The Prophetic Movement in Our Time

1 06 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 5 – The Prophetic Movement in Our Time by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

 The Prophetic Movement in Our Time

By Robert S. Liichow  

Christ cannot return until His ascension gift ministries have brought the Church into full manhood.” Prophet Bill Hamon  

 D.M.I. has received several e-mails expressing concern over the so-called “Prophetic Movement,” and we have been urged to write again about what is going on in this popular and growing segment of the charismatic renewal.

 Throughout the post-apostolic history of the Church there have always been people who have claimed to be “prophets” speaking a newly revealed divine word from God. Without exception, every one of these individuals has been rejected by the orthodox Church. Certainly, these deluded individuals have had their followers but by in large these folks remained at the fringes of Christianity and their impact was slight.

 It was not until the 1940’s that the concept of God restoring the office and ministry of the prophet became popularized and this mainly through the ministry of William Branham. Branham boldly declared himself “God’s prophet.” The validation for his claim was the alleged sign gifts; the word of Knowledge, the word of wisdom (1) (see 1 Cor. 12:8) and divine healing. Due to his apparent ability to reveal past and present events (including embarrassing sins) of peoples lives coupled with the various testimonies of divine healing proved to the less astute that God was indeed with Branham. In their minds, God was confirming Branham’s word with signs following (see Mark 16:20).

 In 1947 a Pentecostal minister named George Hawtin, the head of what was then called “The Sharon Work” in North Battleford, Saskatchewan and several students and faculty attended a Branham meeting they even received an impartation from Branham through laying on of hands. Hawtin and his followers went back to their school marveling at what they had seen and experienced. At the same time a book written by Franklin Hall, a Pentecostal teacher and healer was being widely circulated among Pentecostal believers entitled “Atomic Power with God through Prayer and Fasting.” (2) Hall claimed that God was not only restoring all the sign gifts back to the Church (nothing new in that claim) but that He was going to cause a group of super-saints to arise, believers who would be physically immortal!

 These super-saints, aka manifest sons of God (3) (see Rom. 8:19) literally will take dominion over the entire world and then present it, a Christianized planet to the returning Jesus.

 The Branham encounter and Hall’s writings had a profound effect on George Hawtin and in the summer of 1948 the Sharon Brethren held a revival meeting which attracted that generation’s hungry sign-seekers (read Jesus’ opinion of such in Matt. 12:39) Hawtin and ministers interpreted the advent of Branham, Hall’s revelations, and the subsequent revival meeting at Sharon as being proof that what was happening to the Church was nothing less than the beginning of the outpouring of God’s “Latter Rain.”

 Please understand that sign-gift people throughout Church history have interpreted the Pentecost of Acts 2 as being the “former rain” of God’s which would vastly overshadow anything done in the time of the former rain (see Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23).

 Almost every group of restorationists have claimed that their group was the recipient of the “latter rain.” The heretic Montanus (4) in approximately 170 AD was one of the first sign-gift restorers to make such claims. Edward Irving in England, thought he and his group were oing to restore the Church. In America, Alexander Dowie claimed to be Elijah, the Restorer in his “holy” city of Zion, IL. He had planned to build Zion’s all over the world, but after his declaration of being Elijah he was stricken with a stroke, and his plans to establish the Kingdom of God on earth never materialized. The people at Azusa widely claimed to be receiving the latter rain. David Wesley Myland wrote the first Pentecostal treatise on this belief entitled “The Latter Rain and Pentecostal Power.” (5) Now almost exactly 40 years later a new generation of sign-gift folks were laying claim to being those chosen to receive the latter rain of God’s Spirit! These extremists made such a strong claim regarding the latter rain, that their fledgling movement became known as “The New Order of the Latter Rain”.

Restoration of the Church Is Key

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the time of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21.

Ever since Montanus various people have risen up claiming that God is restoring some facet of “lost” truth through them. This is particularly true for Latter Rain disciples. Jesus must remain in the heavens until God has restored all things lost to the Church. One thing all the restorationists agree about is that the Church has been a failure. The Body of Christ seems to have trouble holding onto things the Spirit of God reveals to it. Ultimately such beliefs cast aspersions upon the Head of the Body, which is Christ Jesus.

 Bill Hamon, who can probably be rightly considered the father of the modern prophetic movement has written prolifically on the theme of this alleged end-time restoration of the ministry of the prophet and apostle. Naturally, he himself is a restored prophet, who has recently received the mantle of apostle. According to Hamon, there are nine distinct eras in which God has successively restored “lost” truths to the Church.

 Not only is the Acts 3:19 text used as proof of the need for restoration, the Prophetic Movement teachers also cite Hebrews 6:1-2 to further bolster their argument:

 Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Chrison unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. Hebrews 6:1-2

Hamon and the other Latter teachers interpret this text to be dispensational in the following manner:  

 When the first six doctrines are restored, then the seventh one, ultimate perfection, can be restored. Doctrine number five, the resurrection of the dead, and number six, eternal judgment, will produce a Church restoration movement before the general resurrection and the great white throne eternal judgment. (9)

Hamon continues to write in his book that it is the Prophetic & Apostolic Movements which will be the key to bringing about the restoration of doctrines 5 & 6 which then ultimately bring to pass number 7, ultimate perfection.

 Under the larger aegis of “restoration,” the Latter Rain Movement of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s had other specific doctrinal beliefs, which have become part of the Charismatic movement in general.

** Some of the major distinctions, which separate them from the orthodox Church, are:

 Restorationism –This further development of restoration theology viewed God as progressively restoring truths to the church since the Reformation.

 Fivefold MinistryThe teaching that God is restoring apostles and prophets to the church to function with the three other gifted offices: evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph. 4:11). Apostles and prophets provide direction with new revelation that will play a major role in paving the way for Christ’s second coming. Remember that Jesus cannot return until the prophets & apostles are fully functioning. Hamon goes so far as to make dispensations oout of these to in the following manner.

 Laying on of the HandsA ritual by which the restored apostles and prophets are “anointed” to impart the Holy Spirit and other spiritual blessings and gifts to yielded vessels.

 ProphecyViews the practice of “personal prophecy” as being restored to the church. Prophecy would no longer be restricted to general words of exhortation, but would include personal detailed revelations for guidance and instruction. Prophecy is also given to entire congregations for direction. All “Spirit-filled” Christians can prophesy, but not all are called to be prophets.

 Recovery of True Worship The belief that God’s manifested presence is dependent upon a certain order of worship involving singing in tongues, clapping, shouting, singing prophecies, and a new order of praise dancing. It is common in most charismatic services to have long praise and worship services, which will include corporate singing in tongues, corporate dancing, as well as dance “ministry.” Waving banners, pageantry, ritualized dance are all seen as a restored truths.

 Immortalization of the Saints The belief that those believers moving in the truth of Latter-Rain restoration, not necessarily all in the church, will attain an immortal state before Jesus returns. This message has been toned way down and it is not currently being taught openly, but it is discussed in private pastor level meetings.

 Unity of the FaithThe doctrine that the church, usually perceived to be a band of overcomers in neo-Pentecostal ranks, will attain unity in the faith before Christ returns. The main hindrance to this unity is doctrine. Bible doctrine divides believers, thus all that divides must be set aside and people must unite around the truths (doctrines) being currently revealed by the restored prophets and apostles.

Deliverance Latter Rain disciples emphasized a strong belief in the power of demons to inhabit Christians. Christians could be demon possessed and various “deliverance” churches and ministries sprang up to cast demons out of believers.

 By 1950 these basic tenets of the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) had become dogma to many sign-seekers. However, all was not happiness and joy within the Pentecostal arena. Branham was teaching that all denominations (including Pentecostal ones) were the great whore of Babylon and that true believers must come out from among them in order to be saved.

The Sharon brotherhood was busy telling people that they were the only ones authorized to impart gifts (various other ministries began to claim this ability too). These concepts decimated the Assembly of God denomination. Many A/G pastors left their denomination and became independent congregations and placed themselves under the authority of the new prophetic presbytery of the Sharon brotherhood.

