Rekindling An Extinguished Flame (Making Money Off A Memory)

15 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 2 – Rekindling An Extinguished Flame (Making Money Off A Memory) by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Rekindling An Extinguished Flame

(Making Money Off A Memory)

By Rev. Bob Liichow

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This month’s issue of Charisma magazine had several things which caught my eye, but two advertisements really speak to where the emphasis is within the Charismatic Movement today. On page 62 of the February, 2007 issue of Charisma you can read the following information from a three-quarter page ad:

A.A. Allen’s

Miracle Valley

Resurrected

Resurrection Glory Tent Revival

February 21-25th, 2007

‘Miracles, Healings, Signs and Wonders once again at

Miracle Valley, Arizona.

A Generation later God is now restoring this massive

Well

Of Glory and Power! (1)

Naturally, two names come to the forefront when you consider A.A. Allen’s legacy, R.W. Schambach and Don Steward both of which can be seen on “Christian” television on a regular basis. Schambach is a regular guest on TBN and is brought out especially during Beg-a-thons because he appeals to the “old school” Pentecostals due to him being one of the last roving tent revivalists. Don Stewart has his own television broadcast. Both men will on occasion mention A.A. Alan’s name in passing to let their viewers know they walked with a General of Pentecostal power. Roberts LIARdon devotes an entire chapter to A.A. Alan in his book “God’s Generals.”

As I read down through the Charisma ad, which has a large picture of A.A. Allen in the upper left corner, I expected to read that either R.W. or Stewart were going to be speakers or hosting the event due to their being Allen’s former right and left hand men. Yet neither person is involved with the “Resurrection Glory Tent Revival.”

Could this be because the ad states that “God is now restoring this massive well of Glory and Power,” meaning that Allen’s mantle of miracle power did not fall upon Schambach or Stewart? With the death of Allen did the “masive well” of God’s power run dry and only now is being restored? First, we would have to agree that at some point there was a massive well of power in Miracle Valley, AZ. Secondly, we’d have to agree that the well through which this miracle power flowed was no less than Asa A. Allen.

I find a couple of interesting comparisons between charismatic extremists and Roman Catholicism. First, both groups believe there is or can be places where God moves specifically. For the Roman Catholic it may be dipping in the water at Lourdes, France or staring at the Sun on a hilltop in Medjugorie, Bosnia-Hercegovina. For the charismatic extremist it might be Azusa Street. CA. or the graves of Aimee Semple McPherson and Kathryn Kuhlman. Benny Hinn visits both tombs to re-charge his alleged anointing. (2) It seems that the final resting place of A.A. Alen’s is the latest place where people can come and receive miracles, healings and signs and wonders once again! A second comparison between these two groups is the belief in some form of “apostolic succession.” For the Roman Catholic that belief is centered on the office of the Pope. For the extremist it is a belief that God’s power can be bestowed from one anointed minister into another lesser anointed one. This is why many younger ministers will often mention how hands were laid upon them by some past (or current) man or woman of faith-N-power! I might as well add a third comparison between these groups of professing believers, that of the power of human mediators. For the Roman Catholic it can be a host of deceased saints, the Virgin Mary being the greatest of all mediators in their minds. Charismatic extremist televangelists foster the belief that their prayers are especially efficacious. Oral Roberts built an empire based on this misguided belief. Ever since he built his prayer tower he has used it as a tool to garner millions of dollars from God’s gullible saints. I mean, after all , if Oral is going to shut himself in with God to pray for me specifically, then surely God will answer my prayer request (along with other millions or so Oral will personally bring “before God.”). Hinn does the same thing on his television broadcasts when he and his guest or henchman will all lay their hands on the huge stack of prayer requests and prey on., I mean pray “for” God’s needy saints.

Since the advertisement states that “once again” this massive well of glory and power is being restored it behooves us to ask the question was A.A. Allen ever such a well of glory and power during his ministry?

A Little Stroll Down Memory Lane

It has been over thirty years since Allen died so many of our readers may not remember or even know who he was back in the day, as we like to say on the eastside of Detroit regarding the past. As the old adage says, “those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it” is certainly true regarding Allen and all the fake-healers that preceded and proceeded from him.

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Allen claims to have received Christ at a Methodist meeting in 1934 and within a couple of years he became part of the Assembly of God (AOG) in 1936 and began ministering with them at that point. While an AOG Evangelist Allen in the mid to late 1930’s Allen claimed to have shut himself literally in a closet and fasted and prayed asking the Lord for the secret of His power. Allen claimed that God honored his prayers and revealed to him what the price tag was for miracles:

‘…When the last requirement was written down on the list, God spoke once again, and said: ‘This is the answer. When you have placed on the altar of consecration and obedience the last thing on your list, you shall not only heal the sick, but in My name shall you cast out devils, you shall see mighty miracles as in My Name you preach the Word, for behold, I give you power over all the power of the enemy…At last, here was the price I must pay for the power of God in my life and ministry. THE PRICE TAG OFFER THE MIRACLE-WORKING POWER OF GOD! (3)

“God” revealed to Allen thirteen works he had to do and when he had done all 13 of them, then God’ power would flow in his life. Allen only revealed eleven of the thirteen to is followers, saying that the last two had to do with “pet sins” in his life.

