(Underlined words, phrases and sentences link to cited material)
The New Order of the Latter Rain
The Latter Rain Movement, a world filled with Temples and Tabernacles, played a significant role in the historical context of The Brooklyn Tabernacle (TBT), if traced through the vast influence of Clair Hutchins, Jim Cymbala’s father-in-law, co-founder of TBT, then known as Brooklyn Gospel Tabernacle.
The Latter Rain Movement’s influence includes movements such as: Voice of Healing, Manifest Sons of God, Charismatic Renewal, Jesus Freak Movement, the Shepherding Movement, spearheaded by Don Basham, Ern Baxter, Bob Mumford, Derek Prince and Charles Simpson, all of which gave rise to more current heretic movements such as Dominionism and the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). A quick summary on the Latter Rain Movement can be found HERE.
Independent Assemblies of God International (IAOGI)
While the Brooklyn Tabernacle (TBT) has been portrayed as a non-denominational church, they are historically affiliated with the Independent Assemblies of God International (IAOGI), which was formed in 1935, after a merger between the Independent Pentecostal Churches and the Scandinavian Assemblies of God, by A.W. Rasmussen.
The IAOGI is a separate denomination from the larger, well-known Assemblies of God (AOG). A key differentiation between the two is the IAOGI endorsement of the heretical Latter Rain Movement, of which Rasmussen was an public supporter and known leader.
The AOG ardently denounced the Latter Rain Movement (LRM) in 1949, for their grave concerns over issues such as the hazardous authoritarian control given to their “men of God” leaders and pastors. No background checks were required of their leaders, nor was any adequate doctrinal understanding. Contrary to the AOG, the IAOGI fully embraced the LRM.
There are deep, historical ties between The Brooklyn Tabernacle, the IAOGI, A.W. Rasmussen and the Latter Rain Movement, which run all the way back to TBT’s co-founder, Clair Hutchins, Carol Cymbala’s father, dating back to the early days of his ministry.
Clair Hutchins’ Ministry Associations
Philadelphia Church – Chicago, IL
A.W. Rasmussen, founder of the Independent Assemblies of God International (IAOGI), pastored Salem Scandinavian Pentecostal Assembly in Brooklyn, NY, which later became Salem Gospel Tabernacle, where he also headquartered the IAOGI during those years. After, he moved to Chicago to lead Philadelphia Church, an axial base of the Latter Rain Movement, which he later passed the mantle off to Joseph Mattsson Boze, a well-known leader in the movement.
Philadelphia Church, under the leadership of Mattsson Boze, is where Clair Hutchins became the music director in the mid 1940s. Rasmussen was still associated with the Philadelphia Church, making numerous trips back there to speak and continue to lead the Latter Rain Movement.
Philadelphia Church was an epicenter for the growth of the Latter Rain Movement (LRM). Mattsson Boze hosted many LRM guests, including Willian Branham, another key influencer in the LRM, viewed among followers as a prophet in the vein of the Manifest Sons of God sect.
Branham’s work was influential in the early days of Jim Jones’ ministry, who was ordained by the IAOGI denomination in 1956 after hearing the Latter Rain Movement vision of William Branham. Mattsson Boze, of Philadephila Church, signed Jones’ ordination papers. Jones pastored The People’s Temple, which at that time was located in Indianapolis, IN, eventually leading to the Jonestown Massacre in 1978.
After Philadelphia Church, Hutchins became pastor of Beulah Temple, also in Chicago. His affiliation with Rasmussen, Branham, Mattsson Boze, the Latter Rain Movement, and the IAOGI remained strong.
Beulah Temple – Chicago, IL
Beulah Temple partnered with the spread of the Latter Rain Movement (LRM) at Philadelphia Church and beyond, while Clair Hutchins traveled to LRM events to speak. Beulah Temple hosted special guest A.W. Rasmussen, former pastor at Philadelphia Church, founder of the IAOGI, along with other speakers well associated with the LRM.
Maranatha Temple – Brooklyn, NY
The 1951 “Great Opening Services” at Maranatha Temple’s new location in Brooklyn, NY, included Clair Hutchins, Joseph Mattsson Boze and A.W. Rasmussen, who was making full-circle back to the city where he once pastored at Salem Tabernacle. Hutchins eventually moved his family to Brooklyn, NY in 1954 to pastor the Maranatha Temple, while strengthening his IAOGI connections.
