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Today we see many spiritual movements through out many churches. These movements are known as "renewal" or "revival" movements. Many peculiar phenomena's are taking place in these churches. Hundreds upon thousands are pouring in to these churches for a "touch of the spirit". Many people, including church leaders, are claiming that the strange events are evidence of an out-pouring of the Holy Spirit.
Certainly, the Lord can do many things beyond the understanding of human beings. The Bible records many people being confused over different things that the Lord did at one time or another. Jesus Christ Himself was almost totally misunderstood in His time.
The questions we need to ask are: Could the manifestations be signs and wonders from the Holy Spirit? Is this a touch of the Holy Spirit or is this some hoax or even worse? The important question becomes, is this of God or not. If it is of God, then we must embrace it. If it isn't of God, then we must stay away from it.
To answer these questions we will need to look closer into what is taking place at these "revivals" and the doctrine that is taught along with them. As we do so, we will test it to scripture and see how it lines up. With that being said, let us begin…………
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WHERE IT BEGAN
There are two main leading churches in this revival movement. The first church to receive this touch and start this recent movement is known as the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF).London's Sunday Telegraph on June 19, 1994 announced to millions worldwide "British Airways flight 092 took off from Toronto Airport on Thursday evening just as the Holy Spirit was landing on a small building 100 yards from the end of the runway." And so began a wave of unprecedented world attention on what is now known as the "Toronto Blessing".
Following the "Toronto Blessing" was the "Brownsville Revival". The "Brownsville Revival" began at the Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida on Father's Day, June 18, 1995 under the direction of Pastor John Kilpatrick and visiting evangelist Steve Hill. From the very start, this movement has been overflowing with bizarre manifestations and uncontrollable behavior.
It is from these two churches, that people attend one of their meetings, receive a "touch of the spirit", and then take back the revival to their own church. This causes a domino effect, one church to another church and so on. This would be to the point that one would not need to travel to Brownsville or Toronto, but a local church that has received "The Touch". It is through this that the "revival movement" is spreading across the land. (I will address this later under, "The Spirit of these Revivals") This "Revival" is not just growing in the U.S. but around the world.
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THE JESUS OF THESE REVIVALS
The evidence seems to indicate that the doctrine of Jesus taught by the revival teachers is, at the very least, problematic. Let us now look at the doctrine taught by some leaders of the current revival movement.
David Yonggi-Cho. A Word-Faith pastor from Korea, David Yonggi-Cho is intimately involved with the current revival movement. Cho supposedly prophesied the Brownsville Revival in 1991. In fact, the leadership of Brownsville Assembly of God have placed the story of Cho's prophecy on the Brownsville web-site and mentioned the prophecy in a book by Kilpatrick. By accepting the testimony and prophecy of Cho, Brownsville is, in effect, endorsing what he teaches. In David Yonggi-Cho's book, The Fourth Dimension, Cho claims this about Jesus, "There is a reason to use the power of the spoken word: through it you create and release the presence of Jesus Christ. . . . Jesus is bound to what you speak forth. . . . You create the presence of Jesus with your mouth. . . . He is bound by your lips and your words." In short, Cho's view of Jesus, which was spoken directly to him by a spirit, is derived from a pantheistic worldview, which teaches that God is everything and everything is God. Therefore, man, being one with the All, is divine and can create or change his own reality. If one wants something, then one just thinks or speaks forth the reality-changing words. This same teaching is found in witchcraft, occultism, and the New Age. It is also common in the Word-Faith Movement, where it is referred to as "Name-it, Claim-it" health and prosperity teaching. In essence, this teaching has elevated man to the status of God and demoted Jesus to a mere errand boy summoned up to accomplish our whims and fancies. This view of Jesus is heretical, and those who accept it are accepting a false Jesus!
Rodney Howard-Browne. Rodney Howard-Browne, another Word-Faith supporter, is the man responsible for the "Laughing Revival" of the Toronto Airport Vineyard. Subsequently, the revival was taken from Toronto to Brownsville by the leadership of the Brownsville Assembly of God. Rodney Howard-Browne teaches that Jesus was not God while here on earth. In his book, The Touch of God, Howard-Browne says, "Nothing Jesus did was because He was the Son of God. The Bible says He laid aside His royal robes of deity and when He walked the earth He did so as a prophet under the Abrahamic Covenant." This statement, claiming that Jesus laid aside His deity while on earth, is a denial of the deity of Christ, which is heresy. Thus, Howard-Browne, a man directly responsible for the current Brownsville revival movement, also teaches a false Jesus.
