1 and 2 together
By Pastor Larry Thomas
Part 1: TORONTO REVISITED
out at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola' Florida, about 16 months
ago and continues to this day. Or so we're told. This "sovereign move" of
God is spreading like wild fire through the United States, fulfilling a
heretofore unannounced prophecy given to Superchurch builder and mystical
teacher David Yonggi Cho.
not hundreds, of Assemblies of God churches are being affected by this
new move. Pastors from AG churches and many other denominational backgrounds
around the country are traveling to Pensacola to receive the blessing,
and instruction, in order to bring this "revival" to their own churches.
has been positively reported in Charisma magazine (the best tool I have
for tracking the great falling away) and the Pentecostal Evangel, official
publication of the Assemblies of God, and several religious television
programs, including Praise the Lord on the Trinity Broadcasting Network
and the 700 Club. The endorsements by Charisma, TBN, and even the 700
Club are not surprising, given their history of supporting anything and
everything in recent religious history. The Evangel's endorsement is not
a surprise, considering its reporting and supporting of many new things
in the past three years (i.e., Promise Keepers, other ecumenical movements
and psychoheresy). I am, however, surprised that so few leaders in the
AG who saw countless churches devastated by the "laughing revival" that
was imported from Toronto are not at least a little leery about this Pensacola
imitation. I'm also surprised that many pastors, AG and otherwise, who
recognized the dangers of the Toronto experience, are buying this Americanized,
and slightly sanitized, version.
I will admit, many AG pastors who were uneasy with the Toronto thing.
But they became more open to it when their superintendent Thomas Trask
told them at last year's General Council that "we have always been
a people of holy laughter." He also told the gathering that the AG
had always accepted "dancing in the Spirit" and being "slain in the Spirit."
By the way, none of these experiences has a biblical precedent, but we
don't have time to deal with those issues right now. Any further reluctance
to accept the new move as from God has been negated now that this phenomenon
has an AG church as its home base. It is being widely supported by leadership
at the national and state levels as well as by rank-and-file membership.
By the time
this issue is in the mail, I will have had a chance to visit the Pensacola
church. If I find things different than has been reported to me, then
I will correct any misconceptions in the next issue. My observations,
at this point, are based on visits to churches that have been influenced
by the Brownsville move; I have talked with many pastors who have opposed
this latest craze; I have also talked with church members who have had
their pastors introduce the Brownsville agenda in their local church.
I have read "Feast of Fire", Pastor John Kilpatrick's book about
the Brownsville revival, and I have viewed video tapes of the services.
We have read
and heard "good" reports coming from Brownsville. They sound similar to
those we have heard from Promise Keepers advocates and Toronto adherents.
(In fact, sometimes the reports are identical --- word for word. Coincidence?)
As we pointed out in our August edition, fruit must be tested not merely
admired. Jesus said good fruit can't come from a corrupt tree. We believe,
and intend to show, that the "Brownsville revival" has its roots in the
Toronto phenomenon and its originator, Rodney Howard-Browne, the self-described
"Holy Ghost bartender." In fact, it wouldn't be unreasonable to call the
Florida movement the Rodney Howard-Browne Revival.
are incredibly similar. The justification for these unbiblical and abnormal
phenomena are similarly flawed. The "don't question us" attitude permeates
the current move like it did in Toronto and elsewhere. The literature
published by the former Vineyard church in Toronto and the AG church in
Florida are quite similar. The pilgrimages by "thirsty" pastors to these
"rivers" of God's Spirit seem more than just coincidence. Despite efforts
by the Brownsville leader-ship—and even some AG national leadership—to
distance themselves from Howard-Browne and Toronto, there is a trail of
substantial evidence that clearly shows the connection.
One man recently
reported to me at a conference in St. Louis that his pastor and two others
had visited Brownsville Assembly and that they reported seeing nothing
out of line: no laughing, no falling down, etc. why they didn't, we don't
know. But we know that such things are taking place because of other visitors
who have talked with us, and the fact that Pastor Kilpatrick defends these
manifestations in his book. We will show specifics soon. But I must ask:
How can those who resisted the Toronto experience now fall for the same
thing that has merely moved south? Is it because it's now an American
phenomenon or an AG phenomenon? Have these pastors grown tired of standing
for the truth? Are they succumbing to pressures from their peers and their
pews to see something happen? Will they eventually adopt Howard-Browne's
perspective: "I'd rather have the devil manifesting than be in a church
where nothing is happening."
the Pensacola revival have tried to separate themselves from the Toronto
experience, but there are some clear links. For example, Kilpatrick states
in his book:
weeks before things began at Brownsville Assembly, my wife, Brenda,
also had been touched of God after she visited a ministry in Canada.
