Modern Charismatic Confusion
Pastor F. William Darrow
Vice President of Logos Communication Consortium, Inc. Note: A video is available of this presentation from Logos
It is my belief that the miraculous sign and revelatory gifts given to the New Testament church ceased to function and had no purpose once the New Testament was completed. Throughout the centuries however, there have been people who have constantly tried to revive them. Such people used to be known as Pentecostals but now have taken on a new dimension called Charismatics. The newest dimension has come under new phenomena that even the old line Pentecostals do not accept but they are being billed as "revivals". Before we get into the modern charismatic revivals it might be helpful to take a look at some history that is not too far afield from this happening today.
II. HISTORY OF PENTECOSTALISM
In the 2nd century a man named Montanus, from Phrygia, believed he was a prophet sent by God to reform Christianity through asceticism. His followers spoke in tongues, accompanied by ecstasy and trances, as well as uttering revelation. This seems to be one of the first recorded incidences of such phenomenon.
In 1517 Martin Luther tacked his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, thus marking the beginning of the reformation movement. The reformation brought about the Protestant movement, as opposed to the Roman Catholic Church. This encouraged many free thinkers.
About 1600, a man named George Fox, in England, became fed up with the Church of England. He began to teach that man could not understand the Bible unless he had an "inner light." When his followers would meet together and pray for "the inner light," they would sometimes begin to tremble with emotion, thus the world named them "Quakers," but they called themselves "Friends." They had no trained pastors, no pulpit, no singing, no instruments, but would sit and wait for the Spirit to move someone. If the Spirit moved someone, man or woman, they would get up and deliver a message. We bring that in here because it is a form of the Pentecostal and Charismatic practice.
In the late 17th century, the French Protestant Camisards were also known to have spoken in tongues. Ann Lee got her teachings from this group. ("Seminar on Pentecostalism" - by Wilson Ewin - page 38) Ann Lee (1736-1781) formed her own group which became known as the "Shakers," because they trembled, wept, swooned and passed out. ("Counterfeit Revival" - by Hank Hanegraff)
In the early 1700's John and Charles Wesley came on the scene in England. While in Oxford they formed a club known as the "Holy Club" because most of the students were very worldly. The students in the club lived very regular and according to METHOD, thus the worldly students called them Methodists. However, it was not until 1738 that both John and Charles Wesley got saved. The Wesleys taught that there was a second work of grace beyond the initial salvation decision. Some called it SANCTIFICATION, BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, or PERFECTIONISM (holiness). It was noted in a meeting in Bristol, England, in 1740 when a epidemic of laughter broke out that John Wesley attributed it to Satan. John Wesley referred to this as "enthusiasms." At first there were no speaking in tongues involved.
Speaking in tongues and other sign gifts "occurred in the 1830's under the ministry of Presbyterian, Edward Irving in London, in the services of Mother Ann Lee's Shaker movement and among Joseph Smith's Mormon followers in New York, Missouri, and Utah. The Pentecostals, however were the first to give doctrinal primacy to the practice." ("Seminar on Pentecostalism" by Wilson Ewin - page 18)
In 1895 a man by the name of Benjamin Hardin Irwin started the FIRE BAPTIZED HOLINESS CHURCH in the state of Iowa. He taught that there were three experiences: (1) Salvation, (2) Sanctification, and (3) Baptism of the Spirit (tongues) or Baptism of Fire. (a third blessing).
In 1901, Charles Fox Parham, a former Methodist preacher, opened a school in Topeka, Kansas where he taught these three experiences. He had been an observer of Irwin. "In the early morning hours of the first day of the twentieth century, Charles Parham laid his hands on a young woman named Agnes Ozman, and she began to speak Chinese. When she tried to write, only Chinese characters would emerge from her pen." ("Counterfeit Revival" by Hank Hanegraff - page 15)
Parham and others claimed to have preached in different languages, some even in foreign countries. Many went abroad intending to preach the gospel in other languages without learning them. "These Pentecostal claims were well known at the time. S.C. Todd of the Bible Missionary Society investigated eighteen Pentecostals who went to Japan, China and India, expecting to preach to the natives in those countries in their own tongue, and found that by their own admission in no single instance have they been able to do so." ("Seminar on Pentecostalism" by Calvin Ewin - page 40)
It is my contention that if speaking in tongues was real today, missionaries would not have to learn a language to preach the gospel in a foreign land. If anyone had the gift of healing they would raise people from the dead. Neither is being done nor can be done because these gifts have ceased.
