Though hailed today by Benny Hinn and other Laughing Revival leaders as a great evangelist and healer, Pentecostal latter rain healing- evangelist A.A. ALLEN (1911-1970) was a drunkard and a charlatan. His Miracle Magazine was filled with incredible claims, such as the cure of a woman who allegedly shed 200 pounds instantly during one of his healing services. In 1956 he began claiming that miracle oil flowed from the hands and heads of those attending his meetings. This allegedly began when God poured supernatural oil on the hands of Lewin Burchan, a seven-year-old boy who was being used as a Pentecostal evangelist. In the 1960s, Allen launched a “raise the dead” campaign, urging his followers to believe God for resurrections. He had to stop this when some refused to bury their dead loved ones (Harrell, p. 199). Allen also claimed to have the authority to lay hands on those who gave to his ministry, granting them “the power to get wealth.” Many of his books promised prosperity. Three of these were The Secret to Scriptural Financial Success (1953), Power to Get Wealth (1963), and God’s Guarantee to Bless and Prosper You Financially (1968). In one story often related by Allen, he was praying for the money to pay a $410 printing bill when the $1 bills in his pocket were instantly changed to $20 bills. Allen told his followers: “I believe I can command God to perform a miracle for you financially.” Allen built his own 2400-acre community called Miracle Valley, in Arizona. His vast evangelistic empire took in about $3.5 million annually, a massive amount of money for that time. Allen was arrested for drunk driving during a revival in 1955. He divorced his wife in 1967, in spite of the fact that she had stood by him during the many troubles he had brought upon himself, and three years later he died alone at a motel in San Francisco while his team was conducting a crusade in West Virginia. He was 59 years old and he had himself with liquor.
Another famous Pentecostal latter days healing evangelist was JACK COE (1918-1956). His ministry, too, was characterized by false teaching and outrageous and untrue claims. Though the Assemblies of God expelled him in 1953 for extremism, Coe’s false teaching that healing is guaranteed in the atonement is shared by the Assemblies of God. He claimed that consulting physicians was connected with the mark of the beast (Simson, The Faith Healer, p. 164). In February 1956, at a healing crusade in Miami, Florida, Coe laid hands on a little boy who was stricken with polio. The boy’s mother, Ann Clark, was told by Coe: “If you believe Jesus heals the child, take the braces off, and leave them off.” She immediately removed the braces from the boy’s feeble legs, but as he attempted to take a step, he collapsed to the floor. Believing the false teaching that Coe and the other faith healers preached that God had promised her boy’s healing through faith, Mrs. Clark determined not to put the braces back on. Soon the boy’s legs began to swell and she took him to a doctor, who ordered the braces to be put back on. Her letter to Jack Coe, seeking his counsel, was ignored. She contacted the police and Coe was charged with practicing medicine without a license. After a highly publicized trial, the judge dismissed the case. Mrs. Clark’s sad experience reminds us that the path of the Pentecostal movement is strewn with this type of heartache because it promises things which God has not promised.
Though he taught that healing was guaranteed in the atonement and warned his followers against using medicine and consulting physicians, Coe went to the hospital when he fell ill with polio only a few months after the aforementioned trial. He succumbed to this disease a few weeks later, and it would be difficult not to see the hand of God in such a remarkable coincidence. After Coe’s death, his widow published a series of articles exposing the fraud of key healing evangelists.
CHARLES PRICE (1880-1947) was another of the famous latter day rain theology healing evangelists of the first half of the 20th century. He turned his back on modernistic theology after attending Aimee Semple McPherson’s meeting in early 1920 and was “baptized in the Spirit” soon thereafter. Beginning in 1922 he conducted healing crusades in many parts of the world. In 1923, following a Price crusade in Vancouver, British Columbia, a group of physicians, professors, lawyers, and ministers followed up on the alleged healings. Of the 350 people who had claimed to be healed, they could not find any physical change in the conditions of 301, 39 had died within six months of the meeting, five had become insane, and five others appeared to be cured of “nervous disorders” (D. Richard Wolfe, “Faith Healing and Healing Faith,” Journal of the Indiana Medical Association, 53, April 1959, cited from Eve Simson, The Faith Healer, St. Louis: Concordia, 1977, p. 166).
