The Strange History of Pentecostalism (Part 1 of 3)
David W. Cloud

 

The Strange History of Pentecostalism (Part 3 of 3)

By David W. Cloud

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August 3, 1998 (David W. Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, 1701 Harns Rd., Oak Harbor, WA 98277) - The following is Part 3 of 3 of "The Strange History of Pentecostalism" by David W. Cloud--

ORAL ROBERTS

The ministry of Pentecostal healer ORAL ROBERTS (1918- ) presents another case study in confusion. Roberts claims that sickness is of the devil, and during the early years of his ministry, he claimed to be able to discern the demons of illness through his right hand. He said that when he began his healing ministry, the power of God flowed like a current of electricity through him, at times feeling as if "liquid fire" were surging through his arm. A 1949 issue of his magazine, Healing Waters, described the visit of William Branham to a Roberts healing crusade in Tampa, Florida, noting: "Both had heard the voice of God, both felt the healing power in their hands. Brother Branham in his left through vibrations, Brother Roberts in his right with power to detect the presence, names and numbers of demons." Roberts claimed that he "felt a manifestation of God's presence in his right hand" which supplied a "point of contact" between the believer and the healing power of God, giving him "an assurance that resulted in the healing of thousands of people" (Harrell, All Things Are Possible, pp. 49, 50). In the early 1950s, Roberts began to promise his followers that their financial gifts would be returned to them by God seven fold. In 1954 he initiated his "blessing-pact," whereby he offered to pray that any gift given to his ministry be returned "in its entirety from a totally unexpected source" (Ibid., p. 49). In 1950 Roberts claimed God had instructed him to tell people to expect Jesus to return that year. In 1954 he predicted "a coming together of God's anointed for the final revival" (Ibid., p. 50).

The cover of the March 1952, issue of Healing Waters featured "three great medical doctors congratulating Oral Roberts." One of these was identified as Dr. J.H. Miller, "outstanding medical doctor and president of a medical society of over 20,000 physicians." When an inquiry was made to the American Medical Association by two Presbyterian ministers, it was learned that there was no record of these "great medical doctors." Presbyterian pastor Carroll Stegall, Jr., attended Oral Roberts' crusades and did follow-up interviews of those who were supposedly healed. He testified that there was no basis to support Roberts' claims. Writing in 1955 in the Presbyterian Outlook, Stegall concluded: "I have never seen a vestige of change. I challenge any honest investigator to follow my technique and see whether his findings do not agree with mine." Referring to the Pentecostal healers in general, Stegall said:

"So far from curing, they often kill. Far from blessing, their arrival in a city is rather a curse, a misery, a racket, a destruction of faith in simple people."

In his biography of Oral Roberts, David Harrell, Jr., noted that John Kobler interviewed two individuals recommended by Roberts as 'the most striking instances of cures.' Kobler reported that 'while both believed themselves healed, one had never visited a physician, and the other had subsequently undergone surgery to remove a cancer'" (Harrell, Oral Roberts: An American Life, Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1985, p. 164).

A Toronto physician examined 30 people who passed through Roberts' healing line, and he found no case of healing "that could not be explained, in terms of psychological shock or straight hysteria." At least one of the 30 had died.

Disasters have repeatedly overtaken Roberts' healing crusades. On September 8, 1950, in Amarillo, Texas, a 64-year-old man died when he ran from the tent as it was being buffeted by a wind storm. Two days later, another wind storm destroyed the crusade tent and sent 50 people to the hospital. Roberts sent William Branham to take his place in scheduled meetings for the next two months. In 1951 an Alabama businessman died while attending a Roberts crusade in Atlanta. In 1955 Jonas Rider died during a Calgary, Alberta, Canada, crusade. In 1956, Mary Vonderscher died twelve hours after appearing on Robert's television program to testify of her healing. In January 1959, a 64-year-old man died during a campaign in Oakland, California. In May 1959, a three-year-old girl died during a healing crusade in Fayetteville, North Carolina. An elderly Indian woman died on her way to that crusade. In July 1959, a woman died after believing herself healed in a Roberts crusade.

