The United Pentecostal Church & Lee Stoneking At The United Nations
This is being posted due to all the hoopla on social media surrounding the appearance of United Pentecostal Church minister Elton Leroy "Lee" Stoneking, who spoke briefly at the United Nations on April 22, 2015. I have included a number of screen shots so people may see for themselves some of what transpired. Many more still need to be added. Most of these you will need to click on the links to view.
Tillman Chapel is found on the first floor of The Church Center for the United Nations, a twelve story building, located across the street from the United Nations. It is owned by the United Methodist Church, specifically the United Methodist Women, and is not part of the UN. It is referred to as the UN Chapel. Located on the southwest corner of First Avenue and 44th Street, the chapel is named for Sadie Wilson Tillman, a former president of the United Methodist Women. The address is 777 U.N. Plaza (44th Street), New York, NY.
Tillman Chapel is where Arthur C. Wilson conducts services and it is used by many different faiths and ministers. ("Founded by Methodists, today the chapel offers an interfaith space for advancing God's peace in the world. As a Christian ecumenical space, through action and representation it intentionally welcomes all of the world's religions including Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikh, Hinduism, Shinto and others, building together a common space for reflection and action."- Quote from the United Methodist Women website.) When you hear Art Wilson state that church services are being held "at the United Nations," understand that they are actually held in this building across the street from the UN. If you go to the nycago link provided, you will see a picture of the chapel and should recognize it in pictures shared by UPC ministers on Twitter and other social media. According to Wilson, the Bible studies are held on the 27th floor of the United Nations, apparently since October 2014.
How It Started & Conflicting & Ever Changing Stories
According to Art Wilson, service in the Tillman Chapel started in August 2013. He calls this the Church of the United Nations and later the International Church of the United Nations. He believes that revival is going to start in the "high places" "from the top" and work its way down. He shares that a woman who is one of the "secretary assistants" to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is related to a member of the church in Michigan where he is pastor. She was suffering from a worsening "major medical condition" and "seeking healing from a terminal illness." He claims God told her "she would find the answers to all her questions" at the church Wilson pastors. She attended a service at the International Church Of Metro Detroit in Romulus, Michigan apparently during the summer of 2013 and before the service was over, she was healed (pg. 37). It is said she has x-rays to prove this. At some point she was water baptized and spoke in tongues at the church.
However, according to UPC minister Jeffery Chavis (all his quotes are from an April 26, 2015 message), the young woman named Alexandra Barahona Posada had cancer and was healed before she ever went to the International Church Of Metro Detroit. According to him, she started praying as she was getting worse and after about 30 days, God healed her. [In the third week of January 2016, while briefly speaking at a Because of the Times conference in Louisiana, Art Wilson said that she was healed in the Spring of 2013.] Then her sister, a member of the church, told her to come to her church as there was more. She was baptized and spoke in tongues on her first visit to the church, but not healed during that visit as it had already happened. She was allegedly on leave from her position at the UN since her health was failing and had been in and out of hospitals. This isn't the only discrepancy in the story that is being told.
(Jeffery L. Chavis is the Executive Assistant to the Director of the Multicultural Ministries division of the United Pentecostal Church. It is part of their Church Administration/Church Advancement Department. Under that ministry, he is also the Coordinator of the Native American Ministries and Evangelism. He is the Section Two Presbyter on the North Carolina District Board of the United Pentecostal Church. He is also the Bishop and Senior Pastor of United The Pentecostal Church in Spring Lake, North Carolina. This information is from mid 2015.)
Chavis claims this first service was "packed" and they were "lined up around the walls" and there was "no room." (However, Art Wilson's picture, that he appears [see further below under 'uses someone else's picture'] to say is of the first service, shows no one lined up around the walls. In fact, none of the pictures seen show this. In addition, Wilson's statement of the number of people attending would indicate seating was still available. This is not shared to downplay how many were there, but rather to point out the apparent exaggerations and twisting of what transpired.) He mentions the chapel seats around 200 people. Wilson says there were between 100 and 150 in attendance. Chavis shares Wilson expected maybe 25-30 people at the chapel and didn't know what to do at this meeting, so he made a few comments, told a little about Alexandra and what happened. Alexandra then shared her testimony.
Chavis claims the "place came unglued. People received the Holy Ghost right there." This does not match a tweet from Wilson on November 25, 2013 that said the first person from their UN services received the Holy Ghost. It is no wonder the average members of a UPC church are believing various versions of these events when United Pentecostal ministers don't tell the same story.
Chavis also claims that when Alexandra applied for a position at the United Nations, that she had no formal education and was "hired on the spot." Yet her Linkedin page shows she has attended the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh. Since November 2010 she has held the position of First Officer Political Affairs/Programs Executive Office of the Secretary-General, which isn't the same as being a secretarial assistant to the Secretary-General. She worked in other capacities at the UN prior to then. A picture of Alexandra may be found here. She is the one in the middle. More may be found here. A picture of her with Art Wilson and others at the chapel is here. She is from Honduras.
Chavis believes that God orchestrated her being employed on the spot with no education as it later lead to the UPC holding services. He and Wilson see "signs" showing that they were destined to be there. These include the numbers for the chapel address being 777 (Wilson changed his Twitter name from actsknight to ArtWilson777.) and that the baptismal has the passage about "One Lord, one faith, one baptism". (Apostolics use that passage in Ephesians 4:5 to show that their mode of water baptism, by full water immersion solely in the name of Jesus, is the only acceptable method. Anything else causes the person to be lost. It is a matter of salvation to them.) Wilson even speaks of the painting of Jesus knocking on the United Nations building and says he believes it is the 27th floor, where he later started to hold Bible studies in a conference room. He has said that the drawing was created years ago and that someone had a prophetic word and drew that picture. (The UN Secretariat building has 39 stories above ground, with three below. There are air intake grills all around the building on the 6, 16, 28 and 39th levels. This drawing of Jesus appears to be knocking on a floor above the 28th floor intake grills.)
Upon her return to work at the UN, she spread the news of her experience and "many global officials" became curious. (Chavis says that the Secretary-General told her she needed to give her testimony to everyone in the United Nations.) Wilson then attempted to hold services, but was denied. In the April 2014 edition of the Pentecostal Herald, he shares that no one had ever heard of a church service happening previously at the "UN campus." Permission was later obtained and it is claimed that close to 150 people attended the first service on August 19, 2013. (Wilson said everyone was UN staff, with one guest and in a different place stated all were UN staff.)