Some of the Pentecostal healing evangelists of the 1950s reported that hundreds of deaf people were healed during meetings in JAMAICA. In 1962 G.H. Montgomery, associated with Jack Coe’s widow, Juanita, exposed this fraud with the following report: “Some of these same evangelists reported that literally hundreds of deaf people were healed and received their hearing in the Jamaica meetings. Now, it so happens that we have a missionary daughter in Jamaica who works exclusively with deaf people. In five years of work with these people, neither she nor her colleagues have ever found so much as one person who was healed of total deafness” (Harrell, All Things Are Possible, p. 142).
Many of the more amazing healings and resurrections and other miracles reported by the latter rain people allegedly occur in AFRICA and Asia and South America, far away from those who are being told about the miracles. Oftentimes when someone has occasion to follow-up on these miracles, they are found to be false. In 1984 evangelist Duncan Leighton followed the DEREK PRINCE team through Zambia where thousands of miracle healings were claimed. Leighton’s efforts to document genuine miracle healings were fruitless (Leighton, Signs, One Wonders, cited in The Healing Epidemic, p. 216). A missionary doctor who followed up on reports of miracle healings in Africa in the mid 1940s also could not find any genuine organic healings. “I have not come across a single case of undoubted cure proved by medical examination of the clinical condition before and after the alleged healing” (Ibid., p. 219).
Another example of the confusion which has characterized the Pentecostal movement throughout its history is the ministry of DAVID DUPLESSIS (1905-1987), one of the key men in bringing together Pentecostals and Roman Catholics. Duplessis’ parents came under the influence of Pentecostal missionaries out of John Dowie’s Zion City. They were put out of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa when they accepted the heretical doctrines of the latter rain miracle revival, healing in the atonement, and spirit baptism with the evidence of tongues. Duplessis’ father became a part-time Pentecostal preacher and refused to allow his family to take medicines or visit doctors. He even refused veterinary care for his livestock and was briefly jailed for causing the needless deaths of plagued cattle. David Duplessis claimed that he had a Pentecostal spirit baptism experience in 1918 and in 1930 he was ordained as a Pentecostal preacher. Six years later Pentecostal evangelist Smith Wigglesworth prophesied over Duplessis that he would be one of God’s instruments in a coming worldwide ecumenical revival. By the 1950s Duplessis became immersed in the task of ecumenism. He preached that God was pouring out the latter rain power just preceding Christ’s return. He traveled widely, visiting the apostate leaders of the various mainline denominations. He became friends with the modernistic leaders of the World Council of Churches and participated in the second assembly of the WCC in 1954 and in the third assembly in 1961. He was invited to the Vatican to speak personally with Pope John XXIII and was the only Pentecostal invited to attend the Roman Catholic Vatican II Council of the mid-1960s. In his autobiography he testified that his heart broke and he literally wept during the performance of the Catholic mass (A Man Called Mr. Pentecost, p. 215). Throughout these experiences, Duplessis thought he was led by the Lord because of the “prophecies” he had received and also because of various powerful emotional and spiritual experiences. When he met with 24 modernistic ecumenical leaders in 1956, for example, he said he “felt a warm glow come over me” and his attitude of judging doctrine melted away. “I felt such love and compassion for those ecclesiastical leaders that I would rather have died for them than pass sentence upon them.” He contrasted this with the “old days” when he would have denounced their false theology (A Man Called Mr. Pentecost, p. 181). When he first visited the Vatican, Duplessis claimed that a similar experience caused his prejudice against Catholicism to melt away so that thereafter he could readily accept Catholic priests as brothers in Christ without any judgmentalism whatsoever regarding their doctrine. Through powerful emotional experiences at mass during the Vatican II council, Duplessis says he was purged entirely from suspicion about Catholic doctrine (p. 216).