Please understand that we are not gloating over these tragedies. These are very sad events and there is no joy in relating them. The reason we do so is that Oral Roberts, together with many of his latter rain Pentecostal friends, claims that physical healing is guaranteed in the atonement of Jesus Christ. They claim that the apostolic sign gifts are operative today. These claims must be taken seriously. If physical healing in this life is guaranteed in the atonement, if special healing gifts belong to Christians today, if God wills that Christians be healthy and prosperous, it will be evident. These facts from the various latter rain leaders show that their claims are not true. They have the same problems, the same sicknesses, the same afflictions, the same financial difficulties, as Christians who do not believe in Pentecostal doctrine.

MORRIS CERULLO

Another popular Pentecostal "faith healer" of our day is MORRIS CERULLO, who took over the Heritage USA properties after Jim Bakker was convicted and sentenced to prison. Cerullo teaches that healing is in the atonement, and he practices the supposed "word of knowledge" ministry of identifying healings which are taking place in his meetings. In a 1976 mailing, Cerullo referred to something new in his ministry called a "Revelation-Healing Institute" through which he predicts "unusual miracles--miracles that require deep penetration of the Spirit" (F.E.A. News & Views, Fundamental Evangelistic Association, Nov.-Dec. 1976). At his healing crusades Cerullo proclaims that "it is God's will to heal every person" (Calgary Herald, Calgary, Alberta, June 6, 1987), yet those with obvious sicknesses--such as those in the wheelchair sections--go back home disappointed.

The September 1992 issue of the Evangelical Times contained the following information about Cerullo healing crusades:

"Miss Audrey Reynolds attended a Morris Cerullo healing crusade in London and believed she was healed of a brain abnormality. She stopped taking her medicine and, as a result, suffered a fatal brain seizure. Sir Montague Levine, the Southwark Coroner, told the inquest, 'It was a tragedy that she went to this meeting and thought she was cured of everything. Sadly, it led to her death.'

"Andrew Fergusson, a general practitioner for ten years and currently the General Secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, was present at the Earl's Court meetings. He recently wrote, 'The healing miracles of the New Testament were instant, total reversals of obvious, organic disease which nobody could argue with, and indeed that was the gold standard Cerullo set by his advertising. We saw nothing verifiable that approached this'" (Evangelical Times, September 1992, reprinted in Australian Beacon, Oct. 1992).

Foundation magazine, published by the Fundamental Evangelistic Association of Los Osos, California, wisely warns: "Multitudes have been discouraged and led astray by so-called faith healers such as Cerullo. Their paths are strewn with heartbreak and confusion. I realize that many feel it is wrong to speak publicly against supposed Christian preachers such as this, but this type of thing is a great wickedness. It is a serious matter to claim that God wants to heal every sickness" (Foundation, May-June 1980).

