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CAN WE JUDGE?
LATTER-RAIN AND MANIFEST SONS OF GOD TEACHINGS
THE VINEYARD TODAY
Drunk On New Wine
For over a year and a half the Toronto Airport Vineyard has been capturing the attention of both Christians and non-Christians alike. Thousands have been flying to Toronto from around the world, where there has been a purported outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They have been catching IT and bringing IT back to their home churches. From there IT has been spreading throughout other churches. The outpouring has been accompanied by people being slain in the Spirit, laughing, growling, barking, and other manifestations.
The purpose of this article is to examine this phenomena and see if it really is a work of God, a work of the flesh, a work of the devil, or a combination of all of them. Because this phenomena has spread into other denominations besides the Vineyard, I will usually be referring to the movement as the Vineyard/Toronto Blessing Movement.
CAN WE JUDGE?
First of all we must address one key issue. Do we have the right to examine this "move of God" and determine its origin? Over and over again I see statements like these two quotes, first from Vineyard Pastor James Ryle, and second, by a Vineyard/Toronto Blessing supporter on a Christian computer conference:
1."There is today a group of people who promote themselves as Biblical purists, the faithful remnant who alone preach the Word and who evidently possess the power to judge and criticize anyone who is not like them. This is nothing new, as any student of Scripture can attest. It was, in fact, this very kind of people who crucified Jesus Christ. They are Scribes and Pharisees, religious and angry, attacking and persecuting anyone who dares to differ from their exclusive views. Here is where the plot thickens. These watchdogs of doctrinal purity - who themselves ironically violate Scripture by their ungodly attitudes, their mean-spirited commentary, and their deceitful reporting - have now turned their swords against the Vineyard and its leaders. Why? Since there is no truth to their accusations one must ask why then do they accuse? What motivates them to tear down another church? The answer is pride, jealousy, fear, hatred, or ignorance - take your pick. You can be sure one of these factors is at the heart of this present contention." (It's Enough To Make You Cry, by Pastor James Ryle).
James Ryle is a Vineyard pastor of Bill McCartney, the founder of Promise Keepers, and Ryle is on the board of Promise Keepers. He has ministered with Paul Cain [Kansas City prophet] and John Wimber. He has said in another interview that the 300,000 Promise Keepers are the fulfillment of Joel's Army and have come for War [Jewel van der Merwe, Discernment newsletter]).
To that statement, researcher Debra Bouey has noted that James Ryle, without justification:
Likens us to those who crucified Jesus Christ.
Adjudges us to be:
Scribes and Pharisees
Religious and angry
Attacking and persecuting
In violation of Scripture
Possessed of ungodly attitudes
Issuers of mean spirited commentary
Liars ("deceitful reporting")
Accusers of the brethren
Motivated to tear down churches
Proud, jealous, fearful
2."I find it interesting how Satan attacks those people who are preaching/teaching the complete gospel ("good news"). What awes me even more is the fact that the worst attacks come from within the body. The biblical model states that if we have a problem with one of our brothers or sisters we are to take the problem to them first, not condemn them in the public arena: Is this not stepping in and playing God?
"It is interesting that Rodney Howard-Browne is now under attack, too. Obviously, the enemy wants these men of God stopped since they are inflicting so much damage on the enemy camp.
"I judge this way: if it doesn't build my faith, or cause me to know my God better, or doesn't help me to love and understand my brother or sister in Christ, then I don't listen to it.
"Judge Not that ye may not be judged"... (comments from an Internet user)
The last statement, in particular, is used frequently by both well-meaning Christians and non-Christians alike to defend their viewpoints. It's particularly fascinating to see non-Christians rushing to the Bible to quote from it. But has this quote been taken out of context? This passage is from Matthew 7:1, but the entire passage states:
Matt 7:1-5 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
Jesus condemned the hypocritical judgement by those who held others to a higher standard of judgement than they themselves were willing to live by. He was not saying that we should not judge, but that taking a speck out of a brother's eye is proper provided that you first take the plank out of your own eye.
We are also told not to judge other peoples' motives. In 1 Samuel 16:7 God told Samuel: "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Thessalonians 5:21 states: "Test everything. Hold on to the good."
Jesus said "Stop judging by mere appearances, but make a right judgment." (John 7:24)
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:15, "I speak to sensible people; judge for yourself what I say."
We are told throughout the Scriptures to be wary of false doctrine, false teachers, false prophets who would come right into the Church.
Jesus said false prophets would come as wolves in sheep's clothing (Matt. 7:15). Paul told the elders at Ephesus that savage wolves would enter in, not sparing the flock (Acts 20:29). "And from among your own selves," he added, "men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them" (v. 30.) He wrote "The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1).
We are also supposed to judge one another with regard to overt acts of sin. Paul wrote, "Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves" (1 Cor. 5:12-13).
Some other passages which emphasize the necessity of judging:
Proverbs 14:15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent [man] looketh well to his going.
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Matthew 24:4-5 And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own body; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the innocent.
2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
1 Corinthians 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the others judge.
And when he was speaking about the Bereans, Luke said in Acts 17:11, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so." They were not even ready to take Paul's word for anything, but checked everything with the Scriptures, using them as the final judge of what was of God and what wasn't.
Without using judgement we would never be able to determine what was true and what wasn't. "What, can't we trust our feelings? If it feels like it's from God, then it must be, right?" Not according to Jeremiah 17:9. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Even as Christians we can be deceived by our feelings. That is why we hold that Scripture is the final authority on all matters.
LATTER-RAIN AND MANIFEST SONS OF GOD TEACHINGS
We need to turn at this point to a little history on the Kansas City Fellowship (KCF), based in Kansas City, Missouri. Now, what does the KCF have to do with the Vineyard/Toronto Blessing Movement? Well, those of you who are following the Vineyard/Toronto Blessing Movement will recognize some of the names mentioned. You may have even heard them speaking in your church or bought their books and tapes. That is because the Kansas City Fellowship joined forces with the Vineyard a few years ago. They are now known as the Metro Vineyard Fellowship.
The Kansas City Fellowship blended elements of the Latter-Rain movement, the Manifest Sons of God, Dominion Theology, Kingdom Now Theology, the Word-Faith Movement, the Shepherding Movement, and Restorationism.
