Penny, etc) appointed themselves as Apostles and Prophets, producing some of the most dangerous lawless, lucrative cults across the Australian landscape.
People in this Apostolic Network include Hillsong, Planetshakers, the Edge Church, Klemzig and many other NAR cults. They, in no way, come even close to presenting or defending the central doctrines of Pentecostalism or the foundation truths of Christianity.
To this day, they continually lie to churches, the Australian media and politicians by claiming the “Christian” status, when in fact they are pushing the agenda of the New Apostolic Reformation cult on churches and the rest of society by permeating influential positions of society.
In saying all this, Andrew Evans’ brother, Fred Evans, has provided us with fascinating insights into the history of the Evans’ family. His work highlights the transition of his family being Pentecostal to that of the New Apostolic Reformation. It is only recognisable if you are familiar with NAR language, concepts and key NAR figures back in the day (see Gerald Rowlands).’
Sometimes even bad reports contain an element of accuracy to convince the reader of the story’s validity, but these comments are a complete and utter fabrication of reality and truth. They are entirely chookwatcher’s opinion and warped slant on the Body of Christ.
Recycled critical opinion
First, these thoughts are based on the opinion and viewpoint of Philip Powell, who was the convener of the Assemblies of God [AOG] in Australia before Andrew Evans. Opinion is not fact. A viewpoint is personal to the observer and can be subject to interpretation. It is a person’s perspective and may contain bias or error. Scripture tells us that facts are established by more than one witness, and that there is such a thing as a false witness.
For instance, it is obvious that there was and is no destruction of the Pentecostal church in Australia, so he certainly did not witness anything of the sort. Destruction relates to comlete elimination of a structure, and the Australian Pentecostal church is very clearly thriving like never before, not failing. It was estimated this week that the Pentecostal church in Syney, for instance, had overtaken the Anglican church in membership.
Saying he thought he saw the destruction of Pentecostalism doesn’t make it fact. It is his perspective alone, and, obviously, as the true facts show, is proven to be incorrect.
The late Philip Powell took up a very vocal position of criticism of the way in which the AOG developed after his involvement, but his perspective is in no way shared by the vast majority of believers or adherents within Pentecost in Australia, including those of his own contemporaries.
He was virtually a lone voice in his criticism of the AOG. Churchwatcher has taken up the mantle and makes the same basic assertions, which are entirely his opinion and not based on AOG theology or directives. Churchwatcher merely uses Powell’s criticism as a foil for his own narrative.
The reality is that, during and following the ministry of Andrew Evans, the AOG, or Australian Christian Churches [ACC] as it is now known, was and has been thriving to the extent that it has impacted the globe with the gospel, worship, and leadership in the Church.
This, of course, does not diminish the work of those who went before or of the pioneers of the AOG in Australia, including the work of men like Ps Powell, because they laid the important foundations of what is today a great and continuing move of God.
It is simply not true for either Ps Powell or the chookwatchers to claim that the AOG in Australia has been in any way destroyed. The clear evidence is to the contrary.
No coup d’etat
Churchwatcher erroneously claims, ‘Back in 1977, Andrew Evans performed a coup d’etat on the Australian AOG when he was elected as Superintendent of the Australian Assemblies of God.’
This is a disingenuous statement. There was no ‘coup d’etat’. How could there be a coup d’etat and an election? A coup d’etat is conducted against the will of the people using force. An election is based on the democratic rights of the voting members.
A coup d’etat is ‘a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government’. It is the complete opposite of an election.
Every board of the Assemblies of God is duly elected. It is elected by the will of the members. It is voted in by the assembly of pastors and ministers representing congregations across Australia at their annual AGM.
I have personally been present at elections of this kind at AOG AGMs, and can attest to this.
This false claim by churchwatcher sets the tone for one of the most scurrilous pieces of history fabrication written about the Australian Pentecostal Church. And it is clearly being set up as a series that attacks sound ministries that make up contemporary Pentecostalism in Australia, and beyond, because Australian Pentecostal churches are currently having an influential impact globally.
Misquoting Dave Cartledge’s book
Churchwatcher goes on:
‘David Cartledge in his book ‘The Apostolic Revolution’, documented how Andrew Evans and an elite few undermined the very foundations of the AOG Executive and bullied, intimidated the AOG to conform to the totalitarian regime of the Charismatic Renewal (aka New Apostolic Reformation).’
Again, this is a complete load of tosh. Dave Cartledge documented no such thing. He gave an account of the reasons for reviewing the then static growth of the AOG in Australia, and the need for revision of purpose. Although they had some of the larger ministries in Australia, AOG churches were then struggling to grow beyond an average of 100 members per church.
Cartledge, in his book, put this down to the fact that the oversight of the movement should consist of those who have a recognised and identifiable Apostolic or Prophetic anointing, that is, those who have successfully been involved in producing works that are larger than the average, reaching into the larger or more than one community, rather than willing pastors of smaller churches who clearly had limitations to their capacity for growth.