A great renewal of power and joy had fallen on God's people in Canada
and I had sent Brenda to go and drink it in. I have to admit I was a
little jealous of God's refreshing ... because I was feeling emotionally
drained, thirsty for some of the same living water."
ministry can only be the former Vineyard Fellowship at the Toronto airport.
Nothing else has happened in recent months in Canada that could be referred
to here. The evangelist, Steve Hill, also has a connection with Toronto.
Again, Kilpatrick gives us some information without directly connecting
Hill to Toronto:
his way back from Russia, Steve stopped to rest in England. While there
a Spirit-filled Anglican vicar, whose church was experiencing a powerful
move of God, prayed over him. Steve felt touched and empowered by the
Holy Spirit in a new way. His time in England brought great personal
renewal for him and he was now ready to watch God move through him.
He was excited."
minister referred to [Sandy Millar of Holy Trinity Brompton Anglican church]
has helped spread the Toronto experience throughout England. A long-time
friend of Hill (who disagrees with the Pensacola experience) said that
Hill has visited Toronto more than once. Add to this questionable ministry
history a Benny Hinn connection and you have all the ingredients for a
revival characterised by mysticism and manipulation, histrionics and hype,
delusion and deception.
who will refuse to see would deny that there is a connection between Pensacola
and Brownsville. The manifestations and teachings are quite similar as
well, although the Pensacola versions has, as we said earlier, been sanitized
somewhat. But how long can an experience-oriented revival like Pensacola
avoid the excesses that troubled the experience-oriented Toronto movement?
To date we
have had no reports of an overemphasis on laughter, although it is common
and is being defended by the Pensacola leadership as a genuine manifestation
of the Spirit and proof of God's blessing. Kilpatrick, in his book, equates
the merry heart of Proverbs 17:22 with laughter as did the Vineyard proponents
and Howard-Browne. Kilpatrick goes a little further when he says that
"greater healing and wholeness comes through holy laughter." I
take exception first of all to his describing what I've seen of the laughing
phenomena as "holy." Secondly, can he be serious when he suggests that
the "healing and wholeness" of this laughter is greater than the wholeness
we receive at salvation? Is laughter more powerful than the blood?
We have no
reports from Pensacola of the animal noises that became common at Toronto,
but we did observe on the video tapes a considerable amount of involuntary
screaming. This was common in Toronto, just prior to the outbreak of barnyard
noises. Kilpatrick also defends the experience known as "slain in the
Spirit." We have dealt with this at length in our books No Laughing
Matter and The Watchman, but let me say quickly here that we
find no biblical basis for such an experience, and absolutely no reason
for believers to seek such a manifestation. Kilpatrick claims that these
times of "resting in the Lord" (also called "carpet time") provide an
opportunity for God to do a wide variety of things in the person's life:
renewed understanding of holiness, inner healing (an unbiblical teaching),
direction for life, visions. Is it necessary for God to put the person
horizontal in order to minister to them? I think not.
is called groaning and travailing. This is key to the ministry of intercession
which is widely encouraged at Pensacola. But it has taken on more than
biblical connotations. The groanings and travail are likened to birth
pangs and those so afflicted are said to be giving birth to manifestations
and ministries. Here is how one woman described this manifestation:
they were slain in the spirit, they would go into a fetal position and
tremble and shake. Some of the women would go into a sitting down birthing
position to give birth to whatever. This was accompanied with grunts,
moans and shrill screeching. Next, the ushers physically picked up the
intercessors from the floor (who were still in travail in a fetal position)
and carry them through the congregation to the balcony as effigies of
intercession. [This was done] so that conviction and repentance
would come down to the people as they passed by."
were reported several years ago in areas of the country where the laughing
phenomena had occurred. It's not new. It's recycled. Being "drunk in the
Spirit" is common. It is also being advocated and defended with the same
faulty exegesis that Howard Browne and the Toronto crowd used. Kilpatrick,
following the Vineyard apologetic on this manifestation, cites Acts 2:13
and Ephesians 5:18 as proof that believers should be 'drunk in the Spirit.,'
Like his predecessors, he errs. On the day of Pentecost, those accused
of being "filled with new wine" were not acting like drunken sailors as
those at Pensacola appear. Paul, in the other passage, was not remotely
suggesting an experience called be "drunk in the spirit" nor giving the
church a doctrine of spiritual drunkenness.