From 1904 to 1914 those who followed these men, debated the three points of salvation, sanctification and Holy Spirit Baptism. Some thought they could speak in tongues (Baptism of the Holy Spirit) without being sanctified. In other words you didn't have to speak in tongues to prove you were saved. Out of this controversy came the Assembly of God which took the more mild approach. Others like the Apostolic Church believe you are not saved if you do not speak in tongues. These were all called PENTECOSTAL because they believed they were doing what they did at Pentecost.
In the early revivals of Edwards, Wesley and Finney there were various "automatisms" (automatic actions), including shouting and barking.
David du Plessis, a South African, converted in a South African Pentecostal church, known as the Apostolic Faith Mission, became a catalyst and spokesman for the new Pentecostal in the mid 1900's. He became a leading figure in spreading the Pentecostal movement in the traditional churches.
Aimee Semple McPherson in the 1920's and 1930" lead many people in main line denominational churches into the Pentecostal experiences. In 1923 she organized the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.
III. THE MODERN CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT
About 1960, two Episcopalian priests began to speak in tongues, thus beginning a new movement that eventually became known as the CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT. Dennis Bennett an Episcopalian priest in Van Nuys California was one of them. This seems to mark the beginning of the "neo-pentecostalism" or later known as the "charismatic movement." The Greek word "chrisma" means gifts.
In 1967 the Charismatic phenomenon became accepted by the Roman Catholic Church. It broke out in 1966 as a result of a weekend retreat at Duquesne University led by theology professors Ralph Keiffer and Bill Soty. One of the largest tongues speaking groups today is within the Catholic Church. "By 1973, the movement had spread so rapidly that thirty thousand Catholic Pentecostals gathered at Notre Dame for a national conference." ("Seminar on Pentecostalism" by Wilson Ewin - page 22)
Today you will find Charismatics in every major denomination including Methodists, Catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians and even Baptists. It has done much for the ecumenical movement.
There is a new stir in Charismatic circles. John Wimber of Anaheim, California, is the international director of the Association of Vineyard Churches. One of their churches is in Toronto, Canada.
In 1994, Randy Clark, a Vineyard pastor from St. Louis, was preaching there when some phenomena took place. Physical manifestations such as holy laughter, shaking, animal noises, falling down slain in the Spirit, healing and others took place.
Randy Clark was introduced to the "laughing revival" by South African evangelist, Rodney Howard-Browne. Rodney Howard-Browne became well known in a meeting at Carpenter's Home Church in Lakeland, Florida. There came an epidemic of "spiritual drunkenness." (Spring of 1993)
Pastor John Arnott, of Toronto, invited Randy Clark to export these experiences to Toronto. (January 1994). In a short time 80% of the people were on the floor. This became known as the 'TORONTO BLESSING." Some lie on the floor and laugh hysterically while others giggle uncontrollably for hours. Some behave like animals, roar like lions, or soar around the room like eagles. There is also "sanctified dance" being done to the beat of supposed Christian rock music. Others are glued to the floor with "Holy Ghost Glue." Rodney Howard-Browne said "One night I was preaching on hell, and (laughter) just hit the whole place. The more I told people what hell was like the more they laughed." (September 1994, "The Baptist Challenge") The Charisma 8/94 magazine stated "no one doubts that having vast numbers of people convulsed in laughter can make whatever is being said from the pulpit irrelevant."
A side light to this was printed in the December, 12, 1997, Sword of the Lord. "More that 1,200 Catholics from as far away as California, Alaska and Japan jammed the Presentation Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Philadelphia in August to experience charismatic revival in a conference that featured Evangelist Rodney Howar-Browne, who told attendees: 'People cannot believe that revival is in the Catholic Church.' Catholics laughed hysterically after they were hit with what Howard-Browne refers to as 'the joy of the Holy Ghost.'" According to a quote in the October, 1, 1997 "Calvary Contender, "Pope John Paul II has given his official blessing to the renewal but few cardinals or bishops have embraced it."
In Toronto, they run revivals each week from Thursday through Sunday. So many people are attending that at least one airline offers discounts to those who want to fly to the nightly meetings. One a typical night there are from 500 to 1,000 in attendance with as much as 4,000 on a special day. In the past year 750,000 people have visited the revivals. Benny Hinn has also been a featured speaker there.