However, it was not until he participated in an Oral Roberts tent miracle revival meeting in 1949 that Allen got into the flow amidst a field of almost 200 other roving healing revivalists:

While attending an Oral Roberts Tent revival in 1949, Allen felt a burden to reach the lost with the miracle-working power of God and he soon hit the revival trail. Allen would be part of the “Golden-Era of Tent Evangelism,” that flourished between the end of World War Two and the mid-1960s. (4)

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I can’t say for a certainty whether or not Allen “felt a burden” or not. When we consider his history and the fruit he brought forth it seems more likely that he believed he could do what Roberts did. Allen saw the large offerings being taken by Roberts, saw him lay his “anointed” right hand on the sick in healing lines, heard the standard Pentecostal revival preaching (Roberts was still Pentecostal at that point in time, he later left the Pentecostals and became a Methodist) and no doubt thought “I can do that too.” So Allen transformed himself into “A.A. Allen, healing evangelist” with the AOG. Allen stayed with the AOG until 1955 when they defrocked him and took his ministerial license away due to him being arrested in Knoxville,TN on a drunk driving charge. Instead of facing the charges in court, he jumped bail and fled the state (R.W. Schambach was with Allen as they fled the state). (5)

In true Latter Rain style (keep in mind by 1955 the New Order of the Latter Rain was in full gear) Allen simply re-ordained himself and started up as an independent ministry calling it the “Miracle Revival Fellowship,” along with the biggest tent of all the tent revivalists, he hit the road and hit pay dirt.

In 1955 Allen purchased a tent for $8,700 that would seat over ten thousand people , and Allen was soon one of the major healing evangelists on the revival circuit. Allen’s revival meetings were similar to the other leading evangelists of the time (such as Jack Coe, Oral Roberts, and William Branham) where there would be an extended time for music and testifying, then a sermon, then an appeal for those in need to come forward and be prayed for. Allen opened his revival meetings to all races, and his interracial meetings drew criticism, but Allen used the criticism as a platform to preach upon. (6)

Later Allen cut the tent up and sold pieces of it as point-of-contact devices saying that the tent had absorbed healing power from all the miracles that transpired under it (and you thought some Roman Catholics were superstitious)! In 1958, Allen purchased the largest of all the tents on the circuit, he bought Jack Coe’s tent which seated 22,000. Coe had died in 1956, so Allen got the tent for a good price, but he was “visionary” enough to see the future of revivalism. Not long after he purchased the huge tent, Allen was given 1,280 acres of land in Arizona by Urbane Lienen Decker. This large tract of desert land was soon to become Allen’s headquarters and he renamed this land “Miracle Valley.”

Miracle Valley, Arizona, is at the base of the Huachuca Mountains in the southeast corner of the state. There, Allen had his own airfield, a Cessna 150 aircraft, a record company (with 47 albums going), a 3,000 seat church, and a telephone prayer center. He appeared on 58 radio stations daily, and on 43 TV stations weekly…Miracle Magazine, a monthly publication with a circulation of 350,000 was produced and printed at Miracle Valley. (7)

Allen saw the future was in radio, television and print media’s and he was one of the first of the modern “televangelists.

Allen became one of the first to develop a national television ministry and broadcast prophecies and deliverances from demons over the airwaves. Allen is credited with helping to start over four hundred churches and led a revival in the Philippines. Allen also founded a Bible School in Miracle Valley, to fulfill his visions; ‘a place where thousands could be trained up to deliver the Word of God to the multitudes in need’. At a revival meeting on Jauary 1st, 1958, at Phoenix, Arizona Urbane Leign Decker, a recent convert and Spirit filled, approached Allen and offered him 1280 acres (5.2 km) of the finest land in Arizona, free of charge and with no strings attached. Within days a deed was recorded in the name of A.A. Allen Revivals, Inc. at the Cochise County Courthouse. (8)

Allen was pulling in around 4 million a year, which back then was a great deal of money, naturally I realize this in no way compares to Mr. Hinn’s one hundred (100) million + dollars per year today. Yet back in the late 1950’s and through the 1960’s a million dollars was a lot of money. In 1969 reporters from Look magazine wrote an article on Allen. These reporters concluded that Allen’s greatest miracle power was his unique ability to separate bills from billfolds. Let me cite James Randi again regarding this “power” of Allen:

He was very good at that. In his heyday, he claimed he sent out over 55 million copies of his publications from his mail room every year. He sold water from his Pool of Bethesda in Miracle Valley to customers all over the world. Said Allen of this commodity, ‘People are being healed instantly while they sip it as an act of faith’ Containers of plain dirt from the valley were also sold though no instructions went along with them. The reverend displayed demons in glass mason jars, sealed up safely and looking very, very dead. Allen told the faithful that those the preserved specimens might look to some insensitive, unbelieving folks like ordinary toads, snakes, and spiders, they were actually disease demons. (9)

Delivering folks from demons was one of Allen’s stock-in-trade shticks. However, Allen could not deliver himself from the demon of alcoholism and substance abuse. What is sad is that those closest to him did nothing to stop his self-destruction. R.W. Schambach and Don Stewart had to have known about this problem in Allen’s life, but both have kept silent and denied his alcoholism to this very day. I suppose they did not want to kill the “golden goose” by confronting the man of faith-and-power with his own “demons.”