On one video,
several men and women - many identified as pastors and their wives - were
in a stupor of sorts: babbling incoherently, suffering memory lapses in
mid-sentence, slouching and falling down. Kilpatrick says this is normal
behaviour "when you experience the Holy Spirit so strongly that
normal activity is difficult." He adds this personal testimony: "For
me, the many times during this revival that I have been 'drunk' in the
Spirit, I have been unable to move."
of paralysis are identical to the Toronto-style and Howard-Browne manifestations
of being "glued to the floor." If the Spirit of God can so forcibly override
a person's will and normal self-control, how is it that He is unable to
force believers to do good and sinners to be saved?
PASTORING A REVIVAL
talks at length in his book about pastoring this revival. Even after reading
his explanation a couple of times, I'm still confused. How do you "pastor,"
lead or control a "sovereign move of God?" How do you teach other pastors
and leaders to create and then pastor a sovereign move of God? I'm sure
my questions sound ludicrous, yet they are the natural response to the
ludicrous thought that a sovereign move of God can be controlled, manipulated
and even marketed.
Yes, I said
marketed. Although there may be no money changing hands, the techniques
employed in Pensacola are being widely distributed. Video tapes are being
sold to individuals and churches so they will know "the move of God" when
it occurs in their midst (or to teach them how to ape the Pensacola manifestations).
My wife and I came across some instruction sheets during a recent visit
to a Kansas City area church that was preparing for the Pensacola Revival
to come to their church.
for prayer ministry teams, catchers and comfort attenders (none of these
"ministries" are listed in Ephesians 4:11) noted that they were presented
"as outlined by Brownsville Assembly in Pensacola."
guidelines for prayer team ministry include these tips for facility
the move of God:
only 30-45 seconds for each person. Watch your catcher for a signal
if you are praying too long." [Is this somehow putting a time limit
on God? Can we pray too long for each other?]
lightly with fingertips on the forehead. ...Do not hold their hands
or put your hands on any part of the body." [Why is the forehead
the individual does not get 'slain in the Spirit,' do not be concerned.
Just tell them to 'bask in the Lord' or 'just rest in the Lord' or 'continue
to worship."' (Doesn't this imply that basking in God's presence,
worshipping and resting in the Lord are inferior experiences.)
you walk behind a person, gently touch the shoulders to let them know
you are there in preparation to catch them. [Are they less receptive
to being hit by the power of God without prior knowledge that they will
your hands afterwards. If the person falls, hold your hands on their
back just above the waist—not under the arms. Do not touch the person
while they are receiving prayer."
for open areas before you begin to pray. This will avoid falling on
others. If an individual is in the aisle and they are 'slain in the
Spirit,' they should be laid uphill."
an individual falls, quickly place a cloth over their body." [Would
God be insensitive to possible embarrassment?]
for ladies that are pregnant who may need protection." [isn't God protection
friend of mine grew up in a Pentecostal denomination where being "slain
in the Spirit" was quite common. (By the way, my friend is a veteran
pastor and teacher who does not believe the phenomenon is biblical).
He said in "the good ole' days, we had two tests to see if the falling
out was of God. If a person fell and hurt himself we knew it wasn't
God. If a woman fell and landed in an immodest position, we knew it
wasn't of God." Now those two tests have been eliminated by "catchers"
and "comfort attenders."
nagging questions and others, Pentecostal leaders have been swept away
by the newest craze. A friend who was formerly ordained with the Church
of God said that the Pensacola leaders are to meet soon with the national
leadership in Cleveland, Tennessee, to help spread the revival.
at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, we hear, can get academic
credit for attended the Brownsville revival. Rev. Thomas Trask, general
superintendent of the Assemblies of God, has given his blessing to the
revival. In a letter to credential holders, Trask wrote:
of all, one must recognize that this is a sovereign work of the Holy
Spirit. With that knowledge one must be careful not to become critical
when God chooses to work in ways we are unaccustomed; and yet, we are
admonished in the Word not to be gullible but to try the spirits."
[Why is so
much human effort involved and required if this is a sovereign move of
the Spirit? To test the spirits is to be critical, according to the definitions
of the words for discernment in Greek. If we are Bible-believing, and
Bible living Christians, God's movings will not be strange to us and they
will follow patterns already established in His Word.]
