OF RELIGION Field Guide to the

Who’s Who Digest

of the

Wild World of Religion

The profiles on this webpage are part of a multi-page collection of 125+ influential individuals in the Wild World of Religion. For an explanation of this listing, and an index of all the names, go to the Introduction to the Who’s Who Digest.


Profiles of Names Beginning with A through C

Names that are underlined in the list at the left below can be clicked to go to more extensive profiles or more related information elsewhere in the Field Guide. Within the mini-profiles, terms or names underlined can be clicked to go to entries elsewhere. To return to the Alphabetical Index of Names, click on the link at the end of any entry..


Some profiles below contain links to other websites which may contain material of interest regarding the profiled individuals. Inclusion of these links should not be considered "endorsement" of all of the opinions, conclusions and doctrinal positions of the authors of those websites. They are included because they do contain credible documentation on the facts regarding the profiled individuals. Readers are encouraged to consider carefully the documentation and come to their own informed conclusions, based on their own understanding of Biblical doctrine and principles.




A.A. Allen


Asa Alonzo Allen (1911-1970). Prominent, flamboyant and controversial Pentecostal "healing evangelist" of the 1940s—1960s. Allen made many outrageous, unsubstantiated claims of miracles.

From James Randi’s book The Faith Healers

On June 14, 1970, listeners in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines were hearing a recorded message from A. A. Allen on his radio program saying: "This is Brother Allen in person. Numbers of friends of mine have been inquiring about reports they have heard concerning me that are not true. People as well as some preachers from pulpits are announcing that I am dead. Do I sound like a dead man? My friends, I am not even sick! Only a moment ago I made a reservation to fly into our current campaign. I'll see you there and make the devil a liar." At that moment, at the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco, police were removing A. A. Allen's body from a room strewn with pills and empty liquor bottles. The man who had once said that "the beer bottle and gin bucket" should have been on his family coat of arms was dead at 59 from what was said to be a heart attack but was in reality liver failure brought about by acute alcoholism. (p.88)

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Mark John Allen aka M. John Allen    

Former member of the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert W Armstrong. Allen believes himself to be the inheritor of the apostolic mantle of Herbert Armstrong, and thus God's primary mouthpiece on earth today, doing "the Work of Elijah." In the late 1990s he had a number of dreams and visions he posted on the Web to convince others of this calling, but doesn’t seem to have gathered many supporters for his megalomania over the past decade and more. For a while he made a fruitless attempt to gather supporters via the Internet for an attempt through the courts to take back the headquarters of the Worldwide Church of God from Armstrong's legal successors. In recent years he has put up a number of websites, some with his name prominent on them, some with it tucked away behind names like the “Restoration Church of God.” The sites often feature old booklets or recordings by Herbert Armstrong. None of them seem to connect to any real world church congregations or followers. Some of the more recent ones seem to be connected to money-making schemes, success motivation schemes, or services helping Americans to move to expatriot/tax-shelter places like Costa Rica. Evidently M John was unable to convince many folks to send donations to support his religious plans.

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Carlos Annacondia


Argentinian revival leader whose massive Hyper-Charismatic healing/evangelistic campaigns in South America are said to have reached many millions since his first such meeting in 1982. Annacondia specializes in bombastic verbal attacks on Satan and demons as part of what is termed spiritual warfare. And he claims huge numbers of people attending his campaigns are healed and delivered from demons. As with most claims of such healing ministries, actual documentation of instantaneous healing of serious sickness or injury seems to be totally lacking.

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Garner Ted Armstrong


(1930-2003)   Radio and television evangelist, son of Herbert W Armstrong. Garner Ted Armstrong was former chief spokesman on the media outreaches of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). He founded the Church of God, International (CGI) and the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association after being expelled from the WCG in 1978 during a leadership power struggle in that organization. He later founded the Intercontinental Church of God (ICG)  after being expelled from the CGI in 1998 as a result of a highly-publicized sex scandal. Armstrong was the self-proclaimed "Ezekiel Watchman" … main prophetic spokesman for God on earth today. (Click on Armstrong’s name above to go to more detailed information.)

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Herbert W Armstrong

(1892-1986)   Founder of the Worldwide Church of God (originally the Radio Church of God), the Plain Truth magazine and the World Tomorrow radio and TV programs. During his lifetime, Armstrong was the self-proclaimed "Apostle" of the "only true church on earth today." Herbert Armstrong was father of television and radio evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong. (Click on Armstrong’s name above to go to more detailed information.)