During 1969 Allen was a sick man who according to Roberts LIARdon suffered from a severe arthritic condition in his knee. Somehow Roberts failed to mention the revelations in the Look article which proved Allen to be a fraud. Instead he tries to paint a sympathetic picture of a man in so much pain that he must take strong addictive drugs to combat it:

In fact, it is documented that his personal physician, Dr. Seymour Farber, prescribed Percodan, Seconal, and Valium to ease the pain and for insomnia brought on by the severity of the pain. (10)

On June 11, 1970 Allen checked into the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco. He made a phone call to a close friend at 9:00 P.M. who was alarmed by whatever or however Allen spoke to him, so much so that he drove over to the Hotel and got the manger to open Allen’s room with the master key. According to the Coroner’s report A.A. Allen was declared officially dead at 11:23 P.M. that evening. In the room was a bottle of whiskey and numerous bottles of prescription drugs. According to the death certificate (which DMI has an official copy ofSee at End of article) Allen died of “acute” alcoholism and fatty infiltration of the liver.” In the words of Paul Harvey, “now you know the rest of the story.”

Brothers and sisters, there is no independent recorded evidence of any creative miracles or divine healing in Mr. Allen’s ministry. We do know he was extremely sensational, so much so that almost every other revivalist stayed away from him due to his wild unsubstantiated claims. It is a fact that he jumped bail and fled TN due to a DUI charge. We know that his wife left him around 1962 in a legal separation. We know he was being sued for over $300,000 in back taxes in 1967. We know his doctor had him on highly addictive drugs, which I believe, combined with his drinking, eventually caused his death on June 11th, 1970. A.A. Allen was not a man of wonder-working power or of miracles and signs and wonders.

Yet these documented facts do not seem to matter to those holding the “Resurrection Glory Tent Revival” on the Miracle Valley property later this month. Since Schambach and steward are not involved in this meeting, who is you might ask? It is being sponsored primarily by David Herzog and his wife Stephanie. If you go to their web site www.thegloryzone.org you can read about their miracle ministry! On their site they claim jewels from heaven are manifesting in some of their meetings. They show pictures of people with their mouths gaping open showing the “gold teeth” God has supernaturally given them, etc…In other words they, like the man they esteem, Mr. Allen, seem to be totally caught up in the sensational and not the Scriptural. Naturally, on their web site there is no proof given for any of the testimonies or pictures on their web site. DMI has looked into various alleged reports of gem stones and gold teeth and we have yet to find any proof of such things. So be aware a new generation of frauds, fakes and thieves are being raised up to fill the place where Allen on stood.

Just When You Thought It Could Get No Worse

As if propping Allen up as a miracle worker was not bad enough, Charisma on the adjacent page sells a full page advertisement to “Mel Bond.” (Who you might rightly ask is Mel Bond?) According to his Ad he is a “last day Apostle of signs and wonders.” What is more, Mr. Bond is holding a school of signs and wonders, here is a portion of the ad:

Sound the Alarm

New School of Signs and Wonder

I am building an army equipped with the ministry of signs and wonders to go to the world and openly on platforms demonstrate the power of God by healing the blinded eyes, deaf ears, crippleness, incurable pain and the dead corpses to rise, ALL INSTANTLY THAT THE Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:12-14).   (11)

DMI is in fact “sounding the alarm” that another flake is on the loose. I’m sorry if I do not sound very merciful towards Mr. Bond, but I have yet to see the Scripture so openly and obviously twisted and misstated as his ad proclaims. What is worse is that this nonsense passed the inspection of the Editors of Charisma magazine. They see no problem at all with the above statement. Bond goes on to say the following:

According to God’s Word, God is waiting on the ministry of Signs and Wonders to bring in the masses throughout the world and then the rapture will take place (Joel 2:28-32; Rev. 4:6; 5:9). In this one week of schooling I will teach & demonstrate (1 Cor. 2:4,5) in the classroom how to see in the spirit world, how to feel God’s anointing, how to place God’s anointing into physical bodies for instant miracles, and how to release God last days anointing for Signs and Wonders. At the end of the week together, you will have learned to do the same. (12)

Oh really? Where does the Bible speak of a “last days anointing? It seems in order to move this hitherto unknown anointing one simply needs to attend Mr. Bond’s class? It is not a question of the sovereign good pleasure of God, nor is it up to the Holy Spirit to bestow His gifts as He wills (1 Cor. 12:7). No, friends in these dark and evil last days it takes only a week of instruction by one of God’s restored Last Day Apostles {drum roll please} “Apostle Mel Bond.”