JOHN WIMBER

The ministry of the late JOHN WIMBER (1934-1997) is yet another case study in confusion. He was not a classical Pentecostal, but he was definitely a key figure in the modern Charismatic movement. I heard him speak at the North American Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization, held August 1990, in Indianapolis. Wimber said: "After God has given you his Son, why would he withhold healing from you? ... Up in heaven the angels rejoice when they see the servants of God on earth doing the deeds of the Son and ministering in the power of the kingdom. ... I believe right now that the Lord is releasing healing angels among us and that they are here to minister on his behalf..." In spite of such claims, Wimber's healing success was no better than that of any Bible-believing pastor who prays for his people. Five Christian medical doctors attended a Wimber healing crusade in Leeds, England, and concluded: "We saw no change that suggested any healing of organic, physical disease. To encourage techniques which produce hypnosis and hysteria, and to teach that one is learning how to exercise Kingdom rule over demons, disease and nature is false; it is a misrepresentation" (Dr. Verna Wright, "A Medical View of Miraculous Healing," chapter 11 of Peter Masters, The Healing Epidemic, London: The Wakeman Trust, 1988, p. 213; Wright is chief of rheumatology at Leeds University). During the Wimber crusade in Leeds, a girl with deep psychiatric problems who fell down screaming and was pronounced healed had to be committed to a psychiatric hospital three months later. When questioned about his healing ministry in Australia in March 1990, Wimber testified that not all diseases are equally responsive to his healing ministry. He admitted that he had a high success rate for headaches and back aches but that of the 200 Down Syndrome children he had prayed over none had been healed (Phillip D. Jensen, "John Wimber Changes His Mind!" The Protestant Review, July 1990). In other words, he could "heal" sicknesses which can be "healed" just as successfully by hypnotists and shamans, but he could not heal organic diseases. Having accepted the heresy of continued revelation, Wimber had no settled Foundation. He lurched from one unscriptural thing to another. He promoted the Kansas City prophecy movement in spite of its manifold heresies. The Kansas City prophets made the nutty claim that prophets today do not have to be 100% accurate. Wimber exalted Paul Cain in spite of his Manifest Sons of God heresy. He accepted the Laughing Revival as a move of God, even though he questioned some of the grosser manifestations. Though he did dismiss the Toronto Airport Vineyard, he allowed the Laughing Revival to sweep through large segments of the Vineyard movement, and he retained a close relationship with Toronto even after the dismissal. Wimber taught the heresy of "power evangelism" throughout the world via his books and the "signs and wonders" conferences.

CHARLES AND FRANCES HUNTER

CHARLES (1920- ) AND FRANCES HUNTER (1916- ), also known as the Happy Hunters, are well-known charismatic healing evangelists of our day. The May 1986 issue of Charisma magazine stated that the Hunters were among the top 20 most popular and influential Charismatic leaders. The Hunters promote the doctrine that healing is in the atonement and conduct "Healing Explosion" conferences to teach Christians how to heal the sick. They also distribute their healing seminars on audio and video cassette. Hundreds of thousands have attended their crusades in various parts of the world. Almost 200,000 people attended the first 21 Healing Explosion meetings in the United States in 1985, and as many as 50,000 people attended single crusades. Their annual budget was more than $2 million in 1987.

The Hunters claim that "every Spirit-filled Christian can and should be healing the sick on a daily basis" (advertisement for Healing Explosion crusades). In How to Heal the Sick, the Hunters say: "Yes, it is God's will for you to be healed. You do not bring glory to God by walking around sick, saying, I am being sick for the glory of God. Sickness does not bring glory to God -- healing and health bring glory to God!" (p. 18).

In their Handbook for Healing, the Hunters say, "There is nothing that will convince a sinner of the reality of Jesus faster than witnessing a miracle" (p. 28). The Lord Jesus Christ taught that such a philosophy is wrong, that if people will not believe the Scriptures, they will not believe even if they see someone rise from the dead (Luke 16:29-31). In the Handbook for Healing the Hunters also teach that when Christians heal "a force field of power comes out of you" and "the closer you are to the person, the more power they will feel and receive" (p. 91).

The Hunters teach that "miracle evangelism" is part of God's end-time program and that through this means a great ingathering of souls will precede Christ's return. They claim that in June 1980 God gave them a vision about worldwide miracle evangelism and instructed them that healing is part of the message of salvation (How to Heal the Sick, p. 5). The Hunters also believe their ministry is a fulfillment of a vision allegedly received by Tommy Hicks in 1961. He claims that he saw Jesus stretching forth his hands to people throughout the world and that a stream of "liquid light" issued forth from his hands to the people, signifying his miracle-working anointing upon end-times Christians. The Hunters published Hicks' alleged vision in their book How to Heal the Sick.

I have personally witnessed the Hunter's healing meetings on two occasions, and both times the wheelchair bound people who attended left unhealed and extremely disappointed. I did not see any significant healing at these meetings. During a healing crusade in the Philippines in January 1988, Frances Hunter developed an eye infection and in spite of attempts by the "healing teams" to heal her, she was forced to go to a doctor and get medication. She was embarrassed to find a copy of their book How to Heal the Sick in the waiting room of the doctor's office.