According to J. Preston Eby:
"In 1948 -- the very year that Israel became a nation -- another great deluge fell from heaven, a mighty revival then called the 'Latter Rain.' In this Restoration Revival God did a work which far transcended the work started in the Pentecostal outpouring of more than 40 years before. All nine gifts of the Spirit, the five-fold ministries of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, spiritual praise and worship, and the end time revelation of God's purpose to manifest his sons, a glorious church, to bring in the kingdom of God, all of this and much more was restored among God's people." (The Battle of Armageddon, Part IV, J. Preston Eby, Kingdom Bible Studies, September 1976, pg. 10; quoted in Richard M. Riss, "The Latter Rain Movement of 1948 and the Mid-Twentieth Century Evangelical Awakening", pg. 197, April 1979.)
William M. Menzies, in his "History of the Assemblies of God," wrote:
"In 1947, George Hatwin and Percy Hunt launched an independent Bible School in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. ... They evolved a teaching that emphasized extreme congregationalism with local authority committed to restored order of apostles, who, through receiving a special dispensation derived from the laying on of hands, could in turn dispense a variety of spiritual gifts. Their extravagant claims and their belligerent attack on existing Pentecostal groups brought open conflict. Many sincere Christians followed the new group which boasted of being a fresh revival displacing the 'apostatized Pentecostals.'" (Anointed to Serve, The Story of the Assemblies of God, William W. Menzies, Springfield Mo., Gospel Publishing House, 1971, pg. 32.)
Some of the main teachings of this "move of God" were:
1. The revelation of the dominion mandate (Genesis 1:26-29 is used to support the teaching that they are to take dominion over the earth.)
2. The revelation of the manifestation of the sons of God (using Romans 8:19 for support ["The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed."])
3. The restoration of the imparting of spiritual gifts through the laying on of hands.
4. The restoration of "the fivefold ministry" as enumerated in Ephesians 4:11, with emphasis on the offices of apostle and prophet.
The Kansas City Fellowship was founded by Mike Bickle in September 1982, when, according to Bickle, God spoke to him in Cairo, Egypt, saying:
"I am inviting you to raise up a work that will touch the ends of the earth. I have invited many people to do this thing, and many people have said yes, but very few have done my will." (The Prophetic History of Grace Ministries, Kansas City, Mo.: Grace Ministries, n.d., cassette tape.)
In 1986, Bickle started Grace Ministries. This was a "team of men committed to seeing the church restored to the glory described in God's Word ... This team is comprised of mature and proven men with apostolic and prophetic ministries in addition to including evangelists, pastors, and teachers." (Grace City Report, Fall 1989, pg. 9.)
According to the Grace City Report, Fall 1989, there are seven goals in Grace ministries:
Apostolic teams which plant churches.
City churches - Grace teaches the doctrine of localism; "The New Testament pattern is for there to be one church in a city with many congregations yet with one unified eldership governing it."
The House of Prayer - a 24 hour a day centre for intercessory prayer in Kansas City.
The Joseph Company - "Our primary goal for the Joseph Company is to help care for and feed the poor, especially in third world countries."
The Israel Mandate - It's goal is to help in the great last-days evangelical harvest among ethnic Jews.
Ministry Training Centre - a Centre to equip both full-time and lay leaders in areas of ministry.
Shiloh Ministries - "Ultimately, Shiloh will include a piece of property where a number of prophetically gifted ministries will live together as they share revelation with one another releasing a 'roundtable of the prophets' effect. This will release a greater prophetic understanding of God's purposes as they submit one to another."
Some of these goals seem worthy, like caring for and feeding the poor, but keep in mind that many non-Christian groups and cults do the same things. That in itself does not show that an organization is of God.
The visions and dreams of KCF's two main prophets (Paul Cain and Bob Jones) and others who gave prophecies, always determined the course of the Kansas City Fellowship. Scripture was then marshalled to buttress these revelations. Also, when the Bible contradicted KCF teaching, it was dismissed or reinterpreted according to the authority line. For example:
Deuteronomy 18:20, 22 states:
"But if a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death." ...one can know when a prophet speaks presumptuously for what he has said will not come to pass.
However, Rick Joyner writes:
"One of the greatest hazards affecting maturing prophets is the erroneous interpretation of the Old Testament exhortation that if a prophet ever predicted something which did not come to pass he was no longer to be considered a true prophet (see Deut. 18:20-22). The warning was that if this happened, the prophet had been presumptuous and the people were not to fear him. If one predicts something in the name of the Lord and it does not come to pass, he probably has spoken presumptuously and needs to be repented of, but that does not make him a false prophet. No one could step out in the faith required to walk in his calling if he knew that a single mistake would ruin him for life." (The Prophetic Ministry, The Morning Star Prophetic Newsletter, Rick Joyner, n.d., Vol 3, No. 2, pg. 2.)
Joyner not only contradicts Scripture, but says that prophets who are less than 100 percent accurate are a necessity and for the church's own good:
"Bob (Jones) was told that the general level of prophetic revelation in the church was about 65% accurate at this time. Some are only about 10% accurate, a very few of the most mature prophets are approaching 85% to 95% accuracy. Prophecy is increasing in purity, but there is still a long way to go for those who walk in this ministry. This is actually grace for the church now, because 100% accuracy in this ministry will bring a level of accountability to the church which she is too immature to bear at this time; it would result in too many 'Ananias and Sapphiras.' That so many the (sic) prophetic ministries are still missing so much is also meant to work humility and wisdom in them so that they will be able to handle the authority and power coming in the near future." (The Prophetic Ministry, The Morning Star Prophetic Newsletter, Rick Joyner, n.d., Vol 3, No. 2, pg. 4)
Mike Bickle writes:
"There is a dimension that is coming, and now is, that we have no frame of reference for and most of us think that we do."
"... and they (apostles, prophets) do things that you have no frame of reference for understanding because, believe me, what's going to be coming down in the next twenty years you and I have no frame of reference for understanding. It is going to be so unusual you are not going to be able to look at the word for every manifestation and find one there because the Spirit of the Lord has so many manifestations that you and I know nothing about." (Divine Appointment [Introduction], Mike Bickle, 3/29/89, cassette tape)
So we are now apparently approaching an age in which we are not going to be able to appeal to the Bible as the final authority. God is going to be dealing with us outside of what He has to say in His Word. This leaves the door wide open to the introduction of false doctrine.
Mike Bickle also says on the same tape,
"At this point in time, because of the pride of the church (just like the scribes and the Pharisees) we have such a sense that we understand....when we are not even the beginning of novices." We have "...the church with absolutely no insight, judging the works of God with no understanding and missing out on the works of God."
