Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.(Matthew 24:23-27)
In December 1995, my wife and I travelled to Toronto Canada, to observe services at the Toronto Airport Vineyard fellowship, because we had heard reports of revival breaking out, attracting people from around the world. We stood in the cold, in a line which numbered hundreds of people eager to get into the service and willing to wait for hours in the freezing Canadian wind, till the doors opened.
We interviewed quite a few pastors, from Canada, America, Africa, Europe, and almost to a man they testified that they had quit preaching the Word, now that the “Spirit” had come! The Word “didn’t work” , for their services were “dead and religious”, and sermons would not touch this post modern generation.
I asked them “Do you believe what the Bible says about a ‘last days’ deception?”. Most of them did. But when I asked if they thought it possible that they were being deceived via the “Toronto Blessing”, almost all of them scoffed at the notion.
It turns out that they had long been conditioned to think in terms of spiritual elitism; that they were the “Joseph company” of believers, the “man child”, the final greatest generation of the church,(Remember, God saved his best for last), and that as Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, they had more “revelation Knowledge” than the vast majority of “old fashioned, religious, conventional Christians. Normal Christians could be deceived but not the new generation!
So they traveled , looking to receive from the “new Anointing”. In the scripture above, notice Jesus warned that they would be saying “Here is Christ”, not “Here is Jesus”. What does ‘Christ ‘ mean? Christ means “anointed one”. A “New Anointing” is a new Christ, or an anti-Christ.
What was it that they waited out in the freezing cold to enter into? They wanted to “Soak” in the presence of the LORD, to be “Slain in the Spirit” and to drink in the “new Wine” until they were “Drunk in the Spirit” of the LORD. Many of them had initial feelings of resistance to entering into ‘the river’, but they had been encouraged to keep on receiving ‘impartation prayer’, until the inner resistance was overcome.
The “Toronto Blessing”, as this mystical movement came to be called, did not come out of heaven by a “Rushing mighty Wind” but is rather the logical outworking of the steady influence of decades of false prophecy, heretical doctrine (The Manifested Sons of God/Latter Rain), anti-rational bias (“God is offending the mind to reach the heart”), and the desire for ‘experienced based” Christianity.
Charismatics had been conditioned by these influences and their false Shepherds to expect a revival of pure power and unmediated experiences in the “Presence of the Lord”. They had been taught that doctrine is divisibve, and those concerned about doctrine are “religious” and furthermore they had been taught that “The man with an experience is ever at the mercy of the man with a teaching”.
The linkage of influence is roughly as follows-
The false Prophet William Branham- Oral Roberts Kenneth Hagin and Copeland and the WORD of Faith movement- Mystical Spiritual warfare- The Kansas City Prophets and the other false prophets- Rodney Howard Browne’s mystical “laughing revival”- John Wimber’s “Power Evangelism” and the Vineyard movement which came out of it.
That is from where the Toronto Blessing, and the Pensacola movement which came out of it, descended .
Rodney Howard Brown is a South African evangelist who came from the Word of Faith Movement. He began to have meetings in America in which the preaching of the Word of God had to be halted due to outbursts of uncontrollable laughter, as ‘the spirit’ descended upon the people.He reports that at one service, He was preaching on Hell, but had to stop because the congregation was laughing so uproariously!
Howard Browne was ministering what he called “New Wine”. People were becoming drunk, spiritually. They couldn’t walk, they couldn’t pray or sit or listen, they staggered about and said ridiculous things as the rest of the congregation rejoiced and praised God for this ‘spirit’. Howard Browne called his meetings “Joel’s place” and himself “the Holy Ghost Bartender” and spoke as if the congregation were in a nightclub getting intoxicated, only they insisted that it was the new wine.
Howard Browne affected the Vineyard movement, they wanted that “Anointing” that he seemed to have, and sought it. When “it” hit the church in Toronto Canada in 1994, “It” brought those who had succumbed to “it” or had received the “Impartation of it” through the laying on of hands , into full blown mysticism, reminiscent of the Kundalini fits imparted by Hindu gurus.
At Toronto we saw people do things which would be physically impossible, as they came under the power of this ‘spirit’ which they called Revival. Stacy Campbell, one of the leaders of the movement shook so hard that her long hair would crack like a whip, all the while she breathlessly prophesied! An older lady , perhaps in her 70’s was involuntarily laying supine on her back in the sanctuary, doing crunches for more than forty five minutes! It seemed like bedlam in that sanctuary.
The defining manifestation was Spiritual drunkenness. Through distortion of scripture like the book of Acts chapter 2,
And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;(Acts 2:12-17)
Notice it was the mockers who accused the apostles of drunkenness on the day of Pentecost, and the apostle Peter was quick to deny any drunkenness whatsoever.
Modern mockers have entered into our sanctuaries and have enticed a self absorbed generation, which in many cases had barely escaped the ravages of drug and alcohol abuse, into thinking that the Spirit of God wants to bring you into some sort of Holy intoxication and abandonment.
The scriptures of course say the opposite, for Peter himself warned us “Be sober and vigilant….” (I Peter 5) and all of the apostles call for the church to be clear thinking and alert. But Rodney Howard Browne, John Arnott, John Scotland, and John Wimber, among others, initiated a false revival of “spiritual drunkenness” and have brought dissolution and reproach upon a good many of God’s dear people.
But there is another way to interpret Spiritual drunkenness. Spiritual drunkenness is from God , alright, but not a blessing, it is a judgment upon an unbelieving and faithless people;
Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.( Isaiah 29:9-14)
Read this and consider its implications! I weep and tremble because I have seen the outworking of this prophecy on the Charismatic movement. God isn’t speaking to the Seers. The leaders don’t understand the Bible , what little they did understand was wiped out in the “Signs and wonders” revival. The people think they are nearer to God than any other “Dead” Christians, but they couldn’t get any farther away. The wisdom perished in the bouts of drunkenness and irreverence.