It has been seventy-seven years since the end of the second world war. The generation that remembers the sacrifice is getting older, the veterans are almost gone and the new generation has a shallow understanding of all that went down.
Many remember Nazi Germany by the odd picture, and some can recall who Adolf Hitler was, but what about the collaborators? Nazi collaborators were those who worked with the Nazi party; some committed war crimes and crimes against humanity and even took part in the Holocaust. Not all held a gun, nor did all participate in genocide – some politically aligned with the party and held specific roles or contracts with the Nazi party of Germany. Sometimes, guilt by association is enough. Now for the most part, as individuals, there is an understanding that serious crimes result in severe punishment. Further, in the day and age of social media and the court of public opinion, simply associating with specific people or group makes one guilty of holding to the positions of the entire movement. So there is a mutual understanding that one does not simply need to be the troublemaker – simply associating or collaborating with the troublemaker is enough concern.
I am not calling any professing believer, pastor or religious leader a 1930s Fascist. However, there is a strong parallel between war crime collaborators and heretical spiritual collaborators that many might not want to admit. For some collaborators of the Third Reich, their sentence was death – likewise, the result of preaching or agreeing with a false gospel is anathema. A false gospel, a false teaching results in a false conversion and this is most serious – so should not Christians be just as intent on dealing with false teachers and their collaborators as the Allies were post WW2?
This takes us to a serious issue again arising from the Church of God and Restoration headed by Ray Tinsmen and his Canadian apostle Henry Hilderbrandt. Over the past two-plus years, Hilderbrandt has gained a large following and audience over the Ontario COVID lockdowns. Unfortunately, because he faced persecution during the same time frame as Protestant leaders – the doctrinal and heretical issues of Hilderbrandt were either ignored or forgotten. Thankfully some pastors took the time to write and call out the seriousness of the matter.
I wrote a piece concerning the need to call out the false teachers (here) after watching a very concerning video finding its way to Youtube (here). Further, Steve Richardson added his voice to the concerns (here) and the elders of Redemption Bible Chapel based out of London (here). Protestant Christians cannot ignore The Church of God Restoration in hopes it goes away. One cannot say something once and hope it sticks; just as people forgot the war, Christians forget concerns over doctrine. This movement is dangerous, cancerous and has no place being named among Protestant Christianity. Why? As it is, from all appearances  and based on what videos show, it is a cult.
Now, to stress, there seems to be some context missing in a newer video. Context is essential, but after watching a video released on September 18, 2022 (here), it appears Henry has moved beyond calling himself John the Baptist (below) but is now calling himself Jesus in the flesh. In the transcript it states,
3:50-4:31 “First, you have to listen to me. Why? When you’re Jesus, I’m going to break the news to you — I am Jesus in the flesh. That’s why he said, try this spirit – every spirit that believes the Jesus came in the flesh – this is nothing new that I am preaching. Why is the Bible full of – telling us that we are the body of Christ.”
First, there is importance in what a person says. Sometimes I get tripped up on words, but this does not seem to be the case here. Second, this language should not surprise anyone. If you read the articles and watch the videos that have been previously linked, it is apparent this cult believes they can write holy Scripture. Ray Tinsman has been exalted above the apostle Paul, and unless Tinsman says it, it is not to be believed by those in the COGR.
So the question is what does the Christian, more specifically the Christian pastor do with this matter? Well, for certainty, one cannot give way to false teachers. By the worldly standards of fallen, corrupt humanity, those who collaborated with Hitler were guilty. How much more guilt will one have when they choose to collaborate and extend their hands of fellowship to men like Hildebrandt and the COGR ?Scripture is clear – these wolves are to be avoided and called out. As a reminder, remember what Scripture says,
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. (2 Cor 11:13-15 NASB)
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15 NASB)
For certain people have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into indecent behaviour and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.(Jude 1:4 NASB)
Now, what about those who choose to ignore the warnings or ignore the false teaching? Well, they are collaborators in a sense. Again, I am in no way saying one is a nazi for saying nothing, but simply ignoring the problem or choosing to associate even though some differing opinions exist will not cut it here. Remember what the second epistle of John states,
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Anyone who goes too far and does not remain in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who remains in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. (2 John 7-11 NASB)
In case it was missed -do not receive him into your house, do not give him greeting, for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. The public calling out, voicing opposition and exposing the rotten fruit shows others there is no agreement, and they too should avoid such people. Further, we get a similar warning in Romans 1,
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a depraved mind, to do those things that are not proper, 29 people having been filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, and evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unfeeling, and unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)
Again, look at the list – arrogant, boastful, without understanding, untrustworthy and knowing the ordinance of God and not practicing are worthy of death. Not just them, but those who approve of those. So guilt by association. It is time to say enough. The Christian church, more specifically, pastors, need to start screaming against this heretical movement. They need to put those degrees to work, utilize their church history surveys and start unpacking why COGR must be avoided.
In closing, Henry Hildebrandt, Ray Tinsman, and all those who claim to be apostles within the Church of God Restoration are not our brothers and sisters. They are not part of the Christian church. Unless they repent, and publically recant their heresies – no Christian, church or pastor should associate with or commune with them as brethren. Further, as a pastor, if any member of COGR or leader ever chose to attend this fellowship -for a visit, we would withhold communion and not recognize their baptism until we were confident there was a true confession of faith in Christ Jesus. It is my prayer others are bold enough to also take such a position.
May God the Father, who is rich in grace and mercy, call those who are trapped, out of the pits of this movement, and have their hearts regenerated and call out to Jesus Christ and receive salvation which is found by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone to the Glory of God alone!
In His Grace,
1. Upon doing more research, I discovered a website breaking down many issues with the COGR. Though I do not know the authors of the website, it is made available here for more resources.