John Robert Stevens
An Apologetics Index research resource
John Robert Stevens (1919 - 1983)
Founder of a fellowship of churches known as "The Walk" or "This Walk," currently operating under the name "The Living Word Fellowship." He further developed and popularized the Latter Rain teaching known Manifest Sons of God theology.
One of the most militant movements attempting to establish the Kingdom of God on earth is the Manifested Sons of God. This aberration came out of the Latter Rain Movement under the "apostleship" of John Robert Stevens, a William Branham disciple whose church in Redondo Beach, California, operated for a number of years as the headquarters for the movement. The Manifested Sons of God teachings are perhaps the most definitive among Kingdom Now doctrines. They have all the elements of classical dominion theory: immortalization, restoration of the offices of apostles and prophets, absolute authoritarianism, attainment of godhood - you name it, the Manifested Sons of God have it. The Manifested Sons of God Movement suffered massive dissipation as the result of many scandals that attended the extreme cult status to which it had attained. Nevertheless, its devotees, fervent in their beliefs, covertly continue to spread its doctrines to other churches.
That this radical version of Latter Rain teachings was capable of going too far as into outright cultism is illustrated by the story of John Robert Stevens and his network of churches called, ''The Walk''. Stevens, a Pentecostal pastor who was in his early days ''mighty in the Scriptures'', nonetheless had some serious traits that did him in. One was a predilection to want to hear anything ''new'', no matter what, nor from whom. He seemed to be always looking for ''new revelation''. Another was his fiercely independent spirit. Then, by his own admission, Stevens in 1950 disobeyed the Lord's warning for him not to get involved with the Latter Rain. Instead he allowed Winston Nunes to lay hands on him, changing his life forever but in the wrong direction. Stevens developed his network of some 94 churches thereafter by teaching his people that he was not just an Apostle, but the Apostle of the Kingdom who would break through into the ultimate revelation ''in the heavenlies'', leading his flock into it with him. Basing his views on such a subjective foundation, it is not surprising to find that he eventually got into the occultic practices of spiritualism, reading auras, astral projection, psychic warfare, hypnosis and what amounted to ''white witchcraft'' (but witchcraft all the same). Stevens and The Walk are to this day universally considered among researchers to be a cult.
Don Clasen, The Destroyed Foundations - The Word
Stevens considered himself "God's Chief Intercessor," and himself to be an apostle. and his churches were known for their heavy-handed authoritarianism (See Ronald Enroth's article, Spiritual Abuse: The Power Abusers). This error is continued today:
Prior to his death, he passed the mantle of his apostolic fathering ministry oversight to his wife, Marilyn. To Gary Hargrave, who had been the primary overseer of the Southern California churches and the church-wide communication center in the years preceding Stevens' death, John imparted the gift and responsibility for continuing to speak the Living Word. Gary and Marilyn were since married and have functioned together as the apostolic fathering ministries over the fellowship, continuing the ministry begun by John Stevens.
The History of John Robert Stevens, The Living Word Fellowship (Pro)
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