This problem was so severe that the A/G leadership in 1950 held a conference and the leadership produced a statement that denounced the doctrines of the NOLR as heretical. Some pastors returned to the A/G and it seemed that much of the initial energy of the NOLR was diminished. NOLR teachers were more or less shunted to the sideline of the sign-gift believers…yet they did not stop teaching and writing books.

 Even though the A/G’s stand for doctrinal truth was commendable, the damage had already been done. The “genie” of restored prophets, and later on apostles, had been let out of the proverbial bottle and there was no way to get him to go back in. Hundreds of independent latter rain congregations were being formed apart from any denominational oversight and from these churches the errors of the NOLR were propagated and expanded.

 In 1952, after reading Hall’s book on how to gain “Atomic Power” from God Hamon dedicated himself to fasting. After a long fast, a prophet came to his church and spoke a word over him, a word that changed the direction of his life.  What as the result of this  prophetic encounter? “For some thirty years later, Bill would be raised up as a pioneer and a worldwide leader in restoring the offie and ministry of the prophet into Christ’s Church with full recognition and authority.” (11) Here is one of Hamon’ more famous revelations: 

 That company of prophets is being raised up in the 1980’s. God revealed to me that there are 10,000 prophets on the North American continent along being prepared to be released within the Church. (12)  

In the 6,000 years of recorded biblical history there are less than 30 individuals named as genuine prophets of the Lord! Yet, Hamon says “God” revealed to him that there are 10,000 prophets in America alone. Hamon’s revelation is more in line with the Bible where it says:

 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

A plethora of false prophets invaded the early church and now 2,000 years later, we are again being inundated with these deluded people.

Hamon is the individual who is behind the very lucrative concept of holding “School of the Prophets” seminars where people can come for a very high fee and have the prophetic gift imparted to them or released by Hamon or the other prophets participating in the meeting.  Remember Hamon is the product of an independent latter rain church that is why he firmly believes he has the ability to bestow spiritual gifts and/or release them in the sign-seekers life 

 When the prophet lays hands on and prophesies gifts and callings to a person, his words have the Christ-gifted creative ability to impart, birth, and activate that ministry into the member. (13)

 

The Role of the Prophet Today

 The prophets have been given the anointing and responsibility to receive from Christ the proper revelation and application of these Scriptures. They are hidden from the eyes of men until God’s time for that truth to be restored and established. (14)

The Scriptures Hamon refers to concern those truths, which must be restored so Jesus can return (see Acts 3:19). It is the restored prophet(s) who alone will receive the proper revelation of the Bible and also the proper application of these texts. This is why the Church needs to receive these prophetic men and women. They are the ones who will guide the Church into perfection.

 The prophets prepare the way for the second coming of Christ by bringing revelation knowledge on the Scriptures that must be fulfilled before Christ can return. The Church apostles and prophets have been commissioned with that anointing and responsibility. (15)

Prophets do not need to attend seminary or have any formal education whatsoever. What they teach comes to them by divine revelation of God Himself. The prophets today are here to give the Church the “correct” insight and interpretation of the Bible. What is more, these restored prophets claim all the power and authority of the biblical prophets:

 Church prophets function in all the ministries of the Old Testament prophets, as well as the New Testament gift of the prophet standing in the role of Christ, the Prophet. (16)

 The modern day prophets are parallel to those of the Old Testament. (17)

They declare that they operate in the same manner and same authority as both Old and New Testament prophets. Yet they do not hold themselves to the same biblical standard which governed the words of the Bible prophets.

 The full restoration of apostles and prophets back into the Church will then bring divine order, unity, purity and maturity to the corporate Body of Christ. The saints will be equipped and activated in the supernatural power of God to be a witness and demonstration to all nations of the powerful kingdom of God. That will in turn bring about the end of this world system of humanity and Satan’s rule. The fulfillment of all these things will release Christ. (18)

 The role of prophets and apostles today is to bring divine order, unity, purity and spiritual maturity to the Church. Well, if Hamon is correct and the prophetic movement was “officially” inaugurated in 1980, they have had 22 years to begin this process. Do we see any manifestation of these claims? Is there any more “divine order” in the Church? How about unity in the Body (Brownsville, the revival vortex in America just went through an ugly split? What about purity? Recently more international charismatic leaders have gotten divorces and remarried. Not to mention the recent exposures of Mr. LIARdon’s homosexual behavior, which DMI broke to the public and “prophet” Paul Cain another now known homosexual. Sadly, purity is not on the increase. What about spiritual maturity? Since the charismatic movement is in disorder, it is not unified by any stretch of the imagination, it is being led by men and women of questionable ethics and morality one can hardly claim any degree of spiritual development. In fact, just the opposite has been taking place. I can speak as one who has personally witnessed the downward spiral the renewal movement has been undergoing for the last twenty years.

 God’s miraculous power will increase in the prophets until the Creator himself will arise in them and speak His creative word that can turn dust into living lice. After the third encounter, the magicians and diviners were no match for God’s prophet Moses, and the same will be ture of God’s prophets today (Exodus 5-12). (19)

According to Hamon the prophets today not only have the same authority when they speak as the biblical prophets, they will also have the same miracle working power of God operating in their lives too. As my granny used to say, “put up or shut up.” Where are these creative miracles? What New Testament verses point to anything that Hamon is claiming? Absolutely none! Here are some verses to look up regarding what the New Testament has to say about prophets —Matt. 7:15; Matt. 24:1; Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1

 When the prophet lays hands on and prophesies gifts and callings to a person, his words have the Christ-gifted creative ability to impart, birth, and activate that ministry into the member. ((13)

The Bible is also very clear about unfulfilled prophecies. False prophets are “full of hot air.” They prophesy events or hearings that are difficult to disprove. Much like a horoscope, many “words of knowledge” are nothing but generalized predictions that might find hundreds of “fulfillments.” And yet, particularly in end-time prophesy, many modern seers have made repeated predictions that have been demonstrated false. This is a serious matter as far as God is concerned. “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true.” God instructed Moses, “that prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 19:22).

 The true prophet, Jeremiah, recorded God’s lamentation over the false prophets: “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?” (Jeremiah 23:25,26). Furthermore, God even gives us instructions as to how we should respond to presumptuous prophets:

 If a prophet or priest or anyone else claims, “This is the oracle [word] of the Lord,” I will punish that man and his household. This is what each of you keeps on saying to his friend or relative: “What is the Lord’s answer?” or “What has the Lord spoken?” But you must not mention “the oracle (revelation) of the Lord” again, because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God. Jeremiah 23:34-36

God is weary now, as He was then, of self-appointed prophets who claim to speak for God. 

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. That the World May Know (Atlanta: K Dimension, 1987), p. 10

2. Ibid., p. 142

3. Ibid., p. 144

4. Paulk, Satan Unmasked (Atlanta: K Dimension, 1984), p. 190

5. Ibid., p. 187

6. Ibid., p. 183

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.,

9. Paulk, That the World May Know, p. 125

10. Paulk, Satan Unmasked, p. 170

11. Robert Tilton, God’s Miracle Plan, p. II

12. Correspondence on file with CURE (Christian United for Reform).

13. Paulk, Satan Unmasked, p. 294

 The previous article is taken from Rev. Liichow’s book entitled “Blind Guides The Prophetic Movement Past & Present” which is currently under revision.

 One fact about the “pathetic” movement is that these people breed faster than rabbits in Australia; which is exceedingly fast if you don’t know. New voices have risen up declaring themselves to be prophets and they are having a devastating effect in many Christians lives. Let me close by saying I have not forgotten our series on the Eternality of the Liturgy nor have I forgotten lil Burpo’s revelations of heaven. Stay tuned these articles are coming along.

  

 

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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!

scandemonsofstupidity0001

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.





