Thoughts on Craig Keener’s Review of MacArthur’s ‘Strange Fire’

While perusing Dr. David Alan Black’s blog a couple weeks ago (specifically, the entry on December 30), I saw that Black had pointed to Dr. Craig Keener’s review of Dr. John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire, a work exposing some of the faulty theology and practices within Pentecostalism/charismaticism.  Keener, who puts out multi-volume scholarly works every week (OK, it’s not quite that frequently, though it seems so), reviewed MacArthur’s work at length, providing a fair, even analysis, criticizing the author for unnecessarily condemning one whole segment of Christendom.  (I state this without having read the book, though I’ve read other critiques, and have no reason to disbelieve Keener and the others in this regard.)  The reader is encouraged to view Keener’s review it in its entirety (at hyperlink above). 

I’ve selected portions of the review from which to add comments of my own.  The reader here should feel free to cut and paste other parts of Keener’s critique to add to the comments section and provide further commentary.

Assuming Keener’s (and others’) charge that the author has painted with a very broad brush is correct, I’d fully agree with the following statement:

 …Reactionary teaching like MacArthur’s, however, is more likely to polarize than to invite.

While I’m certain that hyper-charismaticism is dangerous, I’m just as certain that hyper-dogmatism is the same.  A few years ago, the teacher of a study I was attending, using an analogy from bowling, offered the general advice of steering clear of either gutter (though he didn’t use either of my “hyper-” terms) as I was seeking his input on my concerns over doctrines and practices of another student who was attempting to influence me.  Without stating so explicitly, it was obvious he agreed with me that the other individual’s ball fell into the hyper-charismatic gutter.  I never forgot that analogy.  I eventually left the group over the teacher’s own promotion of others with unorthodox and heretical doctrines of the hyper-charismatic variety (after enjoying a few lunches – my treat – in which I expressed concerns).

Since then, I’ve tried to steer clear of the other extreme, the one of hyper-dogmatism.  I don’t know that I’ve been entirely successful in that endeavor; I’d say my bowling ball may have a slight tendency toward the hyper-dogmatic side rather than the other gutter – much as I’d like to remain in the middle.  I suppose I’m continuationist in theology (I cannot read 1 Corinthians 12-14 and conclude cessationism), but not so much in praxis – at least not as many charismatics practice it.  My view is that spiritual gifts are not “practiced” so much as individuals are given gifts “just as He (the Holy Spirit) determines” (1 Cor 12:11) as we submit to the Spirit, on an individual and circumstantial basis.  MacArthur, however, has a definite tendency towards hyper-dogmaticism.

I suppose in many ways he’s much like some other denominational teachers who tow the party line, i.e., teaching doctrines in view of particular denominational slants to the exclusion of other possible, valid interpretations in non-essential matters, even perhaps stretching a bit to do so.  The following should go toward illustrating my point.  In MacArthur’s book Truth Endures (Panorama City: Grace To You, 2009), a collection of sermons he’s preached over the years, is one on Revelation titled “A Jet Tour through Revelation”.  In it he states:

…People often ask, ‘Where does the Rapture come in?’  It’s in the white spaces between chapters 3 and 4.  You have the church on earth in chapters 2 and 3; all of a sudden we appear in heaven in chapter 4. [p 132]

The “white spaces”?  I understand that he’s not the only one who, in part, supports the pre-tribulation Rapture doctrine by this, but I can only imagine MacArthur’s critique of similar exegesis to promote continuationism!

Yet, it’s his hard cessationism that overshadows his views of anything remotely continuationist, as Keener observes:

MacArthur’s indiscriminate condemnation of anything charismatic is little different from some bigoted secular condemnations of all evangelicals because of the behavior of some. Someone prone to generalize could even use the offenses in the book to blacklist all evangelicals, or all Christians, using the same logic that MacArthur uses against the entire charismatic movement…

Good point. 

More from Keener:

…[S]ome extreme Word of Faith teachers do promulgate teachings that, at least at face value, cannot but be viewed as heretical, especially believers being gods (rightly noted on pp. 11-12). But have such beliefs in fact “become the rule” among charismatics (p. 12)?…

One heresy that I did on occasion run into, which probably took matters more literally than did those MacArthur mentioned, was the Manifested Sons doctrine (or at least its extreme version that I encountered). Its proponents taught that overcomers by faith would achieve physical immortality before Jesus’s return, becoming “the many-membered Christ” on earth

One thing I do know is that the charismatic Spirit I have experienced was not compatible with this teaching. On one occasion I recoiled inside when I heard a guest speaker at a noncharismatic congregation teach on a completely different subject. I felt that he carried the same spirit as the Manifested Sons teachers. Afterward I asked him if he had known a certain Manifested Sons teacher. “Yes,” he replied, astonished. “We were good friends.” He was himself a Manifested Sons teacher. The Spirit I experienced regularly in sounder charismatic circles clearly testified against this false teaching

I’m glad that Keener has actually witnessed firsthand the Manifested Sons of God (MSoG) doctrine. This “many-membered Christ” (manchild), the culmination of MSoG, is what Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA – an individual with worldwide influence – has been teaching in a veiled form for quite some time now, while others such as Bob Jones, Paul Cain, and Todd Bentley have been much more obvious (see here for one example each of Jones and Bentley).  Yet Johnson’s recent podcast “Thinking from the Throne” is much more explicit (see here for lengthy CrossWise article, especially transcriptions at 13:49-14:12 and 36:30-37:34 of the podcast, near end of article1).  This is not just heresy, but a doctrine paralleling the occult teachings of the New Age / New Spirituality for the past 100 years, a teaching that is specifically antichrist in nature as defined by the Apostle John (1 John 2:22, 4:1-3).

I wonder who it was teaching MSoG and the “many-membered Christ” doctrine that Keener mentions here?

…I suspect that when we cite the highest figures for the numbers of charismatics in the world, we recognize that not all of them are those we would feel comfortable embracing as spiritual or theological kin

Of course, many would agree.  But, this begs the question: why aren’t there more Biblical scholars writing about these specific individuals (in a more irenic manner than some of the laity), warning the church at large?  Why didn’t Keener reveal the name of the Manifested Sons teacher he mentioned earlier?

Partly, if not mostly, in response to MacArthur, in a recent Charisma article Dr. Michael Brown poses the question Are We Charismatics Doing Enough to Correct Abuses in Our Midst?  Certainly, Brown has exposed some of the faulty doctrines and practices within Pentecostalism/charismaticism, even mentioning some names.  For that he deserves credit.  Yet on Brown’s own Voice of Revolution site he allows others to post articles, sometimes promoting teachers with very questionable theology and praxis.  This can cause confusion.

As just one example, Bill Johnson was lauded in a piece titled HEAVEN ON EARTH by Bill Johnson (Everyone Must Hear This!). The author of the piece merely provided one quote – “Jesus is perfect theology” – and two audio clips, yet there were some very troubling things stated in those clips.  (Rather than go into detail here, the reader can go to the link, listen to the audio for themselves, and read some of the comments, which include a few of my own, though I came in a bit late.)

Charisma itself is one of the worst offenders, promoting leaders of the so-called “New Apostolic Reformation” (C. Peter Wagner’s own term) to include Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle (of International House of Prayer), etc.   Jack Hayford, who is mentioned favorably by Brown in his article referenced above, appears to be a part of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), as well.  Hayford had suggested using the Gamaliel approach (cf. Acts 5:38-39) to the so-called “Lakeland Revival” of 2008, refusing to provide a very much needed corrective to the proceedings, illustrating what I’d define as poor leadership at best.

For those unaware, the NAR even has its own “Apostles” (that’s a capital “A”), as evidenced by their own International Coalition of Apostolic Leadership organization (formerly “International Coalition of Apostles” – and there are other similar organizations).   While the membership list is now concealed to those of us outside this elite group (though with a recommendation by a current member and by paying the requisite dues you too can become a member!), here is a list of members from November 10, 2009, to include former “Presiding Apostle” C. Peter Wagner.  Following is some now-deleted verbiage from the old site (no longer available on Internet Archive):

The Second Apostolic Age began roughly in 2001, heralding the most radical change in the way of doing church at least since the Protestant Reformation. This New Apostolic Reformation [NAR] embraces the largest segment of non-Catholic Christianity worldwide, and the fastest growing…

These folks (NAR) who are “heralding the most radical change in the way of doing church at least since the Protestant Reformation” are purportedly “the largest segment of non-Catholic Christianity worldwide, and the fastest growing”, and these are all within the charismatic realm.  I’d be delighted if Dr. Keener would research this group and write a detailed analysis of his findings, given both their charismatic leanings and purported size.  In addition, I think it especially prudent for Keener to name the individual who was teaching MSoG, and to name those who were teaching the “many-membered Christ” doctrine as a warning to the Church at large.