"If the spirit of fear is given enough witness, the Spirit of God will leave completely. ... The reasoning and the debate of the western world in all of their presupposed knowledge of what God does and doesn't do is it's going to be a miracle for the Lord to use someone that's been in the Kingdom over five years. ...It's no accident that throughout the visitations of history it was always a few (in the church) and the multitudes were all the new converts because the majority of the church could not swallow the new thing coming, because they were wise in their own understanding. Great heroes of the church were ostracized by the church. The church needs an abandonment that says we really don't know anything about the realm of the spirit. We must have lowliness of mind."
Apparently he has a very low opinion of our ability to understand the Word of God! Does this "lowliness of mind" mean that we must be willing, if asked, to discard everything that we have learned of God up to now and submit ourselves to their line of authority to be in on this new move of God, the authentic Latter Rain?
Rick Joyner says,
"To be distinguished from the stumbling blocks, a great company of prophets, teachers, pastors and apostles will be raised up with the spirit of Phineas. ...Conferences of apostles, prophets, pastors, elders, etc. will be called and used greatly by the Lord, but without denominating and separating from the rest of the body." (A Vision of the Harvest, Rick Joyner, Grace City Report, op cit., pg. 3.)
"In Ephesians 4:11-13, Paul said the five ministries of verse 11 would function until the church was filled with the knowledge of the Son of God." (The True Prophetic Spirit: The Simplicity and Purity of Devotion to Jesus; Mike Bickle, Grace City Report, op cit., pg. 1.)
By being "filled with the knowledge of the Son of God," Bickle means a perfected church, a church without "spot or wrinkle. This many-membered corporate body (corporate man) will take dominion over (conquer) the Earth for ultimate presentation to Christ at his second coming." (Overview of God's End Time Purpose, Mike Bickle, cassette tape, 10/7/84)
One of the Latter Rain's key doctrines is the doctrine of the Manifest Sons of God. It teaches that God will restore the offices of apostles and prophets. God will also restore the church to its intended position of power (accompanied by signs and wonders and miracles), and many people will leave their denominational churches. Once under the authority of apostolic churches, believers will start being perfected. They will mature, and unity in the Body will increase until there is a generation of believers who have matured into the full stature of Christ.
At that time the sons of God will be fully manifested on the Earth. Widespread spiritual warfare will result with the sons of God doing battle with Satan and his demons. As Joel's Army, as it will be called, conquers Satan and company , the non-Christian nations of the world will also be defeated. Once the earth has been subdued, Jesus will come back to earth and be given the Kingdom that has been won for him by this "Manchild Company."
The Manifest Sons of God doctrine teaches that these Sons will be equal to Jesus Christ: immortal, sinless, perfected sons who have partaken of the divine nature. They will have every right to be called gods and will be called gods.
Bill Britton has written a book called Jesus The Pattern Son. In it Britton writes that Jesus was the "Firstfruits among many brethren" and the pattern for many more "sons" to come. In other words, what Jesus was by birth (the Son of God) all believers can become by adoption (sons of God). The identification is total with Manifest Sons. Jesus the Pattern Son was the Anointed One, the Christ. This special group, the Manchild Company, are also anointed and they have the right to be called Christ!
Bob Jones states:
"The last day church is being birthed now out of the old church, and the old leadership is coming to an end and the new young leadership is being raised up to reign over an end time church that will bring forth the Bride. Your children ,(my bank account) my grandchildren, will be the Bride. You've got to have the church first in the right foundation. That's what he (Jesus) said. 'Come back and touch those that will be the right foundation'." (Visions and Revelations, Bob Jones 1988, cassette tape. Quoted in Latter Day Prophets, Media Spotlight Special Report, Albert Dager, n.d., pg 9.)
Bob Jones gives this scenario for the preparation of the coming manifestation:
"I went and I seen the Lord, and it was like he was looking at little yellow things; little round yellow things like a Spirit of God Itself. And there were billions of them. And it was like Him and all the angels were looking through these and every once in awhile they'd say, 'Hey, here's an end time one; get it down here on the end. Here's another good one!'
"I said, 'What are you doing?'
"He said, 'Oh, we're collecting those who are foreknown and predestinated for the end times, for you see, they'll be the best of all the seed that's ever been. And we're looking through the seeds and they'll be your grandkids. This will be the end generation that is foreknown and predestinated to inherit all things. And these will be like grandchildren to you -- even those that you minister to won't be this generation; their grandchildren will be.
"You are to write into their minds as they write into the children's minds. You're to bring them to a place to allow My Spirit to rule in their life where they can begin to set the church on the proper foundations, as they will. They'll birth the church, but their children will attain levels of the Holy Spirit that they will not.
"Although their parents will reign over them and be the leaders of the last day church, their children will possess the Spirit without measure. For they are the best of all generations that have ever been upon the face of the earth. And the best of all generations are those elected seeds that will glorify Christ in the last days.
"That's the purpose so that Jesus in the last days has the seeds that will glorify Him above any generation that has ever been upon the face of the earth. They will move into things of the supernatural that no one has ever moved in before. Every miracle, sign and wonder that has ever been in the Bible, they'll move in it consistently. They'll move in the power that Christ did. Every sign and wonder and wonder that's ever been will be many times in the last days. They themselves will be that generation that's raised up to put death itself underneath their feet and to glorify Christ in every way.
"And the church that is raising up in the government will be the head and the covering for them. So that the glorious church might be revealed in the last days because the Lord Jesus is worthy to be lifted up by a church that has reached the full maturity of the God-Man!" (Visions and Revelations, Bob Jones 1988, cassette tape. Quoted in Latter Day Prophets, Media Spotlight Special Report, Albert Dager, n.d., pg 9-10.)
Mike Bickle says that he doesn't think "that there is anything higher than the revelation that what a Son of God is."... "The religious mind will always call this heresy. When the religious mind comes in contact with the revelation of what a Son of God is they will always say it is not right because it's too high."
Bickle uses Hebrews, Chapters 1 and 2, Psalm 8 and Genesis 1:26 to show that men have total dominion over the Earth. He teaches that the average Christian's view of man is so low that God is offended.
"But, through His Word, He has given us a revelation of what he intends us to be; Sons of God in the full sense of the word. And we begin to raise our understanding of what its all about".