Azusa’s 100th Anniversary (The Truth Behind the Hype)

19 08 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – April 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 4 – Azusa’s 100th Anniversary – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Azusa’s 100th Anniversary (The Truth Behind the Hype)

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I want to add a few comments before getting into the heart of this article because I am aware that we have new readers each month that may not be as familiar with my background as some of our more seasoned readers. I was raised as a child in a Christian home by godly parents and was baptized a member of the United Presbyterian Church. Years later when I was at the University of Michigan, having wandered away from Father’s house like the prodigal son, I came into contact with a charismatic community called “The Word of God Community” (WOG). (1) WOG offered a six week course called “Life in the Spirit” and at the end of the lessons, hands were laid on the participants they were supposed to receive their heavenly prayer language, i.e. begin to speak in other tongues. I underwent the training and became a member of the Pentecostal Church of God. I left that very small congregation and joined a new group on campus led by a man who had just graduated from Rhema Bible Training Center called Greater Faith Christian Center. It was there that I met my wife and became part of the Word of Faith movement, leaving behind the Discipleship movement and classic Pentecostalism. Without going into a lot more detail, my wife and I ended up participating in the Prophetic movement which sort of “morphed into the Apostolic movement and at the very end before our doctrinal deliverance, the Signs and Wonders move. I say all this, to simply alert the reader that I am not writing about something I have not personally seen, heard, experienced and unfortunately, taught to others. I write this article from both an experiential point-of-view as well as a researched position.

100 Years of Revival?

This April is the celebration of the so-called “Azusa Street Revival” which is traditionally considered the official beginning of Pentecostalism in the United States.

The very word “Azusa” conjures up nothing but positive images in the minds of virtually all Pentecostal/charismatic believers. To them, it was a time of a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit as was experienced in the Book of Acts. The “proof” of this outpouring was the evidence of seekers beginning to speak in what was termed other tongues. (2) Supernatural gifts long dormant in the Church were being imparted and restored. It was a time of worldwide evangelism and divine healing and miracles. The emphasis behind the evangelism was the belief that Jesus Christ was very quickly going to return and rapture the Church. Thus He needed to again supernaturally equip His saints to go into the entire world and preach the Gospel. Azusa was fertile soil from which many “famous” Pentecostal ministries were birthed.

This is what I called the “hype” surrounding the Azusa experience. Yet nothing happens in a vacuum. People did not suddenly begin to speak in tongues, prophesy, sing in other tongues, dance in the spirit, slain in the spirit, etc…due to some sovereign move of God at Azusa. There was over 100 years of “priming the pump” before the alleged outpouring at Azusa street occurred.

Some Historical Background Prior to Azusa

The first thing to always keep in mind when thinking about any Pentecostal or charismatic group is that they are at the core restorationalistic in their belief system. This simply means they believe the Church at some point lost its spiritual bearings and power and God has had to “restore” the supernatural gifts (tongues, prophesy, miracles, etc) and spiritual direction (now through restored prophets and apostles) back to the Church in order to bring Her to a state purity where the Lord can return for Her. The basic text cited is:

Acts 3:19-21 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The mindset was and still is that God must send times of refreshing, i.e. revival to the Church. At some point the “big” revival will occur during which time God will restore everything lost to the Church and then Jesus can come for His Bride. Many groups prior to the Azusa experience claimed to be chosen ones to be used to restore the Church and bring back Jesus.

The Shaker Cult, America’s first Pentecostals

Ann Lee, the Founder of the United Society of Believers came to America in 1772 (a little over 130 years prior to Azusa). I have detailed their aberrant beliefs in my book “The Two Roots of Today’s Revival, of which we still have a few copies left. The Shakers were the first group in America to speak in other tongues, prophesy, sing in other tongues, manifest holy laughter, be slain in the spirit, dance in the spirit, shake, and become drunk in the spirit. All of this is fully detailed in my book and many places on the Internet. They believed they were the true Church and were very evangelistic due to believing the end of times was upon the world and also because they taught strict celibacy so numerical growth had to come from inducting new members into the cult.

The Cane Ridge “Revival”

Started around 1801 (just shy of 100 years before Azusa) as a gathering of Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist preachers who gathered to preach to the unconverted. Shaker evangelists also came to these meetings and brought with them their manifestations (the same ones we see in charismatic congregations today). The end result was that the Shakers imparted their gifts to many at the meetings and even gained some converts from Christian churches! Here are a few citations of the pandemonium brought on by the manifestations:

The first was held at Cabin-Creek. It began on the 22nd of May, and continued four days and three nights. The scene was awful beyond description; the falling, crying out, praying, exhorting, singing, shouting & exhibited such new and striking evidences of a supernatural power, that few, if any could escape without being affected. Such as tried to run from it, were frequently struck on the way, or impelled by some alarming signal to return, but there were moreover in the schismatic worship, a species of exercises of an involuntary kind, which seemed to have been substituted by the Great Spirit, in the room of the falling, &c. which had been among the New-Light. The principal of these, were the rolling exercise, the jerks, and the barks.

Still more demeaning and mortifying were the jerks. Nothing in nature could better represent this strange and unaccountable operation, than for one to goad another, alternately on every side, with a piece of red hot iron. The exercise commonly began in the head which would fly backward and forward, and from side to side, with a quick jolt, which the person would naturally labor to suppress, but in vain: and the more any one laboured to stay himself and be sober, the more he staggered, and the more rapidly his twitches increased. He must necessarily go as he was stimulated, whether with a violent dash on the ground and bounce from place to place like a foot-ball, or hop round with head, limbs and trunk, twitching and jolting in every direction, as if they must inevitably fly asunder. (3)

What these few examples tell us is that the people involved at Cane Ridge were overtaken by paranormal manifestations which included making animal noises (sound familiar?), jerking, spontaneous and uncontrollable physical movements along with spiritual drunkenness! All such manifestations were common to the Shaker cult and as I have been contending, this cult brought them into the religious gathering.

The end result of this revival? Schism and division occurred among true Christians. Ungodly manifestations were brought in by enthusiasts and the non-Christian Shaker cult. The defection of some former Christian pastors to join the Shaker cult. Many of the “holiness” denominations have their roots back at the Cane Ridge meetings. The holiness movement was another precursor to what was to become known as Pentecostalism. Some of these groups taught that there were various baptisms one must undergo with the goal of achieving sinless perfection. Some groups spoke in tongues, others practiced divine healing. All of this was transpiring almost 100 years before Azusa in the United States. Overseas other groups that predated Azusa were also active and laying groundwork for the Azusa experience.

Edward Irving, Founder of the Catholic Apostolic Church

IRVING

In 1831 Irving began to establish his own denomination (which still exists today) after being excommunicated as a heretic by the London Presbyterian Church. Irving, like all the other schismatic’s and cults of his time, was a firm believer in the need for the sign-gifts to be restored to the Church in order for Christ to return:

Irving’s study of the Bible had also convinced him that all Christians should be baptized in the Holy Spirit and as evidence they would speak in tongues. There should also be prophecies and healings. (The general view was that these outward signs of power had ceased after the death of the apostles and the baptism was now limited to the inward gift of sanctification and fruitfulness.) During 1830 there were claims that people in the west of Scotland were manifesting these signs. After careful investigation, Irving was convinced they were genuine and that this was the start of the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit before the return of Jesus Christ.

Irving was particularly interested in prophecy. He predicted there would be a widespread outpouring of the Holy Spirit and that the Jews would return to their own land. These have both happened in the first half of this century. Irving thought it would be much sooner. He believed the Millennium would commence in 1867. For many people, his prophecies convinced them he was a “crank.”