1 Here are the respective transcriptions: [13:49]…So what is He looking for?  He is looking for a people that will cooperate with the FULLNESS of God’s presence, operating and manifesting THROUGH them so that this world actually gets a FULL and ACCURATE taste of who Jesus is.  It’s not us; it’s Him.  But He dwells IN us in FULLNESS in bodily form…[14:12]

[36:30]…until we all come to unity of faith and the KNOWLEDGE of the SON of God.  Too many people think they know that don’t know.  So the knowledge of the Son of God, to A perfect man.  Look at the description.  Millions and millions of body members come to A – singular – perfect mana full-on revelation of the Person of Jesus, what He is like, how He is.  To A perfect man, to the measure and stature – equal measure to the fullness of Christ…[37:34]


99 Responses to Thoughts on Craig Keener’s Review of MacArthur’s ‘Strange Fire’

  1. IWTT says:

    If you go here… you will see a section titled Strange Fire Q&A. Watch it. It answers the critic and critiques. There are also other interesting talks on Charismatics.


    • Craig says:

      I don’t have the time to review the MacArthur / Phil Johnson talk right now, but right from the get-go they’ve yet again painted with a broad brush:

      Phil Johnson: “…A Word of Faith teacher can make up and teach any doctrine he wants, and the charismatic world seems to be placid and calm with that…”

      There’ve been a number of articles and books written against WoF by those identifying as “charismatic”, to include D.R. McConnell’s book A Different Gospel and a critical article on the so-called “Prosperity Gospel” by Dr. Gordon Fee. I could go on.


    • Craig says:


      Of course, I do think that hyper-charismaticism needs to be severely critiqued, especially by professing charismatics. However, I don’t think MacArthur was particularly helpful, from what little I’ve heard. It’s simply bad form to criticize a whole movement by guilt-by-association. It’s not fair. He would do better by singling out individuals, providing proof of their bad theology and practices.

      Do you have a particular portion of the video you’d like to point out?


  2. just1ofhis says:

    Having sat in both a strict, conservative, hyper-dogmatic church and a hyper-charismatic church, I appreciated the bowling gutter analogy.


  3. IWTT says:

    @craig No, not neccesarily.

    I agree also that he painted with a broad brush. All I was doing was to tell people, if they are interested, was to watch the interview. I think it was Jm attempt to answer the critiques from a single source rathjer than answer each one who has written or e-mailed him or asked him for an interview. I though tthat the Q&A session wasn’t as wide a brush. Maybe I am wrong in my interpretation of the sessions.

    Frankly. I am in the boat with charismata, but I don’t agree with it today and I think a more biblical stance is keep God in the box of scripture in this matter with proper hermanuetics and Greek language/meaning of the words. Point, preach the gospel in the way the manual (bible) specifies and not the seeking of the supernatural in ways that are outside of that manual….


    • Craig says:


      Don’t get me wrong; I think it valuable that you posted this. I’m checking out a bit now on my lunch break.

      I agree with you that we not seek the supernatural. If God wishes to use us for whatever the reason, I do think we will feel led to do so. But, this in itself requires a belief in the gifts – at least as I see it. I’ve been led toward certain books in answer to a specific question that had been plaguing me, as I was writing various articles. It happened quite a bit. That is the supernatural work of God!


  4. just1ofhis says:

    Any thoughts on MacArthur’s claim that it had been 15 years since anyone had published a book critical on the charismatic movement?

    MacArthur: “We were talking about the fact that it had been 15 years since a critical book had been written on that movement. 15 years that movement has gone on unabated and without criticism and without accountability.”


    • Craig says:

      I’m not sure if there was an actual book on hyper-charismaticism in the past 15 years or so; but, there’s certainly been many different blogs exposing various aspects of it by the laity.


  5. IWTT says:

    I think Keith Gibsons book critiques the hyper-charismatic. More specific to a couple of ministries, but….


  6. just1ofhis says:

    There are also many books out there talking about contemplative prayer, new age infiltration into the church and otherwise which include the hyper-charismatic churches in their criticisms. Ray Yungen, for example, in “A Time of Departing”, published more than 10 years ago, discusses kundalini among other contemplative/new age garbage creeping into the church.

    Yungen also quotes John MacArthur on page 51 (from MacArthur’s book, “Reckless Faith” published in 1994):

    The evangelical consensus has shifted decidedly in the past two decades. Our collective message is now short on doctrine and long on experience. Thinking is deemed less important than feeling…The love of sound doctrine that has always been a distinguishing characteristic of evangelicalism has all but disappeared. Add a dose of mysticism to this mix and you have the recipe for unmitigated spiritual disaster.

    Yungen stated that MacArthur had “summed up this profound and imminent danger brilliantly”.

    So the comment about 15 years for the movement “unabated and without criticism and without accountability” was something that I found incredibly odd. MacArthur claimed that the charismatic movement had been shocked by “Strange Fire” due to this.

    When I was involved with people in the WoF and then at the Healing Rooms, none of them were ever shocked at the criticisms that came their way. These people are very used to having friends and family members question and confront them about the things they do and promote.


  7. just1ofhis says:

    “Wandering Stars” is on my list of books to purchase/read. Thanks for the reminder!


  8. I notice that Keener shares a vice with Brown that I will call the ‘I’ve heard that people believe X, but instead of addressing it I’m going to dismiss it because I’ve never seen anyone practice it and no-one really believes it anyway’.

    I find that sloppy and frankly a bit concerning. I’ve come to expect it from Brown because I don’t think he’s that aware of his own biases, but I’m surprised that Keener did it.

    Unfortunately errors or oversights like that give MacArthur more ammo. It would seem to me that he would therefore justify his broad brush by saying a little Pentecostalism is a pathway to a bunch of ignorance. If anyone is to persuade open-minded cessationists otherwise, I believe they need to start addressing the hard issues as well as the low hanging fruit.


    • Craig says:


      You wrote: I notice that Keener shares a vice with Brown that I will call the ‘I’ve heard that people believe X, but instead of addressing it I’m going to dismiss it because I’ve never seen anyone practice it and no-one really believes it anyway’.

      I will only agree in part, as Keener does mention MSoG and the “many-membered Christ” (manchild) doctrines. However, I’m disappointed that he merely mentions these as opposed to exposing the perpetrators. Someone of his caliber needs to wholeheartedly address this issue, since the laity seems not be taken seriously.

      I hope that CrossWise has demonstrated that Bill Johnson, for example, adheres to MSoG and its ultimate end, the manchild doctrine. It’s high time a Keener or a Brown address this head on, for Johnson is leading untold thousands (over a million?) into apostasy.

      MacArthur would be better served, and better heard in charismatic circles, if he would focus on a few of the ‘big guns’ in the movement (Johnson, Bickle) – ones that Brown will definitely not address (at least at present) as he’s either blinded, willfully ignorant, or hand-tied because of his association with Charisma.

      You wrote: …It would seem to me that he [MacArthur] would therefore justify his broad brush by saying a little Pentecostalism is a pathway to a bunch of ignorance… And, he said as much in the interview with Phil Johnson IWTT provided. I think there is some truth to that, as, in my opinion due to my own research, it’s the spirit behind hyper-charismaticism that binds them all to a certain mindset.

      Excellent insights, by the way!


  9. Pat Rogers says:

    Very much appreciate this article on JM and the Strange Fire Conference/book. I took some time to listen to some, not all, of the many conference sessions. In particular listening to JM’s session on “Testing the spirits” he makes a statement towards the end of it, concerning the story of the widow’s mite in Luke.

    “And when Jesus saw the widow put in her last mite into the temple offering…..He said this temple is going to come down, not one stone will be left on another. I don’t know what you have been taught about that story about the widow giving her last two cents. That was NOT an example of Christian giving. God doesn’t expect you to give your last two cents and go home and die. That’s what happens to a widow who is suckered by a religion of works. She was trying to buy, with her last two cents, her way into the kingdom; because that’s what she’d been taught. And Jesus said any system that sucks people down to the place where they have nothing left, in a false hope is coming down and it did.”

    Following this quote from JM, to its roots so to speak, there is a sermon/teaching he did called “Abusing the Poor” his statement, in “Testing the spirits”, concerning the widow in Luke comes from this video/teaching. Yet in two of his other sermons on his GTY site, “God’s Plan for Giving” (note he has also published this in book form) and “Widows in the Church” Part 1, JM says that the widow was:

    God’s Plan for Giving:
    “so he calls his disciples and I say unto you the poor widow has cast more in than ALL they who have cast into the treasury. You say wait a minute, that’s no big deal; for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want, did cast in all the she had, even all her living. You say how did he know that? He knew everything. She only had an eighth of a penny left and she gave it. Wow, you say it’s not very significant, it won’t do very much. It was significant because she gave everything friends and you can’t give anymore than everything. The point that Jesus’ is making is this, that, that is sacrifice and that is the essence of giving and the ultimate sacrifice would be to give everything. The least money was the greatest gift. What does this teach us about giving? Does this teach us to tithe? No. It teaches us that we are to give sacrificially and maybe that means everything we have. Certainly it means more than we are giving now and I say that for myself as well.”

    “Widows in the Church” Part 1
    “Truly I say to you, this poor widow has cast in more than all they who have cast into the treasury, for all they did cast in of their abundance but she ever want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” And here we see the godliness and the devotion of this dear woman who having nothing gave it all. That’s the spirit of generosity in the heart of one devoted to the worship of God.”

    So in essence JM is teaching the widow is lost in one and saved in the other.
    There are other scripture missteps in “Abusing the Poor” and his statement at the Strange Fire Conference i.e. “And Jesus said any system that sucks people down to the place where they have nothing left, in a false hope is coming down and it did.” Here he completely steps over the fact that Jesus was responding in verse 5 to others that spoke of the appearance of the temple “And as some spoke of the temple, how is was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which be behold, the days will come in which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Not in connection with the widow.

