Stop the Blight-Save the Vineyard by JeremiahProphet

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									"Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field
into a desolate wasteland." Jeremiah 12:10
"Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" Galatians 4:16

The names of people discussed in this site have been changed to protect the
innocent. Any similarities to actual persons, either living or dead, are merely
coincidental. The events discussed in this site happened at a Vineyard church
that we once attended. We have tried our best to relate these events in an
informative, impartial way. We have also provided links to outside sites that
appeared credible and useful: these sites belong to others and we offer them only
as additional resources and have no control over their content.

This site is intended for informative purposes and is not meant to be definitive;
you are encouraged to conduct further research on your own. Each individual
church or organization, whether Vineyard or otherwise, should be considered
separately according to its own merits. Following the links provided in this site
may direct you to sites for which we are not responsible; choosing to visit these
links is done at your own discretion.

Use of this website acknowledges that stoptheblight is for informational
purposes, only, and does not provide information as if a licensed professional.
The site is based on personal experience and/or research, may contain errors or
omissions, and is provided completely on an as-is basis with no warranties
expressed or implied. Visitors to this site accept full responsibility for its use. Use
of this site implies acceptance that the site's creator and relatives are free from
any liability or claim.

The names of people discussed in this site have been changed to protect the innocent. Any similarities to actual persons, either living or
dead, are merely coincidental. The events discussed in this site happened at a Vineyard church that we once attended. We have tried our
best to relate these events in an informative, impartial way. We have also provided links to outside sites that appeared credible and useful:
these sites belong to others and we offer them only as additional resources and have no control over their content.This site is intended for
informative purposes and is not meant to be definitive; you are encouraged to conduct further research on your own. Each individual church
or organization, whether Vineyard or otherwise, should be considered separately according to its own merits. Following the links provided in
this site may direct you to sites for which we are not responsible; choosing to visit these links is done at your own discretion.Use of this
website acknowledges that stoptheblight is for informational purposes, only, and does not provide information as if a licensed professional.
The site is based on personal experience and/or research, may contain errors or omissions, and is provided completely on an as-is basis
with no warranties expressed or implied. Visitors to this site accept full responsibility for its use. Use of this site implies acceptance that the
site's creator and relatives are free from any liability or claim.

related keywords: bible study, vineyard website, fellowship, ministries, spiritual mentoring, spiritual gifts, biblical prophecy, vineyard, church,
leadership, biblical studies, vineyard ministry, biblical evangelism, healing spiritual, leadership consulting, abuse, the vineyard, ministries,
ministry, bible, pastor, spiritual abuse
"Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field
into a desolate wasteland." Jeremiah 12:10
"Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" Galatians 4:16

The oldest cultivated fruit is believed to be the grape, and it has
many foes. The greatest is an improbable, seemingly insignificant
insect that is less than a sixteenth of an inch long. These
creatures, native to America, devastated the vineyards of France in
the mid-1800s, leaving the vines bare and the wine industry in

Christians are repeatedly instructed to stay alert. Just as these
insects arrived in France, undetected, the cares of this world can
rise silently to choke us, preventing growth or making us ineffective
(Mark 4). Also, our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring
lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Vines require constant care if they are to be productive. It is not
unusual to see a vineyard surrounded by a wall of stones, or a
protective hedge of thorns, in an attempt to keep out destructive
animals. They also need pruning, plowing of weeds, fertilization,
and sometimes, even temperature regulation.

God expects us, as Christians, to care for one another. Not only
are we to look after orphans and widows (James 1:27) but we
are told to honor our fellow Christians above ourselves, devoting
ourselves to one another in brotherly love (Romans 12:10).

Vines seek the light. They branch out, climbing trees or stumps,
fences or rocks, and rely upon these for support as they crawl
toward the light.

God tells us to meet with other Christians (Hebrews 10:25). Church
meetings are for believers. Although God does sometimes save
people who choose to attend church meetings while lost, the
purpose for church meetings is to encourage fellow Christians. The
pastor should care more about what God thinks than to strive to be
inoffensive or always positive. NonChristians should be welcomed
but not necessarily feel so comfortable that attending church really
made no spiritual difference.

Evangelism should not replace support to Christians during these
meetings; these meetings are where we are meant to encourage
(inspire, strengthen, invigorate) one another. And although I
wholeheartedly approve of altar calls for prayer and salvation,
deliberate evangelism should take place outside of these meetings
(small groups, etc.), in addition to them, not supplant them. Church
emphasis should be Christian rather than Seeker friendly.

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out
early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard
(Matthew 20:1). I wonder, are we as Christians—the workers—

New International Version (NIV) Bible, Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society at Zondervan

The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, Copyright 1963 by Regency Reference Library of Zondervan Publishing House

The Book of Knowledge, volumes 1 and 6, Copyright 1963 by Grolier Incorporated

"A Year in the Vineyard" by Paula S.W. Laurita at

The names of people discussed in this site have been changed to protect the innocent. Any similarities to actual persons, either living or
dead, are merely coincidental. The events discussed in this site happened at a Vineyard church that we once attended. We have tried our
best to relate these events in an informative, impartial way. We have also provided links to outside sites that appeared credible and useful:
these sites belong to others and we offer them only as additional resources and have no control over their content.This site is intended for
informative purposes and is not meant to be definitive; you are encouraged to conduct further research on your own. Each individual church
or organization, whether Vineyard or otherwise, should be considered separately according to its own merits. Following the links provided in
this site may direct you to sites for which we are not responsible; choosing to visit these links is done at your own discretion.Use of this
website acknowledges that stoptheblight is for informational purposes, only, and does not provide information as if a licensed professional.
The site is based on personal experience and/or research, may contain errors or omissions, and is provided completely on an as-is basis
with no warranties expressed or implied. Visitors to this site accept full responsibility for its use. Use of this site implies acceptance that the
site's creator and relatives are free from any liability or claim.

related keywords: bible study, vineyard website, fellowship, ministries, spiritual mentoring, spiritual gifts, biblical prophecy, vineyard, church,
leadership, biblical studies, vineyard ministry, biblical evangelism, healing spiritual, leadership consulting, abuse, the vineyard, ministries,
ministry, bible, pastor, spiritual abuse
"Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field
into a desolate wasteland." Jeremiah 12:10
"Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" Galatians 4:16

When the Bible speaks of the vineyard, it refers, in the Old Testament, to
God's chosen people, the Israelites. The New Testament expands this field.
Jesus speaks a parable in which He says: ―For the kingdom of heaven is like
a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his
vineyard" (Matthew 20:1). So, God is the landowner. He draws men and
women into the kingdom of heaven. These workers are then to go out and
tend the vineyard (the world).

I describe the vineyard above only to clarify that this is not the vineyard I will
be writing about in the paragraphs to follow. The vineyard above is vast. The
Vineyard refers to those who have separated themselves out as an
association—a mere segment of God's vineyard.

I also am not so bold to claim that every church within this association
functions in the same manner. I have seen healthy Vineyard churches, but I
am also aware of a number that are unhealthy. This will be the case among all
denominations, but this particular family of churches raises my level of caution:
my attempts to voice concern have been met with resistance and denial. The
response we received appears to have been to ignore the concerns and to
bury the incident. And it appears that each individual church answers only to
itself, giving a false sense of accountability.

One would expect an organization to hold those with membership,
accountable. Yet, despite the popularity of this word (accountable), The
Vineyard, in our case, claimed to be ―an association of autonomous churches‖
and therefore insisted that we relate to the very church leaders with whom we
had encountered resistance.

Thus, by observation, we've concluded that each church is accountable only
to itself unless the organization cannot contain the issues at hand (such as
was the case with the Toronto Blessing). Often the members, depending on
the nature of any particular church's leadership, have no voice. This results in
the leaders making all decisions, frequently even the choice of who the
leaders will be.
As seasoned Christians, it baffles me that we ever attended the local Vineyard
church that we did. My only understanding centers around our desire to
provide our child with Christian community and Biblical principles. The
children's program implied structure and tradition; only an occasional conflict
of values arose.

But as our child grew, the children's course of study faded into a much
different format for the youth. God has blessed me with the gift of discernment
and I began to increasingly experience restlessness and discomfort. It would
take almost an additional two years for my family to undergo a similar
uneasiness that would lead to our eventual departure.

The more involved we became, the greater the conflict. At first our input was
met with what appeared to be acceptance and understanding. Eventually it
became obvious that many of our principles disturbed the leadership. The
greatest contrast of values involved the view we have concerning marriage
and submission.

Our marriage is a oneness—a connection where there exists mutual respect
and appreciation. We are first, and foremost, siblings in Christ, commanded to
submit to one another. Next, we are best friends, treasuring how iron
sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). Finally, we work as a team, upholding a
united front. We do not always agree, but my husband takes all I say into
consideration and values any input that I have to offer. Most decisions result
in a compromise that requires sacrifice on both our parts.

This view of marriage seemed foreign to the leadership. They gave sermons
that resembled our arrangement, but reality seemed to reveal otherwise. Most
suggested our idea of relationship was a threat.

It appeared their actual marriages resembled the relationship that parents
must maintain with a young child when he or she is in danger—running into
the road must be stopped immediately, often without explanation. Husbands
seemed to treat every decision in this manner; they would hear their wives
speak, but were not hearing what their wives were saying. The decision often
had already been made; any attempt at conversation was met with automatic
responses that implied a previously settled discussion. After all, he merely
wanted what was best for his family.

This carried over into the workings of the church, as well. Wives were not only
suppose to submit to their husbands, but all women were suppose to submit
to all men—submission, in this case, was defined as unquestionable
compliance. Women were either suppressed, or viewed as troublemakers that
did not know their places; they were encouraged to be silent, compliant

This, of course, is not a Biblical perspective. The leaders would deny this
claim if questioned, even those who are, themselves, women. And only those
involved in running the church, or its projects, are close enough to recognize
what is happening. Some, even upon realization, would deny it: ―for they loved
praise from men more than praise from God‖ (John 12:43).

We met with two of the pastors to voice our concerns ( the above concern was
not mentioned) and planned to meet again in one month. The second meeting
became an impossibility, so we wrote to Vineyard USA, instead. Their
response was to direct us back to the church in question and to do nothing.
We also sent our letter to the organization whose healing programs were
being used by this church; we received no acknowledgment. Our answer is an
effort to inform. Keep watch.

Deuteronomy 32:31-36 (NASB)

31"Indeed their rock is not like our Rock,
Even our enemies themselves judge this.
32"For their vine is from the vine of Sodom,
And from the fields of Gomorrah;
Their grapes are grapes of poison,
Their clusters, bitter.
33"Their wine is the venom of serpents,
And the deadly poison of cobras.
34'Is it not laid up in store with Me,
Sealed up in My treasuries?
35'Vengeance is Mine, and retribution,
In due time their foot will slip;
For the day of their calamity is near,
And the impending things are hastening upon them.'
36"For the LORD will vindicate His people,
And will have compassion on His servants,
When He sees that their strength is gone,
And there is none remaining, bond or free.
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

The names of people discussed in this site have been changed to protect the innocent. Any similarities to actual persons, either living or
dead, are merely coincidental. The events discussed in this site happened at a Vineyard church that we once attended. We have tried our
best to relate these events in an informative, impartial way. We have also provided links to outside sites that appeared credible and useful:
these sites belong to others and we offer them only as additional resources and have no control over their content.This site is intended for
informative purposes and is not meant to be definitive; you are encouraged to conduct further research on your own. Each individual church
or organization, whether Vineyard or otherwise, should be considered separately according to its own merits. Following the links provided in
this site may direct you to sites for which we are not responsible; choosing to visit these links is done at your own discretion. Use of this
website acknowledges that stoptheblight is for informational purposes, only, and does not provide information as if a licensed professional.
The site is based on personal experience and/or research, may contain errors or omissions, and is provided completely on an as-is basis
with no warranties expressed or implied. Visitors to this site accept full responsibility for its use. Use of this site implies acceptance that the
site's creator and relatives are free from any liability or claim.

related keywords: bible study, vineyard website, fellowship, ministries, spiritual mentoring, spiritual gifts, biblical prophecy, vineyard, church,
leadership, biblical studies, vineyard ministry, biblical evangelism, healing spiritual, leadership consulting, abuse, the vineyard, ministries,
ministry, bible, pastor, spiritual abuse

"Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field
into a desolate wasteland." Jeremiah 12:10
"Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" Galatians 4:16

The following is Used with Permission. Copyright © 2005 by John Engler.

Characteristics of Unhealthy, Abusive and Cultic Church Environments
What is an unhealthy or abusive church environment, and why would anyone care? Well, the last
question is easier to answer than the first one. People involved in a church situation that just doesn't
seem quite right might be wondering if anyone else has ever had similar experiences. Or, family members
may pick up on odd characteristics or behavior and wonder if something is amiss with the church.
Hopefully this article will equip people in those situations to make an assessment of the church in

So what is a healthy church, what is an unhealthy church, what is an abusive church, and who gets to

Church environments fall along a continuum. On the one extreme would be the absolutely perfect
environment. Since people make mistakes and people would be part of any church environment, such a
perfect environment could only exist in theory. On the other extreme would be an abusive, exploitative,
dishonest, utterly destructive group with no redeeming values whatsoever. Hopefully, the only place a
group like this would exist is also in theory. Between these two extremes, there is every other church

So what are the points along this continuum that divide the healthy from the unhealthy, and the unhealthy
from the abusive, and the abusive from a cult?

Evaluating specific church environments is difficult for several reasons. Since there are many areas of
consideration (e.g. teaching and doctrine, potential for growth or service, leadership style, church culture,
etc.), weighing each of these elements would have to be taken into account. Not only would the actual
evaluation of each of these areas be unique to each individual, the relative importance of each area also
would be unique to each individual. There is no fixed system or criteria for making these evaluations.
For example, two people in the same church can perceive the exact same thing differently-- one could
think it is terrible, the other could think it is great. I once heard a sermon that I thought was absolutely
terrible, and the first person I talked with after the service thought it was great. Further, one person might
consider sermon content quite important, another might not care about it at all. So for one person, a
church might be just fine. But for that same person at another stage in life, or for another person, it might

Now matters of preference and opinion are one thing, but matters of spiritual health and abuse are
another. Issues such as the health of the group itself and the church's core values and culture are far
more significant than preferences about what type of songs are used in worship services. In these matters,
there is a point where a particular church is (or becomes) unhealthy, abusive or cultic.

Let me make define some terms here:

        By identifying a church as "unhealthy" I do not mean that it merely has problems. All churches
         have problems, no churches are perfect. Further, churches go through phases that are difficult,
         analogous to any normally healthy person being sick for a few days. An unhealthy church has
         certain problems that are not only debilitating, but are also persistent or chronic like a person who
         has a chronic illness or condition.
        By abusive, I mean a church mistreats its people.
        By cultic, I mean a church uses deception, manipulation and other unethical means to gain and
         maintain members.

                                              Continuum of Environments

              Perfect            Healthy          Unhealthy          Abusive         Cultic       Worst

Each individual has the task (indeed, the responsibility, as an adult) of determining if a group is unhealthy,
abusive or cultic for him. This falls not to the church leader, not to friends within the church, not to the
concerned family members, not to close friends, but to the individual. The point of this article is to provide
some guidelines for individuals to evaluate if their individual church is unhealthy, abusive or cultic.

Brief Survey
Many authors and researchers have attempted to describe unhealthy, abusive and cultic church
environments. What follows is a summary of these data-driven observations for analysis and comparison.
(The links point to Barnabas Ministry reviews of each book considered. The reviews generally elaborate
on these criteria, and these books are highly recommended by the Barnabas Ministry.)

Author               Criteria
David Johnson,           1. Power-Posturing- leaders spend a lot of time focused on their own authority and
Jeff VanVonderen                reminding others of it, as well.
The Subtle Power         2.     Performance Preoccupation- In abusive spiritual systems, power is postured and
of Spiritual Abuse              authority is legislated. Therefore, these systems are preoccupied with the performance
                                of their members. Obedience and submission are two important words often used.
                         3.     Unspoken Rules- people's lives are controlled from the outside in by rules, spoken and
                                unspoken. Unspoken rules are those that govern unhealthy churches or families but are
                                not said out loud. Because they are not said out loud, you don't find out that they're
                                there until you break them.
                         4.     Lack of Balance (Extreme Objectivism or Extreme Subjectivism)
                         5.     Paranoia- there is a sense, spoken or unspoken, that "others will not understand what
                           we're all about, so let's not let them know-- that way they won't be able to ridicule or
                           persecute us." There is an assumption that (1) what we say, know, or do is a result of
                           our being more enlightened that others; (2) others will not understand unless they
                           become one of us; and (3) others will respond negatively.
                      6.   Misplaced Loyalty ("We Alone Are Right", Scare Tactics and Humiliation)- a
                           misplaced sense of loyalty is fostered and even demanded. We're not talking about
                           loyalty to Christ, but about loyalty to a given organization, church, or leader.
                      7.   Secretive- When you see people in a religious system being secretive-- watch out.
                           People don't hide what is appropriate; they hide what is inappropriate.

Ken Blue              1. Abusive leaders base their spiritual authority on their position or office rather than on
Healing Spiritual          their service to the group. Their style of leadership is authoritarian.
Abuse                 2. Leaders in abusive churches often say one thing but do another. Their words and deeds
                           do not match.
                      3. They manipulate people by making them feel guilty for not measuring up spiritually.
                           They lay heavy religious loads on people and make no effort to lift those loads. You
                           know you are in an abusive church if the loads just keep getting heavier.
                      4.   Abusive leaders are preoccupied with looking good. They labor to keep up appearance.
                           They stifle any criticism that puts them in a bad light.
                      5.   They seek honorific titles and special privileges that elevate them above the group.
                           They promote a class system with themselves at the top.
                      6.   Their communication is not straight. Their speech becomes especially vague and
                           confusing when they are defending themselves.
                      7.   They major on minor issues to the neglect of the truly important ones. They are
                           conscientious about religious details but neglect God's larger agendas.

Steven Hassan         1. Behavior Control- warped emphasis upon unity and conformance to group behavior.
Combatting Cult       2. Information Control- information enables people to make decisions; hiding information
Mind Control               prevents sound decision making.
                      3. Thought Control- internalizing group teaching, simple answers to complex questions,
                           and using "loaded language" to shunt the thinking process.
                      4. Emotional Control- using affection, guilt and fear to manipulate people into loyalty and

Engler's Criteria
In my own experience and studies, I have come up with my own criteria for determining whether a group
is unhealthy or abusive.

In the article Egypt, O Egypt, I identified several characteristics of a healthy environment compared to an
unhealthy or abusive environment. Granted, the situation with the Israelites in Egypt wasn't a Christian
church, and the Egyptians were not Christian leaders. But there were so many similarities between that
situation and my own experiences in an abusive and unhealthy church that the application seemed quite

These ideas are expressed in terms of contrasts. Interestingly, the environment for the Israelites in Egypt
changed from being healthy to unhealthy and abusive, and this can often happen in unhealthy or abusive
churches as well.

           Healthy                                         Unhealthy or Abusive
         A place of blessing and refuge for those in      A place of slavery. A place people want to
         need. A place people want to go. Lives are       leave. Lives are embittered.
         Benevolent leadership genuinely concerned        Malevolent leadership concerned about
         about the welfare of those it leads.             control over those it leads.
         Leadership concerned about loyalty to the        Leadership concerned about the loyalty of the
         people.                                          people.
         Devotes the system to meet the needs of the      Exploits the legitimate needs of people for its
         people.                                          own ends.
         Leadership builds up the people.                 Leadership tears down the people.
         Healthy structure established for order and      Unhealthy structure established to control the
         taking care of the people. Whole structure       people. "In" groups, rivalries, favoritism,
         works for the good of all.                       rewards and punishments to ensure loyalty to
                                                          the leadership and system.
         Leadership is secure, welcomes outsiders.        Leadership is paranoid, afraid of outsiders
                                                          and disloyal members.
         Contributions made willingly                     Contributions made under compulsion.
         The good of all is what matters.                 The system and one's position in it are what
         The system serves the people.                    The people serve the system.
         Leaders serve the people.                        Leaders control the people.
         Hardships related to the task at hand.           Hardships arbitrary, inflicted by the
         Negative aspects of system discussed and         Negative aspects of system silenced. People
         corrected for the good of the people. People     who identify problems are viewed as a threat.
         who identify problems are put in a position to   They are marginalized and stigmatized and
         address these needs for the good of all.         cast out of the system..
         Welcomes helpful changes.                        Resists changes.
         Prayers of thanksgiving and praise.              Prayers of anguish and pain.
         God leads people to go there.                    God leads people to leave there.

Based upon my own experiences, I have made the following observations about
unhealthy and abusive church situations:

1. Institutional Pride: The system is never the problem. If something goes good, the
system gets credit for it. But if something goes bad, the system is not at fault, but rather
some individual gets blamed for it. If anyone identifies problems with the system, that
person will be marginalized, put down and discredited. Nobody is good enough to
criticize the system. The church may consider itself the best church or perhaps the One
True Church, meaning no others are saved. However, when pressed about its own
shortcomings, the group may reluctantly admit that "no church is perfect" and say it is
"changing," but do substantive changes that would improve the health of the group ever
take place?

2. Exploitative: The system uses the people, often abusing them with harsh and
demanding treatment. People serve the system and its agenda, not God. Though
deliberate efforts are made to make the group meetings appear "fired-up" or joyful, on
the inside the people feel sad and trapped.

3. Leader-centric. Because leaders are the custodians of the system, they are
considered superior and often isolate themselves from the members. Leaders usually
lead by control and authority, not by nurturing or humble service. Getting closer to the
leaders relationally or in the leadership "pyramid" is a goal and sign of advancement in
the system; real spirituality and spiritual growth may not be important objectives at all.
Subordinate leaders may be more genuine in their faith and approach, but they can be
replaced at any time. Look at the highest levels of leadership to see the true values of
the church.

4. Manipulative. The objective of leaders is to advance the system, not to do what is
best for individuals. Thus, leadership direction that is given to members is biased
towards what is best for the system, not the individual. For example, members may be
discouraged from moving simply because the leader loses stature (and maybe even his
position or salary) if his membership decreases. Leaders may use a call for "unity" to
insist that everyone participate in some event or action, warping the Scriptural idea of
unity. Failing to conform will lead to shaming and charges of being "independent,"
"unteachable" or "not a real disciple." Leaders may draw people close to them with
encouragement one minute, then tell them they are terrible the next. This is a control
ritual that is designed to make people perform in order to get the praise of the
leadership. But alas, the member can never do enough to guarantee that praise; no
matter what he does the leader can find something wrong with it if he is so inclined.

5. Dishonest: The system does not communicate straight. Communications are
ambiguous, events are "spun" the way the leadership wants to present them. Pertinent
information is hidden from members. Straight answers are not given; different people
may be told different things. Dishonesty may show up in deceptive recruiting or leaving
incorrect but favorable impressions uncorrected. Finances may be kept secret, with
misleading financial statements that hide where the money really goes. There might be
front organizations and secret doctrines or practices that are not normally revealed to
outsiders. Frankly, there is so much dishonesty in unhealthy and abusive churches that
people may not even know they are being dishonest. The ability to "spin" things to make
the system look better or to get people to conform becomes a second language to
6. Law or Performance Orientation. This is not the normal obedience that accompanies
Christian faith (Romans 1:5), but a whole system where certain behaviors are rewarded
and others are punished. Rewards may include salaries, perks, position or status in the
system. It is true that there is right and wrong behavior in Christianity; the problem with
an unhealthy system is that they have a closely-held subset of values superimposed
upon Scriptural Christian values. Other virtues go ignored or might even be punished,
and other sins may be ignored or even encouraged. This may even result in a "poisoned
well" where even good things become corrupt at the motive level because the
perception of performance is so important. For example, members may want to convert
people in order to advance in the system, not so that converts will be saved. Members
might read the Bible daily so they can say they did it if challenged, not because they are
actually wanting to learn something. Actions in unhealthy and abusive churches are
eventually motivated by selfish ambition, compulsion, guilt or the desire to avoid trouble
with leaders, not by faith, love, grace or concern about God. The possibility of being
shamed publicly or in front of one's peers for any failure manipulates people to work
their hardest in doing what the leaders tell them and to avoid getting on their bad side.

7. Thwarts Individual Growth: The objective of the system is to glorify the system and
maintain dependency upon the leadership, not to train members into mature spiritual
adults. Unhealthy systems continue to treat even mature Christians as though they were
children. The system short-cuts growth by demanding certain behaviors without concern
for the correct motivation or spiritual depth. Then it points to that behavior to glorify itself.

There is a kernel of truth behind almost all abuses, and churches are good at using
certain Scriptures to support their positions. The problem isn't the kernel of truth, the
problem is when these things get out of balance or get warped to an extreme. These
problems may not be seen until a system is in place for several years and its long-term
fruit is seen in the destruction of people that have been a part of the system. Unhealthy
churches may have problems with some of these issues I've discussed. Abusive
churches will have more severe, deliberate and intransigent problems with these issues.

Evaluating Your Church

One way to evaluate your church is to consider how many of the various unhealthy or
abusive traits are present in your church, and to what degree and length of time they
have been present. Another might be to ask questions like these:

  * What did you spend your time on this week with regards to the group?
  * Did you really want to do it, or did you do it only because you were told to do it?
  * Did you do it for some ulterior motive, such as receiving praise from others or
  * What would have happened if you didn't do it? Would you have been shamed or
gotten in trouble?
  * Were you ashamed of what you did?
  * How would you feel if your parents, siblings, co-workers or peers outside of the
group saw it? How          would you feel if it was broadcast on the evening news?
  * Did you manipulate anyone? Did anyone manipulate you?
  * Did you "filter" anything from a higher-up to a subordinate?
  * Do you see problems with the system? Do you have any way to bring these up and
have them taken        seriously?
  * Do you find yourself making statements and positions of the leadership more
palatable for others?
  * Do you really want others to have what you have concerning your church?
  * What is your chief frustration with the system? What do you think can be done to
make it better?

The interested reader can even add things to this list.

One might consider writing down the "good points" and "bad points" in terms of the
health of the church, perhaps using some of these guidelines above for ideas. These
items should be ordered in terms of their importance to you. This way, you can see the
most important elements on the "good" and "bad" side of things.

Don't worry about the ramifications of your evaluation at this stage. Try not to consider
the opinions and perspectives of others at this stage either. This is your evaluation,
what do you think?

What Do You Do If Your Group is Unhealthy or Abusive?

Do the "good" things outweigh the "bad" things for you? Only you can make this

You might make this evaluation and find many bad things, but that the good outweighs
the bad for you. That's OK-- that's your decision and evaluation, and you can be secure
that you came to that conclusion after an honest evaluation.

But what if the bad outweighs the good? Now what do you do? I'd suggest reading
Scriptures that address these issues, and praying that God would help you know what
to do and how to do it.
As far as I can tell, you have three options:

  1. You can ignore what you know, ignore your feelings and conscience, and maintain
the status quo.       Keep going to your church.
  2. You can confront the "bad" issues by speaking with leaders and attempting to make
  3. You can look for another church that better reflects your own values.

There are pros and cons to each of these options, though a more extensive discussion
of these options is beyond the scope of this article.

On looking for a new church, this is beyond the scope of this article. However, most
churches provide a statement of beliefs and values on a church website or on brochures
readily available at the building. Further, you can choose to visit other churches,
perhaps during alternate service times, while you continue with your existing church.
You can also speak with ministers from these churches if desired. This can give you a
good basis to see if there are other churches that will better reflect your values and

What is important at this stage is to tell yourself the truth about your own church-- is it
unhealthy, abusive or cultic for you?

Copyright © 2005 John Engler. All rights reserved.

Entire article belongs to John Engler.
Taken from and used with permission.
The names of people discussed in this site have been changed to protect the innocent. Any similarities to actual persons, either living or
dead, are merely coincidental. The events discussed in this site happened at a Vineyard church that we once attended. We have tried our
best to relate these events in an informative, impartial way. We have also provided links to outside sites that appeared credible and useful:
these sites belong to others and we offer them only as additional resources and have no control over their content.This site is intended for
informative purposes and is not meant to be definitive; you are encouraged to conduct further research on your own. Each individual church
or organization, whether Vineyard or otherwise, should be considered separately according to its own merits. Following the links provided in
this site may direct you to sites for which we are not responsible; choosing to visit these links is done at your own discretion. Use of this
website acknowledges that stoptheblight is for informational purposes, only, and does not provide information as if a licensed professional.
The site is based on personal experience and/or research, may contain errors or omissions, and is provided completely on an as-is basis
with no warranties expressed or implied. Visitors to this site accept full responsibility for its use. Use of this site implies acceptance that the
site's creator and relatives are free from any liability or claim.

related keywords: bible study, vineyard website, fellowship, ministries, spiritual mentoring, spiritual gifts, biblical prophecy, vineyard, church,
leadership, biblical studies, vineyard ministry, biblical evangelism, healing spiritual, leadership consulting, abuse, the vineyard, ministries,
ministry, bible, pastor, spiritual abuse
"Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field
into a desolate wasteland." Jeremiah 12:10
"Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" Galatians 4:16

We attended this Vineyard Church from 2001 until 2006. During this time we
watched leadership positions change hands numerous times.

First, the Missions Leader was promoted and given his own church; he now is
the Senior Pastor of another Vineyard. Next, the Youth Pastor and his wife (I
believe she worked as a bookkeeper and secretary as well as with the youth)

Then the Church Counselor retired. A secretary and receptionist were
replaced, and the couple who replaced the former Youth Ministers also
resigned (it now appears that they have planted a new church). The church
was on Youth Pastor number three when we left.

The Worship Pastor went to work at another Vineyard Church, and soon the
Second Worship Pastor moved on to plant his own church. This church is now
on Worship Pastor number three.

Finally, the Children's Pastor stepped down. Since the "resignation" this
person has had to relocate due to finances several times and works as a
substitute rather than obtaining full-time employment despite the fact that this
person is bilingual and holds a Bachelor's degree. The list goes on and on.

There are only two of the original staff from 2001 that remain. Ironically, these
are the very pastors that we met with prior to sending our letter—the Senior
Pastor and the Non-English Pastor.

                                         NEWLY HIRED


                                       (and New Volunteers)
  First Youth   First Worship Pastor   First Pastor of Business   First Church    First    First Non-English
     Pastor                                     Administration         Counselor    Receptionist        Worship Leader
   First Youth      Second Worship Pastor     Second Non-English                   First Secretary   Non-English Worship
  Pastor‘s Wife                                 WorshipLeader                                          Team Members
 Second Youth         Mission‘s Director     Second Non-English                                        First Non-English
    Pastor                                  Administrative Assistant                                    Administrative
 Second Youth         First Life Group        Third Youth Pastor                                       Multiple English
 Pastor‘s Wife      (Small Group) Pastor                                                               Worship Team
 First Children‘s                             Second Maintenance                                       Marriage/Couple‘s
      Pastor                                        Person                                           Class Leaders/Mentors
     First                                     Second Secretary                                         Multiple Other
  Maintenance                                 Second Receptionist                                        Volunteers
                                             Third Worship Pastor
                                            SecondChurch Counselor
                                            Second Children‘s Pastor
                                              Second Life Group
                                             (Small Group) Pastor
                                             English Worship Team
                                             Non-English Worship
                                               Team Members

Most of the Worship Team Members, Sunday School Teachers, Children's Church Assistants, and
other such positions were filled by unpaid volunteers. The Second Church Counselor is known
instead as the Healing Minister—it is our understanding that this is because he holds no
counseling degree.

Many private emails passed between us and the pastors (and leaders) who
chose to maintain an Internet presence. Some would have it believed that we
did not follow biblical principals before sending the letter. But we did. We
chose not to make the prior attempts at resolution, public. We kept all
communication documented, but we have not even provided it here. When we
spoke with the Senior Pastor because the apologies appeared to be spoken
words only (rarely did actions follow) he seemed reluctant to accept what we
had to say and did not read the information that we provided for him on disk
(we included the Non-English Pastor in this meeting because we attended
mostly the Non-English services while our child attended the only available
children's and youth programs at the English services). The confrontation that
is listed under the "What Led To The Letter" link was the final straw that broke
the donkey's back, so to speak. It is what led to the inability to have a second

Following are Leadership Internet Quotes That Were Available Online At One Time or
Note: There seems to be a constant effort to eliminate such quotes through
deletion; we have them preserved on CD.
I just like being right!

You mess with mine, I'll mess with you. In my opinion it's the same as
breaking into my house with ill intent. I'll establish your intent, and if ill,
then I'm blowing you to kingdom come.

As a self-professed non-Christian, how have you come to possess
sufficient spiritual knowledge and discernment that you presume to
lecture Christian ministers on what is and is not Christian

It’s absolutely paranoia or maybe something worse. You go ask your FBI
friend how hiding your name from bloggers is going to keep you safe -
like nobody can find out your NAME? Maybe I should just post it FOR
you - or would that be like water on the wicked witch of the East? No, I
think your lame excuse is nothing more than fear of disclosure and a
fear of being known.

That's it, you just agree or disagree? Any ideas of your own?

I think we’d be stretching things to try to say what is “vineyard theology”
since there is no congruency of schooling, university, seminary, etc.
among Vineyard pastors. Therefore you have some OVTers, some
Westlayan, some Arminian, some Reformed (3-5 point Calvinists), etc.

It must be a nice feeling... to be able to speak in such absolutes like that.

This young man had been struggling with the issue of homosexuality
“his whole life” and he was not completely convinced that this lifestyle
was a sin. I had been talking with him, and over several discussions we
had agreed to continue our talks. My presentation of the Gospel was not
about whether or not homosexuality for him was a sin, but whether or
not he was living a life full of brokenness that Jesus could change
dramatically if he would just take those first few baby steps.

This is why AOL has come up with so many different "smiley faces"...
Because you cannot truly guage intent via the written word.

Welcome to my new blog... the vague sense of joining a movement... and
attempting to be profound when it’s really more an exercise in nihilistic
egotism than anything else.
I am so egomaniacal that I am now blogging.

Sex is GREAT! I love it. On a strictly visceral level it is amazing. It is not,
however, something I find my identity in, whether I’m copulating with a
man or a woman.

“This God could help, if he wanted.” Equated with this statement is the
idea that this God exercises his Sovereignty in a way that is better
defined as Meticulous Control. This God commands with a meticulous
control over every aspect of the universe great and small. Cosmic
catastrophes and apparent mishaps. Marriage unions and divorce filings.
The refreshing rain that fell on this city the last few days as well as
Hurricane Ivan that flattened Florida last year. Lotto winners and fatal
car wrecks that kill mothers and children. It reminds me of the theology
of Van Halen who, in their video “Right Now”, flashed the phrase across
the screen: “Right now, God is killing moms and dogs because he has

I think God does need us like water. I think in a very real sense a part of
him dies when we do not engage in relationship with him.

That guy weirds me out. He looks creepy and makes me want to vomit.

This whole thing makes me sick. To redirect this back to the topic of
your post (hint, hint) —the topic was strippers, strip clubs, stripping— I find it
really interesting that there is such a cultural difference between the
States and the UK in this area. Until you spoke to the differences, I really
was assuming the jobs were more identical than they now appear to be.
Of course, even if they were more identical that wouldn't change the fact
that you appear to be a nice, polite, caring, and intelligent person I
would enjoy hanging out with. If you ever come to visit we shall all have
to have a nice dinner together...

Instead of telling her that sinning is bad in the eyes God, I believe Jesus
exemplifies a slightly different angle. I believe scripture to show teach
us that right living (i.e. living that is in line with God's design) comes
from a right heart (a heart that is submitted to Him). To call her to right
living, while her heart is not submitted to God is to get the cart before
the horse, in my opinion. I want her to come to know Jesus... then the
stripping can really more fully be addressed in light of her heart being
submitted to God. To simply tell her that stripping is wrong does
nothing but absolve me of the tension that she might be perceiving me
to condone her activity, in my opinion.

Written to a stripper: As a believer in Jesus, I make it a point to never
judge another person for the choices they make in life. That being said,
it really irritates me when the self-righteous, Jimmy Swaggart wanna-bes
come out of the wood-work to tout what they believe "God" is telling
them to say. It pisses me off because Jesus would never try to
embarrass someone or make them feel excluded or evil. Jesus came to
earth to draw people to Him as they are. He did not call people names or
exploit them to lift Himself up and make Himself look better. It is within
this relationship with the most high God that we find meaning and
purpose in our lives and only within the context of that relationship are
we to listen to the "ONE" voice in regard to making changes regarding
our lifestyle or other defining criteria. Nobody has the right to tell you
how to live, lest they be in relationship with you and you have invited
them to do so. And even in that situation there is something called
"tact." This is really a pet peeve of mine -- self-professed Christians who
are so concerned with picking the speck out of others eyes, that they
don't see the plank in their own eyes. Keep on keeping on.

"Revealing the grace of God to everyone I meet." You are such a liar. All
you reveal is hatred and prejudice. You are the perfect tool of Satan that
pushes people AWAY from Christ. You are a hater. I'm ashamed of
people like you. It's no wonder that it took a super hero like Jesus to die
on the cross for all of us, even you. You should repent from your hateful

It seems that while he says he's not up for arguing, he's not up for
conversing either. Pity, that. It appears he's traded in his WWJD charm
for WW_D.

"Banning" conjures images of censorship. I'm not trying to be a censor
just a good housekeeper.

Again, this is not a hoax, this if for real. It is pathetic, but it is true. Won’t
you please consider helping me raise money for this special celebration
of my birthday? Any funds over what I estimate I will need for the ink-
work (the money was for a tattoo) will be donated to the Red Cross for
Hurricane Katrina Relief. Won’t you please consider donating?
*blue text was edited to protect identity or to add clarification and is not part of
the original quote
The names of people discussed in this site have been changed to protect the innocent. Any similarities to actual persons, either living or
dead, are merely coincidental. The events discussed in this site happened at a Vineyard church that we once attended. We have tried our
best to relate these events in an informative, impartial way. We have also provided links to outside sites that appeared credible and useful:
these sites belong to others and we offer them only as additional resources and have no control over their content.This site is intended for
informative purposes and is not meant to be definitive; you are encouraged to conduct further research on your own. Each individual church
or organization, whether Vineyard or otherwise, should be considered separately according to its own merits. Following the links provided in
this site may direct you to sites for which we are not responsible; choosing to visit these links is done at your own discretion.Use of this
website acknowledges that stoptheblight is for informational purposes, only, and does not provide information as if a licensed professional.
The site is based on personal experience and/or research, may contain errors or omissions, and is provided completely on an as-is basis
with no warranties expressed or implied. Visitors to this site accept full responsibility for its use. Use of this site implies acceptance that the
site's creator and relatives are free from any liability or claim.

related keywords: bible study, vineyard website, fellowship, ministries, spiritual mentoring, spiritual gifts, biblical prophecy, vineyard, church,
leadership, biblical studies, vineyard ministry, biblical evangelism, healing spiritual, leadership consulting, abuse, the vineyard, ministries,
ministry, bible, pastor, spiritual abuse

"Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field
into a desolate wasteland." Jeremiah 12:10
"Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" Galatians 4:16

An ongoing exchange at one time existed online for all to read between me
and the pastor in question. When I copied only the words we had exchanged
(both online and in the mentioned emails) into a Word document, it became
apparent that 5523 words had passed between us. Yet in the email below, he
states that we‘ve never ever spoken about anything beyond superficial

It was my family's experience that, at the Vineyard we attended, written
communication was often dismissed as not being a true form of
communication. We now understand that verbal communication is preferred
since written communication leaves a paper trail whereas verbal
communication can be denied.

Shortly after the exchange below, we sent the same letter to Vineyard USA,
and also to the Desert Stream Ministries. Both letters were sent as certified
mail and were signed for. A summary of the letter can be read, along with
Vineyard USA's response, under the ―Our Story‖ link. We never received a
response from those at the Desert Stream Ministries (ministries include Living
Waters, Salt, CrossCurrent, and the River).
The Healing Minister had this to say at his blog:

I greet my 5 PM appointment at the top of the stairs of the church offices, and walk her
down to my office. She comes in and takes a seat on my couch.

She is wearing a blouse that is low cut enough and loose enough for me to notice her
black lace push-up bra and her ample breasts, all without taking my eyes off of her face.
The way she sat down, and the length of her skirt, exposes enough of her thigh to show
the top of her thigh-high hose, and the bottom of the garter that holds them up. I wonder
where else she has been today dressed like this. Maybe it's just my issues (guys, help
me out here) but to me it's just as effective as having large red arrows pointing at her
cleavage, and her upper thigh that have captions reading CHECK THIS OUT. AM I

She is here for some form of pastoral care. Honestly, I am not feeling that I am in jeopardy of
being seduced by this woman; not even close. There's a certain pity welling up in me. But I am
feeling disrespected; and certainly distracted. Does she think I'm stupid? Is she testing my self-
control? Is she looking for more than her phone request said? Does she think I'm blind?

I give her the pastoral advise she came for, along with scripture and prayer, and cordially see
her back to the stairway.

I walk back to my office with the question in my mind, "What the heck was that?". I do not
fantasize some sexual liason with this woman, though some lame demon may throw that
temptation my way. No, I just feel slimed. I drive home and tell my wife about it (without telling
her who it was, cuz she would personalize it). She prays for God's washing, and I'm fine.

SATURATED CULTURE. But shouldn't brothers and sisters in Christ be aware of what the other
gender does that feels seductive and defrauding? And how do we do that unless we talk about it

My Response, now deleted, but once on the blog:
My first instinct here is...
Red Flag goes up...
do you not see the red flag?

Should a woman, regardless of how she is dressed, be alone in a room with a man while the
door is shut? One of the first things taught to those who plan to be involved in any form of
education is never to be alone with a student—either sex—unless the blinds are open and the
door is as well.

My second observation would be that after having attended the church where this took place for
more than four years, can it be assumed that this woman was, in fact, a Christian? I was
consistently reminded that many people attending this church are not Christians or are very new
Christians. You do not have to be a Christian to request counseling.

Thirdly, if this woman happened to read this blog entry, she might consider it to be a breach of
confidentiality. What if someone from the church met her on the street prior to this meeting and
did not realize she was headed in for counseling? Maybe she would not want people to know
she had sought out counseling, and even if her name is unmentioned, if she attends the church
in similar attire, now she might fear all is known.

Also, I know of at least three pastors who were counseling young women on their own and who
either had affairs with these women or completely left their wives for them. I would not blame
the woman who needed counseling in these cases for "causing her brother or sister to stumble,"
although it is a valid point that we should not. I would blame the man for not realizing his
limitations. Maybe he would have done better to include his wife in on the sessions, referring the
woman to another counselor, or having a woman counsel the woman instead.

The Healing Minister emailed me the following:
Subject: BLOCKED

I am writing you because of your comments on my blog. I have heard from others that you have
problems with my tactics and my theology. Maybe because of this you have trust issues with me,
but I find that curious since we‘ve never ever spoken about anything beyond superficial

If you are critical of anything I‘m doing, you would be best served speaking directly to me about
it. If ―you have ought against‖ me, please feel free to contact me directly at said phone number,
and I‘ll be glad to meet with you to discuss anything you may have a problem with me about. I
look forward to your call.

Always in Christ,
said pastor

To Which I Responded By Emailing the Entire        Staff (a few of the pastors would joke, almost
weekly, about how we had been discussed at the weekly meeting but not to worry since there
were only good things to say—we, of course, were not present at these meetings):

Subject: Re: BLOCKED

Dear Leadership Staff,

To prevent misunderstandings due to "hearing things from others" I am emailing this
response to you all. I am attaching related documents for your viewing as well.

Said Pastor wrote: "I have heard from others that you have problems with my tactics
and my theology." It is interesting that said pastor contends that he has heard such
things from others. Attached is a web log entry that was posted online by another of
your pastors at his website along with the comments that were made concerning this
web log entry. It is quite apparent that I do not agree with said pastor's philosophy if you
read this document in full.

Also attached are the comments I made at said pastor's website. My comment, now
deleted from the online version of this web entry, is the last. Again, I believe this states
quite clearly what my beliefs are. I did not intend to imply that said pastor's tactics were
personally at fault. I was stating a general truth based on past experience and human
nature. I am sorry that said pastor appears to have taken this comment so personally.

Said pastor also wrote: "Maybe because of this you have trust issues with me." I do not
have trust issues with him. I have doctrinal issues with him and have searched the site in an attempt to reconcile statements he has made on the
aforementioned web log with the Vineyard's claims to orthodoxy. I continue to have
problems with his theology.

Since it appears to be common practice for comments to be deleted from web logs and
then users to be blocked who made these comments, I do not believe it to be prudent to
contact you in any way in which I have no witnesses. I prefer authentic accountability.


The Response I Received Was From the Head (Senior) Pastor:

Subject: Theology and Said Pastor

I think I understand that you may see this as a public matter since the communication
occurred on an internet blog. But it is my opinion that in the family of God – especially
when it is the immediate family of which you are a part, any serious concerns or
disagreements are a personal and relational matter. It is necessary to speak directly
and personally to the individual with whom we have issue. Of course we have the
freedom to include our spouse or a trusted friend in the conversation.

I believe you need to speak personally and directly with said pastor to address your
concerns. For that reason I will discourage any of our staff from responding to your
email until you have spoken with said pastor. Your family has been members of our
church and owe it to yourselves and to said pastor and the church to address this as
though among friends and people to whom you have a personal commitment.

Further I think it inappropriate that you have answered said pastor's email to you with a
response to all our staff including the administrative staff. I have learned from my own
mistakes in using email instead of a personal and direct contact how misunderstood our
words can become. More than once I have regretted trying to deal with someone
through email rather than dealing with the person. This is not just about theology or who
said what. This is about people. I care about your family and said pastor and our church.
I will be glad to speak with you about this again AFTER you meet with said pastor.

The Senior Pastor

* All italics represent direct quotes. The words or phrases in blue that are not in
italics were changed to omit personal names or information.*
The names of people discussed in this site have been changed to protect the innocent. Any similarities to actual persons, either living or
dead, are merely coincidental. The events discussed in this site happened at a Vineyard church that we once attended. We have tried our
best to relate these events in an informative, impartial way. We have also provided links to outside sites that appeared credible and useful:
these sites belong to others and we offer them only as additional resources and have no control over their content.This site is intended for
informative purposes and is not meant to be definitive; you are encouraged to conduct further research on your own. Each individual church
or organization, whether Vineyard or otherwise, should be considered separately according to its own merits. Following the links provided in
this site may direct you to sites for which we are not responsible; choosing to visit these links is done at your own discretion.Use of this
website acknowledges that stoptheblight is for informational purposes, only, and does not provide information as if a licensed professional.
The site is based on personal experience and/or research, may contain errors or omissions, and is provided completely on an as-is basis
with no warranties expressed or implied. Visitors to this site accept full responsibility for its use. Use of this site implies acceptance that the
site's creator and relatives are free from any liability or claim.

related keywords: bible study, vineyard website, fellowship, ministries, spiritual mentoring, spiritual gifts, biblical prophecy, vineyard, church,
leadership, biblical studies, vineyard ministry, biblical evangelism, healing spiritual, leadership consulting, abuse, the vineyard, ministries,
ministry, bible, pastor, spiritual abuse

"Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field
into a desolate wasteland." Jeremiah 12:10
"Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" Galatians 4:16

Our Letter:
All names (including ours) and locations (with the exception of the organizations to whom the
letter is addressed) have been altered in the following letter. The circumstances and concerns
within the letter have been left unchanged. At the closing of the letter is a summary of the CD
Documents that the letter refers to (much has since been removed from the Internet and is no
longer available online). We sent the letter certified to each organization. The response from
Vineyard USA follows directly after the summary of CD Documents. We received no response
from Desert Stream Ministries (ministries include Living Waters, Salt, CrossCurrent, and the River).

Desert Stream Ministries
PO Box 9999
Kansas City, MO64134

Vineyard USA
P.O. Box 2089
Stafford, TX77497

To Whom It May Concern:
We did not intend to take this concern to a higher level, but through prayer and consideration we are now
convinced that it is a necessary action. We have recently left a local Vineyard Church after an attendance
of more than four years.

During our time at this Vineyard, we have served in many capacities. Together we led worship as one of
the worship teams for the children‘s ministry and also formed and led a children‘s choir. James played
keyboards occasionally for the non-English worship service and met almost weekly with the Senior Pastor
for the last two years, teaching him this second language. Occasionally James volunteered as an
assistant to Jennifer as a teacher in Sunday School, as well.

Jennifer served as both substitute and regular Sunday School teacher as needed, as Communion
Sunday volunteer, and as a volunteer administrator to the children‘s ministry (phone calls, email, bulletin
inserts, flyers, banners, and organizational charts or lists).

We are writing to ask you to hold this Vineyard Church accountable to the principles of God that your
organizations represent. We met previously with the Senior Pastor and the Non-English Pastor
concerning the issues we will raise in this letter. Each was provided a CD containing relevant information
to the issues we raised during this meeting and we had planned to meet again within a month.
Circumstances have changed and this meeting is no longer possible.

This Vineyard is a ―Dysfunctional Church‖ (see CD documents 1-4). We will outline the basis for this
statement in the paragraphs that follow. It is our concern that, if left uncorrected, this church has the
potential to do great harm in the furthering of the Kingdom of God and to hinder or prevent healing to
those who seek it.

During our conversation with the Senior Pastor and Non-English Pastor, we raised a concern for the
many people we have seen leave the church throughout our stay. We asked if anyone contacts these
people once they leave to insure that any related issues have been addressed. The Senior Pastor
avoided this question by instead immediately directing attention toward another church member that has
also left the church. He tried to shift the blame to those who leave rather than accept responsibility.

We saw this as inappropriately compromising confidentiality. Although we are friends with this person,
it should not have been assumed that this person had confided in us. We told him that we were not
speaking of this person and directed the conversation onward.

Also, when the Senior Pastor summarized the meeting, he boiled it down to us having been offended by
the Worship Director. We assured him that the Worship Director has not offended us. We reminded him
that our concern involved the teachings available at the Worship Director‘s website since he and the
Healing Minister do not conceal their identities (see CD document 5). The Healing Minister also posts his
philosophical teachings at the Youth Leader‘s website (see CD document 6). Both the Non-English Pastor
and The Senior Pastor have repeatedly admitted that they have never visited these blogs (unknown to us
at the time, we have now learned that the Senior Pastor did have a Xanga account prior to our sending
this letter).

The Worship Director appears to hold the position as scapegoat within this church. All other discussed
concerns and names were ignored as blame was placed on the Worship Director. But the Worship
Director is responsible to the Senior Pastor; it is the Senior Pastor‘s obligation to hold his associates

There is also a flawed system of accountability among this Vineyard‘s leaders. Although we presented
the Non-English Pastor and the Senior Pastor each with the abovementioned CD (that contains
documentation supporting our claim that leaders are promoting incorrect doctrinal positions via the
Internet), blogging continues and remains unchecked. We suggested that disclaimers be posted at
leadership sites that would make it immediately clear that their views were not to be equated with the
views of the Vineyard.

The Worship Director began with a website at which later evolved into an additional website.
His immediate website postings have subsided for the moment, although he does continue to comment at
others. The Healing Minister also has a website at He continues to post questionable material,
some of which might be considered confidential (see CD documents 7-18).

From conversations with the Non-English Pastor, as well as in an email from the Senior Pastor, it is
obvious that they do not understand the power of the Internet or the concept of blogging (see CD
documents 19-20). The Senior Pastor states, ―This is not just about theology or who said what. This is
about people‖ (see CD document 19).

We agree; ―This is about people‖–it‘s about people being deceived by false doctrine. Open View Theology
is heretical; it is a ―dangerous continuation of doubt in God and His Word that began in the Garden of
Eden and has coursed through man‘s history ever since‖ (see CD document 21). ―Most modern
philosophers agree with the majority position of the church in affirming that if God perfectly knows the
future, the future is settled and certain. The Bible certainly presents God as knowing the future, and in
control of events as well as the final end of all things‖ (see CD document 22). Open View Theology is a
reworking of the truth so it will fit into man’s limited perceptions.

We have also witnessed this reworking of the truth in the relationships we have had with church leaders
at this Vineyard. When the leaders are confronted with questions, each gives the prepared answers that
they have been instructed to give. Much of the time these prepared statements only contain a fragment of
the truth. This appears to be done with the desire to protect the church’s public image.

A seemingly harmless example of this would be when Jennifer was told not to call certain parents since
they were already serving the church in other capacities and would not be available to volunteer. When
Jennifer would call these parents to ask if they still wished to receive email from the children‘s department,
most were surprised that she had been instructed not to call.

It was not unusual for these parents to contradict the leadership staff by saying that they would prefer that
Jennifer continue to call because they did wish to be involved when it was possible for them to do so; they
would just say no if they could not serve. To request that these parents not be called appears to have
been a way to justify why it was standard practice not to call the paid staff who had children as their
attendance at the adult service was perceived as imperative, even when one or both might actually be
available to serve for the children.

This is not a he says, she says issue as the Senior Pastor would have it portrayed. Rather than
researching to investigate the truth, he and the Non-English Pastor, among others, are choosing to
remain ignorant of the Internet and choosing to believe what they are told by the Worship Director and the
Healing Minister–a perception that contradicts what they have written on their blogs (see CD documents
23-26). This results in unity being defined as conformity.

Because the Senior Pastor chooses the leaders (rather than allowing member input), the leaders
misconstrue loyalty to mean there can be no differing views. They are expected to cast their
perfunctory votes. This implied loyalty results in trusting any staff member (or leader) above church
members, all without investigation. The public image that the correct choices were made outweighs the
desire for truth or biblical reproof; to admit publicly that a leader choice may not have been the best
choice is to admit that mistakes can be made and thus possibly upset the desired public image.

Verbal communication can be misconstrued more easily than can written communication and is more
likely to produce emotional outbursts and misunderstandings (James 3). Yet it is standard practice for the
leadership staff to insist on verbal communication over that of written. In his email, the Senior Pastor says
he will ―discourage any of our staff from responding to your email until you have spoken with the Healing
Minister‖ (see CD document 19). There exists an implied rule through this statement. People within this
church environment are discouraged from asking questions or making waves. The tone from the
church‘s Senior Pastor in this email is not to gather the facts but is instead to shut down and censure
the person who has raised a complaint. An effort is made to censor the person who raised a concern.

This censorship is mirrored in the blogging behavior of both the Worship Director and the Healing
Minister. An anonymous Internet user at says (in reference to the Worship Director and former
Youth Pastor), ―Okay, just as I reluctantly believed, I have been blocked‖ (see CD document 27).

The subject of the email from the Healing Minister to Jennifer is ―BLOCKED‖ (see CD document 19). This
is a blogging term (see CD document 20) that means you can no longer post comments to that person‘s
blog. His very first sentence in the email verifies that this is what he meant: ―I am writing you because of
your comments on my blog.‖

The respectable thing to do is to answer a comment at the blog if you disagree with it. Most people do not
delete comments or block others unless profanity is used, the comment is disrespectful to people posting
at the blog, an unfit website link is offered, inappropriate pictures are used, or the person refuses to agree
to disagree. You can read the blogging entry that the Healing Minister made and the comment Jennifer
made and decide for yourself if it seemed inappropriate (see CD document 28).

It is disturbing that the Healing Minister claims ―we‘ve never ever spoken about anything beyond
superficial greetings‖ (see CD document 19). Almost 9,000 written words passed among just the five
people (the Worship Director, the Healing Minister, Jennifer, James, and the Senior Pastor) in CD
document 29. If you reduce these writings to only those of the Healing Minister and Jennifer (see CD
document 30), more than 5,500 words were exchanged–more than 3,500 of those words were written by
the Healing Minister. The majority of these written words (more than 5,000) is publicly available on the
Internet (see CD document 31) and has been read by members of the church.

The email response to the Healing Minister from Jennifer was sent to the ten staff members purposely—
first to accentuate that a blog is like an open letter to the Internet world (ten staff members plus Jennifer
and James read the email but millions have access to the Internet blog), and secondly, to refute the
slander that the Healing Minister implied when he said, ―I have heard from others that you have problems
with my tactics and my theology‖ (see CD document 19).

As can be seen (see CD documents 5,6 and 28), the Healing Minister could read publicly, for himself,
what Jennifer thought of his tactics and theology. Also, if he did hear anything from others, then
confidentiality is compromised within this church, just as it seemed to be in the aforementioned

Jennifer spoke confidentially to three people concerning the topic of the Healing Minister; the rest of what
she had to say existed publicly on the Internet. The three people that she confided in were the Children‘s
Director, the Senior Pastor, and the Non-English Pastor; all three are church leaders and confidentiality is
implied by the positions they hold. But personal email from Jennifer to the Children‘s Director has been
compromised; The Senior Pastor has spoken to James about subjects Jennifer has confided only by
email to the Children‘s Director.

The Senior Pastor would have his staff believe that this is not a ―public matter‖ and that ―any serious
concerns or disagreements are a personal and relational matter‖ (see CD document 19). But the matter is
public. All exists on the Internet for anyone to see. It is interesting that he refers to the concerns as
―serious‖ but so obviously ignores the documentation on the CD he was presented with: he demonstrates
no real understanding of this issue.
Further problems within the church were raised at the meeting. We wished to convey the strong demand
that is placed upon the Children‘s Director and insisted she should have her own hired assistant.