I want to commend Pastor Kilpatrick, his staff, and evangelist Steve
Hill for having the desire to pastor this revival, not control it. Here
is where wisdom is needed, and they are doing a fine job. The proof
is in the fact that it is now into its 15th month. John Kilpatrick has
authored a book entitled, Feast of Fire, giving the story of this revival."
not clear on how to "pastor" a revival. Is longevity really proof of the
spiritual validity of this phenomena? Toronto's been going on for three
years or longer. Does that make it more spiritual? Does writing a book
about a spiritual activity add to the credibility of that activity?]
there have been over 30,000 people who have been marvellously saved
and are testimonies of the grace of God. True revival always results
in people coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and experiencing
a radical change of lifestyle. Revival is not just for blessing the
saints. The saints will be revived when God is at work"
[I have already
questioned these statistics. The AG's own statistics from the Decade of
Harvest demonstrate that less than three percent who make a decision for
Christ become incorporated into the church. Experiencing Christ is more
than a radical change of lifestyle: it's life itself. A lot of people
confuse conversion with lifestyle changes. A lot of self-help philosophies
offer a variety of lifestyle changes. Just giving up bad habits or starting
to attend church regularly are not in themselves proof of a transformed
this move of God was birthed through more than two and a half years
of intensive prayer; and, brothers and sisters, it will be prayer that
will continue to carry this move of the Spirit."
this revival is not confined to Pensacola, Florida. We are hearing numerous
reports of what God is doing. This is a time of visitation. Let us not
miss what God wants to do through this church. Be assured He is no respecter
of persons or places. He will hear and answer prayer, as we pray and
seek His face."
this excitement is not confined to Florida: But it never seems to break
out in other parts of the country without someone going to Pensacola to
1) get the blessing; or 2) learn the techniques. Trask's phrase "a time
of visitation" has become one of the buzz words of this spreading phenomenon.
One pastor used the phrase to intimidate his congregation: "If you miss
this move, you'll suffer like the Jews did when they missed their hour
of visitation." To oppose this thing is tantamount to "missing the visitation.]
we must walk humbly before God. The Scripture admonishes, "a proud heart
and a proud person He will despise." As we continue to look to Him and
are dependent upon Him, I can assure you we will hear from heaven. So,
I want to encourage those of you who are in the midst of revival, walk
softly and carefully. Those of you who are still praying for revival,
don't give up. Continue to ask, continue to seek, and continue to knock;
for there will come a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit if we remain
warning seems to be toward those that are unconvinced by the hoopla in
Florida. Yet, it is the Pensacola participants and their clones who give
the impression that non-participants are spiritually challenged, to use
a politically correct term.]
We have pointed
out our concerns about this latest fad, but I must add a few additional
words of caution before closing. This movement in Pensacola is much
more dangerous than its Toronto predecessor for a several reasons.
First, it has more legitimacy because it is occurring in a more traditional
and acceptable Pentecostal atmosphere—an Assemblies of God church. Although
its roots are the same (Toronto, Vineyard, Kansas City Prophets, etc.),
it gives the appearance of being more mainline Pentecostal.
Second, it has received the endorsement of many highly respected leaders
in the church world. Toronto had some big name endorsers, but they were
part of the fringe of the charismatic movement and not traditional Pentecostals.
Pensacola leaders are desperately trying to get additional endorsements,
especially from those men considered to be in the "holiness camp."
Third, it is another step toward uniting all experience-oriented movements
and thus leading to the all-encompassing religious system of the last
days. Doctrine is denigrated; experience is exalted. Doctrine divides,
but experience unites.
Fourth, there is an misleading emphasis on important spiritual matters
like holiness, prayer and separation that are very appealing. The problem
is that talk about these things is just a ploy to attract more mainstream
followers. This is very seductive.
Fifth, the leaders disparage believers who insist on biblical precedents
for spiritual manifestations. Church members are intimidated, even ex-communicated,
for questioning this new move. There is no room for dialogue with these
Sixth, certain deceptions and misrepresentations are obvious. why must
the leadership cloak the Toronto connections? Are they ashamed to admit
that Pensacola has its roots in Toronto? I would hope so. But such an
admission would be a major set back. If this is a sovereign move of the
Holy Spirit, why must there be so much hope in the services and the promotion
of the revival?