John Kilpatrick. Brownsville pastor John Kilpatrick, in his book, When the Heavens Are Brass, denies the deity of Christ in a manner similar to Howard-Browne. Speaking of Jesus' miracles, Kilpatrick contends that believers should "walk as Jesus walked--and remember, He did it all as a man who did not pull from any source other than those that are available to man." In other words, Jesus did miracles because He was merely a man anointed by the Holy Spirit, or "an anointed man." This is a veiled claim that Jesus, while on earth, was not fully God--the Spirit had to do the miracles because Jesus was missing some aspects of deity. Additionally, Kilpatrick makes this claim in a not-so-veiled manner. He teaches that Jesus "did not move in omnipotence on the earth." In other words, Jesus was not all-powerful when He was on earth. Next, Kilpatrick claims that Jesus "did not move in omniscience on earth. Had Jesus been omniscient, He would have known when He was coming back." Finally, Kilpatrick strips Jesus of His deity by claiming, "Jesus was not omnipresent on earth. . . . Jesus could be only in one place at a time because He was not omnipresent." In all fairness to Kilpatrick, he does claim that Jesus was divine, which is completely contradictory to the statements in the text above. At best, Kilpatrick's statements are contradictory, and thus, by teaching unsound doctrine, he has disqualified himself as a church leader (Titus 1:9). Thus, the Jesus of Kilpatrick, at the very least, is not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent.
What are the problems with this kind of teachings? Well, there are several problems with such teachings.
First, when Jesus took on flesh, He was 100% God and 100% man. The Incarnation did not subtract from His Deity, but added a human nature to the divine Person. Thus, Jesus is two undiminished natures in one Person. He did not become less-than-God as Kilpatrick and Howard-Browne suggests.
Second, Jesus did not give up any of His divine attributes. The subtraction of even one divine attribute would mean that Jesus was not God, because the attributes of God "are essential characteristics of His being. Without these qualities God would not be what He is--God." In other words, God minus even one attribute equals non-God. Apologist Norman Geisler explains that, "God is by his very nature an absolutely perfect being. If there were any perfection that he lacked, then he would not be God."
Third, Jesus did not lose His divine attributes, but He chose a voluntary non-use of His divine attributes while on earth for the purpose, which He came to fulfill. However, He did display His divine attributes at times. (Such as healing/miracles.) Even Satan recognized Jesus was able if He wanted to. That is why satan tempted Jesus to use His power to prove who He was.
Matthew 4:1-7 1Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." 4But He answered and said, "It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’" 5Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you,’and,‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’‘ 7Jesus said to him, "It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’"
It is indisputable that the Revival Movement leadership have serious doctrinal problems. The Jesus they preach is not the Jesus of the Bible. As apologist Ron Rhodes has correctly stated, "A counterfeit Jesus who preaches a counterfeit gospel yields only a counterfeit salvation."
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THE SPIRIT OF THESE REVIVALS
This revival movement not only preaches a false Jesus, they impart a "different spirit" than the Holy Spirit. The spirit of this movement is localized, transferable, and imparted through various techniques. Furthermore, it causes un-Christlike behavior in the people attending. Now let's take a closer look into the spirit of these revivals
As I stated before, there are many manifestations taking place in these "revival movements".It is not the church's message that is attracting the attention but it's the manifestations taking place. Many are claiming that the manifestations are the signs and wonders accompanying a latter day out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. At this point, we will look at some of these manifestations taking place and try to answer where this phenomena is coming from.
The manifestations include: being slain in the spirit, unexplainable spiritual forces throwing people up against walls at high speeds, uncontrolled shaking, holy (hysterical) laughter, acting as if drunk, an assortment of antics from breast-stroking on the floor to lying with the legs pointed upwards, tai-chi-like motions, pretended flying, and a variety of animal noises from barking to roaring and even oinking. Due to the wide spread growth of this movement around the world, we can now add to the list of antics seen: Orgasmic groaning, mock-births complete with "coaches," disrobing, and vomiting have been reported many times in many locations.
These are definitely peculiar manifestations to say the least. However, is this the kind of behavior the Holy Spirit produces in a believer?
Galatians 5:22-2322But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Among many in this passage, we see gentleness and self-control are fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in a believer. Does this line up with these manifestations taking place in these movements?? Absolutely not! The people attending these so called revivals are experiencing, "uncontrollable shaking, laughing, noise making, etc."
1 Peter 1:13 13Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
How can we be alert and sober minded, when the Holy Spirit is supposedly causing us to act drunk or pass out on the floor(slain in the spirit) or act insane and out of control? We can not!
The question becomes, if this is not biblical then what is it? To answer this we will need to look elsewhere. With some research, you would quickly learn that the churches theology/practices that allow this kind of activity are common in Hinduism, Shamanism, Yoga, New Age, etc... Furthermore, you will find many more of these activities in satanic rituals, which would be a result of demonic spirits being conjured up. I will address this more in the next couple sections.
The spirit is localized and transferable.
(THE SPIRIT DOMINO EFFECT)
The spirit of this revival is contained in one place--Brownsville, Toronto, or such and such church. Therefore, in order to encounter that spirit, one must visit the "power center" where the spirit is staying. To receive the spirit of Brownsville, one must go to Brownsville. In other words, one must travel to the power center where the spirit is manifesting itself if a touch/transfer of this spirit is desired.
The spirit does not necessarily remain localized. Once one visits the power center and receives the spirit, one can take that spirit back to one's own congregation and start another power center. Steve Hill claims, "People from all over the world have been touched by God's Spirit, either as they come worship with us, or as they visit others who have been here." Thus, the spirit is passed on from Hill to seekers and from seekers to those in their home churches. I call this the, "spirit domino effect". The point is that you cannot receive this spirit unless someone that has it gives it to you.