Jennifer worked in the children‘s department for most of the time that we attended this Vineyard. There is
little support provided in this area of the church. Church leaders rarely serve in this department, except
for the Children‘s Director, herself, and only occasionally do they appear as special speakers. It is our
belief that the leaders should be the first to set an example of service. Yet it is our observation that
church obligations outweigh family obligations.

It is not uncommon as the children of the leaders grow nearer to becoming youths that they either are
given responsibilities that require them to serve during the adult services or they wander aimlessly rather
than attending classes with their peers. The younger children attend their classes, often during both
services, even when these services are the same. We have also observed some of the leader‘s children
attending their older siblings‘ classes in an attempt to seem older or gain recognition.

While serving for this department, only about one-third of the parents who had children ages four to sixth
grade volunteered their time or skills. This often led to burnout among the parents and others who
volunteered. Jennifer suggested that a list be made so that at least Communion Sundays would have the
necessary volunteers; if each family had just one parent serve, few would need to serve more than once
per year for Communion Sunday.

The church leaders insisted that it was wrong to make volunteering mandatory although having a list
would have greatly reduced the work of those representing the children‘s department. This same attitude
presented itself concerning almost anything the children‘s department undertook. We could not even
make just seven practices mandatory for the children‘s choir when it performed (see CD documents 32-

The Children‘s Director was often also required to move a planned event in preference to an
unplanned event that would center around the main church. This same disrespect is present in the
manner in which the Non-English congregation is treated, as well. A recent planned celebration, although
replacing the children‘s annual party, was not only moved from its original planned date, but then also had
a conflict introduced by those planning a different last-minute event; they decided to require a mandatory
practice on this same day. Mandatory went from being forbidden to acceptable (see CD document

Recently these non-English members were told to choose a new meeting time to accommodate the
increase the main church had suffered due to the 40 Days Of Purpose program (see CD document 35).
Each non-English member was to vote for the three best provided options, numbering them from one to
three, one being the most preferred. The times provided would not only shorten the non-English service
but would insure that nearby parking spaces would be available to those attending the main church while
possibly causing inconvenience for those attending the non-English service.

In addition, although the church has expressed financial concerns, the solutions appear to make little
sense. It was decided that the Worship Director would take on added responsibility when another staff
member resigned since the church had been considering a reduction in staff for some time. Yet the
church then created a new position and hired on a pastor of Business Administration.

It has also been discussed that the church should sell some of the houses that it owns due to this
financial need. Yet when Jennifer suggested that one bilingual service could save money by combining
the main church services into one service that would also include the non-English members, the idea
was not even considered. Two English services have not truly been necessary for quite some time but
we were told that to close one would be moving backward rather than forward.
Yet a bilingual service is actually a radical move forward in a direction toward the diversity that this
Vineyard claims to seek. An additional building would no longer be required each Sunday, reducing
overhead expenses, and the need for an extra hour or two of heating or cooling to the main and children‘s
buildings could also be eliminated.

It has become apparent that the salaried leadership staff controls this Vineyard and is not open to
suggestions or correction from those who attend the church. When confronted, each leader repeats the
prepared statements that they are told to adhere to and redirects the subject of focus. Because we cannot
conscientiously enable the dysfunctional behavior we have observed at this church, we can no longer
continue to support the direction of this church‘s ministry. It is also evident that there is no room for
compromise or healthy discussion and that our only option was to leave this church (see CD document

Since our departure, we have been approached by a number of people who also no longer attend this
church. We have promised these people discretion and will not breach the confidence they have placed in

Some of these people have experienced similar situations to what we have also experienced firsthand
and have reported throughout this letter. Some have attended Living Waters or other offered healing
programs, only to face attack as they become healthy. There have been reports of complete violations
of confidentiality among the church leaders and accountability partners.

Others have discovered that as they begin to define healthy boundaries, they are rejected for not
remaining loyal to the church. This has shaken their trust in others. Confidences have been exposed in
an attempt to control these people once they begin to question or make waves.

As they discover their secrets are known by people who were not in their healing groups, they enter into a
new need for healing. It is only the faithfulness of God that has sustained them and given them the ability
to risk trusting others once again. We entreat your organizations to hold this church accountable.


Jennifer and James

Summary of CD Documents:
A Folder Entitled Meeting CD 01-06-2006 that contained documentation presented at the

Document 01: Fifteen Characteristics Of A Dysfunctional Church

Document 02: Abusive Churches

Document 03: Abusive Churches: Leaving Them Behind

Document 04: Documents 2 and 3 In Another Language

Document 05: Relevant Blog Entry by the Worship Director with Comments

Document 06: Relevant Blog Entry by the Youth Leader with Comments

Documents 07-18: Relevant Blog Entries by the Healing Minister with Comments

Document 19: Grouped Relevant Emails

Document 20: The Xanga Tour (to offer a better understanding of blogging)


Document 22: Does God Give Bad Advice? The "Open" View of God Stakes its Ground

Documents 23-26: Relevant Blog Entries by both the Worship Director and the Healing Minister
with Comments

Document 27: Relevant Blog Entry by an Anonymous Internet User with Comments

Document 28: Relevant Blog Entry by the Healing Minister with Comments

Document 29: Written Words of All Involved, Grouped Together

Document 30: Written Words of Jennifer and the Healing Minister, Grouped

Document 31: Website Addresses of the Mentioned Leadership Blogs

Documents 32-33: Emails between Jennifer and the Children's Director

Document 34: A Copy of a Relevant Church Bulletin

Document 35: Copies of the Change-of-Service-Time Poll and a Relevant Bulletin

Document 36: Toxic Faith (a summary by B. Jackson)
There was no response from the Desert Stream Ministries.
Below is Vineyard USA's Response:
The names of people discussed in this site have been changed to protect the innocent. Any similarities to actual persons, either living or
dead, are merely coincidental. The events discussed in this site happened at a Vineyard church that we once attended. We have tried our
best to relate these events in an informative, impartial way. We have also provided links to outside sites that appeared credible and useful:
these sites belong to others and we offer them only as additional resources and have no control over their content.This site is intended for
informative purposes and is not meant to be definitive; you are encouraged to conduct further research on your own. Each individual church
or organization, whether Vineyard or otherwise, should be considered separately according to its own merits. Following the links provided in
this site may direct you to sites for which we are not responsible; choosing to visit these links is done at your own discretion.Use of this
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The site is based on personal experience and/or research, may contain errors or omissions, and is provided completely on an as-is basis
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Fifteen Characteristics of a Dysfunctional Church
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.
Number 95

1) Abusive Relationships

Abusive relationships are found when the organization (or parts of
it) seek a Scapegoat (an individual or a group) designated to suffers
pain for others or the organization. Anyone who chooses not to share in
the Scapegoating will also be scapegoated.and or face severe
consequences (e.g. rejection, blame, physical and/or emotional abuse,
censure, et al) for rejection of that role. Dysfunctional organizations
tenaciously maintain the Scapegoat role, for without it, they would be
unable to project their dysfunction on others but would have to bear the
pain of the dysfunction themselves.

2) Perfectionism

This goes beyond merely seeking excellence. Instead, it is a
controlling tactic by which individuals or groups replace a healthy
sense of trust and spontaneity with a legalistic, over-zealous,
destructive focus on minute defects of others, their leadership styles,
their procedures, the organization, et al.

Mercilessly drawing attention to otherwise irrelevant minutiae, it
directs energy from focusing on the big picture to an over-attention to
details. Bureaucracy-perpetuating constitutions, detailed bylaws, and
detailed policies and are all part of a dysfunctional organization‘s
on-going prescription for aggravated they simply provides
more ammunition for those enforcing the perfect way of operation.
3) Rigidity

Rigidity, like Perfectionism, relies on unbending rules and strict
adherence to various "objective" standards (Constitutions,
Policies, Doctrines, supposed denominational dictates, the
"right" way). The main purpose of the bureaucracy (formal or
informal) is to enforce and enlarge control over others while squashing
spontaneity and risk taking. No surprises are allowedSigmaalthough those
in or seeking control may instantaneously and repeatedly change any
dictum or direction without warning. However, hose being controlled must
do everything the "right" way.

4) Silence

People don‘t speak up at appropriate times in appropriate situations
with appropriate people. Results: Repeated "unanimous"
decisions that get undermined, sabotaging supporters.

5) Repression

Unspoken rules that it is not "Christian" to express
feelings of disagreement, dissent, or anger. Instead, one must hide how
one really feels or suffer censure for expression of emotions. Instead
of expressing feelings, feelings must be hidden. Result: Repression
ultimately must be released in episodes (or series of episodes) of
uncontrollable anger and hostility.

6) Rationalization and Denial

Groups or individuals re-work truth and reality to fit their
distorted view of situations, individuals, and other groups.

7) Triangulation

Triangulation is using "go-betweens" to communicate
indirectly with other parties. Results: Unsuspecting, but sympathetic
message-bearers become entangled in an unwanted destructive web of
blame, anger, and miscommunication. Result: They become uncomfortable
with their roles and jump ship.

  Double Messages

Such duplicity or "two-faced" aspect is exemplified by
people whose actions always have an opposite "flip side." Some
examples: "I care/get lost;" "I love you/don‘t bother
me;" "I need you/You‘re in my way," "Yes, I accept
you just as you are/Why don‘t you change!".

9) Lack Of Fun/Anti-Spontaneity

Dysfunctional churches can‘t loosen up, let go, play and have fun.
Being overly serious, humor will be seen an un- "unrighteous"
and "undignified" church activity. When play is attempted,
people get hurtSigmathe deeps wounds experienced endure for decades as
warnings to others to avoid use of fun humor. Any humor that is used is
used to hurt (e.g. "low blow", humiliation, double messages,

10) Martyrdom

High tolerance by individuals or groups to bear abuse, pain, and
extreme sacrifice for the organization. No real atmosphere or
opportunities exist in the organization for expressing pain, loss and
providing healing mechanisms. Designated martyrs are made to feel
"deserving" of their pain.

11) Entanglement: The "Hooterville Syndrome"

This is the situation where everyone knows everyone else‘s business
but the information is never accurate, relevant, timely or
constructively directed.

12) "We Care" Syndrome

An extension of the double messages mentioned above, dysfunctional
individuals and organizations will often claim to care but, when given
opportunity to assist, have other "priorities and needs" which
will cause presented needs to go unmet on a regular basis.

13) Elevations of Dysfunctional Leaders

When certain attention-seeking individuals can‘t find attention in
their family, job, or elsewhere, the church becomes a convenient – and
easy – place for such "attention addicts" to get their
attention by becoming a Chairman of a congregational group. By not
saying "no" to such incompetents, the church succumbs to an
inordinate amount of incompetence, incomplete tasks, and other types of
associated narcissistic fallout.

14) Inability to Grasp a Positive Vision.
Those entrenched in perfectionism, procedures, victimization and
control will be too pre-occupied to deal with positive things such as
present and future organizational vision. Instead, there‘s a
self-defeating zealous preoccupation with the past and present which
leaves no possibility for deliberating regarding the future.

15) Dysfunctional Expectations of the Pastor

The general disrespect for the Pastoral Office, testified by an
on-going succession of short-tenured pastors often indicates that either
one or both of the following dysfunctionalities are present and
operative in the given congregation.

a) Clerical Reductionism

Clerical Reductionism is when pastors are stripped of all
appropriate authority. Instead of being encouraged and supported to
carry out their ministry to the fullest appropriate extent,
dysfunctional churches minimize the expectations of the pastor.

Activities are monitored in a legalistic manner with a clear intent
to control–and limit–proper pastoral authority. Common monitored items
may include the number and types of pastoral visits, whether various
congregational policies are precisely followed by the pastor in every
respect, limiting the pastor‘s "voice" in congregational
affairs including those which are specifically pastoral
responsibilities, micro-managing church office expenses, etc.

b) Clerical Expansionism

Some passive dysfunctional congregations will compensate for
their passivity by placing on the pastor the expectation to carry out
all the responsibilities and functions of the ministry single-handedly.
In these dysfunctional situations, the preacher is more than just a

He‘s the janitor, Sunday School Superintendent, Choir Director,
Chairman of boards and fellowship groups, initiator and coordinator of
every new ministry activity, and doer of everything in the church as
others passive watch and judge. Pastoral spouses often are enmeshed
unawares and/or unwillingly into this unhealthy "expansive"
view of the pastoral office.

Young upstart pastors and their spouses fresh out the seminary, as
well as pastors who start a ministry in a new location, are especially
vulnerable to dysfunctional clerical expansionism.
Of Course What can You do?
Certainly every church has some of the above dynamics to one degree
or another. However, the greater the number and intensity of the
dynamics, the greater the degree to which the church can be
characterized as "dysfunctional" and characterized by

Resultantly, the likelihood that the church will resist changes,
pastors and their well-intended ministries, and other attempts and
programs designed to address the various dysfunctions may also increase.

If the congregation you serve shows the above characteristics, the
ministry can, at times, be a frustrating experience. However, if the
pastor is aware of the congregational dysfunctionality, he may be able
to keep his head above water and provide valuable, healthy, proactive
leadership to address these marks of dysfunctionality. Here‘s a few

1) Recognize that the dysfunction is the congregation’s

It existed long before you arrived there. It isn‘t your fault. But
you may be the God‘s chosen instrument to address the dysfunctionality
and bring the congregation to real healing which only God can give.

2) Know and understanding your boundaries.

Dysfunctional churches are extremely effective at projecting blame
and shame on pastors and other leaders for maintaining healthy
boundaries. Study what appropriate, healthy boundaries are and
consistently observe them.

3) Encourage your family to maintain healthy boundaries, too.

The pastor‘s spouse does not necessarily have to be chairman of the
Women‘s group, Youth Director, Music Director, organist, and
congregational secretary. Neither do children of the parsonage have to
be "super saints" and present at every single congregational

These kinds of pastoral family involvement are often done either 1)
out of an unbridled excitement and love for the Lord and/or 2) to avoid
fear, guilt, shame and disapproval, may, in the long-term, do more harm
for the church than good. Indeed, in more cases than one may want to
admit, such involvement can be characterized as "rescue"
behaviors which perpetuate the dysfunctions.

Instead, consider using your best gifts for ministry in other than
congregational settings (e.g. denominational ministries, local social
and/or Christian ministries not directly tied to your congregation,
etc.). Remember, the ministry of Christ requires people to become
"world Christians." Isn‘t that the vision you really want your
congregation to capture? Model it–to your congregation‘s health!

4) Get a life…for you and your family outside the church.

Learn the joys of self-diversification and do yourself two favors.
a) Enjoying–without guilt–the many activities which God offers pastors
and their families in this world, many of which are not church-related;
and b) Solidifying a healthy base for continued mental health and
wholeness in what is sometimes a difficult ministry.

5) Continually clarify biblical teachings on the ministerial

Since it may be perceived as a conflict of interest to do so
yourself, invite a trusted denominational official preach on what the
office of the ministry is, what it does, and its relationship to the
church. Clearly discuss the points you would like discussed in the
sermon (or sermon series) with the denominational official so that they
can be of maximum assistance to set forth a positive, scriptural vision
for ministry.

6) Promote the scriptural understanding of lay ministry.

Emphasize the important role of the laity in their auxiliary
ministerial capacity to work along side the pastor under his oversight.
Ephesians Five is especially good for this. Keep it simple and reinforce
the key concepts which Paul mentioned which make for a healthy Body of

7) Intelligently practice intentional ignorance.

Sure you know how to change the light bulb. But does that mean that
the pastor should change it? Encourage lay involvement by letting it
stay dark until a lay person discovers and fills the need.

  Put aside your perfectionist tendencies.
They‘ll just make you irritable, impatient, and
frustrated.Everything doesn‘t have to be done right now. There is, as
the writer of Ecclesiastes noted, a time for everything. And, one might
add, there‘s a right person to do everything, too. When the right time
and the right person come together, you are on the right track to
congregational health. Wait for it. Be patient. Wait. It will come. Be
patient. There is no hurry!

9) Expect conflict.

Passive congregational members, like many adolescents, will do
anything resist responsibility, including attack the one urging the
responsibility. That‘s OK. After all, didn‘t St. Paul say that one
should not desire to be an overseer unless he could manage his family
well? Know you know why! But, without conflict, there is no renewal.
Expect conflict…but expect god‘s promise of unparalleled renewal to
result from the experience.

10) Continually encourage people to make a positive, significant
difference for the Lord.

Besides prayer and the other nine suggestions above, this is perhaps
the most positive, ministry-impacting strategy one can use to slowly
transform and dysfunctional congregation. Share it with visitors, new
members, current leaders, and the entire congregation. Encourage them to
make a difference then let them do it–and watch the Lord put some real
"G" forces into your congregation‘s ministry!

With deepest prayers to your congregation‘s health!

Thomas F.Fischer

Copyright 1998–All Rights Reserved
Ministry Health Web Site
Support For Your Ministry In Jesus Christ!

Written by Patrick Zukeran

                                                     This article is also available in Spanish.

We are all familiar with traditional cults such as the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses.
There are, however, other groups with cultic characteristics that do not fit the same profile as the
traditional cults. Sometimes called "abusive churches" or even "Bible-based cults," they appear
outwardly orthodox in their doctrinal beliefs. What distinguishes these groups or churches from
genuine orthodox Christianity is their abusive, cultic-like methodology and philosophy of

In his book Churches That Abuse, Dr. Ronald Enroth carefully examines several of these
churches throughout the United States. He reveals the cultic methods these groups use and points
out several distinguishing marks of abusive churches. At this point I will briefly introduce each
of these characteristics and some of my own. Later, I'll discuss all these characteristics in detail.

First, abusive churches have a control-oriented style of leadership. Second, the leaders of such
churches often use manipulation to gain complete submission from their members. Third, there is
a rigid, legalistic lifestyle involving numerous requirements and minute details for daily life.
Fourth, these churches tend to change their names often, especially once they are exposed by the
media. Fifth, denouncing other churches is common because they see themselves as superior to
all other churches. Sixth, these churches have a persecution complex and view themselves as
being persecuted by the world, the media, and other Christian churches. Seventh, abusive
churches specifically target young adults between eighteen and twenty-five years of age. The
eighth and final mark of abusive churches is the great difficulty members have in getting out of
or leaving these churches, a process often marked by social, psychological, or emotional pain.

Those involved in a church that seems to reflect these characteristics would be wise to evaluate
the situation thoroughly and leave the church if it is appropriate. Staying may increase the risks
of damaging your family relationships and multiplies the likelihood of losing your perspective.
Members of such churches often develop a distorted view of reality, distrust everyone, and suffer
from stress, fear, and depression. Some former members even continue to experience these
things after escaping from an abusing church. There are also several documented cases in which
associating with an abusive church has led to the deaths of individuals or their relatives.

Some of these groups have networks of many sister churches. In some cases these groups have
split off from more mainstream denominations. Occasionally the new groups have even been
denounced by the founding denomination. Such groups often disguise themselves by frequently
changing the name of their organization, especially following adverse publicity. This practice
makes the true nature of these organizations more difficult to determine for the unsuspecting
individual. Some abusive churches have college ministries all across the country. On some
university campuses such student movements are among the largest groups on their respective

It is important that Christians today know the Bible and know how to recognize such churches so
as not to fall into their traps. In order to help people become more aware of churches which may
be abusing their members, I now want to go through in more detail the eight characteristics I
mentioned earlier.

Control-Oriented Leadership

A central feature of an abusive church is control-oriented leadership. The leader in an abusive
church is dogmatic, self- confident, arrogant, and the spiritual focal point in the lives of his
followers. The leader assumes he is more spiritually in tune with God than anyone else. He
claims insight into Scripture that no one else has. Or, he may state that he receives personal
revelations from God. Because of such claims, the leader's position and beliefs cannot be
questioned; his statements are final. To members of this type of church or group, questioning the
leader is the equivalent of questioning God. Although the leader may not come out and state this
fact, this attitude is clearly seen by the treatment of those who dare to question or challenge the
leader. The leader of the movement often makes personal decisions for his followers. Individual
thinking is prohibited; thus the followers become dependent on the leader.

In the hierarchy of such a church, the leader is, or tends to be, accountable to no one. Even if
there is an elder board, it is usually made up of men who are loyal to, and will never disagree
with, the leader. This style of leadership is not one endorsed in the Bible. According to Scripture
all believers have equal access to God and are equal before Him because we are made in His
image, and we are all under the authority of the Word of God. In 1 Thessalonians 5:21 believers
are directed to measure all teachings against the Word of God. Acts 17:11 states that even the
apostle Paul was under the authority of the Bible, and the Bereans were commended because
they tested Paul's teachings with the Scriptures. Leaders and laity alike are to live according to

Manipulation of Members

Abusive churches are characterized by the manipulation of their members. Manipulation is the
use of external forces to get others to do what someone else wants them to do. Here manipulation
is used to get people to submit to the leadership of the church. The tactics of manipulation
include the use of guilt, peer pressure, intimidation, and threats of divine judgment from God for
disobedience. Often harsh discipline is carried out publicly to promote ridicule and humiliation.

Another tactic is the "shepherding" philosophy. As practiced in many abusive churches this
philosophy requires every member to be personally accountable to another more experienced
person. To this person, one must reveal all personal thoughts, feelings, and discuss future
decisions. This personal information, is not used to help the member, but to control the member.

Another means of control is isolation. Abusive churches may cut off contact between a new
member and his family, friends, and anyone else not associated with the church.

How different this style of leadership is from the leadership of Jesus, the Good Shepherd who
lovingly, gently, humbly, and sacrificially leads His sheep.

Rigid, Legalistic Lifestyle

The third characteristic of abusive churches is the rigid, legalistic lifestyle of their members. This
rigidity is a natural result of the leadership style. Abusive churches require unwavering devotion
to the church from their followers. Allegiance to the church has priority over allegiance to God,
family, or anything else.

Often members are required or pressured to attend Bible studies five, six, or seven days a week.
There is a requirement to do evangelism; a certain quota of contacts must be met, and some
churches even require members to fill out time cards recording how many hours they spent in
evangelism, etc. Daily schedules are made for the person; thus he is endlessly doing the church's
ministry. Former members of one church told me they were working for their church from 5:00
am to 12:00 midnight five days a week.

Members of such churches frequently drop out of school, quit working, or even neglect their
families to do the work required by the church. There are also guidelines for dress, dating,
finances, and so on. Such details are held to be of major importance in these churches.

In churches like these, people begin to lose their personal identity and start acting like
programmed robots. Many times, the pressure and demands of the church will cause a member to
have a nervous breakdown or fall into severe depression. As I reflect on these characteristics I
think of Jesus' words concerning the Pharisees who "tie up heavy loads and put them on men's
shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger" (Matt. 23: 4). What a contrast from
the leadership style of Jesus who said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I
will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. . . .For my yoke is easy and my burden is light"
(Matt. 11:28-30).

Frequent Changing of Group/Church Name

A fourth characteristic of abusive churches is a pattern of constantly changing the name of the
church or campus ministry. Often a name change is a response to unfavorable publicity by the
media. Some abusive churches have changed their name several times in the course of a few

If you are in such a church, one that has changed its name several times because of bad publicity,
or if you feel unceasing pressure to live up to its demands, it is probably time to carefully
evaluate the ministry of the church and your participation in it.

Denouncing All Other Churches

Let us now take a look at the fifth characteristic: abusive churches usually denounce all other
Christian churches. They see themselves as spiritually elite. They feel that they alone have the
truth and all other churches are corrupt. Therefore, they do not associate with other Christian
churches. They often refer to themselves as some special group such as, "God's Green Berets,"
"The faithful remnant," or "God's end-time army." There is a sense of pride in abusive churches
because members feel they have a special relationship with God and His movement in the world.
In his book Churches That Abuse, Dr. Ron Enroth quotes a former member of one such group
who states, "Although we didn't come right out and say it, in our innermost hearts we really felt
that there was no place in the world like our assembly. We thought the rest of Christianity was
out to lunch." However the Bible makes it clear, that there are no spiritually elite groups or
churches. Ephesians 4:36 states, "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the
bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope, when you
were called, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father of all."

The Christian church universal is united by the same God, the same Holy Spirit, and the
fundamental beliefs of the Bible which include such things as the Trinity, authority of the Bible,
the death and resurrection of Jesus, the deity of Christ, justification by faith alone, and so on. In
these central truths we stand united. A church which believes itself to be elite and does not
associate with other Christian churches is not motivated by the spirit of God but by divisive

Persecution Complex

The sixth characteristic follows naturally. Because abusive churches see themselves as elite, they
expect persecution in the world and even feed on it. Criticism and exposure by the media are
seen as proof that they are the true church being persecuted by Satan. However, the persecution
received by abusive churches is different from the persecution received by Jesus and the

Jesus and the Apostles were persecuted for preaching the truth. Abusive churches bring on much
of their negative press because of their own actions. Yet, any criticism received, no matter what
the source--whether Christian or secular--is always viewed as an attack from Satan, even if the
criticisms are based on the Bible. This makes it difficult to witness to a person in such a church
for he will see your attempt to share the gospel with him as persecution. Often in cases like these,
when I am accused of persecuting, I simply reply, "I am here talking to you with the Word of
God which you say you believe. How can this be persecution?" This approach often helps in
continuing the dialogue with a member of an abusive church who has been brainwashed to
believe that all opposition is persecution.

Targeting Young Adults

The seventh characteristic of abusive churches is that they tend to target young adults ages 18-25
who are in the middle class, well educated, idealistic, and often immature Christians. Young
adults are the perfect age group to focus on because they are often looking for a cause to give
their lives to, and they need love, affirmation, and acceptance. Often these churches will provide
this, and the leaders frequently take the role of surrogate parents.
Painful Exit Process

The eighth characteristic is a painful and difficult exit process. Members in many such churches
are afraid to leave because of intimidation, pressure, and threats of divine judgment. Sometimes
members who exit are harassed and pursued by church leaders. The majority of the time, former
members are publicly ridiculed and humiliated before the church, and members are told not to
associate in any way with any former members. This practice is called shunning.

Many who leave abusive churches because of the intimidation and brainwashing, actually feel
they have left God Himself. None of their former associates will fellowship with them, and they
feel isolated, abused, and fearful of the world. One former member of a particular campus
ministry said, "If you leave without the leadership's approval, condemnation and guilt are heaped
upon you. My pastor told me he thought it was satanic for me to leave and wondered if I could
continue my salvation experience."

Let me conclude this discussion by sharing some practical ways of reaching those who are
involved in abusive churches. First, we must begin with prayer. Witnessing to those brainwashed
in abusive churches is often intimidating and difficult. Often leaders will not allow an individual
member to meet with an outsider unless accompanied by an older, more experienced person who
is trained in debating and/or intimidation. Therefore, we must pray (1) for a chance to speak with
the individual and (2) that he would be open to what we have to share.

Second, lovingly confront the person and surface some biblical issues. Often, abusive churches
have a bizarre teaching or a theological error that can be pointed out. In his book Churches That
Abuse, Dr. Ron Enroth documents several examples of this. For instance, the leader of one
church had strange teachings based on his claims of extra-biblical revelations from God.(3)
These included dietary laws, sexual behavior, home decorations, and others. The leader of
another group called doctors "medical deities." He also claimed medicines had demonic names
and if taken, opened a person up to demonic influence.(4) Pointing out errors, inconsistencies,
and bizarre beliefs may open the individual's mind and prompt him to begin asking questions.

Third, share articles you may find in the newspaper or in magazines on the particular church
under discussion. The book that I have often quoted from, Churches That Abuse, is an excellent
resource. The key is to get the individual to start asking questions and research answers for
himself. Tell him to test everything with the Scriptures and not to be afraid to ask questions. If
the leader is afraid or hesitant to answer a member's honest questions, the maturity of that
leadership may be suspect.

Jesus, however, said that truth is a means of freedom, not bondage. He said, "You shall know the
truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).


1. Ronald Enroth, Churches That Abuse (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1992), p. 118.
2. Ibid., p. 181.
3. Ibid., p. 128.
4. Ibid., p. 170.
©1993 Probe Ministries.

Abusive Churches: Leaving Them

Written by Patrick Zukeran

Painful Exit Process

In a previous article called Abusive Churches, I discussed the characteristics of abusive
churches.{1} As a result of the questions and feedback I have received, I felt it might be helpful
to share some positive steps to recovery from an abusive church experience.

Leaving an unhealthy church situation can leave some very deep scars. One example of the
collateral damage is a very painful exit process. Those who leave an unhealthy church situation
suffer isolation, bitterness, embarrassment, grief, and anger. This is coupled with confusion and
wondering how God could let this happen. They also chide themselves for getting into such a
group and staying in the organization as long as they did.

One man who left an unhealthy situation stated, "I am confused over the emotions I feel. At
times, I am glad to have left the organization. I enjoy the new freedoms I have in Christ and
relief from the burdens I was carrying for many years. At other times I suffer the pain over the
lost years and lost friendships. It's like experiencing a death in the family." The Ryans, who left
an abusive situation, state, "Spiritual abuse is a kind of abuse which damages the central core of
who you are. It leaves us spiritually disorganized and emotionally cut off from the healing love
of God."{2}

Since so much of their identity was based on their status and relationships in the church, many
exiting members have difficulty readjusting to daily life in society. Many suffer from what
sociologists label "role exit." Their purpose was so connected to the church that many suffer
from the anxiety of not knowing where they fit in or what their future will be. They are in a
"vacuum." In severe cases, former members were so dependent on the church that they even had
to relearn daily tasks like opening and managing their own bank accounts.

Many end up forsaking the church or religion. One ex-member wrote, "I know that when people
finally decide on their own to leave, they are so beaten down and confused that they don't know
what is true to hold on to versus what is false to discard. Many quit seeking God and give up on
the church all together."{3}

In his book, Recovering from Churches that Abuse, Dr. Ronald Enroth states that victims of
church abuse suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.{4} Many are unable to trust anyone--
including God--which complicates the process, since developing healthy relationships is
essential to the recovery process.

Although exiting is difficult, recovery is not impossible. There is hope! Keep in mind the healing
process is not the same for each person. For some, healing may take years; for others it may
happen in a few months. Some will be able to recover through the help of a mature Christian
community while others may need professional Christian counseling.

Discerning Good from Abusive

How do we discern a healthy church from an abusive church? Unfortunately, abusive churches
can exist in evangelical and mainline denominations. They are not just fringe churches on the
outer circle of evangelicalism. Churches that can be labeled "spiritually abusive" range from
mildly abusive--churches with sporadic abusive practices--to the severe cases of being
manipulative and controlling. Here are some questions that can help show if you are in an
unhealthy situation.

First, does the leadership invite dialogue, advice, evaluation, and questions from outside its
immediate circle? Authoritarian pastors are threatened by any diverse opinions whether from
inside or outside the group. Group members are discouraged from asking hard questions. The
rule is, don't ask questions and don't make waves. A healthy pastor welcomes even tough
questions, whereas in an unhealthy church disagreement with the pastor is considered disloyalty
and is virtually equal to disobeying God. Spiritual language is used to disguise the manipulation
that is going on. Questioners are labeled rebellious, insubordinate, and disruptive to the harmony
of the body. Attempts are made to shut them down. The only way to succeed is to go along with
the agenda, support the leaders, scorn those who disagree.

Second, is there a system of accountability or does the pastor keep full control? Authoritarian
pastors do not desire a system of accountability. They may have a board but it consists of yes-
men whom he ultimately selects.

Third, does a member's personality generally become stronger, happier, and more confident as a
result of being with the group? The use of guilt, fear, and intimidation is likely to produce
members with low self-esteem. Many are beaten down by legalism, while assertiveness is a sign
that one is not teachable and therefore not spiritual.

Fourth, are family commitments strengthened? Church obligations are valued more than family
ones. Although many may verbally acknowledge the family as a priority, in practice they do not
act like it. My colleagues at Probe, Don and Deanne, know of a mother who needed to gain
special permission from her church to attend her son's wedding because it conflicted with a
church event. The church made her feel guilty because she was choosing family over God. In
another case, I know of women who missed their son and daughter's prom night to attend a
church meeting which was held twenty minutes from their homes. The mindset is loyalty to God
means loyalty to his church. One's spiritual quality is determined by one's allegiance to the
Fifth, does the group encourage independent thinking, developing discernment skills, and
creation of new ideas? Abusive churches resort to using pressure to have followers conform, and
there is a low tolerance for any kind of difference in belief (of a non-essential nature) and
behavior. There is a legalistic emphasis on keeping the rules, and a need to stay within set
boundaries. Unity is defined as conformity. These leaders evaluate all forms of Christian
spirituality according to their own prescribed system.

Sixth, is the group preoccupied with maintaining a good public image that does not match the
inner circle experience?

Seventh, does the leadership encourage members to foster relations and connections with the
larger society that are more than self-serving? Abusive churches thrive on tactics that create total
dependence on the church while protecting and isolating themselves from the "sinful" world.

Finally, is there a high rate of burnout among the members? In order to gain approval or prove
you are a "true disciple," abusive churches require levels of service that are very taxing.

If these are character traits of the group you are attending, you may be in an abusive church and
should consider leaving the organization.

Profile of an Abusive Leader

Philip Keller gave us a stern warning in his book, Predators in Our Pulpits: "The greatest threat
to the church today is not from without but from our own leadership within."{5} Often an
abusive church is built around the leader who practices some unhealthy forms of shepherding.
Many such leaders come from churches that were abusive or have an unmet need for
significance. Many may have begun with noble intentions, but their unresolved personal issues
cause them to become dependent on their ministry to meet their needs. In his book, Healing
Spiritual Abuse, Ken Blue does an outstanding job identifying unhealthy leadership. Here are a
few characteristics of an abusive leader.

Abusive leaders use their position to demand loyalty and submission. Ken Blue states, "I have
heard many pastors say to their congregations, 'Because I am the pastor, you must follow me.'
Their demand was not based on truth or the God-directedness of their leadership but on their
title. That is a false basis of authority . . . any appeal to authority based on position, title, degree
or office is false. The only authority God recognizes and to which we should submit to is truth."
{6} Other leaders use titles such as "God's man" or "the Lord's anointed" so that others will treat
them with special reverence and keep themselves above accountability that others in the
congregation are held to. "If by appealing to position, unique claims or special anointings,
leaders succeed in creating a hierarchy in the church, they can more easily control those beneath
them. They can also defend themselves against any who might challenge them."{7}

One of the lessons from the Bible is that all men and women are fallible. Therefore, all people,
especially leaders, need some form of accountability. Although pastors are called to lead their
congregations, they are under the authority of God's Word. When they act in a manner contrary
to Scripture they need to be confronted, and improper behavior needs to be corrected. In 2
Samuel 22, the prophet Nathan confronted King David about his sin. In Galatians 2, Paul
confronted Peter, the leader of the Apostles, for not acting in line with the truth. "Paul declared
by this action that the truth always outranks position or title in the church. Truth and its authority
are not rooted in personality or office. It is derived from the word of God and the truth it
proclaims."{8} Blue continues: "Paul taught that the body of Christ is a nonhierarchical living

Instead of feeding and caring for the flock, these pastors feed off the flock and use them to meet
their needs for significance. Ken Blue gives an example of a "pastor whose church has not grown
numerically in twelve years. Frustrated by his manifest lack of success, he turned to the
congregation to meet his need. He has laid on them a building program in hopes that a new,
larger, more attractive facility will draw more people. The congregation has split over this issue.
Many have left the church, and those who remain are saddled with the debt."{10}

I know of other pastors who have chastised their staff and congregation when they did not show
up at a church function. Many members were busy with family commitments, work, and needed
personal time for rest, but were pressured to attend the numerous church events. These leaders
saw their success in the numbers that attended their functions and needed their turnout to satisfy
their sense of worth.

True spiritual leaders are defined by Christ's example. "Whoever wants to be great among you
must become the servant of all" (Matt. 20:26). Christ-like leadership is servanthood.

True leaders gain the loyalty of the sheep because of the quality of their character and their
attitude of servanthood. The members freely submit to Christ-like leadership and do not have to
be coerced to follow. Good shepherds lighten the load of the sheep while false leaders add to the
load on the sheep.

Should you find yourself in such a situation, the first thing to do is pray for the leader. Second, in
a loving and graceful way confront the leader, addressing what you see as unhealthy practices in
his leadership. It may take a while for your words to sink in, so be patient. However, as in many
cases, the leader may get defensive and reject your advice and in turn make accusations against
you. In such cases realize you were obedient to God, and now you must let the Lord work on the
leader's heart. James 3:1, Ezekiel 34, and other passages bring stern warnings that God will judge
shepherds who use the sheep to fulfill their needs and not shepherd God's flock as a steward. It is
best to leave the situation and let God deal in His way with the leader and his organization.

The Road to Recovery

As we discussed earlier, exiting an abusive or unhealthy church situation is a very painful
process, but recovery and healing is possible. Dr. Ronald Enroth in his book, Recovering from
Churches that Abuse, and Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton in their book, Toxic Faith, provide
some very helpful steps to recovery.

When you realize you are in an authoritarian church, it is best to leave and make a complete
break. Many members remain, thinking their presence will help change the situation, but this is
highly unlikely. In fact, remaining may perpetuate the existence of the organization.

Acknowledge that abuse has taken place. Denying this will only stall the recovery.

Next, develop relationships with mature Christians who will listen to your story and support you
in the healing process. In a safe and supporting environment you will be able to share your
feelings, experiences, hopes, and struggles. Although it may be difficult, understand that
recovery rarely happens in isolation. You must learn to trust again, even if it is in small, tentative

Expect to wrestle with some difficult emotions. Recognize that you will go through a grieving
process-grief for lost years, lost friends, and the loss of innocence. You may also feel guilt,
shame, and fear. It is natural to feel foolish and experience self-doubt. These are actually healthy
emotions that should not be bottled up inside. Regret over poor decisions is a sign of growth, and
you will eventually leave those emotions behind. Therefore, it is crucial to find people who will
be supportive and help you address hard feelings. For some people, professional Christian
counseling is necessary. Seek out a counselor who understands the dynamics of abusive systems
and can provide the care and warmth needed.

Renew your walk with God again. Admit that you acquired a distorted picture of Him, and focus
on regaining the proper biblical understanding of His attributes and character. Don't give up on
the true church despite its imperfections. In fact, I encourage you to visit numerous healthy
churches. It is refreshing to see how diverse the body of Christ is, and that there are many
different ways to express our love and commitment to Christ.

Then, relax! Enjoy your new-found freedoms. Take time for physical recreation, art, music, and
just plain fun. After leaving, ex-members may feel guilty for not serving God in a church but this
is incorrect. The Lord knows that we need time to grieve, reflect, and heal from our loss.

Finally, remember forgiveness is crucial to recovery. Forgiveness is often more for the benefit of
the one giving it than for the one receiving it. Healing takes time, so be patient with the process
you are going through.

Becoming Stronger Through the Experience

Although exiting an abusive church can leave us scarred mentally and emotionally, there is hope
for recovery and wholeness. In fact, this fiery process can strengthen our faith and understanding
of God and what it means to walk with Him. Here is some counsel that may help you overcome
the past experience of spiritual abuse.

One of the ways we can grow from this experience has to do with a proper understanding of
God's character. While in an authoritarian organization, our view of God becomes distorted. God
becomes viewed as one who loves us because of what we are doing for Him. Anytime we miss a
Bible study or fail to win converts, God somehow becomes displeased and we must work harder
to regain His approval.
In contrast to this false image, 1 John 4:8 states that "God is love." In other words, God accepts
us unconditionally. He only asks that we receive the gift of grace He has provided for us, His
Son Jesus Christ. Once we receive His Son, our acceptance is never based on our works but on
our position as His sons and daughters. For many who have lived under a false image of God,
coming to grips with God's grace and love can be a renewing experience.

Related to this is the addiction to church activities. Many equate business at church with spiritual
maturity. However, this business actually keeps us from dealing with the pain and real issues in
our lives. Our addiction to religious activity becomes a barrier to an authentic relationship with

Another valuable lesson to learn is that our identity is in Christ, not the organization or
relationships in the group. Many of us find our significance in our ministry, our church status,
the dependence others have on us, or the respect we gain from others we minister to. Once these
are taken away, we feel empty, even without purpose. This is an opportune time to realize that
our value and self-worth is secure because of our relationship with Christ. This helps us become
more dependent on Christ and less on others.

Finally, the Bible teaches that God can bring good out of a bad situation. Romans 8:28 states that
"in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to
his purpose." This promise applies even for those who have been spiritually abused. Through the
pain and healing process, God can mold us to become more like Him. In Genesis 50, despite all
the evil that Joseph's brothers did to him, he is able to say in the end, "You intended to harm me,
but God intended it for good." If we draw closer to God in our time of need, we can be healed
and overcome our painful past.

Can Abusive Churches Change?

Those who find themselves in authoritarian churches often remain despite the difficulties
because there is an underlying hope that the church can change. Even after they leave they often
remain keenly interested in the affairs of the former church because they hope restoration will
still occur.

Can abusive churches change? Although with God all things are possible, it is my opinion that it
is highly unlikely that this will happen. Although a few have, they are the exceptions.

Why is change in these organizations so difficult? One reason is that change usually begins in the
leadership. However, the leadership structure is designed so that the leader has control over the
personnel. Although there may be a board, the individuals on the board are ultimately selected by
the authoritarian leader. He selects men and women loyal to him, who do not question him, or
hold him accountable. Therefore, he insulates himself from dealing with difficult issues or
addressing his unhealthy practices.

Dysfunctional leaders also resist change because it is an admission of failure. In order for a
genuine change of heart, leaders must first acknowledge a problem and repent. However, a
leader who considers himself "God's man" or the spokesman for God will rarely humble himself
to confess his shortcomings. Spiritual wholeness and renewal cannot be achieved until unhealthy
behavior is recognized and dealt with. Unless this behavior is confronted, the likelihood of real
change is diminished.{11}

In most cases, the leadership focuses the blame on others. Those who left the church were not
committed, were church hoppers, etc. Stephen Arterburn writes, "Anyone who rebels against the
system must be personally attacked so people will think the problem is with the person, not the
system."{12} It is often useless to point out flaws because an abusive church lives in a world of
denial. Many of the leaders are themselves deceived. Although sincere in their efforts, they may
have no idea their leadership style is unhealthy and harmful. They are usually so narcissistic or
so focused on some great thing they are doing for God that they don't notice the wounds they are
inflicting on their followers.{13} These leaders often twist Scripture to justify their unhealthy
behavior. Most members will go along with this because they assume their pastors know the
Bible better than they do.

Lastly, authoritarian churches make every effort to ensure that a good name and image is
preserved. Therefore, the leadership often functions in secrecy. Disagreeing members are
threatened and told to remain silent or are quietly dismissed.

For these reasons, it is my opinion that it is best to leave an abusive or unhealthy church. Learn
to let go and let God deal with that group. Only He can bring people to repentance. Although
painful, leaving an unhealthy church and joining a healthy body of believers will begin the
healing process and open new doors of fellowship, worship, and service for you.


1. Pat Zukeran, "Abusive Churches," 1993, Probe Ministries.

2. Ken Blue, Healing Spiritual Abuse, (Downer's Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 15.

3. Ronald Enroth, Recovering From Churches that Abuse, (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing, 1994), 26.

4. Ibid., 39.

5. Philip Keller, Predators in our Pulpits, (Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House, 1988), 12.

6. Blue, 27-28.

7. Ibid., 29.

8. Ibid., 30.

9. Ibid., 34.

10. Ibid., 65.

11. Enroth, 152.

12. Arteburn, Stephen. Toxic Faith (Nashville, Tenn.: Oliver Nelson Publishing, 1991), 260.
13. Blue, 13-14.


1. Arterburn, Stephen and Felton, Jack. Toxic Faith. Nashville, TN: Oliver-Nelson Books, 1991.

2. Blue, Ken. Healing Spiritual Abuse. Downer's Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

3. Enroth, Ronald. Recovering From Churches that Abuse. Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan Publishing, 1994.

4. Enroth, Ronald. Churches That Abuse. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 1992.

5. Johnson, David and Vanvonderen, Jeff. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Publishers, 1991.

6. Yeakley, Flavil. The Discipling Dilemma. Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Co., 1988.

7. Zukeran, Patrick. A Critique of the International Church of Christ. Master's Thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1995

© 2004 Probe Ministries.

Toxic Faith (a summary by B. Jackson)

A. The following is a summary of the book Toxic Faith by Stephen Arterburn & Jack Felton
(Oliver-Nelson, 1991)

B. I wrote this during the most trying time of my life when the issues raised by Arterburn and
Felton came as a godsend to me. They apply the insights of family systems theory and religious
addiction to life in the church. I helped to father a church in Indianapolis that had aspects of
toxicity and these principles and truths enabled me to understand and explain much of my history
in both my family of origin and the church


A. Religious addiction

1. Def. of addiction: when a person is excessively/compulsively devoted (sacrificing family, job,
economic security, relationship with God, their bodies or mental health) to a substance,
relationship or behavior

2. When people suffer from not knowing they are secure and significant, things which should be
learned from one's family of origin and ultimately from a relationship with God in Christ, they
have a vacuum in their soul that demands to be filled
3. The pain in our souls was intended to drive us to God who, alone, can meet the deep longings
of the heart.

Instead of getting the message, we pridefully fight relying on God alone to meet our needs. We
avoid listening to the pain by playing self-protective games
Along the way, we often find patterns of behavior that dull the pain, thus making it easier to live
with. These pain medications can be virtually any substance, relationship or behavior that
provides relief. When a person develops a pathological (abnormal) relationship to a mood-
altering experience or substance that has life-damaging consequences, addiction exists

4. Addictions can be divided into three basic types: substance addiction (e.g., alcohol), emotional
addiction (letting an emotion run your life e.g., depression), process addiction (e.g., work,

5. Addiction is ultimately idolatry, that is, the worship of a relationship, substance or behavior
instead of God

6. Religion becomes unhealthy when our attendance and service flows, not out of faith in God
who has loved us in Christ and given us opportunities to serve out of that place of rest, but out of
a need to be loved and find worth. Religious addiction is hard to spot because it has to do with
motive. Two people could be serving side by side and one is doing it by faith in God for an
eternal reward (gold, silver and precious stones; 1 Cor 3.12) while the other is doing it by faith in
the behavior for a temporal reward with no eternal dividends (wood, hay and straw). Religious
addicts are also usually the best workers in the church so their dysfunction is not only overlooked
but rewarded. Meanwhile, their lives head for disaster.

B. 21 erroneous beliefs that can fuel toxic faith (various forms and degrees of unhealthy

1. Security and significance with God depend on my behavior

2. When tragedy strikes, true believers should have a real peace about it

3. If you had real faith, God would heal you or the one you are praying for

4. All ministers are men and women of God and can be trusted

5. Material blessings are a sign of spiritual strength

6. The more money you give to God, the more money he will give to you

7. I can work my way to heaven

8. Problems in your life result from some particular sin
9. I must not stop meetings other's needs

10. I must always submit to authority

11. God only uses spiritual giants

12. Having true faith means waiting for God to help me and doing nothing until he does

13. If it's not in the Bible, it isn't relevant (all truth is in the Bible)

14. God will find me a perfect mate

15. Everything that happens to me is good

16. A strong faith will protect me from problems and pain

17. God hates sinners, is angry with me, and wants to punish me

18. Christ was merely a great teacher

19. God is too big to care about me

20. More than anything else, God wants me to be happy (free from pain)

21. You can become God

C. 7 irrational thinking patterns common in religious addiction

1. Thinking in extremes: driven by an all or nothing, black or white mentality (no gray; my way
or the highway) that causes the addict to be very hard on himself/herself and others

2. Drawing invalid conclusions, not based in reality; global thinking i.e., using words like "never,

3. Filtering out the positive and distorting reality. These people selectively hear only the negative
and are consequently negative about everything, especially themselves; in response to positive
input they say, "yes, but..."

4. Filtering out the negative and distorting reality. These people selectively hear only the positive
to shield their already low self worth. They allow in themselves what they would condemn in
others. A lot of relational wreckage; the weight of restitution can be crushing when they finally
see it
5. Thinking with the heart; feelings become the basis for reality because I think my perception is
"certainly accurate."

6. "Should, ought" thinking; constant self condemnation of not being able to measure up

7. Codependency; egocentric feeling of being responsible for everything; must be in control;
eyes always on the needs of others at the expense of their own


A. 11 Characteristics of a toxic faith system

1. Religious addiction is developed in a toxic faith system. The following characteristics
differentiate it from systems, churches, and ministries committed to growing people in faith and
developing their relationship with God

2. "Special" claims

a. The leaders of toxic faith systems claim a special pipeline to God which places them at a level
above all the others in the church which creates an atmosphere of unapproachability. The leader
can use this superiority to manipulate the followers who either believe and obey or suffer the
b. In the toxic system, the minister will set him/herself up as having a special destiny or mission
that can be performed by no one else. This special anointing or calling many times is nothing
more than the pathological need to be valued or esteemed. He/she can also posture special
powers from God like the ability to supernaturally heal
c. The victimized followers, seeking a closer relationship with God but focusing more on the
addicted leader than on God, lose contact with God and often fall away from faith permanently.
Misguided loyalty allows the delusions of the leader to grow and destroys the faith of the loyal

The only hope for everyone involved is for the leader who claims to be God's special officer to
be forced into accountability or dethroned to protect other potential victims.

3. Authoritarianism

a. Churches and ministries are started and grown through the vision of a strong leader. The
authoritarian leader comes to power because a driven personality accompanies talent and
charisma. A toxic system arises when that leader moves into a free rein style with no real
accountability. Often, this ministry is the first experience of authority for the leader
b. Those who work in this setting find themselves either agreeing with the direction of the
ministry or leaving. There is no room for compromise since the dictatorial leader believes that
everyone should submit to his rule without question. Those who fear for their jobs or feel they
may not be able to find similar jobs will comply with the leader rather than challenge certain
decisions or actions that appear to be wrong. The leader and the people, therefore, mutually deny
their accountability structures and wave the option of having safeguards in the system

4. An "Us Versus Them" Mentality

a. Religious addicts are at war with the world to protect their terrain and establish themselves as
godly persons who can't be compared to other persons. They see themselves in the cutting-edge
ministry and other people need to come into the light
b. Those in the exclusive society believe they are serving God but they are serving a person, and
that person's concept of what should be and should not be
c. Any scrutiny of the ministry is seen to be an attack from the enemy

5. Punitive in Nature

a. The minister addicted to power punishes and purges the system of anybody who would upset
the status quo
b. To outsiders, the whole ministry appears negative and punitive, out of balance, and distorted
from the love, acceptance, and forgiveness freely given by God and his Son

6. Overwhelming Service People get burned out by the service demands of the system which
feeds on compulsive personalities

7. Followers in Pain Many religious addicts in the system are physically ill, emotionally
distraught, and spiritually dead because they are looking to the leader and ministry to give them
what only God can give

8. Closed Communication

a. Communication is from the top down or from the inside out. Those at the top no longer hear
the perceptions and needs of the people. The addicts on the inside no longer care about the needs
of the people on the outside
b. Someone in the system has the job of shielding the leader from the truth by placating those
who disagree and satisfying those who want a direct voice to the leader. The lieutenant is never
to tell the leader anything but what he/she wants to hear
c. The organization eventually becomes ineffective because it loses touch with the people it is
designed to serve, just like a father loses touch with his children

9. Legalism What you do is more important than who you are. Performance is everything.

10. No Objective Accountability

a. This is the key to a toxic faith system. If religious addicts were in healthy, accountable
relationships with others, toxic faith would not be allowed to flourish
b. A person accountable only to God is a person out of control
11. Labeling

a. Labeling attempts to dehumanize persons so that dismissing them or their opinions is much
easier. Rather than say that John Doe has made a negative comment, the addict proclaims that
they are "traitors" or have a "critical spirit." The labels become rallying points under which the
other followers can be moved to action to squelch a revolt. Once the label is in place, it becomes
more difficult to see that person as a human with real needs and the potential for good judgment
b. Because it is difficult to rally against rational, thinking people who have different views, labels
must be used to polarize the opponents and energize the followers to fight against those
opponents. The enemy is "shot" so the underlying issues that need to be considered can be

B. The Roles of Toxic Faith


a. A healthy system is made up of individuals with a full range of emotions, intellect, free will
and the ability to function independently. In a dysfunctional system, each individual plays out a
role needed for the system to function. Since individuals lack the ability to function
independently, they depend on one another to play out their roles and allow the system to
continue. Those roles have to be played so that those in the system can remain in their denial and
avoid the overwhelming fear of insignificance

b. In a dysfunctional system, roles evolve to support the system. Each person must be willing to
play the roles which become more keenly defined as the addiction intensifies. Individuals
become trapped in predictable behaviors that remove God and faith, replacing them with a
dependency on a set of rules. As a person's behavior lines up with one of these predictable roles,
any deviation from that role is a sign of rebellion from the system and is dealt with quickly
through shaming and rejection. Although each role is difficult to maintain, it is even more
difficult to leave the safety and predictability of the role and act independently. A person who
takes this step back toward reality becomes an outcast of the system

c. In a toxic faith system, be it family, church or ministry, the person with the role of persecutor
heads the group. The persecutor is supported by coconspirators, enablers, and victims. These
people have one primary function: allow the persecutor to function, insulated from reality. Each
person in each role believes the organization must continue, and it is each person's job to distort,
manipulate, hide, or deny reality so the toxic system can go on. Each person in a different way
protects the persecutor from outside disruptions that could stop the achievement of the
persecutor's vision

d. These people create a false reality by distancing and isolating the persecutor from contact with
the real world. As they grow more committed to the persecutor and the toxic ministry, they
become addicted to the behaviors of the role and the feelings derived from participating in the
false reality of the toxic system. Once they stop supporting the false reality that allows the
persecutor and the ministry to continue, they are no longer needed by the system and are thrown

The roles
a. The Persecutor The persecutor plays the role of the father in the family. In the church this
person is the one with the vision that es the organization must continue, and it is each person's
job to distort, manipulate, when they were younger and, therefore, don't want to risk rejection as
an adult. Rather than trust God and risk being rejected or betrayed by God, they focus on what
they do in the name of God and what they perceive are the instant rewards sent from God. In this
way they lose all faith in God and rely on their own abilities to find God's favor. The fulfillment
of the mission becomes everything for the wrong reason and they surround themselves with
people willing to say that the progress toward the goal is outstanding
b. The Coconspirator For every persecutor, there is at least one coconspirator who manipulates,
plots, and plans to keep the persecutor in power and position. The persecutor and coconspirator
work as a unit; they operate as one. Both are addicted to religion as the means by which they es
person is the one with the vision that he/she and the others find meaning in fulfilling. Persecutors
have often been rejected Several work together to form a team of "yes-men" that will do
anything to protect and defend the persecutor. They feed into the persecutor's ego and further
blind him/her from reality. When there is conflict, they usually find a way to agree with the
persecutor and support his/her position. They are loyal in every way. In a toxic faith system,
these are the most dangerous followers because of their proactive commitment to keeping the
system intact. Their undying faith in the persecutor is the reason so many will continue to
support that person when trouble, rumor, or admission of wrong surfaces
c. The Enabler While the coconspirator actively connives to keep the persecutor in power, the
enabler's role is more passive. They allow, more than promote, victimization. They are not active
in the decision-making of the organization but willingly support those decisions made at the top.
They know something fishy is going on but they don't want to rock the boat by calling attention
to it. They are getting their worth serving something "significant," therefore, they purposely don't
"see things," thus justifying their enabling activities
The fearful enabler will wait until someone else intervenes. They hope for but are afraid to work
for change. Instead, they work like beasts of burden because they feel responsible for everything
d. The Victims Victims place their complete trust in the leaders of the toxic faith system and
become silent victims of something they don't understand. They fear rejection and abandonment
so much that they would rather be exploited members of something than be on their own and be
part of nothing. Theirs is a blind allegiance
e. The Outcast This is the only role in the toxic system that is not driven by addiction. In any
toxic system, there is usually someone who can see the problem and confronts it. In a healthy
system, individuals serving in that organization have respect for the person and position of
leadership. For it to remain healthy, there must also be respect for the workers. When there is no
respect, the "hired hands" are not allowed to disagree. If they don't like something, they are
labeled complainers, negative thinkers, and not team players. The toxic system has no place for
anyone who challenges the integrity or disagrees with the methods of the leader. The person who
is unwilling to play the games of the persecutors and coconspirators, becomes the outcast. They
lose their friends and church because they stood for their convictions
C. 10 Rules of a Toxic Faith System

1. The leader must be in control of every aspect at all times

2. When problems arise, find a guilty party to blame immediately

3. Don't make mistakes

4. Never point out the reality of a situation

5. Never express your feelings unless they are positive

6. Don't ask questions, especially if they are tough ones

7. Don't do anything outside your role

8. Don't trust anyone

9. Nothing is more important than giving money to the organization

10. At all costs, keep up the image of the organization or the family

D. Characteristics of Healthy Faith

1. Focusing on a personal relationship with God in Christ, not religion

2. Looking to God to meet the needs for security and significance

3. Growing in faith as evidenced by walking into pain

4. Respect for the personhood of others

5. Serving others for their sake

6. Being vulnerable

7. A trusting atmosphere

8. Celebrating uniqueness by recognizing people's spiritual gifts

9. Relationships being the heart of everything
10. People being taught to think

11. Balanced thinking rather than extremes in black and white

12. Non defensive

13. Non judgmental

14. Reality based

15. Able to embrace our emotions

16. Able to embrace our humanity as evidenced in the ability to allow for mistakes

17. The ability to laugh


A. I think that each of the toxic roles is actually a counterfeit for genuine gifts and roles in
the kingdom of God:

a. A person receives a vision from God to start a certain type of ministry, be it church or Sunday
school. They articulate that vision and impart it to a group of people who partner with them to
fulfill it, not to gain identity but as an outflow of the gifts of the Spirit exercised in faith. The
difference between the persecutor and the true godly leader is motive and degree of control. The
true leader obeys by faith and is secure enough to not be controlling. He/she does not lay down
in front of the people and do what they say because of being afraid of them (cf. 1 Sam. 15.24),
nor do they lord it over those they lead. The leader definitely leads but as a servant and an
example to the flock

b. True leaders gladly submit themselves to a group of people with whom they can know and be
known. They trust their council and value relationship with them above pursuit of the vision.
They wait for them so they can walk together

1. The persecutor is the counterfeit for the real gift of leadership which God gives to a man or
woman by the Holy Spirit

2. The coconspirator is the counterfeit for true eldership and government

a. Leaders need an accountability and decision-making structure around them. They (leader and
eldership) function together as coequals with different functions based on giftedness. Those who
serve the leader who is serving them do so as those who already have an identity in God and are
merely walking out their response to God's grace according to the measure of their faith. They
are "elding" for the right reason
b. They are not "yes men" but neither are they of an interdependent spirit. They recognize the
leadership gifting on the point person and trust in what God has put on him/her. They also trust
that the leader understands how the elders complement that leadership and know that he/she will
listen and heed their council. While the leader leads by giving direction and going first, they
govern the church together

3. The enablers are the counterfeit for the true servant workforce in the church

a. Jesus told us to pray for laborers in the harvest, for the harvest was plentiful but the workers
were few. Nehemiah saw to it that it was the people's job to build the wall around Jerusalem, not
his. He saw to it that they had whatever they needed, training, supplies, etc.
b. The true workforce of the church is serving according to their spiritual gifts by faith and not
for a sense of belonging and worth. They are not passive codependents who would enable the
sickness of leadership because they need the sick system for their pain medication. They know
they are not gifted in government so they trust that gifting on the eldership. But they also know
that if they had a question, even a hard one, that the leaders would be open to their concern and
make proper adjustments when necessary. They serve God, not the leader or vision, with joy in
their hearts

4. The victims are the counterfeit for the godfearer fringe

a. These are those that attend the larger meetings and are trying to decide if they want to give
themselves to the local church. Many are Christians who have had bad experiences in the church
and are hesitant; some are frightened "pew sitters" who need to be loved into the family and
joyful service, others are non Christians who are checking out the faith
b. Whichever category, they are the fishing pond out of which disciples are made. Jesus chose 12
then 70 out of the crowd that followed him. What makes the difference whether these people
become disciples or victims? Everything depends on the actions and motives of the group they
are walking among. Is it healthy, glorifying Jesus and honoring personhood or is it toxic,
glorifying the leader and denying personhood? Motive is everything

5. Outcasts are the courageous detractors in the toxic system who are trying to bring health to
something sick

Just as God will try to heal something that is sick, Satan will try to destroy something that is
healthy. In the healthy system will be found both rebels and wolves

a. Rebels are Christians who for whatever reasons have enough wounding to create problems for
members in the flock because of their sin. They are good people who are just not conscious of
what they are doing and why. They may be caught in a sin and need to be restored gently (Gal.
6.1). They may be acting out congregational pain that they have not been able to understand.
Whatever the case, the flock is called to a process of lovingly winning these rebels through
ardent pursuit outlined in Matthew 18. This passage begins by talking about true shepherds who
make lost sheep their priority. It then says we are to go to our brother who is in sin and try to win
him. We are to offer numerous opportunities for repentance, each with a higher relational price.
If losing relationship is worth something to the rebel (this is what separates rebels from wolves),
then he/she will eventually repent and have a genuine heart change. The key to this process is
love. The parable of the unmerciful servant which follows in the text highlights how the
atmosphere needs to be permeated with forgiveness
b. There is a difference between the rebel and the wolf. Rebels are good people with wounds
who need to be loved back to health. Wolves are divisive people with hardened hearts who the
enemy has planted with a strategy to destroy the fellowship. Titus says, "Warn a divisive person
once, then twice, then have nothing to do with him" (3.10). Paul told the Corinthians to expel a
wicked man from their midst (1 Cor. 5.13). Discerning rebels from wolves and treating them
accordingly is one of the jobs of eldership (even wolves are to be treated lovingly and with
respect as human beings!). The difference is in the heart and the heart must be discerned

B. Conclusion

1. If Jim Jones was a 10 and totally healthy is a 0 then most families and churches would fall
somewhere on the spectrum. Healthy would go from few to some toxic behaviours, unhealthy
from frequent to compulsive toxic behaviours. How toxic we were is a matter of debate. There is
no question that I/we had dysfunction. How much is (in my opinion) a fruitless sidetrack.
Whether it is one cancer cell or a thousand, let's call it cancer and ask God to root it out

2. This book was extremely helpful to me because it gave me crucial insight into what was
happening to us. If we understand what toxic faith is and what drives it, we can recognise it and
choose never to walk in it in any degree

Condensed by Bill Jackson

"Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field
into a desolate wasteland." Jeremiah 12:10
"Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" Galatians 4:16

This article, written by Teri Lee Earl in 2001, amazes me with its clarity. Our
Vineyard interaction, five years since, could not have been described more

On Vineyard And The Renewal:

by Teri Lee Earl
I attended a Vineyard church for a few years until 1994 when I left. There are quite a
few things I could say about my Vineyard experience in specific and the Vineyard
denomination in general. I could fill up many pages with my own testimonials and direct
experiences, as well as the reports of others. However, I will crunch it all down the best I
can on this one page, by not dredging up alot of specific details.