However, the service was not at a "UN campus" or inside the UN, but as previously explained, it was held at the Tillman chapel, in a building owned by United Methodists. In the Herald article, the manner in which it was written made it appear that no one had held services there before, when services have been held in the chapel for years. In the 2014 article he claimed hundreds were on a "waiting list to experience a service at the United Nations building," yet no service was being held inside the UN when the article was written and published. Days after the first service he also stated there was a "waiting list" of those wishing to hear what was happening. If this is to be believed, after months of holding services and Bible studies, they still had not spoken to all who desired to hear. The statement of hundreds being on a waiting list is difficult to believe after having seen several pictures showing available seating at these services.
Unfortunately, it was at the time of the first service that Wilson used a picture that was not his, causing people to believe it was representative of that service. (See further below for details.) This picture was used several times, even as recent as November 2014. In addition, it is my opinion that stating that services are being held in the UN, or on the UN campus, when they are actually held outside of the UN in a building not part of it, is misleading. (Services are different from small Bible studies of UN employees being held on the 27th floor of the United Nations and Vani Marshall speaking at one of these in March 2015 does not turn it into a church service.) Sharing with people that services are across the street from the United Nations does not in any way detract from what is happening, so why not say this and not cause people to believe otherwise?
Wilson believes he needs to "take the territory" of the United Nations and that they are "sitting on Holy Ghost dynamite." He believes what is happening is amazing and supernatural.
Donations May Be Given To This Outreach
Wilson now requests donations to help with the expense of this outreach to the United Nations. It is labeled on PayPal as the "International community development group." It appears this request was added to his personal ministry website between April 23 and May 1, 2015. See here.
March 2015 Events
In the next to last week of March 2015, various ministers and members of the United Pentecostal Church were busy on Twitter, posting about events at the United Nations on March 25 & 26.
There were talks about a few people supposedly "getting the Holy Ghost" (translation is "they spoke in tongues," which means a language they do not already know) at the United Nations on Wednesday and Thursday. It appears that Vani Marshall, a former Hindu who attends a UPC church in Alexandria, Louisiana, spoke on the 25th at a Bible study group and a Muslim and one other were involved. (Raymond Woodward, a General Executive Presbyter of the UPC, claimed she spoke to "100 United Nations officials.") It would appear that this happened with five more on Thursday, if you go by Raymond Woodward's, Art Wilson's & Robert Henson's tweets. Art Wilson considers Vani Marshall "one of the greatest prophetess."
Robert Henson, UPC pastor from Flint, Michigan, was also there. Art Wilson, who used to belong to Henson's church, is in charge of these UN Bible studies and services. Wilson says that Henson is "probably the most powerful Bible teacher on the planet." Services there started in August 2013. Lee Stoneking, who Art Wilson believes is a prophet and advertises him as such, was invited to be the first guest speaker for Wilson, on November 12, 2014. It is a good thing he didn't speak on what some have termed "holy magic hair" or how Osama Bin Laden had 40 wives locked in a cave for seven years and when they were rescued, they were all water baptized in the name of Jesus and 26 came out of the water speaking in tongues. (He claims to have been told the latter by C.P. Thomas, a friend who he claims is an apostle, who was caught away in the same manner as Philip was in Acts 8:39. He was introduced to C.P. through Stan Gleason, yet another friend of Stoneking. The original story from C.P. Thomas was about 50 women released from captivity, as Open Door Newsletter reported in December 2011, "The house project for the 50 women who were released from captivity is nearing completion." The clip below where Stoneking speaks about Osama, was from a message he spoke at a "Touch The Future" conference in May of 2012 at Souls Harbor church in Belleview, Florida. These yearly conferences were designed to impact young ministers. For a full report on this, see Lee Stoneking And Osama Bin Laden's 40 Wives Story.)
On March 18, 2015, the New York Metro District of the United Pentecostal Church approved Wilson's United Nations ministry, more than eighteen months after they had already been holding services and Bible studies.
From what I can gather, it appears services at the chapel have been held on Wednesdays, with Bible studies being on Thursdays. In the beginning it appears services were on the second Wednesday of every month, starting with prayer at 12:30, the service at 1:00 and lunch at 2:00. Then on October 9, 2014, Bible studies started inside the United Nations building, though they were held prior to this, but apparently not at the UN. Art Wilson tweeted on this date that they "got permission to teach a bible study in the UN Secretary General's Assistants" conference room. (One UPC minister shares it is the floor on which the assistant Secretary General on the UN works, who is a friend of Wilson. This would be Kim Won-soo and pictures of him are posted by both Wilson and Stoneking.) It appears that mainly employees of the UN attend these studies (administrators and staff) and not any UN ambassadors or delegates. (This is seen in a Facebook post by David Bernard on July 1, 2016. See below. Bernard added a statement July 2 to say there were some "members of delegations" in attendance in a group of about twenty.)
In late November 2014, it was said that five had been baptized so far at the UN. As of February 10, 2015, Wilson claimed that nine people had been water baptized and that there had been "five notable miracles." Lee Stoneking claims that four happened in the November 2014 service when he spoke and shares they were healings; Wilson tweeted there were "many miracles." Stoneking also states that as of March 11, 2015, eleven had been baptized. This would all be since August 19, 2013.
If you listen to Jeffery Chavis, he shared on April 26, 2015 that around 20-21 people have both been water baptized and spoken in tongues.
Since Wilson has been claiming for years that miracles are happening regularly in his Romulus/Wayne, Michigan church services, it is difficult for some to take many of his claims of miracles seriously. Pretty much since the church started, he has been saying they are in revival.
The tweets and stated figures are at times puzzling. With the above in mind, please note that in an August 28, 2014 tweet, he claimed "many ambassadors being added to the kingdom" and "many national ambassadors and staff being added to the kingdom." On June 12, 2014, Wilson tweeted that they "just had a baptism." On September 11, 2014, he tweeted, "many baptisms committed for the next service." "Many" actually meant three, as on November 12, 2014, he tweeted that three people were baptized, the evening prior. This is the chapel service where Lee Stoneking first spoke and shared about his healing from a heart attack. Joel Andrus was also at this service. On November 18, 2014, Wilson tweeted that "big things are happening behind the scenes that are miraculous." On February 27, 2015, he tweeted that on the 25th, three people from Trinidad were baptized. On April 23, 2015, he tweeted that "many baptisms" were scheduled.