>In contrast, the Holy Spirit of the Bible is omnipresent, or everywhere present. Furthermore, He is all-powerful everywhere. By claiming that the power is localized, Revivalist denies both the omnipresence and omnipotence of the Holy Spirit. In addition, one need not visit a "power center" in order to encounter the Holy Spirit. In fact, the notion that the Holy Spirit is more powerfully located in one place and can only be encountered by a journey to a certain place is thoroughly occultic. One can meet the Holy Spirit anywhere at all. Finally, the Holy Spirit is not invoked by means of a journey, but instead, indwells a person the moment a person believes and accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior and is in-filled with...... the Holy Spirit. <
The spirit is received through various "techniques."
The spirit of this revival movement is transmitted by various techniques such as touch, repetition of words, or turning off the mind (meditation).
One technique for passing the spirit is, "touch". Night after night, Brownsville leaders touch seekers to release bizarre manifestations. They eagerly move from seeker to seeker touching forehead after forehead. The result is always the same--the spirit is released, causing seekers to shake, laugh, roar, collapse, etc. There is absolutely no biblical basis for this practice; however, it is very common in occultic practice.
For instance, Swami Baba Muktananda imparted "guru's grace" to followers through touching foreheads. This is a Kundalini yoga technique called "shaktipat," which produces various "physical and emotional awakenings" such as "laughing, roaring, barking, hissing, crying, shaking, etc." Guru Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandasji, a Kundalini expert, says the following about shaktipat:
"Another technique of great importance is Shaktipat, the transmission of energy. A powerful yogi can transmit energy to an aspirant and awaken the Kundalini [power in one's body]. This is accomplished in one of four ways: by touch, gaze, sound or thought. The yogi may touch the disciple and transmit energy through physical contact, or gaze at the disciple and energy flows from the yogi's eyes. The yogi may utter words which carry energy or, more subtly, energy can be transferred directly by the yogi's thought or will."
This popular occultic transfer of power from the leader to the seeker in non-Christian religions is being emulated and embraced by many in the Christian community.
The spirit is released through "the repetition of words".
Another technique used by revival leaders to release the spirit is, "the repetition of words". This causes a spirit to be passed from those who have it to those who want it. This is a Hindu technique called "mantra." According to Harper's Dictionary of Hinduism, "The mantra is a formula comprising words and sounds which possess magical or divine power." A person simply repeats a word or phrase over and over to bring about a desired spiritual effect. This is very common in eastern religions and the New Age.
Shockingly, Steve Hill describes his salvation in terms of mantra. In his testimony, Hill claims that during a low-point in his life, a Lutheran minister visited him. The minister never presented the Gospel, but merely told Hill(who was an atheist at the time), that he must repeatedly say the name "Jesus" in order to be delivered from his degenerate lifestyle. Hill complied.
"The sound of that name again and again seemed to bring hope from nowhere. The confusion and fear faded slowly as I looked to the ceiling and began to utter, `Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!' A peace, a warmth such as I never felt before, flooded my body. This power rushed in like a river and took command of everything. I kept crying out His name, louder and louder: `Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!' The more I said it, the greater was my deliverance."
In short, atheist Hill uttered "Jesus" repeatedly and consequently was overcome by a spiritual power. What is the problem here? The experience Hill described is not Christian salvation. This is clear for several reasons.
First, Hill's testimony does not correspond with biblical testimony of how one must be saved. The Bible claims that one is saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. Acts 16:31 31So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." However, Hill was "saved" through the repetition of a name. The question is, which "Jesus" was the Lutheran minister advocating? It was certainly not the Jesus of the Bible because Jesus Christ our Lord is not conjured through the repetition of a word, but received through believing the Gospel.
Second, by Hill's own admission, the Gospel was never presented. The Lutheran minister never presented evidence for the existence of God, nor did he even mention the work of Christ on the cross. The preacher only instructed Hill to speak Jesus' name, and this would bring about a changed life. There was nothing mentioned about putting faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In fact, when this took place, Hill did not even believe in God!
Third, Hill's experience, the use of a mantra, is widespread throughout Hinduism, occultism, and the New Age. Yet, this is exactly how Hill describes his conversion. He repeated words and was overcome by power.
Unless salvation can occur apart from believing the true Gospel and apart from the true Jesus Christ, Steve Hill was not saved at that moment, because, according to his own testimony, he was not presented with the Gospel nor was he presented with the facts about the person and work of Jesus Christ.
At these revival meetings, Hill is using the mantra technique by repeating over and over again, "More, Lord!," and/or "Fire! Fire! Fire!," to pass on the spirit at Brownsville. For instance, Brownsville's altar call prayer team is instructed to impart the spirit only through touch and repetition of words. Dr. Herb Babcock, former prayer team member recounts,
"While on the prayer team, we were instructed to NOT pray in Jesus' name. We were told to NOT pray for the needs of people. The only thing we were to do was touch people on their forehead and say, `More, Lord!' and keep repeating that until there was an `impartation' of the spirit being promoted in these meetings. If the person did not respond in a reasonable time, move on to someone else. Any deviation from the limited procedure would result in being removed from the prayer team, which did happen to a few individuals."
Dr. Babcock separated from Brownsville Assembly of God over this issue. To forbid prayer in the name of Jesus is anti-Christian, as is the practice of imparting spirits through occultic techniques.
