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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

What did M. D. Beall and Bethesda believe?

by Archibald Thackeray

In 1951 - during the third year of the Latter Rain Movement - M. D. Beall published a book entitled, The Plumb Line.
M. D. "Mom" Beall
Mrs. Beall, the pastor of a large Detroit church wrote, "Because of the many questions which we have received concerning the teachings here at the Bethesda Missionary Temple we felt it advisable to make a definite statement concerning our position in this present move of God."

Sixty-three years later, I am very glad that Mom Beall (as she was affectionately known to those who appreciated her ministry) created this record. It is most helpful in correcting the sloppy, inaccurate, and sometimes malicious accounts of Bethesda's teaching that are here and there on the internet.

Specifically helpful is the following passage from chapter one where she gave clear and concise statements that rebutted Bethesda's critics back then ... and also the ill-informed ones of this generation:

"Many folks have wondered just what is being taught at the Bethesda Missionary Temple relative to this new move of God and have had some questions in their minds. In view of such questions we wish to present some statements which we feel will clarify our position. For the sake of simplicity we have listed them both pro and con:

"FIRST OF ALL WE DO NOT BELIEVE AND STRONGLY DISAPPROVE OF THE FOLLOWING EXTREME TEACHINGS:

1. Forgiveness of sins by man.
2. The Church is built solely upon the foundation of present-day apostles and prophets.
3. Trans-substantiation.
4. Personal leadings and guidance by prophecy.
5. Glorification of the physical bodies of saints in this dispensation prior to the rapture.
6. Impartation of the gift of languages as being necessary to a missionary call.

WE DO BELIEVE THAT:

1. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour is the only door into the Church which is His body.
2. Water baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost according to the command of Jesus in Matt. 28:19, or as Peter baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38) and in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 8:16) is scriptural in each case and is the answer of a good conscience toward God (I Peter 3:21).
3. The sovereignty of the local church in both doctrine and practice.
4. It is also the privilege of every believer to be confirmed through:
   a.  Teaching
   b.  Exhortation
   c.  Consecration
   d.  Laying on of hands and Prophecy.

"We do not believe that believers are placed in the body through the laying on of hands.

"We believe in salvation through the blood, for the sinner, sanctification and the baptism in the Holy Ghost for the believer, and speaking in tongues as a sign following the believer to the unbeliever but we are not Pentecostal, Holiness, Tri-Theistic, Oneness, or Jesus Only, neither are we 'Latter Rain' for Jesus is the 'Latter Rain.' We are Christian believing in the entire Bible and realize that new revelations will come forth from the Word but we do not intend to start another denomination just because of new truth. Bethesda Missionary Temple is NON-DENOMINATIONAL.

"We believe in the FOUNDATION PRINCIPLES of the doctrine of Christ as given in Hebrews 6. The foundation doctrines of:

1. Repentance from dead works
2. Faith toward God
3. Doctrine of baptisms
4. Doctrine of laying on of hands
5. Resurrection of the dead
6. Eternal judgment

"All these are the beginning of the Word of Christ, and the exhortation in verse one is, 'LET US GO ON UNTO PERFECTION!' The whole Bible is our statement of doctrine."

If someone wants to disagree with any of that they can, of course, and they should if compelled by their understanding of the Word and their conscience. But, out of integrity and fairness, if we want to disagree with the late Mom Beall and Bethesda, let's be sure we understand and represent their positions accurately. Lazily accepting internet rumors then besmirching the reputations of brothers and sisters with labels like "heretic" or "cult" is hardly the way of integrity or a search for truth.
The Plumb Line - written by M. D. "Mom" Beall in 1951


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