On November 28, 2013, Wilson tweeted that they had their "first person receive the Holy Ghost at our United Nations Campus." Earlier in this article it was shared that two people on March 25, 2015 and five on March 26 spoke in tongues. Yet on April 27, Vani Marshall tweeted that the number was nine for March and that they were "UN staff."
Jeffery Chavis has shared that he has been invited back to the United Nations, though no date has been set and he is unaware if he will speak at a General Assembly. He was there for a Multicultural Ministry (UPC related) meeting in April 2015. According to him, The United Nations has invited that ministry to the UN and he estimated that it wouldn't happen until sometime next year. He invited ministers to be part of this and explained that they would need to be on the agenda six months in advance and they would need a background check.
Chavis also claims the United Pentecostal Church is the only church that has ever been at the United Nations and that Wilson is the "United Nations pastor." According to him, people at the UN stop Wilson "right in the hallways," asking for prayer for various needs. He believes that the UN "could be God's last resort" and could lead to "worldwide revival."
Mark Willhoite, another UPC minister, claims that after Stoneking's UN address, "he gave a bible study to 35 after the meeting and 7 received the Holy Ghost last night," which 'last night' appears to have been April 23, 2015. He shared that he heard it "in a meeting with Jack Cunningham," another UPC minister, on the 24th. Yet Wilson on April 23 mentions that at the study conducted after the UN speech, it was him, his wife and one other there, with a "record crowd, we had tons of people" and mentions nothing about anyone speaking in tongues.
David Bernard And More Figures
In David Bernard's (General Superintendent of the UPCI) email of June 2, 2015, he shared with members and constituents about the United Nations related services. He shares another conflicting set of statistics. Both Bernard and Wilson, as well as others, are scheduled to speak at the "Building The Bridge Conference" in Pearland, Texas (one of the more conservative UPC churches) in late June 2015. Below is what Bernard wrote.
"God has given the United Pentecostal Church International an open door at the United Nations headquarters in New York City through Pastor Art Wilson. Brother Wilson is pastor of International Pentecostal Church in metro Detroit, MI, and has served for several years as secretary of the UPCI's Building the Bridge Ministries. For over a year he has been holding weekly services at the United Nations. He has ministered on the 27th floor, in the UN conference hall, and across the street in the UN chapel. To date, 11 people have been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and 13 have received the Holy Ghost.
"Typically people from about 40 nationalities are in attendance at each service. Many participants represent their respective countries and cultures at the highest level. Guest speakers at the UN services have included UPCI ministers such as Lee Stoneking, Royce Andrus, Robert Henson, Carlton Coon, David Trammell, and Vani Marshall. The UPCI Multicultural Ministries team recently held an official board meeting in a reserved conference room there. Please pray that God will continue to give us favor in this unique setting for the furtherance of His kingdom around the world."
If Lee Stoneking's March 11, 2015 announcement is correct, that eleven had been baptized up to that date, and if David Bernard's figure is accurate, it means that from March 11 through June 2, 2015 there were no additional water baptisms. It certainly throws Jeffery Chavis' figure of 20-21 as of late April out the window.
If David Bernard's speaking in tongues figure is correct, then Jack Cunningham's mention (via Mark Wilhoite) of seven speaking in tongues after Stoneking's United Nations address cannot be accurate. And again, it certainly throws Jeffery Chavis' figure of 20-21 as of late April out the window.
At the yearly special services in Alexandria, Louisiana called 'Because of the Times,' Art Wilson reported that 27 had been water baptized. This was the third week of January 2016, twenty nine months after the United Nations outreach started.
Keep in mind that these figures are all since August of 2013. As can be clearly seen, they are not representative of a great revival at the United Nations, especially when just one UPC church can report that many and more happening at one service. Showing this in no way minimizes the truth that it is great that 11, 13 or 27 people have come to faith in Jesus. (That is, assuming all these people were not already Christians. The UPC and other Apostolic churches like to convert those who are already Christian, because according to their doctrines, most Christians are not saved.)
With the continual sharing of differing figures by various licensed ministers of the United Pentecostal Church, how is the average member supposed to know who to believe? Even after Bernard's email, Raymond Woodward tweeted incorrect information the very same day. It isn't "in the last year," but rather "to date" - which is two months shy of two years.
David Bernard at UN Bible study. Photo by Art Wilson
David Bernard Attends June 30, 2016 Bible Study
According to David Bernard's schedule for the first three months of 2016, he will be at the United Nations Chapel service (and most likely the Bible study on the 27th floor) on February 17 & 18, 2016. I never saw any Facebook posts or Tweets about this, so it appears it may not have happened.
However, on June 30, 2016, David Bernard did speak at the study held on the 27th floor. You may watch it here, at least for now. He basically gives the normal UPC talk, teaching one must follow Acts 2:38 to obey the Gospel (the normal how do we respond to the Gospel/what are we supposed to do). Wilson called his talk "fantastic" and "powerful". He posted on Facebook that about twenty were in attendance. Please note that he mentions staff and administrators attended. No ambassadors; no delegates. This appears to be no different than having a study at any place of business where employees may attend.
It appears he was in NYC on the 30th and July 1, when a two-day meeting of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was held and attended an Ambassadors Memorial. Members of the UPC's Multicultural Ministry also met during this time. It appears Bernard and Wilson's wife, Bethany, lead prayer at two different meetings. Many people from all types of churches and groups get to do this at the United Nations.
On July 2, Bernard corrected himself and shared there were some "members of delegations" in attendance at the study of about twenty, but no ambassadors. Note Wilson's comment in response, saying "others signed up for baptism" where Bernard posted on July 1 that "one" did. Once again, changing and differing stats are being given.
What some may not realize is that for a long time, many church organizations have been involved at the United Nations. It is nothing new. It is just that the UPC is starting to get involved. The United Nations has long interacted with religious groups through NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), some of which are FBOs (Faith Based Organizations). Wilson's church has an NGO called International Community Development.