Part Two: Toronto
Link Grows Stronger
If you mention
the Pensacola Revival you better be ready to duck or pucker because people
will either want to hit you or kiss you. There is no middle ground when
it comes to this reported move of God in the Florida panhandle. Nothing
has caused as much consternation and confusion in the church world since....uh....the
is not Toronto, we're told. But more on that later.
say this is the greatest thing since Azusa Street or maybe even since
Pentecost itself, others are saying this is more deadly to Christianity
than communism was in its hey-day. One thing is obvious: everyone must
decide whether they're "for it or agin it." Even the leadership of the
Brownsville Assembly of God church in Pensacola says the division is necessary.
At a November
meeting of the Peninsula Florida District of the Assemblies of God, Pensacola
Pastor John Kilpatrick told the gathering of ministers that God asked
him if He could "bring a sword into the church." Kilpatrick told
the group that God wanted to separate those who were against the flow
of the Spirit from those who wanted it. Those that God removed, Kilpatrick
said, were "too religious." He concluded these remarks by noting that
those who are standing against this revival are the religious.
JUDGING THE JUDGES
leaders of the revival call their opposition judgmental, they are just
as judgmental. The difference is the standard by which judgments are made.
Proponents of Pensacola determine who is religious and who is spiritual
by whether or not they accept the manifestations accompanying the revival."
Critics of the current move, for the most part, are judging the manifestations
by the Word of God and finding no biblical support whatsoever.
in an article titled "Some Cautionary Thoughts on the Present Revival"
expresses very well some of our concerns:
one of the most ominous features of the hour is the note of warning
sounded about those who have some reserve as being 'obstructions,' 'enemies,'
or 'threats' to this outpouring of God. The invitation seems to be to
abandon all restraint ('The bar is open') -- leap in, or get out of
the way of others if you cannot! ... I cannot help but wonder if it
is man's interests that are being so vehemently defended and that we
are at the inception of what could ultimately be finalised by the warning
that 'they will kill you and claim that they are doing God a service"'
on to quote T. Austin Sparks, who compared the Corinthian church's propensity
for sensational evidences to its modern counterpart:
are in that kind of age today. It is becoming more and more a psychic
age. It is an age of the soul just spilling over, asserting itself,
taking control of everything Christian as well as outside of it—a soulish
age. ... Be careful that you are not hankering for this realm again.
Are you after the evidence? My, how I have seen dear Christian people
just prostrating themselves, with groaning and crying, almost screaming
for evidence—these 'sign' things... Christians and dear men of God,
who have been greatly used, are creating an emotional, psychic situation
that is involving simple Christians in things which are, sooner or later,
going to be a great disillusionment and an offense. It will bring 'offendedness'
with the Lord, and that is just what the devil is after." (2)
SOMETHING IS DEFINITELY
big is happening goes without saying. The real question is what is behind
the spiritual excitement. Proponents obviously claim this is a sovereign
move of God's Holy Spirit. Some critics claim the spirit operating in
the church is demonic, while others are blaming the bizarre behaviour
on suggestible followers who are easily manipulated by the leaders.
tells us to test the spirits to see if they be of God. But when the cautious
suggest such a plan, they are called narrow-minded, pride-filled Spirit
quenchers. This attack is designed, we believe, to keep the "faithful"
following their leaders, and to keep them from hearing reasonable questions
and biblical responses.
discuss our testing of the spirits, let me share something with you. I
had mentioned in our last issue of The Inkhorn that I hoped to attend
a service or two at the Brownsville church during a recent trip to Florida.
My schedule and the service schedule at the church did not match up, so
I was unable to attend any services. I know some will quickly pounce on
that and say, "You can't judge or write about something you've not experienced."
We heard the same criticism when we spoke out against Toronto.
me say that we have done considerable research through the writings of
the revival leaders and have seen numerous video tapes of the manifestations.
We have interviewed dozens of people who have been to Brownsville or to
one of its clones. From our knowledge of what is happening, what is being
promoted and what God's Word says about such things (and doesn't say),
I believe we have sufficient evidence to draw our conclusions.
a service at Brownsville just to rebuff our critics would be costly and,
I believe, unnecessary. It might also be putting God to a foolish test.