My purpose for writing about the Vineyard is not to amaze or shock, but rather to
acknowledge the fact that there are common patterns of both charismatic immaturity
and spiritual abuse in this denomination and others like it. I know that even
acknowledging or discussing such a thing at all will offend some, but what should be
more offensive than discussing such things is the fact that there have been many
believers who have suffered personal devastation and spiritual difficulty because of
Charismatic immaturity and spiritual abuse. What should be more offensive is that there
are excuses and cover-ups for this abuse, rather than acknowledgment and healing or

At one time in my earlier Christian walk, I had been convinced to let some cover-ups go
on. Having done so, I intimately know how very much this way of dealing with it doesn't
work. Many people would rather return to the unbelieving state, would rather become
bipartisan and anti-Charismatic, than to participate in such a sham! Those who are able
to retain their Christianity and their acceptance of the gifts of the Spirit, would rather
drop out of churches and denominations like the Vineyard in favor of real, practical,
bonafide love between Christians. They have learned that pie-in-the-sky, verbal-only,
'love' expressed to God and others only goes so far when it comes to being a real
Christian. Such has been my choice, and I would rather be accused of being a
"prodigal" or any other vial thing a former fellowship or false pastor might accuse me of,
than to call loveless Christianity "Christian," or to say that spiritual abuse or abuse of
any kind is somehow acceptable, or to sit by wordlessly as the Word of God is violated
by all of these things.

Spiritual abuse and the immaturity of ego-driven leaders and their equally ego-driven
subjects produces bad fruit. Are there other alternatives than this "fruit"? Yes, there is.
But you can't identify the fruit and then say it doesn't come from the tree, and you can't
say the tree has no root. Jesus admonished us to recognize bad fruit; He did not tell us
to be blind to it!

As an "old-timer" (20+ years) 'charismatic-type' Christian, I can assure you that this
"fruit" is not how it has to be. The gifts of the Spirit do not have to be used for sordid
gain (if that exists), they do not have to lift up someone up into spiritual pride, and they
do not have to live side by side with total Biblical ignorance.

The patterns of immaturity and abuse are amazingly uniform in certain groups and
denominations, but for now I will not go into why that is and how it is. Instead, I will keep
myself to a brief acknowledgment of the "fruit" of what I found to be Vineyard specific,
before I go on to impressions or observations that are renewal specific.
First of all, I must say that within a period of seven years or more (and I believe that is
long enough to call it a bonafide pattern) I found the abuse patterns I am going to
describe to be very predictable. In fact, I can honestly say that in only a short while after
leaving the Vineyard, I could recognize certain 'Vineyard' actions or sayings that were
dealt to people during the course of their "Vineyard" abuse tribulation. This was no
magic on my part to discerning this--It is honestly because the patterns were so
predictable and the sayings or accusations, as well as the way those accusations were
carried out against the unsuspecting believer, were so uniform! (and by predictable, I do
NOT mean the tactics were patterned after a Biblical 'model'!). People would speak to
me during their times of distress whom I had no idea were in a Vineyard at all. They
would describe to me the same old familiar symptoms and events, and then they would
confirm that they were in a Vineyard upon my asking. Some who have spoken to me
about their decisions to leave the Vineyard have been pastors. Some I was involved
with during some part of their recovery process.

That may seem like a hard saying, but we all must apply Biblical principles to our lives if
we are to ever stop repeating the mistakes of the past, or if we are ever going to avoid
the pitfalls our false belief systems create. Recovery from any abusive System or anti-
Biblical unofficial "model" must not only include the acknowledgment that we were
victims and taken advantage of or perhaps even lied to, but must also include a self-
examination of our own belief system. This is because we must move away from any
ethics or compromises that may have attracted us to an abusive pastor or dynamic in
the first place, or that may have kept us entrapped for however long we were in it.

Just as the 'victims' can learn, repent, and redirect their steps, so can their hard task-
masters. It is in fact possible for an entire denomination or church to repent. It is rare,
but I've seen it happen. Still, no one should stay in a dynamic that is both inflexible and
maintains its own inflexibility by certain edicts. Such edicts include hidden
excommunications and other 'final solution' tactics. You just cannot force people's wills
and make them change if they don't want to. And if people are that stubborn, then how
stubborn do you think the Systems they put into place will be? Those Systems, after all,
are just an extension of their own mindset and their own rebellion against the God of
Love and His ways!

There are a variety of little head trips that can be played on a person to be sure they are
silenced into passivity and a 'positive-only' spiritual paralysis. One of the first of these
head trips is to be told that if you discern something, you should just go pray about it in
your closet-- a closet equipped with the super-spiritual idea that your prayers will rectify
a situation that could better use practical, workable Christianity. Speaking the truth in
love is not an option given, and many intercessors are left with the impression that they
can change the whole scheme of things without having to actually confront anyone or
suffer rejection like Jesus did. If you are of a mind to take Biblical steps, or even if God
Himself told you to while you were in your prayer closet, you are given specific, anemic
ways of how to go about this. You are told talk to someone as privately as possible, and
only in the manner most likely to save their or your ego, regardless of the situation.
When they give you the standard silent treatment and curse or slander you as a result
of your Biblical attempt to establish Christian-like communication, you could be told it is
inappropriate to carry out any more of Jesus‘ instructions of Matt. 18: 15-17. The irony
of this is that while you are advised or pressured into this way of doing things, those
who would so instruct you practice Matt. 18:15-17 in reverse against you, violating every
scriptural precedent available in teaching and practice. Once you realize what is really
happening, it then becomes a sin to even accidently uncover their deeds of darkness,
double-talk, or lies. Others around you are trained or encouraged by example to shun
those with weaknesses or confessions or difficulties of any kind, and this plastic smile of
pseudo-charismatic happiness serves to lock down the Ultimate Cover-up. Since people
are so proud of their spiritual gifts, anointing, and denomination, it is easy to
inappropriately accuse and reject the innocent while also inviting new people (or, victims)
to experience the ―love‖ your group is so famous for.

The preceding paragraph may be considered too brutal by some, or too vague by those
salivating for tales of the worst of Charismania, or too brief by those who genuinely
need more information. However, I write it in order to give you the reader an idea that I
am not naïve as far as charismatic spiritual abuse. Whether it is under the ‗banner‘ of
any particular group or denomination is of little consequence, for such banners are idols

I know that by this time I may have already lost those poor souls who deny charismatic
spiritual abuse, because they have been trained (or, more accurately, brainwashed) to
never listen to anyone who has anything but ‗positive‘ things to say. I want to make
clear though that the Vineyard is not the only ‗troubled‘ denomination or group in this
day and age of lethargic and feel-good 'Christianity', and there would be others to spring
up in its place before and after it. People never get tired of institutions and exclusive
clubs. As I write this though, the Vineyard as a whole is one of those institutions that
has a good reputation on the inside, but a bad one on the outside. This is one of the
natural results of the defense mechanisms of denial and avoidance as blinders for those
who are in closed systems, as well as the ‗no talk‘ rule which employs in its arsenal a
variety of rejections and intimidations for those who dare to have the courage to speak

For those who do share amongst themselves what the Lord has shown them, most ex-
Vineyardites generally agree that much if not all of the Vineyard denomination is a
―personality cult‖ which has centered around John Wimber up until his death and
perhaps even now. Spiritually, this denomination has left her first love and her god is the
god of reputation. Some of us came about these revelations by prayer, discernment,
and even personal conviction well before any re-enforcing tribulations, and we have
already attempted to speak directly to those qualities and dynamics however the Lord
has led us. By now, the prevailing spiritual disease is a well-known and discussed fact
by those on the outside. Leaving is commonly acknowledged as the only way to have
fellowship on the basis of truth rather than on the basis of superficiality, falsehood, and

Now if you have survived what I have said thus far about spiritual abuse in the Vineyard,
I will temper that by stating that there are dear brothers and sisters in Christ who are
therein whom we should not loose sight of. For the sake of these "little ones" I refuse to
assume that all believers in a denomination or group are involved in or aware of the
abuse their leaders or other members of their fellowships are perpetuating. Besides, I
find it unfair to heap upon any one denomination the burden of every anti-Christ spirit
and guilt one might assign. Certainly there are a myriad of cults and errors, and it is the
most horrendous spiritual pride and blindness to assign every unclean thing to the
scapegoat of your own sectarianistic liking, and then make that your pious campaign
against all evil.

In closing, I will give my very brief testimony regarding the Vineyard and 'renewal' in the
Vineyard in order to establish a few little-known facts as a first-hand witness. Although I
have many thoughts on what I have seen and known, I will hold some of these to myself
for now because much of what I have learned is not only for the Vineyard- concerned
audience, of which this page is for. I am also not spending time delineating other
people‘s observations or testimonies that are similar to my own, because there is no
need for confirmation of like testimony over and over again. In fact, I am not giving the
horrible details at all of any spiritual abuse deployed--even my own. I am merely making
mention of the facts that actions were done toward certain ends, when it came to

First of all, I will state emphatically that Vineyard spiritual abuse was well established
and long-standing prior to the ‗renewal‘. I believe this spiritual abuse increased after the
renewal only because those who were "stirred up in the gifts" (2 Tim. 1:6) challenged
and provoked the forces behind that abuse. Many times, these people whose spiritual
gifts were stirred up, were completely unaware of the fact that they were so provocative
to any System of abuse.

In spite of any spiritual awakening or a personal ‗revival‘ that occurred in the hearts of
many, these 'revivals' were oft times quickly silenced by those who made themselves
the guardians of the status-quo. Intent as they were on opposing any who might be
mature enough or Spirit-filled enough to speak the truth in love, or to study and
understand the Bible like never before, or to minister in spiritual gifts without thought of
anyone's dictatorship or 'management' as it is called, these immature goats and
donkeys cast out or suppressed even the hope of true revival, because, being as
disobedient as they were to God's Spirit, it could not come through them. Afterwards,
they kept the false and man-made revival they wanted so badly because it came
through them or theirs and they could lay claim to it, package it, take credit for it, and
even sell it in different ways. They were turned over to strong delusion. Since they
couldn‘t discern, they also embraced the false prophets who tickled their ears rather
than the true.

That‘s the short version of what I've known and learned of in the Vineyard. Frankly, I'm
thankful for the gained knowledge regarding spiritual abuse, for the wisdom to leave,
and for my life in Him afterwards. Now that I've done the overview, it is time for some
more academic renewal-related details.
It was my observation that early on, in response to accusations about renewal meetings
being of the 'New Age,' there was a tragic de-emphasizing of the question of the
demonic. Perhaps this is why the phrase 'manifestations of the Spirit' began to be
misapplied in the first place. Qualifying every 'manifestation' as being either of God or
the flesh reacting to God's presence, was very myopic. The category that was left wide
open and unaddressed was that of demons reacting to God's presence, or demonic
manifestations. This is more than just a valid consideration. After all Jesus Himself, filled
with the Holy Spirit, provoked demonic reactions. So how is it then that the presence of
the Holy Spirit in any revival or renewal would not? And no matter what instigated
demonic activity, it should have been acknowledged and addressed.

The fruits of this succession of events were as follows: 1) avoidance of the 'demonic'
question 2) adding some provocative or questionable definitions for 'manifestations of
the Spirit', and 3) teaching as though everything we see 'has to be' from God's Spirit.
This, in addition to the underlying incidences of spiritual abuse against many Christians
for a variety of excuses, produced predictably sour fruit. None of this could stand up to
either the Word of God or the criticism generated by violating the "fast and loose"
applications of the Word of God, and such criticism was well-deserved. (If heeded at all
with humility, "checks" from within or without of the organization could have produced a
much needed change, but that is neither here nor there)

Who originally came up with this way of doing things? I do not know, but I did hear and
witness for myself, first-hand, the saying and doing of such things by Vineyard 'renewal'
speakers and apologetics and leaders, well before the Toronto/Vineyard split, while
attending Vineyard renewal functions. I admit my experience may be considered limited
and not necessarily representative of the official Vineyard stand at the time. At the same
time, I would like to say it probably was the unofficial Vineyard stand, by rational
deduction and observation alone. My observations as to these renewal practices were
uniform across all of the Vineyard-sponsored renewal meetings I attended, including a
few that were in many different locations. Furthermore, the overall avoidance of the
subject of 'manifestations' being possibly demonic in nature continued in other forums
too: For instance, the New Wine e-mail list that was definitely controlled by Vineyardites.
(As a side note, although it was once claimed that the Vineyard churches were not
tightly controlled and thus were not a denomination, countless reports have poured in
over the years to the contrary.)

In some of the meetings that were sponsored by the Vineyard yet used the training
manuals from the Melbourne Tabernacle church of Florida (the same one that has since
endured a huge scandal regarding adultery), the ‗trainees‘ were actually forbidden to
cast out a demon or prophesy any corrective prophecy exposing sin without ―prior
approval‖ of the ―leadership‖. This is against the Scripture (1 Corinth 12:11), and it was
very noticeable that these two gifts were considered dangerous enough to reign in and
be extra cautious over, and yet there was otherwise an 'anything goes' attitude.

Knowing that in these particular meetings they were basically asking us believers not to
function in the gifts that utilized the discernment of the Spirit, I was indeed quite alarmed.
In fact, some spin-off meetings later requested NO prophesying as well as other
additional controlling rules. That doesn‘t mean people did not ‗break the rules‘ at times
with the permission of those they prayed over, but of course this does not solve the
over-all problem of excessive control of the discernment gifts. In any case, many
'renewal meetings' quickly died off as a result of such over-control.

When I questioned if there was a difference between this training and Toronto's, I was
told by other believers that Toronto did not have such stipulations upon these
discernment gifts during their renewal training. And unless I fail my reading and
comprehension test, Toronto later took the most pastoral and proactive approach I had
seen yet in all Vineyard forums regarding deliverance needs in renewal. I am referring
especially to the "Spread the Fire" issue, Vol. 1, the same one that reportedly "was the
last straw" in offending John Wimber enough to expel them from his organization.
Surely if the "exotic manifestations" [as the Association of Vineyard Churches (AVC)
called them] were suspect, addressing the demonic by teaching about deliverance and
inviting a deliverance minister to their meetings would seem a good place to start,
wouldn't it?

My purpose is not to take all the heat off of Toronto for its choices. My point is that, from
where I sit here in America, mixed messages within the Vineyard did exist well before
TAV (Toronto Airport Vineyard, as it was called then) was expelled from AVC. It was
therefore a deception to treat TAV as if it were the source of unscriptural messages and
practices alone. In other words, I am quite certain after reading the volumes of
messages and information about the subject, that Toronto was a scapegoat for
Vineyard embarrassment -- an embarrassment that Vineyard may have created in the
first place, since the denomination practiced the same or similar things throughout most
of its churches.

Furthermore, and as one final notation, it was my observation that the worst of exposés
over the Internet of unScriptural quotes taken from Toronto meetings, were gathered
during the time that TAV was still connected to AVC. And again, shortly after the time
when Toronto ―reconciled‖ with Vineyard (I read some of the private messages
regarding this), reports of the strangest of quotes began to surface again, and again the
Vineyard speakers invited to Toronto were the ones quoted.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that vilifying Toronto was a way for the Vineyard
denomination to avoid examining its own problems. Indeed, many within the Vineyard
seemed to truly believe that once Toronto was "gotten rid of," they would once again be
comprised of the perfectly functional fellowships they were before. However, the
problem is that they never were the picture of health that they thought they were from
the beginning (no hype,... no manipulation). Far from it. Reports of severe problems
have continued to this very day (the last one received is at the bottom of our Mail to
Author page).

Posted with the author's permission. Original article can be viewed at
The names of people discussed in this site have been changed to protect the innocent. Any similarities to actual persons, either living or
dead, are merely coincidental. The events discussed in this site happened at a Vineyard church that we once attended. We have tried our
best to relate these events in an informative, impartial way. We have also provided links to outside sites that appeared credible and useful:
these sites belong to others and we offer them only as additional resources and have no control over their content.This site is intended for
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"Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field
into a desolate wasteland." Jeremiah 12:10
"Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" Galatians 4:16

Additional Vineyard Experiences

“NOT JUST A MEMOIR OF THE VINEYARD,” 1986-1994 (Originally written in 1994;
posted by several ministries on-line). An autobiographical and critical
examination by Cheryl Thomson, Ministerial Diploma, Pentecostal Assemblies of
Canada, 1995

But teaching at our Vineyard fellowship did not emphasize the Bible and the basic
tenets of Scripture the way even I, with my ―arrested spiritual development‖, hoped they
would. After our marriage I saw my husband increasing his familiarity with Vineyard
choruses, and spending quality time in music rehearsals, while the Word of God lay

And then new seminars were scheduled, for all church members who wanted to be ―in
leadership‖. I was shocked to see that some of the same material would be taught that I
had been given to study in my ―Word of Faith‖ church. It dealt with how to ―visualize‖
Jesus, so that you could receive Christ‘s own direct, specific ―Rhema Word‖ for you
every day. Then you could write it down in a journal. I had read enough articles on ESP
and psychic phenomena in Los Angeles in the 1960′s to recognize a formula for
receiving ―automatic writing‖ when I saw it.

When I shared my concerns with John Arnott, he brushed them off, saying that if there
was anything wrong in the course he was saying we should take, he would deal with it
when it came up in class. Today Mark Virkler, the author of that course and others, is
still a featured Vineyard Ministries guest speaker.
It was with much regret and heartache that Steve and I left the little Toronto Vineyard.
We had made close friends. But when I witnessed John Arnott and his wife giving
approval to a woman‘s report of a divine message from Jesus that she should leave her
husband because he was like a stone around her neck, I knew it was time to go. But
even then, I remonstrated with Arnott about the incident in a letter, to which I received
no reply. Other current leaders with Arnott of the Toronto Airport Vineyard were copied
on the same letter in 1989. I received no response from any of them.

In my ―old days at the Vineyard,‖ there was no barking like dogs, oinking like pigs, or
roaring like lions. At least not in Toronto. But in Western Canada, there was something
similar that happened in the mid-1980′s. A series of, I believe, twelve audiotapes was
issued by Vineyard Ministries in California under the titles: Demonization I and II. These
were in my possession until a couple of months ago when we moved, and unfortunately
I discarded them at that time. There was one tape I should have kept. It was a teaching
on spiritual warfare by a couple in California who subsequently divorced, and whose
materials were removed from the Vineyard catalogue a few years ago. In my recent
packing frenzy, I did not even keep a note of their names, which is unfortunate. The
tape should have been kept, because it relates this couple‘s experiences while on a
ministry trip, probably to Calgary or Edmonton, although the specific Canadian city was
not named. They reported that unde! r the power of the Holy Spirit, a whole large
roomful of people to whom they were ministering on this trip started barking like dogs,
oinking like pigs and making other animal noises. They had never seen anything like it.
The husband explained to -the class in Los Angeles which he was teaching (this class
was being taped) that he believed the animal sounds were demonic. He believed there
was a great deal of demonic influence in the churches in Canada. He believed the root
cause may have been the reluctance of churches in Canada to confront the works of
Satan. It seemed to him that in some way a spiritual pact had been made between the
churches and the powers of darkness in Canada.
Read More

Laughing Our Brains Out?
My Visit to the Anaheim Vineyard
Copyright © 1995 by Phillip R. Johnson. All rights reserved.

"Park your doctrine at the door, and get into the feeling of this," seemed to be what
every voice we heard was trying to tell us. "The Lord cannot do what He wants in your
life if you insist on analyzing it with your mind. Truth is not important, experience is.
Holiness is a feeling."
Read More

Antti's Testimony of the "Toronto Blessing"

I later spoke with a man who was in the New Age / occult before his conversation to
Christianity. He told about having had similar experiences with spirits trying to break into
people in New Age meetings. Remember this what he said then: "It's a very, very
dangerous situation. You can feel the spirit, and it feels bad, but when it gets in, all the
bad feelings vanish, and it feels very good indeed."

Later I felt almost physically bad often when the TB (TB=Toronto Blessing) spirit was present.
Sometimes I was not able to be in prayer meetings, because I felt so bad and had to
leave. It didn't happen just once or twice and was very real. I believe that the Holy Spirit
in me was signalling about a hostile spirit. It is a real force.
Read More

Quest for the Radical Middle: Notes
By Bill Jackson

Indicatives - statements of facts... "Christ died for your sins..." verses Imperatives -
commands i.e. "repent...." Vineyard had always put Imperatives 1st and then lead to
Indicatives... "Christ has died for you .... so repent." This caused Vineyard to rest in
Grace and sometimes tended to be slothful in behavior. KCF (KCF=Kansas City Fellowship)
on the other hand was serious about Holiness but tended towards legalism.
Read More

Renewal: the Hype, the Hope and the Reality
by Len Hjalmarson

We left the renewal movement because we felt that there was an unbiblical emphasis in
the prophetic and renewal movements. Somehow the renewal has contributed, often
unwittingly, to a climate where certain gifts are exalted above others. We believe that
wrong emphases are contributing to the loss of something essential in the church, and
eroding foundations that the Lord has built.
Read More

Testing The Fruit Of The Vineyard
By John Goodwin, Pastor, Solid Rock Christian Fellowship

Heresy is by definition, that which deviates from the original doctrines or theology in any
given religion. The primary indicator of heresy in the teachings of John Wimber is his
departure from Scripture and willingness to go beyond the Word of God for truth.
Wimber is quoted from one of his audio tapes as saying "It's not a loving thing to do to
call your brother a heretic." 2 It's more accurate to say it's not a loving thing for your
brother to be a heretic. This is a common tactic of Wimber, to demonize his opponents
before they have a chance to expose what he teaches to the light of Scripture.
                           Testing The Fruit Of The Vineyard

             By John Goodwin, Pastor, Solid Rock Christian Fellowship
                    This resource was posted with permission from Pastor John Goodwin.

Background and Introduction (pgs 1-5)
Heresy Is Unloving (pgs 5-13)
"Give Him An Inch And He'll Take A Mile" (pgs 13-17)
Error 1: "Have Experience Will Travel" (17-21)
"If It Works It Must Be From God" (pgs 21-23)
Power Evangelism - Whose Power? (pgs 23-24)
Error 2: God or Magic? (pgs 24-27)
Inner Healing (pgs 27-31)
Error 3: Ghostbusters, Inc.? (pgs 31-34)
Our Sure Foundation (pgs 34-35)
References (pgs 36-41)

Background and Introduction
The church is asleep during a time it needs to be the most alert; the following pages will begin by
tracing how the church has been lulled into this stupor. Although Satan's poison has
devastatingly seeped into most of our churches today, this article will focus on how it has
permeated the Vineyard Fellowships due to my personal involvement with this movement.

In the mid to late 1960's, there were profound changes taking place in America - changes to our
social, political, and spiritual institutions. The entire cultural landscape was in upheaval. All the
old assumptions, i.e., the Western-rational, science-based understanding of the universe and our
understanding of social relationships were challenged and discarded by the "elite." There was a
concentrated assault on our moral base and on the concept of morality itself.

Relativism was the moral philosophy du jour. Consciousness was being expanded and "raised"
by the use of hallucinogenic drugs and forays into the Occult and Eastern Mysticism. This
attitude of experimentation was transferred into the church as many of the young "Jesus People"
came from the counterculture and brought with them many of the drug and Eastern mystic-
induced "revelations" with them. These things I know with certainty because I was one of those
counterculture "Jesus People". (The term "Jesus People" was a media creation and I use it only as
a point of reference.)

This was a time when all institutions and their foundational truths were challenged and if
possible changed. The evangelical church leadership were profoundly intimidated by the
incursion of these young people with their experiences and claim to superior knowledge, while
the theological liberals from primarily the German thought in theology embraced and mentored
these young radicals. The theologians found in the new infusion of radical, social, political and
spiritual concepts of these young people a fertile field in which to plow their aberrant theology,
and to produce a harvest of very strange fruit - fruit that was not biblical in its origin or in its
outcome. They eventually came to fill the pulpits of many of the mainstream denominational

As our society had become more permissive and tolerant, so were these attitudes introduced into
the church. Many in the charismatic movements had already experienced this permissiveness and
tolerance of a "low-view" of Scripture and tradition and had the obvious signs of heresy and lack
of sound biblical teaching. The other more traditional denominations maintained a veneer of
biblical orthodoxy. However, the inoculation against the truth had come in through the "Trojan
Horse" of psychology, permitting every deviancy the counterculture had, challenging traditional
orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

They did this in the name of science and with the blessing of virtually every evangelical leader in
America. The seeds of the lie were planted deep within the soil of the church, the satanic seed of
deception, being watered and cared for by the very ones that were looked to as the leaders of
God's flock. The false shepherds of the flock of God tended the garden of Satan in the full view
of the people of God and were never challenged. As God has said in His Word ,Woe unto those
shepherds... ".

With this change of paradigm from a biblically-based understanding of man and his condition to
a pseudo-scientific understanding (really nothing more than a rationalization which is all that
psychology is), came the acceptance of every type of experience into the church. Because all
sources of "truth" were being taught as equal, why not accept those that could only be found in
the Occult and Eastern Mysticism as being as valid as any other source of truth?

Many of the manifestations found in things such as the laughter phenomena (the shaking,
stiffening of the limbs, howling, roaring, screeching etc.) have no biblical component or warrant
from Scripture, but can be found in India, Haiti, Africa and other places of pagan worship and
voodoo, ( which is a bizarre mix of paganism, Catholicism, with the conscious decision to
actively involve the supplicant in demon possession). New Age/Occultism would be the most
current definition of the phenomena. The infusion of this demonic deception was not challenged
by the leaders of the church and has contributed to the current status of decline.

Social liberalism began in earnest in the 30's with Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" and was
enlarged and expanded by Lyndon B. Johnson in his colossal move of the country to the left in
the 1960's with the "Great Society". At the same time, the liberal views of Scripture brought into
the church by the theological establishment, the "Jesus People", and the Pentecostal \
Charismatic movement's experiential version of Christianity (essentially a psychological,
cathartic experience) became the measure according to the "enlightened" of what was "holy",
"anointed", and "blessed by God".

The training received by the new converts in the seminaries were essentially from the German
school of theology with a strong mix of psychology, Marxist social conscience, and existential
philosophy, what today could be called Liberation Theology. What you now hear from the
pulpits of what were once fundamentalist, evangelical churches, is the language of the secular
left. This (the attitudes of the secular left), is then presented as the new method by which the
church can be healed and brought into the experience of the truth and fullness of what the church
"should be".

Accordingly, the "new" paradigm of the liberal theologians which is imposed upon Scripture,
although not derived from Scripture, is then presented as the need the church must address to be
relevant. Since this language is from the left, we find a strong impulse towards global unity in a
political sense and a move towards "unity" within "Christian" churches without regard for
doctrinal purity or even a rudimentary acknowledgment of the basic tenets of the truth as
revealed in Scripture, which is a denial of the person and work of Jesus Christ. We find, in short,
the agenda as well as the language of the secular left, being galvanized with the words "the
truth" and presented to the church as the church's agenda. This end result has long been the
agenda of Satan and is the result of a massive infiltration by Satanic agents into our seminaries
and churches.

We are finding strong calls for the reunification of the Protestant and Catholic churches with
calls from John Wimber, among others, to have the Protestants submit to the authority of the
Pope. There is a willingness to extend "fellowship" to the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, and
the New Age Occult "Churches" such as the Unity Church. As you will see in the pages to
follow, the deception and deviancy has gone to extremes.

The church needs to wake up and see that the deception is strong and invasive. The problem with
people that are deceived is that they are deceived, and because of that fact, are not open to the
truth. They don't know what they don't know, and they don't know they don't know it. Reread
that; it's an important distinction to make when dealing with people who are deceived.

We can't allow ourselves to be drawn into the "strong delusion" of Satan and his "angels of light"
and be robbed of the liberty that we have in Christ. This is the end-time and the attack upon the
true body of Christ - not the professing church, but the true Church - is increasing and the
enemies of the cross are emboldened by the inroads into the church and the marginalizing of the
vast majority of true believers.

This trend is to anesthetize the church and leave it open and vulnerable to the coming
"deception" spoken of in II Thessalonians 2:9-11, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11, "Even him, whose
coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all
deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the
truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they
should believe a lie:"

It is evident that the professing church is in apostasy and that New Age \ Occult concepts and
teaching have invaded and overrun the church. The lie is coming and many will be led into
eternal separation from God because of the lie and those who spread the lie. We must fight the
good fight of faith and be the few who are faithful when the Lord Jesus Christ returns.

The Word of God must be the basis of our faith and practice as Christians. From Genesis to
Revelation, the Bible proclaims that it is God's written revelation of Himself to us. What is
desperately needed in the church today is not more experience, nor shifts in our worldview, but a
return to biblical doctrine. Christians are warned against seeking the supernatural and instructed
to be vigilant concerning miraculous signs and wonders in the last days. Our greatest need in the
church today is the fruit of the Spirit, which is love. (Gal. 5:22-26)

The Bible indicates that it is more than just physical reality as a printed book or spoken words. In
its spiritual form, it is equated with God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God", and "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us."(John
1:1,14) Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God, the Logos. The last phrase of John 1:1 should
read literally "and God was the Word." To remove yourself from the authority of the Word is to
remove yourself from the authority of Jesus Christ.

We do not worship a book, but we have been instructed to seek Jesus Christ through the book
and to have the book as our unfailing guide to His truth. Jesus said in Luke 11:28 what would
characterize a blessed individual, " ...blessed [are] they that hear the word of God, and keep it."
In Acts 12:24 we are told that " ...the word of God grew and multiplied." Signs and wonders
didn't grow and multiply, spiritual gifts didn't grow and multiply, "inner healing" didn't grow and
multiply (as if some Occultic concept like this would). However, these are the insertions that
John Wimber would have you make to accept the "gospel" he espouses.

We are told in Acts 19:20 that as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit which brought conviction
and repentance, "So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." When the Holy Spirit works
miracles, the end product - the Word of God (i.e. Jesus Christ) - grows, not an individual or
his/her ministry. The sad fact is, John Wimber's emphasis on the concept that signs and wonders
produce church growth is a corporate business concept, not a biblical concept. These concepts
have more in common with Multi-Level Marketing than anything found in Scripture. In fact, if
Scripture is any guide (and of course we contend it is our only guide), Peter on the day of
Pentecost saw three thousand converted because of the proclamation of the Word of Life, not the
"mighty rushing wind".

John Wimber has also said he "is anxious to stand in the evangelical tradition on Scripture ... his
adviser assured ... us that he John Wimber did not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture."1So,
John Wimber wants to be a traditional evangelical, and yet he denies one of the most
fundamental tenants of evangelicalism - the belief in the sufficiency of Scripture. As a result of
his deviation from Scripture, the teachings of John Wimber, founder and pastor of Vineyard
Ministries, errs dramatically in three main areas:

1. Dependence on experience rather than Scripture, leading to the practice of pragmatism (the
idea that if a technique works, it must be of God), and subjectivism (i.e. the equality of all
sources of information as truth).

2. Acceptance of Occult practices in "Christian" forms, such as aura reading and manipulation,
the teaching of "Inner Healing", and psychological and Occult methodologies.

3. The teaching that Christians can be possessed by demons.
There are a multiplicity of problems that develop in each of these areas, all of which relate back
at some point to deviation from the Word. John Wimber reveals his attitude towards Scripture
and his basic extra-biblical thinking on many of his teaching tapes on a variety of subjects. His
confusion, which results from a departure from the Word, leads to chaos in theology and practice.

It is the responsibility of church leadership to expose the "sword" (Ezk.33:1-5 ) of heresies which
come upon us. If this is not done, the result is a proliferation of false teachings, which can and
does cause spiritual death. Dealing with heresy is a serious matter, but it is not unloving. To
leave people vulnerable to deceitful doctrine and practices which will destroy them spiritually,
while causing pain and suffering to innocent victims, is unloving For this reason, as well as the
command of Scripture, exposing heresy within the church is a necessary charge given to leaders.
[Return to Outline]

Heresy Is Unloving
John Wimber is Pastor of the Vineyard Fellowship in Anaheim, CA, and has been head of
Vineyard Ministries International, as well as The Association of Vineyard Churches, since 1981.
He was also an adjunct professor at Fuller School of World Missions where he taught the now
defunct MC-510 class on Signs and Wonders, and Church Growth. He currently travels and
teaches extensively both in the U.S. and abroad on subjects ranging from a popularized version
of his MC-510 class, to spiritual gifts, spiritual warfare, inner healing, holiness and prophecy.

Many of John Wimber's teachings have stirred controversy within the church over the past few
years, and he is a major promoter of a number of damaging concepts infiltrating Christian circles.
Because Scripture clearly states that in the last days many false prophets will arise and that a
spiritual deception would precede the return of Christ for His church, it is imperative that
Christians everywhere be warned and made aware of heresies.

As Jesus said; "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs
and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matthew
24:24) And the Apostle John said in I John 4:1; "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the
spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." For
this reason, John Wimber and his teachings must be examined in the context and light of
Scripture by Christians, especially those who have been exposed to his teachings.

Heresy is by definition, that which deviates from the original doctrines or theology in any given
religion. The primary indicator of heresy in the teachings of John Wimber is his departure from
Scripture and willingness to go beyond the Word of God for truth. Wimber is quoted from one of
his audio tapes as saying "It's not a loving thing to do to call your brother a heretic." 2 It's more
accurate to say it's not a loving thing for your brother to be a heretic. This is a common tactic of
Wimber, to demonize his opponents before they have a chance to expose what he teaches to the
light of Scripture. It could have just as easily been the Maharishi saying that as anyone else. In an
odd way this illustrates the Eastern \ New Age paradigm shift that Wimber made and encourages
you to make. Wimber deflects the attention from his teaching or practice to the one examining
the teaching or practice trying to marginalize the person reacting to the event. It is a common
statement of Wimber's that "God is greater than His word." 3 This phrase has become a mantra
for John Wimber and is used repeatedly on tapes, and live at seminars and conferences. This
phrase means two things. First, there is truth in extra-biblical sources, (i.e. he denies the
''sufficiency of Scripture" for the believer's life) and secondly, that the phenomenon experienced
by attendees of Vineyard seminars and services do not need to be validated by Scripture, and
could, according to Wimber, contradict God's Word and still be "from the Lord." 4 He also notes
"God is giving us special, prescriptive directions from week to week" 5 and in regard to
prophesying he says "I'm speaking things into existence that God is telling me to speak, because
of the anointing. We're moving into a miracle dimension." 6

What are these "special, prescriptive directions"? The Bible tells us that "Forever, O Lord, Thy
Word is settled in heaven" Psalm 119:89), not from "week to week". Nowhere are we told to
speak things into existence or move into other dimensions. Without say so directly, there is the
strong influence of the New Age concept of constant human evolution. This is the first tenet of
New Age "theology", that humans are in a constant state of "evolving" into other "dimensions"
and "higher planes".

The next "quantum leap" of the New Age evolution is the illumination of the soul, in the other
"dimensions", to personal godhood. This step ties in very nicely with the Vineyard concept of
self authenticating experiences, you have them, and they are of God, because you are a god. This
reasoning is the logical conclusion of the acceptance of self authentication of experiences and
thoughts. The Satanic goal is ultimately to lead to worldwide demon possession. Jesus said; "as it
was in the days of Noah...". In that day, as a result of the unholy union portrayed in Genesis 6:1-
4, the whole of the human race was demonized...infested with demons. In this "higher
dimension" into self-realization, i.e., that you are divine, you are deceived into believing the
whispered lies of Satan, imputing them to the Holy Spirit.

The Bible clearly states that we do not know our thoughts in their origins, but God does. The
New Age teaches that within man is the "Christ spirit" or the "Christ consciousness" that needs
to be realized. John Wimber is familiar with these concepts as you will see later in his open
endorsement of Robert Schuller. Next, you realize the universal cosmic "god force". This is
nothing more than Hinduism and its false teaching that everyone and everything is god and we
are each a part of God and of course God is only a "force" without personality.

As you can see from Wimber's statements, he says that God and His gifts are a "force". This is a
completely New Age/Occultic concept, and the idea of moving in other dimensions is something
commonly heard from those who have had a "close encounter of the third kind", or those in
contact with Barbara Marx Hubbard, Elizabeth Care Prophet, Matthew Fox, Robert Muller, and
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. This is an area forbidden to the believer in Scripture and severe
consequences await those who transgress and enter the domain of Satan, although we do know
that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and lures the unsuspecting to eternal ruin
through these "other dimensions". This statement of Wimber's indicates at the least a kinship
with Kenneth Copeland and Hagan and their concept that faith is a "force" that can be used to
alter reality. These are New Age ideas, not biblical concepts. Actually, these concepts have
strong support in all the Babylonian mystery religions and most likely go back to Genesis 6:4
and the infestation of the earth with demonic creatures prior to the flood. In fact, they go all the
way back to the Garden and Satan and Eve's conversation.
We will discuss this more fully a little later.

If these were merely arrogant and self-aggrandizing statements, it would be bad enough, but
Wimber goes further in saying, "The Lord went with an apostolic tour. The Holy Spirit has put
on my heart ...I'm going to take a group from my church ...We'll be ministering in much the same
way ...We'll be going as an apostolic group. In an apostolic group.[sic] As an apostolic group
there is power and anointing far beyond your normal ability to perform." 7 [sic] Wimber
considers himself and his group's activities to be on the level with the apostles. This, combined
with a lack of accountability to the Word, results in unscriptural practices and teachings which
are dangerously unchecked.

His attitude is stated as the following 'John said that God told him not to read anything critical of
his ministry." 8 It appears that Wimber is not interested in applying the judgment of Scripture to
his teaching or healing ministry. He has also said, "I've determined in my heart, I'll never, ever,
answer another spectator's questions, the rest of my life. I'm not interested in their theories, their
speculations, their criticisms, their confusions, [sic] or their comments. From this point forward
I'm only going to dialogue with those people who are in the arena. And in the place of the touch
of God.[sic] 9 I've been in the "arena", in "the place of the touch of God", a participant not
merely a "spectator". Not that one who has not been where Wimber has been is disqualified from
taking note of the unbiblical and at times antibiblical attitudes of John Wimber and the
Vineyards. It seems as though Wimber perceives anyone not involved in the "arena" he is in as a
spectator and not worthy of being heard.

I was in John Wimber's office the day he received one of many calls from Dave Hunt prior to the
publication of The Seduction of Christianity, and Wimber told his secretary, "I'm not taking any
calls from him." Then, that evening at a service at the Vineyard in Anaheim, he said how hurt he
was that many, including Hunt, had criticized his ministry and not even bothered to bring their
concerns to his attention before airing their accusations. 10 At other times, Wimber has also
confused his own judgment with the authority of Christ in saying, "In the name of Jesus, you can
forgive the sins of others.''11 Placing the phrase "In the name of Jesus", first does not negate the
heresy that Wimber is declaring people can forgive sins (see section on inner healing for further

Such self-aggrandizing and self-adulating concepts are especially dangerous when considering
that John Wimber has made a primary departure from the faith in his teaching regarding
Scripture and experience. He states, "All that is in the Bible is true but not all truth is in the Bible.
We integrate all truth, both biblical and other, into our experience of living. l2 John Wimber has
advocated that all Vineyards incorporate this statement into a comprehensive statement of faith.
As a result of this, his teaching is more likely to be founded on "spiritual" experiences which are
then validated by finding some Bible verse which appears as though it might apply to what has

This approach to God is not in line with the manner in which God has instructed us to come to
Him, but is consistent with and opens the participant up to the Occult. Such practices are not just
a bad idea, they are dangerous, because the spiritual realm which they contact is real. Christians
everywhere need to heed the clear warning of Scripture to not only expose, but have nothing to
do with such "unfruitful works of darkness." (Eph.5:11) Jesus said in John 14:23 "If a man love
me, he will keep my words." The violation of His words by church leaders can only be
interpreted as the converse of the declaration of Jesus, i.e., the one in violation does not love
Jesus. The Lord defines those who are His disciples in John 8:31; "Then said Jesus to those Jews
which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed." What God
has revealed in His Word is so important that only by continuing in the Word are you a disciple
of Jesus Christ. Only by continuing in the Word can you enter at the straight gate, proceed down
the narrow way that leads to life everlasting

A fact sheet on the Vineyard published by Walter Martin's Christian Research Institute (CRI)
states, "...there appears to be little emphasis on teaching the Bible per se. This lack stands in
contrast to the very strong Bible teaching at Calvary Chapel, a church with which The Vineyard
was once associated ... While Bible teaching is not emphasized enough, the role of experience in
the Christian life appears to be somewhat over emphasized. People in the Vineyard frequently
seem to be willing to allow their spiritual experiences to be self-authenticating''13 The idea that a
phenomena did not need scriptural warrant, and could contradict Scripture and still be "from the
Lord" is based in the idea that the experiences are "self-authenticating", i.e., the experiences must
be from God because I am having them. I hope you see that this attitude allows you to become
the final arbiter of whether or not something is from God. In point of fact, the position taken by
the Vineyards is that the event must be from God because you are having it. This attitude is not
too far removed from the concept that you are god and that all that you do is good and "from
god"...seeing as how you are him. As Wimber is quoted as saying above, they are "speaking
things into existence". I was under the impression that only the Lord God, the Lord Jesus Christ,
spoke things into existence by divine fiat.

It is a sound principle of Christian faith that every philosophy, every doctrine, every
methodology be tested by the Word of God. In discussing the charismatic movement in general,
pastor and author Chuck Smith, in his book Charisma vs. Charismania, observes, "One of the
greatest weaknesses of the charismatic movement is its lack of sound Bible teaching There seems
to be an undue preoccupation with experience, which is often placed above the Word. As a
consequence, charismatics have become fertile field for strange and unscriptural doctrines
proliferating through their ranks." 14

John Wimber makes his attitude towards strong biblical identification clear when he says
"Calvaryites [those who attend Calvary Chapel] are sometimes a little too heavily orientated to
the written word, I know that sounds a little dangerous, but ah, [sic] frankly they're very
Pharisaical in their allegiance to the Bible. They have very little life, and growth and spontaneity
in their innards.[sic] Sometimes they're very rigid and can't receive much of the things of the
Lord." 15 Whatever these "things of the Lord" are that Wimber is referring to, it is questionable
that they are of the Lord if they cannot be found by people attentive to His Word and open to
being led by the power of the Holy Spirit. To equate those who insist that teaching and practice
be both orthodox and orthoprax with unbelieving Pharisees is to beg the question and engage in a
spurious argument to deflect attention from his accountability to Scripture and the apostle's
doctrine. He is effectively putting himself and his followers beyond the pale of the traditional
accepted biblical faith, and making themselves "a law unto themselves" This leads to a further
expansion of the idea of self-authentication, that just because a experience is not biblical, i.e.,
found in and derived from Scripture, doesn't mean it's not from God.

Jesus said that a "wicked and adulterous" generation would seek after a sign. What is happening
here is true biblical faith is being replaced by "signs and wonders". Jesus could ask the question
as to whether or not there would be faith on His return because the delusion by the lying "signs
and wonders" would be the evidence of the "truth" of the professing churches belief. True
biblical faith, "faith which comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God", will cease to exist.
What Wimber is saying is that external proofs and miracles validate Scripture. The truth is that
Scripture authenticates the experiences or the "signs and wonders" and if the "signs and
wonders" are at variance with any portion of Scripture, we must conclude it is a Satanic or
"lying" "sign and wonder".

The New Age and the Occult predicate their belief system upon the manifestations of miraculous
to authenticate their belief. The New Age says; "It happened, and therefore it must be true". This
is so similar to the Vineyards approach to the supernatural that we can safely conclude that they
are one and the same approach. This is the "delusion", the replacement of true faith with
counterfeit and opposite of faith, "signs and wonders". We are not at this point trying to endorse
Calvary Chapel, but to highlight the fact that John Wimber and the Vineyards are not
accountable to the Word of God and have very elaborate and clever arguments to obfuscate the
truth and continue their denial of the Scriptures as the final authority for the Church.

This attitude towards extra biblical experience is taken further when Wimber states "Because
they believe the right doctrine and can give you the right answer doesn't mean they're born
again." 16 This is true and in and of itself it doesn't mean too much, but combined with Wimber's
continued ridicule of those who rely on the Word of God for final authority, the implication is
that knowledge of the Word is suspect as evidence of life in Christ, and knowledge of the Word
is not to be pursued. John Wimber says concerning studying the Bible, "It's not a worthy goal
just to get through the Bible. It's not a worthy goal just to be informed by the Bible.''l7 This is
refuted by Scripture (Acts 2:42, Romans 6:17, Romans 16:17 and others). Wimber's theology is
focused not on Jesus Christ or the Word, but on power and force relating that "That's what
separates dead doctrine from the living reality. There's a force of grace, there's a force of faith,
that must be manifest in our midst.''18 This is an Occultic concept being presented as the
authentication of the work of the Holy Spirit! Scripture never speaks of these things in terms of a
"force." This is characteristic of the last day and the lack of attention to "sound doctrine" and a
surrender to the forces of darkness, calling evil good and good evil.

It would be impossible for me to recount the number of times I, as VMI Staff, have been at
seminars and conferences that John Wimber was conducting, to see openly Occult and demonic
manifestations occurring. As these manifestations were occurring there were always large
crowds of people surrounding them, extending their hands, "blessing the work of the Spirit",
without any sense that what was happening was demonic in origin or that it was a manifestation
of evil.

This tangle of ideas indicates the direction of Wimber's thought - a dualistic separation of the
Word of God from its own authority and vitality, as if the Word in itself is dead without the
injection of some "force." Jesus said, "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they
are life." John 6:63b) The Word of God itself is "quick, and powerful, and sharper than any
twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and
marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12). Because Jesus
Christ is the Living Word, a person devoted to Jesus Christ will be at the same time devoted to
His Word. There is no logical or spiritual separation.

Wimber rationalizes his position on Scripture by identifying with Jesus as a blasphemer
[agreeing with the accusation that Jesus is a blasphemer] and placing himself on an equal level
with Christ in authority. Speaking on the situation in Luke 5: 18-24, Wimber says, "This fellow
blasphemes - were they correct? Yes, they were correct." l9 [sic] He elaborates, noting that;
"Many of you and myself included have committed that sin. We have been theologically correct
as we've attempted to conform something to Scripture, saying; 'at this point the teaching
is' ...Many fundamentalists do exactly the same thing today about the works of the Spirit.[sic]
They take the Word of God and chisel at a practice or a ministry or a flow,[sic] without
recognizing it's God moving. Not recognizing that God is bigger than His written Word." 20

There are several things going on here. To begin with, if a practice is scripturally correct, one
would not need to "conform it to Scripture." Any need for such contortion indicates a problem in
itself. An example would be the statement that "They take the Word of God and chisel at a
practice or a ministry or a flow,[sic]." If a practice or ministry is from the Lord then the Word of
God won't "chisel" at it but will affirm and ratify it. Secondly, where in Scripture do you find
anything about "a flow"? Once again an incursion of New Age thought in Wimber's teaching.
Further, Wimber accomplishes two things through this kind of thinking First, he identifies
himself with Jesus in the Luke 5:18-24 scenario imputing to himself and his followers the
authority of Jesus Christ on scriptural issues and practice and second, he equates those who
measure a practice or ministry with Scripture with the unbelieving scribes. This effectively
insulates his teaching and practice from scriptural critique. He is equating non-recognition of his
ministry with non-recognition of the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Wimber elaborates
on the Luke 5:18-24 incident stating, "In this case, He, by revelation of the Spirit, knew exactly
what these guys were thinking said, Jesus, knowing their hearts said, [sic] why are you thinking
evil in your heart? ...I remember when the Lord spoke that word to my heart it was like a arrow
in my heart, I said, Lord they're not thinking evil, they're ...they're ...they're just operating under
sound doctrine. [sic] Hello ...these men aren't thinking evil, these men were under doctrine, they
were under a dispensation, they were under the Old Testament, they're not being evil ,Lord. But
you see, it's evil when you don't recognize God. It's evil when you don't see Jesus in the things
that are going on. It's evil when you hide behind doctrinal beliefs that curtail and control the
work of the Spirit. It's evil when you don't recognize the Lord of glory in the work He's doing,.
The church today is committing evil in the name of sound doctrine. And they're turning against
the work of the Holy Spirit. And they're resisting the work of he Holy Spirit in this last day." 21
Wimber is himself hiding behind a facade of true adherence to the moving of the Spirit of God in
order to insulate his theology and practices from those who would unravel the facade with God's
Word. At the same time, he equates anyone who would challenge the facade with those who did
not recognize Jesus' authority and work. None of this addresses the real issue: whether these
practices and ideas are biblical. Wimber sets this up by stating that Jesus knew, "by revelation of
the Spirit" (showing his low regard for the full Divinity of Jesus Christ) and professing credence
in his own mind of the belief of equality with the person, work and ministry of Jesus with
himself and his followers. Sound doctrine will not "curtail and control the work of the Holy
Spirit" but will encourage that work and produce godliness. (1 Tim 6: 2-3) To quench the work
of the Holy Spirit is to not walk in love. To teach doctrines not found in Scripture and invite
confusion and demonic activity is to truly quench the work of the Holy Spirit. To teach from
sound doctrine is to put yourself in the arena of truly walking in love and allowing the Holy
Spirit to use you and for the "torrents of living water to gush forth from your innermost being".
(Jo.7:38 literal translation) [Return To Outline]

"Give him an inch and he'll take a mile..."
Referring to Scripture, Wimber says, "Sometimes you can learn more from what's not said than
from what's said. If you take today's practice and put it up against the scripture, lots of stuff falls
off. There's no place to put it." 22 In terms of practices within the church, certainly no biblical
practice "falls off" when "put up against scripture", and as for what is unbiblical, the best place to
put it is out of the church. The implication of his statement is that experiences can be self-
authenticating, needing no scriptural support. It also indicates that Wimber and the Vineyard
Fellowships believe God is speaking to us by what He doesn't say, or what they say He meant by
what He didn't say in His Word. Please don't miss this point. The statements are subtle but the
reality is to get you to accept their interpretation as a continual revelation from God to the church
and the need for you to come under their control. The Vineyards present themselves as gurus to
the Church. To a Church that is supposed by them, unable to know the truth and understand the
times by the Word and Spirit of God, but in need of intense and constant clarification by the
Vineyard leadership of what God is saying to us by what He didn't say.

What the challenge to the Word of God accomplishes are three very important things for Satan.
The first tactic of Satan is the challenge in Genesis three. Here we find the dialogue between Eve
and Satan. Satan asks the question; "hath God said?" Another way of putting that question is,
"are you sure you understand what God is saying to you?" Or, " sometimes you can learn more
from what God is not saying in His Word than from what He is saying." Or possibly you have
misunderstood what was clearly stated in God's Word. This tactic is to plant the seed of doubt
into your heart and get you to begin to question God and His Word. The second challenge is;
"you shall not surely die." This is a full frontal assault on the truth of God's Word and a denial of
the truth.