As a young man Duplessis was prepared for the deception he experienced in the ecumenical movement. He claimed that he got his guidance from God in direct revelations and also through “tongues.” In his autobiography, he said that in his early spiritual life God showed him that tongues was a means for determining the divine will. “… the light clicked on. I was speaking to God in tongues, and He was speaking back to me in my mind. I began to find beautiful revelation that way. …. Praying in tongues proved to be a wonderful step in working my way out of such an impasse [in not being able to discern God’s will]. I would merely pray in tongues, and if the idea held firm, then I knew it was real” (A Man Called Mr. Pentecost, pp. 76-78). This testimony reflects the deep and frightful spiritual ignorance which caused Duplessis to be led from deception to deception throughout his life. The Pentecostal movement has been characterized by this confusion and deception throughout the century. Though Duplessis lost his ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God for awhile for his radical ecumenism, he retained his membership in an Assembly of God congregation and his ministerial credentials were formally reinstated with the AOG in 1980.
SMITH WIGGLESWORTH (1859-1947) was a famous Pentecostal evangelist and faith healer. Many books have been written about his unusual life. He was converted in a Methodist church, confirmed as an Anglican, and as a young man was associated with the Salvation Army and Plymouth Brethren. In 1907 he claimed that he was “baptised in the Holy Spirit” after hands were laid on him by Mary Boddy, who alleged to have had a Pentecostal experience only a month prior to that. Mrs. Boddy believed in the doctrine of healing in the atonement, but she spent the last sixteen years of her life as an invalid. Wigglesworth, too, believed that physical healing is guaranteed in the atonement of Christ. He taught against the use of all medicine. He believed that signs and wonders should always follow the preaching of the Gospel. He taught that a Christian can be justified and sanctified but still not have everything necessary from God. “People are never safe until they are baptized with the Holy Ghost” (Wigglesworth, “The Place of Power,” June 1916, reprinted in The Anointing of His Spirit, p. 151). He taught that handkerchiefs which are prayed over will bring life if carried in faith to the sick (The Anointing of His Spirit, p. 231). He taught: “Jesus came to set us free from sin, to free us from sickness, so that we should go forth in the power of the Spirit and minister to the needy, sick, and afflicted” (Wigglesworth, “Divine Life Brings Divine Health,” Pentecostal Evangel, Jan. 17, 1942). He claimed that the Christian has the power to speak things into existence: “God declares, ‘You have an anointing.’ Believe God and you will see this happen. What you say will come to pass. Speak the word and the bound shall be free, the sick shall be healed” (Wigglesworth, “Power from on High,” Pentecostal Evangel, May 27, 1944).
Like today’s Word-Faith preachers, Wigglesworth failed to make a proper distinction between the person and ministry of Jesus Christ and that of the Christian. He claimed that Jesus Christ increased in the fullness of God and in the power of the Holy Spirit. “I want you to understand that after the trials, after all the temptations and everything, Jesus comes out more full of God, more clothed in the Spirit, more ready for the fight” (Wigglesworth, “The Place of Power,” June 1916, reprinted in The Anointing of His Spirit, p. 146). This is heresy. The Lord Jesus Christ was God the Son. He could not be “more full of God.” Further, He was given the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to be our example; He came to be our Savior (Lk. 19:10). Wigglesworth also taught that the Christian can operate in the same omnipotent power that Christ exercised. “Dare you come into the place of omnipotence? … God’s design is to bring you to the place where you will be a son clothed with the power of gifts and graces, ministries and operations, to bring you into glory, clothed with the majesty of heaven. For he shall bring many sons and daughters unto glory–unto son-likeness, son-perfection” (Wigglesworth, “The Privileges of Sonship,” August 1924, reprinted in The Anointing of His Spirit, p. 221). This is very similar to the false Manifest Sons of God theology of the perfectibility of certain saints, and it is the same heresy as that taught today by Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and other Word-Faith teachers. Again, it is a confusion of this present life with that which is to come. They would mock this statement, claiming that my problem is unbelief and spiritual blindness, but the fact remains that they cannot do the miracles that Christ performed. The Lord Jesus Christ never conducted a healing crusade and He never took up an offering before He performed His signs and wonders. He did not have any rock music to stir up the crowd. He did not laugh hysterically or stagger about like a drunk man. He could raise the dead and heal every sickness without fail. No Pentecostal preacher has ever been able to do this.