Additionally, any word will suffice as a mantra--even "Christian" words such as "Jesus" or "Lord." One occultist, Michael Balarama of the Bhaktivedanta Meditation Society, advises the use of a number of mantras, saying, "You can choose one that appeals to you. They are all effective. The Vedas say there is no need of understanding the language of the mantra, nor is there any need of mental speculation, nor intellectual adjustment." Remarkably, two of the mantras recommended by Balarama are, "Lord Jesus have mercy upon us," and "Hail Mary mother of grace, blessed is thy name and the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." Thus, in order to conjure the magical effect of the mantra, even "Christian" words such as "More, Lord!," "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!" will work. This is confirmed by the fact that even occultists and pantheists use the name of Jesus as mantras. Hence, even if the name "Jesus" is used as a mantra, that does not make it "Christian." Any use of a mantra is occultic. And by repeating the words "More, Lord!," or "Fire!," with the intent of imparting power, Revival Leaders who use this are not practicing Christian Faith but instead they are practicing occultism.
The spirit is received through, "turning off your mind"
Another technique used to pass on the spirit of revival is, to lead the congregation to turn off their minds and succumb to an altered state of hypnotic meditation.
The Brownsville chant is "Turn off your mind and let the Spirit do what He pleases!" Rodney Howard-Browne instructs his audience to "tune out," saying, "You can't understand what God is doing in these meetings with an analytical mind. The only way you're going to understand what God is doing is with your hearts." In other words, "Don't think. Turn your mind off and let God take control!"
Revival leaders instruct a seeker to clear the mind in order to conjure the spirit. Steve Hill instructs the crowd at Brownsville, "Now, let yourselves go. Don't even think about what you are doing. Forget about those around you and what they are doing. Release your mind. Release your spirit and let the mighty river of the Holy Ghost take you wherever He wants you to go." Notice the similarity of Hill's command to the commands of several New Age/Hindu teachers:
"Withdraw your mind from all created things (thinking about nothing). Such withdrawal of the mind is not the same as simply becoming unconscious, because there is a new focus of awareness . . . your mind will eventually become naturally quiet and still. You must achieve elimination of the mind, which is the arch obstacle in the spiritual path. Do not listen to your mind [but] . . . to my voice. . . . Give [your minds] to me . . . but it must be a complete handing over; no reservations; the mind is the source of delusion.
In contrast, Christianity encourages thinking. The God of the Bible demands His followers to Matthew 22:37 "love the LORD your God with all your mind" . God, the ultimate rational Being, desires His people to be rational beings. The mind is an essential ingredient of the Christian life. The mind is the main battleground of spiritual warfare, and Christians grow in Christ-likeness primarily through discipling the mind. The Apostle Paul commands the church to be Romans 12:1-2 "transformed by the renewing of your mind" .
Truly, without our minds we cannot discern truth from lies, fact from fiction. These Revivals say "Out with the mind!" or should I say, (out of your mind) but Christianity says, "Transform your mind!" Notice the resemblance between occultic practice and current revivals:
Shaking, trembling, roaring, barking, weeping, laughing, paralysis, heat.
Shaking, trembling, roaring, barking, weeping, laughing, paralysis, feelings of heat or coldness.
Power transferred through touch, mantra, meditation.
"Spirit" transferred through touch, repetitive prayer, emptying the mind.
Transferred by a guru who is "on fire" (i.e., he has had someone impart the power to him.).
Transferred by minister who has also been "touched" and received this "spirit" from someone else.
Surrendering to the power; inner peace; feelings of love; closeness to the deity; purification from doing evil; changed life.
"A Changed Life"
Surrendering to the "spirit"; peace; feelings of love; cleansed; renewed commitment and intimacy with God; changed life
Now lets compare this behavior to the behavior produced by the Holy Spirit in a believer according to the Bible.
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Holy Spirit of the Bible
The Holy Spirit does not cause people to behave irrational and senseless, but in a sound mind. For this behavior to be a work of the Holy Spirit would mean a contradiction to the Word of God (Again)Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." The process by which the Spirit produces His fruit in our lives is called sanctification. It brings about spiritual maturity, evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit. (2 Peter 1:2-9)
In addition to the fruit, the Holy Spirit will also empower believers to employ spiritual gifts such as giving, mercy, teaching, service, and evangelism in order to minister to those in need. The Holy Spirit leads a believer to be others-centered, while the spirit imparted at these revivals leads the seeker to be self-centered. In other words, the Holy Spirit leads believers to minister to the needs of others, while the spirit of these revivals leads believers to seek increasingly intense and bizarre experiences for themselves.
Jesus Christ summarizes the work of the Holy Spirit as having three missions in this world:
(1) Convicting people of their sin.John 16:8... " 8And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
(2) Pointing people to the Lord Jesus Christ.After showing us our sin, the Holy Spirit does not leave us hopeless. He points us to the Saviour. In this regard, the Holy Spirit is selfless. John 16:13 13...........for He will not speak on His own authority....... The Greek word for "not" is ou meaning "absolute refusal". The Holy Spirit absolutely refuses to turn the attention upon Himself. It is not His job. He puts all the attention on Jesus Christ. John 16:14... " 14He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. " John 15:2626"But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me." The spirit that puts attention on the spirit is not the Holy Spirit.
