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Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Iversons: integrity & balance

by Archibald Thackeray

Revival can be messy. By that I mean, that even when a revival is truly the work of God, wrong practices or wrong doctrine may be found right alongside all the positive spiritual benefits. The Lord's work is, of course, pure and holy, but our responses to what is powerful (and very often unexpected) can be off the mark because of our immaturity, ignorance, and even more seriously - our desire to seek personal advantage.

Therefore, every revival needs people like K. R. "Dick" Iverson and his late wife Edie.

There are thousands of people across the globe whose testimony about the Iversons would be: they loved the Lord, loved the moving of his Spirit in power, and they sought always to make sure that doctrinal balance was maintained. 'Fleshiness' or faddishness (which usually crop up as the result of carnal motivations coupled with bad doctrine) were eschewed by the Iversons.

In fact, the titles of two of Dick's several books confirm this: Maintaining Balance When the Winds of Doctrine Blow: Equipping the Believer to Discern Truth and Guarding the Local Church: Identifying False Ministries. And though his other books do not have in their titles this passion for doctrinal stability, that theme is consistently present in whatever topic he addresses.

Dick & Edie Iverson
Edie was the first of the couple to experience the Latter Rain revival. Shortly after their engagement in June of 1949, Dick began traveling with an itinerant healing evangelist while Edie [then Edie Swanson] enrolled in the school in North Battleford, Saskatchewan where the revival had broken out the previous year.

Dick writes, "In fact, that revival (and Edie's experiences there) would have long range implications for Bible Temple [the church they would lead in Portland, Oregon] and our ministry. The 'latter rain' outpouring, as it was called, became a major stream of the Holy Spirit emphasizing praise and worship (with its power to open the Word), along with prophecy and the laying on of hands. It was within that movement that the roots of the charismatic movement originated." (The Journey: a Lifetime of Prophetic Moments)

Steve Ganz, a missionary and former student of the Bible college founded by Dick Iverson (Portland Bible College), says, "Sister Edie, as she was known, would lead worship with enthusiasm. She was not a good singer, but her love of Jesus was so obvious that we in the congregation could care less and followed her as she led us in honoring God with all our hearts" (in "A Tribute to Edie Iverson" which can be read here).

Edie is credited with at least two popular praise choruses, The Lord Reigneth and Thanks Be to God.

Dick's experience with the healing evangelist was not as positive. He recalls, "I remember that night after night there was a tremendous amount of money being given and one of my tasks was to help count the money. As I counted it in a room with several others, the table would be literally piled high with money, yet, at the same time, Neil [his brother] and I never received the weekly wage we had been promised." (The Journey: a Lifetime of Prophetic Moments)

And though Edie had an enriching experience in North Battleford, as the Iversons interacted with others later in the Latter Rain Movement, Dick saw yet more behavior that could be disillusioning. He writes, "... as with other movements or outpourings of the Holy Spirit, there came afterwards distortion and fakery. Charlatans got a hold of it and all sorts of offshoots went spinning out of control. In many church circles the 'latter rain' became known as the 'scattered rain' and was roundly ridiculed." (The Journey: a Lifetime of Prophetic Moments)

Layzell & Schoch
The Iversons were then blessed to meet two Latter Rain pioneers who manifested the fruit of the Spirit as well as the gifts of the Spirit. Dick writes, "David Schoch - and Pastor Reg Layzell, who we would also get to know on the trip - were two sincere men of God who came out of the 'latter rain' movement dedicated to protecting and keeping pure the fruit of that outpouring. While others twisted, distorted, and indulged in various chicanery, these men among a handful of others, preserved the essence of the Holy Spirit's great gifting." (The Journey: a Lifetime of Prophetic Moments)

The doctrinal balance and integrity that the Iversons instinctively longed for, and then saw manifested in people like Schoch and Layzell, became a hallmark of the ministries they headed: Bible Temple (now known as City Bible Church), Portland Bible College, and the ministerial association Dick founded, Ministers Fellowship International. Dick gives an overview of the Iversons' personal story and the story of their ministries on his blog here.

Edie passed away in 2008 and Dick's tribute to her can be read here. He is in his mid-eighties now and is presently married to the former Roxy Kidder.

[UPDATE April 11, 2018 - Pastor Iverson went to the be with the Lord on April 8, 2018. Charisma News just posted a lengthy tribute that can be accessed here. City Bible Church also posted a 52-minute video remembering his ministry and that can be accessed here.]
Roxy and Dick Iverson
The campus of City Bible Church and Portland Bible College


4 comments:

  1. We were so sad to hear of Dick's passing this morning. This article: http://iversonministriesinternational.org/history/ tells that in 2008, the Lord told Pastor Iverson that he had ten years of ministry left. And so he did.

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    1. That is amazing, Malana! Thank you for bringing attention to this.

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  2. https://www.facebook.com/george.elliot.33/posts/10156273519676382

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    1. George thank you for that link to those important memories and that great pic!

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