Examples of the Toronto Legacy (2)
Every web site like this, that exposes false teaching, receives spiteful e-mail from its opponents (many of whom do not travel beyond the front page before they fire off their salvo.)
I have appended here a few examples that I have personally received, to give you an illustration of my points.
We have come to expect hatefulness and accusations from those involved in the Toronto "revival" and anyone who plunges into that abyss usually emerges with a different personality that can no longer be reasoned with nor moved by the testimony of scripture.
They consider themselves so "right" that they are beyond correction. In a word, they stop thinking - or even having the ability to think. They are sold out to a new gospel, one which tells them to abandon rational thought or analysis, and throw away reliance on the word of God.
In the place of these, they are taught another "word" - from their human leadership whom they adore and nearly worship. Evidence can be seen in all they do and say. They follow blindly and slavishly their new masters and parrot their words like a mantra to their new gods.
They can no longer deal with opposition to the "revival" and its teachings, so they give a knee-jerk reaction instead, one of anger and bitterness, full of accusations that they cannot support - and do not care to support. In answering their critics they fall into a small number of set routines - and that is what I want to demonstrate for you here.
If you know where the routines come from, and know what to expect, then you will not be thrown by these vicious onslaughts when they are aimed at you.
1. The first and most hurtful of lies is that anyone who opposes false teaching is unloving and judgemental, and therefore at odds with the will of God. (This is amply illustrated in the other file on this subject, "Just One Example")
This accusation is probably the most prevalent amongst Toronto people. It sounds good, makes them feel righteous, and is difficult if not impossible to prove either way. It constitutes a personal attack on the critic without appearing to be one.
Furthermore, they can draw upon hundreds of selected scriptures that speak of the need to be loving and accepting of others. The verse "judge not, lest you be judged" is usually high on their list. (Papers of scriptures like these are produced by the leaders and passed around the churches, thus saving the members the trouble of having to open their Bibles for themselves.)
What is never under discussion is the actual evidence - what the critics have actually said. Although some critics DO take an unloving attitude and bring the rest of us into disrepute, the majority have tackled the subject with admirable gentleness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness and love.
It's often overlooked that the command of God to examine and prove teaching is a command of love - since we are protecting the sheep from wolves.
When somebody has a life-threatening disease, it is loving to advise them, so they can prepare themselves and get whatever treatment is appropriate.
False teaching has been described as a "cancer" that eats away at the heart of the Church. (2 Tim 2:16-18). If there is a cancer in the Body, we must cut it out! Instead, it is the surgeon who is criticised, ostracised and cast out, lest the cancer become discovered and exposed.
They way some people talk, you'd think God had never spoken one word in scripture about false teaching, much less the need to expose and withdraw from it! It seems that in some fellowships, all "judgement" has ceased - and that means nobody examines or "judges" anything. Yet the Bible states that the spiritually-minded "judges all things" (1Cor 2:15) - so who is outside of God's will, then? Those who examine, analyse and judge all things, or those who accept everything, good or evil?
The scripture is full of direct commands to test teachings, and withdraw from falsehood. For example, "Test all things; hold fast to that which is good" (1Th 5:21) and "Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them" (Rom 16:17). There are many more.
Because of size restrictions in this article, I cannot provide all the references here, but they are contained in a printable PDF file which you can download if you wish: [191 kb]
2. The second accusation is that critics are "pulling down men and ministries" and making personal attacks on pastors and leaders.
Now, the comment just has to be made, that those who accuse us of "attacking brethren" and say that nobody should bring a railing accusation against a brother or sister - these very people are the FIRST to do just that!
While being all too eager to point out the sawdust in your eye, they overlook the huge log in their own! They have no fear of maligning and defaming my person and ministry, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever (except that in their own minds.)
Far from exercising love and restraint in their dealings with those "outside the camp" as they would see them, they think nothing of heaping curses and imprecations on our heads, and wishing us to hell. This is not the spirit of God, but of evil. The most malicious and spiteful attacks aimed at me all come from the "pro-revival" people, who tell me that it is sinful to "judge others".
This is inconsistency of the highest water, and yet I often need to point it out to them. If they break their own rules, what can you say of their integrity?