"God said that these people were to act as God. Now, you can get kind of off base and a lot of cults would use this passage and get off base in many many wrong ways. I don't think we're gods in any weird sense of the word, but God has created and redeemed men to be gods, small "g", only by this definition -- that nothing in creation was to be over you. Everything besides God Himself was to be under you and that alone would constitute man being a god."
"Now, don't be afraid, we don't worship gods like that. We're not equal to Jesus Christ. We're not deity. We're not worshipped. We have no authority to initiate the things that only God can initiate because He alone is the head of the body, Jesus Christ says."
"My conviction is that one of the greatest transformations is when you begin to get the revelation that you are a Son of God. ... God intends us to be like gods, he intends us to be like the Son of God. ... God has conceived in His heart of a plan to make a race of men that would live like gods on the Earth. He has conceived in His heart to have Sons that would live like His Son, the Lord Jesus lived. ... That we were to be on earth the extension and manifestation of God's life in heaven."
"When a person comes up and declares what Sonship is about, the religious community comes up and says 'blasphemy!' That's what they did to Jesus." (Glory and Dominion of Sonship, Part 2, Mike Bickle, cassette tape.)
"I believe that God is going to allow us to see and to even partake in this restoration -- this is a major statement and I want you to pay attention closely --to the restoration of the New Testament Standard... I believe that God is going to renovate the entire understanding of what Christianity is in the nations of the Earth. I believe that the way that 99% of us across the world as believers understand Christianity, in 20 years there will be a totally different understanding of what Christianity is from what it is right now. I believe the understanding of it, the standard of life and the expression of Christianity as we know it, I believe God is going to restore it and change it in the Earth in this generation." (Overview of Corporate Long Term Vision, Mike Bickle, 1/5/86, cassette tape.)
Now we're looking at a potential total renovation of Christianity as we have come to understand it. I assume we've all been wrong for the last 2000 years.
Bickle says that this mission is to be accomplished via the development of Apostolic City Churches. By apostolic he means: "churches in the full power of the Spirit of God." (Overview of Corporate Long Term Vision, Mike Bickle, 1/5/86, cassette tape.)
Kansas City Fellowship, of course, is going to be used of God to establish these.
"That is the will of God for this body of believers to establish anywhere from 20 to 30 or 40 (I have no idea the number, but its a large number) of city churches in the nations of the Earth to make impact on the rulers and kings and people of those nations right from this body of believers. ... I believe Jesus meant we shall disciple the nations. He meant it and He will not come back until it happens. ... Nations will be discipled by the fruit of the ministry that comes forth from this people here ... by people sitting in this room!" (Overview of Corporate Long Term Vision, Mike Bickle, 1/5/86, cassette tape.)
Bob Jones says:
"There has to be a bunch of full-time leaders joined and the lay leaders have got to be ready, and a lot of them are going to be released after that time of visitation. And they have to be unified; they have to have affection for one another; they have to be grounded in unity around the principles that God has given us, and we have to be in divine order with our place in God's divine order." (Visions and Revelations, Bob Jones 1988, cassette tape. Quoted in Latter Day Prophets, Media Spotlight Special Report, Albert Dager, n.d., pg 11.)
So what about those who don't wish to go along with this "move of God"?
"Some pastors and leaders who continue to resist this tide of unity will be removed from their place. Some will be so hardened that they will become opposers and resist God to the end." (A Vision of the Harvest, Rick Joyner, Grace City Report, op cit., pg. 3.)
Remember this when we start quoting from Vineyard/Toronto Blessing sources shortly.
Bob Jones came under church discipline a few years ago and was told to limit his prophecies to within his church, but the teachings themselves have never been recanted by KCF.
KCF prophet Paul Cain stated,
"... This army is also in the New Testament. It's referred to as the man child. I know some of you's gonna disagree with this; don't you even stop to disagree. Revelation 12:25, if you disagree, just file it in 'miscellaneous' and don't bother with it. When you get to heaven we'll check it out, and you'll find out I'm right. Here it is -- this great army in the New Testament is a man child, Revelation 12:5; the overcomers, Revelation 2 and 3; the 144,000 servants, Revelation 7:3; the bride of the Lamb's wife -- see why they call me in on the carpet?...the revelation of the Lamb's wife, Revelation 19:7 and 21:9; and the white horse, Revelation 6:2; the first fruit, Revelation 14:4; the precious fruit, James 5:7; the wise virgins, Matthew 21:1-13; the manifested sons of God, Romans 8:19-23, and it's certainly a remarkable fact that none of these names are expressions applied to the saints of God at any other time in history, but all of them are in their context and promises showing undeniably that they belong to the end time. The end time, let's say the end time. They belong to the end time to this present generation, Matthew 24:34 ... this is the end time and God wants us to realize once and again, in closing, that there's gonna be a great company of overcomers prepared for this mighty ministry which I call the prize of all ages ..." (Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teachings of Kansas City Fellowship (Grace Ministries), Pastor Ernie Gruen, n.d., published by author, pp. 220-221.)
THE VINEYARD TODAY
So what is the Vineyard/Toronto Blessing teaching today when you go to one of their meetings? This section examines some of the main teachings circulating in Vineyard/Toronto Blessing circles today.
...A lot of times people go around, "Be careful, be careful!"
...there needs to be an understanding that the church has reacted in fear. "Be careful who lays hands on you! Be careful about going up to that Vineyard in Toronto! I don't know, I've heard some pretty far-out stories about that place. I'd be careful if I were you!" Now what does that produce in the heart of a person? Fear. Now, hands up, those that want to be deceived? I literally got a hand one day when I asked that. But we don't want to be deceived. Jesus said, you know, wolves will come in sheep's clothing, and they'll deceive many, didn't He? How do you know them? By their fruit.
...Now, if we're going to react in fear and play it safe, what is that the opposite to? Faith. Do you understand that it works by faith? If you want more from God, you have to believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (John Arnott, Toronto Airport Vineyard, Dynamics of Receiving Spiritual Experiences, Friday, November 18, 1994, 1:30 pm Audiotape Transcript)
Jesus told the story about, you know, in Luke's gospel there, and also Matthew, that, if you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your kids, you're children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those that ask Him? Now, it is just, the bottom line is, what is the attitude of your heart, and who are you asking. If you'll come to your loving, heavenly father, knowing that the enemy's not going to slip in there and throw you a sucker-punch, because, after all, your Father in heaven's not going to give you a stone, is He? If you ask for an egg, will He give you a scorpion, if you ask for a fish, will He give you a snake? No, the Bible says. If you will come to Him and say, "Father, I want the bread of heaven, I want more of the Holy Spirit," what do you think He is going to give you? More.