Many solid Bible preachers have reported that they were skeptical of Brownsville,
but attended at the urging of others and came back transformed. (Not for
the better, I might add.) It seems obvious that these men, and women,
have been seduced by the spirit of Brownsville.
claims that Pensacola is not merely Toronto recycled is not being totally
honest. Revival historian Andrew Strom of New Zealand makes that clear:
the links between Toronto and Pensacola are so strong that I am surprised
that they are not more widely known." (3)
Steve Hill has acknowledged that he had spent considerable time with a
leader of the Toronto movement at the Holy Trinity Bromptom church in
London. Pastor John Kilpatrick defended in his book the same manifestations
that were prevalent at Toronto. (These things were covered in our October
magazine has endorsed the Brownsville revival and made no bones about
linking it with Toronto. Under the headline "Toronto Blessing Spreads
Worldwide," the magazine made this observation:
Missouri—home to the Assemblies of God headquarters—was considered resistant
to the Toronto Blessing. That began to change in June when Brownsville
pastor John Kilpatrick held special services at Central Assembly of
God next to AG headquarters." (4)
writer, Beth McDuffle, made the connection quickly. She wrote,
people went forward, they began to fall down shaking and crying, etc.,
just like 'Toronto' meetings everywhere." (5)
As we noted
in the Issues and Insights column of our October issue, the new head of
the AG Men's Ministries sees Toronto, Brownsville, Hill and Rodney-Howard
Brown as all part of the same move. Only a few die-hards are trying to
create a gulf between Toronto and Pensacola that just does not exist.
WHOLE LOTA SHAKIN'
Jerry Lee Lewis song title seems to fit the Pensacola phenomena better
than its declared anthem, "The Mercy Seat." While uncontrollable laughter
was the primary manifestation at Toronto (at least at the beginning),
uncontrollable shaking is the most prevalent in Pensacola. There is laughter
and other Toronto-style manifestations, but the most popular is shaking.
Sometimes it is more like jerking; other times it is deep bowing. The
most widely seen video of this manifestation is being distributed by AG
headquarters. We'll let pro-Pensacola, Charisma staff writer Lee Grady
describe it for us. This is Grady's description of Alison Ward's testimony.
she spoke, Alison shook in a manner so awkward that a casual observer
might think she suffered from cerebral palsy. Then, while trembling
violently, she issued a plea so heartfelt that those in the room say
they heard God speaking through her. Choking back tears she said intently:
'God is in a hurry. There's not much more time. He aches and He grieves
for your spirit.' At that moment Alison fell to the floor. A deafening
chorus of moaning and wailing filled the room as people were moved by
an almost eerie sense of God's love for lost souls ... Alison's eight-minute
testimony, which was captured on video tape, represents the defining
moment of this revival." (6)
I have seen
this particular video. My heart went out to the young woman—first, because
I thought she suffered from a physical affliction; then because I realized
the terrible delusion to which she had succumbed, and finally because
she was being shamelessly used by her spiritual leaders. The lack of self-control
(a fruit of the Spirit) makes it obvious that the manifestations of poor
Alison are not Spirit endowed.
sorry, but I just cannot go along with the idea that God wants to distort
the limbs and the bodies of his children so that they look like sufferers
of Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy and Parkinson's Disease, I cannot go along
with a 'revival' that makes God's children 'jerk' for hours at a time,
just like the mental patients seen in our psychiatric wards every day.
And I cannot go along with a shrieking, hyena-like laughter being described
as 'holy.' I have to be frank and say, it all sound too much like the
devil to me." (7)
in Brooksville, Florida, who had at-tended the Pensacola revival with
their youth pastor were reprimanded by high school officials after they
continued to manifest the jerking and deep bowing in their classes. The
manifestation was picked up at the 'revival' and the teens claimed they
could not control it. This kind of behaviour brings reproach rather than
honor to the name of Jesus. But the teens are merely mimicking the uncontrollable
actions of their adult leaders.
At the district
conference referred to earlier, Kilpatrick admitted to the assembled pastors
that he has been so "drunk in the spirit" that he actually struck his
youth pastor's car with his own. He said that while driving he had hit
many garbage cans sitting at the curb on several occasions because he
was so "drunk." He added that his wife (a visitor to Toronto, by the way)
has been so drunk she couldn't cook. Sometimes, his drunken stupors are
so severe that he has to be taken from the service in a wheel chair, Kilpatrick
In our book,
'No Laughing Matter', we discussed Toronto-style churches that had "designated
drivers" for their too-drunk-to-drive parishioners. We also noted that
many students from these churches missed classes because of "Holy Ghost
hangovers" or disrupted classes with their laughter and other erratic
behaviors. I see a strong link here. Don't you?