But the main point of this section is to say that ANY criticism of the revival - however theological, scholarly, or scripturally-based it might be - is lumped into the same category of "attacks on our brethren". It may be that the author of an anti-Toronto piece never once mentioned a minister or church, but that makes no difference to these self-appointed executioners.
Indeed, I have rarely met a Toronto supporter who actually READS (much less thinks about or understands) an article written in defence of scriptural truth!
I often encounter opponents to my website who have not read one word of what it contains.
Most of those involved in the Discernment Ministries would run a mile from an open (unfounded) attack on a fellow minister, simply for the sake of destroying his/her ministry. (There are of course sham ministers and charlatans, as well as misguided enthusiasts who would do this, but I am speaking of ministers who have a genuine call from God.)
Many of the best writings against Toronto, Brownsville and revivalist subjects are restrained, gentle, apologetic towards their subjects and presented in a loving attitude that is open to correction. Some writers have gone to enormous lengths to be fair to their subjects.
Rarely has there been an "attack" on a named individual. When this happens it's because that individual is saying or doing something so completely unscriptural that to denounce them is to do a service to the Body of Christ.
In any case, "naming names" of those who are deceivers and false prophets is well-founded in scripture. (EG:1Ti 1:19)
But still, the idea is that ANY criticism of what "the anointed" leadership says or does is out of line with God's will. We are told "touch not the anointed" - forgetting that, in the Bible, the Anointed is Jesus Christ, not the elders of the churches! (Or, if you want to be pedantic about it, we are ALL "anointed" by the Holy Spirit, if we are saved. There is NO SPECIAL CLASS OF ANOINTED LEADERSHIP. (Even if there were, should they be above correction?)).
To state that a person or church has preached provable false doctrine is NOT to "attack" that person's morality or standing as a Christian. We must be careful to separate the issues of DOCTRINE and SIN. If a minister is in sin, then he should be dealt with by his own elders, (until and unless he refuses to repent, whereupon it becomes a matter of concern for the whole Body.)
If we could not point to deception, for fear of upsetting the false teacher or ruffling the feathers of that man's followers, then no deceiver would ever be exposed! We must not give in to threats, or be cowed by accusations that we are "coming against a brother" when in fact we are following God's commands to expose damaging false teaching and/or practises that lead thousands astray.
3. The third string to their bow is that any critic of the revival is, per se, anti-charismatic, does not understand the ways of God, and is opposed to anything of the Holy Spirit out of prejudice and ignorance. It is the "legalistic, religious Pharisees" who oppose the new move of God.
This accusation is made, even when the critics come from the Assemblies of God or other Spirit-filled churches! Often, on a web site like mine, the statement of faith clearly says that "we believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit" or a similar phrase - yet despite that, anybody who posts anti-Toronto material is labelled "anti-charismatic".
I often have people e-mailing me with a long diatribe on the gifts of the Spirit, telling me how deluded I am, all because in their eyes I "must" be against the power of God.
Yet I once classed myself as "charismatic" , though I don't use that title any more because it has been disfigured so much by what is evil and wrong in the churches.
I believe in the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit, according to the word of God. But it is useless to protest, because to my opponents I am damned before I open my mouth. This is true of anyone who has tried to come against the revival.
In America, the revival leadership have done a hatchet job on the "Baptist" and "Episcopalian" churches, because they are perceived as being violently anti-Spirit. Because there has been a tradition of opposition to the Spirit in certain denominations, everyone is now tarred with the same brush. Rodney Howard Browne and others never ceased to slam "the religious" who supposedly opposed everything that was "of the Spirit". Now his followers do the same.
True to their American leaders, the British Christians are coming up with the same puerile slanted statements, even though our Baptist churches are often "charismatic"! In this country they slate the Brethren and Reformed churches and if you oppose the revival they accuse you of belonging to a "dead denomination" - whether you do so or not! (Truth is not the main objective here.)
When Toronto followers stop long enough to hear you explain your acceptance of the power and gifts of the Spirit, and perhaps speak of genuine miracles you have witnessed, they are thrown into confusion, because they have no answer for it. According to their way of thinking, it is only "dead, religious" people who would oppose their "move of the Spirit."
4. Closely allied to the above accusation is the charge (though it's actually more of a compliment) that critics are hung up on the written word of God, and closed to "new revelations" in the Spirit.