    His abuse of scripture, saying the widow is trying to buy her way into the kingdom in one and the other she is devoted to God and giving sacrificially, is on the same level of deception I ran from a few years ago.
    I came out of Charismania (by the grace of God) and it is almost a natural thing to run as far away as one can from it….which would be “hyper dogmatism”, I see some who have and am greatly concerned. His exegeses is nonexistent especially in his video sermon “Abusing the Poor”. Thank you, this is a much needed article for many.


    • Craig says:


      I saw your article on your own site and on M’Kayla’s blog. Keep it up!


      • Craig says:

        From yesterday’s entry (Jan. 13) @ 6:50am on Dave Black online:

        I once had a long and delightful discussion with a Pentecostal pastor who worked as a hospital chaplain. He asked me what I believed about the gift of tongues. I told him that I usually teach an entire two-week series on the history and theology of the Charismatic Movement in my introductory New Testament class, including the exegesis of specific texts such as 1 Cor. 12-14 and a myriad of passages from the Book of Acts. I quoted Paul, “All do not speak in tongues, do they?” I noted that I had never sought the gift of tongues nor had I ever spoken in tongues (unless one considers French and German to be “tongues”). I said, “My view of sanctification can be boiled down to one statement: The Christian life is Jesus Christ, period. Jesus Christ plus nothing.” On that we both heartily agreed. My pastor friend did not become the proselytizing Pente, nor I the proud Pharisee. Both of us have been born again, birthed anew spiritually. We both realize that we are judged by Jesus’ cross, not by our rigid negativisms. But just as importantly, I have come to realize that our greatest strengths as evangelicals (our emphasis on biblical inerrancy, on the new birth, on morality and ethics) have also become our most glaring weaknesses (becoming proud, smug, and self-satisfied, as if we are better than other Christians). Instead of dialoging with those with whom we disagree, we remain psychologically and spiritually immature, blind, and shallow. We can and must do better.

        Amen! This is the kind of dialogue that needs to occur among the theologically grounded charismatic and the cessationist. I find myself in Black’s camp re: tongues (though I don’t speak German or French – save the tiny remnant of my HS French class), though I think Black is cessationist, owing to his Baptist roots.


  10. IWTT says:

    Quote: ” I quoted Paul, “All do not speak in tongues, do they?” I noted that I had never sought the gift of tongues nor had I ever spoken in tongues (unless one considers French and German to be “tongues”). ”

    Craig: This is totally off topic, but this is where it came up so I post here. If it needs to be moved to another area please do so.

    Regarding above quote… “Yes” it is tongues. IMHO, if one is born in a country that has a language that is specific to that country (e.g.: America = English) and whether you have learned the other languages in school or say you live with a family that speaks another language, then you are speaking a “foreign” language. In many of my bibles tongues is translated as “foreign language”, therefore if you speak more languages that the one you started out to learn, you are speaking tongues.

    I also believe that when we see someone on TV or at a crusade who is speaking in English to the crowds and they have an interpreter retelling what he says in the language of that nation (e.g. Spanish) you are seeing a form of tongues with interpretation. The speaker is speaking in his native language and the other person is “interpreting” in the language that is common to the audience/crowd/congregation.


    • Craig says:


      I agree with you, but only to a point. In Scripture, the “speaking in tongues” came in two ways: 1) by an individual supernaturally speaking a known language that is not actually known to this individual, while this was understood by those in the audience whose native language s/he was speaking (no interpretation needed, as it was understood by the intended recipient/s); 2) by an individual speaking in a ‘heavenly’ language (1 Cor 14:13-19). From a Scriptural perspective, I’m not so sure this gift has ceased. I can’t read 1 Corinthians 12-14 this way, in all honesty. And, I’m far from what most would call a charismatic.

      But there is absolutely NO DOUBT individuals have and are purposefully distorting this, speaking gibberish, and, much worse, there are those speaking tongues by an unclean spirit instead.


  11. just1ofhis says:

    I can speak to the 1 Cor 14 “heavenly” language tongues being used by God to pull me out of a very sticky situation with a hyper-charismatic who was trying to indoctrinate me to some very dark spiritual stuff.

    I was fairly newly born-again and was being cornered by a particular person who had worked very hard to recruit me to their hyper-charismatic “ministry”. This person began telling me all sorts of very scary spiritual type stories, the type that glorify demons and leave the work of the Holy Spirit in the dust. As we were on a 5 hour journey in a van and I was so utterly clueless, I had nothing to fall back on but those “heavenly” tongues under my breath. I knew that I needed help, but I did not know what to pray and had not enough scripture in my heart yet to know how to respond; and honestly, I was scared.

    A few minutes in those tongues (only heard between God and myself), and I started recalling very specific scriptures that spoke straight against what this person was saying. Those scriptures just kept coming, and my confidence in God grew right there in that vehicle. I understood that this person was greatly deceived and utterly lost and trying to suck me down that same dark hole. And in the midst of that darkness, I had peace and joy.

    So “tongues” were used by God to help save me from hyper-charismatic deception.

    It is nothing but a personal testimony, but it was a huge moment for me. I understood that night the absolute power of the Word of God to break through every lie and to bring about peace and security of soul to the believer.

    btw, I agree with the notion that most “tongues” are not this. The very person God protected me from that day made a great performance out of “tongues” that were all-in-all demonic. God is faithful to His Word in spite of all the cheats, scammers, frauds, and the like.


  12. This comment was the one I was mainly concerned about:

    “More substantially, some extreme Word of Faith teachers do promulgate teachings that, at least at face value, cannot but be viewed as heretical, especially believers being gods (rightly noted on pp. 11-12). But have such beliefs in fact “become the rule” among charismatics (p. 12)? Here I think my sample size should be sufficient to offer a decisive “No.” In my thirty-eight years as a charismatic, I do not think I have ever heard any charismatic I know personally repeat this extreme teaching, including those who imbibed Word of Faith teachings.”

    The problem with this, and with Michael Brown’s comments to the effect of ‘I have never known someone to toke the ghost’ appears to be a selection bias and, in Brown’s case I would suggest, an exclusion bias. I’ve come across plenty of people who believe that rubbish because they heard it from Kenneth Copeland or Creflo Dollar.

    Merely because it is not ‘the rule’ does not mean it is not a serious problem that needs to be dealt with. I think it’s a bit of a cop out (whilst still holding all due respect to Keener) not to answer the charge properly. I accept that’s not the purpose of his article, but nonetheless I would have expected it to be addressed with more gravity than that (noting also that he is quite blunt in identifying it as heretical).

    I don’t know if you’ve seen Michael Brown on Twitter trying to defend his decision to go on Benny Hinn’s show. That was the final straw for me. His excuse was that he hasn’t followed Benny Hinn for the last ten years and therefore has no idea what he is like. When his personal sense of indignation set in, he also posted a request to people to identify who among his followers who disagree with his appearance on Benny Hinn would also object to his friendship with, among others, Mike Bickle because he identifies Mike as a wonderful man of God. Setting aside his refusal to apply the same standards of criticism he applies to cessationists to himself, the way he dealt with that just made me lose all confidence in him.


    • Craig says:

      I agree. And that is why I pointed to Bill Johnson as merely one ready example, since I’ve written about him extensively. I’ve been thinking about emailing Keener for well over a year now, given his charismatic leanings, in hopes he’d research and write about hyper-charismaticism. Perhaps I should do that (once I locate an email).

      I didn’t know about the Brown-Hinn thing. I’ve long been critical of his favor towards Bickle and his silence on Johnson. But, this Hinn thing is even worse. Is he SERIOUS?


      • Craig says:

        BTW, I’ve not checked recently – is there still a heat wave down under?


      • I’ll accept that, in his own way, Benny Hinn is against hyper-grace (the subject Brown was apparently discussing with him) – c.f. that hilarious video on YouTube in which he calls out Joel Osteen for being of the devil.

        But someone like Brown, who is so critical of MacArthur, needs to turn the mirror on himself. Pleading ignorance is no excuse. It’s a blatant expression of his bias that he would side with Benny Hinn to try and discredit ‘abuses’ within the church (let’s call them what they are for a change – evil false teachings).

        For someone with so much stock in his research degree, his work is awfully lacking in credibility.

        Anyway, there’s no way he’ll discredit Johnson or Bickle. He’s too far gone for that. I doubt he would even bother to discredit some of the utter self-worshipping nonsense Kris Vallotton has been posting on Facebook recently. It is past time a known and credible charismatic scholar or leader was able to bring themselves out from under the Bethel spell though.


  13. Jim Beaupre says:


    Sent from my iPad



  14. just1ofhis says:

    “I know it’s late, but for those of you who are still up, here’s a quick question (meant honestly): How many of you are fine with my friendship with men like Mike Bickle, Lou Engle, and Reinhard Bonnke (whom I believe to be true men of God), and my involvement in and endorsement of the Brownsville Revival (which I believe to be a wonderful move of the Spirit), but you’re just concerned about my appearing on Benny Hinn’s TV show?”….Dr. Brown, Jan 2 2014

    Brown not only endorsed Bickle (in reference to insight’s comment on the 14th at 6:29) but the Brownsville Revival.

    wonderful move of the “Spirit”?!?