manifestations are justified by the Pensacola leaders and their followers,
either by wrenching Scripture out of context, reading between the lines
of Scripture or, best of all, saying that if the Bible doesn't clearly
prohibit an activity, then it is okay with God. (Again, these are the
same tactics used by the Toronto leadership.)
example of this is found in the winter edition of Enrichment magazine,
an AG publication for ministers. Kilpatrick is being interviewed by the
author about the Brownsville "outpouring." Under the subhead of "Surprises
of the Spirit" Kilpatrick says:
is taking us from glory to glory, and this glory won't seem like the
last glory. for most of what we experience I can take you to Scripture.
the Day of Pentecost the believers were staggering as if drunk. Peter
stood up and said this was foretold by the prophet Joel. Much of what
they were doing had come out of Joel's prophecy, but the one major exception—they
were speaking in other tongues. Joel never mentioned it, but they were
doing it even though Peter could not give chapter and verse for it.
It was a surprise." (8)
certainly surprised. Kilpatrick, without any fear, made unwarranted additions
to Joel's prophecy. He made the book of Acts say something that it clearly
does not say. His is speculative theology at best and blatant misrepresentation
at worst. No one to my knowledge ever interpreted that passage in Acts
to mean that those who came down from the upper room were staggering around
like drunken sailors on shore leave. The first time I ever heard that
was from the "apologists" of Toronto.
me say the context makes it clear that the mockers accused them of being
drunk because they could not understand the unknown tongues in which they
spoke. The unfamiliar languages, no doubt, sounded like the slurred gibberish
associated with those who have had a little too much to drink But it is
a far and dangerous stretch of the facts to say those empowered by the
Holy Ghost were staggering around.
believers traditionally have held that speaking in tongues is the first
sign of believers being filled with the Holy Ghost. With that in mind,
most Pentecostal scholars hold that the speaking in tongues at Pentecost
was the confirmation that the Spirit had been poured out. True, Joel did
not specifically say the believers would speak in tongues, but neither
did he even hint that they would act like drunks at a party. Kilpatrick
threw out the clear inference and interjected his own self-serving interpretation
THE SET UP
error was intentional, I believe. His whole purpose was to send out the
message that the church doesn't need chapter and verse for manifestations
of the Spirit. That speaks volumes. It is obvious that most of the manifestations
at Pensacola cannot be given a biblical precedent. So, Kilpatrick says
that it's not essential to have one.
me of Rodney Howard-Browne's remark that you "can't put this move of God
to a theological test." The message of Pensacola is nothing more than
regurgitated Toronto philosophy: "Don't think. Don't question. Just jump
in. Just experience. Just believe your leadership." That whole attitude
is cultic and dangerous.
I agree with
A. W. Tozer who said,
a Bible Christian and if an archangel with a wingspread as broad as
a constellation shining like the sun were to come and offer me some
new truth, I'd ask him for a reference. If he could not show me where
it is found in the Bible, I would bow him out and say, 'I'm awfully
sorry, you don't bring any references with you."' (9)
This is not
the attitude at Pensacola. There, the preaching of the Word is minimised,
trivialized and criticized. Any spiritual movement that is not based on
the truth of the Word and the honest preaching of that Word must be rejected.
revival has created in the Pentecostal church a paradigm shift in its
understand of the authority of Scripture, the work of Christ, the character
of the Holy Spirit and His work in the church and the plan of God. This
shift is a major one. It is laying the ground work for the next "move
of God" that will make the Pensacola fiasco pale into insignificance.
1997 Rev Larry Thomas (now deceased)
Art, "Some Cautionary Thoughts on The Present Revival," unpublished
manuscript, October, 1996.
Sparks, T. Austin, Called Unto the Fellowship of His Son' published by
Emmanue1 Church, Tulsa, OK, page 46.
Strom, Andrew, "Brownsville, Pensacola: 'Toronto' or Not?" Unpublished
manuscript, October, 1996, page 1.
Toronto Blessing Spreads Worldwide, Charisma, November, l9~, pg.15.
Strom, op. cit., page 1.
Ibid., page 2.
Ibid., page 3.
Womack, David, "The Pensacola Revival—Today's Azusa Street," Enrichment,
Winter, 1997, page 59.
Tozer, A.W., Success and the Christian, Christian Pub;ications, Camp Hill
1994, Pp 65-66