The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt (1851-1856), representing the figure of Jesus preparing to knock on an overgrown and long-unopened door, illustrating Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me”.
In 1994 a very enthusiastic Christian friend told me about a new revival in Toronto, Canada. He said many people were getting saved and miracles were happening! We discussed the revival, and since Toronto wasn’t very far from where I lived in Ohio, I suggested that we ride up there to the Vineyard Church and see the revival for ourselves.
As it turned out, I wasn’t able to go to Toronto at that time because something else came up. I felt bad for not going, but it just wasn’t the circumstances–these were circumstances orchestrated by the Lord. Looking back I can see that the Lord didn’t want me to go to Toronto, He had other plans.
A short time later I received a phone call from my Christian friend who told me more about the Toronto revival. You see, because I didn’t go he also cancelled his plans at the time. But, now he called with exciting news–the revival was coming to Columbus, Ohio. Even though we couldn’t go to Toronto, the revival was coming to us!
That was exciting news, but after I got off the phone my mind began to flood with all kinds of thoughts and questions. I felt excited about it but at the same time I also felt uneasy for some reason. I shook off the uneasy feeling, but it kept coming back. As it turns out, the uneasy feelings I began to experience were subtle warnings coming from the Holy Spirit. What I didn’t realize was that God was about to give me an education that money cannot buy.
Riding to the Vineyard Church in Columbus, Ohio, I felt sick inside for some reason. I didn’t know why I felt ill, something inside my mind and heart just wouldn’t let me rest or be at peace as we were traveling to the church.
We arrived at the church and I learned that several members from the ministerial leadership team from Toronto were there. So, my wife Krista and I found a seat in the middle of the auditorium and waited to see this much-anticipated event. I had heard some good things about the revival, and I also heard some negative things as well. But, before I passed judgement, I decided it would be best just to sit back and observe the leadership team in action and listen to their doctrine. Signs and wonders are one thing, but I knew that doctrine was even more important.
Even though most people are adverse to doctrine these days, it is the major way to discern truth from error.
Another way is to observe the lifestyle of those who claim to be Christian leaders–the way they conduct their personal and private life, especially with family, is very important.
Over the years I’ve studied many religions and cults, and there is one thing I have learned. Never follow miracles, signs, and wonders, because even cults, especially Eastern religions, have miraculous signs as well. What many Christians don’t realize, especially Charismatic and Pentecostal Christians, is that many cults and Eastern religions also experience glossolalia or tongue speaking, and just like Christians, they also fall out under the power when touched on the forehead by their guru, or spiritual teacher. In Hinduism this is called Shakitipat. Here is an accurate description from Wikipedia.org–I checked this definition against others, and it is accurate :
“Shaktipat or Śaktipāta (Sanskrit, from shakti – “(psychic) energy” – and pāta, “to fall”) refers in Hinduism to the conferring of spiritual “energy” upon one person by another. Shaktipat can be transmitted with a sacred word or mantra, or by a look, thought or touch – the last usually to the ajna chakra or third eye of the recipient.”
Continuing with the story: I knew all these things but at the time I did not realize how dark and foreboding a church service could get. The service started out just fine with Praise and Worship music, typical Vineyard music, which I usually enjoyed. But, then things started to happen, and I looked at Krista, and she looked at me, and we both knew we were in trouble.
Yes, several leaders from Toronto were leading the service. I don’t want to name names here, for one thing, I don’t want to get a call from someone’s “Christian” attorney, so for this article I will just call them the leaders from Toronto.
The first thing I was told was that the signs and wonders we were about to see and experience were from the Holy Spirit; and that it would be a sin against the Spirit to reject this new anointing. (Please note: While this dialog is written from memory, and it is not word for word as spoken by the leader from Toronto, it does capture the essence of what I heard that day). “This is what the Lord is doing today, and for those who reject this anointing, you will be left out, and left behind. This is the New Wine, the new river of God, and you just have to accept it with your heart–not your mind. And don’t pray, this is not a time for prayer. Your mind will reject it on face value, you must bypass your mind, and open your heart to receive the New Wine.”