Arthur C. Wilson & The International Church
Art Wilson was born and raised in Flint, Michigan and started attending a UPC church in his late teens to early 20s. He was a member of South Flint Tabernacle, pastor Pastor Robert Henson, and this is where he began his ministry. His ministry, before being licensed, started while ministering at juvenile detention centers and prisons. He claims hundreds received the Holy Ghost from his efforts there. (Someone who used to be part of that jail ministry has shared that they visited the juvie and two half way houses. They added they were sure a couple people spoke in tongues, but not hundreds as is claimed.) Wilson later became part of the youth department as a leader, where he says the youth went from ten or fifteen people, to around 180 in a couple years. (However, someone who was a member of South Flint Tabernacle before Wilson came, has shared that the church always had a big youth group.) He believes he "has won hundreds and hundreds" of people to God.
He received his local license, the lowest level, on January 25, 1996. In May of 2000, he received his general license. He later became ordained, the highest level of licensing. At some point he attended the former Kent Christian College in Dover, Delaware for two years and also the Texas Bible College. Both are UPC affiliated. It was at Kent that Wilson met Stoneking, where he "completely gravitated" to him and he became one of his closest friends and dearest mentors. Being a "key part" of Wilson's life, he spends "weekly time" with him, according to a January 16, 2014 interview. The people he has been influenced the most by are Henson, Stoneking, Stan Gleason and C.P. Thomas.
In 1997 he became the Section 2 Youth Leader of the Michigan District UPCI and served for three years. Then he evangelized, preaching in various churches, and ended up working with William Nix, another UPC minister. (It is reported that during the time he became a home missions evangelist, Henson stopped talking to him for years and did not help when Wilson started his first church. It has also been shared that he forbid people from talking to Wilson during this time. Similar was done when former UPC minister Joel Chipman left the organization. It has also been shared that while Henson would preach against television back then, he had one in his bedroom.) While working with Nix, Wilson shares God spoke to him "in a voice" and said "this is where I want you to be." By November 2000, he had founded Strait Gate International Church in Romulus, Michigan. It is now known as The International Church Of Metro Detroit. It is a multicultural church, and was planned as such, and is legally affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church International.
The church began by holding services at Merriman Elementary School with just a few people and later moved to the Romulus Civic Hall, where they remained for about a year. They were then able to move into a refurbished church at 32894 Prescott Street in Romulus. As they grew, they made a new home at 31650 Van Born Road in Wayne.
Lee Stoneking At The United Nations General Assembly & Art Wilson Writes The Speech
On April 22, 2015, there was a fair amount of social media activity, with many United Pentecostal Church members feeling it was the end times because Lee Stoneking spoke that morning at the United Nations and quoted Acts 2:38 from the Bible. It was being said that he "addressed the world" and that is was the "most powerfully prophetic address to the United Nations in history." Wilson himself claimed that the event "fulfilled Matthew 24:14." What many do not know is that Art Wilson claims to have written Lee Stoneking's speech. (Stoneking wrote a book on his healing and spoke in dozens of churches at length about it, but Art Wilson wrote his United Nations speech. That is difficult to understand. Art removed this video after we linked to it. )
Lee Stoneking, unlike the other clergy who addressed the assembly, used most of his time to speak about himself and his healing, while mostly neglecting to speak on tolerance and reconciliation. For detailed official information from the United Nations about this event, go here.
Some are not even correctly sharing what was spoken. The Christian Apostolic Church in West Virginia, on both their website and Facebook page, quote another person who gave a faulty quote from Stoneking and also the wrong amount of time he spoke. Others claim Stoneking told the "whole world" to "obey Acts 2:38," when all he did was quote the passage. He didn't say obey it. He didn't explain how Apostolics view the passage, nor what it means to them. He didn't say it had anything to do with salvation. He only quoted the verse.
What actually happened, was that Art Wilson had been invited to attend and speak at a UN debate on "Promoting Tolerance And Reconciliation: Fostering Peaceful, Inclusive Societies And Countering Violent Extremism." For whatever reason, he approached Lee Stoneking about speaking. (However, if you listen to Jeffery Chavis' account of how this transpired, he states that because of hearing Stoneking's testimony at the November 12, 2014 chapel services, someone at the UN invited Stoneking to speak at this General Assembly. Chavis even wonders if he himself will get to speak there.)
Art, plus Raymond Woodward and others, tweeted that they would be the first Apostolics in history to address the United Nations General Assembly, but that may not be accurate. Whether or not this is true, it was not a full assembly meeting as many were envisioning, where ambassadors from throughout the world were in attendance. According to one website, "the 70th Regular Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 70) is scheduled to open at UN Headquarters on Tuesday, 15 September 2015."
Paul Murray, an ALJC minister, had previously been an invited speaker to the UN in 2008. There could have been others in the past, too. Some have brought up the name of Gaddi Holguin Vasquez, who became a United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture, in Rome, Italy in 2006. However, I have not yet found anything indicating he addressed a General Assembly. However, he was raised Apostolic and while he may or may not have addressed a General Assembly, as a US Ambassador to the United Nations, he most assuredly was in official UN meetings attended by more people.
While indeed this is a "moment" for the United Pentecostal Church and Lee Stoneking in particular, a great many people have stood in that same spot to speak and anyone may apply for an opportunity to do so. Even if it were true that Stoneking was the first, consider how few people actually saw and heard him. Regarding the later viewing of the video of his speech, it most likely involves fellow Oneness Pentecostals. In addition, Stoneking was not by any means the only one to take the podium that day as this tweet from the UN shows.
If it was a "miracle" that Stoneking spoke, then what can be said about all the representatives of other faiths that did likewise that very same day? Was it an honor for him? Certainly it was. But it is not a miracle. This word is diminished by being tossed around so much that it no longer means what it meant in the Bible. Turning water into wine, a blind man instantly seeing, the cripple instantly walking, five loaves of bread multiplying and feeding thousands- things such as these are true miracles.