Irving not only believed in Divine healing but also that sickness came as a consequence of sin. Three of his four children died at an early age. Irving had believed God would heal them but then decided it was judgment for his sin. (4)

Irving ordained twelve men to serve as restored “apostles” in his new sect, although he himself was not one of these men, nor was he viewed as a prophet. What convinced Irving that the gift of tongues had indeed been restored is when he investigated reports concerning two sisters who lived in Scotland:

There had been a legend that the spiritual gifts of earlier days would reassert themselves before the end, and here apparently was the forgotten gift of tongues coming back into the experience of mankind. It had begun in 1830 on the western side of Scotland, where the names of the sensitives, Campbell and MacDonald, spoke of that Celtic blood which has always been more alive to spiritual influences than the heavier Teutonic strain. The Albury Prophets were much exercised in their minds, and an emissary was sent from Mr. Irving’s church to investigate and report. He found that the matter was very real. The people were of good repute, one of them, indeed, a woman whose character could best be described as saintly. The strange tongues in which they both talked broke out at intervals, and the manifestation was accompanied by healing miracles and other signs of power. Clearly it was no fraud or pretence, but a real influx of some strange force which carried one back to apostolic times. The faithful waited eagerly for further developments….These were not long in coming, and they broke out in Irving’s own church. It was in July, 1831, that it was rumored that certain members of the congregation had been seized in this strange way in their own homes, and discreet exhibitions were held in the vestry and other secluded places. The pastor and his advisers were much puzzled as to whether a more public demonstration should be tolerated….The sounds came from both women and men, and consisted in the first instance of unintelligible noises which were either mere gibberish, or some entirely unknown language. “Sudden, doleful, and unintelligible sounds,” says one witness. “There was a force and fullness of sound,” said another description, “of which the delicate female organs would seem incapable.” “It burst forth with an astounding and terrible crash,” says a third. Many however, were greatly impressed by these sounds, and among them was Irving himself. (5)

Irving himself never spoke in other tongues, yet he did endorse and promote the experience. He and his sect were on the forefront of pre-millenarianism which later became part-and-parcel of American Pentecostalism. Like all of the others, Irving was firmly convinced that the manifestation of the original sign-gifts was proof that the return of Christ was at hand. His date setting proved false as did various prophetic utterances within his sect Later Pentecostals would have done well to learn from Edwards mistakes.

John Alexander Dowie, Founder of Zion, IL.

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Dowie was educated in Edinburgh, Scotland and began his first pastorate in Australia in 1872 where he served over a Congregationalist church. While serving as a pastor disease hit his congregation and many of his members died. This drove Dowie to seek God concerning divine healing:

And there I sat with sorrow bowed head for my afflicted people, until the bitter tears came to relieve my burning heart. Then I prayed for some message, and oh, how I longed to hear some words from Him who wept and sorrowed for the suffering long ago, the Man of Sorrows an Sympathies. And then the words of the Holy Ghost inspired in Acts 10:38 stood before me all radiant with light, revealing Satan as the defiler and Christ as the Healer. My tears were wiped away, my heart was strong, I saw the way of healing, and the door thereto was opened wide, and so I said, ‘God help me now to preach that word to all the dying round, and tell them how ‘tis Satan still defiles, and Jesus still delivers, for He is just the same today. (6)

Dowie began to travel around the world proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the Healer. His aspect of “restoration” can be summed up with the view of divine healing power being given back to the Church, especially through him. Eventually Dowie ended up in America preaching from coast to coast. While in Chicago he was deemed a fraud and a fake and was told to leave the city. In 1895 he founded an organization called “The Christian Catholic Church,” and eventually purchased land outside of Chicago where he began to build his version of the Kingdom of God on earth, know as Zion City.” His sycophants began to tell him that he was indeed Elijah who was to appear before the return of Christ. He began to believe their lies and shortly after proclaiming himself to be Elijah he suffered a massive stroke in 1906 and died in 1907. Many prominent Pentecostal leaders would come from Zion City, finding their way to the Azusa meetings. I guess with the death of “Elijah” it seemed pretty obvious to many people that the pillar of fire and cloud had moved on, this time to Los Angeles, CA.

The Keswick Movement, Total Sanctification Now!

This movement also had its roots in England and was also known as the “Higher Life” movement. It dates vary from as early as 1858 to as late as 1870, still a good 30 years prior to Azusa. Their main emphasis was the belief in a definite experience or work of grace they called “sanctification.”

The main idea of the Higher Life movement is that the Christian should move on from his initial conversion experience to also experience a second work of God in his life. This work of God is called “entire sanctification,” “the second blessing,” “the second touch,” “being filled with the Holy Spirit,” and various other terms. Higher Life teachers promoted the idea that Christians who had received this blessing from God could live a more holy, that is less sinful or even a sinless life. This teaching has its roots in John Wesley’s doctrine of Christian perfection. (7)

The importance of the Keswick Movement upon American Pentecostalism was the strong belief in a distinct experiential second work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. Without obtaining this experience, then the Christian could not progress on into deeper levels of godliness.

Pearsall Smith (1827-98) and Hanna Whitall Smith (1832 – 1911). This married couple became prominent higher life teachers who widened the popularity of Boardman’s teaching throughout Britain. The higher life movement reached it’s culmination through the labors of the Smiths. Out of their efforts in the early years of the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century grew the great Keswick Movement. The Smith’s “higher life meetings and conferences did much to set the pattern for the Keswick Movement. Their emphasis arose as the result of their own entry into deeper spiritual experiences.” Mrs. Pearsall Smith’s own account reveals that she was seized with wonder as to why spiritual victory was always out of reach. She finally identified the problem. She had stopped with the blessed truth of justification, but hadn’t gone on to the twin truth of sanctification by faith. She then learned that victory was by faith and “that there was an experience called the ‘second blessing,’ which brought one into a place of victory.  (8)

The reason why this specific movement was influential to fledgling Pentecostalism was because it was based on two concepts: (1) If there could be a “second blessing” or gift of grace from the Holy Spirit who had to say that blessing was sanctification? Also, if there could be a second blessing, why not a third or forth endowment with Holy Ghost power/fire/gifts/anointing? (2) It was based on individuals having a direct tangible experience. Early Pentecostalism and today’s charismatic groups are all extremely experiential in every respect.

The Welsh “Revival”

Wales has a history of revivalism but the one that most people are familiar with is the brief pre-Azusa revival of 1904-1906. The most prominent leader of this revival was a young man named Evans Roberts. Although he intended to attend school and obtain theological training he found himself at the beginnings of a massive outbreak of spiritual enthusiasm:

After his three months training at Newcastle Emlyn he was to return to Casllwchwr to start his ministry. He is said to have direct visions from the Holy Spirit; very specific visions such as the number 100,000 representing the souls God is to use him to save. As the revival unfolded Evan Roberts is said to depend more and ,more on what he considered the guiding of the Holy Spirit, thus neglecting the authority of the Scriptures. (9)

Roberts never obtained his theological education and as the citation notes, he depended more on what he considered the “guiding” of the Holy Spirit than the Scriptures. The revival meetings that Roberts held also included strange paranormal manifestations. These outbursts became so pronounced in the meetings that Roberts left the revival in disgust. Once he left his leadership role the revival sputtered out. After departing from what he saw as demonic activity in the meetings he worked on a book with another Welsh sister named Jessie Penn-Lewis. The book they wrote is titled War on the Saints. This book is in reprint, but if someone wants to purchase a copy I advise them to make sure and buy an unabridged version and not the redacted one that is most common. I would also put out a word of warning concerning Jessie Penn-Lewis, she herself was probably mentally unstable and most certainly theologically ignorant herself, however, what I find fascinating in her book is the portion where she and Roberts deal with how Satan counterfeit’s the genuine working of the Holy Spirit. As far as that portion of the book goes, she is “spot on” in my opinion. (10)

According to the revival reports 100,000 people are supposed to have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. The revival was well publicized to such an extent that what was transpiring in Wales was well known among the holiness movement in America. The “revival” in Wales with its attending signs and wonders only further whetted the spiritual appetites of American restorationalists.