For some time John Wimber, the Vineyard Ministries founder, has questioned the "zoo anointing" as being Biblical. At the end of 1995 the Vineyard Churches separated themselves from the Toronto Church, believing they have gone too far. Todd Hunter, the national coordinator for AVC said "we will no longer have to answer for extra-Biblical phenomena in a way that violates our Biblical faith and conscience."
While we know there were in the Apostolic period, miracles, healing, casting out demons, and speaking in tongues, there were no such things as being slain in the Spirit, laughing uncontrollably, or barking like a dog. In my opinion these things are being done by demons.
In 1991, Pastor David Yongi Cho, of the world's largest church in Seoul, Korea, received a vision that there would be a revival in Pensacola, Florida. On Father's Day, 1995, Pastor John Kilpatrick, of the Brownsville Assembly of God, in Pensacola, Florida, invited Evangelist Steve Hill to speak. Steve Hill received his impartation "on January 19, 1995, at 3:00 in the afternoon. He says he had to walk over 500 bodies on the floor to get to a London, England vicar for prayer." ( "Pensacola Impartations-Apparitions by Joseph R Chambers).
Phenomenon such as uncontrolled shaking, trembling by sobbing, individuals collapsing and remaining unconscious for hours at a time, blue haziness in the building, apparitions of angels dancing in the auditorium, invisible currents pulling toward the front of the auditorium, bodies falling down, roaring like a lion, bowing down, lapse of memory, unable to do daily functions for a period of time, twitching of the face and muscles, and "fetal birthing" are all examples of this. Fetal birthing includes actions of child birth, only it is called birthing a revival. Leaders admit there was genuine pandemonium in the services.
Joseph Chambers, of Paw Creek Ministries in Charlotte, NC, who calls himself a "Classic Pentecostal," says of these apparitions, "not one of them are recorded in the Holy Scripture." This became known as the "PENSACOLA OUTPOURING."
Pastor Kilpatrick himself said "an individual did not have to be saved in order to be part of the 'manifestations' of the Holy Spirit." "He also mentioned that many people in the audience who experienced the supernatural manifestations were not even Christians." ("Foundation" magazine - March-April 1997 - page 10)
SIX CHARACTERISTICS OF AN ALTERED STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Dr. Patrick Dixon in his book "Signs of Revival" lists six characteristics of an Altered State of Consciousness:
The "laughing revival" is an altered state of consciousness.
A similar experience has taken place in Seattle, Washington called the "Seattle Revival Center." In 1994, three pastors, Darrel Stott of Lake Boren Christian Center, Steve Richard of Freedom Life Foursquare, and Wayne Anderson of International Church traveled to Toronto and claimed they "got drunk in the Holy Spirit."
Pastor Stott tells of his legs growing weak, falling on the floor, his legs flying in the air, laughing uncontrollably, feeling like a drunk, staggering, swinging around posts, shaking, furniture flying in the room, floor rolling, twitching, yelling, rolling down the halls, etc.. ("O Timothy" - #8, 1997 - page 2-4)
I believe these apparitions are demonic. At the Lausanne II Evangelical Conference in Manila in 1989, John Wimber testified of these supposed signs and wonders. "A member of the press panel from India refuted the claim that these miracles and signs must be from God. He said that the same charismatic-styled tongues, healings, miracles, signs and wonders are also found among the heathen religions of his native India." ("Foundation" magazine - March-April, 1997 - page 13)
I am not quoting this word for word but Joseph R. Chambers, (calls himself a Classic Pentecostal of over 40 years) of Paw Creek Ministries in his video "The False Anointing" references Revelation 13:11 and says the Pensacola Outpouring is a false anointing. It gives emphasis to the Anti-Christ. "The False prophet doeth great wonders," meaning he deceives by miracles. This is in preparation to cause people to worship the Anti-Christ. This False Prophet is already working, getting people ready for the Anti-Christ. It gets them to worship him. It is a counterfeit to the real thing. They are worshipping a Jesus that is not of the Bible. This anointing will prepare people to take the mark of the beast.
Music is a major factor in these supposed revivals. "One of the main songs at Pensacola is, 'The River is Here.'...Even a clear Biblical title for our Heavenly Father or His Son is totally missing from the lyrics. It is a 'New Age" type song that can be sung to a generic God. The mood of this song is hypnotic and literally sweeps the unsuspecting into a receptive mindset. People are readied to receive their 'apparition' by this kind of 'Beatles' music and sound." ("Pensacola Impartations-Apparitions" by Joseph R. Chambers).