(3) Guiding people into the truth.John 16:13 13However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;........
This section can be summed up as follows:
The Holy Spirit's job is not to go around zapping us. The thought that the Holy Spirit exists to gratify us with a zap here and a zap there cheapens our whole sense of the Godhead. It elevates us in our own minds to a self-centered and heretical supremacy over the Godhead, it's as if to say, the Holy Spirit does our bidding. This is simply unbiblical and far from being Christ Centered
Even TACF's mother organization, the Vineyard movement, though rather liberal itself in its interpretation of the Bible, has cut off its ties with the TACF because of TACF's lack of sound Scriptural emphasis. Others have commented on the lack of Biblical and Christ centered emphasis in the movement. One is the computer analysis of Bob Hunter on (only) three months of preaching at TACF: he discovered 383 references to the Spirit but only 143 references to Jesus Christ. Do the numbers suggest the work of a Spirit who refuses to speak of Himself?
There is a dire contrast between true Christian spirituality and the out-of-control behavior of these revivals. The leaders of these revivals are using techniques from non-Christian religions to summon and transmit spirits to revival attendees. Whether by touch, mantra, or hypnotic meditation, Revival leaders are unquestionably practicing occultism, and, in their ignorance, giving the practices Christian names (i.e., mantra = "persistent prayer"; emptying the mind = "letting God take over"; invoked spirit = "Holy Spirit"). To be sure, revival leaders are invoking a power that yields desired results--lives are changed. Yet, since the doctrine is false, the power producing the results cannot be the Holy Spirit, but could ultimately be Satan himself, who would gladly give someone a mystical experience and a changed life in order to keep one away from truth.
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The Gospel of These Revivals
These Revivals are preaching a faith-plus-works gospel.
1) Turn from sins, repent, clean up one's life,
2) Make a public confession of faith,
3) Live a holy life from that day forward, and
4) Be baptized in water to cleanse one's sins.
At first glance, one may say, that sounds Biblical. The Bible tells us to: turn from sin, repent, confess with our lips that Jesus Christ is Lord, be baptized and try and live a life pleasing to God. This is all true, however, if you look a little closer to what theses revival leaders are saying, you will see they are using biblical passages to preach a different gospel than that of the Bible.
Ultimately, These Revival Leaders are saying, the factor, which determines one's salvation, is how one lives instead of one's faith in Christ. Meaning, the current revival movement claims one must complete the above list 1-4 In order to have eternal life. Let's take an examination of the "good news" preached by Revival Leaders
To Be Saved, Clean Up Your Life.
The Gospel according to current revival claims a person must give up all sin in his life to be saved. Then and only then will Jesus consider saving that person. Steve Hill lays out many conditions for salvation, but his basic message is this: "God wants to set you free but you have to do your part." And your part is to clean up your life. For instance, in his sermon, "The Silence of God," Hill states, "There is also a pardon for you, but only after you confess, repent, and submit your life to Him." In another sermon, "The Rebel's Reward," Hill further preaches his clean-up-your-life-Gospel as he says, "If you don't repent of your rebellion, if you fail to obey God and get right with Him, then your wicked heart won't be cleansed." Furthermore, in his sermon, "The Violence of Revival," Hill adds, "Since Jesus did His part, you must wage violent warfare against sin. If you want Jesus Christ to touch you and forgive you today, then you had better get violent about it. Get up and shake the devil off your lap." Pastor John Kilpatrick also describes similar life-cleansing requirements for salvation, "Even harlots, thieves, backsliders, and little children can release Heaven's incredible power by repenting, obeying, and submitting to God." Thus, according to Brownsville, one must do his part by confessing, repenting, submitting, obeying, shaking the devil off, and getting violent about sin. Only then will Jesus "do His part" and save the person.
To Be Saved, Make a Public Confession of Faith.
Brownsville preaches that salvation is genuine only if there is a public confession of faith. Hill claims that one of the many steps to salvation is "Confess Him publicly as our Lord and Savior." In his sermon "Counterfeit Conversion," Steve Hill states this very plainly: "I believe people need to come to Jesus Christ the same way he died for them on the cross--publicly, boldly, and in front of everybody. It has to be real. Anything less is going to be counterfeit." Thus, if one does not make a bold, public confession of faith when he cleans up his life, the conversion is counterfeit.
To Be Saved, Live a Holy Life Until the End.
Not only must one turn from all sin and respond publicly to be saved, the person must live a sinless life until he dies if he wants to go to heaven. In fact, Brownsville maintains that if a person who claims to be a Christian has any sin in his life, he cannot be a real Christian. In a recent sermon on the steps of the Governor's Mansion in Montgomery, Alabama, Steve Hill yelled, "If there is sin in your life and you are calling yourself a Christian, change your name! You are a heathen--at best a backslider!" Consequently, the presence of sin means the absence of salvation. Brownsville evangelist Dick Reuben illustrates, "We [at Brownsville] don't differentiate between those that have never received Jesus and those who are backslidden, because, you see, there's no difference between a backslider and one who's never known Jesus. They're both sinners on the way to hell. If you don't think you can backslide and miss heaven, then you didn't read the same book I've read."