Wimber says, "what God really meant here, by what he didn't say is thus and such." The third lie
is "you shall be as God." You can speak things into existence. You can move into other
dimensions. You can edit or rewrite Scripture and it's all right with God. Never mind that God
said to us, in Revelation 22:18b-19; "...if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto
him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of
this book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the
holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Make no mistake about it, God's
Word is true and shall be fulfilled. Also, make no mistake that what Wimber is doing is moving
the church into the New Age and the New World Order. With this last question or paradigm shift
that Satan asked Eve to make comes the spirit of antichrist.
The attack is three pronged. They question God's Word, they deny God's Word, and then they
substitute the reversal as the truth. The spirit of antichrist is not a duplicate of Christ, but, the
reversal of Christ; Antichrist takes the words of Christ and reverses the meaning of them. As
Wimber does so often he calls good evil, and evil good. The three pronged attack is: 1) The Bible
has been misinterpreted, 2) the traditional "position" of Scripture is denied; 3) the reversal of
Scripture becomes the "truth". Then we find Wimber along with Schuller, the Pope and most
others he endorses, McNutt, the Linn brothers, Stanford, et al, telling us that Christ is simply a
"force". The Holy Spirit is a "force". Grace and mercy are a "force". This is the essence of the
esoteric mysteries of the New Age and Copeland, Hagan, Schuller, Hinn, Wimber, et al. This
represents not merely a faulty presupposition, but a Pandora's box of both theology and practice.

For Wimber, this means going as far as teaching that not only can Christians be possessed by
demons, but that a person can become possessed by demons named Jesus [which he calls
religious demons] if they aren't careful to accept the "right" Jesus 23 (see section on Christians
being possessed: "Ghostbusters, Inc.?'). During a question/answer period following a healing
seminar, Wimber responded to a question about Christians and demonic possession by stating
"Keep in mind that the definition of what is a Christian is a very obscure thing in a society that's
Christian. What is a Christian? Is it a person who believes, or a person that receives, a person
that walks by the spirit, are they born again? What is the definition of born again?" 24 The
deviation has gone so far that Wimber can no longer even reliably define what a Christian is.
John 3:16 gives a very dear definition of what being born again is, and is such a fundamental text
on the subject that one could hardly imagine someone claiming to be a "fundamentalist
evangelical"25 Bible teacher neglecting it. Also, there would seem to be no excuse to ignore the
plain declaration of Jesus Christ that you must enter in at the Straight Gate and proceed down the
Narrow Way to eternal life.

It would seem that Wimber has actually become Gnostic in his approach to the Person of Jesus
Christ. He has said, 'We have overemphasized his god nature and under emphasized his man
nature." 26 This leads Wimber to make assumptions of human limitation on Jesus that are neither
warranted by Scripture nor consistent with His Person as God the Son. Wimber says, "Haven't
you been taught that Jesus knows all things? There are many times in the gospels when Jesus
doesn't know and he has to ask questions.[sic]" 27 This assumption by Wimber of the motivation
of Christ's' questions denies the full Deity of Jesus and reduces Him to the level of a mere man.
Wimber has the same attitude in referring to the healing ministry of Jesus when he states, "Jesus
often ministered on the faith of others. Jesus often rode the crest of the faith of others. I believe
there were times when Jesus had little or no faith for the healing of the individual. I believe that
there were times when he [Jesus] had more faith flowing that at other times." 28 Once again,
Wimber has brought the Author of Life, God With Us, to the level of a mortal man in need of
"faith" to fulfill the purpose of the Father. In this he has denied that Jesus Christ is fully God.
This in turn puts us in a position of authority and makes us even necessary for the fulfilling of
the purpose of God.

Wimber demonstrates further confusion with endorsements of those who teach known doctrinal
error. An example is his statement that "Robert Schuller is one of the greatest evangelical
proclaimers of the gospel of this generation." 29 Schuller, like his mentor Norman Vincent Peale,
is an unabashed humanist who teaches and preaches a gospel of "Possibility Thinking." Schuller
is quoted in his own magazine Possibilities saying "...nothing exists except God. There is no
other reality ...The Christ spirit dwells in every human being whether the person knows it or
not." 30 This is not the gospel of Christ, but another, humanistic gospel which will not save. This
is the New Age doctrine of releasing the Christ-spirit within and awaiting the appearance of the
Christed one, i.e., Lucifer himself, to be revealed to the world as Antichrist. This is tantamount to
Wimber endorsing the rankest of heresy ever foisted on the church. This is the Occultic message
given by the channelers, those who have "encountered" UFO's, horoscopes, Hinduism,
Buddhism, Unity, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Elizabeth Claire Prophet, Matthew Fox, Scientology,
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Sri Chimmony, Marijhiji etc. ad nauseam. This is the company of
those who are leading the church into eternal ruin, following the doctrines of devils and teaching
those same doctrines. This is the Occultic doctrine of the New Age. It bears no resemblance to
the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Wimber's extrabiblical forays also lead him to accept practices which the church has rejected as
unbiblical for centuries, such as the use of relics (human remains and objects they've touched).
He states "In the Catholic church for over a 1,200 year period people were healed as a result of
touching the relics of the saints. We Protestants have difficulty with that, why ... but we healers
shouldn't, because there's nothing theologically out of line with that." 31 The use of relics is an
utterly pagan concept, not justified by the single scripture reference to special miracles worked
through Paul "so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the
diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." (Acts 19:12)

Most importantly, Paul was alive at the time, not dead, and the miracles are attributed to God
working through him, not through the handkerchiefs or aprons. The use of relics of the dead is
tied not to scriptural healing, but to necromancy or contact with the dead. Furthermore, Paul was
an apostle, and those miracles were done to authenticate his ministry and authority. The use of
relics is a form of idolatry and is a sign of the loss of the consciousness of the true God. This is
not biblical Christianity.

Wimber is not only open to Roman Catholic doctrine but actively encourages the reunification of
Protestants with the church of Rome. During a Vineyard pastors' conference, he went so far as to
"apologize" to the Catholic church on behalf of , all Protestants. He asked an archbishop, from
the Los Angeles archdiocese to stand up in the front of the auditorium and spoke these words to
him, asking him as the representative of the Catholic Church to accept his apology on behalf of
all Protestants and asked for the church's[Catholic] forgiveness. 32 He stated that "the pope, who
by the way is very responsive to the charismatic movement, and is himself a born again
evangelical, is preaching the gospel as clear as anyone in the world today. 33

The pope has visited Our Lady of Fatima and attributes his preservation and recovery from an
assassination attempt to the Virgin Mary. Part of the doctrine of Fatima (an apparition of Mary,
Queen of Heaven) is that the United States will be attacked because they will not bow down to
the Pope and the Church of Rome, and give national homage to Mary. This nuclear attack on
America, predicted by the apparition, is punishment for the sin of refusing the authority of the
Pope. After this punishment, according to Fatima (Mary), we will be lead into a "Golden Age".
This is identical to the New Age "Golden Age". We begin to see why Wimber says the Pope is
open to the charismatic movement - the lack of sound biblical doctrines and the embracing of the
lies of the New Age. A statue of Mary at Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, erected following a "sighting"
of Mary there, has allegedly spoken and said, "Everyone worships god in his own way with
peace in our hearts." 34 The Catholic church officially endorses this. This is a clear presentation
of the gospel? Dave Hunt, who has done extensive research on this subject, summarizes the
Pope's true position in saying "The Pope promotes a humanistic ecumenism. He recently
declared that the efforts of "Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists {etc.} ...were unleashing
profound spiritual energies in the world and bringing about a 'new climate' of peace." 35 On the
other hand, Jesus said in Matthew 12:30 "He that is not with me is against me ...." There is no
ecumenism in the teaching of Jesus, no thought of reunification with any that would distort or
oppose the Word of God, but the severe warning that "heaven and earth shall pass away, but my
words shall not pass away."(Matt. 24:35) John Wimber ignores this in his endorsement of the
Pope's "gospel."

Dave Hunt expressed the need to correct doctrine in one of his CIB Bulletins, saying; "Most of
the Epistles were written to correct doctrinal error. Why bother, if 'it doesn't matter what your
doctrine is?' In fact, doctrinal purity is essential not only for salvation but also for living the
Christian life. Paul wrote to Timothy, 'Thou has fully known my doctrine, manner of life,
purpose, faith long- suffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions ...' (2Tim 3:10).
Doctrine was the very foundation of Paul's life. And so it must be for ours ... 36

If exposing these teachings, and more specifically those of John Wimber, as heresy is unloving,
then the apostle Paul must be considered the most unloving of Christians. It is his urging in
Scripture which reveals the heart of God towards spiritual deception: "But though we, or an
angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you,
let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8).[Return To Outline]

Error l: "Have Experience Will Travel"
Wimber is quoted as saying "I'm sort of a have-experience-will-travel person" 37 and notes that
members of his congregation are "encouraging one another to move deeply into the spiritually
unknown as well as to rediscover the spiritually forgotten...Know more personally the God who
exists both beyond and within the boundaries of well-defined doctrinal systems." 38 How are
people to "know" the God who exists "beyond" these systems? The totality of God is certainly
beyond our capacity to know and understand, and for this reason, He has defined Himself for us
through doctrinal systems, equated Himself with those systems, and we are told by Him not to
look for Him outside of those systems. II John 1:9: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in
the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the
Father and the Son." 1 Timothy 4:16: "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in
them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." I Timothy 6:3: "If
any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord
Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing
but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil
surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth." Titus 1:9:
"Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine
both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Titus 2:1: "But speak thou the things which
become sound doctrine."
By the "spiritually unknown," Wimber is referring to what he calls the "Excluded Middle," a
layer of "reality" which is not part of the western worldview. In his Signs and Wonders and
Church Growth Syllabus, the "Excluded Middle" is described by the following.

Supernatural Forces On This Earth includes:

      spirits, ghosts, ancestors, demons
      earthly gods and goddesses who live within trees, rivers, hills, villages
      supernatural forces: maya, planetary influences, evil eyes, power of magic, sorcery, witchcraft -
       Holy Spirit, angels, demons, Signs and Wonders, gifts of the Spirit39

Aside from the Holy Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, and angels, Satan, demons, other creatures which
Christians already have in their "worldview" from Scripture, this list presents demonic entities
that no Christian should deal with. Scripture makes us aware of the reality of demons, without
"paradigm shifts" or "altered worldviews" and also gives strong warning to have nothing to do
with them. There can be no purpose in suggesting that Christians need to incorporate these things
in their allegedly 'limited" worldview other than opening them up to experience for the sake of
experience or to gain control as "guides" through this, for most Christians, foreign and dangerous
territory. Anyone who has been regenerated by the Spirit of God knows these things and knows
that they are from the dark side, Satan and his minions. There is no need to pursue these because
we are prohibited from doing so in the Word.

There is a serious danger in exploring the "spiritually unknown" under the guise of gaining
understanding from a shift in your worldview. If an experience is not referenced in the Bible, the
Christian cannot reliably trace it to God. This leads to exposure to ungodly and Occultic
influences. Those things which are "forgotten" are in the realm of witchcraft and the occult, and
there are profound scriptural warnings not to remember them or to be "a charmer, or a consulter
with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer" (Deut. 18:11). The forgotten is always
associated with the Mystery Religions of Babylon and all aspects of spiritual encounters of this
type should be avoided.

None of these "forgotten" things should be discovered by the Christian. God's attitude towards
those who do is clear: "And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after
wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him
off from among his people (Leviticus 20:6). The forgotten is the demonic "wisdom" spoken of in
Gen. 6 with the "sons of God" or "the angels of God": those fallen angels who rebelled with
Satan, Lucifer, and came and cohabited with human women and infested the pre-flood world that
God judged.

Interestingly enough, Jesus said: "as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be...", the revival of
these doctrines and the concomitant immorality they bring, is what is to precede the return of
Christ. The result of the pre-flood unholy union between "the Sons of God", (fallen angels), and
the daughters of man, these fallen "watchers" and their progeny spread violence and perversion
throughout the whole earth. Those "spiritually unknown" things take us back to the esoteric
mysteries of the Occult and for this reason Israel was told not to have anything at all to do with
the "abominations" in the land. Keep in mind from Genesis 6:4, we know that when these fallen
angels came from heaven they taught mankind every Occultic power found in the New Age /
Occult. Along with that initiation came violence and perversion that dominated and controlled
the pre-flood civilization bringing the judgments of God and the destruction of the whole earth.
Observe the order of events in the days of Noah. First the sons of God, then giants, violence, and
finally worldwide destruction. Now, look at the order of events Jesus Christ gave us of the events
to transpire just prior to His return. Satan and his angels, violence, and then destruction. The
abominations Israel was to avoid are what the fallen angels taught and are identical to the New
Age / Occult practice of today. In light of this, the association Wimber makes puts him and the
Vineyards in some rather interesting company.

F.V. Scott, who researched Wimber's teachings and wrote an article in Passport magazine, notes
that Wimber repeatedly criticizes what he calls the "Western worldview" which is rational and
demands logical answers. Wimber says: "We must remember always that the Bible was written
in the Middle East - not with a rational assumption that we bring to it as we try to understand it -
but with an 'experiential' assumption." 40 According to Wimber, in order for us to fully appreciate
what God is doing in the world, we must experience what he calls a "paradigm shift" from a
Western way of thinking to an Eastern way of looking at things.

John Wimber's teachings about "paradigm shifts" and "worldviews" are very similar to those in
the New Age movement, which seeks to draw people into Eastern mysticism. New Age
philosophy also attacks Christianity as being a product of Western "rationalism" and "scientism"
in its attempts to shift people's thinking away from rational thought to the non-rational base
associated with Eastern religions. It is also comparable in most ways to the blind leap of faith
into a non-reasoned religious experience of existentialism. True Christianity never includes the
demand for a non-reasoned blind leap of faith. Paul said," I know whom I have believed in ...".
This concept originated with the Babylonian Mystery religions and were required for the initiate
to enter into the deeper mysteries of this mother of all false religions and heresy. If you have not
had the chance to read Hysop's "The Two Babylon's' ", I encourage you to purchase that book
and investigate for your self the bizarre connection with the present day and the days of Nimrod.

This paradigm shift is explained by Wimber in his seminar on Signs and Wonders and Church
Growth 41 in what he calls a logic syllogism. Presuming that people in the Far East have an
"eastern" or "experiential" mindset, he describes an exchange of logic with an imaginary Far
Easterner with the following result: "You tell someone from the Far or Middle East that cotton
only grows in warm, semi- arid climates. England is cold and wet. [Ask them] Does cotton grow
in England? The answer you'll get [from them] is, 'I don't know, I haven't been to England."'42 In
other words, a person with such a mindset will not accept facts at face value, but must
"experience" them to know their truth. The leading here is clear. It would be dangerous for
Christians to be seduced into thinking they must experience a paradigm shift to Eastern thought
in order to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit, rather than taking Scripture at face value.
That is New Age theology; it is not orthodox Christian doctrine. That you must experience to
know is existentialism. It is the old, "I think, therefore, I am" game of mental gymnastics. In
reality the truth is; "I am, therefore, I think". This paradigm shift of Wimber's is to Eastern
metaphysics, not biblical Christianity.
When a person places his/her experience in "hearing from the Lord" above Scripture, all manner
of misinformation enters in. Examples include statements by John Wimber that "The Lord spoke
to me and said to me 'just as I had need of the colt and the donkey for my entry into Jerusalem, I
need my church back for my re-entry' Go to the church... He gave me the impression that this
was the message from now on...the Lord hath need of it, the Lord wants His church back." 43
What Wimber is alluding to here is that the Lord's return for His church is predicated upon the
perfection of the church. This idea from, "The Manifestation of the Son's of God", is not only
refuted by Scripture, but actually originates with Agnes Sanford, who first introduced Inner
Healing and other unbiblical practices into the church. While describing one of his healing
seminars in England to an Anglican Bishop, Wimber says he told him that "The Lord gave me a
message the last night to share in York. Out of I Cor. 14:40; 'Let all things be done properly and
in orderly manner' I told him [the Bishop] that this week the Lord had said let all things be
done." 44 How was the Lord "giving this message" to him, especially since it directly contradicts
His Word? Wimber is simply equating his own thoughts with God's voice here and rewriting
Scripture in the process.

Wimber's inner healing practice also borrows extensively from extra-biblical sources including
John and Paula Sandford, among others, and draws on their theories about "healing the inner
man." The Sandfords' work is based, in turn, on that of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Jung was
an Occultist who actually had a spirit guide communicating with him. In fact, Carl Gustav Jung
said: "I had great difficulty to control my thoughts. There was a demon in me...". Teaching based
upon sources such as these can in no way be reconciled with Christianity, which is grounded
solely in biblical truth. The idea that any "truth" that would affect a believer could come from
ungodly men is refuted by Paul in I Corinthians 2:13-14, where he says; "Which things also we
speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth;
comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the
Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are
spiritually discerned." No one who has a "spirit guide" is being taught anything by the Holy
Spirit. Jesus speaking of the source of truth in the believers life said: "When He the Spirit of truth,
is come, ... whom the world cannot receive, ...for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. He
will guide you into all truth." (John 14:17; John 16:13 emphasis added) What the Holy Spirit
guides us into is all biblical truth, using the Word of God to fulfill His principle mission, i.e., to
reveal to the world who Jesus Christ is and what He's done for you and me. The source is the
Word and the fertile hearts and minds of the apostles. Biblical truth is truth which is derived
from the Bible.[Return To Outline]

"If It Works, it Must Be From God"
In a Christian Life publication entitled "Signs and Wonders Today", John Wimber describes
some of the "theological changes" he has experienced. He relates that a "fierce pragmatism" or
an ends-justifies-the-means approach directs not only his theology, but his entire ministry. 45
According to theologian RC. Sproul, "pragmatism may be defined simply as the approach to
reality that defines truth as 'that which works." The pragmatist is concerned about results and the
results determine the truth. The pragmatist, then, is not so much concerned about what the Bible
says about a "practice" as he is about whether or not it works. The person who despises theory
and calls himself practical is not wise." 46
Sproul calls such a person a "sensuous Christian." The sensuous Christian doesn't need to study
the Word of God because he already knows the will of God by his feelings. He doesn't want to
know God; he wants to experience Him. The sensuous Christian equates 'childlike faith' with
ignorance . 47

A sensuous Christian believes in the equality of all ideas and will give equal weight to the Word
of God and the opinions of rock stars." 48 As a result of this kind of thinking, Wimber believes he
can get accurate information either from the Word of God, or a demon, as evidenced by the
credence he gives to things spoken by demons he has dealt with. An example would be his
statement that, "There are many demons that don't have a body. Having a body [for a demon] is
like having a car. They want to have a car so they can get around." Or the idea that demons are
limited to certain geographical locations and are unable to pass beyond those invisible
boundaries. 49 This would seem to fall into the category that Paul spoke of "giving heed to
seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils," from 1 Timothy 4:1. This information Wimber "shares"
with us doesn't come from Scripture, but, instead is the information given to him in exchanges
with demons. If in fact he was in contact with demons, which, of course we will allow, it doesn't
seem to have occurred to Wimber that the possibility exists that a demon might not be telling the
truth. This naive acceptance on Wimber's part of information gleaned from conversations with
demons is very alarming and dangerous. If equal credence is given to a demon and the Word of
God, then we must ask where the basis for right and wrong, good or evil come from in Wimber's
mind and heart. Again we see in addition to his pragmatism a nilism that is pervading his
thinking and producing a relativism that allows for literally anything in a given context to be true
or real.

Because of this equal credence, Scott continues, "John Wimber has fallen victim to a subjective
mindset leading to the assumption that if a healing technique' works, it must be of God, or that if
a psychological theory seems to bring healing, it can be safely incorporated into the historic
doctrines of the Christian Church." 50 Once again, this can result in the equation of one's own
thoughts with God's voice. Experience becomes as valid as the Word of God as the measure of
truth and your own thoughts become "anointed" to the point of infallibility. According to
Wimber and the Vineyard Fellowships, the only authentication required for an experience or
thought to be he product of the Holy Spirit, is for you to have had it. Again, don't miss this
point. You become the final arbitrator of truth, an oracle of God of equal merit and authority
with the Word of God. This is extremely dangerous to anyone who embraces the concept that
their lives are so anointed that any and every thought they have is a product of divine inspiration.
This teaching and practice has become the reality in the false teaching of Copeland and Hagan
that," you are gods". You are "in the god class".

You create divine reality as you think, speak and act. You become, in their minds, the Word
incarnate. This is no different than the New Age/Occultists who are saying that you are god and
you must realize that you are, and all are god and we are all part of the divine cosmic
consciousness.[Return To Outline]

Power Evangelism - Whose Power?
"Fierce pragmatism" has also led to the adoption of "Power Evangelism", which is a method of
evangelism that places primary emphasis upon signs and wonders to provide a "witness" of
God's power in the world today. The concept of power evangelism, which originated with John
Wimber, Blaine Cook, and Lonnie Frisbee in the Vineyard in 1982, 51 is based on the idea that
signs and wonders are the most effective means for evangelism. To demonstrate this, Wimber
says "Once you've healed a person, it's very easy to lead them to Christ." 52 If this were true, why
were there only 120 in the upper room after the crucifixion? Jesus and the twelve, and later the
seventy healed thousands. By Wimber's reasoning those healed should have been saved. But, the
record of Acts tells us that "the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved", (Acts
2:47), and their addition was the result of the preaching of the gospel, not that they had been
healed. The number added in the New Testament through anyone's healing ministry are only a
handful. Wimber makes his case for "Power Healing" from questionable statistics and from
speculation. There is a great preoccupation within the Vineyards on the "power ministry" and
being able to "call down the power of God" on the congregation or community. In an interview
in Sydney Australia, Wimber stated that "he had not written the book [Power Evangelism]
himself or read the manuscript in detail and critically before publication." 53 At the least this
would appear to be an attempt to absolve himself from the true responsibility he has to the Word
of God and at the worst it could be fraud and misrepresentation of fact. In contrast, Jesus said.
"By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John

The true and lasting power of the Holy Spirit in evangelism is the personal love of Jesus Christ
flowing from you into the life of the person you touch with the gospel message.

Power evangelism, power healing, power encounters, and similar preoccupation's with power
indicate a heavy dependence upon experience to validate the spiritual, and are classic signs of a
cult. Contrary to this, while Jesus healed and worked miracles, His primary emphasis was on the
proclamation of the good news with or without the miraculous. The miracles were fulfillment's
of specific prophecies in the Old Testament to validate His Messiahship and, by extension, His
message of salvation.

F.V. Scott, in his article in Passport Magazine, says "To Wimber, it is essential that the Church
grasp the need for signs and wonders in sharing the Gospel with the lost. This strong emphasis
on the miraculous, stressing that God is peculiarly present in supernatural, as distinct from
natural healing, borders on unbiblical dualism, which separates the natural from the
supernatural." 54 Wimber says in his Healing Seminar Syllabus "It is important to know the basic
dualistic framework of the Bible ... to have a right understanding of what it is saying." 55 Wimber
has gone beyond bordering on "unbiblical dualism" and is endorsing the concept.

According to F.V. Scott, "It is of utmost importance to understand that though the power of
Christ is sometimes demonstrated in victorious public confrontation with Satan, the gospel is
more than a disclosure of magic that matches and outdoes the magic of folk religions and cults.
Its agenda includes more than instant relief from the pains of life. Yet, that is the emphasis of
John Wimber's ministry. When the charismatic is pushed to the front of Christian experience, the
ethical tends to take a back seat. The ultimate goal of the Christian life is the fruit, not the gifts,
of the Spirit." 56 [Return To Outline]
Error 2: God or Magic?
Deviation from the Word of God and the use of extra biblical sources of teaching, have led John
Wimber and the Vineyard into many New Age/Occultic, shamanismatic beliefs and activities,
such as inner healing, aura reading and manipulation, astral projection (i.e. out of body
experiences), and contact with familiar spirits. As John Wimber has said: "I can go through the
exercise of informing myself, but only God can make the magic ...." 57

As John Wimber sees it, Jesus trained His disciples in the methodologies of signs and wonders,
just as a journeyman would train an apprentice to lay bricks. He maintains that those who
understand the healing power of God can also train others to perform the same acts. "The
apostles ... had to learn to heal"58 Wimber says in his instructional tapes on healing. There is not
one shred of biblical evidence that anyone was ever taught to heal. This is an example of
teaching from what the Word doesn't say. This also forms the philosophical basis for all of
Wimber's expensive and frequent seminars. This means in essence, for a price, you can be taught
to perform all acts of healing, deliverance, the miraculous, or the operation of any and all gifts of
the Holy Spirit.

Despite the fact that there is no reference in Scripture to any healing methodologies, but only to
the authority of God, prayer and fasting, Wimber has attempted to define the nebulous with a
Healing Syllabus describing techniques which teach people how to cast out demons and heal the
sick. This takes the sovereign work of God and reduces it to an application of techniques. An
implicit danger in this is the idea that we can somehow manipulate God through what we do - an
Occult concept.

In connection with his teaching on the gifts of the Spirit and healing, John Wimber has instructed
people to observe physical phenomenon which supposedly indicate that healing is taking place.
These manifestations are nowhere indicated in Scripture as signs of the presence of God or
power of God, but are purely experiential observations by Wimber. Instructing people to look for
physical changes rather than placing their faith in God dangerously misdirects attention from
having faith in God to having faith in phenomenological manifestations.

A summary of manifestations that Wimber instructs people to look for in those being healed
includes: "hot flushes and stiffness in certain parts of the body, tingling sensations, trembling and
shaking, falling down under the power of the Spirit, strong electrical current, ripples on the skin,
[WHAT!?!], movement under the skin, [WHAT!?!], radiance on the face [aura reading], heavy
breathing, moaning and groaning and being in a trance." 59 In addition, Wimber instructs that
"the phenomenon on the person ministering healing include: sensations of warmth (flowing out
of hands) [aura manipulation], tingling feeling, trembling of hands, and a sense of anointing." 60
It would be interesting to have a definition of just what a "sense of anointing" is. On one of his
healing videos, Wimber noted the manifestation of these phenomenon and exclaimed "Hot dog,
there's tingling and heat going on! That usually means there's healing.''6l Such manifestations are
more readily observable in witchcraft, voodoo, the Occult, and Eastern mysticism. John Wimber
has said, "These spiritual phenomena are manifestations of the Spirit's presence on the person.
By observing them you can begin to see what the Spirit is doing in and through the person. We
do not have an explanation for all the various manifestations!" 62 The only valid way to see or
know what the Holy Spirit is doing is to look for fruit. There must be the remaining, sustained
fruit of the Spirit which is agape love in a person's life. Jesus said this was the only distinctive
indicator of the power of "new life" of being "born again" in a person's life. In John 13:34 the
Lord says "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you,
that ye also love one another. By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have
love one to another." Also, in John 15:12 Jesus says "This is my commandment, That ye love
one another, as I have loved you."

Wimber states in his Healing Syllabus, "Sometimes there are special anointings and whatever
you do works!" 63 In his video on healing, Tape I, Wimber says "At the same time I'm gathering
information with my five senses I'm also sending up my antenna into the cosmic reality." 64 If
that's not totally New Age, I don't know what is. If we don't have a scriptural explanation for a
manifestation, it's best that we avoid it, since those manifestations that are from the Holy Spirit
are revealed in the Word. These various manifestations within what Wimber calls the "cosmic
reality" are revealed to him through the early experiences that he had while Lonnie Frisbee was
associated with him. As Wimber saw these things happen he began to draw conclusions based on
his pragmatic understanding as well as the input of C. Peter Wagner and others at Fuller's School
of World Missions.

Speaking on Luke 4:40-41, Wimber says "See the crowd dynamics? They brought people to him,
they brought people to him, they brought people to him, they brought people to him,[sic] what's
happening on Sunday night at our church. They're bringing people, they're bringing people,
they're bringing people ... [sic] This wasn't a neat crowd. There were probably people flipping
and flopping all over the ground manifesting demons ... People that with foam running down
their faces who had just barfed all over themselves.[sic] They were screeching like animals. They
were bringing people with chains on them that were tied. [sic] This is frenzy, people. This is not
calm, this is not orderly. This is frenzy, this is frantic." 65 People falling, violenty shaking and
levitating, shouting and screaming, making all manner of animal noises, and howling and
screeching, laughing hysterically and uncontrollably creates an atmosphere of physical chaos and
confusion, in which demonic activity is commonly mistaken for a "wave of the Spirit." Scripture
tells us that "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." (I
Corinthians 14:33) We are not told that these phenomena happen to the crowd in Luke 4:40-41.
These are the insertions made by Wimber based on his observations of phenomena at his church
and at Fuller and this intense desire to put a "biblical" wrap on those experiences. Again you are
asked to believe Wimber's interpolation of what God is telling us in His Word by what He's not
saying to us in His Word.

Some suggestion from Wimber prior to healing sessions leads people into these behaviors,
however, older phenomenon are spontaneous, and the result of actual Occult power brought on
through unbiblical practices. Wimber is not unaware of the power of suggestion. In discussing
the healing of headaches, backaches and muscular tension in his healing tapes, he states that
although we have no accounts of these specific healings in Scripture, Jesus must have healed
them "since these problems respond quite rapidly to suggestion and religious healing." 66 As an
aside, this is one more example of teaching from what the Word of God doesn't say and
revealing of the heavy psychological input in the thinking and practices of Wimber. It is also
important to note that Wimber calls Jesus a "religious" healer and by extension is calling
Christianity a religion. A religion is man made and an attempt by man to get to God through his
own efforts. Jesus didn't start a religion where men could try and get to God, he came as "...the
way, the truth, and the life." True biblical Christianity is not a religion, never has been and never
will be. [Return to Outline]

Inner Healing
A special form of healing known as Inner Healing has become widespread in many Christian
circles; however, this practice has no scriptural basis and opens up participants to dangerous
Occult influence. F.V. Scott notes that "This practice is used by a pastor or counselor to 'heal the
memories' of those having emotional or spiritual problems. Advocates believe that by taking a
person back into the past, using meditation or visualization, Jesus Christ can enter that past
traumatic event and 'heal' it. Wimber, in his book Power Healing; refers to it as a process, a step-
by-step practice that can be learned by any Christian if certain guidelines are followed." 67 This
concept has been known for years in psychological circles as regression therapy and in Occult
circles as reliving a past life, remote viewing or astral projection (a person projects themselves
forward or backward in time is only one component). Wimber actually castigates the church and
glorifies secular psychology in his defense of inner healing stating "the connection between sin
and sickness is being brought to our attention again remarkably, not by the Church, but by
psychologists and doctors who recognize that much, if not most, physical sickness has an
emotional component." 68 If prayer and Bible study and the power of the Holy Spirit are not
enough for saints today to deal with life and problems, then the saints of old, including the
apostle Paul, must have been greatly lacking Despite his many hardships, listed in 2 Cor. 11 22-
27, Paul was able to function and rejoice in the Lord without the help of psychoanalysis.
Throughout church history Christians have managed the same, and leaders such as Luther,
Calvin, Wesley, Spurgeon and Moody should have been at a great disadvantage without the
"insights" of modern psychology. Clearly they were not, and we need not be. It is a dangerous
heresy to insist that we must accept this new "revelation" by psychologists or live deficient lives.

In a CIB Bulletin Dave Hunt deals with the blending of psychology and Christianity. He relates,
"Christ did not say, if you continue in my shall know part of the truth and you shall
be made partially free. There is more truth yet to be revealed through godless humanists that will
liberate future generations more completely than I can now free you through my Word and my
Spirit alone.' Yet that is the teaching of 'Christian psychology.' In Can You Trust Psychology
(p.97) Gary Collins writes: 'The Bible speaks to human needs ... But God in his goodness also
has allowed us [Freud, Jung, et al] to discover psychological truths about human behavior and
counseling that are never mentioned in Scripture but are consistent with the written Word of God
and helpful to people facing the problems of modem living'." 69 This is another example of the
subtle redefinition whereby biblical no longer means derived from God's Word, but derived
elsewhere, then declared to be "consistent" with Scripture.

Regarding his psychology of inner healing, Wimber says "As these kinds of painful memories
arise, I encourage the person to understand that Jesus was with them through it all, that now they
may extend forgiveness. In other words, I reinterpret their experience in the light of God's
purpose." 70 It is most difficult to understand "that Jesus was with them through it all" if the
person is "being healed" of something which happened before they became a Christian. This
moves us into the New Age "gospel of Schuller which states that "The Christ spirit dwells in
every human being whether the person knows it or not." 7l There is no biblical reference for this
concept which is Jungian. Both Agnes Sanford and Moron Kelsey have drawn heavily from Jung,
and John Wimber in turn draws from all three of these sources. Wimber's executive senior pastor
at Vineyard Anaheim at the time was Sam Thompson, a psychologist with heavy input for John
Wimber on a daily basis.

Wimber relates that inner healing "is something that is new to the fellowship and we do not have
a great deal of understanding of it yet." 72 Despite this, he advocates using it to determine the
"purpose" of God in someone's life and to "reinterpret" their experiences. New or old, the
practice is not found in Scripture, which instead tells us to recognize our new life in Christ. (2
Cor.5:17; Phil.3:13- 14; Col. 2:9-10, 3:1-3; Titus 3:5-7; Rom.12:2; Lk.9:62; Matt.11:28;
Ps.103:11-12; 1 Jo.1:9).

Although there are no scriptural examples of Jesus or anyone in the early Church going into a
person's past to heal them of painful memories, Wimber and other Inner Healing advocates
continue to believe the practice is valid. We are not talking about a simple counseling session
here, but a concept which involves clearly Occultic and dangerous practices. According to
Wimber's theology, "Healing is Forgiveness of Sin",73 and he declares this in his Healing
Seminar Series Syllabus. By making such a connection between healing and forgiveness,
Wimber attempts to justify his emphasis on the inner healing ministry.

As an example of this, he relates the following as an example of inner healing "A few months
ago I was walking into the back room...there was a young lady there and she wanted me to pray
for her. So, I walked towards her ...I saw superimposed over her ...her body ...but it was wrapped
around like with a binding all the way around her body.[sic] I said what's wrong and she said I
don't know. I said I think you are bound by something. And on the cords it said unforgiveness. I
said I think you're all bound with unforgiveness ... She said I don't think so there anyone you
feel unforgiveness for. She said no. I said that's funny, I've never missed before. That's weird.
[sic] ... I asked the Lord what is that and I noticed in the picture that the thing that was binding
her went right into her shoulders ...that they were her own arms. And I realized and I said out
loud [sic] ... the person you're not forgiving is you. She just started sobbing'." 74 While there is no
biblical basis for this activity, there is much Occultic evidence for it. Can you imagine Jesus
telling the woman caught in adultery to simply forgive herself? Was this ever an injunction from
either Jesus or the apostles? Again, Wimber delves into psychology and validates with the
typical New Age bromide, "I thought it so it must be from God".

The same visualization techniques were used by John Wimber at a Pastor's conference, when he
told everyone "to put down your Bibles and notebooks, close your eyes and empty your mind of
all thoughts. Imagine now that you are in a very beautiful, peaceful meadow in the mountains.
Can you see the beautiful green grass, the yellow flowers? Take yourself to the most beautiful
place you can and see what you want to there. Can you see Jesus walking through the forest to
your meadow? It's just you and Jesus there and you feel a gentle warm breeze blow as Jesus
comes towards you. Jesus beckons you to a well near the edge of the meadow. That's the well
filled with blood from Immanuel's veins. See Jesus lowering the pail into the well of his blood
and drawing it up. Now see Jesus dipping a ladle into the pail and pouring the blood over you.
Over your head, your shoulders completely covering you from head to toe. Can you feel the
peace as the blood flows from your head to your toes. Feel the forgiveness of your sins. I tell you,
in Jesus name, your sins are forgiven! Now just imagine Jesus putting his arm around you and
walking with you back into the forest. Feel his love for you. Feel the peace. Look into his eyes
and see the love that he has for you." 75 This is simply an Occultic visualization using "Christian"

In his article on Wimber for Passport magazine's Jan-Feb 1988 issue, Scott notes that Don
Matzat, "a longtime leader in the charismatic renewal, wrote his book on Inner Healing as a
result of reading Dave Hunt's The Seduction of Christianity. He was shocked at Hunt's
allegations and set about to discover the truth. Was Hunt an immoral sensationalist or were the
popular charismatics promoting Inner Healing guilty of a cover-up? Matzat discovered, to his
surprise, that Hunt was correct in his analysis of the Occultic and psychological origins of Inner
Healing." 76 Scott continues, stating that "after thoroughly researching his subject, Matzat points
out four basic truths about Inner Healing: Inner Healing is not based upon Scripture, but upon the
psychological theories of atheist Sigmund Freud and Occultist Carl Jung; Inner healing is
contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture; Inner Healing is not based on scientific truth, but
theories of the subconscious mind; visualization, an element in Inner Healing, has nothing
whatever to do with Christianity, but is an Occultic technique for reaching spirit guides.'77

In his book, Beyond Seduction, Dave Hunt muses that Inner Healers, such as MacNutt and the
Linn Brothers [whom Wimber endorses and whose books sell briskly at Vineyard Fellowships]
might just as well have people visualize Ronald MacDonald or Mickey Mouse as guides in their
healing. 78 The concept is not biblical but Jungian, so what difference does it make whether the
guide is Jesus or the tooth fairy? Wimber also dedicates his Healing: A Biblical and Historical
Perspective Seminar Series to inner healing teachers Kelsey and MacNutt, stating, "I would like
to express my appreciation to Morton Kelsey and Francis MacNutt for their valuable insights and
information. They have made a significant contribution in the area of healing. 79

Wimber is aware of Occultic entities in relation to inner healing activities and warns "Now listen
to this people, because you've gotta hear this, not everyone who comes up to you and presses you
to be healed ought to be prayed for. Learn to do what the Father's doing Some people's soul force
will kill you. It will stop you from praying for the sick. Their soul force will wear you
down ...move with the Spirit ...what he's doing not what you're doing ...not everyone who asks
you ought to be prayed for."80 Where in Scripture is "soul force" spoken of, or its "wearing
down" those who pray for the sick? This is not biblical teaching but an Occultic association.
Agnes Sanford, responsible for bringing many New Age and Occultic ideas into the church,
describes in her book The Healing Light a "soul force" very similar to Wimber's. She presents
"God" as a "life force" in everyone and everything [pantheism] as a form of electricity or energy.

Wimber also draws material from David A Seamonds book, Healing of Memories, [stocked by
Vineyard bookstores and cited in the bibliography and footnotes of Wimber's Power Healing].
Seamonds writes "The real question is not whether a practice appears in the Bible in the specific
form or language we use today. Rather, the question is whether it is contradictory to or consistent
with principles stated in Scripture." 82 But when the "principles" themselves are defined by
human conjecture rather than Scripture, this statement becomes meaningless. Biblical doesn't
mean that you derive your material from any source you choose, and then make it semantically
compatible with Scripture, but biblical means derived from Scripture itself.

True biblical counseling has always existed in the form of prayer and the application of the Word
of God in a person's life, along with their surrender to the Word of God and to the power of the
Holy Spirit. The real problem with inner healing is that it undermines the work of Christ on the
cross, and thus it is an alteration of the gospel. Faith in the unaltered gospel of Christ is what
changes and heals people. This has been the message of Christianity for 2,000 years, through
which we can say with Paul "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one
thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which
are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil.
3:13-14 emphasis added).

Colossians 2:10; "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and
power:"(emphasis added) They all did this without the help of humanistic psychology and
Scripture enjoins us to do so as well. Paul also did this without the assistance of any form of
"inner healing".[Return To Outline]

Error 3: Ghostbusters, Inc.?
Can Christians be possessed by demons? According to Scripture, no, according to John Wimber,
yes. In addition to using information received from demons as a source of "truth" for his
teachings, Wimber uses experience and conjecture to prove the presence of demons in Christians.
He uses this same procedure in casting them out, stating in his tapes on healing that "Healing has
to do with touch ... Demonized people were never touched ... Do not touch a person manifesting
demons, speak to them ... Command the demons out of them and then touch them and heal
them ... In the spirit you can see a face imposed over the persons face ... 83 [sic]

Wimber states, "Even though we've been born again and Spirit filled many of us are carrying
much darkness in our thinking and understanding." 84 Wimber goes on to discuss demonic effects
on Christians, saying "Many Christians have bondage to sin. There will be physical,
manifestations while praying for a person. A stiffening of the limbs. They'll begin breathing
rather deeply, then they'll go into hyperventilation. Eyes will roll back into their heads. These are
Christians who have lent themselves to sin and have gotten into bondage for it.[sic]" 85 Coupled
with the false belief that Christians can be possessed, an attitude such as this leaves no Christian
safe from the convoluted scrutiny of those who may be looking for reasons to believe that others
are "possessed." How can spirits be properly discerned by those who have confused a demonic
presence with the indwelling Holy Spirit? On one hand, Wimber is having people look for
"signs" of healing by the Holy Spirit that on the other hand appear no different from those
indicating demonic possession. Confusion and deception could not get worse than this. Because
Wimber's sources of information are equal in his mind, he incorporates all manner of conjecture
into his teaching as "truth." It is anyone's guess where the following concept, presented during a
seminar on healing originated: "There are many demons that don't have a body. Having a body
[for a demon] is like having a car. They want to have a car so they can get around. If they don't
have a body, they're a second class demon. They're not first class. I'm not kidding you. That's
how it works. So, to them, having a body is a big deal. 86

In talking about demons that Wimber calls "religious demons" that "like to go to church", he says
"The name of Jesus doesn't mean anything to them [the demons], many of the demons are named
Jesus. When you cast them out they'll tell you their name is Jesus. That's how the person knows
Jesus, they accepted Jesus into their heart. I'm not kidding you. I've cast demons out that were
named Jesus. I can see that we're getting a little deep. You're not used to these ideas are you?" 87

No Christian should ever get used to these ideas. Wimber further states that during a particular
deliverance "three or four of the demons that came out were religious demons...they had all been
born again. You've got to understand that there's more to it than just a pat answer." 88 There is no
answer in Scripture for such a concept. One can hardly imagine a more blasphemous idea than
born again demons. The idea that a person would receive a demon while receiving Jesus as their
Savior, is equally blasphemous. God would never allow such a thing to happen. Acts 2:21
declares "And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be
saved." Luke 11:13 tells us that "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your
children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
John 14:13 assures us that 'Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father
may be glorified in the Son." John 15:16 declares that "whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in
my name, he may give it you." These scriptures leave no room whatsoever for one to receive a
demon in the name of Jesus. To say otherwise is to go beyond the pale of anything that could be
considered Christian and into the Occult.

Dr. Don Lewis, of Regent College states, "An area of theological difficulty is Wimber's
demonology; certainly most evangelicals would disagree with his assertion that a Christian can
be 'demonized'. His concern with demonic activity does not seem to take seriously the Scriptural
injunction that when Christians are afflicted by the powers of darkness, a believer is to 'resist the
Devil and he will flee from you.' (James 4:7) 89

Lewis also states "His [Wimber's] use of the Scripture is highly problematic. His starting place
seems to be his own experience and Scripture is drawn in to proof-text his own position....People
were taught a theology of healing based on the observation of phenomenological responses
(shaking stiffening respiration, laughter, fluttering of eyelids, etc.) and were encouraged to use
such subjective criteria as the basis on which to evaluate spiritual responses." 90 At one moment,
Wimber tells us that these phenomena are manifestations of demons in Christians, and in another
breath tells us they are the manifestations of the presence of the Holy Spirit. You can't have it
both ways, and from Scripture you can't have it either way because none of these are presented in
Scripture as either the presence of demons in the believer, or of the Holy Spirit upon a person.

Scripture clears this mess up very efficiently:

Ephesians 1:13 "In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of
your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of
promise," The believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit and cannot be possessed by a demon.
Ephesians 4:30 states "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the
day of redemption."

Also, II Corinthians 1:22 declares "Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in
our hearts."

I Corinthians 6:20 states "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and
in your spirit, which are God's." Both body and spirit are the rightful property of God once a
person is born again.

I Corinthians 6:17 declares "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." This means that
they are one. The devil can't inhabit the Holy Spirit or the believer since they are one. The idea
of a demon co-mingling with the Holy Spirit and "sharing" a person, is not only unscriptural,
blasphemous, but utterly disgusting to even contemplate. It also calls into question the
sovereignty and authority of God and His Word.

Colossians 1:13 says "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us]
into the kingdom of his dear Son:" Darkness can't be a part of the believer. This of necessity
would preclude the presence of a demon.

There are many more, including I Corinthians 2:12 "Now we have received, not the spirit of the
world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of
God", and Romans 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."

Satan had nothing in Jesus because He was the Only Begotten of the Father. Therefore, if we are
sons by adoption, Satan has nothing in us. II Corinthians 6:14 is definitive: " Be ye not unequally
yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
and what communion hath light with darkness?" The rational answer is none. There is no place
for the demons to have equal access to the believer that God does. Those definitions of Wimber's
are based on his observation and consequent definition of these observations at various church
meetings and seminars where unbridled chaos was induced and a cogent explanation was needed.
Allow me to touch on the idea of fourteen-thousand to twenty-thousand people breaking out into
hysterical laughter at a meeting. There were several times when John Wimber would declare that
"a wave of the Spirit was coming over the room, and the joy of the Lord is breaking out over
here [point to one side of the auditorium or the other], now let the joy come". Chaos would reign
supreme for quite some time after this would happen. This is not a new phenomena - today it is
just know as the "laughter" phenomenon. The problem here is that the explanation isn't cogent
but fantastical. [Return to Outline]

Our Sure Foundation
Who is the final authority for the teaching and practices of the church? If it is not the Bible, then
the authority of God has been replaced with a human agency. It is clear that the Vineyard
Fellowships have drifted deep into psychology and Occultism through the leadership and
teaching of John Wimber. Christians should beware of this and any ministry which does not
found itself unwaveringly upon the Word of God, or that utilizes "special instructions" and

The doctrine of Christ forms the entire basis for the Christian life, which is not a mystical
experience, but a day to day reality. What we believe, or hold to be true as doctrine, is that which
will determine how we live. Love, joy, peace, and the power of God come not through
experiences, but through faith in their reality based on the Word of God. To abide in Christ is to
abide in His Word, and we must practice and teach from lives that are consistent with this. Sound
doctrine is not restrictive of the work of the Holy Spirit, but rather identifies it, and separates out
all that is inconsistent with the Spirit and His work, and finally, encourages the work of the Holy
Spirit in the life of the believer and the church.

Dave Hunt sums it up well. "Can't we 'just love people and 'accept them' for who they are? In
fact it is because we love them that we point out their error and seek to correct them. Our Lord
said: 'As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent' (Rev.3:19). Love
is not a mushy acceptance of false teachers. John writes: 'This is love, that we walk after his
commandments' (2 John 1:6), and that involves standing firm for the doctrine of Christ. The
whole purpose of Christ's coming was not to 'accept us as we were' but to rescue us from what
we were and to change us into what He wants us to be. If Christ is truly dwelling in us, then we
will want to do the same for those to whom we speak the truth in love' (Eph. 4:15) "91 Once again
the only conclusion is that John Wimber and the Vineyard Fellowships are saying in effect:
"Hath God said?"

Ezekiel 33:1-11 "Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, speak to the
children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of
the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword
come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the
sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood
shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood
shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the
sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and
take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at
the watchman's hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel;
therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the
wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his
way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way,
he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Therefore, O thou son of man, speak
unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us,
and we pine away in them, how should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord
GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and
live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

It is my sincere hope that the Lord has spoken His word of warning to you, His church, and that
you will flee the sword of heresy that is upon our land. God bless you. Sola Scriptura.
Pastor John Goodwin, Solid Rock Christian Fellowship San Jose

[Return To Outline]

1."Wimber Changes His Mind", Evangelicals Now, (Editor Robert M. Horn, 14 Silverleigh Road,Thornton Heath,
Currey CR7 6DU, Vol.V, No.7July 1990) p. 15.

2. John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, Tapes I, II, III, IV, V, March 28, 1981.

3. Ibid.

4. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church Growth
Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional PastoralConferences, Teach Us to Pray
Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987).

5. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981).

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.

8. "Wimber Changes His Mind", Evangelicals Now, (Editor Robert M. Horn, 14 Silverleigh Road, Thornton Heath,
Currey CR7 6DU, vol., No.7July 1990) p. 15.

9. John Wimber, tape, ND, Unpacking Your Bags.

l0. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church Growth
Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to Pray
Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987).

11. Ibid.

12. John Wimber, Vineyard '83, Leadership Conference, "The Five Year Plan", Tool - 6 -,

13. The Vineyard, Elliot Miller, Robert Bowman, Jr., Christian Research Institute, February 1985.

14. Chuck Smith, Charisma Vs Charismania, (Eugene, OR, Harvest House Publishers, 1983), p. 127.

15. John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, Tapes I, II, III, IV, V. March 28, 1981.

l6. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series, Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981).

17. John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, Tapes I, II, III, IV, V, March 28, 1981.


19. Ibid.
20. Ibid.

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid.

23. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981).

24. Ibid.

25. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church
Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to
Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987).

26. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series, Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981).

27. Ibid.

28. Ibid.

29. Ibid.

30. Robert Schuller, Possibilities magazine, Summer 1986.

31. John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, Tapes I, II, III, IV, V, March 28, 1981.

32. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church
Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to
Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987).

33. John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, Tapes I, II, III, IV, V, March 28, 1981.

34. Christian News, January 2, 1989, p.4, quoting an interview in the St. Louis Dispatch, December 25, 1988, with
"Seer Vicka Ivankovic."

35. Dave Hunt, CIB Bulletin, (Christian Information Bureau, Bend OR April 1989, Vol.5, No.4) p. 1.

36. Ibid.

37. "The Year of Equipping the Saints", New Wine, Jan. 1986, p. 7.

38. John Wimber, Healing, An Introduction, Tape Five,( Vineyard Ministries International, Placentia, CA, 1985).

39. John Wimber, Signs and Wonders and Church Growth, (Vineyard Ministries International, Placentia, CA, 1984
Section 3, Today's Tension with the Miraculous: Worldview p. 7).

40. F.V. Scott, "John Wimber and the Vineyard Ministries," (Passport Magazine, January/February 1988, Calvary
Chapel of West Covina), p. 19.
41. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church
Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to
Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987).

42. Ibid.

43. John Wimber, Ministering in England, Tapes I, II, III, (Vineyard Ministries International, June 1981).

44. Ibid.

45. John Wimber, "Zip to 3,000 in 5 Years - Part I," Signs and Wonders Today, (Christian Life Missions, Wheaton,
Illinois, 1983), p. 15.

46. RC. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, (Downers Grove, IL, InterVarsity Press, 1977) p. 2S, 26.

47. Ibid. p. 27.

48. William Kirk Kilpatrick, Psychological Seduction - The Failure of Modern Psychology, (Nashville, TN, Thomas
Nelson, Inc., 1983), p. 152

49. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church
Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to
Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987).

50. F. V. Scott, "John Wimber and the Vineyard Ministries", Passport Magazine, (Calvary Chapel West Covina,
West Covina, CA January/February 1988), p. 21.

51. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church
Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to
Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987).

52. Ibid.

53. "Wimber Changes His Mind", Evangelicals Now, (Editor: Robert M. Horn, 14 Silverleigh Road, Thornton Heath,
Currey CR7 6DU, Vol.V, No.7July 1990) p. 15.

54. F. V. Scott, "John Wimber and the Vineyard Ministries", Passport Magazine, (Calvary Chapel West Covina,
West Covina, CA January/February 1988), p. 18, p. 19.

55. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Syllabus, "Section 2, Healing in the New Testament," (Vineyard Ministries
International Placentia, CA 1983) p.10-11.

56. Ibid. p. 18

57. John Wimber, Church Planting Seminar, Tapes I, II, III, IV, V, March 28, 1981.

58. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981).

59. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Syllabus:( "II. Observations", A. "Spiritual Phenomena"), p. 74-75.

60. Ibid. p. 75.
61. John Wimber, Healing, (Video Series, Tape I, Vineyard Ministries International, Placentia, CA 1985).

62. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Syllabus:( "II. Observations", A. "Spiritual Phenomena"), p. 74

63. Ibid. p. 76, B. "Perspective on Ministry", 6.

64. John Wimber, Healing, (Video Series, Tape I, Vineyard Ministries International, Placentia, CA 1985).

65. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981).

66. Ibid.

67.F.V. Scott, "John Wimber and the Vineyard Ministries," (Passport Magazine, January/February 1988, Calvary
Chapel of West Covina), p. 21.

68. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981).

69. Dave Hunt, CIB Bulletin, (Christian Information Bureau, Bend OR April 1989, Vol.5, No.4) p. 2.

70. John Wimber and Kevin Springer, Power Healing, (San Francisco, CA, Harper & Row, 1987), p.

7l. Robert Schuller, Possibilities magazine, Summer 1986.

72. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981).

73John Wimber, Healing Seminar Syllabus, ("Forgiveness: Section 2, Healing in the New Testament p. 15.

74. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981).

75. John Goodwin, Notes:(Vineyard Pastors Conferences, Healing Seminars, Signs and Wonders and Church
Growth Seminars, Spiritual Warfare Seminars, Spiritual Gifts Seminars, Regional Pastoral Conferences, Teach Us to
Pray Seminar, Church Growth Leadership: The Kingdom of God in the 90's, USA, UK, New Zealand, 1981 to 1987).

76. F.V. Scott, "John Wimber and the Vineyard Ministries," (Passport Magazine, January/February 1988, Calvary
Chapel of West Covina), p. 21, p. 22.

77. Ibid.

78. Dave Hunt, Beyond Seduction, (Eugene, Or, Harvest House Pub., 1987) p. 139.

79. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Syllabus, "A Biblical and Historical Perspective, (Vineyard Ministries
International, Placentia, CA 1983) p. 1.

80. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981).

81. Agnes Sanford, The Healing Light, (1947) p. 30.

82. David A. Seamonds, Healing of Memories, (Wheaton, IL, victor Books, 1985) p. 61.

83. John Wimber, Healing Seminar Series Tapes I, II, III (unedited, 1981).
84. Ibid.

85. Ibid.

86. Ibid.

87. Ibid.

88. Ibid.

89. Dr. Don Lewis, Ph.D., "Assessing the Wimber Phenomenon", (Regent College, June 1985) p. 4.

90. Ibid. p. 3.

91. Dave Hunt, CIB Bulletin, (Christian Information Bureau, Bend OR April 1989, Vol.5, No.4) p. 2.

[Return To Outline]

The names of people discussed in this site have been changed to protect the innocent. Any similarities to actual persons, either living or
dead, are merely coincidental. The events discussed in this site happened at a Vineyard church that we once attended. We have tried our
best to relate these events in an informative, impartial way. We have also provided links to outside sites that appeared credible and useful:
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"Many shepherds will ruin my vineyard and trample down my field; they will turn my pleasant field
into a desolate wasteland." Jeremiah 12:10
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A Sampling of Books that can be purchased at These
came up under a search for "abusive church," "church abuse," or
"spiritual abuse." We do not necessarily endorse or recommend these
books as we may or may not have read them.They are listed only to
provide resources.
Charismatic Curses: Exposing Spiritual Abuse in the Church by Dennis Cramer

Divide & Conquer (A Candid Discussion on Spiritual Abuse) by Shamielle Alston

Exposing Church/Spiritual Abuse by Dr. & Mrs. Emmanuel Akpan

Exposing Spiritual Abuse: How to Rediscover God's Love When the Church Has Let You
Down by Mike Fehlauer

Healing Spiritual Abuse and Religious Addiction by Matthew Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn,
and Dennis Linn

Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience by Ken Blue

Journey to Love by Janeen Michael-Lanier

Spiritual Abuse Recovery: Dynamic Research on Finding a Place of Wholeness by
Barbara M. Orlowski

Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, The: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation
and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen

Toxic Churches: Restoration from Spiritual Abuse by Marc Dupont

Twisted Scriptures: A Path to Freedom from Abusive Churches by Mary Alice Chrnalogar

Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free from Churches That Abuse by Mary Alice Chrnalogar

The Uninvited by Dianne J. Beale

Wolves Within the Fold: Religious Leadership and Abuses of Power by Anson Shupe

The following links will direct you to sites that are not in our control. Choosing to
visit these links is done at your own discretion. Again, these are provided as
resources and are not necessarily endorsed or recommended.

Resources For People Recovering From Spiritual Abuse

Identifying Traits Of Abusive Groups

Articles On Cults, Abuse, Grace And Legalism

Articles On Church Authoritarianism And Spiritual Authority

International Cultic Studies Association: Spiritual Abuse
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Wolves In Sheep's Clothing

Christian Emotional Help, Encouragement For Anyone

Wicked Shepherds: A Site Exposing Unbiblical Authoritarianism and Spiritual Abuse in
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The Barnabas Ministry: Strengthening And Encouraging People In Their Walk With God

The Watchman Expositor: Spiritual Abuse Profile

Spiritual Abuse In The Church

Wittenberg Gate: Controlling Personalities In The Church

Association of Former Pentecostals

Vineyard Christian Fellowship - An Exposé

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                               Vineyard Christian Fellowship - An Exposé

Vineyard Christian Fellowship refers to a group of "Third wave"(1) charismatic churches,
reported to be more than 250+ in number, under the dominant influence of the late John Wimber.
A former rock music promoter and businessman, John testifies of having been converted in 1963.
He attended Azusa Pacific University (Wesleyan/Arminian) and a bible college associated with
the Evangelical Friends Alliance (Quakers) denomination. In 1970, he was ordained by the
California Society of Friends (Quakers).(2)

In 1975, John Wimber worked with the Fuller Seminary Evangelistic Association as a lecturer on
church growth and joined with professor, C. Peter Wagner, to establish the Charles E. Fuller
Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth. During this time he became heavily involved in the
charismatic movement. A year later, he left Fuller to pastor Calvary Chapel of Yorba Linda,
California, which was started by Wimber's wife, Carol, as a home fellowship meeting. The
church got its name from its association with Chuck Smith's Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa,
California, a hotbed of charismatic activity during the Jesus People Movement of the late '60s
and early '70s. Around 1983, the church changed its name to Vineyard Christian Fellowship of
Anaheim, California, following an associational union with a small number of other churches
called "Vineyards" led by a Kenn Gulliksen.