Let's cut through the hype and see what really transpired. A number of religious leaders gathered together at the United Nations on April 22, 2015. Lee Stoneking and Art Wilson were two out of what appears to have been just over a dozen people from various faiths. They were there for a specific purpose, to talk about using "their influence to counter extremists' narrative by standing up for moderation & mutual understanding." They were to "discuss ways to foster peaceful, inclusive societies." They were not called there to share their varied religious beliefs or to speak of miracles or healings. Stoneking had already shared about his healing at Wilson's chapel service in November 2014. (Tweets are from https://twitter.com/un_spokesperson on April 22, 2015.)
Instead of speaking of these things, Lee Stoneking spent his six and a half minutes sharing about his 2003 healing and at the very end finally addressed the topic. He said, "The answer, your excellencies, to the violence in our day and to the human atrocities in our day, is Jesus. He is the Prince of Peace. I give you Jesus." This is all he spoke that addressed the reason for the gathering of interfaith ministers. You may read an official article about the event here.
There were far more empty seats at the UN meeting than there were members of the UN and their staff attending. One comment I found online stated they heard about 100 people were in attendance, but the accuracy of this number is unknown.
The picture below, and the one at the top of this portion of the article, are taken from the official website that shows the entire meeting of April 22. They clearly illustrate that the General Assembly meeting was sparsely attended, despite being a "High-Level General Assembly Thematic Debate." (In the video, Stoneking speaks at about the 2:06:29 marker. If you watch even part of it, you will see how the other faith leaders were addressing the subject.)
In light of all this, the "end time" is not here because Stoneking spoke at the UN. God is not "getting ready to move in a mighty way," it isn't an indication that "something big" is going to happen and this wasn't the Gospel being preached to the whole world, but rather was a planned meeting of clergy to try and address the violence of our time. In fact, fellow UPC minister Chester Wright would disagree that the Gospel was preached according to his article, The Message Of The Gospel Is Not The Plan Of Salvation. He said in part, "Until I am asked by those who come under the conviction of the Word, I am going to preach Paul's message to the lost: Christ and Him crucified. Preaching the plan of salvation to those who have not even been convicted of their need to be saved is counterproductive and ineffective."
I am sure some are thinking that the United Pentecostal Church is making a huge gain of high ranking people at the United Nations and that this will change things there and across the world. Consider the figures mentioned previously, given by UPC ministers, for how many have been baptized and spoken in tongues from August 19, 2013 through April 26, 2015. It simply is not happening and is not "the last day flood of truth." There is not an Apostolic revival taking place at the United Nations, though they are reaching some people who work there. It is not "the most important location on earth" as Wilson stated in February 2015.
Lee Stoneking Talks About Alexandra Posada, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, and the UN President
At the recent "Dreams of Harvest Camp" held by the South Texas District of the United Pentecostal Church from June 17-19, 2015, Lee Stoneking was one of the speakers. He tells his version of Alexandra Posada's story here, where he says she never served God, nor believed the Trinity and it appears he is implying it was Alexandra's idea for him to come and speak at the United Nations chapel in November of 2014. In this next video he is in the midst of talking about that November appearance and shares how the next day he did the Bible study at the UN and spoke on the Oneness of God and that everyone understood it. In the third video he talks about his UN speech and mentions how many people have viewed the video. (That is another topic as both Facebook and YouTube count views differently than what you or I might count as a view. For instance, if someone just starts watching a YouTube video and then clicks it off two seconds later, it is counted as a view. Views also doesn't mean that many individual people watched it.)
In the fourth video at about the 5:44 mark, he speaks of meeting Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, a Muslim and President of the Sixty-Sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly, at the luncheon which was held on April 22, 2015 at the United Nations. Stoneking shares he told Al-Nasser that he prayed for his wife (Muna Rihani Al-Nasser) that morning (as Stoneking knew she had cancer, was dying, and is a Christian). Al-Nasser gave him his business card, something that Stoneking shares isn't done at the United Nations, and it means Al-Nasser wants a phone call and Stoneking says he is going to get it. [It appears that during Art Wilson's brief talk at the January 2016 Because of the Times meeting, that he may have been referring to Muna Rihani during the last two minutes as he speaks of a then recent phone call. He was asked to have an audience with "his excellency" as his wife was dying from stage four cancer. He was picked up in a car, dropped off at a high rise and taken in a private elevator to a massive suite. He laid hands on both of them and prayed for them. At the end he says he just got the report that she is "totally healed".]
Then he shares about end-time Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn driving an hour to the United Nations after the luncheon to meet Stoneking and that he said three times, "We've got to get back to Acts 2:38." Art Wilson then tells Cahn that Stoneking just gave a speech on it and played it for him. Jonathan Cahn then says, "This is timing. I need a miracle. Something's gone wrong with my thyroid gland. It's not functioning normally. I don't feel well at all." Stoneking says he will pray for him and he will be healed, but first he grills him as to if he has been baptized in Jesus name and if he has the baptism of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues. Cahn responds yes to both. Then Lee Stoneking prayed with Jonathan Cahn there at the United Nations and he says Cahn spoke in tongues "all over the place." Stoneking later heard that Cahn's thyroid is now fine. (Note that Cahn's church does not appear to teach these as does the UPC. In addition, in the 2015 Israel tour where there was a water baptism performed in the Jordan, there is no mention of a necessity of only using the name of Jesus as seen in this video, starting at about the 4:10 mark when Cahn starts speaking.)
Near the beginning of this fourth video, Stoneking shares erroneous information about cobra bites by saying our military people are told that in 30 seconds convulsions start and in three minutes you are dead. Toward the end of the video, he repeats the false sweeping statement that the United States government has banned military chaplains from praying in the name of Jesus. He also makes a wild claim that Christian songwriters right now had a meeting and got together where they decided to take the name of Jesus out of any new hymns and songs they write. While both those things are happening, they (Apostolic Christians) are standing in the United Nations saying, "I give you Jesus! Jesus is the answer!" Stoneking claims that God's spotlight is now on Apostolic Christians and that this is their day and they cannot miss this or they have missed it all.
Art Wilson Blocks Man On Twitter & Paul Murray Responds
On April 24, 2015, a man tweeted to Art Wilson that his claim about being the first Apostolics to address the UN General Assembly wasn't true. Guess what happened? Wilson blocked the man from his Twitter account. Paul Murray, a former UPC minister and current ALJC minister who spoke at the United Nations before Stoneking, re-tweeted this on April 24, 2015.
