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* We have been told that the Assembly of God officially dissociated itself from the doctrine in 1976. However in 1984, when this article was written, it was still being taught widely in Australia, and the underlying faith in "respectability" (as opposed to radical faith in the teachings of Jesus) from which the doctrine sprang continues to pervade this and many other denominations.

The Assemblies of God created a doctrine years ago that has proven to be popular with many church leaders. It is called the 'covering' doctrine, and it goes like this:

God does not accept people as individuals; he only accepts them as members of organisations. Your organisation is your "covering", and if you have no covering, you are like a chicken with its head cut off. You will invariably go off the rails if left on your own. On the other hand, a reputable 'covering' will save you from error. Each step in the hierarchy is covered by the next, and total submission to your leader will save you, whether or not your leader is right.

A problem arises when you reach the top in each denomination. Where, for example, did the founders of the AOG get their covering? They stepped out from under the comforts of the religious status quo when they started their movement, as did Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and even Christ himself.

As Christ has said, they glorify past prophets who had the courage to question the establishment, while crucifying present messengers of God who do not have official approval from their leaders.

Their diabolical solution to this problem is to get all of the denominations back together again, with one worldwide human leader who will take the place of Jesus in acting as the ultimate covering for all the rest.

This denies the fundamental message of the New Testament, which is that we can each know God personally. It is paradoxical that such a doctrine has arisen in a movement which claims to have brought renewed emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit.

The good news of Christianity is that we no longer need approach God through a human mediator (1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 10:19-22, 1 John 2:27, Acts 5:27-29). Jesus broke the monopolistic stranglehold of religion by offering people a direct link with God via the Holy Spirit. Yet those who are most vocal about singing the praises of the Holy Spirit are now becoming most vocal about denying God's ability to speak directly to non-clergy.

The modern charismatic movement has been built on assurances that all of the hype can be used to supplement any belief system without threat to the control of the relevant high priests. Control is the name of the game... total, absolute, and with no room for God to overrule the religious heavies.

If anyone so much as dares to hand a flower to someone in a church without approval from their god ("church authority") the puppets will literally kill if told to do so.

The Bible warns of 'false christs' and 'antichrists' in the last days. The word 'christ' simply means 'anointed with authority'. These false authorities have opposed the authority of the true Christ of the Gospels, and set themselves up as gods in the church. The covering doctrine denies the authority of the Father, the priesthood of the Son, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in the heart of each believer. It must be challenged. (Matthew 23:37-39)

(See also The Covering Swindle.)

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