From 1982 through 1985, John Wimber taught his controversial MC510 course, "The
Miraculous and Church Growth" at Fuller Seminary. Later on, after the course was suspended,
he traveled throughout North America holding conferences under the title "Signs and Wonders
and Church Growth." The course and conferences use Hebrews 2:3-4 to proof-text the so-called
miracles. His ministry is not confined within the church walls, as John adds, "Many more are
healed as we pray for them in hospitals, on the streets and in the homes. The blind are seeing, the
lame walking, the deaf are hearing, cancers are disappearing."

The following observations concerning John Wimber are paraphrased from a paper entitled
"Assessing the Wimber Phenomenon" written in the late '80s by Regent College professor Dr.
Don Lewis who attended a 'Signs and Wonders' conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

      He is clearly becoming one of the "hottest items" on the charismatic circuit.
      He gives the impression that it is commonplace for non-Christians who attend his church in
       Yorba Linda, California, to be converted one day, and the next to be out on the street casting
       out demons and healing the sick without even knowing John 3:16.
      A disturbing aspect of the conference was the strong anti-intellectualism which he exhibited
       from time to time. His insistence that "at some point critical thinking must be laid aside" is
       nothing less than dangerous. Anti-intellectualism disparages God's gracious gift of our mind and
       reflects ill on a Creator who chose to endow us with the ability to think critically. [This is due to
       the Gnosticism inherent in the movement from the beginning.]
      Wimber's starting place seems to be his own experience and Scripture is drawn in to proof-text
       his own position.
      He holds a radical Arminianism (some might well argue it is Pelagianism). Wimber seems to have
       little or no appreciation of the doctrine of the Fall and speaks of being involved in "restoring the
       Edenic state" in and through his ministry. [For a detailed explanation of this error, read The
       Unholy Alliance.]
      He believes and teaches that believers can be "demonized".
      He stated categorically that he does not believe in the imminent return of Christ for the Church.
       The church is now being restored to its pristine purity, being made fit for her bridegroom. Christ
       will only come back for a church which is pure and spotless and thus she needs to make herself
       ready. He considers his "Fellowship" to be in the vanguard of this work. Historically, this
          teaching is referred to as "restorationism" and is common to such groups as Irvingites in Britain,
          Alexander Campbell's Disciples of Christ, Seventh Day Adventists, and Mormons.
         He seeks to extend his influence by reaching pastors and church leaders; he clearly gears his
          message to them. Testimonies were offered at the conference by pastors who had turned their
          backs on their own denominations or local fellowships and witnessed that God had greatly
          "blessed" their ministry through their willingness to embrace Wimber's teaching.

Finally, many Vineyard churches have also embraced the "inner healing" concepts of Agnes
Sanford. This teaching focuses on walking through one's past (even pre-natal) in an attempt to
bring psychologically release and healing to the present. Agnes Sanford, Evelyn Underhill, and
the late Rufus Moseley, practitioners within the semi-metaphysical movement called CAMPS
FARTHEST OUT, also advocate a mental telepathy technique. It involves visualizing yourself or
others as perfectly well, thereby releasing the 'laws' of health in the body.

For a time, Jack Deere and Wayne Grudem have served the Vineyard movement as 'theologians-

John Wimber died November 17, 1997 at the age of 63 from a massive brain hemorrhage.

The Internet contains numerous articles, some written by former members of Vineyard churches.
Here's a sample of links:

The Vineyard Movement - Part 1

Written by Gary Gilley

(October 1995 - Volume 1, Issue 12)

Almost everyone has heard of the Vineyard Movement (referred to as VM from this point on) by now, but it seems
that few know much about it. It is our intent in this newsletter to get a firm handle on the VM by describing its
beginnings, identifying its leaders, and examining its teachings.


The VM is a recent development within Christianity, having been founded in 1982 by John Wimber. The movement
has experienced rapid growth with a reported 250 churches and 50,000 members by 1990. Two years later Wimber
claimed that those numbers had already doubled (Power Evangelism p92). Its leadership has set a goal of 10,000
churches by the year 2000, and it would appear that they are on target. However, the VM‘s influence is even wider
than that. For example, on the academic level, professors at several evangelical seminaries have joined VM‘s ranks.
Three professors at Dallas Theological Seminary were finally dismissed in 1987 for their views in this regard. Both
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Biola Seminary currently employ Vineyard professors. These teachers
obviously hold great sway over their students. On the popular level, the VM has infiltrated numerous organizations,
the most visible of which is Promise Keepers. Few seem to notice, or care, that Promise Keepers was founded by a
man in the VM, now has a president who is in the VM, and has on its board several VM leaders. Apparently, most
fundamental Christians naively believe that the theology of these leaders will not affect the direction and teachings of
Promise Keepers.

The VM is also known by several other names including: Power Evangelism, Signs and Wonders Movement, and the
Third Wave. This final name reflects well the background of the movement. It was a term C. Peter Wagner used to
explain what was beginning to happen in many churches. Wagner claimed that the first wave of the Holy Spirit began
at the turn of the Century with the Pentecostal movement. This led to the establishing of various Pentecostal
denominations such as the Assembly of God. The second wave, which started in 1960, was the charismatic
movement which brought the power of the Holy Spirit within the major denominations. Then he said, "I see the third
wave of the eighties as an opening of the straight-line evangelicals and other Christians to the supernatural work of
the Holy Spirit that the Pentecostals and charismatics have experienced, but without becoming either charismatic or
Pentecostal. I think we are in a new wave of something that now has lasted almost through our whole century" ("The
Third Wave?: An Interview," Pastoral Renewal, 8 (July-August 1983):1-5). So we find that the VM leaders, while
recognizing their roots in the Pentecostal and charismatics movements, believe that they have moved beyond the first
two waves of the Holy Spirit. They do not like being called charismatic, and as we will detail later there are some real
differences between the three groups.


John Wimber: No one doubts that the central figure behind the VM is John Wimber. After Wimber‘s conversion he
became active at a "Friends church" (Quaker). Later he joined its staff but became disillusioned with the local church.
During this time Wimber was a dispensationalist who rejected the "charismatic gifts" as viable for today. Wimber left
the church and took a position at Fuller Institute of Church Growth. While teaching at Fuller, as a result of personal
experience and testimonies of happenings among Christians in the Third World, Wimber, "Felt compelled to
reexamine Scripture, looking more carefully at the relationship between spiritual gifts and evangelism" (Power
Evangelism p85). In 1978, he returned to the pastorate at one of the branch churches of Calvary Chapel (mildly
charismatic). During the first year of that pastorate, he began praying for supernatural healing of his people. Nothing
happened for ten months then one day a women was healed. This was the beginning of the "signs and wonders
movement" (Ibid pp90,91). In 1982, because of sharp differences Wimber‘s church broke from Calvary Chapel and
was renamed the Vineyard.

C. Peter Wagner: Wagner has long been recognized as an authority in both world missions and church growth. He
was drawn towards signs and wonders by observing that church growth was most rapid among the Pentecostal and
charismatic ranks, especially in the Third World. Through Wimber‘s help he claimed to be able to rebuke a demon
that was causing him headaches. Wimber and Wagner taught a course together at Fuller called, MC510 "Signs,
Wonders and Church Growth Course."

Paul Cain

Cain is the most well known of the Vineyard prophets. Cain was a contemporary of Oral Roberts during the tent
revivals of the 1940s and 50s. He left the healing revival circuit in 1957 because many of the leaders were becoming
"disobedient." He remained semi-secluded until the VM was born and then he stepped into the revival arena once
again. He is considered the greatest of the modern day prophets by the leadership of the Vineyard. He claims to
speak regularly with angels, receive prophetic revelations directly from God, and have powerful gifts of healing. Some
believe him to be an apostle, although Cain does not accept that title.

Jack Deere

Deere is influential in the VM not so much for what he does now, as what he did before he joined Wimber. As it tells
you right on the cover of his book, Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, he was "a former Dallas Seminary Professor."
Being a former Dallas professor is suppose to give his new views some clout. The book cover fails to mention
however, that he is a former Dallas professor because he was dismissed for his Vineyard theology. Nevertheless,
Deere is one of the most powerful spokesmen for the VM. His book is probably the best defense of Vineyard‘s views
and will undoubtedly draw many into the movement. His new book (released this year), Surprised by the Voice of
God, is supposed to be a treatise on how to tell God‘s voice from our own, or even Satan‘s. In this volume He
defends the view that God is giving fresh revelations today.

Wayne Grudem

Grudem is Associate Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a
recognized Biblical scholar. His book, The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, is an attempt to bring
some moderation to the extremes of the VM, and at the same time, persuade outsiders that God is still revealing His
word today through the gift of prophecy. Grudem attempts to deal with the important issue of how Christians can
receive direct revelation from God, and yet not claim to be inspired in the same way the Scriptures are. This issue is
crucial. If God is speaking to Christians today, what weight are we to give these modern day prophecies? If we claim
that they are equal to Scripture, then we should add them to the Word of God. We should be adding new books to the
canon as God reveals His word as he did in the past. On the other hand, if these prophecies are not on par with
Scripture then what are we to do with them? How can God be speaking in and through His people and yet not be
speaking with authority?

Grudem‘s answer is that OT prophecy and NT prophecy (as well as modern prophecy) are two different things. In the
OT, prophets spoke the very words of God. As a matter of fact, if they prophesied in the name of the Lord and their
prophecies did not come to pass, they were to be stoned to death (Deut. 18:20-22). Grudem assures us that all of this
changed in the NT. In the NT only the apostles spoke with divine authority. They, according to Grudem, are the NT
counterparts to the OT prophets. He believes that all other NT, and modern prophecy, while coming directly from
God, is not really inspired. NT prophets can, and often will, be wrong and suffer no consequences. So, according to
Grudem, we receive messages from God today, but those messages do not carry the weight of divine revelation.
They can be in error, and we do not necessarily have to obey them. But we must ask, "Of what value are such
prophecies?" If we don‘t know for certain that they come from God; if we don‘t know for certain whether they contain
error, then what purpose do they have? Grudem never satisfactorily answers that question. Here are his best shots:
"We are not expected to accept every word spoken through the gifts of utterance...but we are only to accept what is
quickened to us by the Holy Spirit and is in agreement with the magnification may be 75% God, but 25%
the person‘s own thoughts. We must discern between the two" (p110). "As a matter of fact there may be a whole
range of degrees of inspiration" (p111). In answering his own question as to how we can know if a revelation is from
the Holy Spirit, he says that it must first be in conformity to the Scriptures. Then he makes these amazing statements,
"Did the revelation ‗seem like‘ something from the Holy Spirit; did it seem to be similar to other experiences of the
Holy Spirit which he had known previously in worship? Beyond this it is difficult to specify much further, except to say
that over time a congregation would probably become more adept at making evaluations of prophecies, and
individual prophets would also benefit from those evaluations and become more adept at recognizing a genuine
revelation from the Holy Spirit and distinguishing it from their own thought" (pp120,121).

In other words, we are left in a sea of subjectivity. If the thoughts in my mind "seem like" they are coming from the
Holy Spirit, then "probably" they are (according to Grudem). But of course, I may be wrong. Those thoughts could
come from anywhere. We never really know. We can only hope that we will become more "adept" at discerning God‘s
voice as time goes on.

Again, we ask, of what value are such prophecies? Why seek after new revelations from God, revelations that we
cannot be assured are even coming from God, when we have the sure words of Scripture? We agree with John
MacArthur‘s statement in Our Sufficiency in Christ p87, "Contrary to what many are teaching today, there is no need
for additional revelations, visions, or words of prophecy. In contrast to the theories of men, God‘s Word is true and
absolutely comprehensive. Rather than seeking something more than God‘s glorious revelation, Christians need only
to study and obey what they already have!"

The Vineyard Movement - Part 2

Written by Gary Gilley

(November 1995 - Volume 2, Issue 1)

Last time we dealt with the background and leadership of the Vineyard Movement (VM). In this newsletter we would
like to detail the VM‘s actual teachings. It would appear that the VM is orthodox in much of its theology. The Trinity,
deity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith alone, the inspiration of Scripture, and most other essential doctrines
are taught. Therefore many within the Vineyard are not our enemies, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. In
addition, we are in agreement with them in most of what they espouse. Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned about
some of their teachings that we believe are leading many astray.


Below we will discuss briefly some of the Vineyard teachings that trouble us in the light of Scripture:

1) The VM is noncessationist. As we saw in our last newsletter, one of the trademarks of the VM is their belief that
God is actively revealing His word today through prophecies, words of knowledge, visions, etc. Of course, this opens
the door to every kind of error and heresy imaginable.

2) The VM believes that the sign gifts are still being given today. Until the late 1900‘s, orthodox Christianity believed
that the sign gifts (prophecy, miracles, healing, tongues, interpretation of tongues) all had ceased with either the
closing of the canon or the death of the Apostles. Only heretical groups such as the Montanists, Shakers and
Mormons believed that such gifts were valid for today. Early Christians did not doubt that God could work miracles
and heal people, but they believed that these gifts had ceased. The Pentecostals, then the charismatics, and now the
Vineyard all make the present day use of these sign gifts an important part of their system.
3) The VM is a major participant in the Spiritual Warfare Movement. They believe that Christians can be demon
possessed, that those demons must be forcefully cast out, and that we are to aggressively attack Satan in order to
defeat him. Many do not realize that the SWM is a doorway to the VM.

4) The VM believes in "power evangelism" vs. "program evangelism." Program evangelism is the presentation of the
gospel message to a lost sinner. While not anti-program evangelism, the VM believes that it is an anemic way of
bringing people to Christ, especially people in the Third World. What is needed is power evangelism, that is, signs
and wonders. If, in conjunction with presenting the gospel message, we also heal a person, raise the dead, cast out a
demon, or speak a word of knowledge, our message will be with authority and power. The results of power
evangelism, we are told, are far superior to program evangelism. It is interesting, however, to examine the Scriptural
record of the results of signs and wonders. It would appear that miracles seldom produced any true faith or lasting
fruit. Even with Christ, we find people following Him in order to be healed or fed, yet rejecting his message (e.g. Jh 6)

5) The VM is highly ecumenical. Just as with charismatics, it is experience rather than doctrine that draws people to
the Vineyard. Therefore, the VM people can work with anyone who claims to be a Christian, no matter what they
believe. The VM actively encourages reunification with the Catholic church, and claim that the Pope is an evangelical
Christian. We can see why the Promise Keepers, with its strong VM leadership, is so ecumenical and encourages the
participation of Catholics even in leadership.

6) The VM has dominionist leanings. Dominion theology teaches that dominion over every area of life has been
restored by the first coming of Christ. It is now the church‘s obligation to redeem not only individuals, but society as
well, in order to usher in the kingdom of God. The VM, following the teachings of George Ladd, believe that "the
kingdom is, but not yet." That is, we are now in the kingdom of God. Wimber says, "The kingdom of God created the
church at Pentecost through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit" (Power Evangelism p34). As a result of this, Christians
have "kingdom authority" (notice the words to the popular song "Majesty" with its charismatics teachings in this
regard) that enables us to have power over sickness, demons and nature. What the VM does is to bring the
characteristics of the Millennial reign of Christ to this present age. They reason that since we are in the kingdom now,
we should manifest all the power that Christ had while on earth.

This is their theological foundation for the belief in the validity of the sign gifts today. The VM also believes that there
is yet to come a physical kingdom on earth over which Christ will rule. But they believe that the church will usher in
the final aspect of the kingdom as it takes dominion over the earth. Part of this will come in the form of a great last
day revival in which the world will turn to Christ. This is known as the "Latter Rain" and is taught nowhere in the Bible.

7) They have an Eastern world view. Wimber dismisses his critics by declaring that they have been blinded by their
two tier, Western world view. The Western mind-set has an "upper tier" that includes heaven, hell, God and eternity.
Westerners also have a "lower tier" of science, the empirical world of our senses — those things that we see and
experience in the natural, material order. In the Western world view, Wimber says, there is no interaction between the
two tiers. But the Eastern world view includes another tier — the middle tier which "Includes the influence of angels
and demons on everyday life, the Holy Spirit‘s intervention in divine healing, signs and wonders, and spiritual gifts.
Non-Western world views make room for all kinds of supernatural intervention in everyday life, so the idea that a
Christian God can heal is easy for them to accept. But we Western Christians, by excluding this middle zone, usually
make little or no room for what in Scripture is normal — the regular activity of both God and Satan in human life" (Ibid
p138). Wimber says, "from earliest childhood, Western people are trained in deductive reasoning; we draw
conclusions based on rules of logic to guide our lives. The presuppositions of our society encourage us to think this
way." (Ibid p129). So, it is because of our Western mind-set that Western Christians reject the supernatural signs and
wonders of the Vineyard movement. Wimber‘s thoughts on this subject are worth considering. The Western world
view is no more accurate than the Eastern. What we must develop is a Biblical world view. Where Wimber errs is
failing to distinguish between the Scripture‘s approach to the supernatural and the superstitious, mystical approach of
the Eastern mind-set. Just because a primitive people believe evil spirits live in trees, cause smallpox, and bring
famines, does not make it so (Of course, it does not mean what they believe is false either. Truth can only be varified
through the Scriptures). In the VM system, all problems, including sins, can be traced back to the demonic. The
secular Westerner world view says that all of the above come from natural causes. The Biblical view is that God
sovereignly controls all aspects of life. He uses angels, demons, germs, nature, and every other created thing for His
purposes. We then must go back to the Scriptures to determine how God would have us handle these issues of life.
And what do we find? The epistles, written to church age believers, advocate progressive sanctification, prayer, faith,
feeding on the Word and even the use of medicine for illnesses. But the epistles say virtually nothing about casting
out demons (or any other signs and wonders) in order to live for God and handle our problems.

8) The VM differs somewhat from Pentecostals and charismatics. One of the cardinal doctrines of the other two
groups is their belief in the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" subsequent to conversion. They believe that this baptism is a
second work of grace that enriches the life of the Christian and prepares him for ministry. The VM believes that it
takes place at the moment of conversion. However they teach that there can be multiple fillings of the Spirit after
salvation which would resemble what others thought was the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The VM also differs with
respect to tongues. Although it is practiced by many within the movement, its importance is down played, and not all
Christians are expected, or encouraged to speak in tongues. On the other hand, some Pentecostals and charismatics
believe that speaking in tongues is the evidence of conversion. Others would say that it is something necessary to a
fulfilled Christian experience.


One of the wisest things that we can do when examining any movement that claims to be of God, is to ask, "Does this
movement place its emphasis on the same things that God‘s Word does?" For example, what does the Vineyard
movement emphasize? Is it not signs and wonders? Their churches are consumed with miracles, healings, casting
out of demons, prophetic utterances. It is through these things that they believe people will be brought to Christ and
discipled. They point people to dynamic experiences, and it is those experiences, rather than the truth of the
Scriptures that bring people into their fellowship.

Now compare their emphasis with that of the NT epistles. Note especially the books of I&II Timothy and Titus. In
those three books, we have the Apostle Paul instructing two young pastors on how to lead their churches. Paul is
telling them what their churches need in order to move on to maturity. It is interesting to discover the complete
absence of any mention of signs and wonders. He did not encourage these men to cast out demons, heal the sick or
seek new revelation from God. Rather, he pointed them to the Scriptures that were adequate to equip their people for
every good work (II Tim 3:15-17). He told them to preach the Word (II Tim 4:1,2), to exhort in sound doctrine and
refute those who contradict (Titus 1:9). No mention is made of developing churches around emotional experiences
and supernatural happenings. The emphasis of these pastor‘s ministries was to be the written Word of God. They
were to hold it fast, preach and teach it, apply it to every possible kind of situation, guard and defend it. In light of the
NT instructions to the church, the VM should throw up red flags all over the place, for they do not follow the NT
The Toronto Blessing and the Laughing Revival

Written by Gary Gilley

(October 1999 - Volume 5, Issue 10)

Something happened on January 10, 1994, at a Vineyard Church near the Pearson International Airport in Toronto,
that was unique in the history of Christianity. While some point back to somewhat similar phenomena during the
Welsh Revivals, Cane Ridge Revivals (1800-1801), Charles Finney (1800s), and even the Great Awakening (1734-
47), all of these pale in comparison to the claims of the "Laughing Revival" that received its energy, if not origin, on
that cold day in Canada. Supporters say that on this occasion the Holy Spirit was poured out on that small
congregation, resulting in spontaneous, uncontrollable laughter. Thus began a "revival" that continues to this day and
has impacted churches throughout the world. Hundreds of thousands of visitors, including thousands of pastors, have
attended the services at the Toronto Airport Vineyard (now called the Airport Christian Fellowship) in hopes of
catching and transporting the spirit of this revival. And it seems to be working. Churches across the globe are
claiming similar experiences which, in addition to "holy laughter," include shaking, making animal noises, swooning,
and being stuck in "Holy Ghost glue." It has been reported by some that up to seven thousand churches in Great
Britain alone have experienced something pertaining to the Holy Laughter Revival.

Rodney Howard-Browne, a South African minister associated with the Word of Faith Movement, is the recognized
"Father" of holy laughter. He claims to have had his first experience with this phenomena in 1979, while challenging
God to "touch me" or he was going "to come up there and touch You." God apparently responded by causing him to
feel as if his body was on fire and he broke out in uncontrollable laughter (see Howard-Browne‘s book, The Touch of
God). In 1989, while preaching in New York State, his congregation fell under the same power. Soon Howard-Browne
began influencing others, but on a small scale. Then, while preaching at Carpenter‘s Home Church in Lakeland,
Florida, in 1993, laughter in the Spirit once again broke out bringing Howard-Browne out of obscurity. One of his
disciples was Pastor Randy Clark from St. Louis, Missouri.

It was Clark (who had already experienced strange phenomenons in his church) who preached the revival sermon in
Toronto that ignited the whole movement. The Revival has since spread like wildfire, especially in Vineyard and
Charismatic circles, and in recent years has penetrated all kinds of denominations. Howard-Browne, who continues to
be a leader of this movement, calls himself a "Holy Ghost Bartender" who dispenses the "new wine" of joy that leads
to people being "drunk in the Spirit." He claims to find the biblical base for his teaching in Acts 2, at the day of
Pentecost. But a careful study of that text does not reveal anything like what is happening today. The apostles were
not laughing uncontrollably, they were not barking like dogs, they were not stuck to the floor in Holy Ghost glue, they
were not being "slain in the Spirit." They simply preached the gospel and their listeners heard it in their own language.

Recently the Association of Vineyard Fellowships expelled the Airport Vineyard Fellowship from its association for
"going over the edge." Even the Vineyard has recognized that the Revival has gone too far and is now trying to
distance itself. This is both encouraging and ironic. It is encouraging to see that the Vineyard has some experiential
boundaries that even it will not cross; and it‘s ironic to see a denomination, that bases so much of what it does and
believes on extra-biblical experiences, draw a line in the sand and judge some experiences as extreme. What criteria
the Vineyard could possibly use to do this is unknown. A criterion unused by either group is found in Isaiah 8:16,19-
20: "Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples . . . And when they say to you, ‗Consult the mediums
and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,‘ should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on
behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they
have no dawn."

John Arnott, the pastor of the Airport Vineyard Fellowship, tells his followers that they are not to even entertain the
thought that they might become involved in any kind of counterfeit revival. Yet, the apostle John warned us to "Test
the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (I John 4:1).
"This warning is relevant today, as Christianity is undergoing a paradigm shift of major proportions — a shift from faith
to feelings, from fact to fantasy, and from reason to esoteric revelation" (Hank Hanegraaff, Counterfeit Revival, p. 9).


One of Howard-Browne‘s books has a section titled "Holy Ghost Glue." In it he recounts the story of a wealthy woman
who got "stuck" in the spirit. As Howard-Browne tells it:

She was lying there from noon until 1:30 . . . At 1:30, she tried to get up. She wanted to get up. She couldn‘t. All she
could do was flap her hands. So she was lying there flapping away — flap, flap, flap, flap . . . 2:30, 3:30, 4:30 . . . At
4:30 the woman was still saying, "I can‘t get up. I‘m stuck to the floor."

She flapped so long that, as Howard-Browne put it, he ended up "walking out on the Holy Spirit":

I turned to the pastor and said, "Look, I haven‘t had either breakfast or lunch. It‘s 4:30. I‘m not
stuck and you‘re not stuck. These people are going to stay here with her, so let‘s go have a
meal before the night service." The ushers told us later that at 6 o‘clock the woman finally
peeled herself off the carpet. Then it took her an hour to crawl from the center of the church
auditorium to the side wall. She had been stuck to the floor for six hours! (Manifesting the Holy
Spirit, pages 26,27).

When Randy Clark preached at the Airport Vineyard, the pastor claimed that "almost 80 percent
of the people were on the floor." "It was like an explosion. We saw people literally being
knocked off their feet by the Spirit of God. . . . Others shook and jerked. Some danced, some
laughed. Some lay on the floor as if dead for hours. People cried and shouted" (The Father‘s
Blessing, by John Arnott, pages 71,72).

Prophecies and Revelations

Jim Ryle, Vineyard pastor and Promise Keeper board member, is on the cutting edge of the current charismatic
revivals. He claims to be a prophet who serves as a good example of today‘s claims of extra biblical revelations. He
said he once dreamed that he "was literally inside the Lord."
And from the vantagepoint of "seeing through the eyes of Jesus," he was enabled to unravel
myriad mysteries for the people of God. As a classic case in point, God revealed to Ryle His
purpose for placing a special anointing of music upon the Beatles (despite the fact that none of
them were committed to Christ). As the Almighty allegedly articulated, "It was My purpose to
bring forth, through music, a worldwide revival that would usher in the move of My Spirit in
bringing men and women to Christ." Because the Beatles used their anointing for Satan‘s
kingdom instead, Ryle says the Lord lifted His anointing, "kept it unto Himself and is about to
release it again" (see Counterfeit Revival, p. 69).

On August 22, 1989, the Almighty (supposedly) gave Ryle a dream about football. In the dream, Ryle saw "something
like an energy field" encircling the University of Colorado Buffaloes football team. He then heard a voice that said,
"This will be their golden season!"

The next day Ryle shared the dream as well as its interpretation with Bill McCartney, who was
then the Colorado coach, and who later founded the national Christian men‘s group Promise
Keepers. Ryle said, "The Lord will now fulfill promises which He has made to you by
empowering the players with His Spirit. This will be the golden season!" At the end of the golden
season, before the championship game, Ryle says, "I felt certain that we would win and be
crowned the national champions of college football — we were already firmly locked in the
number one position in the polls. I was sure that we would win; my confidence was unshakable!"

Minutes before the national championship game, however, the Lord gave Ryle a tragic revelation through a female
buffalo named Ralphie. Via the omen of Ralphie‘s broken horn, God revealed that the power of His Spirit had
departed from the team. This time, however, Ryle kept the revelation to himself until after the game.

As he stood stunned in the stadium, contemplating Colorado‘s crushing 21 to 6 loss to Notre
Dame, the Holy Spirit told Ryle to turn to Isaiah 21:6: For thus the Lord says to me, "Go, station
the lookout, let him report what he sees." While the content of Isaiah 21:6 has no
correspondence to football games, Ryle says, "My curiosity was awakened."

After the tragic ending to the Buffaloes‘ golden season, God revealed to Ryle that he would
"reach out His hand a second time" (Isa. 11:11). And, sure enough, the following year, the
Colorado Buffaloes were again pitted against Notre Dame in the national championship of
college football. Astonishingly, the omen was confirmed for Ryle by the season win-loss-tie
record (11-1-1), which matched the passage (Isa. 11:11) that the Holy Spirit had prompted him
to consult (ibid. p. 70-71).
In a message titled "Receiving the Spirit‘s Power," Counterfeit Revival leader Carol Arnott
(John‘s wife) claims she had a conversation with the Holy Spirit. During the dialogue, the spirit
that spoke with her communicated sorrow over being separated from Jesus: "You know, the
Father, and Jesus and I have been together for all of eternity. But when Jesus went back to
heaven to be with God the Father, I came to earth." And He said, "I am so lonely for Jesus." He
said, "So that when people really, really love Jesus, and really honor Him, and really worship
Him," He said, "I love to be around those kinds of people.". . He misses Jesus, and He misses
the Father (ibid. p. 111).

Rarely is the self-gratifying orientation of Counterfeit Revivalists more prominent than in John Arnott‘s book The
Father‘s Blessing. In a section titled "Jesus Wants a Love Affair with You," Arnott describes how Jesus appeared to a
woman and fulfilled all her fantasies. Jesus laughed with the woman as together they ran around with arms stretched
out like airplanes; Jesus lay on the ground with the woman and played Legos; then Jesus played with her hair and
met her deepest needs and desires (pages 20-22).

A good sampling of the strange and incredible experiences being claimed by followers of this revival can be
found in John Arnott’s book.

                                    Bizarre claims from The Father’s Blessings:

A delightful woman came to Toronto from Europe. She came from an extremely theological and
intellectual background — "too much thinking," she said. While under God‘s power she had a
vision. Much to her surprise, Jesus took her through events of her childhood, and they relived
them together.

This woman used to play soccer, and Jesus told her gently that she took the glory for herself.
So she wept and repented, then they played soccer together. She laughed and laughed at His
long robe, then she asked Him to be the goalkeeper. He was so strong, He knocked all the balls
away. But then He let her have a goal, and she laughed some more.

Then Jesus told her she always acted like a boy. She said this was true because her father
wanted a boy, and it hurt her. But Jesus showed her that He wanted her to be a girl. She
explains that she saw, like a movie before her eyes, the yard she used to play in as a child. She
had a pretty flowered dress on, and they danced together, and her hair blew in the wind. Jesus
told her, "You know, forever — I wanted you as a girl." And she cried and cried. "It was so
wonderful because He planned me to be a girl. It was so beautiful."

Another evening Jesus showed her herself as a baby, and He tickled her. She laughed and laughed, and baby noises
came out of her. Another time, she was one year old. She was holding a toy, but she couldn‘t play with it because she
didn‘t know how. And she looked into the eyes of Jesus and asked Him to explain how to play with this toy. And He
took time and told her (p. 123-124).

Carol (Arnott‘s wife) has often prayed for me (Arnott), and I would stand there trying to receive
from God, yet not feeling anything. I would say, "Honey, is the Holy Spirit flowing in?"

She would say, "Yes, just receive." Then she would say, "Whoops, where did you go?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you went somewhere, and God‘s anointing for you came back on me."

Some of you who minister know what that feels like. When you are praying for someone else
and they do not receive, the anointing comes back to you and you just about fall over — either
you or the person who is helping you.

I asked Carol why I didn‘t receive, and she told me that I was trying to stay in control. I argued
with her, but she was more convincing: "You will not surrender; you will not give yourself to
God" (p. 125).

(Carol Arnott gives this vision, which could have been taken right out of a Disney movie.)

The scene changed, and I was walking, holding His arm. I kept looking around thinking, "Gee, I
don‘t recognize this place. I wonder where I am? This doesn‘t look familiar at all." Then I
happened to look down, and I thought, "Oh, it‘s gold! Oh, my goodness, I am walking on the
streets of gold. This is heaven! I‘m the bride of Christ. I am marrying Jesus." This is the wedding
day. Lord, this is incredible. I was standing in an open spot when Jesus walked up and said,
"Carol, may I have the first dance?" I thought, "Oh, no, I can‘t dance. My wedding veil is too
long." As soon as I thought that, out of nowhere came cardinals and blue jays — all these little
birds — and they picked up my veil, and I danced with Jesus (p. 164, 165).

Arnott writes:

It is no coincidence that we have seen people prophetically acting like lions, oxen, eagles and even warriors. In Steve
Witt‘s church in St. Johns, New Brunswick, I saw all four of those manifestations happening at the same time — the
ox, the eagle, the lion and the man (warrior). The lion and eagle manifestations accompanied prophesying. The man
who was acting out the part of the warrior had both hands gripped together around the hilt of a sword, and he was
swinging it. These warrior actions give the observer a real feel of battlefield action. The people who were doing this
were mostly credible pastors or leaders. I was astonished but sensed the awesome presence of God.

One lady who played the keyboard and weighed about 115 pounds was on all fours, snorting
and pawing the ground like an angry ox or bull. It was obvious that she was surprised and a bit
frightened by what was happening, but at the same time she seemed determined to follow the
Spirit‘s leading (p. 178).

It is almost impossible to keep up on the bizarre claims coming out of Toronto. Fortunately (?) for us the Toronto
Christian Fellowship has an excellent Web site ( complete with live and taped videos of their services
and the most recent manifestations. Lately the church is claiming that many at their meetings, both at home and in
South Africa, are receiving gold fillings in the teeth. What a dental plan!

Perhaps a quote by Howard Rodney-Browne might help us understand how and why "Christians" can be so gullible:
"I‘d rather be in a church where the devil and the flesh are manifesting than in a church where nothing is happening
because people are too afraid to manifest anything. Every time there is a move of God, a few people will get excited,
go overboard, and get in the flesh. Other believers will get upset, saying that couldn‘t be of God. Don‘t worry about it
either. Rejoice because at least something is happening . . . If someone comes in the meeting, rolls around on the
floor, laughs in the Holy Spirit, and does it in the flesh, at least he‘s not getting drunk or taking dope" (No Laughing
Matter, p. 66). In contrast A.W. Tozer takes the biblical position: "Any of it [teaching] that is good is in the Word of
God, and any that is not in the Word of God is not good. I am a Bible Christian and if an archangel with a wingspread
as broad as a constellation shining like the sun were to come and offer me some new truth, I‘d ask him for a
reference. If he could not show me where it is found in the Bible, I would bow him out and say, ‗I‘m awfully sorry, you
don‘t bring any references with you‘" (ibid. p. 67).

Brownsville Revival - A River Runs Through It

Written by Gary Gilley

(November 1999 - Volume 5, Issue 11)

On Father‘s Day I am lucky to get a card from my adoring sons, so you can imagine my chagrin when I found out that
on Father‘s Day 1995 a church in Pensacola, Florida, got the Holy Spirit. Up until that time the Holy Spirit had
apparently been camping out up in Canada (see paper on "The Toronto Blessing"), but for some unknown reason He
decided to move South. Since He did, the Brownsville Assembly of God has experienced "Revival." Four nights per
week, 48 weeks per year, services are held, usually with long lines of anxious seekers wanting to get in. Of course
the stats keep changing (so fast that the church‘s marquee actually is a McDonalds‘ type sign that reads "Over ___
souls saved"). But according to the church‘s web site (, over 2,660,000 have attended
the Revival and 141,387 have made decisions for Christ. These numbers are misleading however, due to counting
the same people over and over. For example, if 2,000 people attended Sunday morning, and the same 2,000
attended Sunday evening, 4,000 would be recorded as attending. Nevertheless, the numbers are impressive.

Evangelist Steve Hill was scheduled to be at the Brownsville Assembly of God for only one night (June 18, 1995), but
when he gave an invitation for "refreshing," a thousand people came forward. Recognizing what he thought was a
sweeping of the Holy Spirit over the people, Hill looked at the pastor, John Kilpatrick, and said "More Lord." At that
point Kilpatrick got "more" than he bargained for when he was "hit by the fire of God, and fell to the ground. He lay
there for two hours" (The Remnant, June 1998, p. 12. The Remnant is a newspaper devoted to reporting on the
charismatic revivals around the world).

This was just the beginning of a bizarre phenomenon for Brownsville and their pastor Kilpatrick, who said that "the
glory of God was so strong on me during the early days of the revival that sometimes I could hardly keep my eyes
open. When we would go home, my son would have to help me get undressed because of the tremendous glory that
God was putting upon my wife and me. I tried to get up early in the morning the next day and go to the office and
found myself so drunk in the Spirit that I would go from wall to wall walking down my hall. I hadn‘t developed my legs
yet to stand up under the glory of God. For months they had to take me and my wife out of the sanctuary in wheel
chairs" (ibid. p.2).

Things got more exciting a few weeks later when a nineteen-year-old college student by the name of Alison Ward
stood and prophesied: "God is in a hurry. There‘s not much more time. He aches and He grieves for your spirit." As
she spoke these words she was shaking so violently that a casual observer may have thought she suffered from
cerebral palsy. When she completed this prophesy she fell to the floor (ibid. p. 19; see also The Christian News, Dec.
30, 1996, p. 9).

The Brownsville Revival is reported to be a fulfillment of a prophecy by Word of Faith pastor David (Paul) Yonggi Cho
(see Think on These Things, "Word of Faith"). Cho says he gave the following prophecy during a 1991 Seattle

I became deeply concerned about the spiritual decline in America. I began to pray even more
earnestly for revival in these United States. As I prayed, I felt the Lord prompt me to get a map
of America, and to point my finger on the map. I found myself pointing to the city of Pensacola in
the Florida panhandle (Feast of Fire, John Kilpatrick, p. vii).


The revival at Brownsville duplicates many of the same excesses and bizarre experiences as the blessing in Toronto
(see Think on These Things, "The Toronto Blessing"). One interesting claim not already mentioned in our paper on
the Toronto Blessing is that of seeing a glory cloud, or the Shekina Glory, often described as a blue cloud or haze. If
reports advertised in The Remnant are to be believed, the Shekina Glory is appearing virtually every where these
days, not just in churches (op. cit. p. 3,9), but also in private homes after playing videos of revival services (p. 19).

A couple of other interesting things worthy of note are the prayer banner and the Shofar ministries. According to
Brownsville‘s web site:

In the fall of 1993 the Lord spoke to Pastor Kilpatrick saying "My house shall be a house of
prayer." He then sought the Lord for direction concerning this prompting and was impressed to
initiate specific times of intense intercession. The Sunday evening service was set aside for
praise, worship and prayer. Nine specific areas were targeted for prayer: warfare, family,
schools, souls, ministries, leaders of our country, healing, pastors, and revival. Three additional
areas were added later: the peace of Jerusalem, children, and catastrophic events. A banner
was made for each of these areas and as the congregation gathered around each of them for
intense prayer on Sunday evenings, the banner ministry in our church was born.

The church has kits available, with materials and patterns for other churches to duplicate these banners. Or, they can
also send people to churches to give firsthand instruction on how to construct these banners, and to give the biblical
basis for using banners. The purpose for the banners is three-fold:

1. To identify and bring focus.

2. To bring the body into one accord.

3. To bring glorious victory to the church.

When my wife and I visited the Springfield, Illinois, clone of Brownsville, we saw the banners displayed on the walls in
much the same manner as a Catholic church might display icons throughout their sanctuary. In addition, these
banners and others were waved constantly during the three hours of singing and dancing that preceded the sermon. I
would be quite interested in learning of the supposed "biblical basis" for use of the banners. I can think of no New
Testament instruction that would remotely sanction this practice.

Even stranger is the blowing of the Shofar. According to an ad placed in The Remnant (from which you can order
your very own Shofar for a mere $139.00) and from information available at Brownsville-type churches, the Shofar (or
ram‘s horn) has many purposes. In the Old Testament it was used to usher in the biblical festivals of Israel, including
the Sabbath, and to inspire the people to amend their lives and repent. The sounding of the Shofar symbolized
freedom and liberty, proclaims the anniversary of the creation of the world, is a reminder of the giving of the Ten
Commandments at Mt. Sinai (and is a reminder of the Second Coming of Christ), and was also used to bring up the
Ark (the glory of God). It is a sound that is supposedly guaranteed to confuse and chase Satan away. I gather that it
is the latter two purposes that have captured the interest of these people. Rather than being confused and frightened,
I am certain that Satan is laughing his head off. As for the glory of God coming down at the blowing of the Shofar, the
problem should be self-evident. The revivalists are confusing the Old Testament dispensation with the New. God‘s
glory has already arrived in the form of the Holy Spirit residing in the hearts of His people (I Corinthians 6:19). The
presence of His glory is not on call, awaiting the prayers of His people, or the sounding of a horn. A biblical
understanding of these facts transcends the Shofar issue, for the coming, or falling, of the Spirit upon the people is
fundamental to this revival. Unless you believe that in some manner the power and glory of God can be summoned to
fall on people, you have no manifestations. Without manifestations you have no crowds of people. Without crowds of
people you have no revival. My, how the misunderstanding of a relatively minor and simple doctrine can make a
major difference.

Like Toronto, Brownsville is known for "carpet time." Earlier Pentecostals referred to this as being "slain in the Spirit,"
which involves being bowled over by the power of God, lying in a daze on the ground, or at times acting out various
manifestations such as jerking, laughing, crying, speaking in tongues, etc. For those of us who are confused on how
to implement and maintain a "carpet time" ministry we have the good fortune and privilege of ordering instructional
manuals (via the Brownsville Revival Product Catalog, or from their Web site). The following are some instructional

Pray only 30-45 seconds for each person. Watch your catcher for a signal if you are praying too
long. Pray the following prayers: "More Lord, Sweet Jesus, More healing, More peace, More of
Your love, You are the bride of Christ, give him/her a refreshing from the Lord, etc." Keep
phrases soft and simple. Do not raise your voice (Prayer Team Manual, pp. 9-10).

"Catchers" (those with the "ministry" of catching those "slain in the Spirit") have some guidelines as well:

When you walk behind a person, gently touch the shoulders to let them know you are there in
preparation to catch them. Remove your hands afterward. If the person falls, hold your hand on
their back just above the waist — not under the arms. Do not touch the person while they are
receiving prayer . . . look for open areas before you begin to pray. This will avoid falling on
others. Please do not block the aisles. If an individual is in the aisle and they are ‗slain in the
Spirit.‘ They should be laid uphill" (p.10).

Coming from a movement that is highly critical of the "organized church," this is an amazing amount of structure
involving a supposed sovereign, spontanious outpouring of God.

Speaking of organization, the leaders at Brownsville are anxious to transplant the revival. Up until recently the
primary method of doing this was through pilgrimages to Brownsville. But if some cannot make it to the revival then
the revival can be taken to them. Thus beginning in February 1999, the revival has been taken on the road in a series
of meetings called "Awake America."


John Kilpatrick boasts: "This is not a Brownsville thing, this is a God thing. We have seen all kinds of people here,
Mormons, Baptists, Jews, Episcopal priests, Catholics, and Methodists. That‘s when you know it‘s God and not man"
(The Remnant, p. 12). If all of these people were coming to Christ we might be more inclined to rejoice, but that is not
the case. Mormons come as Mormons and leave as Mormons; the same is true of Catholics and Jews, etc. People
are not coming to hear the gospel, they are coming to experience the manifestations. The result is a unification along
experiential lines rather than doctrinal.

By way of example we might recall that the Toronto Blessing originated in the sphere of the Word of Faith and
Vineyard churches, those representing the "New Charismatics" or the so-called Third Wave of the Holy Spirit this
century. The Brownsville church is an Assembly of God, or old-line Pentecostal denomination that sprang from the
"first wave of the Holy Spirit." Now many are taking the "Revival" back to their denominations and thus influencing the
Old Charismatics, or the second wave (see Think on These Things, "The History of the Charismatic Movement"). By
way of verification of all this is the March 1999 issue of Charisma (the most popular magazine in the Charismatic
world). The lead article had to do with the infiltration of the Brownsville Revival within the ranks of the Southern
Baptist Convention. Considerable disruption among Southern Baptists has taken place, as many who have tasted of
the "Revival" find that they now have more in common with this extreme fringe of the Charismatic movement than
they do with their own denomination. It is interesting that Charisma gives considerable credit to Henry Blackaby and
his book, Experiencing God for opening the door for acceptance to this phenomenon.

The Assembly of God itself is highly divided over the revival, although Thomas Task, the general superintendent of
the denomination, "gave a full endorsement of the Revival in Pensacola and said the Brownsville Assembly of God
has done more to change the direction of the Assemblies of God organization than any other organization" (The
Remnant, p. 2). Task believes the revival to be the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit (see "The Murky River of
Brownsville," by G. Richard Fisher, a publication of Personal Freedom Outreach).


The metaphor of a river is a favorite of the Brownsville people. They believe that "a river is flowing," a river of the
power of God. Those who are wise will jump into this stream and flow with the Spirit. As a matter of fact "many
believe this revival will never be used for historical purposes because this is the final move of God" (The Remnant, p.

But one must be careful when jumping into an unknown stream. I did that once as a young man and just about
drowned. When people are claiming phenomena the likes of which are never found in Scripture, when the Word of
God is constantly distorted, when doctrinal error is prolific, great caution had better be exercised by even the best
swimmers. Rather than leaping into an unknown current, the Scriptures caution that the spiritual "appraises all things"
(I Corinthians 2:15), and warn us to "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every
form of evil" (I Thessalonians 5:21). When the child of God tests these muddied waters in the light of Scripture he will
stay on the solid rock (Jeremiah 5:30-31; 14:14 and 16:12; Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Matthew 7:22,23).

Doctrinal Distinctives of the Charismatic Movement - Part 1

Written by Gary Gilley

(August 1999 - Volume 5, Issue 8)

The focus of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements has always been centered on shared experiences, not
theology. This is especially true of those in the charismatic movement which transcends all denominations. Thus, for
example, there are Catholic charismatics, who believe in a sacramental form of salvation, and there are Lutheran
charismatics who believe that infant baptism is redemptive, and there are Baptist charismatics who believe they are
saved through faith alone. While these three types of charismatics might vary widely in their views of the
fundamentals of their faith, what they have in common is an experience — the experience of speaking in tongues.
While all charismatics do not personally speak in tongues, all would accept the validity of tongues-speaking. This
experience does have a doctrinal framework, of course, which could be expressed in the following two statements:
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a second work of grace that brings power in the life of the believer.

The evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues.

The logical conclusion of these statements is that a person who has not been baptized by the Holy Spirit is a "second
class" Christian and is not experiencing the power of God in their life. If the charismatics are correct, an important
ingredient is missing from the spiritual life of most Christians. If they are wrong they have elevated a questionable at
best, or at worst, a fraudulent practice to the centerpiece of Christian living. It would seem vital that believers would
want an answer to this puzzle, but such is often not the case. Instead one finds an ambivalence in most circles — If
speaking in tongues works for you then fine, if not, no big deal. But we are not talking about the latest fad in sneakers
here, we are discussing an important element of truth. If the baptism of the Holy Spirit is truly a subsequent
experience, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, then all Christians should seek this baptism. If it is not, then
this theology should be exposed and denounced. One can‘t have it both ways.

The biblical foundation for the unique theological position of charismatics is found almost entirely in the book of Acts.

Four passages are critical:

Acts 2:1-8 — The day of Pentecost where tongues were first spoken.

Acts 8:14-18 — In Samaria where the new believers did not receive the Holy Spirit until the apostles came, even
though there is no record of tongues being spoken.

Acts 10:44-48 — At Cornelius‘ house when the Gentiles received the Spirit.

Acts 19:1-7 — When John‘s disciples received the Spirit at conversion and spoke in tongues.

A careful study of the above passages, and others, will reveal that it is extremely difficult to base doctrine on the book
of Acts. Acts is a book of history, tracing the transitional nature of the early church. Note the transitional nature and
the diversity of the reception of the Holy Spirit in these four passages. For example, there is no speaking in tongues
in Acts 8; no wind or fire except in Acts 2; some, who were already saved, received the Spirit, along with some new
converts, etc. However now, according to Romans 8:9 and I Corinthians 12:13, the Holy Spirit is always received at
the moment of conversion.

It should also be noted that most converts, even in the book of Acts, did not speak in tongues. The following believers
apparently did not speak in tongues: 3000 at Pentecost (2:41), 5000 men (4:4); the eunuch (8:35-38); Saul (9:3-18);
Sergius Paulus (13:7-12); at Antioch (13:43); Lydia (16:14,15); Philippian jailer (16:27-34); Berea and Thessalonica
(17:4,12); Athens (17:34); Crispus (18:8); and at Ephesus (19:18). "It would be impossible to build a consistent
doctrine about the Holy Spirit from Acts. This is why the epistles were written — to give us doctrine. No apostolic
sermon contains an appeal to be baptized with the Spirit" — J.R.W. Stott.

The epistles clearly teach that the purpose of Spirit baptism is to bring us into the body of Christ — Romans 6:3;
Galatians 3:26,27; Ephesians 4:5 (one baptism); Colossians 2:12; I Corinthians 12:13 (12:14-26 point out that not all
speak in tongues).

So how do charismatics deal with the apostolic teaching that Spirit baptism occurs at the moment of conversion,
brings us into the body of Christ, and is not accompanied with tongues? They deal with it by teaching that there are
actually two Spirit baptisms in the New Testament. This view holds that the first baptism, called the baptism of
repentance, happens to all believers and brings them into the body of Christ. The second baptism is the baptism with
the Holy Spirit or endowment with power, which is signified by tongues. The first is baptism by the Holy Spirit, the
second is with the Holy Spirit. The charismatic position is that when Paul referred to tongues in I Corinthians 12-14,
he was speaking to believers who had received the first baptism (by the Spirit) and were thus part of the body of
Christ. As part of the body of Christ some had received the gift of speaking in tongues — but not all. Obviously then,
not every believer will receive the gift of speaking in tongues. On the other hand when a Christian has received the
second baptism ("with" the Holy Spirit) the evidence will be speaking in tongues as a SIGN of that experience.
Therefore, according to this view, some Christians have the gift of tongues, but all Christian who have received the
second baptism will evidence this fact with at least an initial experience of speaking in tongues. It is easy to see that
the clear teaching of the epistles is being overturned by a poor understanding of the book of Acts. Even Acts refutes
this "two-baptism" view when in 11:17 Luke declares the tongues "experiences" of chapters 2 and 10, which were
signs, as gifts. Tongues, in the early church, were "sign-gifts." What they were signs of will be discussed below.

In addition, opposition to this position is found in Ephesians 4:5 which says that there is only one baptism. The
distinction between "by" and "with" cannot be sustained. The same Greek preposition "en" is used both in I
Corinthians 12:13 and in Acts 1:5. In I Corinthians 12:7-13 we are told that God has already given the gifts as He
wills. He tells us that we do not all have the same gifts (read 12:4, 7-11, 14-18 and 28-31). In all of the New
Testament only I Corinthians 12:13 explains the purpose of the baptism of the Spirit, which is to bring us into the body
(church) of Christ. To claim that its purpose is to give us power from God, and is evidenced by speaking in tongues, is
without biblical basis.

                                           The Purpose of Biblical Tongues

Most New Testament scholars agree that tongues in the New Testament were foreign languages — not incoherent
gibberish. Acts 2:4-8 is the only passage in the New Testament that sheds light on the nature of tongues. At that
event those who heard tongues spoken by the apostles were able to understand them in their own language. The
apostles apparently spoke in languages they did not understand — but they spoke in known languages,
understandable to the listeners.

Why did God use tongues in the early church? Much debate has taken place over this question. The major theories
are presented in the following few paragraphs, with a short commentary following each theory:

The First Theory — Church Edification

The idea is that the gift of tongues was and is given for the edifying of other believers. However, the whole purpose of
I Corinthians 14:1-19 is to emphasize that tongues were worthless for this purpose.

The Second Theory — Evangelization

At Pentecost it was Peter‘s gospel message — not tongues — that brought people to Christ. With Cornelius (Acts 10)
it was new Christians who spoke in tongues and no unsaved people were present. At Ephesus there was no
indication that any unsaved people were present when tongues were spoken (Acts 19:6). Tongues at Corinth were
clearly not evangelistic. In fact, Paul remarked that unbelievers observing them would likely be repelled, just as they
were at Pentecost (I Corinthians 14:23 and Acts 2:13).

The Third Theory — Proof of Spirit Baptism

In the New Testament many believers are said to be filled with the Holy Spirit, with no mention of speaking in
tongues. Spiritual baptism always has reference to our baptism into Christ. The difference between baptism and filling
is found in Ephesians 5:18. We are commanded to be filled, therefore it is not universal among Christians, whereas
baptism is.

The Fourth Theory — Devotional

Paul said that he would rather pray and sing with the Spirit and the mind than with just the Spirit alone (I Corinthians
14:14-15). The purpose of tongues is as a sign (Mark 16:17), not for personal spiritual growth.

The Fifth Theory — Condemnation

According to I Corinthians 14:21, which quotes Isaiah 28:11,12, tongues were a sign to the nation of Israel that God
was bringing judgment upon them for their sinfulness and rejection of Christ.

The Sixth Theory — Apostolic Authentication

Since, on the testimony of Jesus, tongues were a sign, it remains only to determine what they were a sign of (Mark
16:17). In II Corinthians 12:11-13 Paul appeals to signs and wonders as the proofs of the apostolic office. If that is
what they were, then that is their purpose. No unusual manifestation of the Spirit‘s presence (no sign) ever occurred
except in the presence of an apostle or by those who had been directly ministered to by an apostle.

                             I believe that a combination of these final two theories ring true.

Tongues, as a sign gift, point out two things: the judgment of Israel, and in a secondary sense, to the
authority of the apostles.

                                   Support for the Apostolic Authentication Theory

There are five facts that show the distinctive character of the apostolic office:

        The church was founded upon them (Ephesians 2:20).
        They were eyewitnesses of Christ‘s resurrection (Acts 1:22 and I Corinthians 15:7-9).
        They were special authorized agents (Luke 6:13).
        The fact of their appointment was authenticated by signs. The absence of miracles would invalidate the
         claim of one who asserted that he was an apostle (II Corinthians 12:12 and Acts 5:11-13).
        The fact of their apostolic authority (II Peter 3:2, 15-16; I Corinthians 4:12 and II Thessalonians 3:6,14).

Tongues as a sign

Mark 16:17-20 — While the canonical authority of this text is questionable, we nevertheless find
that signs were to be manifested by the apostles and by those to whom they ministered. In
verse 20 Mark already (by AD 68) considered these signs past.

Acts 2:14-21; 4:3 — Only the apostles spoke in tongues or performed signs on these

Acts 8:13 — Philip was not an apostle but had the apostles‘ "hands" laid upon him (6:6).
However, his converts performed no signs or wonders. Only when apostles came from
Jerusalem and laid hands upon Philip‘s converts was there any unusual demonstration of the
Spirit‘s presence in them (8:15-17).

Note: Acts records new groups (Jews, Samaritans, Gentiles and Old Testament believers) in the initial act of
receiving the Holy Spirit which would later be the mark of all Christians (Romans 8:9).

Acts 10 — God employed a series of supernatural visions in order to have Peter be the one to
present the Gospel to Cornelius.

Acts 19 — 19:2 should be translated, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"
These men were not yet converted. In 19:6 tongues came to authenticate Paul as an apostle.

II Corinthians 12:12 — Some at Corinth who had been converted under Paul received the gift
of tongues to validate Paul‘s claim to apostleship.

All signs are temporary

Jesus predicted signs only in association with the apostolic ministry. Mark considered the signs as past (AD 68).
Hebrews 2:3-4 was written around the same time and also considered the signs as past.

The last recorded miracles in the New Testament took place about AD 58 (Acts 28:3-9). In AD 60 Epaphroditus
became sick but he was not healed miraculously (Philippians 2:25-30). About AD 62 Timothy had a stomach ailment
which remained uncured (I Timothy 5:23). Around AD 64 one of Paul‘s associates was so seriously ill that Paul had to
leave him behind, uncured (II Timothy 4:20). Yet earlier Paul had been instrumental even in restoring life to the dead.

Some gifts were temporary

All signs may be considered as spiritual gifts, but not all spiritual gifts were signs. The gifts of miracles, healings and
tongues were sign gifts. All the sign gifts were temporary (compare Acts 11:17 with Mark 16). As with the miracles of
Jesus, they served to authenticate the position and authority of the apostles.

                                    Support for the Judgment Upon Israel Theory
The argument runs as follows: God had warned Israel on several occasions (Isaiah 28:11,12; 33:19; Deuteronomy
28:49,50; Jeremiah 5:15) that when they found themselves invaded and surrounded by those speaking in languages
they did not understand, it was a sign to them that they were being judged by God for their disobedience. When, at
Pentecost and in the early years of the church, tongues were spoken in the presence of Jews, it would be a sign to
them that judgment was coming because of their rejection of the Messiah. That judgment came with the destruction
of Jerusalem, the temple and the scattering of the Jewish people in AD 70. At that point the purpose of tongues (as a
sign to disobedient Israel) had been fulfilled and therefore tongues ceased. This, I believe, was the primary purpose
for tongues.