The individual wasn't mean in his tweet, but just pointed out that he believed the claim was untrue. If the man tweeting him was in error, why not simply tweet back the facts instead of blocking him? Why should the man have to go privately to Wilson, as at least one has suggested, when Wilson and others proclaimed this publicly? If it were me, I would prefer to be corrected so I didn't go around claiming something false. While he may have made the claim in ignorance, being a minister he should want to correct it.
Consider the hundreds, if not thousands of people, who have addressed the United Nations in some manner. Does the UN keep a list of what religious beliefs a person holds when they speak, so that people may claim they were the first Buddist, or Baptist, or Oneness Pentecostal to speak? How can anyone assuredly state they were the very first of any belief to have spoken there unless they were one of the first to address the UN many years ago when they formed?
This brings to mind the Apostolic Congress that was covered back in 2004 on this site. The group felt they were "affecting policy in Washington, and bringing about real change in America." They would post pictures with various political figures. It was made to appear that great things would happen.
On April 29, Paul Murray sent clarification to me that it was not a General Assembly to which he spoke. Within an hour of hearing from him, this article was updated and then our reports on Facebook were as well. He shares that he did not address the General Assembly but rather was "at a special convening at the United Nations in 2008. This meeting was held to address, reaffirm, and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the passing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." He went on to share that, "In fact, the General Assembly Sessions are typically held annually during the month of September. The 2015 Session of the UN General Assembly will not begin until September 15th and runs through the 22nd."
Murray was so inundated with inquiries about this, that he added an article on his website for clarification on April 29, as well as sharing his thoughts on what transpired. You may read it here.
Art Wilson Uses Someone Else's Picture In Social Media
Never did I expect to find such evidence of the apparent use of another person's picture when pulling together information for this article. I am flabbergasted and astounded. While researching information on chapel services, it popped up in a Google search. Please note by pointing out the use of this photo, I am not questioning that services have been and are being held in the chapel. Rather the use of the photo, with never a mention that it wasn't from his service, is the concern. For anyone looking into his tweets, you may have to go to the photo section to see them all.
On August 22 and 26, 2013, Art Wilson tweeted a picture that appeared to represent his services at the UN chapel. It wasn't a picture of his service, but was taken from another website that had posted it before Wilson did and appears to have been from a 2009 event.
If anyone thinks the reverse may have taken place and the other website took Wilson's picture, know that the Wayback machine has an archived version dated July 22, 2013, before Wilson ever started services at the chapel.
Having discovered this, I find it interesting that he authored a book entitled, "Tell Me The Truth."
Since we posted about this on April 25, it appears that Wilson has attempted to address this only a very little in a subsequent tweet late on the same day. He wrote, "We post photos & invited guests. Photo posted from online at the start were to show the chapel many have been posted since of our service." There was no apology in these tweets. Allow me to address this.
As you can see from the screen shots of the tweets from August, not once is it mentioned that the picture is not from the first service. By posting the picture by itself as in the August 22, 2013 tweet, it gives the impression that it was from the service. Using it again on August 26 and writing "Service at the United Nations Chapel. It was packed with UN officials!!" would lead anyone to believe that the picture was from that service. It was also used on his Facebook on August 20, 2013 without stating it wasn't his picture. My questions on this are why use someone else's picture to talk about your service? Why do this when you stated on Facebook at the same time that you had "more" and "many more" pictures of the service? If one wanted to simply show what the chapel looked like, why not use one of the photos available that show the chapel when there was no service taking place? Why not at least tweet at the same time that you are using someone else's photo? The explanation does not address these questions.
In addition, why use that same photo in the video of the 14th anniversary of the International Church of Metro Detroit on November 24, 2014, more than a year later and after you would have many other photos to use? It is even stored on the church website and is marked as "UN-BLDG-OUR-FIRST-BIBLE-STUDY-8-19-2013," just as the picture of Wilson and those with him on the same day, outside of the UN, is labeled.
The photo in question is seen at about the 2:52 mark of the video.
In all the uses of this picture, from August 20, 2013 through November 2014, not once was it ever stated online during that time that the photo was not representative of Wilson's first service at the United Nations. The one tweet had no writing and it could have been easily mentioned there. Nothing was ever stated until I addressed the issue on April 25, 2015 when it was discovered. While I am glad to see that Art Wilson is now sharing that the picture was not of his first service, it is still perplexing that it was used at least four times in a manner that would lead anyone to believe it was their service and not once was it stated otherwise. A photo of the chapel, with no people there, could have easily been used if one simply wished to show what it looked like and it would not have caused countless people to erroneously believe that it represented the August 19, 2013 service. Unfortunately, there will still be people who believe it does.
On April 27, Wilson made seven tweets about the UN, of which all included pictures and one video and again there was no apology. He mentions having requested clearance to use the pictures from the first service at the chapel. If this is so, it must have taken more than a year to receive clearance. It doesn't explain the use of the picture in question in the November 2014 anniversary video. It would appear that when a member of the church produced that, he believed it was of their service since real photographs of services were also included. This causes one to wonder if this also had been presented to the church members as if it were the first service. None of the tweets fully address these questions. Three of those tweets on this day were about the Bible studies being conducted on the 27th floor of the UN. It is not in question that studies are happening there, but rather that since the beginning, it has often been shared as if everything was happening inside the UN when it clearly was not. It appears the studies inside the United Nations didn't start until more than a year after chapel services began.
One person online, likens what Wilson did to using a "stock photo" and claims that many people do this. This was not a stock photo that was used as other photos from the play are shown. The website it was taken from has quite a few pictures online, from their own meetings in the chapel as well as elsewhere in the United Methodist building. Another who appears to be a United Pentecostal minister has stated "Art Wilson had to take great risks and post pictures that could invade the privacy of high level people" because of pointing out the use of the photo in question. (From Apostolic Friend's Forum, April 29) That is laughable and not correct as Wilson had already been posting these pictures from the first service and more, months before this article began. In fact, he has been posting pictures of Alexandra for some time, including as far back as August 2013.
