Friday, October 15, 2010

Aimee Semple McPherson: Her Impact on the Third Wave Movement

Aimee Semple McPherson(1890-1944), was a Pentecostal/Evangelical evangelist and founder of International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, the first interdenominational mega-church. Canadian born, she was a noted pioneer in the use of modern media, especially radio, owning her own radio station. [1] When she preached at revivals, it was standing room only. In a 3/93 Charisma magazine article, Jack Hayford said that Foursquare was "one of the first to fully embrace the Charismatic movement as being a legitimate movement of the Spirit."

Sister Aimee believed in physical healing as part of the atonement, being slain in the spirit, spiritual warfare/demon-deliverance, speaking in tongues, signs and wonders evangelism, and extra-revelatory prophecy. [2] In her book, This is That, she said, "The Voice of the Lord spoke tenderly: 'Now, child, cease your strivings and your begging; just begin to praise Me ...' All at once my hands and arms began to tremble gently at first, then more and more, until my whole body was a-tremble with the power ... Almost without my notice my body slipped gently to the floor, and I was lying under the power of God, but felt as though caught up and floating."

Sister Aimee filmed several of these type of messages on topics that concerned her.

Sister Aimee opened her church in 1923 in Los Angeles, CA.

Aimee Semple McPherson impacted several of the Third Wave/Word-Faith preachers. Benny Hinn revealed that he periodically visits Aimee McPherson's grave, where he says: "I felt a terrific anointing ... I was shaking all over ... trembling under the power of God ... `Dear God,' I said, `I feel the anointing.' ... I believe the anointing has lingered over Aimee's body." (Benny Hinn, April 7, 1991 sermon)

Sister Aimee believed she was living in the last days, perhaps because she lived during WWI and WWII. She said in her book, "Latter Rain is falling on the earth. The same identical signs which followed the preaching of the Word in the former rain, accompany the present outpouring" (This is That, pg. 511). William Branham (1909-1965), who led the Latter Rain Movement, may have been influenced by her when he named his ministry.

She is considered as one of the spiritual mothers to the Third Wave movement. In this poster from Rick Joyner's church, she can be seen pictured in the foreground.

Speaking of spiritual mothers: Aimee Semple McPherson's was Kathryn Kuhlman's spiritual mother, and a woman named Maria Woodworth Etta was Aimee's. [2]

Maria Woodworth Etta
Maria Woodworth Etta (1844–1924) was one of the more mystical of all the neo-Montanist women. She was a traveling evangelist, one of the first women to take this role in America, and was initially part of the holiness-healing movement. In the 1880's she was known to go into trances and stand stock-still for hours and sometimes days. During these trance times people would come into her meetings and be miraculously healed or converted. In 1890, she reports people receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit as evidenced with the speaking in other tongues, and people seeing heavenly visions. "The Holy Ghost was present in great power, with gifts, signs, and visions, following the laying-on-of-hands. There were visible signs of light and glory on the pulpit, and through the congregation seen by the natural eye by some" (Signs and Wonders, Harrison House, pg. 150-151). Sister Woodworth-Etter is possibly the source for many of the aberrant doctrines taken up by the New Order of the Latter Rain in the late 1940's. She practiced the laying on of hands for healing, delivering people from demons, and conveying spiritual gifts. [3]
Sister Aimee had her share of scandal. In the 1920s, she allegedly had an extramarital relationship and faked her own death as a cover. She later claimed that she had been kidnapped, but a grand jury could neither prove that a kidnapping occurred, nor that she had faked it. Roberta Semple Salter, her daughter from her first marriage, became estranged from Semple McPherson and successfully sued her mother's attorney for slander during the 1930s. As a result of this she was cut out of her mother's will. [4]

Aimee Semple McPherson died at the age of 54 in 1944, from an accidental overdose of barbiturates. 

Forest Lawn Glendale

But it doesn't end here. The New Age movement, through the false prophetess Elizabeth Clare Prophet, made some claims about Aimee Semple McPherson before her death in 2009. Within the teaching of the New Age Ascended Masters, Master Jesus (who is the Ascended Jesus of the New Age) had a celestial wife named Lady Master Magda. She had two known incarnations (bodily forms), one was Mary Magdalene; the other was Aimee Semple McPherson. [5] Strange, but true.

The church Aimee started is still in existence today. Her international church is now referred to as Four Square Gospel. It has almost 60,000 churches in 144 countries.[6] [7]