I don’t know about you but when a preacher or leader in the church tells me NOT TO PRAY, I see red flags all over the place. When I am told that if I do not accept this new move of the Holy Spirit that I am in sin, or that God will leave me behind if I don’t accept it without question–that’s another red flag; because if you are saved, or born-again, there is no way on Earth that God is going to leave you behind. As for the mind, this is what Jesus said about the human mind and God:
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Matthew 22:37).
It appears to me that the mind is included with the heart and soul. God never expects us to shut off our mind, whether we are in the world or the church. That’s what cults and false religions teach, and it is also a quick way to get into trouble in any circumstance.
The leader from Toronto didn’t read from a Bible as far as I can remember, all of the emphasis was on the “power encounter.” And let me tell you–it was a real power encounter, just not an encounter with the Holy Spirit of God.
In truth, it was an encounter with familiar spirits, and with emotional manipulation and mind control.
I saw one of the guys in the praise band fall on the stage, and he lay there motionless for well over and hour. When he fell down his arms were still holding his guitar up in the air. So someone removed his guitar and his arms remained up in the air–motionless.
A lady sitting next to us began to manifest in a strange way–her wrist began to flick back and forth very rapidly, and she began to vibrate and jump around in her seat. Someone helped her get up and they took her down to the stage. When the Toronto leader placed his hands on her head she began to bow from the waist, up and down, very rapidly, all the while flinging her wrists back and forth. The Toronto leader said, “She is physically manifesting in her body the deep worship that is occurring in her heart.”
At that point the Toronto leader then invited people to come down front to the stage to get this so-called New Wine, and over the course of several hours I saw people jerking around, falling down screaming, laughing, moaning. And the worst manifestation that I saw was a lady on the stage moving her hips as if she were giving birth. I saw people rolling on the floor and barking like dogs. People were making other noises like animals. It was a living nightmare that I will never forget.
The Holy Spirit is holy–He will never degrade a human being to the point that they whine, grumble, growl, or bark like an animal.
And now, years later, the Toronto side-show morphed into the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Florida, and on to the so-called revival in Lakeland, Florida and all of the shameful weirdness that manifested there. It is getting worse, much worse, with so-called leaders like John Crowder and his blasphemous, mystical Holy Ghost carpet ride, as he holds his plastic Jesus, and “tokes the Holy Ghost.”
For full disclosure I am a Charismatic Christian, and I do believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to fill the believer, including the gifts of glossolalia or tongues as the Holy Spirit chooses (Not every Christian will speak in tongues, nor demonstrate certain gifts. The power of God is always under His control, not human control). So, I am not an armchair quarter back here, I am speaking from experience. I grew up in a Holiness church, and later attended both Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, and at present I attend a very balanced Charismatic church (my pastor is also a seminary professor, and he also leads many missionary trips to foreign countries).
It is important to understand what is happening in many churches these days, not just the Pentecostal and Charismatic members of the church. In many places the church has been invaded by familiar spirits–in many Evangelical churches Contemplative Prayer, which is a Christianized version of Transcendental Meditation, is spreading like wildfire. And no wonder, because many of the same churches also have Yoga classes–again, another form of Eastern spirituality under the guise of Christianity.
All of these things are leading the Christian church into an alien form of spirituality, something so foreign that even the founding Apostles of Christ, Paul, James, John, Peter, etc., would have a difficult time recognizing as true, biblical, Christianity.
All of this will, in the end, lead the church into the arms of the Alien Antichrist–who will come with an alien, or demonic form of spirituality. This New Wine, as they call it, if I may use that term, will lead the world to worship the Antichrist, and a Serpent–the old Devil himself.
The church is in danger, and many honest Christians are in grave danger, not just from Bible denying Liberals who turned their back on Christ a long time ago, but from a new form of Christian spirituality, which uses signs and wonders empowered by familiar spirits.
I will have more to say on this in the next post.
Until then. thanks for visiting.
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