It appears that the use of this photo has caused activity in WordShare, a private discussion board solely for UPC licensed ministers and started by Scott Phillips and Kevin Shindoll in the Fall of 2006. It is shared that Wilson posted the following: "the first picture we ever posted on Twitter was a picture from the internet to show what it looked like and to give a idea of the services. There was a lot of people wanting updates and we had to be sure it was ok to post pictures. (see now that that wasn't a wise choice) However To prove our intentions were not to deceive-- If you go to our Twitter you will see a few weeks later upon making sure it was ok to post. we posted pictures of us having church in the chapel with our crowd. The pictures are there and dated on Twitter".
If you go to his Twitter account, you will find that in 2013, little was tweeted about the UN as there appears to be about seven, with two of those being the picture in question and one having nothing to do with chapel services. There is a September 3, 2014 posting on Twitter, as well as on August 28, which show actual photos from a service, but one is not found from September 2013. When you click on the September 3, 2014 picture, you see the picture collage that Wilson re-tweeted on April 27, 2015 with the clearance mention.
It is not representative of a tweet just "a few weeks later" after the August 19, 2013 service, but rather one from more than a year after the first chapel service. In addition, due to when it was posted, some may question if it is representative of August 2014 services. In addition to this, prior to this tweet that Wilson mentions in his explanation, at least six pictures had been uploaded and shared with others on his Instragram account on June 18, 2014, including one of a chapel service, and people were acknowledging them.
Finally, on May 1, 2015, six days after this story broke and more than 20 months after the original posts, Wilson apologized and added additional tweets to the picture that was not of his service. He attached a tweet to both of the August 2013 postings and stated, "please note this is not our service. This is just a picture of what the UN Chapel looks like. We are sorry for any confusion". He made an additional tweet of a picture from one of his actual chapel services.
PWC 2015: Spiritual Shout
Lee Stoneking has them, on the count of three, to shout the name of "Jesus." Upon doing this, he claims "that will absolutely obliterate the forces of darkness in this world and it will go to your respective churches, in the name of Jesus." (This is from a 2015 service at Art Wilson's church, during the Prophetic Word Conference. The forces of darkness are still at work in our world and this shout didn't change that.)
Sensationalism, Angels & Earthquakes
Why do many in the UPC have to sensationalize things? There are some ministers who have a reputation for it and even other ministers in the group will acknowledge it. Is everything always epic, awesome, miraculous, supernatural, amazing and getting ready to explode? Just what is Holy Ghost dynamite? Are there really all these "new levels" in God that a church reaches? Does one feel more powerful or closer to God in saying these things? Is there a need to pat oneself upon the back by shouting things like "we are the first!" and "no one else has done this before!"? Is it proper to send a message of "Look at US!!!!"? Are some using any means, even inaccurate reports, in order to increase their ministry or following or cause people to look at them? Is it because you may think that your message may not be accepted as is, without the sensationalism and exaggeration? Where should the focus be placed, upon an individual church, minister, organization or on God?
Must we grasp at any little thing and make it a sign while attempting to validate ourselves, our beliefs or our ministries, like a building address, a painting, scripture on a baptistry and a totally unrelated gas explosion? Or even an earthquake happening in Michigan when a service is being held, likening it to Acts 4:31, especially while at the same time thousands in Nepal have suffered great loss and others have died and been wounded due to an earthquake? There were people in Nepal, in the midst of church services, that died during this earthquake and we should believe the Michigan quake is the result of Wilson's church praying and a sign from God? See a totally different reaction at another church that felt the earthquake during their service here. (Tweets are from May 2, 2015.)
Acts 4:31 (KJV) says in part, "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together." Just the place where they were assembled was shaken. It wasn't an earthquake with an epicenter many miles from where they were meeting and it was a one time recorded event in the New Testament. This isn't a sign from God to this church or the UPC. It isn't a sign that the spiritual world was shaken. On our Facebook page on the same day in sharing the tweets I commented, "I can just imagine all that will be said in the evening service about this." And it happened as expected. It is claimed they were visited by angels (May 3 Facebook). Angels seem to periodically show themselves at Art Wilson's church, such as in September 2012 and August 2012.
On May 2, 2015, the evening of their next to last day of an annual prophetic word conference, Wilson spoke how the earthquake the day before was a result of their prayer, and that it was a certified sign that God was shaking things up in the Kingdom. He also stirred up the crowd by telling a story of how God miraculously caught Lee Stoneking as he was falling when the earthquake hit, and he landed in a sitting position. Wilson claimed that the angels of God gently placed him on the floor unharmed. A clip of this was posted on Facebook and that has vanished as well as the message from Jeffery Chavis in April, linked to on this page. When we reported on an unrelated story from a church in Kansas in 2012, things we linked to started disappearing off the web, too.
Wilson appears to have been grooming the church for years. It is believed they will change the world, they have reached the "level needed" to have the "greatest revival," and they will be "one of the few key locations" for the miraculous.
The Person Who Brings Up A Problem, Becomes The Problem
Through the years his site has covered several events and stories relating to the UPC and some other Apostolics. Yet none of the previous articles have brought the attention as has this one. As is often done in unhealthy churches, the one bringing up a problem becomes the problem. Some, in attempting to discredit me and others who have expressed their thoughts on the subject, have resorted to all manner of name calling and vitriol. Instead of simply addressing aspects of what happened, instead some on both sides of the issue have stepped into the gutter with personal insults, name calling, and false accusations. Why can't people discuss issues without making such personal attacks? Address the issues.
Many things are being said against those of us who have spoken out, with some claiming we "viciously make war" with Apostolics. Even our eternal destination is tossed at us. Art Wilson himself likens us to Satan. (Tweeted May 6, 2015) We are called liars, hate-filled, bitter, heretics, dirt, antichrist and more. We are pawns and puppets of the devil. Some of these have been said by licensed UPC and other Apostolic ministers and this article has been discussed in their closed forums. If one speaks out, it must be because they hate the message and those involved. We are somehow the ones causing confusion and not those who are sharing conflicting reports or exaggerated claims. If this approach doesn't work, then we must be envious of what is happening.