The factor that determines whether or not one goes to heaven (in this revival movement) is how one behaves, not one's trust in Jesus. According to these revivals, there are those who have believed the Gospel that will never see heaven because they misbehave and allow sin into their life. Heaven is only for those with clean lives. Sinful behavior separates one from God forever. This is entirely different than the God of the Bible who declares that Romans 8:38-39 "neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord". Eternal life is a free gift, and it is exactly that--eternal. We did not work to receive eternal life and unless one completely turns away from God, never to return, one can not lose their salvation.
To Be Saved, Be Baptized For the Forgiveness of Sins.
Steve Hill believes that "transformation . . . comes as a result of water baptism." Remarkably, in the chapter about water baptism in The Pursuit of Revival, Steve Hill clearly declares that cleansing of sin comes through water baptism. Hill claims, "When an individual encounters the living God, like Paul did on the road to Damascus, he or she is changed in no small way. And the lives of those around him are affected as well, especially by the cleansing of sin that comes through baptism." Thus, Brownsville teaches that unless one is baptized, one cannot be cleansed of sin. The Bible, though, declares that the cleansing of sin comes from the shed blood of Jesus Christ: Matthew 26:28; 28For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
1 John. 1:7 7But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If the Gospel of this revival Movement is true, then salvation by faith alone is false. Revival leaders are teaching a works-centered Gospel that is little more than a contract between man and God in which man promises to behave and then God fulfills His promise to save the man. This is very different from the biblical teaching on salvation. The Bible points to the fact that for a person to be saved, he must simply believe, or trust in Jesus. Jesus did the work for salvation on the cross, and we simply trust in Him (John 3:16 16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 5:24 24"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life., John 6:47 47Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life., John 20:31 31but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.; 1 John 5:1 1Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.). Salvation is a free gift (Rev. 22:17 17And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.), not a contractual obligation.
Must a person fulfill all the revival movement requirements in order to be saved? Absolutely not! In fact, if a person tries to do works in order to gain the favor of God, Gal. 5:2. "Christ will profit you nothing" In other words, those who work for salvation do not receive salvation.
Eph. 2:8-9 states, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. Thus, we have no need to "get violent" about our sin in order to be saved, because Jesus "got violent" about sin in order that the world might be saved. He was tortured, crucified, and died on a criminal's cross, thereby providing an atonement for our sin. We must simply trust in Him as the atonement for our sin. Since He dealt with our sin "once-for-all," we do not "deal" with our sin in order to be saved, whether it is by confession, repentance, obedience, lifestyle, or baptism--we simply trust Jesus. Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross, and to imply that we need to clean up our act or repent of sin in order to be saved is to deny the sufficiency of the atonement for sin that Christ completed on the cross.
Now, that's not meant to take away from repentance, baptism, or cleaning up one's life which is biblical. The point here is that, these things, though essential in a Christian's life, is not what brings one Salvation. It is Jesus Christ, through His death and Resurrection alone that one can have salvation.
Therefore, the Gospel as taught at these revivals is a false Gospel, and a false Gospel leads to a false salvation. Therefore, even though a church like Brownsville who claims that 135,000 souls have been saved, this claim must be categorically rejected on the basis that the 135,000 people have not responded to the true Gospel, the true Spirit, or the true Jesus. They have responded to a false Jesus, a false spirit, and a false Gospel--something that Scripture warns about over and over again (read conclusion for scripture reference.) Tragically, people will spend eternity separated from God because of the revivals that are being held night after night in churches around the world.
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I realize that this may be shocking to you. However, none of this should actually be a surprise to you and me, for these things have been told to us.
1 Timothy 4:1 1Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
Matthew 7:15-16 15"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
The fact of the matter is, we are living in a time where apostasy is running rampant in the Bride of Christ. Where churches are abandoning sound doctrine for self pleasure. They have replaced the one true God, the one true Jesus, and the one true Holy Spirit for counterfeits. They have turned away from the true gospel that they once knew. This is exactly what Paul had feared with the Corinthians
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 3But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!
In other words, Paul was afraid that Satan would send false teachers who would teach a false Jesus, a different spirit then the Holy Spirit and a different Gospel then the true gospel, and the Christians would put up with it. Meaning, it would be ok with them.
That's exactly what is taking place today. As I stated before and have shown you through out this article there is no biblical support for the teachings, the manifestations and the doctrine that comes with this revival movement. Thousands of Christians have accepted this movement, they have, "put up with it". In fact thousand embrace it, live for it and defend it, and they no longer give heed to sound doctrine. This too was told to us..2 Timothy 4:3-4 3For the time will come when they (Christians) will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
This is a sad time. Paul said it best:Galatians 1:6-9 6I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
How can people be so deceived?
You may be asking, How is it that so many people can be deceived? Did not scripture warn us of how Satan will disguise himself as an angel of light?
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
Look, these are the times in which the Bible warns us of many false teachers, false prophets, false apostles and false christs appearing. If it was going to be so obvious then why did Jesus say, that if it was possible, even the elect (Christians) would be deceived.