Once Clair Hutchins was Senior Pastor at Maranatha Temple, 11-year-old Jim Cymbala and his family began attending shortly thereafter. Cymbala, later as a pastor, spoke regularly from the pulpit about the physically violent home in which he grew up at the hands of his alcoholic father.
William Branham, the same speaker featured at the Philadelphia Church and one of the most prominent figures in the Latter Rain Movement, preached at Maranatha Temple in 1956. Branham’s sermons at Maranatha Temple included A Secondhanded Robe, Gifts, and in 1957, Speak to this Mountain.
Within the same time frame, Branham and Mattsson Boze were ministering alongside Jim Jones at People’s Temple, then located in Indianapolis, IN, during the same year Jones was ordained into the IAOGI with Mattsson Boze’s signature on the back of the certificate.
Outside of heretic and flat-out dangerous theological positions espoused through Branham’s representation of the Latter Rain Movement (LRM) and offshoots of LRM such as Manifest Sons of God, Branham’s specific view on a topic such as physical abuse looked like this:
“William Branham advocated for the physical beating of women and children as disciplinary actions against those who did not adhere to his Cult Rules. In most cases, this was limited to corporal punishment. In extreme cases, Branham advised men to hit their wives with boards until the skin was blistered…. In some instances, Branham praised those who supported physical beating and mutilation of the bare skin of unclothed children. According to former members, these instructions were put into action by parents or guardians.”
Comprehensive, historical research on the life and ministry of William Branham is found HERE, along with the book, Preacher Behind the White Hoods: A Critical Examination of William Branham and His Message.
Voice of Healing Movement
Clair participated in a Voice of Healing Porto Allegro campaign with John Meares, then later, the 1962 Voice of Healing Convention, with Morris Cerullo, Mattsson Boze, Gordon Lindsay and David Nunn. The Voice of Healing Movement, also known as Healing Revival, and Voice of Healing publication, are close cousins of the Latter Rain Movement.
Morris Cerullo World Evangelism
Clair Hutchins traveled with Joseph Mattsson Boze on numerous missions trips in other countries, and toured extensively with Prosperity Gospel Evangelist Morris Cerullo, as the Crusade Director for his organization, Morris Cerullo World Evangelism.
The Brooklyn Gospel Tabernacle/The Brooklyn Tabernacle
While Clair Hutchins continued to travel, he founded the Brooklyn Gospel Tabernacle (BGT) in the mid-1960s, alongside Edward Maurer Jr.. Morris Cerullo was the foster brother of Maurer Jr., the first pastor of BGT, teaming with his then-wife, Vicki (Hutchins) Maurer (now: Vicki Smith), the first choir music director at BGT, and Clair’s eldest daughter.
The Brooklyn Gospel Tabernacle (BGT), later known as The Brooklyn Tabernacle (TBT) beginning in 1984, was registered as an affiliate member of the Independent Assemblies of God International (IAOGI), not with the well-known Assemblies of God (AOG).
The AOG strongly disagreed with the Latter Rain Movement (LRM), eventually penning position papers denouncing the movement on their website, Endtime Revival, Apostles and Prophets, Prophets and Personal Prophecies. Incidentally, these position papers were removed from the AOG website within the last few years, likely due to the somewhat recent trajectory merging toward the direction of what is being represented by a current iteration of the LRM, seen in the pervasive Dominionism theology, and the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).
While the relationship between the AOG and TBT grew throughout the years, TBT was never formally affiliated with the AOG. Their membership remained with the IAOGI. Clair Hutchins’ association with the IAOGI remained throughout his life, even becoming Secretary of the denomination.
World Thrust Films, Inc. | World Film Crusade
“Registered as World Thrust Films, doing business as World Film Crusade in America (the word Crusade is not used overseas) the ministry… has put over a million dollars into the development of the use of Film Evangelism with The Cross and the Switchblade.” (Winning the World, p. 49)
“The Rev. Hutchins was deeply affected by the film adaptation of David Wilkerson’s book, The Cross and the Switchblade, which stars Pat Boone as David Wilkerson and Erik Estrada as Nicky Cruz. He secured film rights from the American Baptist Association and set a goal of translating the movie into 100 different languages. At the time of his death, 30 versions were completed or under production.