                                                 Tongues Have Ceased

                                                    Biblical Evidence

I Corinthians 13:8-10 "Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away;
if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in
part, and we prophecy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away."

This passage was written around AD 55, and clearly states that tongues shall cease. The question is when? The
answer to that question is often seen as hinging on the meaning of the word "perfect" in the text.

                                 What is that which is perfect? Here are three views:

                                  The Rapture (a view often held by tongue speakers)

However, the term "that which is perfect" cannot refer to the Lord because of the neuter articles. It can be translated
"when the perfect thing arrives." This view also contradicts other Scripture which states that there will be prophecy
after the rapture — during the Tribulation (Revelation 11:3-13) and during the Millennial Age (Joel 2:28).

The Canon

Not even the New Testament allows us to know fully, there is much that we still do not know.

The Eternal State

This is when we will see face to face, and is the best understanding of "perfect." The passage is therefore teaching
that both prophecy and supernatural knowledge will cease forever at the point when God ushers in the eternal state.
But carefully notice that tongues are not named among those gifts which are said to be made inoperative by the
arrival of the perfect. Therefore, tongues could cease prior to this event. With prophecy and knowledge the verb "shall
cease," meaning "to lay aside" or "render inoperative" is used. With tongues a different verb is used meaning "to
stop" or "they will be done away" It carries with it the idea of a natural cessation.

It is also important to note the voice changes: "will be done away," is in the passive voice, meaning that they will be
forced to stop by an outside agent (i.e. that which is perfect). However, "cease" is in the middle voice, which allows
for the possibility that, they could cease in and of themselves, naturally when their purpose is fulfilled.

This passage of Scripture does not give definitive evidence that tongues have ceased and are no longer operative
today — but it allows for such a view. Paul implies that tongues will cease when their purpose is fulfilled. If, as
demonstrated above, the purpose of tongues was to authenticate the apostles and their message, and to serve as a
sign to Israel of judgment for rejecting their Messiah, then tongues have fulfilled their purpose. Phrased another way,
since there are no longer apostles to authenticate, and since Israel has already been judged (in AD 70), tongues no
longer have a purpose in the church today. Tongues cessation should then be expected with the passing of the
apostles and the judgment of Israel. Both the testimonies of Scripture and of church history verify this fact. There is
no record of anyone speaking in tongues in the New Testament after AD 70. What is the record of church history?

                                                Church History Evidence

Apostolic Fathers

It is significant that the gift of tongues is rarely alluded to, hinted at, or found in the Apostolic Fathers. The Fathers
wrote to defend Christianity, to correct Christians, to explain doctrines, etc. after the death of the apostles. Yet they
did not mention tongues in a favorable light, and for the most part totally ignored them.

                                                     Some examples:

        Justin Martyr (AD 100-165) wrote about spiritual gifts but did not mention tongues. He never mentions
         anyone speaking in tongues.

        Montanus (AD 126-180) did speak in tongues, but was regarded as demon-possessed by Christians of his
         day (refer to the section "History of Tongues," Think on These Things, Vol. 5, Issue 3).

        Irenaeus (AD 140-203) said he had heard that some spoke in tongues. He had, however, been influenced
         by the Montanists and did not speak in tongues nor apparently witness it.

        Tertulian (AD 150-222) was converted to Montanism for a period of time. He wrote about one lady who
         spoke in tongues and was a Montanist. This was the last witness to tongues-speaking by any of the Church

        Origen (AD 185-253) said that in his day no one spoke in tongues.

        Chrysostom (AD 347-407) made no mention of tongues being spoken in his day.

        Augustine (AD 354-430) no tongues spoken during his life.

Church history does not prove any doctrinal issues. However, in this case church history verifies what we would
expect from a study of the New Testament: That tongues, having fulfilled their purpose, ceased to exist by AD 70,
and were not found in the history of the church.
Doctrinal Distinctives of the Charismatic Movement - Part 2

Written by Gary Gilley

(September 1999 - Volume 5, Issue 9)

If, as was demonstrated in our last paper, the gift of tongues has fulfilled the purpose for which it was designed, and
therefore has ceased, what is going on today? That is, how do we explain the present day phenomenon of speaking
in tongues, if the Holy Spirit is no longer bestowing this gift upon people. What is the origin of speaking in tongues in
the modern church?

Certainly there is more than one origin. Tongues can be demonic, as is demonstrated by documented tongues-
speaking in pagan religions. Tongues can be faked for the purpose of peer-approval. After all, if you attend a church
which teaches that speaking in tongues is a sign of spiritual maturity, the pressure to conform could be enormous.

My personal opinion is that the majority of tongues-speaking in the modern church is a learned response. In other
words, people are being taught, either directly or indirectly, how to speak in tongues. Let‘s take a look at this theory.

                                       Characteristics of the Modern Movement

The nature of tongues: Clearly, tongues in the New Testament were languages, understandable by those who knew
the language being spoken. This is not the case today. Linguists have described modern tongues as a form of
ecstatic speech, similar to that which occurs all over the world in many religious practices. Interestingly, the first
Pentecostals believed they were speaking in foreign languages for the purpose of propagating the gospel on the
mission field. Some early Pentecostals even rushed to foreign countries without any language training, and began
preaching the gospel, trusting that the listeners understood them. When it became obvious that they were not
understood, these zealous missionaries had to come home and revise their understanding of this phenomenon (see
Christian History Magazine, "The Rise of Pentecostalism," Vol. XVII, page 2).

The absence of spontaneity: Contrary to the spontaneous and surprising reception of tongues in the book of Acts,
modern day promoters of tongues present formulas and instructions designed to teach people how to speak in
tongues. Usually these instructions include a prescription to begin by making sounds of some kind, such as by
repetition of a phrase.

Charismatics present speaking in tongues as an act of faith. It is something which you must knowingly begin, and
trust that God will continue. Larry Christenson, a Lutheran minister, said:

In order to speak in tongues, you have to quit praying in English . . . You simply lapse into
silence and resolve to speak not a syllable of any language you have ever learned. Your
thoughts are focused on Christ, and then you simply lift up your voice and speak out confidently,
in faith that the Lord will take the sound you give Him and shape it into a language. You take no
thought of what you are saying. As far as you are concerned it is just a series of sounds. The
first sounds will sound strange and unnatural to your ear, and they may be halting and
inarticulate (have you ever heard a baby learning to talk?) — (quoted by Robert Gromacki, p.
41, in The Modern Tongues Movement)

Harold Bredesen gave these instructions to tongues seekers at Yale:

1. Think visually and concretely, rather than abstractly: for example, try to visualize Jesus as a

2. Consciously yield your voices and organs of speech to the Holy Spirit.

3. Repeat certain elementary sounds, such as ‗bah-bah-bah,‘ or something similar. Bredesen
then laid his hands on the hand of each seeker, prayed for him, and the seeker did actually
speak in tongues (quoted by Gromacki, p. 42).

John Kildahl, in an interesting book entitled The Psychology of Speaking in Tongues, explains it this way:

When I hypnotize someone, I begin by saying "lie back . . . Shut your eyes . . . Relax . . .
Breathe deeply . . . And listen to the sounds of your breathing as you relax, you can feel yourself
getting tired and drowsy.‘ A sample of a tongues leader teaching someone to speak in tongues
is, "The Lord is in your presence . . . He is with you now . . . Open yourself to Him . . . Let all
your anxieties flow out of you . . . The Lord wants to give you the gift of His Holy Spirit . . . Open
your mouth, and He will give you utterance." The hypnotist has essentially a two-pronged
strategy: that of sensory deprivation and of developing a special kind of relationship, in other
words, a relationship of dependence and trust (p. 37).

Disillusionment: Christenson cites two universal temptations in regards to tongues. One is artificiality — the
temptation to think, "I am just making this up." He says to repel this temptation with all vigor. The second temptation
is ineffectuality — when the enthusiasm of tongues has dimmed, a person may begin to neglect or cease to use
tongues. Christenson says that every gift of God involves stewardship and therefore one must resolve to use it all the
rest of his life. This amounts to saying that the "gift" which was sought and begun by artificial means, must be
continued at all costs, even when common sense says it is a hollow mockery.

Kildahl claims that when tongues are an important life goal there is always a relationship to a leader or a group which
conveys a feeling of acceptance and belonging. If confidence is lost in the authority figure then quite often the person
will stop speaking in tongues. Kildahl, in his studies, said he "found no tongue-speaker who was unrelated to a
glossolalia authority figure whom he esteemed. Those who had spoken in tongues but were now indifferent to it in
this research had in each case had a falling out with the leader of the tongue-speaking group" (p. 53).

The Modern Gift of Interpretation: If tongues-speaking is problematic, the interpretation of tongues is more so.
While tongues can be faked, or explained as a heavenly language, interpretations are not so easily handled. The
interpretation of tongues is the supernatural ability to understand and interpret a message in tongues for the benefit
and edification of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 14:5-19). The progression should be: God gives a message in
tongues to Joe who speaks that message at a church service, but doesn‘t understand it. Sally is then given the ability
to understand what Joe has said and relays it to the church. It is at this point that the modern gift of tongues breaks
down most dramatically. A number of studies have been done that are anything but supportive of the charismatic
position. Tongues speaking has been recorded and then played back to those claiming the gift of interpretation. In
every experiment of this nature of which I am aware, these recorded messages have been interpreted differently by
each interpreter. In one instance, John 3:3 was recited in the German language, but the interpreter claimed that Acts
19:2 had been recited in French. Another time Psalm 23 was recited in Hebrew but the interpretation had nothing to
do with Psalm 23. Sometimes the interpretation contradicts the clear teaching of the Lord. Interpretation has always
been found wanting (see the Handbook on Tongues, pages 80,95).

Kildahl and his researchers taped several people speaking in tongues for interpreters:

In no instance was there any similarity in the several interpretations . . .When confronted with
the disparity between their interpretations, the interpreters offered the explanation that God
gave to one person one interpretation of the speech and to another person another
interpretation (p. 73).

Such studies poke gaping holes in views held by charismatics and reveal tongues for what they are — a learned
response, not a supernatural gift from the Holy Spirit.

Natural Explanations

Kildahl offers the following possible explanations for the modern tongue movement:

A motor automatism — Some tongues are the result of a trance-like condition.

Ecstasy — Some tongues result from a strong and unusual emotional excitement.

Hypnosis — Due to repeated suggestions as to what is expected of one and the repeated appeals to yield oneself to
the "power," many writers have concluded that hypnotism is frequently involved in causing tongues.

Psychic catharsis — In his research Kildahl found that anxiety was a prerequisite for developing the ability to speak in
tongues. Additionally, persons with a low level of emotional stability tended to be extreme in their affirmation of the
benefits of glossolalia.

Kildahl, page 40:

Research proved that glossolalists are more submissive, suggestible and dependent in the
presence of authority figures than non-tongue-speakers. This was important because one has to
follow a leader‘s suggestions to be hypnotized. Research also proved that tongue speakers
think about some benevolent authority person when they began to speak in tongues.

Kildahl, page 54:

Hypnotizability requires that the subject be trusting enough to turn himself over to someone else
and place his destiny in his hands. If one can be hypnotized, then one is able under proper
conditions to learn to speak in tongues.

Kildahl, page 74:

It is our definite opinion that those who have the necessary psychological characteristics can
learn to speak in tongues. This gives rise to the question, "If it is truly a gift of the Holy Spirit,
why must it be demonstrated and taught?" I have observed the same routine everywhere I have

1) A meeting devoted to intense concentration on tongue speaking, followed by

2) an atmosphere of heightened suggestibility to the words of the tongue speaker leader, after

3) the initiate is able to make the sounds he is instructed to make. It is the same procedure that
a competent hypnotist employs. I have reached the conclusion that tongue speaking is a
learned phenomenon.

                                                     Other Matters

Why the present interest in tongues?

In our society there is an unsatisfied longing for a genuine religious expression in the midst of the pressures of a
secularized society. People are longing for an authentic relationship with God, but they are not as interested in
knowing God in truth. If spiritual maturity can be attained attending emotionally charged meetings and receiving
instantaneous supernatural experiences that deliver spirituality, why do the hard work of Scripture study,
memorization, prayer and walking by the Spirit? The charismatic movement has offered a shortcut to godliness. That
this shortcut is really a detour leading people to a dead end, is often not recognized until one has traveled far down
this detour and has come face to face with disillusionment. By then many have hopelessly lost their way and know of
no scriptural compass to guide them safely back to the path of truth.

"Forbid not to speak in tongues" (I Corinthians 14:39).

Charismatics will often throw the above words in the face of one who disagrees with their view on tongues. But it
must be remembered that these words were written in AD 55 to a group of people who had received this gift from the
Holy Spirit to authenticate the apostleship of Paul, and to warn Israel that judgment was coming for their rejection of
the Messiah. The Holy Spirit had not yet ceased giving the gift. The purpose for the gift was still alive and well, (see
Part I).

                        The Affects of Charismatic Doctrine Upon Other Areas of Theology

So what? Why not live and let live, after all, what harm does the charismatics‘ views cause? Why not just leave them
alone? These are good questions. If all we are doing is nitpicking over the fine points of Christianity, then we should
indeed back off. But charismatic doctrine undermines the teachings of Scripture and authentic Christian living. Below
we will briefly outline how the teachings of the charismatics taints, to some degree, every doctrine found in the Word
of God. The following are some examples:

Theology in General

Those who teach charismatic doctrines tend to downplay theology. John Wimber said, "When are we going to see a
generation who doesn‘t try to understand this book (the Bible), but just believes it?"

Charismatic doctrine places experience above truth of Scripture. Jack Deere said, "The idea that fallen humanity, can
arrive at pure biblical objectivity in determining all their practices and beliefs is an illusion" (Surprised by the Power of
the Spirit, p. 46). His solution? Experience and modern prophecies. (Read his book)

Both Paul Cain and John Wimber are credited with coining the phrase, "God will offend your mind to reveal your
heart" (The Father‘s Blessing, p. 182). This is a reference to the charismatic view that the Holy Spirit will often do an
end run around our rational thinking ability, including the understanding of Scripture, to reveal truth to us. John Arnott
teaches, "Do not take control, do not resist, do not analyze; just surrender to His love. You can analyze the
experience later; just let it happen" (ibid. p. 127). This is a sure recipe for disaster.


There are several concerns here:

Charismatic doctrines undermine the authority of Scripture.

Take, for example, a quote from this charismatic author:

Ultimately this doctrine (the sufficiency of Scripture) is demonic even (though) Christian
theologians have been used to perfect it (Spiritual Warfare, page 11, Thompson).

They believe in extrabiblical revelation.

Today, after years of practical experiences and intense study on the subject of God‘s speaking,
I am convinced that God does indeed speak apart from the Bible, though never in contradiction
to it. And He speaks to all of His children, not just to specially gifted prophetic people. And He
will speak to us all in amazing detail (Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, by Jack Deere, p.

This is the error of all cults as well as the Roman Catholic Church. If God is still giving revelation
today, how are we to discern when God is speaking and when He is not? The charismatics tell
us that as long as the revelation does not contradict Scripture, then we can be assured that it is
from God. However, that leaves the door wide open for every kind of error. For example, the
Roman Catholic Church‘s doctrines of purgatory, the doctrines concerning Mary, while they may
contradict Scripture, for the most part simply add to the divine revelation. The Mormon‘s view
that the Book of Mormon is the story of the gospel coming to America is the same type of error.

                               It is also their belief that prophets today make mistakes.

Anyone who has experience in helping to nurture "baby prophets" realizes that they have
difficulty in distinguishing the words that the Spirit speaks from those that come from their own
hearts or even from evil sources. At first they make many mistakes (Some Said It Thundered,
page XIV). Prophets are,

of course, human beings. As such, they can make mistakes and lie. They need not cease to be
prophets for their mistakes and failings (ibid., page XVI).

As can be seen from these quotes the charismatic view of revelation would throw the believer into a sea of
subjectivity. God considered the authenticity of His Word as so important that He required the death penalty for Old
Testament prophets whose prophecies did not come true (Deuteronomy 18:20). How do we discern which prophet is
right and which has made a mistake? When do we know that a prophet has spoken truthfully or has lied? Are we at
the mercy of fresh revelation or can we still go to the Scriptures to find, "Thus says the Lord"? While charismatics give
lip service to the authority of Scripture, in practice their "words of knowledge," prophetic revelations, and messages in
tongues reign supreme. Thus the undermining of the Word of God is perhaps the greatest error that charismatics
have fostered among God‘s people.


There are many gospel messages among charismatics since charismatics are found in every type of denomination
and church background. Even in denominations such as the Vineyard Church, the gospel often takes such a
backseat to the "gifts and phenomenon of the Spirit" that the content of the gospel is muted at best. For example, in
John Wimber‘s book on evangelism, Power Evangelism, he never once discusses what the gospel is. The book is
devoted instead to what Wimber believes to be the only authentic New Testament evangelism, something he calls
"power evangelism." In Wimber‘s mind "proclamation evangelism," in which a person is shown from Scripture the
message of salvation, just won‘t work. To win substantial numbers of people to Christ one must first soften them up
by performing some miracle, or by giving a "word of knowledge." Not only does power evangelism miss the boat
scripturally, it also serves to confuse the unsaved. The emphasis is upon signs and wonders rather than Christ. Some
are being attracted to the show rather than the cross.


Many within charismatic circles hold to some form of dominion theology, which confuses the church with Israel, and
teaches that we are looking for a latter day revival that will sweep multitudes into the kingdom and transform society
before the return of Christ.

In addition, the majority of charismatics are highly, and unbiblically, ecumenical. Many are actively pursuing
reunification with the Roman Catholic Church and some even consider the Pope to be an evangelical Christian.

The purpose of the church is often distorted as they concentrate on the showy gifts (miracles, tongues, prophecies)
rather than the balanced functioning of the body.


Some charismatics are not looking for the return of Christ, but for the "latter rain" in which they believe there will be a
special outpouring of the Spirit that restores the supernatural gifts to the church and bring a great revival. They do not
believe that Christ can return until the world is prepared for Him by the "latter rain."

Earl Paulk says that the pretribulational rapture position is a "heresy" inspired by Satan to rock the church to sleep.
His view is not based upon a thorough study of Scripture, but on a supposedly new revelation from God (Biblical
Perspectives, Vol. 4, #4, page 6).


Many believe in a second work of grace often called the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" (see Part I). This baptism gives
the believer special powers and gifts. Others, such as the Vineyard Movement, would not agree with the term
"baptism of the Holy Spirit," but teach essentially the same thing. They say the evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in
our lives is powers, signs and wonders.


Angels, demons, and "spiritual warfare" are popular today in charismatic circles. Based upon experience, rather than
Scripture, a whole new theology has been developed concerning angels and demons that completely misrepresents
the teachings of the Word. See our paper on "Spiritual Warfare" for a better understanding of this subject.

So the charismatic movement is not just a harmless segment within evangelical christianity, but a devastating error
that undermines many of the cardinal truths of the Word of God.

The History of the Charismatics
Written by Gary Gilley

(March 1999 - Volume 5, Issue 3)

What began in a corner at the turn of the twentieth century is now barreling down main street, with flying colors, at the
close of that same century. What was once known as the Pentecostal movement has now splintered into numerous
diverse, yet overlapping movements: Pentecostal, Charismatics, Vineyard, Word of Faith, Holy Laughter.

The goal of our papers on this subject will be to inform, clarify, document and warn concerning some of the teachings
and practices of those claiming to be charismatic (the term we will use, rightly or wrongly, as a generic handle for all
the above-mentioned splinter groups). The salvation of the charismatics is not at issue here. We believe many to be
born again. Indeed over half of all "evangelicals" plant their spiritual feet in some wing of this movement. On the other
hand, we do not assume their salvation either. Our study will concentrate on their views and practices surrounding
the doctrines of the Holy Spirit and Scripture. We will begin with a short history of the movement as a whole, in future
papers we will examine the various branches as they exist today.

While the charismatic movement has taken on wings during the twentieth century, similar views and manifestations
can be found on occasion throughout history.

In ancient times the practice of speaking in unintelligible languages during religious ecstasy was
not unknown. From eleventh-century B.C. Egypt come reports of ecstatic speech, and later in
the Greek world the prophetess of Delphi and the Sibylline priestess spoke in unknown tongues.
Amongst the Roman mystery religions, the Dionysian Cult was known for this practice.

Several of the early church fathers mention glossolalia in the church. Irenaeus (d. c. 200) and
Tertullian (d. 200) speak favorably of it, Chrysostom (d. 407) disapproved, and Augustine (d.
430) declared that the gift was only for New Testament times. The Montanist movement of the
late second century included prophetesses, claims of new revelation, speaking in tongues, and
an ascetical and legalistic outlook; the movement was declared heretical by the official church
and speaking in tongues seems to have been rare in the church after this time.

During the middle ages speaking in tongues was reported in monasteries of the Orthodox
church. In the seventeenth century it seems to have been practiced in France amongst the
Huguenots (Protestants) and the Jansenists (pietistic Catholics). In the nineteenth century
glossolalia was practiced in America amongst the Shakers and Mormons, and in Scotland and
London amongst the followers of Edward Irving, who saw this as the latter-rain outpouring of the
Holy Spirit prior to the pre- millennial return of the Lord (quote taken form Millard Erickson‘s
Christian Theology and Walter Elwell‘s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, s.v. "Montanists,"
"Pentecostalism," and "Tongues, Speaking in."

The rest of this paper is an adaptation of an article entitled "The New Charismatics," by Michael G. Moriarty, Biblical
Perspectives, Vol. IV, No. 3, May-June 1991.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word "charismatic?" Do you think of a group of people hungry for the
Lord, walking in the power of the Spirit, spiritual in worship, aggressive in evangelism and abounding in love, or, do
you see individuals who are experience oriented, imperialistic in outlook (only they have the full gospel), elitist in
stance, uncontrolled in worship, and devoid of any real grasp of the Bible that goes beyond mere proof-texting.
Maybe you are in the neutral camp, having become so confused over the issue, hearing good and bad, that you have
chosen not to take sides. Besides, charismatics have grown rapidly and have become more diversified; therefore, it
would be misleading to place all under an identical banner.

Nevertheless, the majority of believers who are viewed as "charismatic," i.e., Oral Roberts, Larry Lea, Earl Paulk,
Dick Iverson, Ken Copeland, Bob Tilton, etc. . ., are proclaiming today that the "charismatic movement" is over and
God‘s "new move" is underway. Bill Hammon, a revered "modern prophet" in the charismatic community, says: "The
‗Joshua Generation‘ is leading forth, and the priestly pastors are carrying the ark of God‘s restorational presence
across Jordan. The journey of the charismatic movement has fulfilled its purpose of bringing the church to its Jordan
River. Now the cloud by day and the fire by night have been taken away, and the prophets and prophetic ministers
have arisen to provide protection, direction and timing for the church‘s moving. . . . The prophets, however, are
seeing on the horizon of God‘s purpose for His church, a restorational wave of such incomprehensibly gigantic
proportions — like a thousand-foot tidal wave — that it staggers the imagination and faith of both those who have
prophetically seen it and those who have heard of it. It will be greater than all previous restoration movements
combined." This new restorational movement advocated by most current charismatics has generated a groundswell
of charismatic leaders to open themselves up to new spiritual revelations and deeper doctrinal truths. The theological
menu served in most charismatic churches today is filled with novel ideas, new doctrinal teachings, and unusual

While there are some basic differences existing between new movements arising among charismatics, their overall
theological outlook (e.g., the restoration of modern apostles and prophets) and eschatological direction is the same.
The New Charismatics are proclaiming that a new supernatural move of God's Spirit is sweeping the entire globe.
This new move will be so revolutionary that the entire course of human history will soon be changed. But in order for
this glorious dream to work, the majority of the Christian churches must unite in philosophy and purpose. Therefore,
one of the goals of the New Charismatics is to make charismatics and noncharismatics (and nonChristians as well),
"New Charismatics." In other words, charismatics subscribing to new restoration ideas deeply desire that all believers
will taste this "new move" of the Holy Spirit and unite with them in their efforts to supernaturally transform the world.

Most refer to this thriving new development expanding throughout the world as "restorationism" or "Latter-Rain
restorationism." They believe that history is moving toward a spiritual climax where God's power will be poured out on
the church like never before. Restoration promoters believe that this new move could be the Lord's final move where
the church will be endued with new power to Christianize the world before Jesus returns. In order for this dominion
pursuit to be realized, the five-fold ministry expounded in Eph. 4:11 (apostle, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and
teachers) needs to be recognized by the Church at large and given room to exercise their supernatural gifts and God-
ordained authority.
Some contemporary restoration movements that fall under the umbrella term "The New Charismatics" are: Kingdom
Theology, popularized by the nebulous Bishop/prophet, Earl Paulk; the Word of Faith/Positive Confession Movement
led by faith teachers like Ken Hagin and Copeland; and the Third Wave or Signs and Wonders movement,
popularized by controversial Vineyard pastor, John Wimber. These groups have a common bond that promotes God's
moving in a new supernatural way through signs and wonders, that the church must be restored to first century
apostolic Christianity before Jesus returns, and that modern apostles and prophets will play a key role in this process.
To understand new developments and teachings spreading through the charismatic world we need to go back in
history to briefly examine some of the influential "higher life" movements of the twentieth century, beginning with
Pentecostalism. Tracing the origins of these movements will give us a better insight into how certain teachings
originated and developed over the years and why certain charismatics doctrines are emphasized so strongly today.

                                           THE PENTECOSTAL EXPLOSION

The Azuza Street revival of 1906-13 was the launching pad that launched a world-wide Pentecostal renewal. The
main feature of this Pentecostal outpouring was the "baptism with the Holy Spirit," an experience subsequent to
salvation, which is evidenced by speaking in other tongues. This was the crown jewel restored by what many called
the "second Pentecost." There were, however, spiritual flashes that preceded Azuza which prepared the way for its
inauguration. On January 1, 1901, in Topeka, Kansas, Agnes Ozman, a student at Charles Parham's Bethel Bible
School, spoke in tongues. Sometime later Parham himself had the same experience and from then on preached that
all believers who sought the tongues experience diligently, would be recipients of the blessing. Most recognize
Parham as the founder of the Pentecostal movement.

Parham, an avid holiness preacher, was nurtured in the culture of religious experience. In his search for something
more, tongues became the celebrated encounter filling that void. In 1905 a zealous black holiness preacher by the
name of William J. Seymour came under the tutelage of Parham in Alvin, Texas, a few miles south of Houston. It
wasn't long before Seymour received the tongues experience and took the Pentecostal message to Azuza Street in
Los Angeles. While there were spiritual ignitings before the flame reached Azuza, it was there that the flame turned
white hot and began to spread all over the world. After Parham and Seymour received tongues experiences, they
began an ambitious effort to spread what they believed to be the restoration of a glorious apostolic doctrine: the
baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Parham taught that Christ's return would occur on
the heels of a world-wide Latter-Rain revival in which the Holy Spirit would restore miraculous gifts generating a great
end time harvest. This Latter-Rain expectation died out in the early 20's as Pentecostalism adopted certain tenets of

Nevertheless, Pentecostalism stands as a classic restoration movement spawning several new sister movements that
view the church as returning to her New Testament glory. The classic restoration motif of Pentecostalism that
allegedly brought a greater hunger for spiritual reality was the "baptism with the Holy Spirit" evidenced by speaking in

                                 THE NEOPENTECOSTAL DELIVERANCE REVIVAL

One of the notably significant, yet controversial, phenomena to powerfully emerge with Pentecostalism is the doctrine
and ministry of divine healing. Since the latter half of the nineteenth century the practice of healing existed in
America. But energizing Pentecostalism nourished independent evangelists who brought a "new" emphasis to the
healing arena that attracted a popular following. The significance of the deliverance (healing) revival, reaching its
zenith between 1947 to 1958, lies in its uniqueness to popularize a concept of salvation that includes health and
healing as an essential part of deliverance for the believer.

Pentecostal religion continued to span the globe through the 30's, but by the mid 40's, as the careers of many
independent evangelists peaked, here was a "new" emphasis; the miraculous! "Spirit Baptism" was still preached, but
it was no longer the focus of the revival meeting. The shared heartbeat of "every service was the miracle - the
hypnotic moment when the Spirit moved to heal the sick and raise the dead."

Pentecostal denominations, such as the Assemblies of God, did not favor the revival and viewed the deliverance
evangelists as "independent extremists." Pentecostal leaders were disgusted by the lack of integrity among the
revivalists who often made claims marked by absurd exaggeration. The display of alleged miracles had become so
outlandish that revival meetings had turned into "personality cults." Historian David Harrell quotes one Pentecostal
leader who reported: "The healing evangelists live in constant dialogue with angels and demons, the Holy Spirit and
the spirits of diseases from the abyss; some experience electric currents through their hands when they pray with the
sick, others have a halo around their heads when they are photographed, and others again have oil appearing on
their hands when they pray." Many of today‘s "televangelists" have adopted the melodramatic preaching styles of the
deliverance revivalists of the mid-twentieth-century.

                                            THE LATTER-RAIN MOVEMENT

Three pioneers at the forefront of the Deliverance Revival were William Branham, Oral Roberts, and Gordon Lindsey.
These men bore remarkably different personalities, but were unquestionably the fuel that kept the revival running.
Branham ignited the revival stirring crowds with apparent miracles and prophetic abilities. Roberts was the
popularizer with his heart tugging message that God is good and wills that His people prosper and be healed. He was
the first to bring healing crusades inside the homes of millions who had never been exposed to the healing message
by initiating a national weekly television program. Lindsey was the organizer, bringing cohesion with superb
administrative skills.

Branham's teachings profoundly influenced a new sect springing from the neopentecostal deliverance revival known
as the "New Order of the Latter-Rain." Branham also shaped the thoughts and practices of many key Pentecostal

The Latter-Rain movement was a loosely directed, and enthusiastic union of cobelligerents united by their fierce
opposition to mainline denominations. This meteoric movement created quite a stir among Pentecostal
denominations, like the Assemblies of God, and boasted of being a fresh revival displacing the "apostasized"
Pentecostals. While its impact was on a small scale, its effects were nevertheless felt world-wide, and it became one
of the several catalysts for the Charismatic Movement of the '60's, the Independent Charismatic Movement (Word of
Faith/ Positive Confession charismatics) of the '70's and the New Charismatics surfacing in the '80's and '90's. In
reaction to the spiritual dryness existing in Pentecostal circles, the "New Order of the Latter-Rain" viewed itself as a
refreshing oasis returning to the "full gospel" of the first-century church.

The doctrinal system of the Latter-Rain included Pentecostalism's baptism of the Spirit with the evidence of speaking
in tongues and the New Pentecostal deliverance revivals miraculous healing thrust. But the fiery movement had its
own distinctives as well. Let's briefly look at seven of the new teachings that shaped the Latter-Rain.

Restorationism -- This further development of restoration theology viewed God as progressively restoring truths to
the church since the Reformation.

Fivefold Ministry - The teaching that God is restoring apostles and prophets to the church to function with the three
other gifted offices: evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph. 4:11). Apostles and prophets provided direction with new
revelations that would play a major role in paving the way for Christ's second coming.

Laying on of the Hands - A ritual performed by modern apostles and prophets to impart the Holy Spirit and other
spiritual blessings and gifts.

Prophecy - Views the practice of "personal prophecy", as being restored to the church. Prophecy would no longer be
restricted to general words of exhortation, but would include personal detailed revelations for guidance and

Recovery of True Worship - The belief that God's manifested presence is dependent upon a certain order of
worship involving singing in tongues, clapping, shouting, singing prophecies, and a new order of praise dancing.

Immortalization of the Saints - The belief that those believers moving in the truth of Latter-Rain restoration, not
necessarily all in the church, will attain an immortal state before Jesus returns.

Unity of the Faith - The doctrine that the church, usually perceived to be a band of overcomers in neopentecostal
ranks, will attain unity in the faith before Christ returns.

                                                 THE OLD CHARISMATICS

Most historians date the beginning of the charismatic movement on April 3, 1960. On this day, Father Dennis Bennett
of St. Mark's Episcopal parish in Van Nuys, California, announced to his congregation that he had received the
fullness and power of the Holy Spirit, and how this accompanied "speaking in unknown tongues." After receiving
much opposition, Bennett resigned from his position at St. Mark‘s and accepted an invitation to become vicar of St.
Luke's Episcopal Church in Seattle, Washington, which grew to be one of the strongest charismatic churches in the
Northwest. For a decade it was one of the major centers from which speaking in tongues would spread world-wide,
especially in the mainline denominations.

The significance of the Charismatic Movement resides in the penetration of the Pentecostal tongues practice into
mainline denominations. This created a new openness to the full range of spiritual gifts listed in I Corinthians 12:8-10
(wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues)
that had never been there before. Certainly not all mainline churches supported this new movement, but thousands of
people inside mainline churches were experiencing "speaking in tongues" and other spiritual manifestations. This
bred a strong conviction that all of the supernatural "sign gifts" (e.g. tongues, healing, miracles and, in some cases
prophecy) were for today.

Although charismatic outpourings continued to spread through mainline churches, many denominational leaders left
traditional churches to start independent churches. Before long, these mushrooming churches came under the
influence of Word of Faith/Positive Confession teaching propagated by independent charismatics, such as Hagin,
Copeland, Charles Capps, and others. Their main emphasis was faith teaching, divine healing, and financial
prosperity. Believers who consistently made a positive confession about their physical and spiritual situation and
demonstrated great faith would receive abundant blessings from God.

The most militant movement to rise up alongside of the charismatic movement was the "Manifested Sons of God."
This aberration gleaned many of its doctrinal distinctives from the Latter-Rain Movement and thrived during the 60's
and 70's. Following the teachings of William Branham, the Manifested Sons claimed that denominations were pagan
organizations with a Babylonian foundation. Many who broke their denominational ties and joined the Manifest Sons
of God believed they were entering the only arena where salvation was possible. The more militant Manifested Sons
spiritualized the second coming by teaching that Jesus and His church would become one in nature and in essence.
Being one with Christ would corporately result in a Body of "little Christ's in the flesh" manifesting Jesus Christ on
earth as His ongoing incarnation.

Another movement to rise up during the Charismatic Movement became known as the "Shepherding" or
"discipleship" movement. This movement grew out of the Latter-Rain/ Charismatic tradition and attained its greatest
impetus during the mid 70's. Shepherding arose out of a concern for effective discipleship and put great emphasis on
the need for submission to spiritual leaders. The movement originated from the ministry of five teachers out of Ft.
Lauderdale, Florida - Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson, Dered Prince, Don Basham, and Ern Baxter (a Branham

By the late 70's the Shepherding movement caused a deep split within charismatic circles because of the strict
control many shepherds exercised over their members. By the mid 80's the term "shepherding" was dropped since
the movement gained a bad reputation for its cultic authoritarian abuses. Nevertheless, the "shepherding" concept
still thrives in various circles today under labels, such as "covering," or "covenant relationships."

The growth of the Charismatic Movement and other fringe movements springing up in the '60's and '70's that placed
more emphasis on subjective experience than on biblical truth opened up a "Pandora's box" in the Christian world.
The Charismatic movement has been harmful to the Church by opening many doors to the ever-present influence of
experiential and unbiblical ideas. This will become evident upon examining some of the dangerous new trends
sweeping through the charismatic community today.

Fresh Fire or False Flames

Written by Gary Gilley

(September 2008 - Volume 14, Issue 10)

Are you ready for the third wave – again? You might recall that, in the 1980s, C. Peter Wagner termed John Wimber‘s
Vineyard Movement the ―Third Wave.‖ Wagner claimed at the time that the first wave of modern stirrings by the Holy
Spirit began at the turn of the century with Pentecostalism. This led to establishing various Pentecostal
denominations such as the Assembly of God. The second wave, which started in 1960, was the charismatic
movement which brought the power of the Holy Spirit to the major denominations. Then Wagner said, "I see the third
wave of the eighties as an opening of the straight-line evangelicals and other Christians to the supernatural work of
the Holy Spirit that the Pentecostals and charismatics have experienced, but without becoming either charismatic or
Pentecostal. I think we are in a new wave of something that now has lasted almost through our whole century."[1]

In 1994 the so-called waves of the Holy Spirit began to take a back seat to the high-octane revivals that swept across
much of the world. The Toronto Blessing was the first revival to make big headlines, as the Toronto Airport Vineyard
church exploded with bizarre manifestations attributed to the power of the Holy Spirit such as uncontrollable laughter
and shaking, people making animal noises, swooning and being stuck to the floor in ―Holy Ghost glue.‖ These and
other strange demonstrations were the supposed evidence of the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit. Millions
ultimately came from all over the globe to catch the spirit of the ―Laughing Revival‖ and take it home.

Three years later the Holy Spirit apparently decided to move south to Pensacola, Florida. There at the Brownsville
Assembly of God ―revival‖ again broke out with even more unusual phenomena than at Toronto, including reports of
seeing the Shekinah Glory showing up at the meetings, not to mention angels. Again millions traveled to Florida to
experience the supposed workings of the Holy Spirit.

Now a third revival, being called the third wave by ―super prophet‖ Bob Jones,[2] has occurred, this time in Lakeland,
Florida. John Arnott (pastor at the Toronto Airport Vineyard during the Toronto Blessing) says this is ―another wave of
revival…coming to North America.‖[3] This revival, now termed the ―Florida Healing Outpouring,‖ is being lead by 32
year old Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley who heads up a ministry called Fresh Fire Ministries International. He
began holding one week of revival meetings at the Ignited Church in Lakeland on April 2, 2008, but soon the revival
exploded and is now attracting up to 10,000 nightly. Its popularity has been greatly enhanced by the church‘s
website, web casts, GOD TV and numerous videos on YouTube.

There is really not much to distinguish this revival from the former two except that, if anything, it is even more bizarre.
Bentley is a wild man with virtually no restraints – and thanks to YouTube and the internet you don‘t have to take my
word for this. Just Google Bentley‘s name and you will have at your disposal more crazy antics, all in the name of
Christ, than any reality show producer could ever dream up. Bentley claims that he has raised over 20 people from
the dead, that one person has been healed so that he can see through a glass eye, and that the Lord tells him to kick
people in the face and choke them in order to bring about the Spirit‘s power in their lives. He is big on visits from
angels and he is known for his trademark screaming ―bam‖ when he supposedly throws the Holy Spirit on someone,
who then falls to the ground often in convulsions. Bentley is closely associated with many in today‘s false prophet
movement.[4] He also has connections with the healing rooms of John Lake, as well as pretty much all wings of the
hyper-charismatic movement (by whatever name they might go).

That many are being deceived by such frolics shows the level of biblical discernment to which many claiming to be
Christians have stooped. Just a quick reading of the New Testament would reveal that this revival is not of the Holy
Spirit because it fails the test of Scripture. I believe A. W. Tozer had it right when he wrote:

Any of [the teaching] that is good is in the Word of God, and any that is not in the Word of God
is not good. I am a Bible Christian and if an archangel with a wingspread as broad as a
constellation shining like the sun were to come and offer me some new truth, I‘d ask him for a
reference. If he could not show me where it is found in the Bible, I would bow him out and say,
―I‘m awfully sorry, you don‘t bring any references with you.‖[5]
[1] Peter Wagner, ―The Third Wave?: An Interview,: Pastoral Renewal, 8 (July-August 1983), pp. 1-5.



[4] If you want to stay up to date on the latest prophecies pouring out of this camp check the Elijah List at

[5] As quoted in Larry Thomas, No Laughing Matter, (Excelsior Springs, Missouri :Double Crown Publishing, , 1995),
p. 67

Written by Gary Gilley

(December 1999 - Volume 5, Issue 12)

Pentecostalism has become the fastest growing segment of Christianity. "It is growing at a rate of 13 million a year, or
35,000 a day. With nearly a half billion adherents, it is, after Roman Catholicism, the largest Christian tradition"
(Christian History, "The Rise of Pentecostalism," issue no. 58, vol. XVII no. 2, p.3). In addition, the largest church in
the world (the Yoi Do Full Gospel Church) is a Pentecostal church in Korea, pastored by David Yongii Cho, with a
weekly worship attendance of 240,000. Two Pentecostal Churches in Buenos Aires attract together 150,000 each
week (ibid.).

Just who are the Pentecostals, how did they originate and what do they believe? The intent of this paper is to answer
these questions.

                                                  Pentecostal History

Most consider the father of Pentecostalism to be Charles Parham, a young college student from Kansas with roots in
the Methodist Church. While the Wesleys could not be defined as Pentecostals, their theology laid the foundation
upon which the Pentecostal movement would be built. Principally, it was the Methodist view that sanctification was a
second work of grace, separate from salvation, coupled with the Holiness belief of a third experience, the "Baptism
with the Holy Ghost and fire," that intrigued Parham. Parham was also influenced by a fresh desire within his
denominational circles to experience divine healing and speaking in tongues — practices that most Christians at the
end of the nineteenth century believed had ceased with the Apostolic age.

In 1900 Parham opened a Bible college to promote these views, which he deemed "Apostolic Faith" theology. An
interesting footnote is Parham‘s theory that God would soon give His church the gift of tongues, in the form of known
languages, so that the world could be quickly evangelized.
"This end–time revival, accompanied by believers speaking in known languages they had never learned (xenolivia),
would bring to an end the church age and bring back a triumphant Christ" (ibid. "American Pentecost" by Ted Olsen,
p. 12). Of course later, when the rubber met the road, this theory proved untenable, and a new theory that tongues
were unknown languages rose to the forefront.

While Parham and his followers would not be the first modern day Christians to speak in tongues (that honor
apparently goes to W. F. Bryant and his disciples in 1896, later forming the Church of God in Tennessee), Parham
was the first to teach that tongues are the initial evidence of "the baptism of the Holy Spirit." It was at a New Year‘s
Eve watchnight service in 1900 that Agnes Ozman, one of Parham‘s students, finally spoke in tongues. Before the
week was over about half (of 34) members of the school, including Parham, had spoken in tongues. Pentecostalism
had its birthday, but the movement, meeting with skepticism at every turn, had a hard time getting out of the nursery.
It was not until late 1903 at a revival in Galena, Kansas, that Parham and his teachings gained notoriety. Soon
Parham could boast of up to 25,000 followers, but an even stronger Pentecostal movement was taking place in
Wales in 1904-1905. It seems to be a little known fact to many modern heralds of revival that the "Welsh Revival"
was not a movement of God similar to the Great Awakening, but was actually the European counterpart to the rise of
American Pentecostalism. Actually, in many ways the Welsh Revival was a strong catalyst for this side of the ocean.
If God was performing these signs and wonders in Wales, so the reasoning went, He could do it here as well.

We discover the next important chapter in Pentecostalism in Texas, where in 1905 Parham opened a Bible school
and began publishing a newspaper entitled The Apostolic Faith. Out of the Bible school emerged the next great
luminary in the Pentecostal movement, William J. Seymour, a southern black Holiness preacher. Seymour soon
moved to Los Angeles, where, after several turns of events, he spearheaded a revival at what would be called the
Azusa Street Mission. It was here that a Times reporter claimed that "colored people and a sprinkling of whites
practice the most fanatical rites, preach the wildest theories and work themselves into a state of mad excitement in
their peculiar zeal" (Ibid. p. 15).

Regardless of such criticism, by September 1906 the church reported about 13,000 people had received the "baptism
of the Holy Spirit." Although Seymour would seldom preach, meetings would often begin at 10:00 A.M. and continue
until two or three the following morning.

Thousands of pilgrims, curious about and hungry for what Seymour claimed to offer, poured down Azusa Street
between 1906 and 1909. But while the Azusa Street Revival weathered the external storm of criticism, it soon began
to unravel internally. Perhaps the handwriting was on the wall as early as October 1906, when Parham came to
preach. He was shocked by many manifestations being portrayed as from the Holy Spirit, but were really, he
believed, of the flesh or demonic. Parham and Seymour split and never reconciled. Although Seymour, from that time
forward, eclipsed Parham as the dominant personality in the movement. Shockwaves also came over racial tension.
In the early months of Azusa Street, blacks and whites, men and women, shared leadership, although blacks were
predominate. But soon Seymour asked all the Hispanics to leave and eventually wrote by-laws that prevented anyone
except African-Americans from holding office in the Mission. By 1909 the revival was spent, and eventually faded into
history. Even the mission building was razed after Seymour‘s death. However, even as the Azusa Street Revival‘s
fires died out, a movement had ignited that would not die. Pentecostalism had spread all over the world.
Denominations such as the Assemblies of God and the United Pentecostal Church had been formed, and a large
segment of the American church would forever view Azusa Street as the high water mark of modern Christianity.

                                                  Pentecostal Beliefs

Unlike charismatics, who by definition have infiltrated every denomination and doctrinal persuasion, Pentecostals
have definite theological distinctives. Below are some important doctrinal issues in Pentecostalism.


The Pentecostal movement emerged from the Wesleyan/Holiness movement of the 1800s. John Wesley had taught
that through an instantaneous experience, some time after conversion, a believer could become "entirely sanctified"
or reach a state of "Christian perfection." By this Wesley did not mean that a Christian would never make a mistake,
but that he could cease from sin in this life. Seizing upon this understanding of sanctification, Pentecostals have gone
on to call it the "baptism of the Holy Spirit," which is evidenced by the experience of speaking in tongues.

In 1910 a Pentecostal minister by the name of William H. Durham challenged this teaching, proposing a gradual
process of sanctification in which the sanctifying work of Christ was "appropriated" over one‘s life. Today
Pentecostals are lined up behind both positions.

The Trinity

In the decade following Azusa Street a number of Pentecostals began to question the proper formula for baptism.
While Jesus had commanded baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these individuals noted
that the baptisms in the book of Acts were in the name of Jesus only. With this understanding some began to baptize
and rebaptize in Jesus‘ name only. But what began as a baptismal formula soon led to a denial of the Trinity.
Denominations, such as the Assemblies of God, rejected the "Oneness Pentecostals," who as early as 1915 began
forming their own denominations. Two of the largest are the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and the United
Pentecostal Church. The estimated range is from 1.5 to 5 million Oneness Pentecostals worldwide.


Pentecostals are defined more by what they do than what they believe (of course their practices spring from their
beliefs). Pentecostals believe in exorcism, speaking in tongues, faith healing, and a few (about 2500) in snake
handling, and in general they seek supernatural experiences.

Women Preachers

Pentecostalism, from day one, has not shied away from welcoming women preachers and leaders in churches and
denominations. The Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) began ordaining women in 1909 and by 1913 twelve percent
of its ministers were women. The Assemblies of God first ordained women in 1914, and at one point a quarter of their
ministers were women. Some of the best known have been Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944); Maria Beulah
Woodworth-Ettor (1844-1924); and Kathryn Kuhlman.

Who Are The Pentecostals?

                               Some of the best known Pentecostal Denominations are:

        Church of God in Christ
        International Church of the Foursquare Gospel
        Church of God (Tenn.)
        Church of God of Prophecy
        Pentecostal Holiness Church
        Fire-Baptized Holiness Church
        Pentecostal Free-Will Baptist Church
        The Assemblies of God
        The United Pentecostal Church

Although there are many resources from which to learn about Pentecostalism, I found issue no. 58 of Christian
History magazine a simple and reliable help. I used it liberally in my research for this paper. In addition, you might
check out Christian History‘s Web site (, which has a link to the Azusa Street Web site
providing copies of the original documents and newspaper clippings from the days of the revival.

Books of value (although we may not agree with all they contain) in the study of various
aspects of the Charismatic movement:

The Modern Tongues Movement
by Robert Gromacki

The Psychology of Speaking in Tongues
by J. Kildahl

Tongues in Biblical Perspective
by Charles Smith

The Corinthian Catastrophe
by George Gardiner

The Charismatics
by John MacArthur

Charismatic Chaos
by John MacArthur

Christianity in Crisis
by Hank Hanegraaff

Counterfeit Revival
by Hank Hanegraaff
The Holiness Movement

Written by Gary Gilley

(December 2004 - Volume 10, Issue 12)

Pentecostalism was born in the cradle of the Holiness Movement of the nineteenth-century. The Holiness Movement
actually traces its roots to John Wesley in the eighteenth-century, who taught sort of a two-tiered salvation. The first
tier was conversion or justification, in which one is forgiven and freed from past sins. The second tier was ―entire
sanctification‖ which liberated one from their fallen nature, or at least the tendency toward sin. Revivalists, in the early
1800s, such as Asa Mahan (president of Oberlin College) and evangelist Charles Finney advanced Wesley‘s
theology. They taught ―that sinners had the natural ability to believe, and that evangelistic methods could overcome
their ‗moral‘ inability through the persuasive power of the Gospel.‖ [1] ―Finney and Mahan applied this same
understanding to the Christian‘s growth toward spiritual maturity…. To be sanctified, they insisted, required only the
same kind of simple, instantaneous faith one exercised to be converted.‖ [2]

In 1836 both men experienced what they called ―baptisms of the Holy Ghost‖ which they believed not only freed them
from committing sin but also removed their tendency toward sin. Contributing to the spread of this ―Holiness‖ doctrine
were the popular camp meeting revivals of the first half of the 1800s, the ministry of Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874)
(who taught that sanctification could be reached instantaneously by an act of faith) and the ―Prayer Revival‖ of 1857-
1858 (sometimes called the Third Great Awakening). There was also much unrest in Methodist circles as many felt
the denomination had lost its fervor. The Wesleyan Methodist (in 1843) and the Free Methodist (in 1860) left the
denomination to form the first Holiness denominations. Until the 1890s the Holiness Movement was largely a
Methodist phenomenon, but as the Methodists settled more into mainstream Christianity tensions escalated into a
schism which resulted in new, non-Methodist, Holiness denominations. These included the Church of God, Anderson,
Indiana (1880), Church of the Nazarene (1908) and Pilgrim Holiness Church (1897).

The Holiness adherents saw themselves as the true descendents of the Wesleys and practiced strict moral ethics,
abstinence from worldly pleasures and amusements and a strong belief in entire sanctification (also known as the
―second blessing‖ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit). More importantly ―Holiness teaching offered 19th-century
evangelicals a means of overcoming their sectarian conflicts. Doctrine might divide, but the experience of a pure
heart would unite all true believers against the threats posed by religious formalism, atheism, and Roman
Catholicism.‖ [3] This Holiness emphasis would continue to be spread throughout the 19 century by individuals and
groups as diverse as the Salvation Army, Quakers, D. L. Moody, Hannah Whitall Smith, the Y.M.C.A., the Keswick
Movement and Oswald Chambers. A brief explanation concerning some of those might prove helpful.

Hannah Whitall Smith was a Quaker revivalist who gave inspiration to the Keswick Movement and wrote The
Christian‘s Secret of a Happy Life which is still in publication today. Hannah‘s ministry was truncated by her
husband‘s questionable moral activities, but her legacy lives on. Speaking of the Keswick Movement, originally these
were non-Methodist conferences in England which began in the 1870s. The Keswick Movement offered a modified
Holiness doctrine called ―Higher Life.‖ According to Higher Life theology the sin nature and tendency were not
eradicated, just counteracted by the baptism of the Holy Spirit which ushered in joyful and victorious Christian living.
D. L. Moody would be influenced and participate in the Keswick Movement, receiving his ―baptism‖ in 1871. But
Moody interpreted his Spirit baptism, not in terms of freedom from sin, but in endowment with power. This altered
understanding of Spirit baptism distinguished the American Keswick Movement and had a great impact on the Bible
institute movement at the turn of the twentieth-century.

Today the Holiness Movement lives on through the various Holiness denominations, the continued efforts of both the
English and American Keswick Conferences and through the writings of Hannah Whitall Smith, Lettie Cowman
(Streams in the Desert), Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest) and others.


It must be understood that much, if not most, of what Holiness teachers advocate, is biblically sound and spiritually
helpful. These individuals have a true desire for godliness and their passion is contagious. The fly in the ointment is
the view of Spirit baptism as a second work of God‘s grace which ushers the believer immediately into another level
of Christian experience, i.e. a ―higher life.‖

Charles Parham (Father of the Pentecostal Movement) would take the Holiness teachings to another level. He liked
the idea of a super-level spirituality brought about by a crisis experience (i.e. Spirit baptism) but he also believed that
Spirit baptism should be accompanied by manifestations of the Holy Spirit, especially tongues. In 1901 Parham and a
handful of followers claimed to experience tongues as an evidence of their baptism. This would mark the birth of the
Pentecostal Movement which would combine Holiness theology with supernatural signs of the Spirit. Only a few years
later a student of Parham, William J. Seymour, led what would be called the Azusa Street Revival (1906-1909) which
elevated supposed manifestations of the Holy Spirit to such a level that even Parham believed they were demonic.
Nevertheless, Pentecostal practice and Holiness theology would spread throughout the world in the decades that
followed. During the 1940s and 50s a new emphasis on healing and miracles infiltrated the Pentecostal Movement.
Just as this Deliverance Revival was dying out the Charismatic Movement came to life (1960). By definition
charismatics transcend all denominations, and as such is not a movement based on theology but on experience.
However, there are two doctrinal distinctives that trace their roots back to the early Holiness and Pentecostal
teachings: The first is that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a second work of grace that brings power in the life of the
believer (Holiness). The second is that the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues
(Pentecostal). It should be mentioned that many in the Americanized form of the Holiness Movement equated the
power associated with the baptism of the Holy Spirit with power for ministry rather than holy living.

In the last few decades new movements have arisen—each claiming improvement over the movements of the past.
The Vineyard Movement was founded in 1982 with an emphasis on the miraculous and a downplaying, to some
degree, of tongues. The Toronto Blessing (1994) and Brownsville Revival (1995) pushed the supposed activities of
the Holy Spirit to new limits. Miracles, bizarre manifestations, healings, uncontrollable laughter, and demonic
confrontation became the norm. Running parallel has been the Word of Faith Movement, with its belief that even God
is subject to words spoken in faith by ―anointed‖ ministers of God.

All of these 20 century movements can trace their ancestors to the Holiness Movement of the 1800s and to John
Wesley before that. They all have in common the desire for some form of instantaneous perfection, or power, that
comes through a subsequent work of the Spirit in the lives of believers. Each movement also has in common a faulty
view of sanctification—that personal holiness, maturity and power is the result of a momentary experience rather than
a lifetime process.


John Wesley propounded a doctrine of ―entire sanctification‖ or ―perfection in love‖ which was ―a personal, definitive
work of God‘s sanctifying grace by which the war within oneself might cease and the heart be fully released from
rebellion into wholehearted love for God and others.‖ [4] As we have seen this doctrine was developed by later
Holiness leaders to mean that the sinful nature would be eradicated.

By contrast, the Scriptures never allude to a time in this life when the saints cease to do battle with the flesh. While
Christians are no longer characterized as being ―in the flesh‖ (Romans 8:9), they are promised a constant battle with
the flesh until the day of their glorification (Galatians 5:16-25). There are simply no scriptures that teach a second
crisis experience, second baptism of the Spirit or entire sanctification. In John Wesley‘s Plain Account of Christian
Perfection he makes no biblical defense for his view, simply citing, ―We are all agreed, we may be saved from all sin
before death; that is, from all sinful tempers and desires. The substance, then, is settled‖ (p. 1). But, of course, it is
not settled, for instantaneous and complete freedom from sin, its desires and draws, is never taught in Scripture.

So, from whence comes the confusion? Most likely it comes from the New Testament presentation of sanctification
and holiness as both a settled position (1 Corinthians 6:11) and a process for which one is to strive by God‘s power
(Philippians 2:12, 13). ―In sum, sanctification in the New Testament is seen as a one-time event and as a process, the
believers being and becoming holy and acting correspondingly.‖ [5] The word ―sanctify‖ itself means ―to set apart.‖
When applied to Christians it takes on the connotation of being set apart to God for holy living. The word
―sanctification‖ is probably used most often in the New Testament to describe our position before Christ as saints set
apart for His glory (John 17:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:12-15; Romans 15:16; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:11; Ephesians
5:26). But the doctrine often labeled progressive sanctification is a term used to describe Christian growth in holy
living. This doctrine does not hinge on the use of the word ―sanctification.‖ The apostle Paul, deep into his spiritual
life, made it clear that he had not become perfect yet, but was ―pressing on‖ (Philippians 3:12-14). He calls for us to
work out our salvation through the power of God (Philippians 2:12, 13). He calls for Christians to walk in ―a manner
worthy of the calling with which we have been called‖ (Ephesians 4:1), and to take up the full armor of God that we
might be able to stand firm (Ephesians 6:13). The author of Hebrews describes a process in maturation (Hebrews
5:11-6:2); Paul does the same in 1 Timothy 4:7-10, 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4:1, 9-10). Never are we told to ask for a
second baptism of the Holy Spirit that would usher us into a state of complete holiness. As a matter of fact Paul is
clear that there is only one baptism (Ephesians 4:5), and that Spirit baptism is for the purpose of making us one with
Christ (Romans 6:3-4) and one with the body of Christ, the church (1 Corinthians 12:13).

While millions of Christians throughout the ages, especially since the birth of the Holiness Movement, have longed for
some experience that frees them from the grip of the flesh, the New Testament gives no such hope. As David
Peterson writes, ―The Christian does not any longer

live a life fundamentally determined and controlled by the flesh. Nevertheless, ‗flesh‘ continues to be a powerful force
in our experience. The conflict with sin does not diminish with conversion but actually intensifies, because we begin to
experience the possibilities of a Spirit-directed life‖ (cf. Galatians 5:16-26). [6]

Maturity in Christ is expected of every believer; freedom from spiritual battle with the world, the flesh and the devil is
attained only in the next life.