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John Arnott , Carol Arnott

John Arnott was Pastor of the Charismatic Toronto Airport Vineyard Church, now called the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF), in 1993 when the so-called "Toronto Blessing" revival broke out in that congregation. The Association of Vineyard Churches expelled the congregation in 1996 over the strange hyper-charismatic excesses going on hin the “revival,” , and Arnott (along with his wife Carol Arnott) now pastors the TACF as an independent fellowship.

A detailed overview of the Toronto manifestations and the Arnotts’ ministry can be found in the free online version of the book Weighed and Found Wanting by Bill Randles.


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John Avanzini   

Word Faith teacher and author, frequent guest on TBN. Avanzini specializes in grandiose promises of financial prosperity. He  is well-known for promoting the "hundred-fold blessing" gimmick for fund-raising.

Here is a vignette from a typical Avanzini appearance, part of a longer 2009 blog entry titled “John Avanzini and His Talking Stones.”

    “After a rambling, free-ranging talk about the worsening economy and the price of gas, John Avanzini told us that he would give us all two things to help us get through perilous times. The first was a list of 7 Bible promises, as he called them, that he had printed up on a card. The mixture of truth and error was very evident here.

   The list… gave the following “seven anchors for these perilous times”. Note that the word prosperity as he uses it is referring to material wealth. Spiritual wealth was never mentioned that night.

   1. God has already made plans for your prosperity. Jeremiah 29:11

   2. Everything you will need and want has already been provided for you by your great God. 2 Peter 1:3

   3. God has already given you his best so there is no need to worry about him denying you anything else. Romans 8:32

   4. God wants you to live with limitless supply. Judges 18:10

   5. Your wealthy place is always on the other side of the perilous times you are facing.

   6. It gives God great pleasure to prosper you in good times…in bad times..at all times. Psalms 35:27

   7. In good times or in bad times, God is willing to make you rich. Proverbs 10:22

 …All of those Scripture verses given do talk about the prospering of God’s people. The idea that this is always referring to physical wealth is patently absurd. Avanzini and all of his huckster compatriots only use Scripture as proof texts for their own ridiculous claims that God wants everyone wearing Brioni suits and Rolex watches.

   Avanzini told a story of how his grandchildren sometimes sit and watch him count money at the table. He described his stacks of 100’s, 50’s, 20’s and so on. He mocked at how his daughter told them, “don’t ask for anything, children.” He told us that she should have been teaching them to ask for money. He again mocked how she taught the children to say, “thank you” when he would give them money.  He claimed that what they should have said instead was, “Can I have some more?” Avanzini apparently believes in training children early to be greedy and ungrateful.

   The next thing Avanzini said he would give us to help us through “perilous times” was a stone. He went through several Bible references where stones “talked” in the Old Testament. Here Avanzini introduces the stone idea. He strolled down the aisles, his ring winking in the lights, and held out a shiny stone for a woman to hold. Avanzini told the assembled crowd of about 650 people that these stones should be rubbed whenever people faced rising prices or higher prices at the pump. The ushers went down the aisles with buckets of shiny, smooth stones and handed them out. …

  …He began transitioning to his real message by telling the story of Gideon’s sacrifice as recorded in the book of Judges. Repeatedly, Avanzini described the poverty of Gideon and how his offering of a goat was such a sacrifice for someone who lived in a cave. He described how the angel of the Lord IGNITED the offering on the rock. We, who were in possession of the lucky rubbing stones, would need to ignite ours. I’ll give you a guess how that should be done.

   At this point, Avanzini turned to the pastor in the white suit, sitting in the audience and asks innocently, “Do I have a few more moments?” Well, not surprisingly, the pastor agreed. It’s a good thing, because as it turns out, Avanzini had a whole new doctrinal revelation to tell us about: the doctrine of reverse entrapment. If you’ve never heard of that before, that’s because God just showed it to him right there. Reverse entrapment is when you put a gift to Avanzoni on a credit card and outsmart the lenders who are trying to get rich off your debt. When you put a gift on a credit card, I quote, “something happens in the spirit world.”  Here he tells everyone how to have a credit card breakthrough. Turns out Avanzini has a way for you to get rid of your mortgage debt. All you have to do is to give him a gift the size of your house payment and God will see that your mortgage gets paid off right away. If you don’t have a house, $500 will do nicely for future debt. Avanzini assured us that it worked for him.