Expectancy of revival intensified in Los Angeles, California, when believers there heard about the remarkable revival in Wales, where from September 1904 to June 1905, 100,000 people were converted to Christ. For the evangelicals around the world who had been praying for the outpouring of the latter rain of the Spirit as promoted by the Old Testament prophet Joel (2:23-29), the spectacular results in Wales suggested that the great end-times revival had begun. The world could now be evangelized in the power of the Spirit before the imminent return of Christ and the impending judgment on the wicked. (11)

The underlined portion of this citation regarding the Welsh revival is exactly the theological position of American holiness preachers. They already believed and had experienced a “second blessing” from the Holy Spirit and it seemed to them that there was more power to be obtained from God, and, in fact, necessary to receive in order to evangelize the world before the return of Christ. This brings us back to the United States and the “father” of American Pentecostalism, Mr. Charles Fox Parham.

Without the Work of Mr. Parham there is good chance that Pentecostalism as we know it today would not have come into existence. The Azusa meetings were not started by Parham and he really had very little to do with those meetings in person. The Azusa experience and the subsequent development of American Pentecostalism can genuinely be considered the “child” of “father” Parham’s labor. However, like any parent, he or she bears some responsibility for the actions of their children. Accordingly, it behooves us to take some time and look at Mr. Parham and his ministry before we can even begin to consider what occurred a few years later at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles, CA.

Charles F. Parham, Father of American Pentecostalism

parham

To state that Mr. Parham was a man with a very checkered background is putting it mildly, Parham started out in the Methodist/holiness movement and became a preacher around the age of 14 or 15 (the Bible warns us about the danger of placing a novice in leadership positions, see  1 Tim 3:6).

Charles was converted in 1886 when he attended evangelistic meetings at a local Congregational church; a “Damascus road” experience that changed the direction of his life. Shortly afterward, Parham began attending a Methodist church where he taught Sunday school. At age 15, he began conducting revival services on his own. To further prepare himself for ministry, in 1890, he enrolled at Southwest Kansas College in Winfield. While a student, Parham “backslid” and decided to become a medical doctor. But following another bout with rheumatic fever, he recommitted himself to the ministry. Returning to evangelistic work, he obtained a minister’s license from the Southwest Kansas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, North….Parham’s relationship with his Methodist superiors became tense. His ambiguous attitude toward denominational affiliation did not warm their hearts. More importantly, Parham’s adoption of Wesleyan “holiness” theology with its crisis experience of sanctification branded him as a troublemaker. Holiness preachers declared that following conversion, believers should seek for this “second blessing” to purge the Adamic nature from their hearts. To Methodist leaders, this smacked of doctrinal aberration…At the annual Southwest Kansas district conference in 1895, Parham surrendered his license to preach and “left denominationalism forever.” Denouncing Methodism as spiritually bankrupt, he had a “world-wide parish,” free of the confines of a pastorate, with a lot of theater-going, card-playing, wine-drinking, fashionable, unconverted Methodists.” Though freedom from denominational restraints offered Parham the liberty he desired, it brought new problems, uncertainties, and hardships. (11)

What we can see in Parham’s life is that he never received a solid biblical education which left him susceptible to aberrant beliefs. One major belief he was the fountainhead of was the idea that denominations were basically not of God and that churches should be independent groups without any real structural leadership. This concept was trumpeted by William Branham and those who followed him as a prophet during the late 1940’s. The desire to destroy all denominational distinctions lives on today in the prophetic/apostolic movements.

Parham’s issues with the Methodist Church went far beyond just a young man chaffing under the spiritual oversight of others. Parham believed several heretical concepts including:

Parham, the founder of Pentecostalism, was riddled with doctrinal heresies. He believed in annihilation of the unsaved and denied the Bible doctrine of eternal torment. He taught that there were two separate creations, and that Adam and Eve were of a different race than people who allegedly lived outside of the Garden of Eden. The first race of men did not have souls, he claimed, and this race of unsoiled people was destroyed in the flood. Parham believed that those who received the latter days spirit baptism and spoke in tongues would make up the bride of Christ and would have a special place of authority at Christ’s return. He believed in a partial rapture composed of tongues speakers. Parham believed that physical healing is the Christian’s birthright. (13)

As far as research can determine he never recanted any of these beliefs. His aberrant beliefs concerning divine healing became part of the original doctrine of what is known today as the Church of God in Christ, one of the largest Pentecostal denominations (sorry Charles) in the world:

In spite of his teaching that it was always God’s will to heal and that medicine and doctors must be shunned, one of Parham’s sons died at age 16 of a sickness which was not healed. In October 1904 a nine-year-old girl named Nettie Smith died. Her father was an avid follower of Parham and refused medical treatment for his daughter. Nettie’s death turned local public opinion against Parham because the little girl’s sickness was treatable and the community therefore considered her death unnecessary. Parham himself suffered various sicknesses throughout his life and at times was too sick to preach or travel. For example, he spent the entire winter of 1904-05 sick and bedridden (James Goff r., Fields White Unto Harvest, p. 94), in spite of his own preaching that healing is guaranteed in the atonement. Parham was the first Pentecostal preacher to pray over handkerchiefs and mail them to those who desired his ministrations (Goff, p. 104) (14)

Do his beliefs strike a familiar ring with any of our former charismatic readers? The Word of Faith cult teaches it is always God’s will to heal. Dr. Hobart Freeman (now deceased) also taught the shunning of medicine; this only cost him close to 100 deaths in his congregation in northern Indiana, the location of his church “the Glory Barn.” To this day various sign-gift sects teach against using medicine or going to doctors. It can all be traced back to Parham. However, Goff is wrong in his comments about Parham being the “first Pentecostal preacher” to pray over handkerchiefs. The first Pentecostal” in America to use handkerchiefs for healing purposes was none other than Joseph Smith, the first restored prophet to the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (15) Again, to this day it is in Mormon doctrine that their Bishops can have the ability to speak in other tongues, and obviously the Mormon Church believes in restored prophets. (16) Keep in mind that the Mormon cult was founded in 1830, 76 years before the Azusa experience.

Parham’s main claim to fame comes from his “Bible” school which was located in Topeka, Kansas:

In plush surroundings at the former Stone mansion outside of Topeka, Kansas, the first Pentecostal revival of the century began on January 1, 1901. This revival would give rise to the most dynamic force for evangelism and missions in modern times.

The elegant setting, however, meant little to the band of 40 students of the Bethel Bible School that the 27-year-old Charles F. Parham had begun 3 months earlier in these rented facilities. Convinced that God had commissioned them as missionaries in the “last days,” they gathered to pray for the promised “latter rain” outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:23,28,29), to acquire the same spiritual power that marked the expansion of the Early Church. In this intense atmosphere of expectancy on New Year’s Day, student Agnes N. Ozman became the first to receive the sign of Spirit baptism: speaking in tongues. “Thus was the Church militant again permitted to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit,” mused Parham. With the great end-times revival beginning and the army of harvesters prepared for the mission fields, the clouds would soon part and “the Lord himself…descend from heaven” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). (17)

Parham had been teaching his students that they should expect the Lord to give them supernatural power to evangelize the world. The manner in which they would know that they had received this baptism of power (just as with the Holiness belief in a secondary experience) would be the evidence/experience of speaking in other tongues.