The problem is, we have not expected what came. We used to think if people shook, shouted, flopped, rolled, etc., that it was a demonic thing manifesting and we needed to take them out of the room. That was our grid, that's what our experience had taught us, that demons could be powerful. But it never occurred to us -- I mean, it had, theologically, but not practically -- that the Holy Spirit was, you know, a million times more powerful than all the demons in hell put together. (John Arnott, Toronto Airport Vineyard, Dynamics of Receiving Spiritual Experiences, Friday, November 18, 1994, 1:30 pm Audiotape Transcript)
And so it's like, well, why would we focus, then, on "Yeah, but I don't like the way he fell and shook and got stuck to the floor and everything!" Listen! Who cares whether he did or he didn't? Who cares? If he thinks it's God and he likes it, let him enjoy it! Because you can test the fruit later. (John Arnott, Toronto Airport Vineyard, Dynamics of Receiving Spiritual Experiences, Friday, November 18, 1994, 1:30 pm Audiotape Transcript)
.....[Referring to Luke 11:11] Verse 11 asks a different question, and it's dealing with an area that I am always addressing because I think the Christian church, to a large degree, is reacting in fear today. And by that I mean this; people are always saying "Oh, be careful! Be careful you don't get too emotional. Be careful you don't get too extreme. Be careful what you read. Be careful who lays hands on you. Be careful about this. Be careful about that. Be careful about the other." That's all fine, but if you play it safe with this thing, the Holy Spirit, you know what? You're never going to get anywhere. (John Arnott, Toronto Airport Vineyard, December 16, 1994)
...But, see, we need to have more faith in God's ability to bless us than Satan's ability to deceive us. (John Arnott, Toronto Airport Vineyard, December 16, 1994)
...So when you come to Him tonight asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit, I don't want you to even entertain the thought that you might get a counterfeit. You know why? Because I'm going to encourage you to come like a little child and say "Father, I really want You. I'm not going to be, you know, so preoccupied with what the devil's doing, and everything else, that I can't come to you in faith and say 'Lord Jesus, as a little child I come in simplicity. I ask You to fill me with the Holy Spirit, and that's what I'm expecting, is more of the Holy Spirit.'" (John Arnott, Toronto Airport Vineyard, December 16, 1994)
But one of the tests, I think, of our spiritual maturity as pastors, as leaders, is to the degree that we can trust the leadership of our church to the Holy Spirit. And God just operates with a lot more grace than any of us. God's not near as worried about heresy, or noise or mess or distress than we are, and so we really indeed have passed, uh, somebody said this isn't orderly. [unintelligible] paradigm of order. We've gone from the order of the cemetery to the order of the nursery. About all you can do in cemeteries is mow the grass. (Ron Allen, From Refreshing To Power Evangelism, Toronto Airport Vineyard, October 13, 1994.)
A favourite claim of Vineyard/Toronto Blessing Pastors is that those who question the Toronto Blessing or tell people to stay away are reacting in fear. There's a difference between fear and caution, however. In Matthew 10:16, Jesus said, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." According to Strong's concordance, the word used for "shrewd" is "phronimos; implying a cautious character." We are to be cautious, particularly about any new moves claiming to be from God which cannot be found explicitly in the Scriptures. Those who would say, in effect, forget about caution and trust that God won't let you go astray into unbiblical teaching or demonic influence, are inviting deception.
Mormons pray about The Book of Mormon, as to whether it is true, and get a burning in the bosom to confirm it. They pray to God in all sincerity, and yet they are still deceived by Satan into thinking that The Book of Mormon is true and that Mormonism, with its plural gods, is true. Why are they deceived in spite of a sincere prayer to God? Because the Bible already shows that Mormonism is wrong. The Bible makes it clear that there is only one true God, that there are no other true gods, that the Bible itself is inspired and the Word of God, etc. If those same people had compared Mormon teaching with the Scriptures, the contrasts would have been obvious. God has already told them that Mormonism isn't of Him and they have chosen not to listen.
Praying about the truth of Mormonism would be like praying and asking God if committing murder is all right. God has already answered that question. Why should He then answer that prayer? Likewise, Christians should examine the teachings and phenomena of the Vineyard/Toronto Blessing, compare it with the Scriptures, and then decide if it is of God. If they don't examine it, if they don't test all things, then they can expect to be deceived.
Mr. Arnott makes a revealing comment about how manifestations that are now considered to be from the Holy Spirit were once considered demonic. Has anyone noticed that in today's society, more and more we are seeing that things that were once considered good are now considered by our society to be evil, and things that were once considered evil are now being thought of as good? Suddenly, something that was considered to be of the devil in the Christian world is being thought of as Christian. As Larry Thomas has said:
"When Jimmy Swaggart took his crusade to South America in 198_, was it 1986, Kevin? Late '86 or early '87, huge stadium in Argentina, 80,000 people filling the stadium every night, and during the worship service, during the preaching, there were literally hundreds of people in this congregation who would begin to laugh hysterically and throw themselves down on the ground. They would howl like dogs, they would bark like dogs, they would roar like lions, they would make all kinds of wild sounds, and when these things began to happen, the ushers went and physically restrained them, took them out of the coliseum to a tent outside, and they cast the devil out of them. But now, when you do that, it's evidence that the Holy Ghost is doing something great in your life." (Larry Thomas, No Laughing Matter, Audiotape, October 10, 1994)
Vineyard/Toronto Blessing pastors talk much about how we should learn discernment, but as will be seen time and time again, they use absolutely no discernment themselves. Take John Arnott's statement, "If he thinks it's God and he likes it, let him enjoy it! Because you can test the fruit later." That seems like a blatant disregard for using any discernment whatsoever. Supposed the person is under demonic influence. Are we to sit back and let it happen and then test the fruit later? He also said, "we need to have more faith in God's ability to bless us than Satan's ability to deceive us." That sounds very nice and godly, but the fact remains Satan does deceive people -- even Christians. Jesus explicitly warned us of a coming deception that would deceive even the elect.