   Perhaps the man sensed a few hostile vibes from the audience (from our row in particular) because he warned us not to let the devil keep us back from getting free from debt by putting a gift for his ministry on our credit card. The credit card “invitation” began as the keyboardist began to noodle around with some mood music. Then Avazini warned everyone again not to let the devil keep us away. The people streamed down to the stage area and wrote out their credit card numbers and house payment gifts and left them at the expensively shod feet of the speaker. While the people came down to the front to divest themselves of their money, Avanzini appropriately chose to tell an Al Capone joke. I doubt if one other person in the house recognized the irony.

   Avanzini then prayed an igniting prayer over the stones everyone was clutching. Presumably, we still have to ignite our own with a credit card gift, but maybe his igniting prayer was considered the first step.”

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Don Basham


(1926-1989)   One of the founders of the controversial so-called "Shepherding Movement" branch of the Charismatic renewal of the 1970s, along with Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson, Derek Prince, and Ern Baxter.

Their Christian Growth Ministries, headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, published a monthly magazine called New Wine, with Basham as editor.

A detailed overview of the Shepherding Movement and these five men is available on the Seek God website.


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Ern Baxter    

One of the founders of the controversial so-called "Shepherding Movement" of the Charismatic renewal of the 1970s, along with Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson, Derek Prince, and Don Basham.

A detailed overview of the Shepherding Movement and these five men is available on the Seek God website.

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Mike Bickle   

Pastor of the former Kansas City Fellowship—now Metro Vineyard of Kansas City—home of the "Kansas City Prophets" group. Bickle has been considered by many to hold the office of "modern prophet" and thus regularly receive direct revelations from God, along with Paul Cain, John Paul Jackson and Bob Jones (not the same Bob Jones that founded conservative Bob Jones University.)

Overview of Bickle’s ministry and the Kansas City Prophets

The Kansas City Prophets: Inside a Prophetic Service


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Reinhard Bonnke


German healing evangelist who specializes in huge outdoor mass campaigns in Africa, sometimes preaching to audiences of one million or more. Bonnke is founder of the Christ for All Nations ministry. He makes spectacular but usually unsubstantiated claims for astounding healings at his meetings.  

An extremely conflicting account of one of these healings is available on the Net.

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William Branham

(1909-1965) One of the most influential "healing evangelists" in history. Branham's healing crusade career from 1946 until his death in 1965 was marked by grandiose claims by his supporters and considerable skepticism from his detractors. A number of prominent modern Pentecostal and Charismatic leaders still praise his ministry, and a number of doctrinal perspectives and methods in such circles can be traced to his influence.

(Click on Branham's name above for a longer profile elsewhere in the Field Guide.)

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Paul Cain


One of the "Kansas City Prophets" group. Cain has been considered by many to hold the office of "modern prophet" and thus regularly receive direct revelations from God, along with Mike Bickle, John Paul Jackson and Bob Jones (not the same Bob Jones that founded conservative Bob Jones University.)

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Harold Camping

Long-time religious radio broadcaster, founder of the Family Radio network (now officially called Family Stations, Inc.).

As of May 21, 2011, Camping is now most noted for a startlingly effective worldwide campaign in the media, on billboards, through tracts passed out by loyal followers, and more, spreading his bombastic claim that the Rapture would occur on that date, the world would be plunged immediately into chaos, and the whole Earth and everything in it would be destroyed on October 21, 2011.

The Family Radio network was extremely popular for years with religious leaders and laymen from a wide variety of conservative Christian denominations, particularly those which considered their roots as being in the “Reform movement.” Thus he had a wide audience for his increasingly radical pronouncements for a time, until many leaders and teachers from throughout these circles became alarmed and began warning against those pronouncements. It is unclear how many people are committed supporters of his teachings, but it would likely not be an over-estimation to suggest the number may be at least in the tens of thousands.

For what may be the most complete overview and evaluation of Camping’s long ministry and teachings available, see Dangerous Airwaves, a book by Dr. James R. White. A synopsis of some of the material in the book is available in an online article by White. This material, however, was written long before the May 21, 2011 fiasco.