In a Hunter healing crusade in Long Beach, California, all of the members of the healing team caught a virus that was moving through the area. Frances Hunter had to return home and spend 10 days in bed with this virus (Ministries Today, Nov.-Dec. 1991, p. 28).

In a Honduras crusade in 1991 Frances Hunter injured her knee and was unable to attend one of the meetings.

In 1989 the Hunters were ordered by a federal judge to pay $300,000 to a 67-year-old California woman, Evelyn Kuykendall, who was injured when she was "slain in the spirit" at one of their meetings. She fractured her back and spent two months in the hospital from the injury sustained during one of the Hunter's healing meetings (Francis MacNutt, Overcome by the Spirit, p. 171).

While conducting a healing crusade in England in 1995, Frances Hunter broke her right heel and had to be brought back to the States in a wheelchair.

In their book Handbook for Healing the Hunters even give instructions for healing baldness: "To heal baldness, command healing to the hair follicles and command the hair to be restored to normal growth" (p. 106). In spite of their own instructions, both of the Hunters are partially bald!

The Happy Hunters, as already noted in this report, promote the unscriptural Laughing Revival; and their ministry is characterized by the dangerous and unscriptural phenomena of "spirit slaying."

The Hunters teach people that they need to speak in tongues to have God's miracle power. To receive the gift of tongues people are urged by the Hunters to stop thinking and to start muttering sounds so that God will allegedly take control of their tongues. This is the instruction given by Charles Hunter: "In just a moment when I tell you to, begin loving and praising God by speaking forth a lot of different syllable sounds; but not in a language you know, and don't try to think of the sounds. At first make the sounds rapidly so you won't try to think ... Continue ... with long flowing sentences ... loudly at first" (Charles Hunter, Charisma, July 1989). This is foolish and unscriptural counsel.

In 1979 the Hunters published a book entitled Angels on Assignment which records alleged angelic visitations experienced by an Assemblies of God pastor named Roland Buck. Among other things, Buck claimed that an angel appeared to him and told him that Jesus Christ "didn't taste physical death for us." After being challenged about this statement by Walter Martin, this part of the book was rewritten, "leading Martin not only to question the authenticity of these angelic visitations but also to comment tersely, 'How can one edit an angel's words?'" (Foundation magazine, Jan.-Feb. 1980, p. 21).

JAMIE BUCKINGHAM

JAMIE BUCKINGHAM (1933-1992) was a popular Charismatic speaker and writer. He authored 40 books which sold 20 million copies, and he was editor-in-chief for Ministries Today magazine and editor-at-large for Charisma magazine. He pastored the 2,000-member non-denominational Tabernacle Church in Melbourne, Florida, was a consultant for Wycliffe Bible Translators and was the president of the National Leadership Conference. Buckingham began his ministry as a Southern Baptist pastor but after being "baptized by the spirit" at a Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship meeting, he became a Pentecostal.

Buckingham was a radical ecumenist who called for unity between Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, and Pentecostals. In an article entitled "Bridge Builders" (Charisma, March 1992, p. 90), he said there is no higher calling than ecumenical bridge building. He praised David Duplessis for building bridges between Pentecostals and Roman Catholics, and he praised Jewish rabbi Yechiel Eckstein for building bridges between Jews and Christians. At the massive 1977 Kansas City ecumenical-charismatic conference he warned: "We cannot have unity based on doctrine. Doctrine will always separate the body of Christ ... the only way we can have unity is to have it around Jesus Christ." This is frightfully unscriptural counsel. The Bible is given for doctrine (2 Tim. 3:16) and absolutely no false doctrine is to be allowed in the churches (1 Tim. 1:3).