At the same time, we must be careful that we do not over react to Holiness philosophy and believe that godliness is
attained through our own self-determined efforts of obedience. We are certainly called to obedience, but it is not a
self-energized, self-motivated or self-obtaining obedience. It is an obedience made possible only because of the
power of God in our lives. This is the consistent teaching of the New Testament, but we will direct our attention to
Romans 8:12-13. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you
are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you
will live. Peterson, once again, summarizes things well, ―Holiness of life is not simply attained by moral effort nor even
by striving to keep the law of God. It is not even a matter of ‗letting go and letting God.‘ Practical holiness involves
‗putting to death‘ in our lives what God has already sentenced to death on the cross (‗mortification‘) and living out the
new life given to us by the indwelling Christ…. Human effort is required, but not apart from, nor distinct from the
activity of God‘s Spirit, who subdues the flesh as we mortify it in His power, and as we set our minds upon the things
of the Spirit.‖ [7]

Holiness of life should be the heart-felt desire of every Christian. But that holiness is not found in either short-cuts or
self effort. It is found as we pursue righteousness (2 Timothy 2:22) laying aside the deeds of the flesh (Colossians
3:5-10) through the power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and as we behold the glory of the Lord (2 Corinthians

The Holiness Movement was in many ways a reaction to the dead orthodoxy and lifeless spirituality that infiltrated so
much of Christianity during the nineteenth-century. However, its remedy, a second blessing resulting in the
eradication of sinful tendencies and a higher life not available to the unbaptized, went beyond the teaching of
Scripture. As is often the case in reactionary movements, the cure may be as bad as the disease.

[1] Christian History and Biography, Issue 82, ―The Cleansing Wave,‖ P. 22.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., p. 23.

[4] Possessed by God, David Peterson, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995, p. 51.

[5] Ibid., p. 14.

[6] Ibid., p. 108.

[7] Ibid., p. 113.

The Word of Faith Movement

Written by Gary Gilley

(April 1999 - Volume 5, Issue 4)

                                                      Word of Faith

The fastest growing segment of Christianity today is the Word of Faith Movement, also known as the Positive
Confession or simply "Faith" movement. It‘s growth is at least partially due to the massive amounts of money the
leaders are able to extract from the faithful. This influx of cash allows for huge buildings and extensive ministries, and
more importantly, wide exposure on television, which translates into numerical growth. Not only do many Word of
Faith preachers broadcast their services and campaigns, but the largest Christian-based television network in the
world is owned by Faith adherents, Paul and Jan Crouch. The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), founded by the
Crouches, with an estimated net worth of one-half a billion dollars, is capable of televising the Faith message (as well
as many other errant messages) all over the world.

Well-known personalities within the movement include Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Robert Tilton (who is
staging a come-back), Paul Yonggi Cho, Benny Hinn, Marilyn Hickey, Frederick Price, John Avanzini, Charles Capps,
Jerry Savelle, Morris Cerullo and of course, Paul and Jan Crouch.


Faith Is a Force

As is implied by the title "Word of Faith," the supporters of this movement believe that faith works like a mighty power
or force. Through faith we can obtain anything we want — health, wealth, success, whatever. However, this force is
only released through the spoken word. As we speak the words of faith, power is discharged to accomplish our
desires. Hank Hanegraaf summarizes Hagin‘s theme as found in his booklet How to Write Your Own Ticket with God:

In the opening chapter, titled "Jesus Appears to Me," Hagin claims that while he "was in the
Spirit" — just like the apostle John on the Isle of Patmos — a white cloud enveloped him and he
began to speak in tongues. "Then the Lord Jesus Himself appeared to me," says Hagin. "He
stood within three feet of me." After what sounded like a casual conversation about such things
as finances, ministry, and even current affairs, Jesus told Hagin to get a pencil and a piece of
paper. He then instructed him to "Write down: 1,2,3,4." Jesus then allegedly told Hagin that "if
anybody, anywhere, will take these four steps or put these four principles into operation, he will
always receive whatever he wants from Me or from God the Father." That includes whatever
you want financially. The formula is simply: "Say it, Do it, Receive it, and Tell it."

1. Step number one is "Say it." "Positive or negative, it is up to the individual. According to what
the individual says, that shall he receive."

2. Step number two is "Do it." "Your action defeats you or puts you over. According to your
action, you receive or you are kept from receiving."

3. Step number three is "Receive it." We are to plug into the "powerhouse of heaven." "Faith is
the plug, praise God! Just plug in."

4. Step number four is "Tell it so others may believe." This final step might be considered the
Faith movement‘s outreach program (Christianity in Crisis, p. 74,75).

Kenneth Copeland states the faith formula this way: "All it takes is 1) Seeing or visualizing whatever you need,
whether physical or financial; 2) Staking your claim on Scripture; and 3) Speaking it into existence" (ibid. p. 80).

Paul Yonggi Cho, borrowing from the occult, has developed what he calls the "Law of Incubation." Here is how it
works: "First make a clear-cut goal, then draw a mental picture, vivid and graphic, to visualize success. Then incubate
it into reality, and finally speak it into existence through the creative power of the spoken word" (ibid. pp. 83,84).

If a positive confession of faith releases power, then a negative confession can actually backfire. Capps says the
tongue "can kill you, or it can release the life of God within you." This is so because, "Faith is a seed. . . you plant it by
speaking it." There is power in "the evil fourth dimension" says Cho. Hagin informs us that if you confess sickness
you get sickness, if you confess health you get health, whatever you say you get. "This spoken word. . . releases
power — power for good or power for evil," is the commonly held view of the movement. It is easy to see why the title
"Positive Confession" is often applied to this group.

As you might guess the teachings of the Faith movement are very attractive to some. If we can produce whatever our
hearts desire by simply demanding what we want by faith; if we can manipulate the universe and perhaps even God,
then we have our own personal genie just waiting to fulfill our wishes. Frederick Price wastes no words when he
writes, "Now this is a shocker! But God has to be given permission to work in this earth realm on behalf of
man. . . .Yes! You are in control! So if man has control, who no longer has it? God. . . . When God gave Adam
dominion, that meant God no longer had dominion. So, God cannot do anything on this earth unless we let Him or
give Him permission through prayer" (Prayer: Do You Know What Prayer Is. . . and How to Pray? The Word Study
Bible, p. 1178). This is certainly a theology that would appeal to the masses, and thus accounts for the Faith
movement‘s popularity.

The Deification of Man

Faith teachers like to teach, based upon serious mishandling of passages such as John 10:31-39 and II Peter 1:4,
that Christians are "little gods." Copeland says, "Now Peter said by exceeding great and precious promises you
become partakers of the divine nature. All right, are we gods? We are a class of gods!" (Christianity in Crisis, p. 116).
Benny Hinn declares that "God came from heaven, became a man, made man into little gods, went back to heaven
as a man" (ibid. p. 382 n. 43). Earl Paulk wrote, "Until we comprehend that we are little gods and we begin to act like
little gods, we cannot manifest the kingdom of God" (Satan Unmasked, p. 97).

The Humanization of God

While man is glorified, God is humiliated in the Faith system. Copeland claims that God is a being who stands about
6‘2", 6‘3", that weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of hundred pounds, and has a hand span of 9"
across (Christianity in Crisis, p. 121). Copeland also declares that "Adam was the copy, looked just like (God). If you
stood Adam beside God, they looked just exactly alike. If you stood Jesus and Adam side-by-side, they would look
and sound exactly alike" (ibid. p. 137).

Many embrace a heresy known as Tritheism which in essence teaches that there are really three separate Gods.
Hinn, under supposed inspiration, explains:

Man, I feel revelation knowledge already coming on me here. Holy Spirit, take over in the name
of Jesus. . . . God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person; and He is a triune being by
Himself separate from the Son and the Holy Ghost. Say, what did you say? Hear it, hear it, hear
it. See, God the Father is a person, God the Son is a person, God the Holy Ghost is a person.
But each one of them is a triune being by Himself. If I can shock you — and maybe I should —
there‘s nine of them. Huh, what did you say? Let me explain: God the Father, ladies and
gentlemen, is a person with his own personal spirit, with his own personal soul, and his own
personal spirit-body. You say, Huh, I never heard that. Well you think you‘re in this church to
hear things you‘ve heard for the last 50 years? You can‘t argue with the Word, can you? It‘s all
in the Word (Christianity in Crisis, p. 123,124).

Hinn, under fire, later retracted his remarks, only to reaffirm them two years later.

Jesus supposedly told Copeland, "They crucified me for claiming that I was God. But I didn‘t claim I was God; I just
claimed I walked with Him and that he was in me" (ibid. p. 137,8). Many of the Faith heresies concerning God can be
traced to the notes found in Dake‘s Annotated Reference Bible.

The Distortion of the Cross

Hanegraaf documents four atonement-related errors on the part of the Faith teachers (see footnotes in Christianity in

First, many of the Faith teachers contend that Christ was re-created on the cross from divine to
demonic. To put it in Faith vernacular, Jesus took on the very nature of Satan himself. Second,
according to Faith theology, your redemption was not secured on the cross, but in hell. In fact,
many Faith teachers claim that Christ‘s torture by all the demons of hell was a "ransom" God
paid to Satan so that He could get back into a universe from which He had been banished.
Third, many Faith teachers insist that Jesus was reborn (or born again) in the very pit of hell.
Fourth, Faith theology holds that Christ was reincarnated through His rebirth in hell and that
those who (like Christ) are born again can become "incarnated" as well. Thus Faith teachers
take Christ, the spotless Lamb, and pervert Him into an unholy sacrifice on the cross
(Christianity In Crisis, p.153).


While many, even within the Faith churches, are unaware of some of the doctrinal heresies of the movement, none
can plead ignorant of the strange and bizarre practices and emphasis of its leaders. These things are standard
occurrences in virtually every one of their television broadcasts, evangelistic campaigns and church services.

A Prosperity Gospel

Nothing will create more euphoria in the average person than the promise to make them wealthy, and this the Faith
leadership knows very well. The Faith teacher‘s lifestyles are clearly identified by opulence, luxury, riches and the
assurance to their disciples that all of this can be theirs as well — if only they apply certain principles.

Robert Tilton is normative. On a Trinity Broadcasting Network program in 1990 he said, "Being poor is a sin, when
God promises prosperity. New house? New car? That‘s chicken feed. That‘s nothing compared to what God wants to
do for you" (See Charismatics Chaos, p. 285). Fred Price on a similar broadcast explains how it works: "If you‘ve got
one dollar faith and you ask for a ten-thousand dollar item, it ain‘t going to work. It won‘t work. Jesus said, ‗According
to your [faith],‘ not according to God‘s will for you, in His own good time, if it‘s according to His will, if He can work it
into his busy schedule. He said, ‗According to your faith, be it unto you‘" (Ibid. p. 286).

Of course the road to prosperity somehow always leads to the offering plate of the Faith Movement. Gloria Copeland
(Kenneth‘s wife) pulls no punches in her book God‘s Will Is Prosperity: "Give $10 and receive $1000; Give $1000 and
receive $100,000. . . give one house and receive one hundred houses or a house worth one hundred times as much.
Give one airplane and receive one hundred times the value of the airplane. . . . In short, Mark 10:30 is a very good
deal" (p. 54).

A Health Gospel

The "name-it-and-claim-it" pundits are not content with mere wealth; they want to feel well enough to enjoy their
prosperity. So do most of their listeners. So while you are giving away wealth, why not dispense health as well?

The Faith teachers, as is true of many other charismatics, believe that Christ provided for physical healing at the
cross. As a result, not only are Christians saved from sin, they are promised a life of health, if one follows the Faith
formula. Kenneth Copeland writes in Healed. . . to Be or Not to Be, "The first step to spiritual maturity is to realize
your position before God. You are a child of God and a joint-heir with Jesus. Consequently, you are entitled to all the
rights and privileges in the kingdom of God, and one of their rights is health and healing" (p. 25). If healing is part of
the atonement, why do Christians get sick? Lack of faith, as Benny Hinn explains: "The Bible declares that the work
was done 2,000 years ago. God is not going to heal you now — he healed you 2,000 years ago. All you have to do
today is receive your healing by faith" (Rise and Be Healed, p. 44).

Of course reality, in the form of sickness, has to be faced even by the Faith leaders. Fred Price may proclaim "we
don‘t allow sickness in our home," but his wife still has cancer. Kenneth Hagin brags that he has not had a headache,
the flu, or even "one sick day" in nearly 60 years, but he has had four cardiovascular crises. Paul Crouch may have
healed Oral Roberts of chest pains on a TBN Broadcast, but it didn‘t stop Oral from having a heart attack a few hours
later (see Christianity in Crisis, pp. 237,8). How are these things explained away? Predictably by blaming them on the
devil. Sickness in the Faith camp is usually seen as satanic attacks that must be repelled by words of faith.


The faith leaders make some amazing claims. Hagin, for example, has visited (so he says) both heaven and hell as
well as had out-of-body experiences (ibid. p. 334). He has had many visits from Jesus and angels. He boasts of the
ability to heal, cast our demons and levitate people (p. 336). Hinn opens his best selling book with these words:

It was three days before Christmas 1973. The sun was still rising on that cold, misty Toronto

Suddenly He was there. The Holy Spirit entered my room. He was as real to me that morning as
the book you are holding in your hand is to you.

For the next eight hours I had an incredible experience with the Holy Spirit. It changed the
course of my life (p.1).

Hinn speaks of frequent personal visits from the Lord, the first being at age eleven:

I saw Jesus walk into my bedroom. He was wearing a robe that was whiter than white and a
deep red mantle was draped over the robe.

I saw his hair. I looked into His eyes. I saw the nail prints in His hands. I saw everything. . . .

When it happened, I was asleep, but suddenly my little body was caught up in an incredible
sensation that can only be described as "electric." It felt as if someone had plugged me into a
wired socket. There was a numbness that felt like needles — a million of them — rushing
through my body.

And then the Lord stood before me while I was in a deep, deep sleep. He looked straight at me
with the most beautiful eyes. He smiled, and His arms were open wide. I could feel His
presence. It was marvelous and I‘ll never forget it (p.22).

When Hinn describes his conversion he does not mention the cross, repentance or faith; rather it is all couched in
terms of experience:

What I really felt, though, was that this surge of power was cleansing me — instantly, from the
inside out. I felt absolutely clean, immaculate, and pure.

Suddenly I saw Jesus with my own eyes. It happened in a moment of time. There he was. Jesus
(p. 31).
Hinn claims power of a supernatural nature often emanates from his body:

Once, my mother was cleaning the hallway while I was in my room talking with the Holy Spirit.
When I came out, she was thrown right back. Something had knocked her against the wall. I
said, "What‘s wrong with you, Mama?" She answered, "I don‘t know?" Well, the presence of the
Lord almost knocked her down (p.42).

Both the appeal of the book and its dangers are evident in this quote:

Are you ready to meet the Holy Spirit intimately and personally? Do you want to hear his voice?
Are you prepared to know him as a person?

That‘s exactly what happened to me, and it drastically transformed my life. It was an intensely
personal experience, and it was based on God‘s Word.

You may ask, "Was it the result of a systematic Bible study?" No, it happened when I invited the
Holy Spirit to be my personal friend. To be my constant guide. To take me by the hand and lead
me "into all truth." What He will uncover and reveal to you in Scripture will make your study of
the Bible come alive (p.48).

Hinn and the Faith teachers are deceiving a vast multitude of people, many of whom sincerely desire to know God.
But both the Faith leaders and their followers make the same mistake of basing their lives on experiences and
feelings rather than upon the inspired Word of God.

                                           Luminaries within the Movement

Kenneth Hagin is considered the father of Word of Faith. He has a syndicated radio show carried by about 250 radio
stations; a Bible School (Rhema Bible Training Center) with 12,000 graduates from 1974-1992; a magazine with
400,000 subscribers; and has sold millions of books and other publications.

Kenneth Copeland is the heir-apparent to the Faith throne (although Benny Hinn has moved in to challenge).
Copeland‘s empire spans the globe with similar ministries as Hagin.

Benny Hinn is pastor of Orlando Christian Center in Orlando, Florida. Hinn reaches the world through evangelistic
campaigns, television, and literature. His book Good Morning Holy Spirit was the best selling Christian book in 1991,
selling a quarter of a million copies in only three months. He is perhaps best known as a "Faith-Healer" in the tradition
of Kathryn Kuhlman (his idol) and Oral Roberts. His "ability" to "slay in the Spirit" large groups of people at once (by
blowing on them or waving his arm their direction) has brought him considerable notoriety.

                                          Others worthy of mention include:
K.C. Price, the most prominent of black Faith preachers, pastors the 16,000 member Crenshaw Christian Center, and
has his own television show.

John Avanzini, best-known fund raiser among the Faith leaders. He has said that "A greater than a lottery has come.
His name is Jesus!"

Robert Tilton perfected the Christian infomercial through his "Success-N-Life" television program.

Marilyn Hickey — except for Gloria Copeland and perhaps Jan Crouch, Hickey is the best-known woman in the
movement. She teaches people to speak to their wallets and checkbooks in order that their wealth may increase.

Paul (also known as David) Yonggi Cho is the pastor of the 700,000 Full Gospel Yoido Church in South Korea. Cho,
who often speaks at Robert Schuller Conferences on church growth (along with Bill Hybels), is perhaps the closest
link to the occult. He teaches a concept called the "Fourth Dimension." The first three dimensions are physical and
are controlled by the fourth, which is the spiritual. Cho teaches that Christians can get anything they want by calling
upon the spirit world in the Fourth Dimension and visualizing what they want. When a person (Christian or unsaved)
follows the proper formula of positive thinking, speaking and visualizing, they "incubate" and eventually give birth to
their desires. These techniques are the same used in his occult-infested country. Cho is aware of this fact, but
believes what works for "them" will work for "us" — so use it.

John Wimber

General Teachings/Activities
- John Wimber, founder and director of the Association of Vineyard Churches, died November
17, 1997 of a brain hemorrhage following a fall and recent coronary bypass surgery. He was 63
years old. From its beginnings in the 1970s, Wimber's Vineyard movement has grown to
approximately 450 U.S. congregations and 250 more in other countries. It was a strong influence
in the "Laughing Revival" and Promise Keepers movements (top PK leaders are Vineyard
members). Wimber, a former Quaker, emphasized supernatural healing, spiritual warfare, and
prophecies. He taught a church growth course at Fuller Seminary with C. Peter Wagner. Wagner
said of Wimber's Vineyard churches, "It congealed more around relationships than written
bylaws." Many of Wimber's "signs and wonders" teachings are rooted in Eastern mysticism and
mind-science inner healing techniques (per a 1996, 32-page report by Media Spotlight; see
adapted report). (12/15/97, Calvary Contender)

Wimber was the leader of the Vineyard Christian Fellowships, a hyper-charismatic organization
within the Vineyard Movement (which itself is also known by the names of "third wave," "Signs
and Wonders Movement," and "power theology"). He was senior pastor of the 5,000-member
Anaheim Vineyard from 1977-1994. He openly admitted that his so-called conversion to
Christianity occurred "in total mental confusion and emotional frustration" (as quoted in Peter
Masters' 1988 book, The Healing Epidemic, p. 41). (Before professing to be a Christian, Wimber
was the manager of the Righteous Brothers singing group.) Wimber had been a devotee to easy-
believism from the beginning, but became especially impressed by the effect which charismatic
healing gifts had in increasing church growth in Third World countries. It was, therefore,
pragmatism combined with confusion that led Wimber "to chose the radical solution of
charismatic experimentation" (Masters, p. 42).

- As an overview, Wimber's teachings erred dramatically in three main areas (each one of these
is addressed in more detail later in this report): (MS, p. 22)*

(1) Dependence on experience rather than Scripture, leading to both a pragmatic (if it works, it
must be from God) and a subjective approach (all sources of truth are equally valid) --
"experience first, then mold theology to fit the experience," seemed to be Wimber's motto.

(2) Acceptance of occult/New Age practices in "Christian" forms, such as aura reading and
manipulation, the teaching of "inner healing," astral projection, contact with familiar spirits, and
psychological and occult methodologies.

(3) A mystical view of spiritual warfare that comes dangerously close to spiritism, culminating in
the belief that even Christians can be possessed by demons.

- Wimber claimed that signs and wonders were the essential ingredient for success in first
century church evangelism (a claim which is not supported anywhere in the Book of Acts), and
that for today, the only way to get people to believe the Gospel is to startle them into believing
through healing, prophecy, and the casting out of demons; Wimber called this "power
evangelism." It was Wimber's opinion that only by startling the world by demonstrations of
clairvoyance and powerful healings would the gospel message receive respectful attention,
because (apparently) by itself, the Gospel is too weak and powerless to break the stubbornness
and rebellion of the human heart. (Cited in Masters, pp.74-75.)

- Wimber's approach to healing was not the mere laying on of hands accompanied by fervent
prayer, but the incorporation of an unholy mixture of Jungian psychology and Agnes Sanford's
"inner healing" techniques, both of which have their roots in the occult, but have become
popularized in our day through the New Age Movement (Albert James Dager, Vengeance Is
Ours, p. 155). "There is every indication that the Vineyard movement, chasing after signs and
wonders, has become caught up in a mystical [New Age] mindset that will lead inevitably to a
greater religious deception to which the vast majority of the world's populace will succumb"
(Dager, p. 156).

- The conclusive influence which turned Wimber to a charismatic position was his conviction
that God began to speak to him in a direct and authoritative manner, and that God told him to use
his authority to cast out demons and illnesses from people. ("It never seems to have occurred to
John Wimber that people who make dogmatic claims to have messages from God are setting
themselves up in the place of God. They deify their imaginations and become their own god"
[Masters, p. 43].) Up until 1995, Wimber pursued a worldwide ministry of healing through large
convention meetings, receiving "words of knowledge" in which he saw the illnesses of various
people present in the audience before praying for their healing. He then "called down" the Holy
Spirit and ordered Him around with language that was nothing short of blasphemy.
- "One of the most serious (and blasphemous) aspects of teachers like Wimber is that they are
ready and willing to diminish the Lord Jesus Christ in their desperation to find some shred of
biblical support for what they do ... he [Wimber] claims the ministry of Christ as a pattern for his
own work. In the most explicit way he denies our Lord's divine character, detracting from His
power and glory and reducing Him virtually to the level of an ordinary person. According to
Wimber, Christ did not possess the personal power to read thoughts or to know the outcome of
events." Wimber's motive in downgrading the person and work of Christ appeared to be "that he
wants to make Christ our example not only for healing, but also for receiving 'words of
knowledge' -- direct impressions and commands from God ... Wimber empties the Lord Jesus
Christ of His divine attributes -- particularly His foreknowledge -- making Him totally dependent
upon the Father for both information and orders concerning His activities moment by moment ...
Wimber repeatedly emphasizes this 'limited' divinity of Jesus as he strives to make Him a person
who we can legitimately imitate in every respect, including the receiving of intuitions from God,
and the performing of healing works" (Masters, pp. 46-47 -- see Col. 1:15,19; 2:3,9; Heb. 1:3; Jn.
1:14; 6:64; 16:30 for Biblical refutation of Wimber's theology). Wimber's teaching was "anti-
Christian in his abuse of Christ, despising and disregarding His divinity and glory in order to
present Him as a 'humanized' example of healing techniques which may be copied in our day"
(Masters, p. 51).

- Wimber consistently maintained an ecumenical spirit toward Roman Catholicism. He
frequently appeared on the same platforms with Roman Catholic clergy in ecumenical gatherings,
and hosted Catholic "leaders" at his various church growth/healing seminars. Wimber even once
wrote an article for the Catholic charismatic publication, New Covenant, entitled "Why I Love
Mary," lending credibility to the doctrines of Mariology. In that article, Wimber wrote:
"Wouldn't you like to sit down with Mary and have a cup of coffee with her and talk about faith?
The Bible doesn't tell us some of the answers that it would be fascinating to know." Remember
when talking with the dead used to be called "séances," and receiving extra-Biblical information
is asking for the plagues that are mentioned in Revelation.

If the pope and/or other visible Roman Catholic clergy and laity ever begin to truly perform signs
and wonders, Wimber will have played a large part in aiding the Vatican's designs for
"reunification" (Dager, p. 158). In fact, Wimber actively encouraged reunification -- he once
"apologized" to the Catholic church on behalf of all Protestants, stating that "the pope, who by
the way is very responsive to the charismatic movement, and is himself a born-again evangelical,
is preaching the Gospel as clear as anyone in the world today" (MS, p. 24). Wimber also called
the pope's "Evangelization 2000" program, "One of the greatest things that has ever happened"
(2/1/91, Calvary Contender).

- Wimber's personal testimony "is shot through with stories of signs and wonders and all sorts of
supernatural events. But the important truth of the Gospel is missing. One can only wonder how
God can be behind a movement that seems to ignore the Gospel in favor of the miraculous and
replaces the cross with signs and wonders" (Robert Dean, Jr., Biblical Perspectives, "Don't Be
Caught By The Undertow Of The Third Wave," p. 4).
- Wimber's doctrine of Demonology was thoroughly unscriptural; he saw demons behind many
physical illnesses, and most emotional problems, entering into people, both lost and saved, in
varying degrees, either for "possession" or "oppression," so as to control all or some aspects of
their lives. "There is no biblical basis for the notion that demons are free to cause illnesses
outside the context of full demon possession. [And the power of Satan to enter and "possess"
souls uninvited; i.e., at the whim of the demon, was ended at Christ's resurrection.] The only case
in the Bible of a person who suffered from an illness caused by Satan without being demon
possessed, is that of Job" (Masters, p. 86).

But even then, Satan had to secure permission from God, which would indicate that Satan and
his demons have no power to inflict illnesses in the ordinary course of events. To treat illnesses
on the basis of a demon needing to be expelled from a particular organ, as Wimber taught, is an
idea derived from pagan religious cults and/or the priestcraft of Rome, not from the Bible.
Believers will certainly do battle with the wiles and temptations wrought by Satan, "but nowhere
in the New Testament is temptation resisted by a process of commanding demons to loose their
hold or leave a Christian's mind or body. Satan is resisted by being denied success in the
temptation. Or if he mounts an attack of depressive suggestions, he is resisted as the believer
strives to keep hold of the comfort and promises of God's Word" (Masters, p. 92).

- Wimber and his team of traveling faith-healers once conducted a "healing meeting" in Leeds,
England, which happened to be attended by five doctors who were born-again Christians. To
summarize the doctors' general observations, one of them stated that there was not any evidence
whatsoever of any true physical healing that occurred at that evening's "very expert
performance" (which included "many minutes of assorted shakings, tremblings, smilings,
fallings, swayings and utterings" as so-called evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit's healing
power), but instead all the evidence pointed to "all the textbook characteristics of the induction
of hypnosis." In their joint statement, the five Christian doctors said:

"Hypnotic trance with suggestion is a powerful psychological tool. It has many uses.
Psychosomatic disorders and physical symptoms related to neurosis [sin] are very likely in the
short-term to respond to this treatment. Relief of pain as in dental extraction or childbirth is
relatively commonplace with hypnosis. In Wimber's team meeting we saw no change that
suggested any healing of organic, physical disease. Given the concern of many attendees to be of
use to their neighbors, some very helpful suggestions were undoubtedly made during the
numerous trance states. (Emphasis added.)

"The hypnotic state, though conscious, is not what Scripture means by self-control, the mind of
Christ in us, or mind renewal. To describe these trances, their visible or audible features, or any
healings experienced as [are] the perfectly legitimate result of hypnosis -- to describe them as the
plain work of the Holy Spirit is a deception. To encourage techniques which produce hypnosis
and hysteria and to teach that one is learning how to exercise kingdom rule over demons, disease,
and nature is false; it is misrepresentation." (All quotes from Masters, p. 213.)

Professor Verna Wright, M.D., Rheumatology, concluded that the great dangers of Wimber's
"miraculous healing teaching" are: (1) "it discredits the person of Christ because of the very
obvious failures, when we claim to serve a Savior Who never fails"; (2) "it undermines the Word,
because it elevates a new form of 'revelation' -- so-called words of knowledge or prophecy"; (3)
"it deceives Christians and breeds a race of gullible believers, taken in by virtually anything"; (4)
"it increases the agony of suffering"; (5) "it removes Christian comfort"; and (6) "it diminishes
Christian testimony." (Cited in Masters, p. 227)

- As an example of a practice rejected by the church for centuries, but engaged in by Wimber
and the Vineyard movement, is the use of relics (human remains and objects thought to have
supernatural miracle powers by virtue of their being connected with a Saint; the relic may be the
whole or a part of a Saint's body, or something a Saint has touched). The use of relics of the dead
is an utterly pagan concept with no Scriptural justification whatsoever; rather it is associated with
necromancy. (Masters)

- Wimber was on Renovaré's "Board of Reference" -- Renovaré is an international, New Age,
ecumenical organization that emanates from the religious traditions of Quakerism, whose
message is that today's Church is missing out on some wonderful spiritual experiences that can
only be found by studying and practicing the "meditative" and "contemplative" lifestyle "of early
Christianity." In actuality, Renovaré espouses the use of the early pagan traditions of guided
imagery and visualization, astral projection, "Zen" prayer techniques for meditation (i.e.,
Buddhism), and Jungian psychology (i.e., a blend of Eastern mysticism and Roman Catholic
mystical spiritual tradition, which nicely fits the New Age model), all as means of obtaining
"personal spiritual renewal" in the lives of believers. (For a more detailed analysis of Renovaré
and the teachings of its co-directors, psychologist Richard Foster and William Vaswig, see
Media Spotlight's Special Report of March, 1992: "Renovaré: Taking Leave of One's Senses.")

- Wimber listed raising of the dead as one of the basic elements of the healing ministry (Power
Healing, pp. 38, 62), and agreed with C. Peter Wagner's assessment of the phenomena for today:
"I, too, now believe that dead people are literally being raised in the world today. As soon as I
say that, some ask if I believe it is 'normative.' I doubt if it would be normative in any local
situation, but it probably is normative in terms of the universal body of Christ. Even though it is
an extremely uncommon event, I would not be surprised if it were happening several times a
year" (The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit, p. 112).

- Wimber always placed himself and his ministry above criticism; "... he equates those who
measure a practice or ministry by Scripture with the unbelieving scribes. This effectively
insulates his teaching and practice from Scriptural critique. He is equating his ministry with non-
recognition of the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit ... Wimber is hiding behind a facade of
true adherence to the moving of the Spirit of God in order to insulate his theology and practices
from those who would unravel the facade with God's Word. At the same time, he equates anyone
that would challenge that facade with those who did not recognize Jesus' authority and work.
This is a cult mentality that does not address the real issue: whether or not these practices and
ideas are biblical" (MS, p. 23-24).

* All of the quotes and excerpts used in this report designated "MS," are derived from two
articles in the September 1990, Media Spotlight Special Report, entitled "Latter-Day Prophets:
The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets and the Kansas City-Vineyard Connection"; and
"Testing the Fruit of the Vineyard."

Biblical Discernment Ministries - Revised 12/97

Laughing Our Brains Out?

            My Visit to the Anaheim Vineyard
                    God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33)

                      Copyright © 1995 by Phillip R. Johnson. All rights reserved.

          ast year while editing a book that dealt with the so-called "Toronto
           Blessing," I made a pilgrimage to the Anaheim Vineyard to see the laughter
           and other phenomena firsthand. The Anaheim Vineyard is the church John
           Wimber pastors, and it is the original Vineyard congregation. Since the
book I was editing was completely critical of the laughter, I wanted to be sure in my
own mind that the criticisms were not exaggerated or unfair in any way. Three friends
accompanied me on my visit—Lance, Doug, and Matt.
     Lance and I had visited the Vineyard together a couple of times before, but the
church had since relocated into a new facility. The new building was impressive, and
we found our way to the main auditorium. We arrived a bit late, so the service was
already underway.
     I chose a seat on the other side of the auditorium from my friends; I wanted to
record my own observations without being distracted, and we all thought our
impressions would be more objective if we observed separately and compared notes
after the fact.
     The first thing I noticed were the dancing girls. The last time I visited the
Vineyard, there had been no dance team. But now there were eight or twelve girls in
flowing, gossamer gowns, and they danced around the aisles during all the musical
numbers. Their moves were carefully choreographed, and the girls split up in groups
of about four and moved around the auditorium as the music played. I had read about
"liturgical dance," but had never actually seen it firsthand. I felt it was frankly more
distracting than edifying.
      And I couldn't help noticing a slightly overweight woman in a corner by herself,
attempting to imitate the dancers' moves. I felt sorry for her. She was more than a
little clumsy and obviously not part of the "official" dancing group. After two or three
musical numbers, she was dripping with perspiration but undaunted.
      Because of John Wimber's failing health, another pastor gave the message that
evening. This was the gist of his appeal to the congregation:

In a moment I'm going to call down the Holy Spirit. Things like you've never seen will
begin to happen. People will laugh. Some will shake and quiver. Others may make
strange animal noises. Don't be alarmed by anything you see; it's just the Holy Spirit
working in His own special way. We don't put limits on how God can and cannot
work. He may even surprise us with something new tonight. So no matter what you
see happen, don't be alarmed.
     And above all, don't try to rationally evaluate the things you will see. God isn't
trying to reach your mind; He wants to reach your heart. Analyzing spiritual
phenomena through the grid of human logic or religious presuppositions is the
quickest way to quench what the Spirit is doing. Subjecting the revival to doctrinal
tests is the surest way to put out the fire. Don't try to find reasonable explanations
for what is happening; just turn your heart loose and let the Spirit flow through your
emotions. Only then can the Spirit have His way in your life.

A woman from the church staff led in prayer and said, "Holy Spirit, we give You
permission to be who You want to be in our midst. We refuse to critique with our
minds the work that You want to do in our hearts. We refuse to subject Your work to
our little doctrinal tests."
    When the signal was given for "ministry time" to begin, people flooded to the
front to be prayed for by the ministry team. The rest of the service was entirely
     |                                                     |
     | cha o tic (ka o' tik) adj. 1. marked by great |
     |    disorder or confusion. 2. characterized by       |
     |    noise, confusion, and tumult. 3. frenzied,       |
     |    disorganized.                                    |

Among the things we witnessed were these:
      Several people were "pogoing in the spirit" (jumping up and down).
      Three women were lying on the floor, rather indelicately going through
       imaginary birth pangs, while a male minister stood over them, shouting "Birth
       it! Birth it!"
      Four teenage girls lay tangled together on the floor, experiencing some sort of
       shared convulsions.
      An overweight and unkempt man ran around the perimeter of the floor,
       waving his arms and flinging sweat.
      The lone woman dance-team wannabe was still in the corner, seemingly
       oblivious to all around her, still going through her crude ballet-like motions.
      Various people wept, laughed, ran around the room, barked like dogs, and
       roared like wild animals.

After about a half hour of this chaos my friends and I met at the front of the
auditorium. For another fifteen minutes or so we quietly observed at close range the
"ministry" that was taking place, then left.
    Lance, Matt, Doug, and I spent the entire trip back home (about 90 minutes)
comparing impressions. All of us were shocked and appalled. One thing we all had
noticed was that the entire evening had a decidedly anti-intellectual thrust to it.
    I don't mean that bookish types were not made to feel welcome. By "anti-
intellectual," I mean that the phenomena, the dancing girls, the music, the prayer,
and every aspect of the evening was meant to play to the emotions and downplay
the intellect. Even the sermon was a full-scale assault on the idea that our minds can
be of any use whatsoever in discerning truth.
    "Park your doctrine at the door, and get into the feeling of this," seemed to be
what every voice we heard was trying to tell us. "The Lord cannot do what He wants
in your life if you insist on analyzing it with your mind. Truth is not important,
experience is. Holiness is a feeling."
    But doesn't this anti-intellectual, anti-doctrinal attitude actually work against
true sanctification? After all, here's how Jesus prayed for His people: "Sanctify them
through thy truth: thy word is truth."
    Paul wrote, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:2).
    In other words, the objective truth of God's Word—and sound doctrine based on
the Word, knowable only with the mind—cannot hinder what the Holy Spirit wants
to do in our midst. On the contrary, biblical truth is the very instrument He uses to
accomplish our sanctification!
      But what we heard at the Anaheim Vineyard actually portrayed God as irrational,
anti-intellectual, against doctrine, and not the least bit concerned for objective truth.
This is at the very heart of the error that makes the "Toronto Blessing" so destructive
to true holiness.
      What I'm suggesting is that the problem with the "Toronto Blessing" is not simply
that Scripture is silent about many of the bizarre phenomena that are touted. That is
certainly a serious problem, but the real truth is far worse: The whole movement is
epistemologically antithetical to Scripture. So-called "drunkenness in the Spirit" is
actually the polar opposite of the biblical means of sanctification. By encouraging
people to tune out intellectually and let their emotions run wild, this movement is
rather plainly in conflict with the Word of God. On this matter Scripture speaks with
absolute clarity: "God is not the author of confusion" (1 Cor. 14:33).
      Yet what I witnessed during my visit to the Vineyard was absolute bedlam.
(Indeed, this has been true every time I have visited an evening service at the
Vineyard, though there seems to be a much more quiet atmosphere on Sunday
      Read the context of 1 Corinthians 14:33—especially verse 23: "If therefore the
whole church should assemble together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men
or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?" (NASB).
      But isn't what we're seeing today in the "Toronto Blessing" far worse than the
scenario Paul was condemning? Why are so many so eager to defend this movement?
      Sadly, as the church continues her slide into doctrinal ignorance and biblical
illiteracy, we may actually be approaching a time of spiritual languor that rivals those
dark days before the Protestant Reformation. How can anyone who loves the Word
of God believe that this signals true revival?

Phil Johnson
Quest for the Radical Middle: Notes

By Bill Jackson

This is a summary of Bill Jackson's Book, "The Quest for the Radical Middle" that describes the history
of the Vineyard movement from the early 1960 thru 1998. There are fascinating lesson here and
wonderful encouragement. Read at your own risk... it is a very rough summary and intended for
people who want an overview.

“The Churching of America” by Finke and Stark categorize churches ranging from Sects to Churches.
Sects represent those movements in high tension with the world system. As time goes on, these
movements, under pressure to lower that tension, accommodate themselves to the culture to better
fit in, thus becoming churches. In so doing, they begin to lose their ability to sustain the newfound life
that had been the reason for their genesis. This is called, "the Routinization of Charisma"

Biblical Truth is found in the Radical Middle. Satan's strategy has been to polarize us to one extreme
or the other.

Typical Poles of the Spectrum that we need to hold in tension:

                  Standing for Unity             or   Standing for Truth

                  Divine Sovereignty                  Human Responsibility

                  Head, Word, Reason                  Heart, Spirit, Experience

                  Evangelism                          Nurture

                  Planning                            Being Spirit-led

                  Organization, wineskin,             Organism, wine, prophets
                  Kings (leaders)                     (charismatic itinerants)

                  Kingdom already                     Kingdom not yet

                  Will of God as a specific
                                                      Will of God as a general calling

                  Everything (all gifts of
                                                      Decently and in Order

                  Saved by faith, not by
                                                      Faith w/o works is dead

A Sect begins through the new experience of a forgotten biblical truth. In order to enhance the life of
the organism, organization is built to sustain it. Eventually routinization ensues and religion of the
heart soon becomes religion of the head as well as the heart. A biblical balance is achieved and the
sect/church is on the cutting edge and able to survive. With the passage of time, however, the radical
middle becomes hard to sustain, precisely because it is a place of tension. The law of spiritual entropy
presses the movement to choose a pole and become one or the other, to HARMONIZE THE
DISSONANCE. The forces of evil push the new movement either away from biblical doctrine toward
cultism or away from Spirit-led spontaneity toward dead orthodoxy and institutionalism.

Jesus modeled for humanity the Word and Spirit in perfect Relationship and Balance..... “The Presence
and the Power” by Hawthorne..... Jesus, the incarnate Word of God, ministered and performed
miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit and not out of His deity! The Word submits to the voice
of the Spirit, and the Spirit blows in accordance with the parameters of the Word.

History shows that the Word without the Spirit quickly becomes dead orthodoxy, and the Spirit w/o
the word quickly becomes cultish. The crucial issue for the Word/Spirit tension concerns how one is to
know the will of God. The evangelical stream has always (and rightly) affirmed the Word as the true
foundation; there is no new Truth because it has been once for all given to the saints (Jude 3).
Evangelicals have also affirmed that there is only one meaning to a biblical text: the meaning of the
original author. Spirit movements have 'rediscovered' forgotten biblical truths, thus bringing new
balance and life to what was dying through neglect. Unfortunately, renewal has often come at the
price of doctrinal purity by offering interpretations based not on historical/grammatical study, but on
interpretations prompted by the 'Spirit.' ONCE OFF BIBLICAL / HISTORICAL MOORINGS, THE SLIDE
TOWARD CULTISM BEGINS! The challenge has always been to affirm both Word and Spirit and aim for
the radical middle.

Montanists (2nd Century Movement) are an example of revival that slid off in the direction of cultism.

Augustine was the 1st to suggest the concept of cessationism in his book, 'On the True Religion.'
Before he died he saw a healing and changed his position to support the miraculous in 'The City of
God,' but it was too late. His previous views deeply directed the course Christianity toward
cessationism (i.e. the gifts of the Spirit died out with the Apostles and the early church; the
supernatural realm is mostly rejected.)

George Fox and the Quakers saw, perhaps, the greatest outbreak of spiritual gifts since the Apostles
in the 1600's.

Jonathan Edwards in the First Great Awakening in America was the first to develop a theological
argument for renewal by the Spirit.

The Cane Ridge revival occurred during the Second Great Awakening.

The Welsh Revival and Evan Roberts in 1904 lead to the birth of Pentecostalism in 1906 in LA on
Azusa Street.

William Branham, Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman were all influential in this era.

The Latter Rain Movement, later to be rejected by Pentecostalism, laid the ground work for
Charismatic movements in 1960.

Finally the Jesus movement occurred with Calvary Chapel and others.

Calvary believed you should teach straight through the bible... communicates the Whole Counsel of
God and helps keep the preacher off pet subjects!

Section 1: The Beginnings of the Vineyard

John and Carol were married in 1955. By 1961 the Righteous Brothers has 2 albums in the top 10.
There were separated for 5 months planning to get divorced. God spoke to / influenced both Carol and
John – revealing Himself and putting them back together. By the summer of 1962 they moved out of
Vegas to Orange County to heal their marriage and raise kids. They has their 1st church experience
and started attending Gunners Bible Study in 1963. After 3 months of questions they turned around to
Jesus. In 1964 John received the gift of tongues while outside praying. Carol told him the devil had
him. A few weeks later Sean 3 years old, was massively stung by bees and as John prayed over him in
tongues he was healed but they did not get it. They rejected spiritual gifts totally and turned toward
Evangelism. Yorba Linda Friends Church, Quaker Congregation, began to flourish. In 1970 John joined
the staff as Co-pastor.

WHATS WRONG #1- The CRISIS of 1974:

'John, would you go to this church if you weren't paid to?' 'No. God what is wrong with me?' The Lord
immediately began to show him that in his desire to be a successful pastor he was using the flock to
meet his own IDENTITY and SECURITY needs, rather than serving them in the love of Christ. God
showed him that he has continually resisted the Holy Spirit's inner promptings, opting rather to
support the institution. John left the pastorate.

1974-1978 Fuller Seminary & Church Growth

He began to travel extensively and as church growth consultant for Fuller. He worked with 27
Denominations (none Pentecostal or Charismatic), 9 Para-church organizations, hundreds of local
churches and some 40,000 pastors.

Fuller introduces Wimber to the Engle Scale. Wimber also began to see the Bible provides for a
Theology of Power and a Theology of Pain. Also he began to see the Kingdom as Already but Not Yet.

WHATS WRONG #2 - Using Ministry to meet our need for Identity & Security

Wimber was traveling and working so much with Fuller ...."that he never saw his young family.
Eventually the traveling took its toll on their children, and John began to wonder where things had
gone wrong. His relationship with God has turned stale as well. He rarely prayed and read his Bible
only when he had to teach from it. He was gradually becoming aware that he was spiritually bankrupt.”

Carol had a 'personality meltdown' and was intensely and protractedly convicted by Holy Spirit that
she had resisted His work in her life and John's. She repented and changed deeply in this season.

In 1976 Carol and some friends from the Yorba Linda church start a Home Group. Many had been
Pharisees. They discovered that worship was an End in Itself... it was FOR God! It didn't matter what
they FELT like.... God was worthy of their worship! Worship was not a warm-up for the teaching.

John gets the prophetic word from the woman who just cries!

WHATS WRONG #3 - Loosing Intimacy with Jesus because of the Business of Ministry

1977 - 'En Route to Detroit John cried out to the Lord, "Oh God, what's the matter? what's wrong with
me?" He felt like he was going to die. His weight had skyrocked; his blood pressure had elevated; he
never saw his kids; his head throbbed constantly; he was tired of people; he rarely prayed and never
found solace in personal bible study. He wasn't sure if God was even listening anymore... in the
middle of the night God woke him up and said, 'John, I've seen your ministry.... and now I'm going to
show you mine. This pierced John like an arrow. He began to weep for joy saying, 'Oh, Lord, that's all
I've ever wanted.'

John attends the Home group regularly by January of 1997. By next April the group was about 100.
KICKED OUT #1 - by the Quakers

Ministry and Counsel, the Quaker Leaders, asked the to leave at this point saying they didn't want a
tongues outbreak. John and Carol said it wasn't about tongues but about Revival. Tongues was not a
focus. The Friends gave the their blessing and John and Carol left. Carol believes that this blessing
passed on the spiritual anointing from George Fox the founder of the Quakers.

Calvary chapel of Yorba Linda has its beginnings in a Masonic Lodge on Mother's Day, May8th, 1977.
John told the core that they would have to let go of the 'inner circle' and die to themselves to break up
into smaller groups to bring in others.

Preaching on HEALING begins:

o Christians had been called to heal the sick just as we have been called to Evangelize

o The lack of emphasis on Healing was a misunderstanding of God's mercy for us

o Doctrinal differences, regarding healing, in John's heart were really a cover up for a Pharisaical heart
full of evil and unbelief

o Christians were COMMISSIONED to heal and cast out demons and it was to be part of the normal
Christian life.

Initial Frustration of Preaching Healing but seeing no one Healed. John reacted against this in
frustration to God and God responded, "either preach My word or get out..... Preach My word NOT
your experience."

10 months of no success until the feverish woman in bed was instantly healed. The night before John
has ended up on the floor yelling, "It's not fair! You tell us to teach what your book says, but you don't
back up our act. Here we are; we're doing the best we can do, ad nothing happens. Oh God, it's not
fair!" Jim walked away saying, "I'm never going to go behind that damn curtain again!" When he got
home the Lord gave him a verse and upon looking it up read: "the ark of the Lord dwelleth within the
curtains." (2Sam 7:2) Jim repented hard that night. The next day John saw the 1st person healed.
After John left the woman's house who had just been healed he saw the Vision of the Honeycomb:
"The problem isn't on my end, John. It's down there." Mercy and compassion are available to all.

Sometime later à "As he was pouring the milk John said, 'It must be that when you teach the word of
God the Holy Spirit....' He never finished his sentence. As he started to say 'Holy Spirit, ' his legs
buckled and he caught himself on the counter; splashing milk all over in the process. He looked up at
me with a surprising grin and said, 'I think we are on to something here, Carol Kay.' '

1980 Mother‟s Day

Lonnie Frisbee and a visitation of God.... the people were being shaken like Rag Dolls, "It's like
electricity, I can't even move!" After reading the bible and searching history all night long Tom Stipe
call saying, "It's Me John."

KICKED OUT #2 - by Calvary Chapel

1982 @ Lake Arrowhead Conference with Calvary revealed animosity, not from Chuck Smith, but from
Calvary leaders. This was deeply wounding to John.

John and Gulliksen partner. Calvary pastors were hurt later by what they saw as 'transfer' growth to
the new Vineyards. Calvary was a pre-Tribulational Rapture and John thought that was harmful
because it prevented planning for the long haul.
When John worked for Fuller he attended the Funeral of a church.... a Mother Church that had planted
about 56 churches and then died.

Shortly after becoming the leader of the Vineyard and after the Church Funeral he has the Vision of
the 10,000 lights / fellowships in the United States.

Church Planting is Born!

1983 VMI - Vineyard Ministries International is formed to support the Life that was flowing. Structure
serving the Life!

o   To facilitate John's international conference activity
o   Distribution center for music
o   Facilitate conferences by John's associates
o   Oversee Vineyard churches in the US

Shortly after the 1st Vineyard Pastors conference was held John's church moves to Anaheim.

Jump back to 1982: MC510 at Fuller begins

This course began in 1982 and ran until 1986. Wimber took the doctrinal focus off the Epistles and put
it back on the Gospels --> Empowered Evangelicalism. Wimber also introduced the basic Healing
Model - 5 Basic steps.

Charles Hummel's "Fire in the Fireplace" calls for a balanced RELATIONSHIP between the Word and
the Spirit. June 1984 was the first public MC510 in Anaheim Vineyard Facility. Learning to get and act
on the 'Words of Knowledge' is ONLY done by TRIAL and ERROR... there is not absolute knowing that
this is God until you do it and see the FRUIT.. We have to learn to HEAL and CAST OUT DEMONS the
same way we LEARN to preach!

Kicked out #3 - by Fuller Seminary

Fuller finally stops MC510 in 1986. The School of Theology professors lead the way in rejecting this
move of God... The faculty felt that a seminary was set aside for academic pursuits and that things
like healing clinics belonged to the local church. Hummels book "Fire in the Fireplace" asserts that
Jackson‟s (the author) thinks that MC510 introduced them to the NUMINOUS of God! In 1984 John 1st
heard from God that He was going to begin to judge leaders in the church in the US. In 1985 Wimber
was diagnosed with Angina... put on Blood pressure medicine, exercise, and regulated his eating and
tried to cut him back on his conference schedule. But he was still out 40 weeks in 1985. John said a
number of times that he felt he could have died at any time during these years. John tried to birth
prayer in the Movement and does the "Teach Us to Pray Conference." South American Pastors share
how they pray and fast to take on Principalities and Wimber rejects the Theology and directs the
Movement away from such 'spiritual warfare.' 'Wagner .... was intrigued by the South American men
who were having such amazing results praying this way. Wimber, however, had pastoral responsibility
over a young movement, and he was deeply concerned over the serious nature of immature believers
taking on powerful demons in their innocent presumption without even implicit biblical ground.

Todd Hunter does survey of Successful and Unsuccessful Church planters:

o   They   are hard workers - 100%
o   They   have a proven track record under supervsion or authority - 95%
o   They   are sure of their call - 95%
o   They   have an attitude of optimism and faith - 95%
o   They   have good social skills are friendly, easily liked - 95%
o   They take responsibility for church growth - 95%
o   They, both husband and wife, feel called to the church - 90%
o   they hold values, priorities, and philosophy of the Vineyard - 90%
o   They have indigenous or extra-local support from other leaders - 80%
o   They have a strong marriage - 80%

1986 AVC - Association of Vineyard Churches was formed.

o   Provide Legal covering for the movement
o   Facilitate Church planting
o   License and ordain pastors
o   Raise and release funds for Church planting
o   Oversee existing fellowships

1986 - Jack Deere is Introduced to John

By 1987 John was worn out and began to co-pastor the Anaheim Vineyard with Sam Thompson.
During this year the Jim and Tammy Baker scandal came out. The next year Jimmy Swaggart was
exposed. 2 of John's key associates were caught in sexual sin. There was disagreement regarding the
kind of discipline needed and regarding the restoration process. This affected Anaheim‟s leadership

Servant Evangelism under Steve Sjogren took off during this year. Steve realized that non-Christians
touched by their servant projects could not relate well to Sunday service. Therefore he made
Wednesday Nights for the Core believers and Sundays more for the un-churched. This began to be
called 'Seeker Sensitive.'

Public Attacks begin in 1985 and 1986 but really pick up strength in 1989 and 1990. Wimber did not
initially respond to criticism because of a prophetic word in 1977, "Your brothers and sisters are never
your enemies, even when they act like it. Learn to turn the other cheek." But by 1992 John decided to
write some position papers to defend themselves for several reasons:

o The errors or criticisms were believed by a significant number of Christians
o The criticisms seriously misrepresents Vineyard views and practices
o They hinder the work of God

Perhaps there is a difference between clarifying your position and dispelling outright lies and counter-
attacking those you criticize you! Grudem's & Deer‟s position papers are presently available on the
web at

The Bible Answer Man, John MacAurthor, Some Baptists, Dave Hunt attack the Vineyard intensely.

Section 2: The Prophetic Era 1989-1992

(Did God use KCF to cross-pollinate Vineyard with Prophetic Gifting - i.e. build it into our DNA, before
He sent it to Church plant all over the world?)

Jump back to 1987 - Wimber begins to hear reports that some Vineyard Pastors are involved in
various kinds of carnality and pride. God showed him that Vineyard was in desperate conditions.
1988- Wimber and the Vineyard debate becoming a DENOMINATION. Some felt that John was driving
autocratically towards institutionalism. Carol's dream stops them... the porch cannot hold the
grandchildren. They debated this in front of an open microphone.

Jack Deere sets up the 1st meeting with John Wimber and Paul Cain. What Paul said to Wimber was
helpful at time because Wimber was dealing with a leadership crisis.

During the weeks after the Conference John became very depressed. He had a lot of things on his

o He was tired, overweight, overworked and feeling that he was not leading any of the 3 organizations
well (VMI, AVC, or Anaheim)
o He had leadership problems in the church and the movement
o There was sin in his life, the church and the movement that he did not know how to deal with
o One of his sons was not following the Lord and it was causing him and Carol massive heartache
o John felt he was going to die anytime because of his physical problems
o He was regularly receiving negative criticism from somewhere in the world
o He was running against the wind in light of the Bakker / Swaggert scandals.

In his depression he watched TV and opted out of life for a time.

Wimber meets Mike Bickle in 1985. In 1988 Bickle was invited to speak with Wimber in the UK and
Bickle steered Wimber towards Psalm 89 about God sovereignty choosing John. John felt chastised by
Mike in the exchanges but somehow also reassured. John thought, "Maybe God had a plan for the
Vineyard after all..."

December 5th 1988 - Paul Cain arrived in Anaheim to meet with Wimber. Deere had set up this
appointment and told John, "by the way, so that you will know that God has a strategic purpose in this
for Paul and the Vineyard movement, Paul says there will be an earthquake that day." Later Deere
confirmed that this word was given before Paul arrived. The earthquake occurred under the Rose Bowl
at 3:38 am and Paul chose the text out of Jeremiah 33:8 "I will cleanse them from all the sin they
have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me." Paul reassured John
in the privacy of the Wimber's own living room with a three-word prophesy saying, "God has told me
to tell you in the Vineyard, "Grace, Grace, Grace." Paul went on to explain that John had come close to
committing the sin of Eli by letting his spiritual sons get away with abuse i.e. regarding the lack of
discipline of immoral leaders. They were on the verge of being judged as a movement. Paul told John
to discipline his leaders and not offer them "unsanctified mercy." If John complied with the Lord's
direction, then He would change the movement by the next Pastor's conference in August,
nine months. In addition Paul said that God would also deliver their son Sean from years of rebellion
and drug addiction. The evening of Paul leaving (Anaheim) on Dec 7th there was a major earthquake
in Armenia at 10:51 pm PST.... Bickle would later write...."The prophetic symbolism seemed clear -
God was speaking to the Vineyard churches through these events that He was going to shake the
Anaheim Vineyard over the next season by prophetic ministry like the local earthquake shook
Pasadena. The prophetic shaking would not merely be local, but would eventually cause a shaking
internationally. This was pictured by the internationally known earthquake in Soviet Armenia." These
events sobered John and propelled him out of his depression into action. The Latter Rain Movement:

This movement ran aground because of an Authoritarian leadership structure and an elitist attitude
driven by apocalyptic assumptions that they were the true church ushering in the last great move of
God. They concluded that the biblical truth that was being restored during that time was the
RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH, the glorious bride of Christ.

It's Nature:
o Fasting & Prayer
o Laying on of Hands for Baptism of Spirit
o The Fivefold ministry

It's Mission:

o To finish the great commission
o The Unity of the Church
o The Manifested Sons of God

It's Worship:

o The Temple model
o Praise
o New Hymnody

It's Authority:

o Allegorical Interpretation of Scripture
o The key to their interpretation was prophesy
o Submission to Authority

Their basic premise is Armenian rather than Reformed. Reformed doctrine says, "God has.....
therefore I will." Armenian doctrine says, "If I ..... then God will." The question posed by the Latter
Rain had to do with the role of human obedience.....

