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New Order of the Latter Rain: A New Perspective, by John R. Miller

From the other side of the table one can read the circulated letter from the General Council of the Assemblies of God, dated April 19, 1949 and signed by the General Superintendent, E. S. Williams and General Secretary, J. R. Flower. This letter describes Hawtin as “a rugged individualist… but with defiance in his attitude…” who was “tolerated for years” and being withdrawn from association with AG, Hawtin is said to have “set out immediately to destroy our school and work.”13 The letter continues with the same tone for several paragraphs as a defense and justification for disassociation from Hawtin and as a discrediting of his ministry. Additionally, the letter progressed to Myrtle Beall and her involvement and influence in the NOLR. The indictment against Stanley Frodsham―who was leading the AG Gospel Publishing House at the time―is implicit. Frodsham had endorsed the movement, causing some to be confused as to the official position of the leadership of AG. This led to his eventual resignation.

Myrtle Beall

Myrtle Beall, of the Detroit, Michigan church, Bethesda Missionary Tabernacle, was a principle promoter of the NOLR. Many of her sermons and teachings were recorded and broadcast via radio, and some of these are archived with at the AG Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. Of those who knew her as pastor, she is remembered fondly (referred to as “Ma Beall”) for her ability to nurture pastorally.14 Of those who knew her as a peer in ministry, she is remembered for her strong leadership and willingness to speak forthrightly.15

After Pastor Myrtle Beall had been to Vancouver, where she received independent confirmation of the calling to build for the Lord an Armory to equip the saints, she became a catalyst for passing the fire of the NOLR on to others. When Ivan Q. Spencer (Elim Bible Institute of Lima, NY) heard of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Detroit, he immediately changed his itinerary and went with haste to seek out this blessing.16 This began a long-standing relationship between the Spencers and the Bealls and led to their involvement with the NOLR. In contrast to this emerging association, the AG revoked Beall’s credentials in an attempt to dissociate and distance themselves from the NOLR. Beall and her church, Bethesda Missionary Temple of Detroit, Michigan, continued to enjoy the fruit of authentic Pentecostal/charismatic ministry. The evidence for this―sixty years after the NOLR event―is well noted in their ongoing ministry.

One primary example of the teaching that remains from the NOLR is not that of the Manifested Sons, but that of teaching through catechism. Both James Lee Beall and Patricia D Gruits (Beall), the son and daughter of Rev. Myrtle Beall, have written catechetical textbooks.17 James Beall’s textbook, Laying the Foundation, continues to enjoy circulation. Patricia Gruits’ textbook, Understanding God, is out of print. Both of these follow a similar straightforward teaching pattern. However, there is no overlap in subject matter. They both provide teaching on orthodox and elementary Christian doctrines. Concerning one of the hot issues of NOLR, James Beall wrote:

Who is qualified to prophesy in the realm of direction?
Personal direction is not the usual realm of the New Testament gift of prophecy. God only entrusts this to the overseers of the flock. These overseers are serving in union with Christ who is the Head of the Church; they are extensions of His ministry to His Body. He is the one to call and to equip; He is also the one to promote and send forth.
In the New Testament, we find overseers gathering in groups for the purpose of laying on hands and prophesying in order to establish people in their ministries. No one pastor or elder attempted to take this upon himself without others to assist. This is for two important reasons: (1) all prophecy must be judged, and (2) since we each prophesy in part, the plurality of ministers insures us a fuller picture.
We call this group of assembled elders―whether from one local church or several, as in a convention―the presbytery. This is because the Greek word for elder is presbuteros. In other words, the Bible does not give license to every believer to prophesy over others in the realm of direction. This is a restricted ministry, reserved for the hands of experienced and proven elders. (1Tim 4:14).18

As of this writing, Rev. Analee Dunn (Beall)―Myrtle Beall’s granddaughter, the daughter of James Beall―continues as the senior pastor of the Bethesda Tabernacle. This independent charismatic church sees several thousand attendees each week.19

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Category: Church History, Fall 2013, Pneuma Review

About the Author: John R. Miller is an ordained minister with Elim Fellowship of Lima, NY and serves as Pastor of Education with Living Word Temple of Restoration, Rochester, NY. He has a degree from Elim Bible Institute, a B.Div. (Trinity Theological Seminary), C.P.E. (University of Rochester), M.Div. (Northeastern Seminary), and Ph.D. (Regent University). He teaches at Regent University and Elim Bible Institute & College.

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