In Matthew 12:39 Jesus answered His crowd saying “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” God has never used signs and wonders to create saving faith in people. The Israelites saw daily miracles and yet the entire generation could not enter into the promised land due to their unbelief, except Joshua and Caleb. The genuine Apostle, the Apostle Paul said that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). The same Apostle said that the Gospel is the POWER OF GOD unto salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16).

Last Days Anointing for Signs and Wonders?

Mr. Bond claims that the rapture cannot and will not occur until the “ministry of Signs and Wonders” brings in the masses of lost throughout the world. Oh really? What saith the Scriptures?

Jesus asks quite clearly that when He returns to earth will He find faith (Luke 18:8)? It is a rhetorical question with the answer of “no.” Our Lord also says that in the last days the love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). How does Mel deal with texts such as the following:

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:22-23.

For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. {Possibly interpreted ‘I am the anointed’}. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Matthew 24:5,10,11

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. Luke 21:8

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  2 Thess. 2:9-10

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  2 Timothy 4:3-4

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2 Thess 2:3

Sorry Mel and anyone else who is counting on some great tidal wave of revival and soul-winning to occur that will precipitate the return of our Lord. If such a thing were true then the return of Christ depends upon the Church and not God’s will; which is exactly what Bond’s ad implies when it states that “God is waiting on the ministry of signs and wonders.” I’m sorry but did I miss something in reading my Bible? Where exactly is a “ministry” of signs and wonders mentioned and moreover where doe the Bible declare that anyone can be taught to flow in the supernatural gifts of the Spirit?

A plain reading of the Biblical texts show that the very end of times (which has been going on now for almost two thousand years) is a time of apostasy from genuine faith, a time when men {and women} will declare themselves to be anointed by God, a time when the love of most will grow cold towards God and each other. It will be a time of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders to deceive those seeking a sign versus the God behind the sign. The end times will be a time when multitudes will gather to themselves teachers that suit their own fleshly lusts and desires, i.e. people teaching things they want to hear as opposed to what the Bible actually teaches. Humm…maybe we are in those times.

Let me close out this sad episode of deception by letting you know that Mr. Benny Hinn, not to be outdone by an “unknown” like Mel Bond also is now offering a “Signs and Wonders School of Ministry.” Unlike Bond’s Mr. Hinn offers his school online and at a cost. Mel Bond’s school is free: the only cost is room, board and travel to his home base located at 140 N. Point Prairie, Wentzville, MO. So all DMI Missouri readers, if you live near Wentzville consider these dates: March 26-30 or October 22-26 of this year to attend a week of classes on how to become a super-raising the dead and lifting wallets saint of the Most High!!

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

 

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End Note

1 Charisma, February, 2007, p. 62. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

2. In an April 7,1991 sermon, Hinn revealed that he periodically visits Kuhlman’s grave and that he is one of the few with a key to gain access to it. He also visits Aimee’s grave. Where he says: “I felt a terrific anointing…I was shaking all over…trembling under the power of God…’Dear God, ‘ I said, ‘I feel the anointing…I believe the anointing has lingered over Aimee’s body.” Obtained from http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/bhinn.html on 01-2007

3. Liardon, Roberts God’s Generals, Tulsa, OK: Asbury Publishing, 1996, p. 390.

4. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Allen on 01-28-07

5. Randi, James. The Faith Healers, Prometheus Books: Buffalo, New York. 1987, p.85

6. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Allen on 01-28-07 underlining added for emphasis.

7. Randi, James. The Faith Healers, Prometheus Books: Buffalo, New York. 1987, p.84

8. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Allen on 01-28-07

9. Randi, James. The Faith Healers, Prometheus Books: Buffalo, New Yor. 1987, p. 87.

10. Liardon Roberts, God’s Generals, Tulsa, OK: Asbury Publishing, 1996, p. 408.

11. Charisma, February, 2007, p. 63. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis

12. Ibid. Italics, underlining and bold type added.

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The “New Wine” Hangover

24 08 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 4 – The “New Wine” Hangover – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries Internationalscangoosedrunk0001

The “New Wine” Hangover

I thought after considering the hundredth anniversary of Azusa Street enthusiasm that it would be appropriate to look into the current state of the Signs & wonders revival in our own day. One constant characteristic of Pentecostalism is the belief that God is continually doing a “new thing” in the Church. The trick is to find out what it is and get involved with it. Pentecostal folks are in a continual state of flux. (1) From 1906 until around 1910 Pentecostals believed that the Azusa experience was the final fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy and Jesus was due back anytime. The Azusa revival only lasted about three years and then it die out, although its concepts were spread far and wide.