In the fall of 1900, after leading his students through a series of Bible studies on repentance; justification by faith, sanctification, and healing, Parham instructed them on Spirit baptism. By the end of December, they were prepared to encounter Acts 2 in a new way. After the revival commenced on New Year’s Day, he announced that the students had spoken many languages. He himself had received the capability of preaching in German and Swedish, Agnes Ozman in “Chinese,” and others in a variety of languages including Japanese, Hungarian, Syrian, Hindi, and Spanish. Parham noted that “cloven tongues of fire” appeared over the heads of speakers. Sometimes interpretations followed such as “God is love,: Jesus is mighty to save,” and “Jesus is ready to hear.” (18)

During the formative years of Pentecostalism in America Pentecostal people believed that speaking in other tongues was a genuine language not some “angelic” tongue or private ecstatic speech as sign-gift people teach today. There is no independent proof that Agnes Ozaman, Parham or anyone else actually received the biblical gift of other languages. In 1905 Parham moved his school and students to Houston, Texas which is where the “Azusa” connection is finally made.

seymour

One of Parham’s students was a man named William J. Seymour, who can be considered the father of the Azusa experience. He was a black man and thus Parham would not allow Seymour to sit in the classroom, he had to sit in the hallway and listen through the door. It is worth noting that Mr. Parham was a racist and officially joined the KKK in 1910. (19) Nonetheless Seymour endured the humiliation. Seymour’s source for doctrinal education was a heretic, which explains why he too would later expound heretical concepts:

Seymour accepted Parham’s view of baptism in the Holy Spirit—the belief that in every instance, God would give intelligible languages—speaking in tongues to believers for missionary evangelism…Neeley Terry, an African-American and member of the new congregation led by Hutchinson in Los Angeles, visited Houston in 1905 and was impressed when she heard Seymour preach. Returning home, she recommended him to Hutchinson, since the church was seeking a pastor. As a result, Seymour accepted the invitation to shepherd the small flock. With some financial assistance from Parham, he traveled by train westward and arrived in Los Angeles in February 1906. (20)

Seymour, like Parham came from a holiness background and so was used to experiential religion. The Holiness view was that the “second blessing” of sanctification was the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Parham’s view was that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was proved by having the gift of tongues. All Pentecostal groups today hold to this belief. Back in 1906 such a concept was not well received among many Holiness groups:

Seymour immediately encountered resistance when just 2 days after arriving he began preaching to his new congregation that speaking in tongues was the Bible evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit. On the following Sunday, March 4, he returned to the mission and found that Hutchinson had padlocked the door. Condemnation also came from the Holiness Church Association of Southern California with which the church had affiliation. (21)

seymour1

The congregation Seymour came to Pastor locked him out of the church building and this forced Seymour to take his “new message” regarding the baptism in the Holy Spirit elsewhere. Seymour stayed at a parishioner’s home and led Bible studies there regarding the “Pentecostal” baptism. After a short while several people began to speak in tongues. News of this spread through both the white and black holiness communities and many of their members began to pray to receive this new outpouring of the Holy Spirit (according to their paradigm). The crowds grew to a size where Seymour had to relocate. The group rented a former African Methodist Episcopal (AMI) building relocated at 312 Azusa Street Los Angeles, Ca. This address had become synonymous with the birth of American Pentecostalism.

Seymour called his organization the “Apostolic Faith” and for a couple of years published a sporadic newsletter under the same name. People began to hear of what was taking place on Azusa street and came seeking to receive the Pentecostal blessing with the evidence of speaking with tongues.

scanApostolicnewspaper0001

Most who visited the mission came to receive the empowerment of Spirit baptism and be equipped with intelligible new languages for gospel preaching overseas. This would enable them to bypass the nuisance of formal language study. The Apostolic Faith reported: “God is solving the missionary problem, sending out new-tongued missionaries on the apostolic faith line, without purse or scrip, and the Lord is going before them preparing the way.” Missionaries home on furloughs also attended and spoke in tongues and in a few instances identified the languages being spoken. The recipients, however, usually depended on the Lord to identify the languages they had received. (22).

People began to come to Azusa as word spread. There was the common belief that the return of Christ was imminent due to various millennial and rapture doctrines being propagated by various sects within the Church. It seemed logical to many people who already believed in subsequent distinct spiritual experiences apart from regeneration that God would once again restore the gift of other tongues to equip the saints for the last big world-wide missionary push.

African-Americans, Latinos, whites, and others prayed and sang together, creating a dimension of spiritual unity and equality, almost unprecedented for the time. It allowed men, women, and children to celebrate their unity in Christ and participate as led by the Spirit. Indeed, so unusual was the mixture of blacks and whites, that Bartleman enthusiastically exclaimed, “The color line was washed away in the blood.” He meant that in the sanctifying work of the Spirit, the sin of racial prejudice had been removed by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. (23)

Admittedly, it was unique for that time for a black man (and black women) to be laying hands on white men and women to receive healing and blessings. It was virtually unknown within the Church in America for a black man, Seymour, to be leading white men and women spiritually. The sad thing is that this sense of “unity” lasted only a short time and within 3 years racism reared its ugly head and along with various false doctrines divided the fledgling Pentecostal movement.

The “hype” concerning Azusa was that untold numbers of people were coming to Los Angeles to receive power from on high. The people were all in one accord and hundreds if not thousands were sent forth around the world to reap the end time harvest. God was working signs, wonders and miracles on a regular basis at Azusa and testimonies were pouring in from their missionaries from around the world. (24)

The “truth” concerning these meetings tells another story altogether. The revival meetings were not Spirit-led, nor were things being done decently and in order. William Seymour, for whatever reasons had virtually lost control over the meetings, who spoke, who attended and what transpired under his oversight.

The meetings began in the mornings and continued for at least 12 hours. There was no order of services and usually no one leading. People sang at the same time but “with completely different syllables, rhythms, and melodies” (Ted Olsen, “American Pentecost,” Christian History, Issue 58, 1998). The services were characterized by much confusion: dancing, jumping, up and down, falling, trances, slaying in the spirit, “tongues” jerking, hysteria, strange noises, and “holy laughterOne visitor described the meetings as ‘wild, hysterical demonstrations.” The seekers would be seized with a strange spell and commence a jibberish of sounds.” A Time reporter noted that the participants “work themselves into a state of mad excitement in their peculiar zeal.” There was little or no order to the Azusa Street services. Whoever felt “moved by the spirit” to speak, would do so. Seymour rarely preached. Instead, much of the time he kept his head covered in an empty packing crate behind the pulpit. He taught the people to cry out to God and demand sanctification, the baptism with the Holy Ghost, and divine healing (Synan, p. 99) (25)

Due to all of the chaos in the meetings Seymour wrote Charles Parham to please come to Azusa (he had not yet been to any of these meetings) and see if he could help establish order and decorum.

Seymour wrote several letters to Parham asking advice in dealing with spiritualists and mediums from occult societies, who were trying to conduct séances in the services. And the church publicly admitted that not everyone at the meetings felt the presence of the Spirit. (26)

Seymour wrote Parham who was visiting John A. Dowie at Zion, IL. Parham did make his way to Azusa street and the following are some of his impressions of what he saw taking place:

When Parham visited the meetings in October 1906, even he was shocked by the confusion of the services. He was dismayed by the “awful fits and spasms” of the “holy rollers and hypnotists.” He described the Azusa “tongues” as “chattering, jabbering and sputtering, speaking no language at all” (Synan, p. 102). The Azusa Street meetings were so wild that Parham condemned them with the term “Sensational Holy Rollers.” He testified that the Azusa Street meetings were largely characterized by manifestations of the flesh, spiritualistic controls, and the practice of hypnotism (Sarah Parham, The Life of Charles F. Parham, Joplin, MO: Tri-state Printing, 1930, p. 163). According to Parham, two-thirds of the people professing Pentecostalism in his day “are either hypnotized or spook driven (Parham, Life of Charles Parham, p. 164). In his writings about Azusa Street, Parham described men and women falling on one another in a morally compromising manner…When Parham arrived in Azusa Street in 1906, he began his first sermon by telling the people that “God is sick at his stomach” because of the things which were occurring at Azusa (Charles Shumway, A Study of the “Gift of Tongues,” A.B. thesis, University of California, 1914, pp. 178,179; cited by Goff, Fields White Unto Harvest, p. 131). He never changed his opinion. To the end of his life, Parham, often called “the father of Pentecostalism,” denounced Azusa Street as a case of “spiritual power prostituted.” Thus the “father of Pentecostalism” roundly rejected the Azusa Street meetings as phony, manipulated, and demonic, even though practically all Pentecostal denominations trace their heritage directly from those meetings! (27)

Parham was adamant that Seymour remove the spiritualists and occultists from the services. Seymour refused to remove anyone from the services citing that our Lord said to His worker to let the tares and wheat grow together and that at the end of the age they will be separated. The result of Parham’s visit was the first of countless “splits” within Pentecostalism. Parham and Seymour never ministered together again, nor were they ever reconciled. Parham was not the only person to denounce what was taking place in the Azusa meetings. (28) Here are some comments made by leading theologians of their day:

