17 Jan A Warning to the People of Redemption Bible Chapel Regarding Henry Hildebrandt and the “Church of God Restoration”
The call of elders is not only to teach, lead, and protect, but also to warn those entrusted to our care, the “flock of God that is among you” (1 Peter 5:2). Therefore, we thought it important to make you aware, if you are not already, of the dangers of the “church” in Aylmer, called the “Church of God Restoration”, pastored by Henry Hildebrandt.
This church has been in the news a lot during this pandemic. We have researched this church, their leadership, their doctrine, and their group of churches, due to some concerning things we were seeing and hearing, and at the encouragement of some friends of our church who know them better. As a result of all that we have found out, we are warning you not to have anything to do with The Church of God Restoration, their “pastor”, Henry Hildebrandt, or their association of “churches” (2 John 1:10-13).
This group of churches formed their association splitting off from an older organization, originally having their roots in the holiness movement and the Church of God, founded by Daniel S. Warner in 1881. Some of the core group of the Aylmer Church of God Restoration came out of the Mennonite church, but this church and movement are not a part of the Mennonite faith.
This group of churches forms a tight circle, all being led by a group of “apostles”, as they call themselves. This started with a man named Daniel Layne, who ran his church and this group of churches like a dictator (the “chief apostle”), directing how members should dress, and behave. He would ex-communicate anyone who disagreed with him.
The Aylmer Church of God Restoration started in 1990, when a group of about 60-70 persons left a local gospel church when a preacher named Daniel Layne came through Aylmer, preaching a message that basically said that the church they were in, and all other churches, were dead and that the only way to be saved and get to heaven was to leave that dead church and be joined to the one and only true church, which was the one that Daniel Layne was starting. Layne taught that he was an angel of God, prophesized about in the book of Revelation.
In 2011 Layne passed away, and a pastor from Ohio by the name of Ray Tinsman was selected to succeed Layne (Tinsman is now the “chief apostle”). Subsequent to Tinsman’s appointment, he brought on numerous other “apostles” (at times called “the Presbytery”) under his leadership. There are currently 12 in total, including Tinsman. Several women are a part of this twelve, as is Henry Hildebrandt from Aylmer.
They define an “Apostle” (on their website) as “one sent”. They explain that these apostles, in their view, are “sent ones”, given by God’s Spirit, to “progressively restore truths lost in the great falling away, and … not only to complete the restoration of all truth, but also to lead in and oversee the gathering together of the members of Christ’s body into one fold.” In other words, they believe they are the apostles of the only one, true church.
Of these “apostles”, the “chief apostle”, Tinsman, has taught (in February 2019 at one of their meetings), “In John 16, the Lord told the disciples that He was going away. He says that it is expedient that He go. He says that there is coming a day when the disciples will ask and He would not pray to the Father for them, but they will ask the Father for themselves and the Father will give them what they ask. Christ is telling the disciples that the place that He holds on “creature earth” will be held by the apostles in His absence.” In this talk, he claims that these apostles of this movement are the apostles of Christ “in His absence”.
One of their “apostles” taught, “In Revelation 21:12, the twelve gates are manned by twelve angels. These angels are the means of entering and exiting the kingdom of heaven. Jesus told the apostles that whatsoever they bound on earth would be bound in heaven and also, whose ever sins they retained or remitted, it would be so. The angels manning the gates into the kingdom of heaven are men. In the morning time those men were Peter, James, John, Paul and the other apostles. In our time they are the present-day apostle ministry: Bro. Ray, Bro. Steve, Bro. Patrick, Bro. Jacob, Bro. Addison, Bro. Randy, Sis. Mutch Bro. Benjamin, Bro. Henry, Bro. Pat, Sis. Oppel, and Bro. Ernest.” In other words, their “apostles” are the now the apostles spoken of in the New Testament, directly taking the place of the first apostles, as Jesus’ apostles.
One of their “apostles” taught this at one of their functions referring to their “chief apostle” Tinsman, as “the only name, the name that is above all names on this creature earth, the governor of the world, the judge of all this world … our very own, brother Tinsman.”