For forty years Pentecostal folks looked back fondly to Azusa and sought the Lord to “do it again.” Then the Post World War II healing “revival” and inauguration of the New Order of the Latter Rain began around 1946. Whereas Azusa alleged to give people the gift of tongues, this new move showed forth great healing and deliverance power along with the restoration of prophets and apostles. These restored prophets & apostles claimed to have the ability to impart supernatural power to their followers. This was seen as the last great worldwide-soul-saving move of the Spirit heralding the imminent return of our Lord. (2) This revival also lasted only about four or five years. Both the Azusa revival and the Healing revival spawned many sects founded on a wide variety of aberrant doctrines. Another approximately forty years later, according to Bill Hamon (3)  that “God” restored the Prophetic Movement back to the Church. According to Hamon, the Prophetic established a platform for the Apostolic Movement to be birthed in the early 1990’s which lead up to the most recent explosion of delusion via a man named Rodney Howard Browne, RHB), aka God’s “Bartender.”

Rodney Howard Browne  (RHB) was originally from South Africa and he came to the United States in 1987. (4) In 1988, the new wine began to be poured out by God’s bartender:

From January 1988, they traveled across America for fifteen months, all the time praying that God would pour out His spirit upon His people and that they would have a supernatural encounter with the Holy Spirit that they would never forget. In the sixteenth month, April 1989, the glory of God was poured out in a Tuesday morning service in a church in upstate New York, beginning a revival that continued to this day. That week, hundreds of people were dramatically touched and changed by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and since then, hundreds of thousands of people, around the world, have experienced the life changing power of God. (5)

According to RHB he was preaching on hell one evening in New York City and “suddenly” people began to laugh uncontrollably. The harder he preached about the dangers of eternal damnation the more people began to laugh.

Rodney Howard-Browne reported: “One night I was preaching on hell, and laughter just hit the whole place. The more I told the people what hell was like, the more they laughed.” The Holy Ghost…might have you do something that no one’s ever done before, and he might have you do something that’s totally unique. But don’t question, and don’t argue, and don’t ask, and don’t try to devise and to plan it out but just follow the prompting of the leading of the Spirit of God and oh, great and wonderful things shall be done, for God will move in diverse ways and with diverse anointing in these last days. (6)

RHB interpreted this response to being the work of the Holy Spirit. (7) Naturally, one wonders why people began to laugh during the proclamation of such a serious topic. I am firmly convinced that anything that stops or hinders the preaching of God’s Holy Word must be attributed to sinful flesh or demonic activity. Whenever I read or hear reports that say “Oh the Spirit was moving so strongly that we did not even get to the preaching,” (which is commonly reported in these revival meetings) then I know that it was certainly not the working of God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit uses the preaching of the Word of God to convict sinners and draw them to faith in Christ:

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

God uses the foolishness of preaching (and sometimes foolish preachers) to reach the lost:

1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

RHB and all the other charismatic extremists look for God’s power to be something outside of the Word of God Itself. To them God’s power is some form of amorphous, tangible energy which can be transmitted from one person to another totally apart from the Word of God being proclaimed. Yet the Bible plainly teaches us in the following text:

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

RHB’s big break did not come for almost another five years when he spoke at a large and influential charismatic congregation in Florida:

In the spring of 1993, Karl Strader, pastor of Carpenter’s Church in Lakeland, Florida, invited him to preach. Scheduled for a one-week appearance, he was carried over for three more weeks. Since the services were broadcast on radio, many people began showing up at Carpenter’s Church to experience what they heard on the air. (8)

The Carpenter’s Church in Florida is the home congregation of Mr. Strang, who owns Strang Communication, which publishes Charisma Magazine. While he preached there, people began to laugh again, this time RHB encouraged the people to let go and let God pour the new wine of the Holy Spirit into their parched souls. Word spread rapidly, all the way from Florida to Tulsa’s “City of Faith,” aka Oral Roberts University and Oral and Richard Roberts flew over to see for themselves what the latest stirring of the waters was. Both Oral and Richard got soused with new wine from Joel’s Bar. (9) and immediately invited RHB to come back with them to the Maybee Center and hold revival meetings there. Richard Roberts documented this experience, including his own reception of “holy laughter” on video tape which can still be purchased through their website.

Rodney Howard Browne at ORU –  Oral Roberts and Richard Roberts

It was the meetings in Tulsa that rocketed RHB to fame & Fortune and man of the charismatic glitterati came to the meetings to receive the latest work of the Spirit, including Charles and Francis Hunter aka, the “Happy Hunters” who went on the write a book and this latest outpouring of the Spirit entitled, “Holy Laughter.” (10)

The Hunters also brag: “The Spirit of God is swiftly moving in breathtaking and sometimes startling new ways, and people of every tongue and every nation are letting out what is on the inside of them…they are running at a fast pace to ‘Joel’s Bar’ where the drinks are free and there is no hangover!…one of today’s signs ‘in the earth beneath’ is the ‘holy laughter’ which is supernaturally overcoming people in services all over the world!” (11)

Do not lose the mindset of Pentecostalism; by this I mean the continual search for God’s power apart from His Word. It has been almost forty years since the massive ministry machines of the roving healing evangelists and now, via RHB, God was pouring something completely new and available to the average sign-seeking believer. Was this really the “new thing,” possibly the “last thing” Pentecostals had been seeking? Was this the sign that God was performing before the return of Jesus? High profile Pentecostal leaders didn’t want to get caught high-and dry if it was, so they began to chase the spiritual carrot on the stick RHB was dangling before their eyes. If the revival did not spread, they’d suffered no loss, they got their Gospel giggles. However, if it took off, then they could claim to be part of a historic spiritual event.