G. Campbell Morgan  described the Azusa Street activities as “the last vomit of Satan” H.A. Ironside said both the holiness and Pentecostal movements were “disgusting, delusions and insanities.” In 1912 he said of their meetings “pandemonium’s where exhibitions worthy of a madhouse or a collection of howling dervishes,” were causing a “heavy toll of lunacy and infidelity.” W.B. Godbey said of the Azusa Street participants “Satan’s preachers, jugglers, necromancers, enchanters, magicians, and all sorts of mendicants,” and he claimed the movement was the result of spiritualism. Clarence Larkin “But the conduct of those possessed, in which they fall to the ground and writhe in contortions, causing disarrangement’s of the clothing and disgraceful scenes, is more a characteristic of demon possession, than a work of the Holy Spirit. From what has been said we see that we are living in “Perilous Times,” and that all about us are “Seducing Spirits,” and that they will become more active as the Dispensation draws to its close, and that we must exert the greatest car lest we be led astray. (29)

The truth behind the Azusa meetings is that they were far less anointed than many Pentecostal and charismatic revisionists want the world to believe. People have a tendency to only remember the “good times” and forget about all the nastiness in life, and the Azusa meetings are proof of this tendency.

After the incident with Parham, Seymour’s own racist and sectarian attitudes came forth:

Along with the success, hurts and heartaches soon came to Azusa Street, Seymour and the faithful learned to expect criticism from newspapers and leaders of other churches–including the founder of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene, P.F. Breese, who believed that Holiness people were already baptized in the Holy Spirit and that the Azusa tongues were not from God. But some of the harshest criticism came from inside the little mission, with the mother church splitting because of personality clashes, fanaticism, doctrinal differences, and racial separation. It was said that some whites left because the blacks had a lock on the leadership. Seymour proving that he was no more perfect than his critics, reportedly asked the Hispanics to leave, and later wrote by-laws that prevented anyone except African-Americans from holding office in the mission. The often-quoted line that “the color line was washed away in the blood” was true in practice for only a short time. (30)

Bartleman’s earlier exclamation “the color line was washed away in the blood” although theologically true, proved to be no more than excited ignorance when push came to shove in these meetings. As far as “race” was concerned the two earliest predominant Pentecostal denominations, i.e. The Assemblies of God in Christ (lily white) and The Church of God in Christ (African-American) formed specifically due to ethnicity versus doctrinal distinctions.

Building on the assumption that Azusa Street represents the moment in classical Pentecostalism’s past from which to chart decension, some have gone on to accuse the Assemblies of God of fostering racial division by separating in 1914 from the church of God in Christ. This line of reasoning celebrates the roles of black leaders and organizations in the formative stages of American Pentecostalism displaces Charles Parham, the white leader of the Topeka, Kansas, Pentecostal outpouring of 1901, with William Seymour, the black leader of Azusa Street; and maintains that at least since 1914 a steady process of white separation and domination has been under way. (31)

Actual confession and repentance of racism between these two denominations did not occur until 1994, almost 90 years after the Azusa “revival.” So much for the ‘love of God being shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” (see Rom. 5:5).

Apart from the ensuing splits, during the revival meetings themselves a great deal of error was taught and then disseminated around the world. Some of the errors included the belief that people were supernaturally being given other tongues, actual foreign languages (xenolalia) and when Seymour or whoever at the meetings told the individuals what language they had been given, these folks often went to that nation as missionaries. The results were often tragic because when the people got to their destination, often at great expense, they learned they did not really speak the indigenous tongue at all. This brought reproach on the Gospel, because those claiming to represent Christ were (and were no doubt sincere in their attempt) ended up looking very foolish. There is simply no independent evidence that anyone who received the “baptism” at Azusa ever spoke in a genuine foreign language on the missionary field.

Another error with dreadful results was Seymour’s stance on divine healing, which he learned from Parham. He forbade people to go to medical doctors or to use medicine. The aberrant reasoning behind this belief in that Parham and others taught that physical healing was part of the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Thus to go to doctors or use medicine was to deny the finished work of Christ (in their minds). Obviously, this resulted in countless deaths and much suffering.

The belief that Jesus Christ was retuning soon is the main reason people came to Azusa, they wanted Holy Ghost power to go preach the Gospel and “get” as many people saved as they could. As noble as their intentions were, they were predicated on a wrongheaded belief regarding the return of Christ. Various dates were given for His return, all of which failed to come to pass. One hundred years have now passed and Jesus has not yet returned.

The belief that there is a subsequent “infilling” or baptism with the Holy Spirit after salvation is erroneous. When anyone is converted they have the Spirit at that moment (See 1 Cor. 12:13) and all Christians are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (See Eph. 4:30). The revivalists took Acts 2 to be normative for all Christians. They taught (and do teach) that all 120 people including the Apostles received the gifts of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Yet a careful reading of the text will prove that only the Apostles received the Spirit in such a dramatic manner. Furthermore, throughout the Book of Acts it is only the Apostles who are ever involved with imparting spiritual gifts, never lay people. Pentecostals must teach it was all 120 people because if they accept the biblical evidence of only the Apostles as stewards of the Spirit, if you will, then they know they are dead in the water. Acts 2 is not normative and the prophecy of Joel was fulfilled on that day. The Apostle Peter said “this is that “ (see Acts 2:16) and nothing in the Scriptures indicate that this experience is to be repeated time and time again 9as many neo-Montanist groups have been claiming over the last 2,000 years).

Apart from the fact that no real foreign languages were bestowed, there were also manifestations of occulist practices such as automatic writing and the ability to suddenly play musical instruments:

Also present among the alleged miracles was the not uncommon occult practice of “automatic writing” which, if we may recall, was practiced on occasion by the Irvingities, at Shiloh, and by Agnes Ozman. Also present among the “miraculous manifestations” was another phenomenon directly related to occult mediumship, the ability to play musical instruments without any prior musical training or perceived ability: The Lord has given the gift of writing in unknown languages, also the gift of playing on instruments. (The Apostolic Faith edition 1) Azusa Street was undoubtedly the vehicle for the propagation of this occult method of mediumism, and it proliferated far and wide, thanks, no doubt, to the international acclaim that the “revival” had by now acquired: “I am still talking and writing in tongues. A missionary interpreted what I have been writing in Syriac and Armenian. I was singing Chinese one night, a missionary said. I am busy every day and going from place to place. Strong opposition from many, but God gives the victory, Glory!” Andrew G. Johnson, Address, 48 Skofde, Sweden (ibid, edition 6) “I received the Holy Ghost in San Jose, in November, and came to Kelseyville, in December. And when I received the January paper and read what the Lord was doing in other places, the power of God came on me mightily. I was alone and was lifted to my feet and stood on tiptoe with both arms extended above my head, and began to speak in tongues and to interpret, which I never had done before except a very little. Since I came here, one lady has received the Holy Ghost with a tongue, also the gift of writing some unknown language and the deaf mute signs.” (ibid, 6) “One sister received the gift of writing and also the interpretation of her languages. She has spoken and interpreted the soon coming of Jesus.” – Elizabeth M. May, Whittier, Cal. (ibid,6) (32)

Brothers and sisters, the belief in being able to “write in tongues’ is nothing less than demonic deception. There is no such gift ever cited in the entire Bible! Yet it was commonly believed that people possessed this ability. For some strange reason we do not have any of these “writings” available to us today in order that they might be linguistically examined.