Henry Hildebrandt of the church in Aylmer, taught at one of these all-church meetings, “If we do not recognize, accept and receive the present-day apostles of the Lord, we are no better than short-sighted man or the Catholic church.” He also says, “If you identify the Bible as your ‘present truth’, why do you go to service? Why go to the meetinghouse? You have your Bible at home and Walmart sells them for just a few dollars. You come to service to hear what the Spirit is presently saying to the church. Present truth comes through men. From the creation of the world until now, God has always had men who were in charge.” This is stating very clearly, they believe in new, direct revelation from God, to their leaders, that is in addition to the Bible. This is heresy and very dangerous. One of those ex-members, who has publicly written about her experiences growing up in these churches writes that they believe, “they hold the keys to heaven, and you can’t get there outside of being with them”.
In an open (for the public) Q&A at Tinsman’s church in August 2019, the following interaction took place.
Participant: “Could an apostle (of the Church of God Restoration) write scripture?”
Tinsman: “Most all scripture was written by an apostle.”
Participant: “Could one of you write scripture?”
Tinsman: “Yes sir.”
Participant: “Do you have any plans to?”
Tinsman: “No sir.”
Participant: “Why not?”
Tinsman: “I don’t know.”
Also, when asked, “Do you have the ability to take away someone’s salvation?” Tinsman replied, “Yes”!
The church website says about themselves, “This (The Church of God Restoration) is a divine move of the Spirit, ordained by God and prophesied of in Revelation and other scriptures. God is restoring His church and calling all of His true children out of every sect and schism back to the one fold.”
In a few other miscellaneous teachings by this group, Henry Hildebrandt taught that they should not have even a photo of a relative in their home if that relative is not a part of their church. He taught that they are to treat them as if they are dead, for they are spiritually dead, saying that one would not put up a picture of a dead body in their home, so why would they have a picture of a relative who is not of their church.
In another teaching one of their apostles encouraged that they could pray in the name of their “chief apostle”, Tinsman. In November 2020, these “apostles”, leaders of this group of churches, told their people at a meeting to “empty out” their retirement money and give it to the church, for “it is time to go for broke” and “lay it at the apostles feet”. They told them that some of them need to “sell their homes and give the money to the ‘apostles’ ”.
Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Henry Hildebrandt himself has received a lot of notoriety in our area of the province due to his stance on various things relating to the pandemic. This group of churches have prophetically said that millions will flock into their churches as fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and that has been their great hope and belief since they first formed. They believe God will vindicate them by bringing millions into their churches, but this hasn’t happened and isn’t happening. In response, they have tried various ways to get visibility and publicity, seeking this great influx, but so far, no interest by the masses.
Their latest effort has been to embrace political activism and the pandemic has provided the means to do this. The high visibility in this virus seems to be motivating them to go further and further. Hildebrandt seems to love the media attention, welcoming it, and often livestreaming himself when there is any interaction with the police. At some of their events, if the press doesn’t show up, they will take photos and send them to the press wanting the coverage. It appears they believe God will use this publicity to bring more to their church.
Some of what Hildebrandt has said about this virus includes the statement, “Some people would confront me and try to challenge me that this is a serious disease, this is a serious illness, we have to take it serious, we’re just trying to protect people. No, no, no, that’s not true. This is all just a game. This is all just a set-up, this is a plan that is fabricated, there is nothing to this whole thing, it’s all just a made-up plan by governments.”
So we can clearly see that he denies there is an actual virus, it is all “fabricated”, just “made-up”, a “game”. This stance denies all the factual reality of this past year and is a dangerous position.
So their thoughts on the pandemic are very concerning, but even more concerning to us would be their doctrine, practice, structure, and belief about God’s Word and the authority supposedly given to them by God.
As elders, we are warning our own congregation, the people of Redemption London, that we believe these men and their churches are not faithfully interpreting the Bible in key doctrines and as such, appear to not be of the faith. Their leaders appear to be wolves, false teachers and should be avoided completely, claiming an authority which is not given Biblically, but is falsely claimed from God and is controlling and dangerous.