    Selling out must be good for a lot of book sales…


  15. just1ofhis says:

    I didn’t realize Brown’s connection to Brownsville. I guess that explains things.


    • Craig says:

      I was aware of Brown’s connection to Brownsville. Another blogger and former partaker of hyper-charismaticism was there, claiming in retrospect that Brownsville was not the same as Toronto. I remain unconvinced. And, I’m concerned of Brown’s endorsement of Bickle (noted in this article), Engle, Bohnke, and Hinn.

      This is why I’d REALLY like it if Keener were to research hyper-charismaticism, to include especially NAR leaders, as much as he researches other topics.


  16. Carolyn says:

    As I read this article, Christ’s words to the Church of Ephesus came to mind:

    Letter to the Church of Ephesus. Revelation 2:1 NIV “These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

    4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

    We have groups of discerners, holding conferences, discerning error and apostasy. They have something right. They have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. Christ commends them for some things but there is one thing, the important thing that they have strayed from…their first love. I’ve been meditating on that this week. What exactly did he mean?

    I like the way Ray Stedman puts it: “When we look at this letter from the standpoint of church history, we see this loss of first love becoming widespread in the churches after the apostles had passed away. This first period of church history covers the years from 70 A. D., when the temple was destroyed, to about 160 A. D., the middle of the 2nd century. During that time the churches were drifting away from a warm, loving, compassion-filled ministry to the world and becoming involved in doctrinal controversies and theological discussions, pounding out the teaching of the church on the anvil of controversy. They were moral, but increasingly formal and perfunctory. This kind of condition is still with us today in many churches. The dominant atmosphere of that first period of church history was a drifting away from loving fellowship with Jesus into a critical and somewhat contentious attitude where human endeavors were of chief importance.

    In no way am I suggesting that doctrinal errors should not be dealt with but I am saying that without the relationship of the Christian to Christ, the focus becomes cold, the heart becomes lifeless. It is a warning to us. “Remember the height from which you have fallen.” Repent. Return.

    The two factions, Cessationists and Charimatics are at war. And, in many ways, as we observe the controversy, the compassion of and for Christ has faded. Well, what are we to do you ask? Don’t ask me, ask Christ….

    On a personal level, I am no longer in either camp. The pendulum has ceased to swing. I am a Bible believing Christian, that’s all. And I like it that way. It simplifies my life extraordinarily. Many of you are saying the same thing, which means that we are in tune with, and answerable to, the only One that really counts…Christ himself. We take him seriously. He takes us seriously.


  17. Carolyn says:

    Just one more thought about the surprise we feel when someone who we thought was orthodox moves into the camp of the obviously unorthodox, citing love or unity as their agenda.

    The Seduction of Christianity. It appeals to us all. Will be swept up by our own self inspired imaginations or will we search out the matter before God? Who we choose to follow will determine where we land.


  18. On Brownsville, I have looked into it and I have watched a number of tapes of services. I wholeheartedly agree that it is not even remotely like Toronto. It produced some weird characters and some odd results, but the lasting change in many people’s lives is an immediate point of dissimilarity, along with the desire for holiness and the focus on repentance.

    You can’t say that about Toronto. You just can’t. They try to worm their way out of things God commands, they redefine words (similar to the Etymology with Bill edition of the dictionary) to support their own doctrine and the celebrate an egocentric experience. Sound familiar?

    When people attack Brown for being at Brownsville because it’s the same as Toronto, he won’t listen because they obviously haven’t thought about it. I suspect he supports Toronto, but I suspect more so because of the above inferred lack of integrity more than because he truly believes it biblical. He will therefore never correct these folks so as not to appear to be disparaging Toronto, but he won’t bother to hear you out.

    I’d sooner discredit him for uncritically supporting Bickle, Johnson, Engle etc than I would for Brownsville, simply because for me the jury is still out (primarily because I still don’t know enough).


  19. IWTT says:

    “On a personal level, I am no longer in either camp. The pendulum has ceased to swing. I am a Bible believing Christian, that’s all. And I like it that way. It simplifies my life extraordinarily. Many of you are saying the same thing, which means that we are in tune with, and answerable to, the only One that really counts…Christ himself. We take him seriously. He takes us seriously.”



  20. just1ofhis says:


    As I understand, Brownsville was lead by Rev. John Kilpatrick and Rev. Stephen Hill. The following is a quote from Hill:

    “I have hundreds of times laid hands on the unsaved and I have watched them being thrown across the ground. I mean, I have watched them fly through the air, fall to the ground to where they couldn’t get up for an hour or two hours. The next thing you know is: ‘What must I do to be saved? What must I do?’ Friend, I’m not talking hundreds anymore. Thousands this has happened to. Thousands have been convinced by the power. … We have had people, agnostics, God-haters, businessmen come into our meetings and they’ve been thrown through the air up against a wall and hit the ground when we shook their hand.”42

    Again: “We have had people, agnostics, God-haters, businessmen come into our meetings and they’ve been thrown through the air up against a wall and hit the ground when we shook their hand.”42

    My friends who attend a Bethel affiliated church also claim incredible stories of repentance. After their first “fire tunnel”, they called and excitedly talked about men breaking down weeping, falling at their wives feet, and asking for forgiveness. Is this real repentance or a highly charged emotional response to a “spiritual experience”? For my friends, these experiences have left them hungry for the next spiritual high and starving for the Word of God.

    Contrast Hill’s statement above with that of Peter, who had just took hold of the cripple beggar and healed him :

    While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” (Acts 3:11-12)

    Peter then goes on to give them the gospel and tell them to repent so that their sins may be wiped out.

    Peter didn’t grab hands with all of those who came and watch them be thrown up against the temple walls and lie paralyzed for hours. Certainly they were “people, agnostics, God-haters, businessmen”. Peter’s response was simply to speak the Gospel.


  21. just1ofhis says:

    IWTT said, “AMEN!!!!!!”

    I second that.


  22. just1ofhis says:

    We worship in Spirit and in Truth. We are filled with joy when we read the Word of God, and that joy in the LORD is our strength. The “experience” of God is for all time for all believers, because He is with us to the end of the age. There is a type of “spiritual experience” that leave the flesh lusting for more of it, and that is of the world.

    It is disingenuous for a pastor to suggest that people come to any place to “meet with God” or to suggest that any kind of worship brings His presence. Emmanuel means “God with us” after all. It is so beautifully wonderful and simple. If “His presence” depended on anything that we did, worship or otherwise, we would not have His grace.

    Brown claims that people came from all over the world, waiting in line for 12 hours, etc. with a hunger just to meet with God.

    I testify that in my walk with God I have never had to wait for 12 hours (let alone take a plane trip) to meet with Him. He is ALWAYS there waiting for me to turn my attention to Him. ALWAYS!

    I was once trying to convince a woman who had been walking with the LORD some 20+ years that the Healing Room “ministry” was a good thing. She gently corrected me with scripture (which I was not ready to hear at the time). She then informed that that God heard her EVERY time she talked to Him, and she asked me why she would need to seek out another person to intervene for her. How wonderfully simple!

    This woman prayed daily for others and continues to go out once a month knocking on doors of strangers to share the Gospel. People like that, I can learn something from. Dr. Brown….not so much.


  23. Just1ofhis, I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. It certainly takes us no closer to engaging Brown at a level which will cause him to acknowledge us. There are fundamental scriptural tests we as believers must apply in making an assessment of such things. Because of my training, I automatically try to assess things at the same level of abstraction and function as the criteria against which I am assessing it. What I am saying is that I haven’t made a complete assessment of Brownsville and am not ready to publish a final opinion. Your comments don’t assist me in any way and in fact contradict a good degree of my primary and secondary source research. I do agree anyone who promises that one needs to attend a certain geographical location to meet with God ought to be heard with skepticism.


    • Craig says:

      I suppose what needs to be known is how Brown views the words of Hill above. If Brown thinks that individuals being thrown about as described by Hill constitutes God’s manifested presence, then my eyebrows would be raised.

      I’ll approach from a different angle. From the perspective of Satan, what is one good way to deceive individuals into following him rather than God? Satan loves to counterfeit, I’d think we would all agree; in fact the anti in front of antichrist can be defined as “instead of”, and I think this is, in fact, the correct understanding. Wouldn’t a great strategy be to induce people to ‘repent’ of morally wrong doings and then seek to live out a moral life in their own strength – rather than coming to a saving faith through Jesus Christ – using a profound spiritual experience to do so?

      I guess my point is this: Just how grounded IS Brown. His promotion of Bickle, and others, but especially Hinn is very disconcerting. Does this mean he ‘merely’ lacks discernment in this area; or is he deceived as in Paul’s words of 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12?


      • How profound was the spiritual experience?

        I had a friend who claimed to have come to the Lord by way of a spiritual experience. When he first told me the story, he described sitting on a couch, when the person he was visiting asked him if he would repent and follow Jesus. He then said he had a real sense of weightiness in the room and felt as if he could not get up without making a decision.

