PUBLISHED SUNDAY NOVEMBER 19, 1997
Copyright 1997 The Pensacola News Journal. All
For 2 1/2 years, the Rev. John
Kilpatrick, pastor of Brownsville Assembly of
God, and evangelist Steve Hill have promoted the
Pensacola Brownsville Revival as a spontaneous
arrival of the Holy Spirit on June 18, 1995.
Kilpatrick also has repeatedly described the
arrival of revival that day as "a mighty
wind" that suddenly blew through the church.
Everyone who was there felt it, he says.
But videotape and statements of numerous
people who were there indicate that nothing like
that happened and the congregation in general was
far from overwhelmed.
In addition, say present and former church
members, the revival did not suddenly arrive.
They knew what Kilpatrick was setting up because
in the months before the revival:
- He talked persistently about bringing
revival to Brownsville and threatened to
quit if the church did not accept the
- The pastor's wife, Brenda Kilpatrick, and
a number of Brownsville church officials
traveled to Canada and observed revival
crowd-control techniques and prayer-team
methods at the phenomenally successful
ongoing revival there, the Toronto
- Kilpatrick showed the congregation a
video of a Toronto Blessing service, in
which people fall to the floor,
"slain in the spirit," as they
feel the Holy Spirit taking over them.
- Kilpatrick had followers of evangelist
Rodney Howard-Browne attend a Brownsville
service, where they functioned as an
example of highly expressive worship.
Howard-Browne, a dramatically energetic
evangelist who calls himself the
"Holy Ghost bartender," is
known for promoting the "holy
laughter" phenomenon in which people
succumb to hysterical convulsions. His
followers did that at Brownsville.
- Kilpatrick invited Hill, an "on
fire" evangelist whom Kilpatrick
knew to be in search of a place to
conduct a long-running, big revival to
give the sermon on Father's Day 1995.
The video shows what happened after Kilpatrick
turned the stage over to Hill.
Hill says: "Everyone who would like a
refreshing from the Lord you'd like God to touch
your life I want you to come forward, just stand
right in here."
Hundreds move into the area in front of the
Hill: "Now if someone falls next to you,
work with me, OK? Just work with me. If someone
falls right in front of you, help them down to
Hill goes into the audience, touches people on
the forehead with one or two fingers. In some
cases, he uses his whole hand or puts his hands
along side of people's heads as he shouts:
"Now Lord! More! More! More! Jesus! Now
Lord! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Now! Now Jesus!
Fire! Now! Now!"
Hill continues this for several minutes. He
touches dozens of people. Most stand still. Nine
Just a trickle
Hill gets back on stage, gestures to the choir
to stop singing and says:
"Listen, this is happening exactly like
every one of our services. What is happening?
It's just a trickling going on. It's almost like
there's a river going by and some of us are doing
this (he demonstrates treading water).
"Stay with what the Lord is doing. We've
had the Lord move like this gently, and then the
power of God hits, friends, and I want to tell
you, it is the most spectacular presence of the
"How many of you believe in the power of
God? There's people already down here, receiving
from the Lord! Wait on the Lord right now! Go
after the Lord!"
Hill goes back in the audience and repeats his
anointings and chants for several more minutes.
No one moves or falls down.
He gets back on stage.
Hill: "The Lord just spoke to me right
here in this section. I want everyone right here
to go after the Lord right now. Go after the
Hill again goes back down into the audience
and rapidly moves around, touching dozens of
people on the head. Six fall down. Most watch
curiously or continue praying.
Kilpatrick takes the microphone from the
pulpit and announces he is seeing something
wonderful occur. "I've never experienced
anything like it!"
Many in the audience look confused.
Hill hurries back on stage and says:
"Pastor! Some of you, if you had any idea
what the Lord is about to do for you! Just get
back! I've had God hit people already in this
place thrown them to the ground! They're in
heaven right now! They're not in Pensacola
they're in heaven right now! Just stay open to
A number of people start to leave the church.
Hill shouts: "Don't leave! Don't
He hurries into the audience and again begins
laying on hands. Four people fall down.
He gets on stage again and says: "Hey!
It's getting deeper, friends! It's getting
deeper! Getting deeper! Don't leave! We've had
the Lord pour out His Holy Spirit en masse! He
just came down in the meeting! Don't leave! Sweet
Jesus! Sweet Jesus!"