Wigglesworth taught a form of sinless perfection. He stated: “I am realizing very truly these days that there is a sanctification of the Spirit where the thoughts are holy, where the life is beautiful, with no blemish” (Wigglesworth, “Count It All Joy,” August 1925, reprinted in The Anointing of His Spirit, p. 226). Oh, that this were the truth, but it is not. The Apostle Paul described his experience in these words: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. … O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death” (Rom. 8:18,24). There is spiritual victory through the Holy Spirit in this life, but it is not the experience described by Wigglesworth. It is not a life in which the thoughts are perfectly holy and in which there is no blemish. This is the destructive heresy of perfectionism, of complete sanctification, which has led multitudes of sincere people down the road of confusion and despair. To encourage people to seek and demand that which God has not promised is to expose them to demonic delusion and fleshly fanaticism.
The popular Bible commentator Harry Ironside began his ministry as a young man with the Salvation Army. He earnestly sought the sinless perfection experience, and at one point he thought he “had it.” Alas, though, he soon realized that his old sin nature was still present and active. In great despair he was committed to a hospital in a state of emotional and spiritual breakdown. There God brought him into contact with literature which taught the way of biblical sanctification and with Christians who could help him understand his salvation correctly. He became established in the Faith and went on to have a long and fruitful ministry of the Word of God. His testimony is in the book Holiness: The False and the True, which is published by Loizeaux Brothers, P.O. Box 277, Neptune, NJ 07754-0277. 800- 526-2796 (orders), 908-774-0641 (fax). This book is also available in the “Charismatic” section of the End Times Apostasy Database at the Way of Life Literature web site — http://www.wayoflife.org/
Wigglesworth preached constantly on the power of faith, but he failed to balance his teaching with the absolute necessity of submitting one’s faith to the sovereign will of God. He failed to distinguish properly between this present life and the resurrection life which is to come (Romans 8:18- 25). Instead he taught: “Jesus would have us come forth in divine likeness, in resurrection force, in the power of the Spirit, to walk in faith and understand his Word, what he meant when he said he would give us power over all the power of the enemy. Christ will subdue all things till everything comes into perfect harmony with his will” (Wigglesworth, “The Substance of Things Hoped For,” Pentecostal Evangel, Oct. 25, 1924). This is a destructive doctrinal error which causes people to be confused about what they can and cannot expect from God in this present time. Such false teaching produces great confusion and results in the overthrowing of the faith of great numbers of people who, having tried to exercise the faith spoken of by the Pentecostal preacher and having failed to achieve the desired miracle, give up in great despair. Faith is trusting God and His Word NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES, whether He does miracles or whether He does not do miracles. Faith is waiting on God to bring His promises to pass, regardless of what I am experiencing in this present life. Hebrews 11 reminds us that there are two kinds of faith: that which overcomes difficulties (Heb. 11:32- 35a) and that which endures difficulties (Heb. 11:35b-40).
In spite of his teaching that God promises perfect physical wholeness and that the Christian can operate in the same sign gifts that Christ exhibited, very few of those who sought Wigglesworth’s healing ministrations were ever healed. His own wife died a mere six years after he became a Pentecostal, and his son died two years after that. His daughter, who assisted in his meetings, was never healed of her deafness. For three years Wigglesworth himself suffered with gallstones.
In 1936 Wigglesworth gave a prophecy to the aforementioned David DuPlessis that God would pour out His Spirit upon all denominations and that the Pentecostal experience would sweep the world. DuPlessis was told that he would play a significant role in this movement. The fulfillment of the prophecy has proven that it was not of God. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (Jn. 14:17; 15:27; 16:13; 1 John 4:6), and wherever He holds sway in men’s lives He enlightens their minds to the truth and causes them to abhor error. In contrast, the ecumenical-Charismatic “renewal” with which David DuPlessis was associated, is a movement which confirms people in their doctrinal error. Catholics remained committed to Roman heresies. Modernists remained committed to their unbelief. Members of apostate denominations remained committed to the apostasy. The ecumenical- Charismatic renewal has broken down the walls between truth and error and has been one of the chief glues of the end-times one-world church movement.