        After a couple of years attending a church of Bethel copycats, the story had changed. Now when the question had been asked of him, he had sensed a warm tingling sensation travelling up his legs into his entire body, and he had repented because he realised the goodness and reality of God.

        A couple of years further, he had never been asked a question. He had been sitting on the couch when someone raised their hand towards him, bolts of electricity began surging through his body, and he was thrown around the room.

        The actual fact is that he came to faith by orthodox means. The story that he truly believes now (particularly after going to California and spending the last 2 1/2 years at BSSM) is not what actually happened. Could it be the same with Brown, Hill et al?

        The main stories I have heard about ‘manifestations’ at Brownsville are uncontrollable trembling at becoming seized of the person’s spiritual condition. These stories are from attendees, not leaders. This is why I haven’t yet ruled it out.

        Your point is well made, however. And given Brown’s other consistencies [edited 11/18 @ 8:37] inconsistencies, I would suspect he believes these stories (whether they be true or constructed by someone’s memory ex post facto) to evidence a manifestation of God’s presence – if you note whenever he attacks Macarthur he always presumes that every manifestation Macarthur attacks is ‘true worship’ (never mind this being a straw man argument that a properly trained person such as Brown should not be prone to making). If nothing else, we could describe him as consistently inconsistent.


  24. Carolyn says:

    Jeremiah 23
    “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
    they fill you with false hopes.
    They speak visions from their own minds,
    not from the mouth of the Lord.
    17 They keep saying to those who despise me,
    ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’
    And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
    they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’

    @Insightoverincome: You are right. You will have to inspect the fruit of these counterfeit prophets for yourself and reconcile what they are doing with the Word of God, if you can. If you cannot, then you will draw the same conclusions that we have. The fruit of these laughing hyenas and drunken, slobbering prophets speaking gibberish is rotten to the core. There is no substance, there is not sanity, there is no soberness. Consider the laughing Brownsville mockery of Christianity in light of these passages.

    1 Thessalonians 5:6
    So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.

    1 Thessalonians 5:8
    But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

    1 Peter 1:13
    [ Be Holy ] Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

    1 Peter 4:7
    The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.

    1 Peter 5:8
    Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.


    • But aren’t you confusing Brownsville with Toronto in these examples? These were the hallmarks of Toronto. Perhaps they may have occurred at Brownsville, though certainly not in any of the footage I have seen. The point I was trying to make by telling the story about my friend is that often times people create false memories and embellish the truth or even prefer a lie. I hear so many stories about Brownsville being a circus like Toronto, but none of the footage I have seen confirms those stories.


      • Craig says:

        I admit that I haven’t delved much into the history of Brownsville, but I do recall reading where Rodney Howard-Browne, the self-proclaimed “Holy Ghost Bartender” claimed that he himself brought the so-called “holy laughter” from South Africa to Brownsville. I don’t know if RHB went to Brownsville first or to Toronto first.


        • I know he was significant at Toronto, I was unaware about Brownsville. For all I know he was as welcome there as Mark Driscoll and his box of books were at Strange Fire… Anyway, there’s not a lot of sense me continuing this discussion because I simply don’t know anymore. I just want to be hesitant and make my own mind up rather than dismiss it simply because others do.

          In any event, I think there is more wisdom in assessing Michael Brown according to who he endorses now than who he associated with 20 years ago.


        • Craig says:

          In any event, I think there is more wisdom in assessing Michael Brown according to who he endorses now than who he associated with 20 years ago.


          Added: I don’t agree with guilt by association, but we can sure till someone’s stance by who they endorse.


        • Craig says:

          See here:

          From the intro to the video (which I’ve not viewed):

          “Karl Strader, who was Pastor of Carpenter’s Home Church in Lakeland, FL. — In March of 1993, Strader opened the doors to Rodney Howard Brown who bought with him from Toronto, the “Holy Laughter” movement – Randy Clark, a follower, and disciple of Rodney Howard Browne, takes the “Holy Laughter” movement to the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, in January of 1994. — Pastor John Arnott, and his wife Carol of the TACF — They experience the same thing that occurred in Straders church, courtesy of Rodney Howard Browne….”


  25. Oskar Abley says:

    Although there is some strange teaching and theology going on we must remember that we are called to the fullness of Christ, not justification but to grow into the fullness of Christ as it is stated in Ephesians 4 under the five fold ministry.

    Also it is not a hidden passage in an occult book that the terms manifest sons of God comes from it is the bible. Let us be sure not too throw the baby out with the bath water just because our denomination knows nothing about it.

    It this is the case surely it shows our denomination is lacking not the word of God? Hope this makes sense to at least some of you.

    Kind regards and blessings from down under. Oskar

    P.S. I was born again in a church that was started by the 48 revival in Canada, some called it the latter rain however I understand the teaching and many of those who call themselves the Kansas City prophets were from this move but have gone either mad or carnal completely forgetting we are to die to self to put on the nature of Christ.


    • Craig says:


      I recall you commenting on here before. Welcome back. By your “P.S.” statement, do you mean you came up with George Warnock?

      I had a long discussion with Francis Frangipane about Ephesians 4 and this idea that we are to “grow into the fullness of Christ”. I told him that when I see this applied – such as this tweet by Bill Johnson: “Jesus is returning for a bride whose body is in equal proportion to her head” – it’s full-on heretical. To claim that we actually become just like Christ “in fullness” is blasphemy. Jesus Christ is/was God; we are not. What is your view? How far do you take this “fullness”?

      PS: You are not in the midst of that heat wave, are you?


      • Looks like the worst of it’s over. They were getting up to about 115F down in Adelaide last week. Now we’ve just got real steamy nights in Brisbane – about 85-90F at 11pm and really humid compared to a reasonable 65*F right now in Adelaide.


  26. Carolyn says:

    Hi Oskar…baby…bathwater…

    The teaching of the Manifest Sons of God has taken a future promise and put it into the present. Note that the phrase “Manifest” is not in the Bible. We are instructed to wait for the manifestation of the sons of God. That gives us a completely different meaning!

    Since the phrase “manifestation of the sons of God” comes from the KJV, I will quote, in context, from that translation.

    Romans 8:8 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

    So I would have to say that this ideological baby is getting thrown out with all the other polluted bathwater of the MSoG.


  27. just1ofhis says:

    insight, you said, “Just1ofhis, I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. It certainly takes us no closer to engaging Brown at a level which will cause him to acknowledge us.

    When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, Jesus did not engage Satan at a level which would cause him to acknowledge the words Jesus spoke. Satan NEVER responded or acknowledged anything that Jesus spoke, he merely moved on to the next temptation. As Jesus did in the desert, I have the Word of God as a sword to swing against all the lies of the enemy. In Matthew 4, Jesus quoted three scriptures: a portion of Deut 8:3, Duet 6:16, and Duet 6:13.

    I am, frankly, not interested in Brown acknowledging me. I am interested in warning others about the dangers of going past what is written in scripture, especially those who make up the newly saved “babes” in Christ Jesus who are often tossed around in every wave of false teaching. Having been one of those, I have great compassion for those people.

    Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. (1 Cor 4:6-7)

    Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work. (2 John:9-11)

    So, if I take Benny Hinn into my house, I am sharing in his wicked work; how much more am I sharing in his wicked work, if I go on his show and treat him like a brother? That is really bad fruit.

    You also stated, “There are fundamental scriptural tests we as believers must apply in making an assessment of such things.”

    my answer:

    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16)

    In the testing of all things, we are not limited to a few fundamental scriptures. We can “know them by their fruits”, for example. And that is what I am looking at with Dr. Brown and the Brownsville revival.

    As to Brownsville, I would encourage anyone to research it on their own. This would be a good place to start:


  28. just1ofhis says:

    As Hill, Kilpatrick, and Brown all moved on from Brownsville, they did not have to deal with the $11 million plus debt and emotional fall-out. From the Charisma article above:

    “The church’s former pastor, the Rev. John Kilpatrick, resigned in October 2003, almost three years after the revival died down to its last nightly service. He now operates a bustling church and the Bay of the Holy Spirit Revival ministry based in Daphne, Ala.

    According to AP, Kilpatrick said Brownsville was never the wealthy church many thought it was during the revival years, so the only way to pay for growth was by taking out loans. He said the church fell into even deeper debt after he resigned and membership fell.

    “I resigned (from) the church, and I never would have left if I knew the struggles it was going to have,” he said.”

    If you google map Pensacola, Fl and Daphne, Al (where Kilpatrick was as of 2012), you will find that it is LESS THAN AN HOURS DRIVE. That falls into my “you have got to be kidding me” file. How does a pastor lead a church into that muck and then walk away?

    Again, we know them by their fruits.


  29. just1ofhis says:

    This is Kilpatrick’s current church. The microphones and cameras are their own. If you want to see the FRUITS of Brownsville, watch for yourself. There is NOTHING in scripture that justifies this clown show. NOTHING.

    When the wrath of God falls on the apostate church, you can bet that this will be one of the primary reasons why…utterly shameful. I pray that God deliver these poor children and bring the truth of His Word into their hearts:


  30. just1ofhis says:

    For anyone who is unsure of the nature of Brownsville, I would plead with you to watch this entire video. This is the complete Brownsville service from Nov. 17, 1996. I watched the entire video and wrote down each scripture that was shared. That summary follows:

    In the first 5 minutes, Rev. 19:11-14 was read.