Click on Camping’s name at the beginning of this entry to go to a much longer article on Camping’s ministry,  covering in particular, details of the circumstances leading up to and after his failed May 21, 2011 prophecy.


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Charles Capps


Long-time, prolific Word Faith ("positive confession," "health, wealth and prosperity") writer and speaker. Capps' books and pamphlets and taped messages on the fundamentals of the Word Faith doctrines are extensively imitated—almost to the point of plagiarism—by many younger Word Faith writers, teachers and preachers.

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Morris Cerullo


 Pentecostal evangelist active since the 1950s. Cerullo is part of the Healing Ministries movement and the Word Faith movement.

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Mahesh Chavda


Part of the Modern Apostles and Prophets movement, viewed by many as one of the modern Apostles. Chavda is active in the Toronto Blessing movement and other manifestations of the so-called Third Wave of the Charismatic renewal. Originally from India, he is now an American citizen.

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(Paul) David Yonggi Cho


Pastor of "the world's largest church" that is a single congregation, not a denomination. Korean Yonggi Cho (who changed his name to David in recent years for some obscure reason) heads the Charismatic Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul that claims to have over 1 million people in regular attendance. Cho teaches an extreme occultic form of Word Faith doctrines, including the concept that if someone has an adequate "positive confession," their words literally enter into the "Heavenly Holy of Holies" and can emerge manifested as tangible objects that the believer is "naming and claiming."

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J R Church

Popular prophecy pundit of the End Times Prophecy movement. Church spreads his theories via his Prophecy in the News TV show and numerous books. He is most famous for his 1986 book Hidden Prophecies in the Psalms, which alleges that the Psalms contain a hidden prophetic guide to the Twentieth Century. In other words, something in Psalm 1 applied to the events of 1901, Psalm 86 applied to 1986 and so on. Using utterly speculative and fanciful interpretations of vague passages, he strongly hinted in the first edition of his book that 1988 would be the year of the pre-tribulation rapture, followed by the Tribulation for 1989-1994, and the return of Christ in 1995. When none of this panned out, it didn't stop him, he just re-interpreted the vague passages to imply what did happen in those years. And he still continues to this day using his Nostradamian-style gimmick to sell books, gather and keep a TV audience, and garner invitations to speak at prophecy seminars and conventions. There's no accounting for the gullibility of folks who are desperate for someone to tell them "secret things."

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Randy Clark


Senior Pastor of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of St. Louis, Missouri. Clark started a "holy laughter" revival at his home church after attending a 1993 meeting featuring Rodney Howard-Browne at Kenneth Hagin's Rhema Bible Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was invited by John Arnott, pastor of the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church to conduct a four day conference at the Toronto church starting January 20,1994. Clark's appearance triggered the beginning of what came to be known as the "Toronto Blessing" revival. As a result, Clark and his Global Awakening team are regularly invited to conduct or participate in revivals and revival training sessions all over the world to promote the same kind of activity as that in Toronto.

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Jack Coe


(1918-1957) One of the most well-known "healing evangelists" of the 1950s. Coe was part of the Healing Ministries movement. He was described in The Century of the Holy Spirit by Vinson Synan as "bold and flamboyant" and as having "pushed claims of divine healing to the uttermost boundaries."

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Raymond Cole


(d. 2001) Founder of the Church of God, the Eternal (COGTE), a split-off group from the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert Armstrong. Cole's family had been supporters of Armstrong since the 1930s, and he was one of the first students at Armstrong's Ambassador College in 1947. At one time an influential player in the leadership of the WCG, Cole left the group in 1975 and started the COGTE over what he believed to be "watering down true doctrine" by Armstrong. The doctrines in question were particularly the issue of divorce and remarriage, and the setting of the proper date for the church to observe the Holy Day of Pentecost.
    Strangely enough, for the next 25 years, until his death, Cole preached that Armstrong was divinely chosen by God to restore truth to the Church that had been lost since the first century. And he taught that all the doctrines Armstrong had taught in his early years were absolutely binding on members of the COGTE, because they had been divinely inspired by God to Armstrong. Yet he did not believe that Armstrong had any authority to change his mind on any doctrine, and thus no one had the right to accept any later changes to earlier church doctrine.