Word spread throughout American Pentecostalism while RHB was working his shtick at Oral’s conference center. In 1993, one pastor, who by his own admission, was on the verge of spiritual burnout, and suffering from depression was encouraged to make his pilgrimage down to Tulsa and receive this new anointing. (12) This pastor was Randy Clark, who led the Vineyard congregation in St. Louis, MO. Initially Mr. Clark was reluctant to go because he was not open to the Word of Faith movement being part of John Wimber’s Vineyard sect. (13) He ended up attending RHB’s meetings and after having RHB lay his hands on him many times Mr. Clark “received” the new wine and took this highly exportable experience back to his Vineyard Congregation. This new experience caused many sign-seekers in St. Louis to flock to his church. Remember the cardinal rule: If anything causes people to coe to your church then it is a good thing. With the injection of this unbiblical phenomenon into his sagging congregation Clark became the “go-to” guy for Vineyard congregations. This sudden growth in Clark’s congregation caused another Vineyard pastor, John Arnott to contact Clark and ask him to come up to Toronto and hold a series of meetings to help pump some life into his small congregation.

Randy came to Toronto and “imparted” the new wine to Arnott, his leaders and congregation members. From there, word began to spread about the new thing the Lord was doing in Toronto. Many people have wondered why the so-called “holy laughter revival” took off at this small church versus remaining centered around RHB. Part of the reason could be that the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF) was located near a large international airport and the Vineyard sect had many congregations across America and overseas. Whatever the reason, this much is sure what stared out from RHB quickly became know as the “Toronto Blessing.”

Tens of Thousands of people made their pilgrimage to TACF to receive the latest experience and take back to their own congregations, commonly referred to as spreading the fire due to highly contagious nature of these manifestations. Arnott quickly cast himself in the role of one who was pasturing the revival. One of the earliest countries affected by the latest outbreak of spiritual enthusiasm was England, Holy Trinity in Brompton to be specific. It was at Holy Trinity Church that a young American Assemblies of God evangelist received the Toronto blessing, his name was Steve Hill.

Steve Hill left England and came to an Assembly of God church in Brownsville, Florida that was being led by a pastor John Kilpatrick. On June 18, 1995, Steve Hill got up to preach his Father’s Day message and “revival” broke out in Brownsville AOG! Well at least that was what Kilpatrick and Hill wanted people to believe, I.e. that a spontaneous and sovereign move of the Holy Spirit had broken forth at Brownsville. The TRUTH of the matter is that prior to Hill’s arrival Kilpatrick’s wife and many leaders from Brownsville went to TACF to acquire the fire. (14) They showed videos to those who could not take time to Pilgrimage to TACF. In short, they primed the pump and built up the people’s expectations before Hill cscanhorsecarrot0001ame on the scene. When Hill arrived the “Lord” began to pour out His new wine.

True to form, over a million sign-seekers traversed land and sea, chasing the charismatic carrot-on-the-stick to get to Brownsville. Many had already been to Tulsa, then to Toronto and now to Brownsville. The same sort of thing happened forty years earlier when the healing hucksters roamed the nations. A.A. Allen would come to town, people would flock to his meetings for a touch from God’s man of the hour. Then Jack Coe would come next month, the same people would run to Coe’s meetings, from there to Oral Roberts tent when we came through. Always seeking and never receiving the thing promised (the proverbial carrot on the stick). This is nothing new, Jesus had to deal with sign-seekers in His ministry as well. Here is what our Master had to say;

Matthew 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

In reality this so-called latest outpouring has been anything but spontaneous or sovereign on God’s part. The manifestations proved to be highly transmittable, or the sign-seeking people seem to be highly suggestible in being willing to believe something divine is being given to them. The following flow chart demonstrates the human chain of transmission regarding the Holy Laughter revival aka the Toronto Blessing aka The Brownsville Outpouring:

The Unbroken Chain of HUMAN Transmission of the “New Wine”

Δ

Rodney Howard Brown

The Carpenter’s Church

Then to Oral & Richard Roberts, ORU Convention Center

Randy Clark gets the blessing

Taken it to St. Louis

Randy then goes to Toronto Airport Christian Church (TACF)

                                                                                           ↓

John Arnott, Leader of TACF hypes it to the Charismatic world

Holy Trinity Brompton Bestows blessing to Steve Hill

Steve Hill takes it to Brownsville/Pensacola, Florida AOG church

Brownsville promotes the new experience to over a million people

All these leaders end up leaving their ministries within 5 years

Revival over, dead in the water, fini!

Millions of sign-seekers left with nothing but spiritual ennui & they are praying desperately to learn what the next “move” of God will be!

Stay Tuned Campers!