    At minute 52, a testifying pastor quoted Matt 4:6 and Psalm 126:5-6

    The service lasted 2 hours, 42 minutes, and 36 seconds. There was never an actual Bible passage read after that. I will share Kilpatrick’s version of prayer and communion in the next post.


  31. just1ofhis says:

    At 1 hour, 18 minutes, Kilpatrick began the following prayer:

    “My spirit is among you sayeth the lord. I call out to you this day. Let me be god. Let me be god. Take the restrictions and limits off of me sayeth the lord, for I am a great and mighty god…”

    At 2 hours, 20 minutes, Kilpatrick gave the following version of the Lord’s supper:

    “Jesus said…when he was here, he took the cup and he took the bread and gave it to the disciples…the Bible said that he blessed it…and he said to them, “This is me. I’m leaving you some symbols and some emblems. Because I am about to go away, and you’ll see my face no more. But as often as you get together,” he said, “I want you to partake of this bread and I want you to take this cup,” And he said, “This is me. This is my body. This is my blood.” And he said that, “if you don’t eat my flesh and drink my blood you will have no part with me.” “


  32. just1ofhis says:

    If you watch the entire footage, you will see the following:

    uncontrolled shaking

    falling to the ground

    people being carried off stage

    testimonies of being “slain in the spirit”

    more uncontrolled shaking, some of it violent

    a few false tongues

    1 cancer healing testimony of a woman who was also receiving chemo at the time of her healing

    screams and screeches coming from the audience

    2 testimonies from pastors of “buying all Brownsville’s tapes and cd’s”

    a pastor testifying about praying for “god” to “make his wife drunk” while they were walking on the beach and finding her “head in the sand” as she fell drunk

    a pastor at the end of the tape talking about levitating off his seat

    LOTS of praise for Brownsville

    yet more uncontrolled shaking

    and so on and so on and so on….


  33. Just1ofhis, I thank you for your considered response. You have no idea how refreshing it is to have someone actually answer me after trying to get some sense out of Michael Brown and Kris Vallotton…

    My use of the word fundamental was not exclusive, and I think it a bit unfair to misread me as having said ‘a few’. Of course the symphony of scripture is our hallmark. But scripture also gives us a number of specific and topical tests (which are consistent with the canon).

    I also don’t equate Brown with satan nor I with Christ. As long as there is a chance I might persuade him, and as long as there is a chance he might repent, I will hold out hope that he is among the elect and I will take what opportunity I can to present the gospel to him. After all, that is what we are commanded to do.

    As to your summary of manifestations, some are certainly inappropriate. I am unable to watch the footage now – I’m back at work and I’m about to enrol in a three year research project – so I have no way to assess the context of them. Some of it shouldn’t be celebrated, but I can’t judge an entire movement based on one or two weirdos that showed up. And some manifestations aren’t of themselves good or evil, but may be a result of something substantial going on in a person’s heart.

    I just see scope for some of your conclusions to be premature. But I appreciate you taking the time to to post it for me. I shall have a look when I get the time, and I may publish some thoughts on my blog once I have. Unfortunately it’s not terribly busy because I only use it in my rare spare time and when it’s not cricket season…


  34. just1ofhis says:

    If you follow the link, you will find “Brownsville Revival” on the list of Bethel’s current friends. This list has been updated since the last time I visited it. I don’t see the link for Todd Bentley (unless the name of his “ministry” is changed). The Brownsville link goes to the remnant church in Pensacola.


    • Craig says:

      The “Friends of Bethel” list, at least from those I recognize, reads like a who’s who in hyper-charismaticism. No surprise that the Arnott’s are on there, as Johnson is a vocal proponent of all things Toronto (“Blessing”). I’m not surprised to see Dr. Michael Brown there, as Brown has supported Johnson, at least implicitly, by my example of the “Voice of Revolution” site’s outright promotion of him in this article.


  35. just1ofhis says:

    insight, you stated: “Some of it shouldn’t be celebrated, but I can’t judge an entire movement based on one or two weirdos that showed up.”

    If you have time to watch the first hour of the “revival”, you will find that some of the worst manifestations and testimonies came from the “visiting” pastors whom Kilpatrick welcomed on stage to give their testimonies. I would say that that qualifies as something more than “one or two weirdos” showing up. At one point, Kilpatrick claims that they had the greatest number of pastors “lying on the floor” that they had ever experienced. After which, he “releases” them “in the name of ‘jesus’ ” and tells them to get up and go “minister” to others in the crowd. As you would expect, this leads to an even greater number of people convulsing and falling down.

    It broke my heart to watch those pastors. These are the men who are supposed to guard the flock and feed the sheep.

    I sincerely hope you have time to watch/consider the video prayerfully.


    • Craig says:

      I saw those. I posted the first one to two other CrossWise posts (ones specifically on IHOP), though not the second one.

      This is apropos this thread, as Brown is a supporter of IHOP.


  36. Craig says:

    The following search criteria landed someone here at this blog:

    latter rain movement implying jesus became god

    Now there’s somebody who gets it! No matter how one tries to dance around it, the doctrines espoused by the New Order of the Latter Rain – essentially most all of hyper-charismaticism – amounts to the implication that Jesus BECAME God, i.e., that Jesus “emptied Himself of divinity and became man”, as B Johnson has stated, and then “re-inherited all” but “as man, not God”. And ad nauseum


    • Craig says:

      For those unaware, there’s been an interesting conversation coming from obvious Bill Johnson supporters on the very first article posted on CrossWise:

      In it, I’ve had to address numerous “straw man” arguments from one individual. He didn’t care for that, claiming that I’m the one illustrating the “straw man fallacy”; however, I pointed him to the link that describes what this is, then illustrated the evidence that he was in fact doing this very thing. He’s not provided adequate evidence that I had done same.


      • Have you done a review of the logical fallacies in The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind? I was shocked!

        I just did the first two chapters and ran out of room in the margins to make notes! It’s crazy!

        He fully creates doctrines out of constructed discontent with doctrines that don’t even exist! If you don’t read it properly, you think he’s talking about a valid doctrine and then he is able to establish a discontent with it and persuade you to believe him instead. But if you take a bit more care when reading, you discover he’s not actually addressing real doctrines, but a grossly misstated perversion of someone’s criticism of a valid doctrine!

        The book is deadset sleight of hand (so to speak)! Yet the Doctor endorses it!


        • Craig says:


          I can’t say I’ve done what you stated specifically, but I have noted this tendency throughout his works. It’s a clever sleight of hand. It SOUNDS deep, but, in the end, it’s not orthodoxy.

          The specific tactic is to begin orthodox, build on that, and then draw a fallacious conclusion. I wrote the following in one article a while back, then copied it and posted it in the body of another:

          This is not unlike the way in which cultists work; i.e., making a series of orthodox statements and then concluding with an unorthodox sentence. The mind is prepared for a logical, orthodox conclusion so that when what seems to be an illogical or unorthodox conclusion is reached instead, the hearer/reader may reject it assuming he just did not hear or read it correctly or some other such reason. This is known as cognitive dissonance, the uncomfortable feeling in holding two conflicting views at once, which results in some sort of action to alleviate this feeling in this case which may be either by 1) rejecting the negative thought that the conclusion is unorthodox or illogical while mentally inserting one’s own orthodox or logical conclusion instead; or, 2) just dismissing the conclusion as a misunderstanding on the reader/hearer’s part; or, 3) assuming the speaker simply misspoke.


        • It makes me wonder. I can feel a little empathy for a bloke who’s been led up the garden path and honestly believes he’s onto something, but some of these fallacies seem too carefully crafted and set up to be the work of a well-intentioned fool.


        • Craig says:

          It makes me wonder. I can feel a little empathy for a bloke who’s been led up the garden path and honestly believes he’s onto something, but some of these fallacies seem too carefully crafted and set up to be the work of a well-intentioned fool.

          BINGO! This illustrates my frustration with some others who’ve been critical of Johnson, yet, for some reason, just cannot see this methodology. It cannot be viewd as anything but purposeful, but this begs the question: Is this Johnson of his own flesh, or is this the result of demonic forces? I vote the latter; and, this makes it all the more dangerous in my book. But, as I’ve argued with another individual at length in comments here on this site, even then, Johnson does not escape impunity, as we must ask how he came upon such demonic control. And, in the end, at the final Judgment, God is not going to grant immunity based upon demonic influence.

          I’m sure some reading this exchange will think we’re being judgmental, as in condemning Johnson. No, not true. Assessing another’s writings and making value judgments on them, resulting in making tentative conclusions or speculations about how this comes about is not condemning. Thankfully, I do not have the power to actually send someone to hell, or even to grant eternal life.

          I really tire of others’ who, in an effort to be “fair”, continue to give these false teachers the benefit of the doubt in the face of obvious and continual deviations from orthodoxy. The early Church did not ‘play nice’! This stuff is spiritually dangerous, and folks are led down the broad path due to these wolves!


        • Craig says:

          BTW, which Doctor are you referring to?


        • Dr Brown. I’ve been of the view for a little while now that someone with so much capital in his research degree should be expected to be a little more critical in his analysis of his own and other’s work.