Buckingham taught that God has promised healing through Christ's atonement. In June 1990 he was diagnosed with cancer and was first told that it was inoperable. His wife and some Charismatic leaders, including Oral Roberts, prophesied that he would be healed. Buckingham claimed that God also spoke to him in the shower and told him that he would live to be "at least 100 years of age in good health and with clear mind." In July 1990 he had an operation and the doctor told him that the disease was limited to his kidney and that he had gotten all of the cancer and that he would be fine. In October 1990 Charisma magazine published Buckingham's testimony entitled "Healed!" In April 1991 Charisma magazine published another testimony by Buckingham entitled "My Summer of Miracles." Note the following excerpt from that article:

"One day my wife ... suddenly spoke aloud [and] said, 'Your healing was purchased at the cross.' ... Here is what I discovered. You have what you speak. If you want to change something, you must believe it enough to speak it. ... If you talk poverty, you'll have it. If you say you're sick, you'll be (and remain) sick. was not mine. It was the devil's. I didn't have cancer. I had Jesus. The cancer was trying to have me, but the Word of God said I was healed through what Jesus did on Calvary. ... It was a Friday afternoon. The tape was an Oral Roberts' sermon ... I came up off the sofa, shouting, 'I'm healed!' My wife leaped out of her chair and shouted, 'Hallelujah!' For the next 30 minutes all we did was walk around the house shouting thanks to God and proclaiming my healing" (Jamie Buckingham, "My Summer of Miracles," Charisma, April 1991).

Ten months after the publication of this article, on February 17, 1992, Jamie Buckingham died of cancer. Not only did Jamie Buckingham lead others astray with his false teaching, but he deceived himself.

These examples could be multiplied exceedingly. Please note again that the individuals mentioned above are all recognized leaders of the Pentecostal movement. They are all described in the Dictionary of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements and are included in any important history of the movement.

Please note, too, that we are not mocking a belief in the miraculous power of Almighty God. We know that we serve a mighty God who can do absolutely anything. We believe in His miracle-working power, having experienced it in our own lives continually for almost a quarter of a century. We have witnessed healings in answer to prayer. We have seen the glorious conversion of lost sinners. We have seen God provide our needs in miraculous ways. I made one trip completely around the world without any money. God performed a miracle at every step of the journey. On that trip one man gave me a late-model automobile. Another man, a stranger, gave me a large sum of money. Many other people gave me gifts which made it possible for me to continue the journey. This was merely one of many such trips in which I committed myself into God's hands and witnessed a continual miracle of divine supply. I know what it is like to serve a miracle-working God. I also know that God is God and that He does things His own way and according to His own time schedule. To say that God did something a certain way in the past is not to say that He is doing that same thing today. There was only one Pentecost, and there was only one apostolic era. It had its unique purpose, and it passed away. I believe in divine healing, but I don't believe in healing evangelists. I believe there are supernatural gifts operating in the churches, but I don't believe the apostolic sign gifts are operating today.

LAUGHING REVIVAL

The confusion and duplicity that has plagued the Pentecostal latter rain movement throughout the century are very evident in the current Laughing Revival (otherwise known as the Toronto Blessing and the Pensacola Outpouring). Many of the amazing healings claimed by the Laughing Revival have proven to be deceptions. Commonly, when investigators attempt to verify the "healings," they find no evidence to back up the claims. The Pensacola News Journal diligently attempted to document miraculous healings which have been claimed at the Brownsville Assembly of God, but even after tracking some of the visitors from other states, they were unable to obtain medical verification for even one healing ("No medical proof of 'miraculous healings,'" Pensacola News Journal, Nov. 20, 1997).

The leaders of the Brownsville Assembly of God have made many bold claims which have proven to be false. After a four-month investigation into the "Pensacola Outpouring," the Pensacola News Journal exposed many deceptions and exaggerations. I have read the lengthy reports by the Pensacola News Journal as well as the brief reply which the Brownsville Assembly placed on the Internet. In my estimation, the Brownsville Assembly's reply is a smoke screen which dodges many of the accusations. Others have also seen this. A discerning look at this matter entitled "Problems with the Brownsville Response to the Pensacola News Journal" is published on the web at http://www.geocities.com/Bob_Hunter/pnjbagreply.htm.

I have attempted to get more information from Brownsville, but they have completely ignored my requests.