Mark 13:22 22For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. The elect is true Christians! That means it will be hard to know the false nature of these signs. It will not be as obvious as many people think. These false teachers, preachers, etc. come in the name of Christ, "false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ ." That is why so many people are being pulled into these apostate churches. As Jeffrey M. Spencer put it, "Satan is not going to waltz into the church on Sunday morning and say, "OK everybody! Listen up! I'm Satan and this is the great apostasy, so get in line and follow me!" No, his end times deception will be through a subtle twisting of biblical Christianity, mixing biblical truth with demonic error, true doctrine with false doctrine. So close is this mixture, in fact, that many believe it to be biblical Christianity and fall away from the true Faith."
Why doesn't God stop it?
I hear a lot of people say, "If this movement wasn't from God then God would have stopped it." Yes that is true, God will put an end to it, but not until the appointed time.
Daniel 8:19 19And he said, "Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be.
2 Peter 2:1-2 1But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
The problem is too many Christians today are not reading and being grounded in the Word of God. They are ignorant to what scripture says, therefore, they are easily deceived. As I said before, these apostate churches use Christian words and some scripture by twisting and changing passages. Therefore, many people think it must be of God. However, just because these apostate churches hide their true self under the name "Christian" doesn’t change the fact that they are apostate and allow demonic activity in their church and as I have attempted to show you, do not preach the True biblical Jesus, Holy Spirit and Gospel.
What Can we do?
1) Take heed Look at what Jesus says in the very next verse after warning us that "if possible even the elect would be deceived." (Mark 13:23 23But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.) Jesus said, "take heed" and that is what we must do!!
2)Test all things! We should test all things to the Word of God. 1 John 4:1 1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 21Test all things; hold fast what is good.
How can you test it? Well, make sure it lines up with the Word of God. I always tell people, don't take my word for it, test what I say to be true with scripture. Never accept a teaching just because it comes from a preacher or some religious leader/person. A church leader should welcome people to test what he says to scripture.
3)Ground yourself. It is so important that we ground ourselves in the Word of God. It is knowing and learning the word of God that we can then be able to test doctrines. By knowing what the Word of God says we can then begin to take heed.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 16All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Hebrews 4:12 12For the word of God [is] living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
It is through God's Word that we can learn who God is, and by doing that we begin to grow in our relationship with Him. Furthermore, it is through His Word that we can gain guidance for our lives
Psalms 119:105 105Your word [is] a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
4)Prayer Prayer is so important in our relationship with God. This is our communication to God through Jesus Christ. We should pray and seek the Lord for guidance in all things.
Ephesians 6:18 18praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-- 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 pray without ceasing, 18in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
5)Holy Spirit The Fact is, God has given us the Holy Spirit to teach us such spiritual things. Furthermore, God has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us and teach us truth.
1 Corinthians 2:13 13These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.) John 14:26 26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.) John 16:13 13However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
Many Revival supporters/leaders condemn ministries like TRM, who are trying to get the message of truth out, who are taking a stand against these counterfeit revivals. Revival supporters accuse TRM and other ministries that feel as we do, of "teaching falsely". However, what makes what we say false? IS it the fact that we say an apostate church worshiping a false god can bring in demonic spirits? I bet if the movement was labeled "Occultic Revival", or "Occults Unite" many would agree with us. Instead, because the churches take on the name Christian and sing some songs we like, it should be ok, regardless of the demonic activity and the apostasy, right? Wrong!
It would be wrong for usto say that a movement worshiping a false god, teaching a false doctrine and using occultic techniques is not going to bring in demonic activity.
Furthermore, it would be wrong not to teach/warn people that they should in no way embrace/support pagan based apostate churches and their teachings. As a Christian, it is our job to warn people of apostasy, it is our job to teach truth no matter what the price.
We have choices to make. We can either heed the warnings that have been given to us, or allow ourselves to be fooled. Satan disguises himself in many ways: different TV shows, movies, violence, rebellion, hatred, ect.. We can not say premarital sex is against God and is of Satan, then turn around, watch an XXX porno film, and think its ok. Where do we begin to set our standard as Christians? We can not allow ourselves to be fooled by how satanism is packaged. You can put any label you want on it and decorate it however you wish, but satanism is satanism.
The truth is this, when we are willing to accept the truth and look for the truth, we will find the truth and the truth will set us free!!
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[I]An examination and evaluation of the Brownsville revival by Jeffrey M. Spencer
For an example of the Christological heresies of the Word Faith Movement, see Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 1993), chapters 12-16.
Kilpatrick, When the Heavens are Brass, xiv. The Brownsville Web-site is <http://www.brownsville-revival.org>. Cho's prophecy is found at <http://www.brownsville-revival.org/choprop.html>.
Paul Yongii Cho, The Fourth Dimension (Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1979), 81-83. Dr. Cho was named Paul when he wrote this book. However, he claims that God told him to change his name to David. He also claims that the doctrines in this book, which are undeniably occultic, were taught to him by a spirit.
For an excellent discussion of the infiltration of this occultism into the church see Dave Hunt, The Seduction of Christianity (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 1985).