Arnott also states, "So when you come to Him tonight asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit, I don't want you to even entertain the thought that you might get a counterfeit." In other words, are we to forget about the Bible's repeated warnings to be wary of counterfeits, false prophets, false doctrine, etc., trusting in God to protect us instead of trusting in the Word that He gave us to measure all teachings by? Again, that is like asking God if murder or stealing is all right when He's already told us in His Word.
Ron Allen has said, "God's not near as worried about heresy, or noise or mess or distress than we are..." No doubt He's not worried as such, but I wonder why He took so much trouble to warn us about false teachings and prophets?
..."So we invited everybody and anybody. I mean, we had them all here. I didn't care what their denominational background was. If I heard that they were Christians and they were anointed by the Spirit, we wanted them to come. Maybe we could learn something from them. We had several people here. Understand that I was impacted by Kathryn Kuhlman, I had been impacted by Benny Hinn, and certainly impacted by John Wimber... (John Arnott, Pastor of the Toronto Airport Vineyard, Pastor's Meeting, October 19, 1994)
I'm reminded of what my old Quaker uncle used to say. "Well, Ron, it's the duck test." Have you heard that? If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck! If it looks like Jesus and sounds like Jesus, it's probably Jesus! (Ron Allen, From Refreshing To Power Evangelism, Toronto Airport Vineyard, October 13, 1994.)
Now, what we have found in releasing the prophetic is this -- now, I'll give a disclaimer and then I'll say what we found. The disclaimer's this; anybody can be touched and empowered by God with or without manifestation. That's irrelevant. Manifestation is merely the byproduct of the effect of the Spirit, so you don't have to have manifestation to be touched by God. Conversely, if somebody is being touched, and that is the result, the effect, we pray and say "is this of God, is this of the flesh, is this of the devil?" If it isn't of the flesh, and it isn't of the devil, by definition, the person is being touched. So we use the effects as we use the visual effect of wind. You know, you put your sail up. Which way is the wind going? It's blowing that way. Let's go that way. I mean, it's very simple. (Wes Campbell, Pastoring The Prophetic, Catch The Fire Conference, Toronto Airport Vineyard, October 13, 1994)
Well, what about laughing? Someone says "I want God, but I don't want the laughing thing. What is that?" I said, "Well, it's laughing." "Well, what is that? What theology?" I said, "Look, here's my theology. If I was God, I would do the same thing. I would make a mandate, 'every Christian has got to laugh at least once.'" (Larry Randolph, Renewal and Revival Today, Toronto Airport Vineyard, November 18, 1994)
How about this statement as an example of how to exercise discernment, from Ron Allen? "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck! If it looks like Jesus and sounds like Jesus, it's probably Jesus!" Does he not remember Jesus' warnings about wolves in sheep's clothing, or Paul's statement in 2 Corinthians 11 about there being another Jesus, another Gospel and another Spirit?
What of Wes Campbell's advice on using discernment "Conversely, if somebody is being touched, and that is the result, the effect, we pray and say "is this of God, is this of the flesh, is this of the devil?" -- how about looking at God's Word first? -- or Larry Randolph's "Look, here's my theology. If I was God, I would do the same thing." By saying that, Larry Randolph has reduced God to our level!
Here we have several examples of a total lack of the discernment Vineyard/Toronto Blessing leaders say we, as Christians, should have. Look at John Arnott's statement about how, earlier in his ministry, he invited people to speak in his church if he even heard that they were Christians. Does he not want to know if they are Christians? Just because he's heard that they're Christians doesn't mean that they are or if they are, that they are good examples to follow.
The Vineyard/Toronto Blessing leaders often refer to William Branham and the Quakers. This in itself shows what kind of discernment these particular Vineyard/Toronto Blessing pastors are using.
William Branham was a very humble person, and there were some verifiable, genuine healings and supernatural occurrences in his ministry. Using Vineyard/Toronto Blessing discernment, this would qualify him as a genuine prophet of God. However, he claimed that he was Elijah the prophet and that he was the seventh angelic messenger to the Laodicean Church age (Footprints, page 620). He also said that if you belonged to a denomination, that you had taken the mark of the beast (Footprints, pages 627, 629, 643 and 648) and that he received divinely inspired revelations (The Revelation of the Seven Seals, Branham, Spoken Word Publication, Tucson, Ariz., n.d., pg. 19; Questions and Answers, Book 1, Branham, Spoken Word Publishers, Tucson, Ariz., 1964, pg. 60). Among these revelations was the fact that man fell when Eve had sexual relations with Satan, from which Cain was produced, resulting in a fallen race with Satan's nature (An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages, Branham, Branham Publisher, pages 98-99,101). Branham also said that "every sin that ever was on the Earth was caused by a woman....the very lowest creature on earth." (The Spoken Word, Vol. III, Nos. 12, 13, 14; Branham, Spoken Word Publications, Jefferson, Ind., 1976, pp. 81-82 quoted in The Man and His Message, Pg. 41).
There is evidence that supernatural signs did occur at Branham's meetings (A Prophet Visits, pp. 48-195). They supposedly came through an angel that was with Branham on stage and continually gave him counsel and revelations. (William Branham: His Life and Teachings, Kathie Adler, Narrow Way Ministries, Holbrook, N.Y., 1986, pages 3-5) Some researchers have suggested that Branham practiced occult healing. (Between Christ and Satan, Kurt E. Koch, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids, Mich., 1971, pages 149-150).
What was his view of God? According to Branham:
What is God? God is a great Eternal. At the beginning, way back before there was a beginning, he wasn't even God. Did you know that? A god is an object of worship, and there wasn't nothing to worship him; He lived alone. And in him was attributes. What is an attribute? A thought. (The Spoken Word, Vol. III, pg. 79)
Branham also denied the doctrine of the Trinity. He pronounced it a "gross error" (The Spoken Word, pg. 79) and that "trinitarianism is of the devil." (Footprints, pg. 606)
As for the Quakers, below is some insightful information from The Perennial Dictionary of World Religions, Keith Crim, General Editor, Harper and Row Publishers, San Francisco Copyright 1981 by Abingdon. My thanks to researcher Nancy Flint from Seattle, Washington, for providing this information:
"FOX, GEORGE (Ch; 1624-1691). A Practical mystic who was the major founder and early leader of THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS; known as a great preacher, controversialist, and writer."