KENNETH HAGIN, SR.
KENNETH HAGIN, SR. (1917- ) is one of the most influential Pentecostal leaders today. He claims that his teaching was given to him by God, but in fact he plagiarized heavily from the writings of E.W. KENYON (1867-1948). D.R. McConnell, in his book A Different Gospel, documents this with pages of comparisons proving beyond question that Hagin plagiarized Kenyon’s writings. McConnel introduces this section of his book by saying: “Hagin has, indeed, copied word-for-word without documentation from Kenyon’s writings. The following excerpts of plagiarisms from no less than eight books by E.W. Kenyon are presented as evidence of this charge. This is only a sampling of such plagiarisms. Many more could be cited.” Plagiarism is not only deceit; it is a criminal offense.
Kenyon was a Baptist pastor and never joined the Pentecostal movement (though he did move in Pentecostal circles toward the end of his life), but his pioneer radio broadcasts and voluminous writings had broad influence in the Deeper Life and Pentecostal-Charismatic movements. Though he did not use the term “revelation” to describe his teaching, he presented his doctrine as new and history-changing. He claimed that if his message were followed it would create a master race of Christians who would have complete power over demons and disease. In his book Identification, he stated: “When these truths really gain the ascendancy in us, they will make us spiritual supermen, masters of demons and disease. … It will be the end of weakness and failure” (Identification, Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1968, p. 68). In his early years Kenyon was influenced by Methodist sinless perfectionism and by New Thought doctrine. It is obvious that he borrowed heavily from the latter. D.R. McConnell masterfully traces this connection in his book A Different Gospel. In 1892 Kenyon enrolled in the Emerson College of Oratory, “an institution that was absolutely inundated with metaphysical, cultic ideas and practices” (McConnell, A Different Gospel, p. 34). Charles Wesley Emerson, the head of Emerson College, was a Unitarian minister and eventually joined Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science movement. A number of Emerson graduates went on to become prominent Christian Science practitioners. One graduate of Emerson compiled The Complete Concordance of the Writings of Mary Baker Eddy. Another graduate wrote the book Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy. Emerson’s “religion was a veritable smorgasbord of the sources underlying New Thought metaphysics: Platonism, Swedenborgianism, New England Unitarianism, and Emersonian Transcendentalism. All of these various elements were held together by heavy proof-texting from the Bible and a quasi-Darwinian view of the religious evolution of humanity which ended in man becoming a god” (Ibid., p. 35). Though Kenyon claimed to be opposed to the New Thought cults and though he claimed to derive his teaching strictly from the Bible, there is no question that he incorporated many New Thought ideas into his doctrine. Like New Thought, Kenyon taught that the spiritual is the cause of all physical effects and that positive confession has the power to create its own reality. He believed that healing and other ongoing miracles are necessary to demonstrate the reality of Christianity. He considered his writings “to be a wonderful new interpretation of the Scriptures, a ‘new type of Christianity,’ which would bring healing and prosperity to all who possessed his revelation knowledge of the Bible” (McConnell, p. 50).
Kenneth Hagin’s positive-confession teachings, which he derived at least partially from Kenyon, have spawned an entire movement within modern Pentecostalism, and its proponents have vast influence. The Dictionary of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements admits that “Kenyon’s writings became seminal for the ministries of Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Don Gossett, Charles Capps, and others in the Word of Faith and Positive Confession movements.” This Dictionary also notes that Kenyon influenced Ern Baxter, F.F. Bosworth, David Nunn, T.L. Osborn, Jimmy Swaggart, “and many others.” In a survey taken by Charisma magazine in 1985, seven Word-Faith teachers ranked among the top 24 most influential Charismatic leaders. Kenneth Hagin, Sr., ranked third. Hagin protege Kenneth Copeland ranked second. Other Word-Faith teachers listed in the survey were Marilyn Hickey, Fred Price, Robert Tilton, John Osteen, and Norvel Hayes.