This was put to other key leaders and it was agreed that they should consider this and bring it to a future AGM where it was unanimously agreed that the Board should consist of recognised leaders who could set the agenda for increase.
The fruit of this move is evident to all. The AOG in Australia is now one of the most influential movements on earth. It has done so by recognising the ministry gifts of the Apostle and Prophet alongside that of the Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. This is no disrespect to anyone who preceded this move. Sometimes we have to face our limitations or we will not be able to make the changes necessary to accomodate growth.
Churchwatcher states that this was a totalitarian regime, which is a reminder to everyone of churchwatcher’s conspiratorial delusion that accuses Pentecostal and charismatic church leaders of fascist intentions. It entirely represents chookwatcher’s own alignment with other bloggers who make these outrageous claims.
The accusation that there was bullying or intimidation is simply theoretical calumny.
The change in emphasis made by the AOG was, in fact, visionary.
But of course the direction the article wants to take us is against vision. It is against strategic planning. It is against looking at where a movement is falling short and looking at ways to make changes that produce more fruit that is healthy and productive in its own right.
The madness of delusion
‘As a result, Andrew Evans sons (Ashley Evans and Russel Evans) and his associates (David Cartledge, Frank Houston, Brian Houston, Reg Kliminiok, Steve Penny, etc) appointed themselves as Apostles and Prophets, producing some of the most dangerous lawless, lucrative cults across the Australian landscape.’
This is completely speculative nonsense based on chookwatcher’s own shortcomings and failings.
As already pointed out in other articles, churchwatchercentral’s modus operandi is to take a theology, usually represented by an acronym, such as NAR, and rework it until it takes on a completely different meaning, guardng yhe false premise by shutting out all opposition to their narrative, and saying it often enough and loud enough to and through their supporters until they come to the point where they themselves believe their own delusion.
No one has appointed themselves as Apostles and Prophets. Christ gifts the Church with Apostles and Prophets. A man’s gift goes before him. To be an Apsotle there must be evidence that churches are being planted, grown and ioverseen, especially in new locations. Yu can’t just apoint yopurself as an Apostle, anymore than you can be anonymous and appoint yourself as a judge of the Body of Christ.
Christ Himself appoints Apostles and Prohets. This is born out in scripture. It has never been superseded or removed.
These men were recognised by their peers, and by the membership of their movement, as Apostles and Prophets within the movement and subsequently duly elected to serve on the Board to provide guidance under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to the rest of the movement.
Has this succeeded? Evidently, yes.
No clue about Pentecost
‘They, in no way, come even close to presenting or defending the central doctrines of Pentecostalism or the foundation truths of Christianity.’
This, of course, is totally rubbish. Only churchwatcher and his followers believe this. They lead one another around in these maze-like pretenses until they are all lost together and altogether lost.
Churchwatcher has a poor record of understanding Pentecostalism, and, as we have pointed out many times, is heavily influenced by Reformed theology and cessationist doctrine that denies the continued work of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
A Pentecostal is a person who holds that the Holy Spirit is still at work in and with and through the Body of Christ as He was in the Book of Acts, beginning at the Day of Pentecost at the outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh, and that the gifts, manifestations and operation of the Spirit continues to this day, and will until Christ comes for the Church. The AOG in Australia certainly holds to this.
What chookwatcher defends is cessationist neo-Calvinism, which denies present day Pentecostal theology. What shines through in his opinion pieces is this adherence to Reformed doctrine. His strong alliance with cessationist ministries such as John McArthur, Phil Johnson, Chris Rosebrough, R C Sproul, Steve Lawson, and the like demonstrates his viewpoint and explains his perspective when it comes to Pentecost.
In this he does not operate or live by the full gospel even though he claims to hold to Sola Scriptura. In fact, he teaches partial scripture, not all scripture, because he promotes cessationist theology on every page on his many blogs. Yet there is nothing in scripture anywhere to confirm the cessation of the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, nor of healing, nor of prophecy, speaking in tongues, nor of baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Finally, in this piece, churchwatcher claims that the AOG went from being Pentecostal to New Apostolic Reformation, whatever that means. This statement alone demonstrates that he has completely missed the point of what Dave Cartledge was explaining in his book. Did he even read it?
‘It is only recognisable if you are familiar with NAR language, concepts and key NAR figures back in the day’
He has made this up completely of course. The ‘NAR language’ he is referring to is the language he made up. The ‘NAR concepts’ are of his own devising. He has no evidence that any of his theories actually exist. They are mainly a figment of his own imagination. His version of the NAR is an invention.
He doesn’t even have a correct understanding of what it means to be a Pentecostal, nor of the actual NAR phenomenon, which I have shown many times on these pages.
He has made up his own version of the NAR. Now he is reconstructing the history of the AOG in Australia.
Everything he says on his sites should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Pray for the falsely accused
Meanwhile, the faithful should continue to uphold and stand in the gap for the ministries of men such as Andrew Evans and their families, because these attacks demonstrate that their work is still strong and effective and is being opposed by the enemy of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus.
For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.