James Ryles, the pastor of Bill McCartney, founder of Promise Keepers received a vision of the Beatles group, in which they represented the music God was going to use to bring and end-time revival. "In the summer of 1989, I had a dream...And I remember the dream thinking to myself, wow - this is like the Beatles music was new. The Lord spoke to me and said, 'What you saw in the Beatles - the gifting and that sound that they had - was from me. It did not belong to them. It belongeth to me. It was my purpose to bring forth through music a world-wide revival that would usher in the move of my spirit in bringing men and women to Christ." (Joseph R Chambers quoting "Harvest Conference, Denver, Colorado, James Ryle, November 1990)
Lendal Cooley, from the Vineyard Ministries is their music director at Brownsville. The music is a mix of rock and mood music. Don Moheim in the "Pentecostal Evangel" said "there is something spooky about the music, it has power to impart." (quote from video "Pensacola Impartations-Apparitions" by Joseph R. Chambers)
Joseph R. Chambers says of witnessing the music "It was full of hype and emotions, with a great majority of the audience jumping, dancing, etc. I don't mean spiritual worship, but the exact same as a rock concert. These revival services, whether at Pensacola, Toronto, Canada, or a Rodney Howard-Brown laughing service, are exact copies of a rock concert with the same emotions, the same hysteria, the same dance, and the same trivializing of truth, righteousness, and the glory of God." ("The False Anointing" by Joseph R. Chambers).
A group known as the Kansas City Prophets have done much to lend credence to these supposed revivals. There are several men all associated with a single church, formerly Kansas City Fellowship and now called Metro Vineyard Fellowship. Pastor Mike Bickle, is a leader in encouraging his flock to practice modern prophecy. Men from this group are often featured speakers at John Wimber's international conference ministry. Their teachings have been spread by a book entitled "Some Said it Thundered" by David Pytches. While they claim to receive prophecy from God they are about one to three in accuracy. In that book it states "Anyone who has experience in helping to nurture 'baby prophets' realizes that they have difficulty in distinguishing the words that the Spirit speaks from those that come from their own hearts or even from evil sources. At first they make many mistakes." (page 14) Some believe the movement is connected to the Latter Reign Movement of the forties and fifties. One of their staff members, Paul Cain, was associated with that movement.
Another interesting development is that only a few short years ago the Evangelical World believed in the "imminent rapture" before the Great Tribulation. In this supposed revival movement come the teaching of "Dominion Theology."
"This new breed of prophets and spokesman are preparing for all out war to take the kingdom. Paul Cain says that there will be an army, called Joel's Army and that God will equip them to perform His judgments." ("Holy Laughter" by Joseph R. Chambers)
Another side issue that is not connected with these particular revivals is the teachings of Kenneth Hagin. He is practicing a manifestation which is called the "Serpent Spirit." On October 12-24, 1997, he conducted a Holy Ghost meeting in Chesterfield, Mo. "On the third night he began to manifest this spirit with his tongue sticking out and wiggling like a serpent's tongue. He also began to hiss. On Thursday night, as he began to hiss, many of the people began to slither down out of their seats feet first. Some of the people would hiss back at him." ("Kenneth Hagin and the 'Spirit of the Serpent' - by Joseph R. Chambers)
In March of 1998, Pastor John Arnott from the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship led a laughing revival team to Paris, France. They led in a unity conference. "This came at the invitation of a former Anglican who now pastors a Reformed church. Before the meeting, Arnott stressed gathering as many denominations as possible for the event. The preparation committee included 12 leaders from Pentecostals, charismatics, and mainline Protestants and Catholics." (Calvary Contender, July 1, 1998, Vol.XV, No. 3)
None of the manifestations that we have noted are recorded in the Bible anywhere as gifts of the Holy Spirit. I do not believe they are Biblical. Since they are not Biblical gifts and there is obviously a spirit power in these manifestations, it is my opinion that they must be of Satanic origin.
I also believe according to the scriptures that even the sign and revelatory gifts given to the Apostolic Church ceased with the completion of the New Testament Scriptures.
1 Cor 13:8-13 "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies,
shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there
be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we
prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in
part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as
a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12
now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then
shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity,
these three; but the greatest of these is charity."