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The experience in Toronto and Brownsville were never equated as the same type of revival by both sets of leaders. The Toronto Blessing seemed to appeal more to the various charismatic sects, whereas the Pensacola Outpouring was initially geared towards attracting the classic Pentecostal denominations, beginning with the Assembly of God Rodney Howard Brown never spoke nor imparted anything at either church during their simultaneous moves of the Spirit. There are at least two reasons why RHB never was invited to participate in these massive meetings: (1) the leaders at TAFC & BAG wanted to keep the illusion that what was taking place in their midst was a sovereign move of the Holy Spirit and (2) neither group fully embraced many of the concepts espoused by the Word of Faith movement of which RHB was a member. I have thoroughly examined this so-called revival from start to finish and there are simply no accounts of “holy laughter” simply breaking out in congregations. Every instance I know of, which is quite a few of them, these manifestations were brought into congregations by leaders or individuals who received an “impartation” at some other vortex of delusion.

From about 1995 to 2000 both groups (and many other smaller congregations) tried to keep the revival fire stoked with everything from holding spiritual drunkards conferences, (15) reports of God filling peoples teeth with gold and platinum, reports of diamonds and precious stones appearing in various sanctuaries and even reports of angels feathers being found after worship!

However, as with the Azusa meetings, the Healing revival, the Catholic charismatic renewal movement and lastly the Holy Laughter revival…the enthusiasm died down and a great emptiness filled the lives of millions of sign-seekers. This sense of lack is what I refer to as a spiritual hangover. The “party” was over, uncontrollable laughing, hopping up and down and falling into cataleptic trances on the floor (aka doing “carpet time”) was passé. Like a junkie experiencing withdrawal the sign-seeker was left asking “where is the next high”?

What about the leaders of this move of God? They were and are responsible for all the bold claims they made to millions regarding the fad they were promoting. They claimed people needed to come to their centers and receive what God was currently doing. And come they did, often at great personal expense and they left with their impartations of new wine and took them back to their home congregations. From our research virtually every congregation that embraced this delusion ended up in a church split. (16)

John Arnott more or less abdicated his role at TACF, he is still there, but he is busy these days trying to discern what the next “big” thing is via a para-church ministry sponsored by TACF. TACF is back down to a small church size, gone are the thousands of daily visitors from around the world.

John Kilpatrick? Oh, he moved on (or was moved out) from serving as Pastor at the Brownsville Assembly of God church. Once the hoopla that he touted ended, so did his role as pastor. Kilpatrick now heads up “John Kilpatrick Ministries and will be opening an independent church called “the Church of His Presence,” in AL. (17)

Steve Hill? Well old stevie was the first to bail out from BAG when he quickly noticed that the “cloud had moved on.” His job was done, he’d fleeced all the pockets he could and it was time to take the money and run. Today Hill has turned in his “evangelist” hat and has opted to pastor an independent church called “Heartland Fellowship Church” located in Texas. (18)

Lindel Cooley, the highly “anointed” music/worship leader at Brownsville, he took off right after Mr. Hill and now operates “Music Missions International.” On his website he declares that the Brownsville revival is the longest running revival in American history, which is simply a lie. (19) What of the father of this current strain of insanity, Mr. Rodney Howard Brown? RHB, although the man who can rightly claim to be the initiator of the enthusiasm, quickly became a bit-player and faded from prominence. He too dropped the evangelist role and decided to become a pastor. Currently he is the head of “The River Church” another independent congregation. By the way, he continually refers to himself as “Doctor” RHB. This too is a lie. He received a doctorate from the School of Bible Theology in San Jacinto, CA. This is a diploma mill. Not only were the manifestations he foisted upon millions spurious, his own educational and some of his ministerial background is equally fallacious.

I close this article out by simply asking — what good fruit came from this revival?” None that I can discern. At worst, millions of people were duped into accepting possible demonic activity into their lives and at best people simply emptied their minds and gave themselves over to fleshly indulgence disguised as the work of the Spirit.  Churches were split, lifelong friendships and more then a few marriages were destroyed.

All those who ran to TACF or BAG are left today wondering what the next “great” thing will be. Many are disenchanted with Church and church leaders. Especially when it became well publicized how wealthy Arnott, Kilpatrick, Hill, Cooley and others became due to the revival.

What can we learn from past and this most recent “revival”? Keeping in mind that all the Pentecostal revivals have at their root a belief in restoration within the Church it must be stated that Jesus Christ is still Head of the Church, which is His body (read Eph. 5:23). God’s plan for His people has continued since He conceived it. Fallen humanity and all the demons of hell cannot detour what God has ordained. Christ Jesus has lost nothing pertaining to His Body (read John 6:39).

There is not one genuine spiritual benefit to the Church from any of these revivals from Azusa to this current time. All of the people who laughed uncontrollably are not any more sanctified today than prior to their fits of laughing. The thousands who spent hours in catatonic paralytic fits on sanctuary floors are no more “powerful” in Christ today than prior to their temporary psychotic breaks with normal reality. No great biblical insights were granted to any of the so-called restored apostles or prophets due to these meetings. No further true unity (20) was developed and sustained due to the revival. Upon close examination the Toronto Blessing and Pensacola outpouring were much a due about nothing.