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Darrell Conder

Former long-time minister of the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert Armstrong. Abandoned his faith in Jesus as Savior in the 1990s and wrote a book titled Mystery Babylon and the Lost Ten Tribes in about 1996 with the specific aim of undermining the validity of the New Testament writings. Withdrew distribution of the book in 2000 because he had become rabidly anti-semitic, and decided to throw all his effort into combating what he perceived as the threat of the Jews to civilization; felt that even though the Christian religion was in error, it was preferable to Judaism. Has since changed his mind and returned to anti-Christian efforts.

(Click on Conder's name above for more details.)

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Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland


Pentecostal/Charismatic televangelists and author.s Most currently influential protégés of the teachings of Word Faith Movement pioneer Kenneth Hagin. Kenneth studied at Oral Roberts' Oral Roberts University (ORU). And he and wife Gloria spread their name it and claim it doctrines via their Believer's Voice of Victory program,

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Fred Coulter

Former member of the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert W Armstrong. Left the WCG in 1979, founded his own small denomination called the Biblical Church of God. Left that group over leadership disputes in 1982 and founded the Christian Biblical Church of God. While not claiming, as many former WCG members who started their own groups have, to be God's Only Spokesman on Earth, Coulter does never the less declare his own teachings on certain matters to be absolutely binding on believers, insisting they represent the only correct way to interpret the scriptures to determine the will of God. Anyone teaching anything even slightly different on some such matters has been labeled by one of Coulter's closest representatives in the past as a "minister of Satan."

This particularly applies to the details of how and when--and why--the church's observance of the Passover should be conducted. That doctrinal understanding is considered so significant that Coulter wrote a 450 page book just on the one topic. Coulter, who has a BA in theology from the now-defunct Ambassador College of the Worldwide Church of God,  has produced his own personal translation of the of the Bible. From the perspective of some of his critics, the volume is not a truly neutral, scholarly work, but an idiosyncratic effort which in places adjusts the wording of the scriptures to match up with Coulter's own theology. This version of the  Bible has the books of the Old and New Testament rearranged into what Coulter  believes to be the only "true" order in which they should be arranged. And he is adamant that the issue of ordering the books is extremely significant.  

Coulter's Bible is bound with an extensive commentary that further reinforces his own idiosyncratic interpretations. While this is a legitimate method of spreading his teachings, it may be useful for any purchasers to realize that they are getting a very narrow perspective of one man. That perspective is so narrow that a large proportion of those with whom he even shares a significant amount of doctrinal agreement find his reasonings on a number of topics--topics he considers vital to an adequate understanding of the Gospel--totally unpersuasive.

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Wade Cox

Australian member for a short time of the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert W Armstrong. Left and founded, along with a small group of like-minded people, a ministry called the Christian Churches of God with headquarters in Australia.  The ministry of the organization is primarily conducted through a large Internet site that features a very large collection of Cox's writings, along with some writings of other CCG authors. The CCG does not release to the public any figures regarding the number of individuals considered "members." So, although the traffic on the website does indicate a wide interest in the CCG writings,  it is not clear if there are hundreds or thousands who are directly affiliated with the organization around the world. Cox has promoted the CCG as the only Sabbatarian group that holds to the "true" first century teachings—in particular a "monotheistic" view of God which insists that Jesus, although now Savior and Messiah, is not in any sense divine, but rather an inferior, created being, a brother to Satan. The CCG enforces an exclusivist policy limiting fellowship, including participation in the annual bread and wine service connected with the observance of Passover, to those who affirm agreement with the unique doctrinal perspectives of the CCG in key matters, as represented in the writings of Cox and other CCG writers. This is a policy typical of a number of WCG split-off groups, which do not accept other Sabbatarians with similar beliefs and background  into full fellowship without full agreement with their own unique doctrinal distinctives.

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Paul and Jan Crouch


Husband and wife founders of the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN), which is the primary media outlet for most of the preachers, teachers and evangelists of the Word Faith Movement.

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Continue on to the listing of entries D through H





    Unless otherwise noted, all original material on this Field Guide website

   is © 2001-2011 by Pamela Starr Dewey.


Careful effort has been made to give credit as clearly as possible to any specific material quoted or ideas extensively adapted from any one resource. Corrections and clarifications regarding citations for any source material are welcome, and will be promptly added to any sections which are found to be inadequately documented as to source.


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