Hagin teaches that Christ’s physical death did not remove sin. Rather, it was Christ’s alleged spiritual death and his alleged struggles in hell which removed sin. Hagin teaches that Christ was sent to hell and there he struggled against Satan and the demons and by his victory over them he was born again. This is heresy of the greatest sort. The Bible plainly states that we are redeemed by Christ’s death and blood (Acts 20:28; Heb. 9:14; 10:10). The atonement was finished on the cross. When Christ dismissed His spirit from his body, He cried, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The Lord Jesus Christ was not born again; He was never lost. He bore our sin, but He was never a sinner. He was never tormented in hell by Satan and the demons. Nowhere does the Bible say that Satan is in hell or that he has any influence in hell. One happy day in the future he will be bound for 1,000 years in the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1-3) and ultimately he will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10), but nowhere does the Bible say Satan is the master of hell.
Hagin further teaches that the Christian is an incarnation of God like Jesus was. “The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth” (Hagin, “The Incarnation,” The Word of Faith, Dec. 1980, cited from Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis, pp. 175, 397). This is a gross heresy. The Lord Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh. He is the eternal Son of God. Nowhere is the believer said to be an incarnation of Almighty God. The Lord Jesus Christ performed miracles to demonstrate that He was the Son of God, the promised Messiah. No Christian can do the things that Christ did. Not one Pentecostal preacher has ever been able to perform the miracles that Christ performed. It is blasphemous confusion to claim that the believer is an incarnation of God like Christ was.
Hagin has been guided by alleged visitations of angels and of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. His book I Believe in Visions describes eight of these. The seventh occurred December 12, 1962. Hagin claims the Lord prophesied to him in this visitation that He would soon begin to move among all denominations to “bring them into a full salvation and into the baptism of the Holy Ghost.” Hagin claims that Jesus Christ told him that he would play a part in this ecumenical miracle revival. As we have seen, a similar prophecy was given to David DuPlessis by Smith Wigglesworth in 1936. The ecumenical-Charismatic movement which has since swept through the Roman Catholic Church and the mainline Protestant denominations would appear to be a fulfillment of these prophecies. DuPlessis was the first to carry Pentecostal experiences to the Roman Catholic Church. He was the only Pentecostal to attend Rome’s Vatican II Council in the mid 1960s. The succeeding ecumenical-Charismatic movement has not been based on the Word of God, though. Charismatic Catholics who have received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” have not turned away from Rome’s heresies but instead have found that their love for heresy has been rekindled. They have fallen in love with the false Catholic Mary and with the false Catholic mass and with the blasphemous office of the pope. I have witnessed the unscriptural fruit of the ecumenical Charismatic movement firsthand. In 1987 and again in 1990 I attended with press credentials two of the largest Charismatic conferences ever held. They were organized by the North America Congress on the Holy Spirit & World Evangelization. Roughly 40 denominations were represented. Fifty percent of the attendees were Roman Catholic. A Catholic mass was featured every morning. Catholic priest Tom Forrest from Rome brought the concluding message at both meetings. In Indianapolis Forrest preached a message on why he was thankful for Roman Catholicism, and he said that he praised the Lord for Mary the Queen of Heaven and for purgatory! Upon the authority of the Bible I can testify that the ecumenical-Charismatic “revival” is demonically inspired because it produces doctrinal error instead of truth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of TRUTH.
Hagin has taught a health-prosperity gospel. He says: “Like salvation, healing is a gift, already paid for at Calvary. All we need to do is accept it. All we need to do is possess the promise that is ours. As children of God, we need to realize that healing belongs to us” (Hagin, Healing Belongs to Us, p. 32). He further says: “God is glorified through healing and deliverance, not sickness and suffering” (Hagin, The Key to Scriptural Healing, p. 17). Hagin’s claims do not match reality, though. A few years ago he claimed that he hadn’t been sick in 60 years, but actually he has had several cardiovascular crises, one lasting six weeks. Heart disease is a sickness, dear friends!