"FRIENDS, SOCIETY OF (ch). A form of radical Christianity that arose in England during the splintering of PURITANISM in the 1650's it is marked especially by it's belief in the divine light of Christ in all people, it's meditative form of worship or group MYSTICISM in reliance on the Holy Spirit, and it's humanitarian social witness. Known as QUAKERISM, the Society of Friends can be understood as either a radical form of PROTESTANTISM or as a third form of Western Christianity, relying on the inner light as it's main authority, instead of the Roman Catholic and Protestant reliance, respectively, on church and scripture. Some Friends, because of their belief of the universality of the inner light and Quaker opposition to creeds, see themselves as mediators between Christianity and other religions or as being identifiable more by a style of living other than beliefs.
1. HISTORY. The Society of Friends crystallized in England in the early 1650's out of the experiences of Seekers, General Baptists, Ranters, and others who began experiencing a new dispensation of the Spirit. GEORGE FOX was the preeminent leader of the new movement. It was marked by the belief that the divine light within all people brought true religion by enabling one to experience a radical rebirth and to cultivate a style of living that culminated in perfect obedience to God. It included such distinctive elements as plain speech and dress and refusal to pay tithes, take oaths, use pagan names for days and months, and engage in worldly courtesies such as doffing one's hat. Although persecuted until 1689, the English Quakers continued to grow and to establish Quaker meetings in many parts of the world, especially in the British colonies in America, where William Penn's "Holy experiment" was especially notable.
Their eschatological hopes for transforming the world having waned by 1700, the Friends began to withdraw from "the world" and to stress their distinctive attributes.
The Puritan heritage of the movement however, made it susceptible to influences from Pietism later in the eighteenth century and led some Friends to regain their Protestant moorings. The resultant clashes between those, such as Elias Hicks and John Wilbur, who emphasized the uniqueness of Quakerism, and more evangelical Friends, such as J.J. Gurney and later revivalists and even FUNDAMENTALISTS, led to diversity and division in England and America in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A variety of forces, including the American Friends Service Committee founded by Rufus Jones in 1917, produced a unification process in the twentieth century. The major groups in the United States today are the Friends United Meeting (moderately evangelical; 66,000), Friends General Conference (liberal; 26,000). And the Evangelical Friends Alliance (extremely evangelical and fundamentalist; 26,000). Of the nearly 200,000 Friends in the world in 1978, 121,000 were in the United States, 20,000 were in Great Britain, 45,000 in Africa (F.U.M. converts), and 6,000 in Latin America (E.F.A. converts).
2. BELIEFS AND PRACTICES. The central Quaker conviction is that the saving knowledge and power of God are present as divine influences in all human beings through what is variously called the inner light, the light of the eternal Christ within, or "That of God". This belief has inevitably produced distinctive approaches to, and often de-emphasis on the doctrines of the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, bondage to sin, and the uniqueness of Christianity. Although some evangelical Friends have "pastoral meetings" and Quakers rely on recorded ministers, clerks, elders and deacons, they have no ordained ministers and do not celebrate the sacraments. Belief in "That of God" in every person is also responsible for the distinctive form of Friends worship, and accounts for their general confidence in working for the kingdom of God in the world and their specific emphasis on peace, relief of suffering, abolition of slavery, and prison reform. In governance as in worship, the Friends rely on the guidance of the inner light working through the individual and bringing the whole group to a consensus. Although largely congregational in operation, the Society has a hierarchy of administrative units including monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings as well as associations linking various yearly meetings.
But according to Todd Hunter, "You don't get any more Evangelical than Quakerism. I mean that's, that's true, blue blood Evangelicalism." (Todd Hunter, Revival In Focus, Mission Vieto Vineyard, October 23, 1994)
Nancy Flint, who has had some experience with Quakerism, writes:
"Their new dispensation of the 'spirit' that culminates in a 'perfected life of complete obedience to God', is the same thing Wimber, Rodney Howard Browne, William Branham, Wes Campbell and others are promoting. (i.e. that they are being perfected into the corporate man-child, the second coming of Christ....this time spiritually, not bodily....), it's all the same thing. It is the spirit of Antichrist that denies that Jesus Christ IS come in the flesh. It denies the Father and the Son, and makes itself "God the Holy Spirit indwelling the church, the corporate indwelling of the fullness of the godhead bodily, the Christ)......no wonder they were so "tolerant" of other religions.....so non-combative, so willing to stand by and let the spirit of man replace the Spirit of God. I find it fascinating that William Penn's 'Holy experiment' sounds like the political equivalent of John Wimber's 'experiment' on the church."
CRI just did a tragic article on how it really is a heresy to believe that Christians can be demonized, and that the ministry of casting out minor spirits in a Christian is really a counterfeit ministry, and it really is a heresy.
.....come back to, specifically, Hank Hanegraaff and CRI, Christian Research Institute. And he keeps on -- I've been monitoring him... he keeps on saying that this laughing revival, "You guys can't be of the Lord, you laugh too much, you're very undignified, this barking is really bad, this barking is really, really bad." He said, "I have studied revivals, and this barking is really bad." (William DeArteaga, Toronto Airport Vineyard, October 13, 1994)
One all-too-common trait of some Vineyard/Toronto Blessing speakers is the habit of putting words in other peoples' mouths or giving false information. William DeArteaga has done both in these statements, by putting words into the mouth of Hank Hanegraaff and by giving false information about what CRI teaches. CRI has not released an article saying that the teaching that Christians can be demonized is heretical. I'm aware of the article he is probably referring to, and there isn't the slightest suggestion anywhere in the article that that teaching is heretical. As we will see later, Mr. DeArteaga teaches that all who oppose the Toronto Blessing/Revival are heretics.