Probably the most important lesson that can be gleaned from this most recent example of excess is that need for the people of God to look to the Holy Scriptures alone and find in them all they need to give a godly and spiritually prosperous life. There is no such thing as a spiritual “quick fix” {unless you are a spiritual jukie, seeking the next high}. Spiritual maturity takes a lifetime, no one can mystically impart it to you anymore than someone can make you a prophet by laying their hands on you. It is an honorable desire to want to be used of our Lord in a mighty way. Sadly, many think “mighty” means becoming the next charismatic superstar, when in our Lord’s eyes being mighty may be serving as a faithful janitor in your local church. Those who are running hither-thither and yon after the anointing, sincere as they may be, are probably some of the least productive people in the Kingdom. I end by saying grow where you are planted, be faithful in promoting God’s work, attend Bible study, share your faith at home and work, prey for your bothers and sisters…This will not only make you a vessel of honor, but will also keep you from ever-suffering from a spiritual hangover! ♦

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Copyright © 2006  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. I am using “Pentecostal” in the article to refer to all the branches of this aspect of religion. It includes the entire charismatic movement (yes, I know there is a difference between classic Pentecostalism and charismatic groups), i.e. the Word of Faith, Prophetic, Apostolic, Signs and Wonders and basic run-of-the-mill sign gift sects.

2. Let me be clear in stating that I believe in the imminent return of Christ for His Church. He could come before you finish this issue. I do not predicate my belief on anything I see going on in the Church, or the world, simply on His promise in the Bible.

3. Bill Hamon is a false prophet and prolific writer. He holds traveling school’s where one can learn to be a prophet of the Lord. He is the product of a Latter Rain sect and he has been trumpeting their aberrant doctrine for 20+ years now.

4. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_Howard_Browne.

5. Obtained from http://www.revival.com/www/r.asp?p=11, RHB’s official website.

6. Burns, Cathy. Unholy Laughter Part One

7. A similar occurrence transpired at the Vineyard Church led by the late John Wimber. A meeting was taking place, people began to laugh uncontrollably so Wimber, who was no stranger to odd manifestations, had the laughing people brought forward and he and his leaders attempted to cast the “demons” out of these people. When they failed in the deliverance attempts, Wimber declared that what was taking place was of the Holy Spirit since they were powerless to stop the laughing.

8 Obtained from http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/holylaugh.htm.

9. RHB became know as “God’s Bartender” and he referred to this novel experience (at least in our time) as getting drunk at Joel’s Bar, a reference to the prophecy in Joel which has been repeatedly re-fulfilled by every enthusiastic movement since the true Pentecost in the Book of Acts.

10. Hunter, Charles and Francis, Holy Laughter, Hunter Publishing, 1994.

11. Tarkowski, Ed. The Laughing Phenomena: From South Africa to St. Louis to Toronto to Your Church (Part 1), The Christian Conscience (February 1995, Vol. 1 No. 2) p. 25. Bold type added.

12. Obtained from http://www.geocites.com/heartland/plains/4948/vine3is5.html.

13. It is important to keep in mind that a few years back (80’s and 90’s) there was little agreement between the various Pentecostal/charismatic camps. Shepherding folks did not buy into Word of Faith concepts. Classic Pentecostal denominations did not believe that most non-traditional Pentecostal people had the genuine “Holy Ghost.” Wimber’s Vineyard was a bit of a melting pot of Later Rain/Prophetic/Signs and Wonders, but in general was not into the name-it-and-claim-it people. It was not until recently, post Holy Laughter phenomena, that all of these groups are coalescing into a miasma of error.

14. Cathy Wood, a member of the Brownsville Revival, has written many articles proclaiming the link between the two movements. She and many other Brownsville Revival members attribute the coming of revival to the visits that the pastor’s wife and the worship leader, Lindel Cooley, paid to the Toronto Blessing. Many of the members felt that the anointing that both had received from the Toronto Blessing provided them with the spirit of revival to bring back to Brownsville ( http://ww.pen.net/~crow/proof.html ) Evangelist Steve Hill also met Sandy Miller, the pastor at the Trinity Brompton Anglican Church in London, where manifestations are also occurring. He was refreshed by Sandy Miller beore he came to Brownsville and began the revival. In his church now almost identical manifestations are taking place. (http://crash.ihug.co.nz/pensa.html) Obtained from http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/Brownsv.html

15. My wife and I personally observed one such conference at TACF where the people came from all over the world to receive the new wine to such an extent that it paralleled physical drunkenness. The same type of thing was promoted at BAG as well.

16. I have documented this in our book “Fruit Proof” which is filled with eyewitness accounts from various charismatic and Pentecostal people caught up in the madness. This book is offered in this month’s issue.

17. Obtained from http://www.partnersinrevival.org/index.htm.

18. See his web site at http://www.heartlandfamily.com/

19. http://www.mmi-inc.com/discography.htm.

20. I say “true unity” because biblical unity is based only upon agreement with the Word of God.