The Azusa “revival” lasted for only three years. Yet from this initial “root” of American Pentecostalism various forms of poisonous fruit have been borne over the years. For example, in spite of all the proclamation of how these “restored” gifts were uniting the Body of Christ, exactly the opposite occurred. One of the more egregious heresies to be spawned from Azusa was the restoration of the age old heresy of Modalism:

A more serious schism grew out of the “oneness’ or “Jesus only” controversy, which began in 1911 in Los Angeles. Led by Glen Cook and Frank Ewart, this movement rejected the teaching of the Trinity and taught that Jesus Christ was at the same time Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and that the only biblical mode of water baptism was administered in Jesus’ name and then was valid only if accompanied with glossolalia. This movement spread rapidly in the infant Assemblies of God after 1914 and resulted in a schism in 1916, which later produced the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and the United Pentecostal Church. (33)

“Jesus Only” Pentecostal denominations are among the largest in the world and they are simply a cult. Apart from the Oneness groups other sign-gift cults have sprung up over the years, all of which trace their roots back to Azusa. Groups including: The Children of God, founded by restored prophet David Berg (Moses David): The Way International founded by Victor Paul Wierwille; House of Yahweh, founded by Buffalo Bill Hawkins; The Word of Faith cult, founded by E.W. Kenyon and Kenneth Hagin; various snake handling and poison drinking groups; The Local Church, founded by Witness Lee; the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God (this Ugandan cult caused the death of 444 people); Faith Assembly, founded by Dr,. Hobart Freeman are just a few of the many examples of aberrant groups who can trace their heritage back to Azusa Street. Since the advent of American Pentecostalism there are several hundred Pentecostal denominations and sects in existence today, so much for unity!

Apart from aberrant sects and heretical cults some of the most ungodly behavior has been exposed in the lives of the “GIANTS” of Pentecostalism. (34) Charles Fox Parham was charged with child Sodomy, was a member of the KKK and a Mason. (35) John Alexander Dowie claimed to be Elijah. (36) Aimee Semple McPherson was twice divorced, an adulteress and died of a barbiturate overdose in 1944. She founded The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, a large Pentecostal denomination. (37)

DakeFinis

Finis Dake, author of the Dake Bible (the standard Bible used by many Pentecostals), he was convicted of taking a 16 year old girl across state lines and sleeping in the same hotel room with her under an assumed name in 1937. (38) A.A. Allen, famous healing evangelist died of a drug and alcohol overdose in June of 1970. (39) Paul Cain, healing evangelist later returned as an internationally recognized –

End Notes

1. The Word of God Community got its initial start at Notre Dame as part of the Roman Catholic Charismatic renewal. By the time it had expanded to the U O M campus it had become ecumenical. In fact, to me a member of the “community” you had to belong to a local church {I believe now that that was part of their strategy to infiltrate non-charismatic congregations}. The WOG community was part of a distinct segment of the charismatic renewal called “The Discipleship” or “Shepherding” movement.

 

2. It is important to note that from the original writings of early Pentecostalism the gift of tongues was believed to be that of genuine foreign language, given to equip the believer for missionary work due to the belief in the soon return of Christ. Today’s charismatic movement believes that other tongues can be a foreign language but is generally an “angelic tongue” given for the private use of the believer in prayer and for personal edification.

3. Obtained from The Kentucky Revival or A Short History of The Late Extraordinary Out-Pouring of The Spirit of God, In The Western States of America, Agreeably To Scripture Promises, And Prophecies Concerning The Latter Day; With A Brief Account of The Entrance and Progress of What The World Call Shakerism Among The Subjects of The Later Revival in Ohio and Kentucky. Written by Richard M. Nemar in 1808 underlining added for emphasis.

4. Obtained from http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/irvingbio.html.

5. Obtained form http://ww.spiritismonline.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=65.

6. Obtained from http://www.truthinhistory.org/Dowie.htm Underlining added.

7. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_life_movment.

8. Obtained from http://www.frontlinemin.org/higherlife.asp. Underlining added.

9. Obtained from http://www.answers.com/main/intquery;jsessionid=a8fgk86otl80g?method=4&dsid=2222&dekey=1904-1905+Welsh+Revival&curtab=1904-1905%20Welsh%20Revival. Underlining added.

10 If you want to learn more specifically about Jessie Penn-Lewis you might contact Pastor Dick Fisher or personal Freedom Outreach. He has done some research and writing about her background. The only place Dick and I agree to disagree is possibly when it comes to her views on the demonic counterfeits. DMI believes that Satan can does actually manifest himself and does use paranormal lying signs and wonders to deceive the Church and world. Some Christian apologists deny any spiritual reality to any and all manifestations, chalking them up to mere human emotionalism.

11. Obtained from http://www.ag.org/enrichmentjournal/199904/026_azusa.cfm. Underlining added.

12. McGee, Gary Tongues, The Bible Evidence The Revival Legacy of Charles F. Parham. Enrichment Journal, 1445 Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO 65802. Underlining added.

13. Cloud, David. The Strange History of Pentecostalism. Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061-0368. Underlining added.

14. Ibid.

15. Cullimore, James Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet Speeches, 218

University Press Building, Provo, Utah 84602

16. For more information go to http://www.josephsmith.net/portal/site/JosephSmith/menuitem.da0e1d4eb6d2d87f9c0a33b5f1e543a0/?vgnextoid=3b62982b9ab4201-VgnVCM1000001f5e340aRCRD.

17. McGee, Gary. Tongues The Bible Evidence The Revival Legacy of Charles F. Parham. Enrichment Journal 1445 Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO 65802.

18. Ibid. Bold type added.

19. Obtained from http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Charles%20Fox%20Parham.

20. McGee Gary, William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival. Enrichment Journal, 1445 Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO 65802. Underlining and bold type added.

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid.

23. Ibid.

24. These reports were printed in the Apostolic Faith newsletters. DMI has all of the copies of these newsletters in our archives and they are available on CD rom for a nominal fee.

25. Cloud, David. The Strange History of Pentecostalism, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061-0368. Underlining added.

26. Olsen, Ted. American Pentecost, the Story Behind the Azusa Street Revival. Underlining added.

27. Cloud, David, The Strange History of Pentecostalism, Way of Life Literture, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061-0368. Underlining and bolding added.

28. It is easy for some people to ignore Parham’s comments because he was a racist. Nonetheless, his denunciation of the revival meetings was not based on ethnic issues, but on what even he recognized as occult practices, hynotism and demonic activity. Parham came t assist Seymour, but seeing what was transpiring in the meetings and Seymour’s unwillingness to address these excesses it led to an inevitable split. Parham’s comments about Azusa should not be ignored, after al, he is the “father” of America Pentecostalism.

29. All of these statements ere taken from “from Holy Laughter to Holy Fire” by Michael L. Brown, pages 197 &198. Michael Brown was one of the key leaders in the “Pensacola Outpouring” (American’s version of the Toronto Blessing).

30. Olsen, Ted. American Pentecost, the Story Behind the Azusa Street Revival. 31. Blumhofer, Edith L. Christian Century, April 27, 1994.

32. Obtained from http://www.unitypublishing.com/NewReligiousMovements/WhatSpirit8.html. Underlining added.

33. Obtained from http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/pentecos.htm. Underlining added.

 

34. Let there be no mistake in the readers mind, I am not saying that other denominations do have or have not had their share of fallen ministers. Yet it is the Pentecostal and charismatic leaders who claim to have received or achieved a higher level of spirituality than the “non-Spirit-filled” Christian, so their fall must be harder to explain away due to their claims of a higher anointing or closer walk with God than your general denominational leader.

35. McGee, Gary. Tongues. The bible Evidence The Revival Legacy of Charles F. Parham. Enrichment Journal 1445 Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO. 65802

36. Obtained from http://www.healing-ministries.net/etudes/men_women/alexander_dowie/default.html.

37. See http://www.who2.com/aimeesemplemcpherson.html for more information.

38. Spencer, Jeff. Dake’s/Dangerous Doctrines, 2004

39. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_A_Allen.

 

40. Obtained from http://www.apologeticsindex.org/c06.html.

41. Lobdell, William, Onward Christian Soldier, Los Angeles Times, 2002.

42. Personal Knowledge, plus tones of information on the Trinity website

43. Obtained from http://www.jesus21.com/portal/index.php?s=scandals. http://www.th-record.com/1998/10/04bakker.htm.

44. Obtained from http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/011/2.19.html.