Drunk On New Wine
..."I've been a Baptist, served a Baptist church since 1979. We came to our first meeting February 1st. I had absolutely no frame of reference for seeing and understanding what was going on up front. The trouble was, it's one thing to sit in the meeting and observe, it's another thing to take it home. And for whatever reason my wife was as drunk as a newt. John, at one point, prayed that she'd be drunk for 48 hours, and she was. (Guy Chevreau, Toronto Airport Vineyard, Pastor's Meeting, October 19, 1994)
...I had to take her to the car, she wasn't much help in the morning, I came home at night, we had already invited guests for supper from the church that we were planting. Usually Janice is able to prepare the table and have the stuff ready so we can focus on our guests. Very undinner that night, no preparation. I went out for fish and chips, our guests arrived while I was gone. There were still no place-settings, so I put the fish and chips down, went to the cupboard for the plates, Janice is opening up the fish and chips and starts throwing the fish. [Laughter] Then she takes the french fries, dumps them on table and pushes little piles...[Laughter] (Guy Chevreau, Toronto Airport Vineyard, Pastor's Meeting, October 19, 1994)
..."Now, there is lots that I do not understand, but I can put some pieces together and we've been praying for Janice for several years that the Lord would release a spirit of play, and He did that! (Guy Chevreau, Toronto Airport Vineyard, Pastor's Meeting, October 19, 1994)
The first piece I returned to was from Hillary Appoitier. Hillary's one of the church fathers. He's writing on the Trinity, 356 A.D. He's commenting on John Chapter 7, verse 39, where Jesus is speaking about streams of living water. Hillary says "the Holy Spirit is called a river. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we are made drunk. Out of us as a source, various streams of grace flow. The prophet prays that the Lord will inebriate us. The prophet wants the same persons to be made drunk and filled to all fullness with the Divine gifts so that their generation may be multiplied."
Do you hear the purpose of the outpouring? Not for our own blessing, but that our generation may be multiplied. "We who've been reborn through the sacrament of baptism," that's the context of his writing, baptism, "We who've been reborn through the sacrament of baptism experience intense joy when we feel within us the first stirrings of the Spirit. We begin to have insight into the mysteries of faith. We are able to prophesy and to speak with wisdom. We become steadfast in hope and receive the gifts of healing. Even demons are made subject to our authority." (Guy Chevreau, Pastor's Conference, December 7, 1994, Toronto Airport Vineyard)
In March 13 of 1994, the Lord rocketed us onto this thing and we went into a prolonged set of meetings, 21 days of fasting, 35 nights of meetings. People were coming. People were being touched. Children were saying Oh, please, don't take me home at midnight. They said we want to stay and pray. Little children: Don't take me home! People were being touched. We had about 150 teenagers. Marc Dupont was there. He said it's time for the joy of the Lord. I'm telling you, they were like a swimming pool. They went into a whole swimming pool. They were laughing. I remember they were rolling, falling on each other. These teenagers, at one o'clock in the morning, they were packing up teenagers like bodies, you know, just like sacks of potatoes. Teenage girls, teenage boys, packing them into their cars, taking them home. The parents were taking them home. One girl -- Marc said, you're going to have the joy of the Lord on you -- he just pointed at her, she went ha! ha! ha! She went down. She laughed for 23 hours straight. She was a pastor's daughter. She had small fits of sleep and would wake up laughing. She went to work, and she worked at this Christian school. She laughed so much she got all the secretaries laughing. Before long, all of the students. It was breaking out in the school. They had to shut down classes at the Kelowna Christian Centre. All the kids came back. They all came back. More. I tell you, we would just take them and throw them into this area. They would hit this epicentre of power. They would laugh. They were just drunk, I mean drunk, drunker than skunks. They couldn't even walk. They were just laughing. (Wes Campbell, Toronto Airport Vineyard, October 14, 1994)
.....I would like for you to turn with me to 1 Corinthians, Chapter 1, verse 27. It says, "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." And in 2 Corinthians he mentions that God has chosen -- Paul says he embraces weakness that he might know the strength of God, that in his weakness he knows God's strength. And there's this thing about weakness that's important, I think, for us to gather.
.....Now, I'd like for you to turn with me to John Chapter 7, verse 37. How do we appropriate this peace? How do we appropriate this joy? How do we move into deeper joy? How do we get so much joy we get drunk? "These men are not drunk as you suppose. It's only nine o'clock in the morning." It wasn't their languages, it was their behaviour. How do we move into that? You get drunk by drinking. You don't get drunk on one sip. Okay?
John 7:37; "On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'if anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.'" That stream is a continuous bubbling thing. It's not dependent upon the rains. It's there. And it's continuous. If you're thirsty, come, and take a drink. (Randy Clark, Let The Fire Fall Conference, Anaheim Vineyard, July 1994)
What ever happened to Jesus' words in John 6:35, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty."
Now, turn with me to -- for evangelicals like myself, this is one of our most pillar passages of Evangelicalism. -- 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12, verse 13. [People are starting to laugh about now.] Now, the laughter may start to come, having had some experience in this, I would say that the most difficult time I ever had to preach in Toronto was when the New Yorkers came in. And they were just so out of it, and I really [felt] the Lord had given me this message, I just looked at them and said "I don't want you to quench the Holy Spirit, I don't want you to stop laughing, just please dial the decibels down a little bit." And you really have that ability to do that, and still can enter into the joy, and so I just wanted to put that out there. (Randy Clark, Let The Fire Fall Conference, Anaheim Vineyard, July 1994)
Questioner: Do you think that this is a revival for Western Society and that perhaps some of the things that are happening is to humble us and break down the barriers of pride, the walls of pride?
Randy Clark: I don't think it's for Western Society, but I do think it's to break down the walls of pride, self-sufficiency and the emphasis on what William DeArteaga talked about, the superhero within humanity. And that's where it's coming back to the depravity thing again, that we just dethrone man and put God back up on the throne and humble ourselves at His feet.
But it's not just for Western Society. We're hearing from Cambodia. The guy's getting ready to go back to Cambodia, He says "You go to Canada first before you come to Cambodia." And God's doing things. I mean, a thousand people are getting saved a day where it took hundreds of years to get the first thousand Christians saved in Cambodia, and people are being raised from the dead and temples being hit by lightning or fireballs and knocked off their things. It's all over. Germany and Africa. It's everywhere. God's doing it. It's not a western thing. (Randy Clark, Catch The Fire, Questions and Answers, Toronto Airport Vineyard, October 14, 1994)
Here we see some of the descriptions of the "Holy Spirit's" work, and how it is compared to actual, physical drunkenness.
How many have been able to find in the Bible a reference to the "spirit of play"? From the tone of the speaker's voice, this statement was said, apparently, in all seriousness.
Guy Chevreau mentions that as a result of the Holy Spirit's outpouring, even demons are made subject to our authority. Does he not realize that all Christians, being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, have that authority? This is nothing new as a result of the "Toronto Blessing."
A noteworthy aspect of this movement is the fact that laughter takes place often at very inappropriate times. Rodney Howard-Browne, who started today's version of what is known as "Holy Laughter," told how "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" (Charisma Magazine, August 1994, page 24). [Rodney also tells us that shortly God will start transporting people from place to place: "How are you going