Take note that such vitriol is not found in this article and ask who are the ones actually being vicious? Why is it permissible for them to have all types of websites and blogs where they expose what they believe are unbiblical teachings or deception but it's wrong for this one to do so? I've long been both hated and loved and everything in between, as well as called all manner of names throughout the years. Accusing me of hating these people, which is not true, or claiming I am simply bitter, also untrue, does not change one iota what has been said, done and claimed by some mentioned in this article. Whether or not I am the antichrist or a heretic, doesn't change the events discussed. Yell at the top of your lungs that this is a "damnable" website and God will take vengeance upon me, but it doesn't change the truth that I am not the one who is stating as fact conflicting stories about the services, nor am I the one who used someone else's picture and posted it in a manner that caused people to believe it was from my service. I am not the problem because I pointed out some problems.
The truth is, while I was in the United Pentecostal Church, I liked Lee Stoneking. I never heard of Art Wilson until after leaving. Stoneking was heard for the first time back in the early 1980s at a church camp and that impressed me. Years later, I heard him at a small home missions church and stood right next to him when we asked him to pray for a man who had not yet spoken in tongues and had tried to for years (the prayer didn't change that). In the 80s, after reading his booklet on the gifts of the Spirit, I had a question and sent a letter and he graciously made a hand written response. I believe I still have it.
There is no personal grudge or feelings against these men, though I am in disagreement with much of what they teach, and have prayed for both of them. It is good that some people briefly heard Jesus mentioned at the UN during Stoneking's talk. Yet there are difficulties with some of the claims surrounding it all, as well as the services held across the street from the UN. It is my opinion that reports have been exaggerated and that people do not have a clear picture of what has transpired and so erroneous information is unwittingly being passed along through social media and other means. This article addresses these matters.
It can be asked, why not tell things as they are, without distortions, without adding to what actually happened? Why is there a need to state things like "many" are being baptized, when it was three, or that "many ambassadors" are being added to the kingdom when it wasn't many? Were they actually ambassadors or were they UN staff? Were they US ambassadors or those from other countries? Why not share actual figures? People will still rejoice over three people being baptized, just as they would if it were many. Indeed, it is something in which to rejoice!
I am glad that there are people hearing about Jesus in these services and Bible studies. I am glad that people are being water baptized. (Contrary to what some think, I have no problem with people being baptized in the name of Jesus, just that it is taught a person is not saved unless they are specifically baptized in this manner.) However, I am also well aware of UPC teachings in regard to salvation and standards and am dismayed that these may be instilled in those attending and that people may be pulled into a performance based religion as so many others have.
Some Links Of Interest
There is a report from 2007 by Matt Sorger (Trinitarian) who claimed to have a meeting at the United Nations where people were allegedly "being slain" out in the mezzanine after the service.
http://www.theinternationalchurch.org/ is the website of The International Church Of Metro Detroit, pastor Art Wilson.
https://www.facebook.com/TheInternationalChurchofmetrodetroit is the church's Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002737792389 is the church's Facebook profile.
International Community Development is the church's NGO group. The website domain was obtained May 7, 2015.
Wilson's Periscope is where you may watch live broadcasts.
https://twitter.com/ArtWilson777/ is Art Wilson's Twitter page. You can find numerous tweets and pictures about the UN, going all the way back to August 2013. It may go private, as that happened when we shared some of his tweets in the past on our Facebook Page on March 28, 2015. His Twitter used to be @actsknight.
http://www.artwilson.org was created November 5, 2013 and is Art Wilson's ministry website, created soon after United Nations ministry began.
https://www.facebook.com/art.wilson.927 is his Facebook page.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrqRgJLvTRbXPAlt-4k95WQ is his Ministers In Training YouTube channel and this is the Facebook page for it.
https://www.youtube.com/user/actsknight/videos appears to be a seldom used YouTube channel, using his old Twitter ID.
https://youtu.be/rZySpZIHsog is an almost 15 minute address by him from February 10, 2015 at the Multi-Cultural Ministries Meeting in St. Louis, MO, where he shares about the United Nations ministry and calls the UN 'Babylon.'
http://www.ministrymentorship.com/2014/01/16/029-art-wilson-interview/ is a 32 minute interview with Art Wilson from January 16, 2014.
http://issuu.com/pentecostalherald/docs/861604_april_herald is the April 2014 edition of the Pentecostal Herald, the official publication of the UPCI. On page 37 is an article by Art Wilson, describing how the UN services started.
https://www.facebook.com/susan.d.smith.378/videos/10208776817037705/ is Art Wilson at 'Because of the Times' during the third week of January 2016, where he states that 27 had been water baptized. This was twenty nine months after the United Nations outreach started. A professional version that extends for several minutes after Wilson stops sharing is also found on Facebook here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVLonS3p70w is from April 23, 2015 and shows Art Wilson stating he wrote the speech Lee Stoneking gave at the United Nations. Note: Since we linked to this on May 18, 2015 it vanished from online on May 19, 2015. Someone had posted this on Stoneking's Facebook page after our link. Since it was removed, one can only assume the statement was either inaccurate or that it was correct and they don't want people to know Wilson wrote the speech. While the video was deleted from You Tube, several people have it saved.
http://www.leestoneking.com is Lee Stoneking's website.
https://www.facebook.com/EvangelistLeeStoneking is Lee Stoneking's Facebook page.
Lee Stoneking And Osama Bin Laden's 40 Wives Story is an article that shows Lee Stoneking's story about Osama Bin Laden's 40 wives is not what C.P. Thomas told.
Rev. Lee Stoneking Lies To The United Nations is an article from a former UPC member, now a pagan, that questions aspects of Stoneking's medical testimony. This is part one.
Rev. Lee Stoneking Lies At The UN Part 2 is the second article from the former UPC member, where she looks into the doctor's statement on Stoneking's website.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK6Fr53Juzo is a video just under an hour in length, that addresses some of the medical claims made by Lee Stoneking. Stoneking's own video clips of where he changes aspects of the story are included. Warning: there is some cursing in the video.
http://sterlingupc.podbean.com/e/4-26-2015-bro-chavis-bro-lee-stoneking-un-speech/ is Jeffery Chavis' account from April 26, 2015 of what has happened at the United Nations. Note: Since we linked to this, it has vanished from online. As with Wilson's disappearing YouTube video, several people have Chavis' talk saved. It was given at the Sterling United Pentecostal Church in Alaska, pastor Mitch Glover.
Page Added April 23, 2015 & Updated July 3, 2016
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