The fact that the Brownsville Revival is a direct descendent of the Toronto Blessing, or the Laughing Revival is indisputable. The staff at Brownsville readily admits the connection. Brownsville has sent leadership from their church to Toronto many times. In a video-taped service, Kilpatrick admits to sending his wife to Toronto so she could learn how to minister "Toronto-style." See Marcia Ford, Charisma Reports: The Brownsville Revival (Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 1997), 75-80.
Rodney Howard-Browne, The Touch of God, 13-14.
John Kilpatrick, When the Heavens Are Brass (Shippensburg: Destiny Image Publishers, 1997), 22. The claim that Jesus did not "pull from any source other than those that are available to man" is debatable. This teaching leads to the conclusion that Jesus, in and of Himself, was not responsible for any of His miracles--it was the Holy Spirit who did all the miracles. While it is true that Jesus did attribute supernatural works to the Holy Spirit, such as the casting out of demons (Matt. 12:28), it is not necessary to attribute all Jesus' miracles to the Holy Spirit since Jesus was fully God Himself. Jesus, as God, was fully capable of doing any and all the miracles attributed to Him in the Gospels. Theologian Charles Ryrie comments, "Some of the Lord's miracles were undebatably done in the power of the Spirit. This claim was what evoked the incident concerning the unpardonable sin (Matt. 12:28, 31). He also gave sight to the blind because the Spirit was upon Him (Luke 4:18). . . . But some of the Lord's miracles were evidently done in His own inherent God-Man power. . . . He did some of His miracles in the power of the Spirit (particularly those which gave evidence of His claim to be Messiah by restoring sight to the blind) and some in His own power" (Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology [Wheaton: Victor Books, 1995], 350-51).
Ibid. 20. While this is an ambiguous statement, other statements Kilpatrick makes in the same context show that he means that Jesus did not have certain divine characteristics when He came to earth.
Walter Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984), 451.
Norman Geisler, Creating God in the Image of Man? (Minneapolis: Betheny House, 1997), 28.
Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers,) 291.
Steve Hill, The Pursuit of Revival (Shippensburg: Destiny Image Publishers, 1997), 105.
For a good discussion of Apostolic authority, see John MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing, 1992), 120ff.
Warren Smith and Danny Aguirre, "Some Examples of Holy Laughter in Other Religions," SCP Newsletter, Volume 19:2, Fall 1994, 14.
Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandasji, The Path of Kundalini Maha Yoga , On-line article,
Margaret and James Stutley, Harper's Dictionary of Hinduism: Its Mythology, Folklore, Philosophy, Literature and History (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), 180.
Hill, The Pursuit of Revival, 30.
Dr. Herb Babcock, "That's How They Do It In Toronto!," The End-Times and Victorious Living, Vol. 11, No. 2, March/April 1997, 18.
Michael Balarama, "Bhaktivedanta Meditation," On-line, <http://www.geocities.com/Athens/8612.>.
Larry Thomas, No Laughing Matter (Excelsior Springs, MO: Double Crown, 1995), 48.
Jimmy Robbins, "Pensacola Experiences," The End-Times and Victorious Living, Vol. 11, No. 2, March/April 1997, 16.
Deb Platt, Mysticism in World Religions, <http://www.digiserve.com/mystic/.>.
Samuel Sandweiss, Sai Baba: The Holy Man and the Psychaitrist (San Diego: Birth Day, 1975), 206.
Sathya Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Speaks, (Bangalore, India: Sri Sathya Sai Publication and Education Foundation, n.d.), Vol. 4, p. 15, and Vol. 7, p. 50.
Diana Doucet, "Toronto: God's Meeting Place," Spread the Fire, Volume 1, Issue 1, Jan-Feb. 1995, 4.
Kurt Keutzer, "Kundalini Frequently Asked Questions" and "Siddha Mahayoga Frequently Asked Questions," <http://www.execpc.com/~libra/kund/kundalini-faq.html.> accessed 14 January 1998.
Steve Hill, White Cane Religion (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, 1997), 21.
Kilpatrick, When the Heavens Are Brass, 138-39. Notice the works-salvation mindset of the Brownsville teachers. A person must do something in order to invoke the blessing of God. If a person will do such-and-such, then God will save. This is very different than the biblical doctrine of salvation which presents eternal life as a free gift to those who simply trust in Christ.
Hill, The Pursuit of Revival, 45.
Hill, White Cane Religion, 37.
Hill, The Pursuit of Revival, 143.
Dick Reuben, Brownsville Assembly of God Evangelist, 11/21/97 [audiotape].
Kilpatrick, When the Heavens Are Brass, 71.
Ibid. Like Cho, Kilpatrick receives "new revelation" from spirits while in prayer. It should be apparent that if the doctrine is false, then the spirit giving the revelation is not the Spirit of God. Moreover, the practice of receiving new revelation is very problematic because it reduces the Bible to merely a part of God's Word. Orthodox Christianity claims that the Bible is God's full and final special revelation to man. A common characteristic of cults, however, is the use of revelation other than the Bible.
Hill, The Pursuit of Revival, 113.
Charles Colson, The Struggle For Men's Hearts and Minds (Prison Fellowship, 1983), 16.
Blaise Pascal, Pensees. <http://members.aol.com/KatharenaE/private/Philo/Pascal/pascal.html.>
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