Anybody who has tried to talk to a Toronto/revival supporter will know their love of things novel and unorthodox. They go out of their way to defend the strange manifestations and miracles, digging up obscure scriptures (out of context) to explain them. If they cannot defend these practises by scripture - or don't know how, because they have little knowledge of the bible - they fall back on the explanation that "God moves in mysterious ways" and we are not to prejudge His doings.
According to this way of thinking, we cannot "put God in a box" and expect Him to act in certain ways, but we must allow Him to do whatever he wills with us. If this involves causing somebody to get down on all fours and bark like a dog, well, so be it!
Unfortunately, and predictably, this thinking has evolved beyond a defense of manifestations into a carte blanche for doing or believing anything, no matter how weird or unbiblical.
The upshot of it is, that critics are accused of standing in the way of spiritual progress by insisting on conformity to the scriptures. They are accused of being "book people" and this is on a par with being "religious" and "legalistic". Holding to the word of God is now, apparently, a bad thing. But how else are we supposed to "test the spirits" as commanded. How else are we to avoid what is not of God?
If we throw out the plumbline, how are we to ensure the building is straight?
The idea that God can do whatever he wishes sounds good, and in principle is correct. However, God chooses to reveal Himself in certain ways to mankind so that we may KNOW who we are dealing with.
Even more importantly, God NEVER contradicts Himself or goes beyond the bounds of His written word. For example, when He has commanded spiritual sobriety and good order in worship meetings, how can he commend drunkenness and mayhem at the same time?
The answer to this, say the revival crowd, is that we have moved on from the era of the written word into "the day of the spirit" where the "new thing" reigns. We now receive our revelation direct from "prophets" and "apostles" who seem to be writing a new bible for the new order.
Thus, anyone who objects to the carryings-on at Toronto meetings is immediately branded "old-order" Christian, incapable of receiving the new revelations, and doomed to die out along with everything else of the old age.
5. The fifth accusation is that ministries oppose this "move of God" because they are "jealous" of it, and cannot produce this exciting new life in their own churches.
Recently the accusation of "envy" and "jealousy" has been added to the list. I suspect there has been a recently-published book, or a major article that has given them new material. As with every other accusation, this one is made in the absence of any kind of evidence.
I recently had one man accuse me of being a false pastor and of being jealous that this move of God had not touched my own church - despite the fact I am not an AoG pastor, nor do I have a church to pastor! (But then, facts are never their strong point, are they?)
6. The most devastating lie of all is that critics are blaspheming the Holy Spirit by their opposition to the revival. Critics are painted as evil jezebels, in rebellion against God and church authorities, filled with a spirit of hatred, and thus have put themselves under the judgement of God.
It is just like satan to call the kettle black, when he himself is as black as it is possible to be. He introduces "another spirit" and "another christ" into churches, then accuses those who object of "blaspheming the Holy Spirit".
Of course, many who attend Toronto meetings believe they are experiencing God and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The articles in this website prove conclusively that they are not - but because they believe so, they see anyone who objects as "blasphemers".
To accuse somebody of an unforgivable sin is a heavy charge indeed. Jesus said that anything spoken against himself would be forgiven, but that which was spoken against the Spirit could not be forgiven. That is because to misunderstand the mission of Jesus on earth and his human appearance could be forgiven, but to mistake the Holy Spirit of God for a demon meant that the person was hopelessly twisted in his spiritual outlook.
Now, Christians who hail the demented roarings and bleatings of a deceiving spirit as "holy" and unblushingly receive the intimate advances of a demon-lover as "Jesus" turn around and accuse their opponents of evil! While worshipping false idols themselves, they denounce any true servant of God as a sinner so vile that he/she can never be forgiven.
These are just a few of the many e-mails I have received. The most vile I have deleted immediately as they amount to little more than hate mail, and are not worth bothering with. Thus, only the less vicious made it to these pages. From this you can judge the spirit that is in them.
We do not need to look far to see what motivates the revival followers. While accusing others of "hate" and "lies" (without a scrap of supporting evidence) they themselves hate their opponents and lie about them. Is this the fruit of the HOLY Spirit, or another spirit?
Jesus said in John chapter 8:
Sadly, many of those who follow the Liar are now taking his character and nature. They tell us that they do this in a noble cause. They condemn their critics because they believe their revival must spread throughout the earth. But if it does, what will happen to those who sincerely love the truth of God, and the God of truth?