Hill goes back into the audience. Two men and
one woman fall after his touch. He takes hold of
a man, puts one hand on his head, the other on
his shoulder, and shakes him.
It is at this point that Kilpatrick falls
down. The videotape shows that he trips as he
steps backward up onto the stage. He puts out a
hand to break his fall, drops into a sitting
position, pauses a moment, then lies back. He
does not get up until after the video ends.
Hill pays no heed. He goes up to a man who is
shaking and shouts into his face, "More,
Hill leads the man up onto the stage and backs
away from him. He waves his hands at him, and
yells: "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!
Jesus! More! More! More! More! More! More! Fire!
Fire! Fire!" for several minutes.
The man does not fall down. Instead, with his
head bowed he walks past Hill toward the steps.
Hill and another man grab him and take him back
to the pulpit.
Hill asks him: "What's happening?"
The man, eyes closed, speaks unintelligibly.
Hill walks away, and the man leaves the stage
Hill then says: "Friends, let me explain
something. We may pray with you, and you think,
'Well, nothing happened.'
"No, no, no, no, no, no! No, no, no, no,
no, no! That's not what God is into."
Hill talks some more, referring to some of his
previous services when people did not think
anything was happening but "the voltage of
electricity was just flowing there."
"Some of you are thinking, 'The way this
thing is going, I'm never going to get prayed
for.' Friends, let me tell you what I've seen
happen. As the people wait on the Lord as they
wait on the Lord there have been times when I
have turned to a crowd, and literally just walked
through, and everyone was just hit everywhere by
the power of God, 'cause they waited on the Lord.
Hill talks some more, touches a child and she
falls down. He immediately lifts her back to her
feet and says: "Did you lose all your
strength?" The girl nods. Hill gets back on
stage and motions the singers to stop.
Hill says: "I want all the children! Make
room right here for all the little kids.
"Now, kids. I want all you children to
look at me. ...OK, I'm going to be praying for
you, OK? Some of you are going to be filled with
the Holy Spirit!
"One little girl who was 8 years old her
parents brought her to me I touched her, she went
to the ground, her hands went up, she began
speaking in tongues, and her mom and dad went
bananas! I mean they just they were sitting there
watching her, filled with the Holy Ghost
"I'm going to pray for you, you're going
to fall to the ground. Don't worry about it.
You're going to love it. The Lord is touching
Hill begins touching the heads of the
children, occasionally touching some adults.
After several minutes, five adults and one little
girl fall down.
Hill leaves the children and goes back to the
adults. This time, more people begin to fall.
The crowd has thinned. Many have left the
building or returned to their pews.
Hill suddenly falls down with a loud cry. He
moans and cries out, then quickly gets up. After
some more anointings he goes back to the
He says: "I like it when the crowd starts
thinning out. Then the Lord starts coming down.
Praying for the people
Pointing to his left, Hill says: "God has
just moved over here! Lord, have mercy! I want to
pray with every single person now! How many of
you kids have been prayed for? Did God touch your
Hill points to someone out of view and says:
"Reconstructed his life!"
Again, he goes back into the audience.
Since Hill began, two hours have passed.
Most of the congregation has left.
The tape fades to black.
Kilpatrick and Hill's ecstatic reports about
the wonders of that day have gained nationwide
attention and since that time have brought
hundreds of thousands of people to the revival.
Kilpatrick says: "When I fell on the
floor, it was the most life-changing experience.
Steve was beside himself because he was under a
"It may look foolish when watching the
video, but a nation will not come to a place if
the Lord is really not there.
"Every night we walk into that church we
say: 'Lord. Will you do it one more time?' If we
could manufacture that, we would be really hot
Albert James Dager, who writes Media
Spotlight, a Christian watchdog newsletter, based
in Redmond, Wash., said he closely viewed the
video of the Father's Day service and observed
that "nothing really extraordinary
Media Spotlight is nondenominational,
nonprofit and independent. For 20 years it has
been providing a Biblical analysis of Christian
messages appearing in the media. University
religion departments, Bible scholars, theologians
and some 5,000 pastors of many denominations
Dager said that viewing the tape, "I felt
sorry for Steve Hill. He was working so hard to
get something to happen, prompting the people,
telling them what great things they were going to
witness and experience.
"Any objective person would have been
embarrassed for him."
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