As for prosperity, Hagin claims that the Lord spoke to him in a vision in 1959 with the words: “If you will learn to follow that inward witness I will make you rich. I will guide you in all the affairs of life, financial as well as spiritual” (Hagin, How to Be Led by the Holy Spirit). In an article “How God Taught Me about Prosperity,” Hagin claims that Jesus Christ taught him not to think that it is wrong to have riches. Allegedly Christ told him not to “pray about money anymore; that is, the way you’ve been praying. CLAIM WHATEVER YOU NEED.” Christ allegedly further taught Hagin that he has personal angels who can be commanded to do his bidding. Hagin says Christ told him in 1963 that the angels were waiting for his command to provide his material desires. “They are waiting on you to give them the order, just as the waitress cannot do anything for you until you give her the order” (Hagin, I Believe in Visions, p. 126).
This is the source for the terms “word-faith” or “positive confession.” That which the believer confesses with his mouth will be true in reality. Various forms of this false idea have spread throughout many parts of the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement today.
Hagin’s ministry has been characterized by phenomena which we would characterize as demonic. The unscriptural “spirit slaying” phenomenon has been a major part of his ministry. He describes many people who have fallen into trances during his meetings. He claims one teenage girl was in a trance for almost nine hours, and that when he and a pastor tried to move her, the two of them were unable to budge her off the floor, in spite of the fact that this pastor was a large man weighing more than 200 pounds. He tells of other people being glued to the floor so that no one could move them. On one occasion, when someone was levitated in a meeting, Hagin’s wife and two other people questioned whether it was of the Lord. He claims that God instructed him to touch all three of them on the forehead with his little finger, and when he did so, they were knocked to the floor and paralyzed so that they could not get up. They were not allowed to rise until they acknowledged that Hagin’s power was of God. When they admitted this, Hagin touched them again with his finger and they were released (McConnell, p. 64). Hagin tells of a woman who danced off a platform and levitated in the air while she was “dancing in the Spirit.” He claims to have visited both Heaven and Hell.
Hagin has been in the center of the current Laughing Revival. We have previously related that it was during a Rodney Howard-Browne crusade at Hagin’s church that Vineyard pastor Randy Clark received the “anointing” which he subsequently carried to Toronto. I have seen video recordings of a conference conducted by Kenneth Hagin, Sr., Kenneth Hagin, Jr., and Kenneth Copeland in Chesterfield, Missouri, October 12-24, 1997. It is one of the strangest and most unscriptural things I have ever witnessed. Hagin, Sr. staggers around like a drunk, sticking his tongue out and wiggling it like a serpent. He blows and hisses and pants, blowing on people, waving his arms at them, striking them on the head, while entire rows of people fall down or slide out of their seats in a drunken stupor as he lurches by. Women fall to the floor in all sorts of compromising positions and have to be covered with the assistance of ladies who are assigned that task. Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin, Jr., are right in the middle of the insanity, acting as if they were completely drunken on liquor, rolling on the floor, making strange noises, laughing hysterically for no apparent reason. One of Hagin’s helpers, a large man who is attempting to hold the senior Hagin upright, is overcome with drunkenness and falls into the lap of an attractive woman. Pandemonium and confusion reign. Four men are required to help the drunken Hagin get back onto the speaker’s platform.
Hagin’s influence has been phenomenal. Thousands of students have graduated from his Rhema Bible Training Center and have gone throughout the world planting churches patterned after his ministry. The stated purpose of Rhema is “to produce graduates who will carry forth the great charismatic renewal that God has sent into our time.” His daily radio program is broadcast on more than 180 stations in the States and by short-wave to about 80 other countries. By the late 1980s, more than three million of his 85 books and a half million of his sermons on audio cassette were being distributed each year. His monthly Word of Faith magazine goes to 190,000 homes.
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.
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).
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 (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.
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 thePensacola 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.
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.
Reference: David W. Cloud