        • Craig says:

          I agree. Even more interesting, and illustrative of perhaps cognitive dissonance, is the Dr. who has been commenting on this thread:

          I did a quick search on his name to determine if he really was a doctor, rather than others within hyper-charismaticism who’ve received “degrees” from diploma mills. Given that he publishes research based on empirical studies, you’d think he’d be more thorough in his investigation of Johnson. Interestingly, he’ll be pretty thorough in his comments questioning my methods, etc., yet he continues to make excuses for Johnson without actually engaging in the material itself.


  37. Carolyn says:

    Terri, I read the article about Deaton. I was sickened by the story. So he was a Harry Potter groupie… That makes the case of him following demons even more plausible. The Bible makes a case for mastery by demons.

    2 Peter 2:18-20
    18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” 20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

    Here we see a perfect example of the IHOP syndicate, a conglomerate of students who fancied themselves as prayer warriors and were mastered by the control of Tyler Deaton, who was himself mastered by something other than the Holy Spirit and orthodox Christianity.They were studying theology in their spare time? Whose theology? Sounds good, but they were most likely studying the “teachings” of fake apostles and calling it theology.

    How many followers had a gnawing sense that something wasn’t right? A question that begs an answer from followers of followers professing to be Christians.


  38. Carolyn says:

    Quote Craig: “I really tire of others’ who, in an effort to be “fair”, continue to give these false teachers the benefit of the doubt in the face of obvious and continual deviations from orthodoxy. The early Church did not ‘play nice’! This stuff is spiritually dangerous, and folks are led down the broad path due to these wolves!”

    Here’s my question: Why is deception so rampant today? If God is in control, why does it seem that he is not? Why are the wolves gaining the upper hand?

    My theory? God tests the heart. He gives us what we want. And apparently we want tolerance and no hell, we want fantastical love and no factual truth. We want our Jesus to be ecumenical and accepting, and we disallow him to be God. If Christ offends us, we create another one, a different Jesus.

    If you want to know Christ, the real, Biblical, un-redefined, God come in the flesh, Redeemer-Christ who is co-redemptix with no one, who tolerates no sin and who makes no apologies for what he demands, then for you, a serious believer, there can be no compromise. All other gods, all other religious pursuits will have to be abandoned.

    As I was reading through Jonah last week, something stood out. It was a matter of fact that other gods were served as the norm. But Jonah’s God was different. He stood apart. And when he appeared he commanded attention. The fear of the Lord was evident.

    Today, the television, more than any other medium has brought other gods into our homes. The spirits behind the programming mock and malign the true God. And as usual, the church follows the culture it emulates. It has allowed the mixture of secularism powered by the love of money to bring the gods of impurity into our hearts. In turn, the action of bringing these contaminating spirits into our lives has taken from us, a fear of God. Purity of heart will bring it back.

    Someone wondered if it really matters if our theology is 100 % correct or if our Christology is perfect. Here’s what I believe. If we set out to know the real Jesus, he will show himself to us. And then our faith will agree with the faith of other true believers. As a matter of course, our faith with be tested to prove that it is genuine. Others will leave.
    1 John 2:19
    They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

    You are right…it is obvious that many are defecting from the orthodox faith. By Christ’s command we are to expose error, not validate it.


  39. IWTT says:

    “Abundance of the heart… so aman will speak…” These Hyper-charismatics?


  40. Carolyn says:

    One more thought about “fairness” to wolves.

    I think in the case of us being fair to the wolves, we are caving to their tantrums. They will train us to be afraid of them.

    Here’s a little anecdote to illustrate. When an attempt to make a stand against a toddler’s naughtiness or defiance, the toddler can then go into tantrum mode. Good parenting skills will continue to discipline the defiance and ignore the tantrum. Sadly, these days we are seeing the opposite. Parents are ignoring the discipline and responding to the tantrum. Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Conversely, the parent is trained by the child.)

    Are the tantrums of the wolves training us to compromise our standards?

    IWTT, Are the tantrums of the hyper-charismatics training us to fall silent?


  41. Carolyn says:

    I’m back. Last post today, I promise. Just listened to one of the audio clips with Michael Brown and Phil Johnson talking about the strange fire phenomena. Phil Johnson dropped some names of false prophets and asked Dr. Brown for discernment. Ultimately, he didn’t have any….discernment, I mean. For instance, he thought Cindy Jacobs was a “good Christian” and couldn’t point to any malfunctions.

    Michael Brown’s opinion of Brownsville seems to be if they preach the gospel between all the laughter, then it’s orthodox Christianity. He works with these people all the time. That was his comment. Why are we even including this guy in orthodoxy?

    Speaking of tantrums. Phil Johnson had one when Michael Brown wouldn’t let him get a word in edgeways. And I’m close to having one now as I think about all this confusion. Reminder: preach the Word. Discern error. Ignore the tantrums.

    So…that about wraps it up for me. Back the to Bible.


    • Craig says:

      Would you post the link to this specific clip? I’d be interested in hearing it, particularly those Phil Johnson identified as false prophets. I’m hoping he provided some sort of back-up for his claims, as that would seem prudent.


  42. Craig,

    I commented on another post here already this morning. My suspicions in that post are certainly confirmed in this post: I have found someone who sizes all this stuff up very closely to the way I do. Frankly, I feel a bit isolated in my present location in this regard.

    after reading the article above (didn’t get to anyone else’s comments), I thought I could be reading my own blog. I don’t want to presume on your time, but I would be interested in your thoughts on a post I did a while back on the Strange Fire conference:


  43. Norrin Radd says:

    I’m late to the party, so I don’t know that anyone will even see this.

    I arrived here because recently on a discussion site, some hardboiled anti-Charismatic recommended J-Mac’s “Strange Fire.” That prompted me to look around online, and in my library.

    This discussion here is pretty big, so I hope you’ll forgive the fact that I’ve barely skimmed it.

    Random comments —

    — The YouTube link above to Phil Johnson identifying false prophets is now dead; that YouTube user’s channel was shut down due to multiple copyright violations.

    — I have not read any of J-Mac’s books. I have read some of the online versions of his presentations from the Strange Fire conference, and the FAQ here. Frankly, I have difficulty taking him seriously. His approach seems almost as flamboyant, self-promoting, and generally deficient as that of Hank Hanegraaff. Personally, I think B.J. Oropeza’s “A Time to Laugh” is much better, dated though it may be.

    — I am almost tempted to try to do a count of how many times he uses the word, “Reformed,” as opposed to, say, “Jesus,” “Christ,” or “Spirit.”

    — His comments about halfway through about the hippies and guitars and lack of wearing “suits” shows a sad lot about his overall mindset: The only “real” Christian church is a staid, formal, Reformed church. For all his talk about “Scripture,” NOTHING IN SCRIPTURE SUPPORTS THAT.

    — It would be interesting and possibly entertaining to have him read a few of Keener’s books — say, “Miracles,” “Gift and Giver — The Holy Spirit for Today,” and “Spirit Hermeneutics,” and see what kind of apoplectic defamatory response he’d excrete.


    • Craig says:


      Thanks for your comment. I must admit that I’d not read any of the books you’ve specifically mentioned, though I do have and have skimmed portions of Keener’s Miracles.

      Certainly, there must be a middle ground between MacArthur’s hyper-dogmatism hyper-dogmatic anti-charismaticism and the rampant hyper-charismaticism.


  44. Norrin Radd says:

    “Gift and Giver” is unusual among Keener’s books. It is directed at “regular” people (most of his books are directed toward academics and “professionals”), and uses a lot of his personal experiences to illustrate his explanation of Scripture.

    “Spirit Hermeneutics” is more rigorous… one could say, “stiffer.” I’ve read parts of it, not the whole.

    In both, he mentions his own practice of praying and singing in tongues most days, often for around an hour. In both, he mentions that on various occasions, he has been directly involved in prophesying, either as the deliverer or recipient of prophetic messages. In both, he mentions that several times — though certainly not regularly — he has directly experienced Spirit-induced laughter.

    Somewhere — I don’t recall whether it is in “Spirit Hermeneutics” or elsewhere — he mentions that he is happily attending a Vineyard church in KY.

    In “Spirit Hermeneutics,” he includes an appendix comprising a long sample list of charismatic scholars. (I’d probably consider the definition of “Charismatic” that he used a bit too inclusive. OTOH, it is only a sampling, and it intentionally does NOT include most scholars from explicitly Pentecostal traditions, except a few, like Fee, who are widely recognized outside of Pentecostal boundaries.)

    Honestly, in parallel to what some call “Trump Derangement Syndrome” (and before that, “Bush Derangement Syndrome”), I think J-Mac has a sort of “Charismatic Derangement Syndrome.” There are certainly stupid excesses. I left a church because it was becoming too infatuated with “holy laughter” and getting “drunk in the Spirit.” But I suspect that even if significant Charismatic scholars wrote books critiquing the excesses, J-Mac would still not be satisfied, until they also repudiated tongues, prophecy, exorcisms, laying hands on the sick, casual dress, and contemporary music.

    In a way, I guess it would be nice if someone like Keener would devote a book to the subject, or at least update “Gift and Giver” to address excesses. Scholars like Fee and Witherington have addressed a few of the things in passing, as when commenting on Eph. 5:18-19, which is sometimes used to justify being “drunk in the Spirit,” but instead presents a contrast between drunkenness and being filled with the Spirit.