CLAIM: In his autobiography Stone Cold Heart, Brownsville Evangelist Steve Hill claims he was arrested 13 times. FACT: There are only four arrests which can be documented. CLAIM: Hill claims he was a heroin addict. FACT: He admitted to the Pensacola News Journal that this was not true and that he exaggerated the stories about his drug use to make a bigger impression. CLAIM: Hill claims to have wandered the country for three years, working odd jobs and using and selling drugs. FACT: Employment records show he worked a full-time job in Huntsville, Alabama, during those three years. CLAIM: Hill claims he was expelled from high school. FACT: He admitted to the Pensacola News Journal that this never happened. Hill also admitted that other details of his published testimony are not accurate, that even some of the names are made up. (This information is from the article "Hills bio fraught with fallacies Revival leader admits he inflated stories," Pensacola News Journal, Nov. 18, 1997). Again, we attempted to obtain more information from Brownsville about these matters, but our request was completely ignored.

CLAIM: Brownsville leaders claimed the revival has produced a significant decrease in crime in Pensacola and the surrounding area. FACT: The Escambia County Sheriff's Office crimes and arrests statistics show that crime actually rose in 1996 compared to 1995, the year the revival began. Escambia Sheriff Jim Lowman said he can't see that the revival has had a great impact on the crime figures. Escambia Sheriff 's Office statistics show that juvenile arrests almost doubled in 1996 compared to the year before, increasing from 1,243 to 2,392 ("Escambia sheriff disputes claims of crime reduction," Pensacola News Journal, Nov. 20, 1997).

CLAIM: Brownsville leaders claim the revival is slowing illicit drug use in their area because of the conversion of drug dealers and users. FACT: Local authorities who head drug abuse treatment centers deny this claim. Leo Donnelly, executive director of a treatment center called The Friary, says admissions have climbed from 250 in 1993-94 to 398 in 1996-97. The Twelve Oaks center says its business has almost doubled. None of the other treatment centers or drug abuse authorities contacted by the Pensacola News Journal cited a decrease in the problem. None were aware of any specific cases of those who had left treatment because of the Brownsville revival.

CLAIM: Brownsville leaders claim that law enforcement officers are so impressed by the revival that on occasion they have hauled suspects into the revival instead of taking them to jail. FACT: That has never happened, Escambia Sheriff Jim Lowman said, and it simply could not happen because it would be a violation of law enforcement procedure. "We don't have any information that indicates we have ever done that, nor has any other law enforcement agency." Jerry Potts, Pensacola Police assistant chief, said that a number of people have asked him if there is any truth to that story. Potts said, emphatically, that none of his officers ever took such action (Ibid.).

CLAIM: Brownsville leaders claim the revival's influence is cleaning up prostitution, drugs, and street crime in Brownsville and that the revival is touching their entire area after the fashion of some true revivals of old. FACT: Not true, residents say. "What has happened is the prostitutes have moved closer into our community away from the church," Dori Rice said (she lives a block from the church). "Now johns are driving up and down the streets where our children play." Roscoe Urbaniak, who has lived a few blocks from Brownsville Assembly of God for 50 years, said other crimes are on the upswing, raising anxiety throughout the neighborhood. He told the News Journal that elderly neighborhood women are afraid to come out of their homes because of a recent rash of purse snatchings (Kimberly Blair, "Neighborhood sees no benefit from revival," Pensacola News Journal, Nov. 20, 1997).

CLAIM: Brownsville leaders claim the Pensacola "revival" began spontaneously on June 18, 1995. FACT: In the weeks prior to June 18 many key members of the Brownsville Assembly, including the pastor's wife, visited Toronto, and they were earnestly seeking the same experiences for Brownsville. Prior to June 18 a video of the Toronto experiences was shown to the Pensacola congregation to encourage the congregation to desire the same thing. Prior to June 18, Pastor Kilpatrick talked persistently about bringing the Laughing Revival to Brownsville and threatened to quit if the church did not accept it ("Pastors orchestrated first revival Hill's persistent urging pushed crowd to react," Pensacola News Journal, Nov. 19, 1997). Pentecostal Evangelist Steve Hill was not randomly selected to speak at Brownsville on June 18. He was selected by Pastor Kilpatrick because Hills was earnestly desiring to be involved in the Laughing Revival and was searching for a place to conduct a long-running latter rain "revival." Hills had recently sought the Laughing Revival anointing at Holy Trinity Brompton in London, England.