“He thought this was the way to draw people who are not Christians,” said [Brother John] Gibson, chief executive officer of World Film Crusade, a not-profit corporation film ministry founded by the Rev. Hutchins. “He saw it as a way to reach people who would never come to a religious service.” (Tampa Bay Times, 17 May 1994, p. 111.)
Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI)
“Out of the Latter Rain movement grew several politically significant organizations, among them Demos Shakarian’s Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI) and Bill Bright’s Campus Crusade for Christ. These and other groups were the forerunners of a second wave of the post-World War II revival, the “charismatic renewal” beginning in the early 1960s and reaching its peak with the rise of the “Jesus Freak” movement. While the secular world took notice of young fervent Jesus Freaks proselytizing on college campuses, something even more significant was going on within mainstream U.S. churches. Ministers of all denominations began incorporating “charismatic” practices into their services; there was a new emphasis on singing, hand clapping, dancing, healing, and speaking in tongues.” (“Shepherding,” p. 18)
The Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI), “a Pentecostal organization of business and military men“ (p. 15), founded by a group of men in 1952 including Demos Shakarian who provided the initial funding, Oral Roberts, and others.
William Branham, a premier “prophet” in the Latter Rain Movement, spoke regularly at FGBMFI events. FGBMFI supported televangelists in their early days: Pat Robertson and Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Jim Bakker and Praise the Lord (PTL), Paul Crouch and Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).
The FGBMFI is heralded within the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel denomination, which has been associated with TBT over the years, was founded by Aimee Semple McPherson of the famed Angelus Temple which merged with the Assemblies of God denomination via the Los Angeles Dream Center in 2001.
The King’s University, a Church of the Foursquare institution founded in 1966 by former Foursquare President, Jack Hayford, features a section on their History page interlacing the beginnings of FGBMFI within the historical structure of the university. Hayford provided an endorsement for the 2017 reprint of Cymbala’s book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire
Clair Hutchins spoke at the San Bernardino, CA chapter of the FGBMFI in early 1970, then was featured alongside Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, and Pat Boone (The Cross and the Switchblade movie, former Elder at The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, CA, a Foursquare denomination church highly influential in the Charismatic Movement, pastored for over 20 years by Jack Hayford) at the World Convention of FGBMFI later that year in Chicago, IL.
Headliners at some of the FGBMFI events over the course of the first 20 years of its existence or so, include, Jim Bakker, William Branham (Latter Rain Movement “prophet”), Bill Bright, Morris Cerullo, Jack Coe, Chuck Colson, Kenneth Copeland, Andraé Crouch, David DuPlessis, Dale Evans, Jeff Fenholt, Billy Graham, Kenneth Hagin, Tommy Hicks, Rex Hubbard, Clair Hutchins, Kathryn Kuhlman, Dan Malachuk, President Richard Nixon, David Nunn, John Osteen, Derek Prince, William Standish Reed, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Charles Simpson, W. Clement Stone, Jimmy Swaggart, David Wilkerson, Ralph Wilkerson and many more.
Those linked to the FGBMFI, the Latter Rain Movement, all the way to present-day movements such as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), throughout the years have had direct or indirect influence on The Brooklyn Tabernacle (TBT). Examples include:
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir recorded an Andraé Crouch song on one of their albums and featured soloist Jeff Fenholt at the 1988 performance at Radio City Music Hall.
Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, now Cru, provided a written endorsement for the 2003 reprint of Jim Cymbala’s 1999 book, Fresh Faith, Jack Hayford wrote one for the 2017 reprint of Cymbala’s 1997 book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, and Cymbala dedicated his 2012 book, Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of The Holy Spirit, to his friend, David Wilkerson, whose Teen Challenge ministry’s flagship location in Brooklyn, founded in 1958, was mere blocks away from The Brooklyn Tabernacle’s (TBT) Atlantic Avenue building in the 1970s. TBT and Teen Challenge partnered together for weekly services and special events, and Clair Hutchins used his organization, World Thrust Films, to purchase the motion picture rights to The Cross and the Switchblade in the late 1970s. More about the connections between Cymbala, Hutchins, Wilkerson, TBT and Teen Challenge, can be found HERE.
Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship organization has 2 members of their Board of Directors, who are also members of The Brooklyn Tabernacle’s Board of Directors: Terry Van Der Aa and Nathan (Burl) Cain. Burl Cain is the former Warden of Angola Prison in Louisiana. Angola was notorious at one time for being one of the most deadly prisons in the U.S. The Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers produced a DVD stemming from a concert in Angola, “Miracle of Hope,” released in 2008. In addition, Colson teamed up with Cymbala as endorsers of Son of Sam David Berkowitz’ book, Son of Hope.
“Berkowitz also has received endorsements from spiritual leaders such as Pat Robertson, who praised him several years ago on “The 700 Club” as proof that the devil is real. In a 1997 letter to Berkowitz, the Brooklyn Tabernacle’s pastor, Jim Cymbala, wrote: “God has raised you up as a trophy of his incredible grace.” Two years later, in a radio-ministry interview, Mr. Cymbala said: “This person was part of a satanic cult.”” (Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2002)
It looks like Cymbala may have been correct. A Netflix documentary series released in 2021, Sons of Sam, A Descent into Darkness, chronicling the meticulous years-long work of investigative journalist, Maury Terry.
Pat Robertson donated $1,000,000 to TBT when they moved to their current building at 17 Smith Street. Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) hosted Clair Hutchins, Jim Cymbala, his eldest daughter Chrissy (Cymbala) Toledo, for various broadcasts, including The 700 Club. Another notable donation to TBT during that same time period came from the late businessman Arthur S. DeMoss’ Foundation for $5,000,000 (Form 990, 2001, p. 187, 190). Arthur’s eldest daughter, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, hosted Jim and Chrissy (Cymbala) Toledo, at the Revive Our Hearts True Woman Conference in 2014; Jim wrote the foreword to Nancy’s 2005 book, Surrender: The Heart God Controls and endorsed her 2019 bible study, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.
Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA), Samaritan’s Purse, The Cove
Billy Graham, who shared a stage with Clair Hutchins at the 1970 World Convention of FGBMFI in Chicago, IL, extended his relationship toward Clair’s son-in-law, Jim Cymbala, and The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, directed by Clair’s 2nd daughter, Carol, featuring the choir performing at the New York City Billy Graham Crusades in 1991 and 2005.
Billy’s son, Franklin, spoke at the 2010 Be Encouraged! The Brooklyn Tabernacle Pastors and Leaders Conference, and Jim joined alongside Franklin at Prayer Rallies and festivals in 2012 hosted by Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA), Rock The Lakes – BGEA’s evangelistic outreach to youth and a Franklin Graham Festival.
Jim is also a regularly invited speaker at The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, with the invitation coming from Billy’s grandson, Will, the Executive Director, who, in turn, preached at TBT. Cymbala spoke at the October 2018 Samaritan’s Purse Medical Missions Conference, where Franklin Graham referred to Jim as one of his heroes.
Prayer, Music at The Brooklyn Tabernacle (TBT)
Prayer was and is considered the foundation of the church, with the Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting heralded as the most important meeting of the week. The Brooklyn Tabernacle (TBT) has said, “prayer is the engine that drives the church.”
In 1994, Jim Cymbala spoke at the Gaither Praise Gathering conference, My House Shall be Called a House of Prayer, which catapulted him into worldwide recognition on the doctrine of prayer. He traveled around the country and world, with invitations to preach and teach on many topics, especially prayer and the Holy Spirit. The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer (2004) and The NIV Prayer Bible (2010) display forewords written by Cymbala, illustrating a couple examples of the magnitude of his perceived authority in this domain.
The Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting at TBT became a place where visitors were drawn from every corner of the earth to experience the prayer meeting for themselves. Annual TBT conferences for pastors and leaders, with a focus on prayer, are hosted at TBT including speakers such as Franklin Graham, Francis Chan, Ravi Zacharias, Gary Wilkerson, Tim Dilena, Dr. Tony Evans, Claude Houde, David Jeremiah, Steven Furtick.
TBT Choir went from a modest few in the mid-1960s to winning 6 Grammy Awards and numerous Dove Awards. Between the full 280-voice choir and a small representative group of singers, TBT Singers, they have performed at famous venues including Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the United Nations and have traveled the world singing their music for an abundance of ministry-related concerts and events spanning decades.
At the invitation of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the choir performed at the 2013 United States Presidential Inauguration and TBT Singers performed at the 2019 National Day of Prayer, also in Washington D.C., at the invitation of Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee President, Ronnie Floyd.