    • Craig says:

      I may have to get Spirit Hermeneutics some day, as I like to read the academic work. (I’ve become a Christian rather late in life @ 39, and for the past nearly 20 years have been learning more about the faith in order to accept only those things that hold up to biblical scrutiny.) I have his two volume set on the Gospel of John, and I have his And Marries Another, along with Miracles.

      I have a friend who prays in tongues–though I’ve not heard him do so. He’s certainly no hyper-charismatic.

      You’ve hit on two issues I bring up in this article: (1) Keener is a bit too quick to accept some “charismatic” ‘scholars’–but I think it may be that it’s in his nature to be very trusting, and, perhaps a bit too much so; (2) scholars are timid at speaking out against hyper-charismatic excesses. Perhaps this has to do with our litigious society, but I dunno.

      In light of your reference to TDS, MacArthur, etc. you may enjoy the following (satire): MacArthur To Build Wall To Keep Charismatics Out


  45. Norrin Radd says:

    Prov. 18:17 is certainly true, and it’s often inconvenient and perplexing.

    I bought a couple of Mike Brown’s books. Currently I’m reading Authentic Fire. It’s quite interesting, and well-annotated. I do have to say it kind of has the look of being put together quickly, possibly not proof-read as well as it should have been. There are several instances of “REnounce” when he clearly meant “DEnounce,” and some quotes were not clearly formatted AS quotes.

    He rebuts a lot of J-Mac’s criticisms. At this point, I do still have concerns about his endorsement of Bickle and a few other things.


    • Craig says:

      Brown has always been a mixed bag for me. I’m concerned about his wholesale endorsement of Brownsville (I know someone personally who experienced some very bizarre things there). His endorsement of Bickle and Bill Johnson, however, is where I firmly depart.


  46. Norrin Radd says:

    Please forgive a lengthy bit of bloviating about my background. Also please forgive any formatting boo-boos. I’m typing offline, then copying, because my browser is crashy and I don’t want to lose this after working on it.

    I was “born again” alone in my college dorm room early in 1980, in the winter trimester of my sophomore year. I began attending the little interdenominational campus fellowship, then in the following Fall trimester, progressed to the main campus, and followed my then-girlfriend in attending Alliance Christian Fellowship (ACF), the University Park outreach of the local (State College) C&MA church. Atypically, it was charismatic, with a contemporary band, a fair bit of hand-raising, a girl who frequently trembled and then prophesied, and a pastor who testified to regularly praying in tongues in his personal devotions.

    Back home, I started attending the local C&MA church. It was a more typical, rather “churchy” church, which I found dissatisfying. (I was raised non-practicing Lutheran, so ACF was my first church experience.)

    Early in 1984, I was “filled with the Spirit” in my bedroom at home. Soon after, I joined some friends in attending a small local “Full Gospel” church. It was a lot like ACF, but dialed up a few notches. There was tongues + interpretation, and one or two people “falling under the power” or being “slain in the Spirit.” It was also where I first encountered “Faith” teaching. There was a room full of books and tapes by Kenneth Hagin and various Harrison House authors (Buddy Harrison being Dad Hagin’s SIL), and I became an avid consumer.

    Around ’87 or so, we and some other area churches got occasional (1-2 times per year) visits from an itinerant singer-evangelist named “Roger Blair.” A fried of his named “Ken Green” also visited area churches, but never ours. Both had ministries featuring a lot of “falling under the power.” Blair’s meetings also featured a lot of “laughing in the Spirit” and getting “drunk in the Spirit.” This was a few years before the Vineyard movement was widely known, especially around here. I’m honestly not sure what to make of some of the “manifestations.” I attended a few of Green’s meetings at a Church of God (Pentecostal variety) in the town about 12 miles to the north, partly because a girl with whom I was good friends invited me. I know some of the “falling under the power” was suggestion and peer-pressure, because that’s why I fell backward into the pew with everyone else standing there. Other things I cannot so easily dismiss:

    — A teenage girl was standing in the aisle near the back of the church, arms folded, with a sort of “Yeah, right” look on her face. Green pointed at her, her eyes got wide with surprise, and she fell over backward.

    — Various people apparently got “stuck” in place — on the floor, leaning against a wall, etc. The pastor’s young son had one foot stuck to the floor for twenty minutes or so. He said it felt “hot.” In the next service, he and the pastor testified that it had been healed (of a rash or insect bite, I no longer recall which).

    I was told those cases and a few others led to major positive changes in the youth group there, but I can’t confirm that.

    — Several times in Green’s meetings, and several times in Blair’s meetings, a friend of mine got knocked down and “stuck.” It really seemed as though for some reason each of those preacher’s attention was drawn to him in particular. In one of Blair’s meetings, after my friend had been stuck to the floor for a while, he asked me and another friend to help him up, and we couldn’t budge him.

    — In one of Blair’s meetings, another friend of mine was stuck to the floor for a good 45 minutes. He was, for lack of any better description, “vibrating.” He remained stuck there for a while after the service dismissed for lunch.

    After the first couple of Blair’s meetings, being “slain in the Spirit” became more common than it already was, “laughing in the Spirit” happened occasionally, and one deacon fairly often got “drunk in the Spirit” and his wife had to drive him home after the service.

    Around that time, I was reading books by John Wimber, Ken Blue, and John White, so I knew this and much more exotic stuff was happening elsewhere.

    During that same time, I was also gradually questioning “Faith” beliefs, and some other common Charismatic practices, for various reasons:

    — I typically used the NASB or a parallel Bible, while most Faith teachers used the KJV. So I noticed cases where they built doctrines on wording my Bibles didn’t contain.

    — I am not a complete idiot, so I eventually realized many of their proof-texts only worked when taken out of context.

    — Once a year or so, we had as a guest-speaker a guy named “David Kirkwood” (later changed to “David Servant”). He was definitely Pentecostal and generally friendly to Faith teaching, but he also called out problems that he saw. He noted that “considered not his own body” (Rom. 4, KJV) was a faulty translation. He noted it was silly to blame Job’s situation on his own supposed fear and lack of faith, via a single verse (3:25); why not blame his expecation of good things (30:26)? He wrote at least two books — God’s Tests and Modern Myths about Satan and Spiritual Warfare — challenging specific Faith and Charismatic beliefs and practices.

    — A good friend of mine who was an even bigger Hagin fan than I became perplexed and concerned about his late-’80s book, Plans, Purposes, and Pursuits. In it, Hagin recounted having another visitation from Jesus. This Jesus told Hagin things my friend new from experience to be factually false.

    By the early ’90s, I’d come to understand that a lot of distinctive “Faith” theology — especially the aspects most closely tied to “Positive Confession” — were faulty, and that various charismatic practices were ill-founded. I saw nothing in Scripture to rule out “falling under the power” or “laughing in the Spirit,” but I also saw no evidence for them; I was bothered by the fact that my church seemed to be unconsciously drifting toward the idea that “more” is “better,” and a dearth of those experiences meant that God barely showed up. At the same time that I was becoming troubled by that, HH was railing against the “Counterfeit Revival” and the Toronto stuff, while my pastor was actually sending people to Toronto (from here in western PA) to bring back first-hand reports and perhaps some anointing.

    I soon left that church, roughly ten years after first attending.

    With that as background —

    — I remain a “practicing” Charismatic. I pray and/or sing in tongues almost daily, though I have never come close to, e.g., the hour that Dr. Keener often spends in the practice.

    — I have attended or visited probably a dozen or so Pentecostal or Charismatic churches since 1984. The accounts I’ve relayed here are the most exotic ones I personally, directly know of.

    — While there is no “liturgy” in the formal sense, most Charismatic churches do have an order. With some variation, the typical format is this:

    —- Entry music

    —- Fast-tempo “celebratory” music

    —- Slow-tempo “reverent” music

    —- Quiet pause to allow for prophecy, tongues and interpretation, etc.

    —- More slow-tempo music

    —- Offering

    —- “Shake someone’s hand and tell them, ‘Jesus loves you!'”

    —- Sermon

    —- Prayer ministry at the altar; this is typically where the “falling” and “laughing” occur.

    “Special” services, esp. with people like Blair, are different. The song service and sermon are abbreviated, and the “ministry” is greatly extended.

    I have never seen the sort of “bedlam” critics claim is common. In a thousand or more services, only once did I see a guy break out in tongues during a sermon, and the pastor immediately gave him gentle correction. I have never heard animal noises. I have never seen animalistic movements. I have seen and heard multiple people speaking or singing in tongues simultaneously, with no interpretation; this owes to the traditional Pentecostal view that there is a difference between “prayer” tongues and “message” tongues, with only the latter being regulated by the rules of 1 Cor. 14; this is not “disorder,” it is a different understanding of the Scriptural definition OF “order.” It only occurs if and when the pastor suggests, “Let’s all pray in the Spirit” or “Everyone bless God in the Spirit.”

    I have to wonder if the critics have actually visited Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, or if they are basing their knowledge on the worst of what they find on TBN and YouTube. Certainly even the “mild” Charismatic meetings will seem strange to someone only familiar with formal, regimented, pastor-centric churches.


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