CLAIM: Brownsville leaders claim that on June 18 a mighty wind blew through the church, that it affected everyone present, that great numbers of people fell to the floor, that it was a mighty supernatural move of God. FACT: The video recording of the June 18 service and testimonies of people who were there disprove the claims. It is very evident, in fact, that the events were highly manipulated by Evangelist Steve Hill. When he first invited people to come forward for the laying on of hands, only nine people fell, but Hill continued to cajole the crowd. Eventually another six fell, then a few more. It all appears to be manipulated by Hill. In fact, so little happened in spite of Hill's shouting and demanding and wheedling, it is embarrassing. When people began to leave the church, Hill shouted at them not to leave. In apparent desperation Hill called for all the children to come forward. He told them that he was going to pray for them and they were going to fall to the ground. In spite of his prodding, only one little girl fell down.

CLAIM: In their reply to the Pensacola News Journal, the Brownsville Assembly of God claims that the Journal was wrong in stating that there has been a large exodus of old-time members from the church. Following is the exact statement which is posted at the Brownsville web site: "Since the revival began in the Brownsville Assembly of God, less than 150 previous members have cancelled or moved their membership, while 1530 new members have been added. Of those members who were in the church for 25 or more years, none of them have left because of the revival, and only 4 officials out of 27 have left the church since the revival began. Simply stated, there has not been a mass exodus of members, contrary to allegations made by anonymous former members in the Journal." FACT: Though this statement might be true technically, it is an attempt to hide the real situation. The fact is that a great number of Kilpatrick's closest acquaintances rejected his "revival." This is admitted by John Kilpatrick. For example, in his message at the National Church of God, Washington, D.C., June 7, 1997, Kilpatrick said: "We lost ALL of our best friends that we had in this world over this move of God. We lost them ALL." Note the word "all." The Pensacola News Journal article in question was titled "Sadness, fear fill members who left Brownsville," Nov. 17, 1997. The Brownsville reply is a smoke screen. It merely dodges most of the assertions of the Journal's report. The Journal stated, for example, that Kilpatrick claimed those who left were demonized and that he gave prophecies that those who resisted the "revival" would suffer. Those assertions are true. In his message on June 7 in Washington D.C., Kilpatrick mentioned one church member who left because of the "revival," and he specifically said that she was manifesting demons.

CLAIM: John Arnott of the Toronto Airport Church says the healing of Sarah Lilliman is a key example of the miracles being performed in the Laughing Revival. According to Arnott, Lilliman was like a vegetable, totally incapacitated, paralyzed, and blind. One of her friends attended the Toronto church and after being slain in the spirit had a vision of Jesus telling her to go to Sarah, that He was going to heal her. Arnott claims that Lilliman subsequently "rose up seeing." FACT: In Counterfeit Revival, Hank Hanegraaff exposes this false claim. He says the story is wildly embellished, that Sarah Lilliman was not totally incapacitated, paralyzed, and blind, that her doctors had diagnosed psychosomatic emotional problems underlying her physical problems. "Today, despite the broad circulation of this story by Arnott and his associates as evidence of God's power in the Toronto Blessing, Sarah Lilliman is still, as before, legally blind. Unfortunately, just as before, she and her family are continuing to struggle with her physical and psychosomatic disorders" (Counterfeit Revival, p. 60). Hanegraaff's testimony about Lilliman is confirmed in testimony available in the article "Jon Ruthven Admits Hank Was Right," http://www.geocities.com/Bob_Hunter/lilliman.htm.

CONCLUSION

The Bible warns: "Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them" (Romans 16:17). Certainly this applies to the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement. It has rightly been called the glue of the End Times Apostasy. The only protection from it is to obey the Bible and separate from it.

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