The Latter Rain movement's values have much in common with Paul Cain's values (except for the
Manifest Sons Doctrine)

Paul Cain met Bickle and KCF in 1987. Paul was looking for someone that God had told him would
respond in a particular way when Paul met him. God would use this person to give the prophetic
ministry a platform to be restored to the church. Paul traveled widely and visited some prominent
Pentecostal and Evangelical leaders to see if they were the ones. Paul never even considered John
Wimber until the day on Dec 5, 1988 when he was delivering the "Grace, Grace, Grace..." word. It was
then that God whispered to him that John was the man he had been looking for.

History on Mike Bickle and the Kansas City Fellowship:

In 1982 Bickle had received a prophetic word from Augustine Alcala that he would leave St. Louis and
plant a new church in Kansas City. They began to prepare. During this preparation Mike was in Cairo,
Egypt and heard the "internal audible voice" of God. "I am inviting you to be a part of a work that will
reach to the ends of the earth. I have invited many people to do this thing and many have said yes."
(but have not done it) God spoke 4 values to Mike:

o   Night and day prayer
o   Holiness of heart
o   Unwavering faith
o   Extravagant giving to the poor

"Mike, be careful, because well meaning brothers will try to take these things from you." And also, "I
will change the understanding and expression of the church in one generation." Mike thinks we are in
for a major change of Wineskins!

Paul Cain has preached that the emerging church will be unparalleled in :
o   Power
o   Purity
o   Unity
o   Intimacy

Bickle's believed that the move of God that is coming will bring about a reformation of the church that
will be integrally linked to the restoration of Prophets and Apostles.

Bob Jones and another prophet told Mike 4 things:

o Multitudes of young people will rally to you
o In the days to come there will be a full manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit
o There will be a false prophet in your midst from the beginning.... if you are patient and discern him
you will save the church much heartache
o There will be major resistance to you... they will misunderstand you... but you are not to loose heart.

In March of 1983 Bickle and others sit around the table of fellowship and accept Bob Jones and it
starts to snow.... just as Bob said it would.

The unpredicted comet also appears just as Bob said it would.

Mike calls for a 21 day fast, even though he was afraid of being labeled presumptuous by the other
Pastors in the Kansas City area, ... being the new kid on the block.

Bob predicts the 3 month drought and the 1 day of rain in the middle of it. After the 21 days of fasting
Bob says they will be humbled by God for 3 years so that they may really be used by God....
preparation.... Mike develops a serious throat condition that clears up 1 month after the 3 years.

In 1979 Bob was told about a group 40 miles southeast of LA that was called "Worship and
Compassion." KCF was called "Prophetic and Intercession." Mike and some others attended a public
MC510 after Fuller's moratorium. 1987 Mike and his team met Paul Cain while they were scheduled to
speak there. Paul was invited to speak before they did unexpectedly and Mike and his team ended up
on the floor weeping.

Paul remembered a vision, "Joel's Army in Training," when he saw the KCF building. He recognized it
as the building in his Vision. The Prophets were saying that God would not use Superstars anymore
but only a faceless generation... this did seem to contradict they way the Prophets themselves became
the focus of attention. Perhaps, though, they were the last of that generation? The gifted people also
seemed to violate the Vineyard Value of Lay Ministry... everyone gets to play.... everyone must
serve.... but once the Prophets arrive, they were so gifted that everyone else just sat down and let
them do the work of the ministry.

2 Prophetic ministers heard the audible voice of God saying that in 10 years (it was 1984 at that time->
1994) He would begin to release the wine of His Spirit. Ten years later the Toronto Blessing occurred.

1989 - Wimber hosted the "Spiritual Warfare Conference" and invited Paul Cain, last minute, to speak
at a couple of the sessions. The conference was so intense that it was held over for 2 days. Paul told
the conference people that God had given him a torch to initiate the 'last days' ministry and the Lord
had told him to offer that torch to the Vineyard. Wimber was stunned and did not know how to
respond... it sounded so presumptuous.! Paul then proceeded to minister and gave words of
knowledge to people. There were reported power surges in the building and a battery-operated video
camera blew out and short-circuited the phone system. There was later some debate over these
things... some said yes and others said no. The pastors conference in the summer of 1989 happened
next at Tom Stipes Vineyard in Denver. They put Vineyard 1 on Isacc's altar, not knowing if the
movement would make it through the fire of God's judgment. These things were said of Vineyard 1 :
o It was sovereignly raised up by God
o It was called by God "Worship and Compassion"
o It did not persist in pursuing God's presence but became enamored with God's power (we sought His
hand and not His face). God saved us from judgment by lifting His anointing because power w/o purity
would kill us
o It was laced with immorality that was not dealt with by leadership ("unsanctified mercy")
o It was a relatively prayer-less movement drawing spiritual power from the intercession of others
o It had been saved by God the summer before from becoming tied to a governmental system

Many saw an opportunity through Paul Cain to re-ante... he being a parable for the movement - a
faceless man who stepped out of life and a successful ministry in humility, choosing God rather than
„success‟ to be reinstated at a later time.

Corporate Prophetic Words:

o God was going to raise up a faceless generation, a new breed, dread champions who would only
think of the righteousness and glory of God.
o It was not the parent's generation but the children's that would be the chosen generation. They
would start at the parents highest level of anointing and wisdom
o God had not given the Vineyard permission to fail. Leaders could opt out, but the movement had
been sovereignly raised up by God.
o God was about the business of Offending the mind to Reveal the heart. God would use the reproach
and rejection of the larger church to prepare the faceless generation.
o The enemy had stolen the foundational ministries of apostle and prophet from the church, but God
was now restoring them. Emergence of the prophetic in the 80's and maturity in 90's... Emergence of
apostolic men in the 90's and maturity after 2000
o God was raising up Joel's army
o God was raising up city churches
o 12 Major streams.... Each would have a revelation and cross-pollinate the others... they would need
each other. Vineyard was one and KCF was another...
o God would be raising up world wide movements of Night and Day Prayer
o A sudden impartation of the power of the Holy Spirit would enable power evangelism
o God would give more signs in the heavens as the highest form of verification that all this was true.
o A sword of judgment was coming to the church. All who were not in a humble position would fall.
God was showing how serious He is about Holiness
o God was beginning to require an extravagant humility that would be connected with prayer and
generous giving to the poor.
o God had given John Wimber David's harp that had been lost. Worship!
o the Vineyard was going to receive a 10 fold increase. This was to get the leaders ready for the great
move of God
o In the end this had nothing to do with Vineyard- it was for the Whole Body of Christ and had to do
with Jesus.

In August of 1989 Paul Cain told John Mumford, "I believe that revival will probably find its starting
point somewhere in October there (England), when the Lord will just start to move throughout London
and throughout England." Mumford assumed October of the present year 1989... when October of
1989 came and went he wondered if Paul had missed the date. However, because of Paul's track
record he withheld judgment. In March of 1990 Mumford recounted this experience @ Chorleywood
and taught about receiving correct revelation but missing the interpretation and / or application.
Unknown to Mumford, a tape of this talk was recorded and widely circulated in the UK. This would
have a bearing later.

Three Phases of Prophesy:

1 - Revelation
2 - Interpretation
3 - Application
Wimber had a regular schedule of ministering in October and continued to do so in 1990. He brought
Cain to London in 1990 to meet some British leaders. On July 14th after the get-together / conference
(but well before the October conference) Wimber, Cain, Mumford, and several others met with some
leader who expressed severe reservations over the upcoming conference. One of the detractors
brought up Mumford's comments regarding Cain from the Tape @ Chorleywood. This person asserted
that this was an attempt to rationalize a word that was, in fact, wrong. Wimber records what happens
next: "Before Mumford could respond, Paul Cain said, "I stand by every word I prophesied to John
Mumford on August 5th" Almost as an afterthought, he added "Thus saith the Lord: Revival will be
released in England in October of 1990... Tokens of revival will come in October 1990." I was stunned.
I had never before heard Paul introduce a word with the phrase "Thus saith the Lord," and I assumed
- correctly - that he was speaking with great authority. Suddenly the words that he had spoken in
February took on greater urgency and importance. "Paul," I said, "what do you mean by that? Do you
mean revived people or revived churches? Or both? Paul responded, "I mean both." "

In Summary, Paul Cain prophesied:

o The "first shot" of revival would come to England in October of 1990
o That "tokens" of revival would be the first fruits of a greater revival
o that it would affect individuals and whole churches

Wimber was impacted by the gravity of the word and had to wrestle with believing if revival would or
would not break out in 1990... Later John came to believe it would and to commit himself and the
Vineyard to this word.

Prophetic Honeymoon: The Vineyard had been enjoying a prophetic honeymoon from 1989 onward:

After the 1989 pastor's conference there was a general renewal in the movement and in the individual
lives of the Vineyard. Bill Jackson remembers coming home and pursuing God more ardently than at
any other time in his life. Wimber had new hope for the church and his health eventually improved.
God also used Bob Jones to bring John's son, Sean, to repentance. One day Bob Jones showed up at
the Wimber's house and told John that he was there to see Sean. John told Bob that he did not
understand what Bob was doing because Sean did not live there anymore and would not be coming
home anytime soon. Suddenly, there was Sean and Bob delivered his word and it broke Sean's heart
and opened him up to repent before the Lord. Sean became reconciled with his family.

In the fall of 1989 there was a conference on Prophecy and in January a Massive conference on
Holiness that ran for 2 separate weeks with 5,000 attendees each. Wimber began to extensively share
the podium with Cain and Bickle. Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson, Jim Goll and Larry Randolf began to
travel extensively in the Vineyard. Non-KCF men like Leonard Ravenhill, Rick Joyner, and Francis
Frangipane began to travel in the movement also. Bickle began to teach about administrating the
prophetic. This was very helpful because many prophetic people started coming out of the closet in
their churches at all different levels of maturity.

The Honeymoon is Over:

The first shot of extreme controversy was fired on Jan 21, 1990 when Ernie Gruen, a local Kansas City
Pastor, spent the Sunday morning sermon accusing KCF of all kinds of abuses. In the late 80s Gruen
and Bickle had met to address Gruen's concerns and finally Gruen announced, "differences between us
are resolved." After this, a sermon tape that accused KCF of false prophecy (esp Bob Jones) was sent
around the world. Bickle sent Gruen an open letter and Gruen responded with a 233-page paper
entitled "Documentation of the Aberrant Practices and Teaching of Kansas City Fellowship (Grace
Ministries)." This indicted Bob Jones (especially) John Paul Jackson and Paul Cain. Wimber jumped in
to cut off the controversy's momentum and declared that KCF to be a part of AVC. Bickle had
approached Wimber with this idea in May of 1989. He was not seeking shelter from criticisms but
wanted to fellowship with the Vineyard. On May 12, 1990 KCF became Metro Vineyard Fellowship.
After a meeting on June 12th with Wimber, Cain and Deere, Gruen agreed to stop his attacks. Gruen
exonerated Cain from all his previous accusations. He released all responsibility into Wimber's hands.
The problems with MVF (Metro Vineyard) and Australia caused Wimber to reconsider his application of
the prophetic word to "Turn the other cheek" when attacked. Wimber felt he had to change His stance
of‟ No Response‟ to „Clarifying Misunderstanding‟.

Wimber did correct MVF on these points:

o   A lack of accountability for prophecy
o   Allowing prophetic men to teach who were not gifted to do so
o   The attempt by some prophetic men to establish doctrine on the basis of prophecy
o   Dogmatic assertions in the delivery of prophetic words
o   Using jargon from groups that the Vineyard was trying to distance itself from
o   Manifesting an attitude of superiority through information gain in prophecy

Later it became public knowledge that Ernie Gruen was in an immoral relationship at the time he was
attacking the Kansas City Fellowship! His ministry was eventually discredited. Bickle responded with
deep humility and brokenness, despite that he had 'inside' prophetic knowledge that Gruen was
having an immoral relationship. To Bickle's credit he never accused Gruen and choose rather to let the
Lord bring judgment.

Wimber did some disciplining of Bickle before 7,000 people at MVF's annual conference in 1991. Bickle
repented and outlined 4 immediate adjustments in MVF:

o The 'City Church' teaching - he realized he should have emphasized unity through Relational Lines
rather than through governmental structure
o The "New Order" - Mike admitted that this could sound elitist even though that was never in his
heart... MVF needed to communicate this differently
o The error of putting Bob Jones in any form of a teaching role
o John Paul Jackson had given some wrong prophesies and support his move to Anaheim for a period
of instruction.

George Mallone - writes hopefully about the merger between AVC and MVF... citing several differences:

1 Indicatives vs Imperatives

Indicatives - statements of facts... "Christ died for your sins..." verses Imperatives - commands i.e.
"repent...." Vineyard had always put Imperatives 1st and then lead to Indicatives... "Christ has died
for you .... so repent." This caused Vineyard to rest in Grace and sometimes tended to be slothful in
behavior. KCF on the other hand was serious about Holiness but tended towards legalism.

2 Vineyard was a movement of Pastors and teachers.... vs KCF that was a movement of Prophetic

3 Historical-grammatical Interpretation of Scripture v.s. an Allegorical Interpretation of Scripture

4 Process v.s. Crisis: Process - "I am finding it" vs Crisis "I have found it!" Renewal vs Revival.
Reformed v.s. Armenian Vineyard was all about going out and serving people now and plundering the
enemy's camp now. KCF was waiting / praying and preparing for the Big Bang of Revival yet to come.

5 Wholeness vs Holiness

Did Revival Come in England during October of 1990?

Wimber prepared his people and fully embraced the hope that this was it: "This week is the most
crucial moment in the Vineyard. It is the most important task in VCF history. If we have success here,
it will give us momentum for the next two decades. Our future could pivot on this conference.... All we
have done in the last ten years has been preliminary for this very moment. We have been setting the
stage for this week since we began. This is the time for each of us to do our jobs!"

The conference was powerful indeed.... very powerful, but not beyond everyone's wildest dreams....
Expectations were very high.

Bickle tried to clear up Paul's word about "tokens of revival." Paul was shocked when he read the
brochures that quoted him as saying that "revival" and not "tokens of revival" would occur at this
meeting. In the end Paul realized he was going to have to pay the bill on this one.

There was tremendous power but few creative miracles. John, soon afterwards, admitted that he
disagreed with Cain's exhortation to "come outside the camp," i.e. to leave the Evangelical church and
rally together. John's call was TO the church, not outside of it. Paul eventually agreed that this word
was 'out of season.'

Paul Cain delivered the word to MVF about not losing the lay ministry of everyday people to do the
work of the Kingdom when all the 'gifted' prophetic people show up. MVF was making adjustments.
Wimber and Cain began to go in different directions and preach in different circles. Bickle remained in
the Vineyard but some were telling him to pursue his own directions outside of the Vineyard. Wimber
did not have vision for Vineyard during this time. No one knew what Vineyard 2 was going to look like.
Someone Wimber trusted gave him a world that if he would spend less time with the prophets and
more time with the Vineyard, he would get the direction for the movement.

He discovered that of the Vineyard:

25% were for the prophetic
50 % were neutral
25% were against the prophetic

He also discovered that some of the churches were no longer willing to pay the price they originally
had to "do the stuff." There was a definite move away from encouraging a full display of the gifts of
the spirit. It was hard to remain open to spiritual gifts while at the same time being effective in

AVC council meeting in Dec of 1991

Direction was decided on and it was evangelism and church planting... focusing on the 10,000
churches. There were now 300 churched and many were overseas in Europe. The decision was also
made to birth World Missions.

Revival Fires Conference, Anaheim 1991

There were good conferences but revival did not break out. In the winter of 91 issue of Equipping the
Saints - Wimber addressed revival. He also exonerated Paul Cain and clarified the "tokens" of revival

Snoqualmine Falls, Washington, May 1991

Decision to make a direct move away from the prophetic. Secondly they confirmed the choice to
Church Plant. Thirdly the Pioneers / Homesteaders test was dealt with by the board. Several original
Calvary Pioneers stepped down and let the new Homesteader men and pastors take their places:
within a year these left:

Kenn Gulliksen
Tom Stipe
Lee Bennett
Jack Little

These 4 were all original Calvary Chapel pastors. Jackson also comments that at this point he realized
that many of them in Vineyard had gotten caught up in the elitist tendencies and apocalyptic fervor
that were common IMMATURE responses to the prophetic messages. They were often so caught up in
looking for the fantastic and extraordinary, the big bang, that it became hard to deal with the merely
mundane events of everyday life. John realized that he had been intimidated by the prophet's giftings
and had not realized that he had the authority to pastor them (and govern them just like you do
teachers or any other leader).

Wimber got back to his Reformed foundation. He was just a "fat man trying to get to heaven,"
precious treasure in clay jars. If God had used him, it wasn't because he had prayed harder than other
men. It had been God's sovereign choice. Additionally John had always taught that 'everyone gets to
play,' ministry was not just for the dread champions. Part of the Pioneer/Homesteader conflict was
centering around how to pastor all the new churches. The Pioneers said, "Can't we just relate to one
another?" The Homesteaders said, "We need to organize to support and pastor all the new growth."

In the fall of 1991 Bob Jones fell into sexual sin. This seemed to put the nail in the coffin of the
prophetic after all of Gruen's accusations.

Behind closed doors it became apparent that John had become deeply hurt by the lack of significant
revival in London and had become disillusioned.

Gordon D. Fee said, "The Charismatic movement would be judged for 2 great sins: 1) The "health and
wealth" gospel and 2) for the failure to weigh prophecy. Vineyard was suffering for the latter.

Responsibilities of the Prophet:

1) Learn to receive accurate prophetic words and not add their own 'stuff'

2) Language: to communicate these words as invitations not as the infallible event that would occur.
Or if the word is contingent on the recipients response that is important. Conditionality. Learning to
defend ourselves from disappointment and disillusionment.

3) The setting : most of these words were given on center stage in front of hundreds or thousands
with no time to decide how one felt about the word, how to respond ... neither was their time with the
prophetic person later to clarify or process the word. NT prophecy is to be WEIGHED... a major
difference between it and OT prophecy ...

4) The prophetic person has to be secure enough to have his words weighed and possibly rejected.

1991 Pastor's Conference

This was the biggest pastors conference yet. Wimber introduced the term "Centered Set" to describe
the Vineyard.

1 Fuzzy Sets - groups that have no organizational center. A group of little league baseball parents...
they have a common interest but no core values define their existence

2 Bounded Sets - groups that have banded together around a common center, but also have clearly
defined rules about beliefs and practices.
3 Centered Sets - groups that have joined together a common center articulated by core values. They
generally agree on where they want to go and how to get there and who will lead them. However,
there is a lot of latitude for collegial disagreement on non-core issues and flexibility in forms.

Wimber's Analogy of Trimming Back the Bush:

John's highest value in leading the movement was always to obey God within the confines of Scripture
as determined by our evangelical hermeneutic. Regarding trends or emphasis that occur, John wanted
to generally let them alone until they could be studied biblically and examined for long-term fruit. In
describing this philosophy he used the analogy of growing a bush. It s a temptation to trim a bush
back too soon before a Gardner knows what he has. This means letting things go for a while, thus
having to endure the bush looking messy and untrimmed. Then, when the course the branches are
taking becomes clear, that which is unwanted is trimmed back. This allows for more growth in the rest
of the plant. In this way the boundaries of our centered set were being defined.

The immature way we had responded to the prophetic ministry had all but stopped our forward

John also took time to explain why some prophetic words did not come to pass:

1 Sometimes the ministry come from false prophets

2 The message is misinterpreted by the person giving it OR the person receiving it

3 The person receiving the word either responded with a lack of faith or encountered conditions that
altered the word's fulfillment.

4 Not enough TIME has passed since the prophecy was given

5 There might be factors that we can't see or we don't understand

They also reorganized the Vineyard with APC's (Area Pastoral Coordinators) and RO's (Regional
Overseers) and lastly Task Forces for specific needs like Evangelism / Church Planting / World Missions

World Missions was birthed in 1991.

Missions began with David Owen in South Africa and Lonnie Frisbee Visiting ... then returning to the
US on the well remembered Mother's day in 1980. Later in 1981 David Watson gets involved with the
Vineyard and so does David Pytches. A team of 30 visit their churches in 1981 from the Vineyard. Lots
of ministry came via youth and children which greatly impacted the British clergy and highlighted the
Priesthood of All Believers. In 1981, before the 1st team went to England, Bob Fulton had a vision
about ministering in the streets of England and saw a whole series of churches popping up. When they
told Watson about their desire to plan churches in England, Watson made Wimber promise NOT to
plant Vineyards in the UK but to work THROUGH the existing Anglican Churches. In 1984 Watson died,
which was another source of deep heartache for Wimber. Once again, the Kingdom is here but also
not fully consummated. This said that Vineyard was not part of the Faith movement. It's faith allowed
for pain as well as signs and wonders. John Mumford and his wife Eleanor moved to Anaheim wanting
to embrace the Vineyard experience and culture. They returned and planted a Vineyard, explaining
that they were no longer Anglicans. David Pytches also felt that Watson's view was wrong and
encouraged the young churches. This was about 1986. The band on church planting was officially lifted
in 1993.

Wimber and Bob Fulton are released to focus on international church planting and missions. The board
released control of these non-US arenas into their hands.
Vineyard Bible Institute is started in 1992.

In April of 1993, just before world wide renewal was about to break out in Toronto, Wimber is
diagnosed with cancer in the left side of his nose. X-ray and proton radiation ensue. He lost tons of
weight and the ability to produce saliva. Carol Wimber (The Way It Was) documents the excruciating
pain and suffering that went on with these treatments. John strength, balance and ability to just
function as a normal human were greatly harmed. He never had the same stamina after. He began to
slowly fade into the background as he gave more authority to the international board. May 16, 1993
Brent Rues dies of cancer.

Section 3: The Toronto Blessing

Enter Randy Clark & The Toronto Blessing

Randy was the Pastor of an American Baptist church in Spillerton, Illinois during which time Randy was
filled with the Spirit at a James Robinson conference in 1984. John Wimber was one of the speakers
and prophesied over Randy that he was a "Prince in God's Kingdom" and was being called to an
apostolic ministry. By "apostolic" John meant "translocal." Shortly after this conference Blaine Cook
took a team to Spillerton and the move of God was so strong that it was called the "Spillerton revival."
Randy tried to lead his Baptist church into the things of the Spirit, but met much opposition. On a 21
day fast he sensed the Lord speak to him that we was supposed to plan a Vineyard in St. Louis. He
worked frying donuts while he planted the church. However, Randy wrote that it seemed to him as if
the "Holy Spirit stayed in Illinois." His effort to make the church grow were mostly fruitless. Randy
began to move away from power-based ministry and move more towards church growth principles.
Randy concedes that there is nothing wrong with church growth principles, but he knows in his heart
that he was looking to the wisdom of men and not to God.

By July of 1993 he was close to a nervous breakdown and felt like he was barely hanging on. "Job's
counselors" were telling him that he needed to pray more and read his Bible more, but he couldn't; he
was broken and didn't know what to do to fix it. It is interesting to note here that Randy, later, would
say that God chose to use him to spark the Toronto Blessing because he was an ordinary man and a
relatively unsuccessful pastor.

In the middle of his brokenness a friend called and asked how he was doing. Randy lied and said he
was fine. His friend went on to tell Randy of his own problems and how he had been helped by Rodney
Howard-Browne. Jeff told Randy to go to a meeting but Randy resisted because he didn't like the
"word of faith" teaching. Randy eventually went out of sheer desperation. Randy was exposed to
people being massively slain in the Spirit and laughing hysterically. He found himself skeptical, but the
Lord nailed him on his bitterness toward the word of faith movement. He then opened himself up for
ministry and got in line again and again, being slain in the Spirit repeatedly. Randy felt wonderfully
renewed and came home. That 1st Sunday the same phenomena were released in his church.

Randy then asked Happy Leman if he could share 5 minutes at the Vineyard‟s regional pastors
meeting. It turned into several hours of ministry!

Randy met John Arnott, next month, at the Vineyard board meeting and later John got Randy to come
to Toronto. Randy was nervous about this but Anni Shelton, his worship leader, had a vision of the
map of Toronto being set on fire.

On the night before the pastors conference God spoke to Carol Wimber and told her that John was to
go to the nations to stir up renewal and revival. Carol replied " Lord my husband is sleeping 20-22
hours a day. He has no voice. Tomorrow pastors from all over the world are going to be here, and he
won't even be able to participate. If this is indeed your will, touch him tonight. Please give him his
voice back, so that he may minister." And that is exactly what the Lord did. When John woke up, he
was able to speak and had just enough energy to go and participate in the conference.

By October of 1993, the same month Randy was being used by God at the regional conference in the
Midwest God had spoken to John 27 times confirming that he should go to the nations. 17 of these
were in the context of the Lord saying that this would be a season of new beginnings, "I'm going to
start it all over again." What the Lord appeared to mean was that the same anointing that fell on the
church in 1980 was going to start all over again. John identified with Abraham and Sarah saying to the
Lord, "Shall I have this pleasure in my old age?" The Lord assured him that he would and this
reassurance gave life to John. John gave this word at the Board meeting. This was the same meeting
where Happy Leman shared with John Arnott about the Midwest Regional meeting with Randy Clark.
John Arnott talked to Randy asking him to come to Toronto.

On January 6th, 1994 the Holy Spirit spoke the word, "Pentecost" to John Wimber. John asked the
Lord what it meant, but got no answer. During the service John has a picture of the young people in a
certain order. He asked them to come up and God consumed them with His love and power. That
night began an outpouring that lasted for months.

Just a few days later Randy was nervously getting his team ready for Toronto afraid that nothing
would happen. The night before they left he got a call from Richard Holcomb, "The Lord says to you,
Randy, 'Test me now. Test me now. Test me now. Do not be afraid. I will back you up! I want your
eyes to be opened as Elisha prayed for Gehazi that you can see into the heavenlies and see my
resources for you. And do not become anxious because when you become anxious you can't hear me.'
As the team left for a 4 day conference, Randy had no idea that he would be there from Jan 20 to
March 26!

The first night consisted of 160 people. Randy gave his testimony and many people were slain in the
Spirit and getting "drunk" in the Spirit and going into fits of laughter. This happened for the next four

John Arnott told Randy he couldn't go home. DeAnne, his wife, was home alone with 4 children and
they had almost never been apart in 19 years of marriage. He was constantly on the phone with
DeAnne extending the time. Finally, the Lord himself gave her assurance through the Scriptures. The
church also gave it's blessing, not realizing that it would take Randy out of town for 175 days per year.

Services began going on 6 nights a week and service in other churches in nearby cities picked up the
movement of the Spirit also. By the 3rd week Randy became distraught over the lack of healing in the
services. He went to the Lord about it and got the intercessors at home praying about it. Soon
afterwards, during a meeting he felt excruciating pain in his back. Finally he realized that the Lord was
giving him a word of knowledge and called people up to pray for back pain in that exact location. The
first person Randy prayed for was healed of scoliosis and also of asthma. From that time on healing
became a normal part of the renewal.

Rob Allen, at that time was one of the national leaders in AVC, had an encounter with the Lord as he
prepared to go. The Lord told him, as he was packing a notebook, "If you go to criticize, I will lift y
anointing. You go to receive." Ron put the notebook away.

God has especially opened doors among the Pentecostals with the outpouring in Toronto.

In early Sept of 1995 cumulative attendance (for the last, roughly, year and a half) was about
600,000 ... including 20,000 Christian Leaders and 20,000 first time visitors. Toronto put tape on the
floor to show people where to stand for prayer and had catchers for those people if they fell. Vineyard
took a distaste to both. One could argue that Toronto was forming structure to facilitate the life that
was flowing. Others said this was not 'Vineyard.' Wimber later criticized the catchers because if done
improperly, it could create an unconscious feeling that one 'should' fall. Wimber was against that.
Holy Laugher was one of the 2 most criticized things in this event. This is funny ( really that is not a
joke.... and this is my own input - Chris S - if we can accept a Donkey talking to a prophet, a fish or
whale swallowing Jonah, God calling Isaiah to walk NAKED for 3 years to prophesy captivity, God
calling Hosea to MARRY a PROSTITUTE (which was unlawful), Jesus spitting on the ground to make
mud and put on the Blind guy's eyes to heal him, etc.... etc... etc... even if we reject these, what
about believing that a dead guy that had been buried for 3 days came BACK TO LIFE? If we can accept
and believe these things..... aren't we being incredibly petty and small objecting to laughter? Just a
question..... ) As Paul Cain used to say, "God offends the mind to reveal the HEART."

To date no other country has embraced the Toronto Blessing like England (Especially many Anglican
churches).Holy Trinity Brompton was deeply affected by the Holy Spirit on May, 1994 and afterwards.
The secretary could not even get off the floor and crawled to a phone to give Sandy Miller, the Vicar or
priest, a phone call regarding the Presence of God over everyone. "The effect was instantaneous.
People fell to the ground again and again. There were remarkable scenes as the Holy Sprit touched all
those present in ways few had ever experienced or seen. Staff members walking past the room were
also affected. Two hours later some of those present went to tell others in different offices and prayed
with them where they found them. They too were powerfully affected by the Holy Spirit.... many
falling to the ground. Prayer was still continuing after 5 pm." At 4pm Sandy Miller was at a serious
meeting of the Evangelical Alliance when he got an emergency call from the church secretary, Glenda.
She briefed him on the events. Sandy remembers the conversation to be something like this: "I said
to Glenda, 'Is it good?'

'Yes, it's a very good thing, indeed,' she replied.

So I replied, 'What are you doing on the telephone then?'

So she said, 'Well I'll tell you.... I have crawled to the telephone on my hands and knees.'

So I managed to look solemn for another minute, and I said, 'Thank you very much. I will get back as
soon as I can.'

Randy Clark would note that 7,000 churches in the UK were affected.

History on Wesley Campbell and his team:

Previously in December of 1987 Wesley Campbell, Roger Helland, David Ruis, their wives and others
of the New Life Fellowship Baptist Church were intensely visited by God. In 1985-86 they were
exposed to the ministry of John Wimber and began to hold conferences on the Kingdom of God and
pray for a release of power. On that night in 1987 when God manifestly showed up, these people were
shaking and speaking in tongues... and these guys were Baptists! Stacy, Wesley's wife, began to
rophesy intensely. This soverignly initiation began a learning curve that would teach them how to
PASTOR in the midst of revival.

Mott Auditorium and Che and Sue Ahn would take off in May, 1995.

Melbourne, Florida and the Tabernacle Church of the late Jamie Buckingham would receive an outburst
of the Spirit also. Randy Clark had a vision of a tidal wave hitting the Florida coast. Bill Jackson, the
author of this book, and Fred Grewe were present during this time.

Brownsville, Florida (just outside of Pensacola) w/ John Kilpatrick and w/Steve Hill in June of 1995
took off.

By July there were about 4,000 attending nightly being bussed. The meetings would go until 3:00 am
in the morning. By August of 1996 (about a year later) over 700,000 people had attended.
Randy Clark took a worship team who learned the songs in Russian to Moscow in Oct of 1995. The
Russians were floored that Americans had learned the songs in their own language.

There was also lots of activity by Holy Spirit in many other areas. Specifically with students at
Southwest Baptist seminary, Wheaton College, and Taylor University. Major confession and healing
was occurring. In July of 1994 Billy Graham was announcing that, 'America is at the center of a great
revival.... I am praying for a new touch of the Holy Spirit.' Bill Bright, president of Campus Crusade for
Christ, went on a forty-day fast to pray for revival. This became a world wide prayer movement.

In 1983 Bob Jones heard from God that a world wide move of God would begin in 10 years time. It
would be global and could crescendo in the end-time move of God.

Larry Randolph in 1986 heard the Lord say that He was going to bring the rain of his Spirit on the
earth and it would start in embryo form in the Fall of 1993.

Wimber has a vision regarding Toronto & the revival: "In the vision the Lord showed me a magnificent
mountain lake. Beautiful sunshine reflected off water that was fresh and inviting. The water of the lake
spilled over a dam and cascaded into a river and came down the sides of a mountain into a large plain.
In the plain there were thousands and thousands of acres of vineyards. I saw men working in the
fields, digging irrigation ditches. Then the vision ended.

So I said,‟ Lord, what does it mean?' In my mind, He gave me, 'The lake is the blessing I'm pouring
out. Isn't it beautiful? Isn't it fresh?' I was so touched, I began to cry. He then said, 'The cascading
stream is the church. I'm pouring it first into the church.' I wept more. I just thought, 'Oh thank You,
Lord. Thank you for the blessing on the church.'

Then I saw again how the water came down to the bottom of the mountain into the plain where the
workers were tending the irrigation ditches. I recognized these irrigation ditches as ministry to the
poor, ministry to the weak, sick, broken and lost. There were different kinds of vineyards with
different kinds of fruit growing on the vines. Then He said, 'That's My People. This blessing can either
stay in the church, with great meetings that eventually end. Or we can pull the gates up and let the
water begin flowing. If you want, you can direct the water, the blessing, into the fields.'

I got the clear impression of co-laboring. God was pouring out His blessing. But if we didn't dig the
channels, if we don't go out into the highways and by-ways, if we don't put evangelism forward, if we
don't do the things God calls us to do, revival won't spread."

Randy Clark, on the other hand, did not think we could box it in: "This renewal which God sovereignly
chose to birth in Toronto is so much bigger than any one church or any one denomination. Any
attempts to box it in will fail and only harm those you try to restrain it."

In April of 1994 Wimber had a 'fatherly' talk with Randy warning him 1) not to give up his church, and
2) to pace himself. He expressed genuine concern for Randy's family, telling him that it might not
show up immediately, but his traveling could greatly affect his kids in the future.

In Reflections magazine in May/June of 1994 Wimber asked that this stage of the Spirit's activity be
called a "renewal" instead of "revival" because he said historically revival resulted in mass conversions,
increased holiness, societal change, and a fire to fulfill the Great Commission. This seemed more to
affect the people already inside the church instead of those outside. However, his preliminary
conclusions were that this could be revival but it was just too early to tell.

The second item to he highly criticized were peoples reactions to the Spirit of God or the
'manifestations'. Especially those involving actions resembling animals (Lion's roaring, Oxen, ....)
Although these were rare in meetings (and most churches reported never having them), because of
the strangeness, they brought heavy and intense accusation and criticism.
Because of all the conversation about manifestations Wimber looked into principles for judging what
Jonathan Edwards called 'affections.' Edwards exhorted his readers of his day to be patient and judge
the long-term fruit.

Wimber asked the smaller churches to avoid wearing out their people with meetings and asked the
larger churches to make sure that their renewal meetings did not override the work of the church.

John asked that the renewal stay Christ-centered and not become manifestations-centered.

He was concerned about training catchers and putting tape on the floor. He thought that it planted the
notion that people should fall, thus putting the emphasis on the manifestations and creating first and
second class citizens...i.e., those who experienced manifestations and those who didn't.

Reflections July/August 1994

John brought the renewal home to Anaheim w/a Conference called "Let the Fire Fall." About 5,000
attended and afterwards they were flooded with over 1,000 phone calls, letters, faxes, and notes. This
was the largest response they had ever gotten from a conference. The communication was both
positive and negative.

John assured pastors that it was ok to pastor the renewal. It was ok to put a stop to "holy" laughter
during the preaching if it was bothersome; it would not be quenching the Spirit to do so.

He walked pastors through I Cor 14 where Paul asks for 1) Intelligibility 2) Order and 3) Edification.
Not everyone defines ORDER in the SAME way, but however it is defined, as pastors we need to make
sure that our people are being edified.

Reflections Sept/Oct 1994

John shared insights from counsel gained from noted Pentecostals Jack Hayford and Vinson Synon.

John reiterated 6 things that we Vineyard Churches must continually be doing, renewal or not:

1) Teaching the Word
2) Administering the ordinances of Baptism and communion
3) Pastoring people's needs
4)Equipping the Saints for ministry
5)Leading in Worship
6) Doing the work of Evangelism

Wimber concluded, "In my opinion, any Vineyard pastor who neglects the above to pursue or give too
great a place to phenomena long-term is making a potentially fatal mistake as far as that local
congregation is concerned."

Wimber also quoted Guy P. Duffield saying, "Our message is not the Holy Spirit and his gifts. It is
Christ Jesus and His resurrection." Wimber wanted the Vineyard to embrace the present-day ministry
of the Spirit ONLY as it is built off the "main and plain" foundation of Jesus. Any other preoccupation
with the Spirit's ministry is illegitimate.

The first incident of 'animal noise' occurred about 5 months into the renewal. Some have commented
that in the renewal people were acting out prophetic messages replicating the movements of these
creatures. Actions imitating Lions or Oxen were associated with the Lord driving back the enemy with
great strength and power. As stated before, these occurrences were actually rare. However, the furor
caused by these bizarre behaviors drove John to call an emergency meeting of the Vineyard board.
Randy Clark, John Arnott, and Wes Campbell were invited to Anaheim to meet with the Vineyard's
Regional Overseers and key leaders. They were faxed a list of 20 possible items to be discussed, each
one addressing the concerns over pastoring the renewal. Todd Hunter said this was the classic tension
that existed between the "bishops" and the "charismatically endowed." Randy Clark, who could only
stay a couple of days, expressed consternation that most of the discussion centered on the animal
noises. These manifestations had not occurred in his meetings and he had what he felt were more
pertinent issues to work through. The Regional Overseers, on the other hand, had to come up with a
board policy to govern the phenomena because they were devastating some of their churches.

Hank Henegraff, The Bible Answer Man, of the Christian Research Institute used his radio broadcast to
warn his listeners that the renewal was really a Satanic deception. Hank was a member of Chuck
Smith's Calvary Chapel. In May of 1995 Lee Grady wrote in Charisma magazine, "Does the Church
need Heresy Hunters?" Grady noted that at the time there was a group of 30 former employees who
were asking for Hanegraff's resignation because he has violated ethical standards and isn't
accountable to anyone!

The Board Report came out and stated several things - only a few are listed here:

o The Vineyard has always tried to "bless what the Father is doing" and will continue to invite the Holy
Spirit to come with a willingness to pastor the results
o We are aware that peoples unique responses to the touch of God might look bizarre or remind us of
things we have seen, like a Lion or Ox. We should avoid a "this-is-that" explanation. We should
definitely not try to explain a non-biblical manifestation with a biblical allusion or "proof-text."
o We should never promote manifestations in any way.... but focus on the main and plain issues of
o If God has truly touched a person it will be evident in time as good fruit
o We do not want church life to revolve around renewal meetings. We want to stick to what we are
about - making disciples and church planting.
o The Vineyard should refrain from equating any movement of the Spirit with any particular
eschatological schema such as the beginning of a great end-time revival.

Todd Hunter comments: " You may ask, 'In simple terms, what does all the above mean?' It means
that it is our desire to embrace all that is good about this renewal while correcting that which is
excessive, long-term hurtful or contrary to biblical mandates. We also want to interact with the
renewal based on our historical and firmly held vision, mission and purpose... we are committed to
"power evangelism," not just "power"; we are committed to "signs and wonders and church growth,"
not just "signs and wonders." The Lord had clearly instructed us to direct these current blessings into
practical activities that will minister to and bless those outside of our churches. It is our hope that
every Vineyard pastor will do so through the grace and power of God."

James Beverly wrote an article for 'The Canadian Baptist,' and gave a critique of Toronto that had
positive as well as negative points:

o   God's power is exalted over the devil's
o   It is bringing long-needed renewal to the church
o   The Toronto Leaders have been exemplary in their lack of focus on money.
o   The Toronto leaders have a non-legalistic focus in their approach to holiness.

On the other hand:

o He thinks the preaching is notoriously weak - there is a lack of focus on Christ and an over-emphasis
on the Spirit.
o Toronto leaders have a limited view of the Holy Spirit; Beverly thinks that the leaders of the renewal
give the impression that God is only doing one thing in Toronto. He says, 'the Spirit of God landed in
Toronto long before Jan 20, 1994. In thousands of churches and in a million ways, the Holy Sprit has
been working in this great Canadian city.'
o Toronto has an anti-intellectual spirit that gives it a theological shallowness
In the end Beverly comments: 'If Toronto is too wild, are not dead and boring services an equal, if not
greater, sin? .... If the Holy Spirit is over emphasized, what shall we say against churches that ignore
the Spirit?'

By March of 1995 Peter Jennings of ABC News did an hour long special called "In the Name of God."
He examined Bill Hybel's Willow Creek Community Church, The Vineyard, and the laughing revival
under Rodney Howard-Browne. Vineyard let the News team take footage from a service in Anaheim in
the face of a 21 year policy to preserve the privacy and intimacy of the worship service. ABC didn‟t
focus on the main and plain aspects of worship but went for emotional or unusual responses of the
people present.

Phil Donahue had Toronto leaders on his show.

John Arnott's book comes out in 1995 called 'The Father's Blessing.' His desire was to focus the
renewal on Jesus and the Father, however his chapter 'The Prophetic: Animal Noises and Insights:'
solidified for many on the Board that John was willfully not complying with the Board's 1994
parameters. John Wimber was particularly upset about this book because his name appeared on the
back with his endorsement and he had never read or seen this chapter or animal like phenomena.
Vinson Synan applauded AVC's desire to stick to the main and plain, not forbidding manifestations but
putting them to the side, away from the cross, discipleship, and world evangelization.

In early December 1995 the board had made the decision to withdraw its endorsement of the Toronto
Airport Vineyard - for 2 reasons:

1) The board's perception was that TAV (Toronto Airport Vineyard) had a different vision and direction
from AVC

2) The board felt that TAV was not complying with the 1994 policy decisions, demonstrating that the
AVC board members were not their leaders. Wimber later said that the AVC could no longer endorse
what it no longer had authority over.

Given these 2 factors, AVC was going to set TAV free to pursue its own direction and values.

When they met with TAV on Dec 5th the Toronto leaders were shocked having thought Wimber was
coming to work things out.... not step away from them. AVC also contacted Wes Campell and his
church, because of their close association w/TAV, and told them what was occurring the day before.

Wimber said that the Board and leaders of AVC had contacted and communicated with TAV, but had
gone unheeded and that lack of response led to this current separation. TAV on the other hand
objected saying that they had no idea that the Board felt that strongly and that this would be the next
step. TAV delivered a letter to Wimber's hotel in 2 hours accepting the choice of the Board and asking
for the Vineyard's blessing. Within a week, however, TAV was preparing to appeal the decision. They
believed on the basis of Matt 18:15-17 that they were deprived of due process - that steps along the
way had been skipped and this was too sudden . Wimber admitted that there had been flaws in the
process and that communication had been mixed. However he was not willing to concede that there
had not been enough clear, unambiguous communication or that the resulting course of action had not
been warranted. In a memo to the board, Todd wrote: "For what it's worth, my reading is that this is
very sad for both parties, but that the separation was inevitable. Furthermore, they are glad to be rid
of restraints that we put on them, and we are relieved not to have to answer for the excesses any
more." While the Vineyard Regional Overseers made the decision to refrain from teaching in Toronto
and hosting Toronto-style meetings, Todd made it clear that TAV was not being 'black-balled.' 40
churches left Vineyard to follow TAV. Randy Clark, still in the Vineyard, expressed how hurt he was y
the suddenness of it all ad the allegations that Toronto was not 'Vineyard.' Don Williams had sent an
11th hour appeal to the board in the form of a single long fax, to defend Toronto as begin
quintessential Vineyard. The board never saw the fax until later.
Ted Haggard, pastor of a 5,000 member church in Colorado felt an urgent impression from the Lord to
visit TAV on Dec 5th at his own expense. That day he learned of the board's decision and felt the Lord
had sent him there to address this issue and work towards reconciliation. He also enlisted the help of
Jack Hayford. Haggard challenged the process and called for an improved model. He suggested a
panel of 5 men to work on this present decision. Later after a meeting with Wimber, Haggard said
Wimber told him he was 'finished' and 'tired' and rejected the offer on the table. Wimber and his son
Chris had both been fighting cancer, and AVC had been taking the heat for Toronto for 2 years.

Wimber spent the next 2 issues of Reflections trying to explain why AVC withdrew it's endorsement
from TAV. At the time of this writing, Randy Clark, Wes Campbell, and David Ruis are still in the
Vineyard. Randy had his associate Fred Grewe had continued traveling the world, but not in Vineyard
circles. Audiences are mostly Pentecostal and Charismatic. Randy said to Bill Jackson that he feels that
Vineyard is reverting back to it's Calvary Chapel roots out of embarrassment for the Holy Spirit's
ministry. Other's would look at the lack of evangelism in the Vineyard's renewal history and see our
current stance as coming back in-balance.

No sooner had the Toronto dust settled than the question of Mike Bickle's status in the Vineyard
surfaced. By mid-1996 Bickle stepped away from the Vineyard. Two years previous to this, Rick
Olmstead, the RO for Bickle's geographic area, had a dream - considering the nature of the dream it is
unusual because he does not move prophetically. In his dream he found himself in the main MVF
facility All through the building the signs read 'Vineyard.' He felt assured that Metro was really now in
the movement. For some reason he felt himself go into the basement, and there, etched in the
concrete foundation were the words, 'Kansas City Fellowship.'

John Wimber told Christianity Today that the Vineyard had been asking Metro Vineyard for 6 years to
withdraw from the Vineyard but they refused on the grounds that they felt called to be in the

On the eve of MVF annual June Conference, Mike said he received words independently from 5
different sources telling him that he needed to overcome his fear of leading out ad he must again
trumpet the divinely entrusted 4 banner themes of the church. During the conference Rich Nathan
delivered a message about David's wife, Michael, who despised her husband out of her prideful
concerns for her own reputation. God busted Mike as he saw that he was, also, concerned over his
own reputation.

The next day Paul Cain met privately with Mike and with deep compassion delivered a word to Mike to
repent over a divided heart. Out of fear of losing key relationships, Mike says that he had not been
faithful to the message that God had given him.

Two days later Tri Robinson spoke on Gideon blowing the trumpet of God at a time of bondage and
compromise in the heart of God's people. Tri had no idea that this same passage had been given to
Mike as his inaugural sermon at the church. To top it off, Mike says he received 3 prophetic dreams
that week that confirmed all that God was trying to say.

Bickle wrote the Executive counsel and challenged them about cross-pollinating with the 4 banner
themes of MVF. Additionally he asked Vineyard to revisit 3 unresolved issues:

1 - The possibility that Holy Spirit was not fully satisfied with the way AVC governed the Toronto
2 - The possibility that the Holy Spirit might be grieved over the lack of due process given to TAV
3- The possibility that the Holy Spirit might have objected to the lack of honor given to John and Carol

In another letter Mike and his prophetic team brought up 5 insights regarding AVC. They believed the
Vineyard had:
1 - A spirit of slumber
2 - A spirit of the fear of man and a spirit of jealousy regarding the renewal at Toronto
3 - Been unfaithful to merge the 4 banner themes of MVF
4 - Rewritten history regarding AVC's relationship with Metro Vineyard, especially as it relates to
prophetic and intercession
5 - A control spirit which results in an ever-narrowing circle of liberty within AVC

On July 11, 1996 Wimber wrote the Executive Council recommending that:

1 - They not call a special meeting of the Council
2 - They review Bickle's concerns but not assure him that AVC would comply
3 - They not review AVC's decision about Toronto

In July Rick Olmstead met with Bickle and his team. After the meeting it became clear that the
Vineyard was not willing to meet the conditions articulated, nor did they believe the prophetic words
about AVC were of God. In the light of AVC's decision, Mike Bickle and his church withdrew from the
Association of Vineyard Churches on Aug 8, 1996.

John Wimber, having suffered over the years from angina, cancer, and a stroke, incurred a massive
brain hemorrhage the evening of November 16, 1997 after a fall in his house while still recovering
from heart by-pass surgery. He passed away peacefully at 8:00 a the following morning in the
presence of his family. He was 63 years old.

Todd prepares to talk with the Board. He considers "apostolic networks" as a future model for the
Vineyard. Groups of churches relating to a leader. He calls Steve Sjogren, John Arnott, and Bickle and
offers this to them. None of them are interested. Bill Hybels tells Todd to 'just lead.' Todd presents the
board with the Columbus Accord on April 20th, 1998 (restructuring program) and lets Todd lead the
Vineyard. Todd transitions the movement through Wimber's death and then steps down and out of
Leadership to disciple other young pastors in church planting and community. As of 1998 there were
449 churches in the US and 370 churches internationally.

YEAR                 USA CHURCHES                                    INTERNATIONAL CHURCHES

1983                 32                                              0

1984                 49                                              0

1985                 84                                              0

1986                 197                                             2

1987                 208                                             8

1988                 221                                             15

1989                 222                                             22

1990                 262                                             26

1991                 326                                             30

1992                 336                                             41
1993                 349                                            57

1994                 363                                            80

1995                 391                                            150

1996                 411                                            192

1997                 417                                            246

1998                 449                                            370

(Me -Chris) I think it is incredibly important to note 2 items here. During the Prophetic period 1988-
1991 there is relatively little increase in the number of churches. (Now this may be due to internal
growth and strength and will result in outward growth later or it may just represent stagnation).

The second period I want to point out is the jump in International church planting from 1993- present-
1998…. Right during the Toronto Blessing the International Church plants go through the roof!
Interesting isn‟t it. The Domestic Churches did not see much of a numeric growth until a little spurt in
1998. I wonder if Toronto really did spark revival?

Questions? Comments? Email me at

(Originally written in 1994; posted by several ministries on-
                            An autobiographical and critical examination


         Cheryl Thomson, Ministerial Diploma, Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, 1995

Thewedding invitations we sent out were homemade, painstakingly prepared on a friend‘s
Macintosh computer, the first we had ever used. But also enclosed was a plain old Xerox copy of
a map showing directions to the church, located on an island in Lake Ontario… with a ferry

Steve and I had our very first date out on Center Island, and when we discovered there was a
historic little old church we could rent there for our wedding, we were delighted.
Many of the friends and family who came didn‘t realize what it meant for Steve to be marrying a
―Born Again Christian‖. Most of them didn‘t know that he himself had made an eternal
commitment to Christ three months before. And I see, as I look back now, that the bride and
groom themselves had no understanding of what God had in mind, bringing them together. In
fact, we‘re still in the process of finding out. But this was six years ago, at the very start.

The ceremony commenced with a burst of untraditional music. Two men stood singing and
playing guitars at the front of the church, accompanied by a back-up tape, again painstakingly
homemade. My husband Steve and Jeremy Sinnott sounded so good together. Jeremy was the
worship leader of the small local Toronto Vineyard, in existence by then for only about a year.

As I sat praying alone in a side room off the main sanctuary, I could hear the songs. We had
picked a half dozen of our favourites.

―Blessed be your Holy Name, Lord Jesus. I will never cease to give you praise. For you are
Messiah, Deliverer, The Holy One of Israel…
Blessed be your Holy Name, Lord Jesus. There‘s no other Name by which we‘re saved. For you
are Messiah, Deliverer, Blessed be Your Name…‖

And then:

―More love — More power — More of you in my life. More love — More power — More of
you in my life. And I will worship you, with all of my heart, And I will worship you, with all of
my mind, And I will worship you, with all of my strength, For you are my Lord…‖

It was a sampling of the music of ―The Vineyard‖. The music I loved. The music which the Holy
Spirit had used to draw Steve to Himself. The music I had heard for the first time in the
Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, a year and a half before, when I‘d made a personal
pilgrimage to see and hear John Wimber, for the first time, for myself.

Travelling had always been my chief means of ―spiritual therapy,‖ although I would never have
called it that when I was younger. I was a 36 year-old escapee from Los Angeles who had lived
in Europe for a year at 19, driven across the U.S. by herself in an old Toyota a few years later,
flown with a handbag to New York, Washington, DC, and Fort Lauderdale for various pointless
romantic liaisons in her late 20′s, and finally packed up for Ontario, Canada in 1980, for what I
knew was a final attempt to turn my life around and find happiness.

I found Jesus. I also found Christianity..But I discovered the two weren‘t often the same.

A Christian Pilgrimage

First, I belonged to a Pentecostal church, which taught the miraculous power of God and the
Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but never showed any evidence of either. Then I joined a ―Word of Faith‖
group. They claimed to do the works that Jesus did. They said they loved the Bible and would
hold fast to the Word of God above all else. During the next few years, I did see the supernatural
at work; but I didn‘t see much of Jesus. And I was very surprised when I discovered, after a little
study, that ―Word of Faith‖ teachers distorted the Bible they pretended to revere. I learned in my
research that ―another gospel‖ was preached not only in Paul‘s time, but in our own (Galatians

Soon after this, I saw a copy of Power Healing by John Wimber in a Christian bookstore. After
three years of looking for ―real Christianity,‖ I thought I had finally found it. Here was someone
who explained that people were just not automatically healed when you prayed for them. And it
didn‘t matter if they ―claimed it‖ or not. And it wasn‘t a result of hidden sin in their lives. In
other words, here was someone who didn‘t condemn a person who prayed for healing and didn‘t
receive it. For me, it was like a breath of fresh air. As if some kind of heavy, oppressive, even
acrid cloud of smog over my Christian life had just been clean blown away. Coming from Los
Angeles, that‘s an image I can relate to.

And yet there was no question from his books that John Wimber knew that Jesus heals today.
Even from my own brief experience, I knew that was true myself. So many doctrines from the
―Word of Faith‖ on healing are wrong, but that doesn‘t stop the miraculous powers of God from
being exercised, where and when He sees fit.

As it is written in Hebrews 13:8: ―Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.‖

I wanted to live the Christian life that Wimber described: Power Healing. Power Evangelism. He
said the ―New Testament Church‖, for all the signs and wonders recorded in Acts, had been
troubled by sin, false doctrines, and legalism. But now he held out the hope that a modern church
in the 20th-century could overcome all that, and live out the Christian life (―do the stuff,‖ as
Wimber called it) with signs and wonders, plus real love, and an impact on society which would
improve conditions for all.

I had begun to realize, in the depths of my soul, that God had literally saved me from hell. This
obvious truth, believe it or not, only dawned on me gradually. It wasn‘t preached to me. It was
more a matter of my receiving what the Holy Spirit wanted me to understand when I read my
Bible. And with that, came a realization that being a Christian meant doing something to
evangelize others, so they, too, by God‘s grace, would escape the same hell I had.

By this time, I was ready to tell the Lord, ―Send me.‖ But I‘d been disillusioned when I saw that
my friends in the ―Word of Faith‖ and in the Pentecostal churches didn‘t seem to know how to
share Jesus, and felt burdened and uncomfortable even trying. When I began to analyze the
superficial Gospel message they were told to communicate, and saw the absence of an
underlying joy and peace in their own lives, I was discouraged. But it was clear to me what the
Word of God said, and if I had to go it alone, then that‘s what I‘d do. I had already begun to put
this into practice at the time ―The Vineyard‖ entered my life.

Did ―The Vineyard‖ emphasize evangelism? I thought they would. But I discovered, instead, an
inward-looking, a self-absorption, a ―bless me,‖ ―thrill me,‖ ―heal me,‖ ―minister to me‖ mind-
set. It was an unending cycle. Evangelism efforts were the exception, not the rule. Worse, it was
obvious they were motivated by the desire for something called ―church growth,‖ which was
often discussed. The simple, pure, just sheer love for souls – which is true evangelism – was not
part of the formula. The Devil knows that kind of love is invincible. It wins. But nothing else

“The Vineyard” and Supernatural Phenomena

―A Workshop in the Holy Spirit‖ was the title of the series of talks John Wimber delivered in
New Orleans at the interdenominational Conference on the Holy Spirit and World
Evangelization. It was 1987. By then, ―The Vineyard‖ had over 300 church fellowships in the
U.S. Wimber was a featured teacher at the conference, along with Jamie Buckingham, Charles
and Frances Hunter, Reinhard Bonnke, Kenneth Copeland, and a dozen other ―big names‖ Every
afternoon, Wimber had the large hall of the Superdome to himself. The crowds were small, but
they grew. My chief recollection of these meetings was the ―ministry time‖.

The scene would be familiar now to many. It‘s the usual ―Vineyard‖ technique. Local ―Vineyard
Fellowships‖ had sent teams of workers to the conference. When Wimber announced from the
platform, ―The Holy Spirit is here. He‘s moving across the room…‖ these people, wearing
identification badges, approached anyone who seemed to be manifesting a supernatural touch
from God, or anyone who asked them for prayer. They held out their hands a few inches away
from the person‘s head, or the location on the body where physical healing was asked for, and
prayed. Many times, people were ―slain in the spirit‖. They lay on the floor in what I perceived
was truly another state of consciousness. When they arose several minutes later, they were
hugged by the workers, who appeared to be genuinely sincere and caring in everything they did.
I was impressed.

But I also remember that towards the end of Wimber‘s first address, a woman started screaming.
She was just sitting at one side of the platform, and she began to scream, wail and moan,
intermittently. I knew that Wimber ministered to the demonized from his books. But to my
amazement, he completely ignored this woman. So did everyone else. Wimber finished his
message. The meeting dispersed for a break, and when we returned to the hall, the woman was
gone. At the time, I concluded that Wimber‘s discernment, from the Holy Spirit, prompted him
to leave the woman alone. Perhaps she didn‘t have a demon, and I was just inexperienced.
Perhaps someone else prayed for her. -That may very well have been the case. But what I saw
and felt was a coldness and callousness on Wimber‘s part, and a distancing himself away from
people that was noticeable even in casual conversations. I observed him closely during this
conference, and at another one in England a year later.

A year later, I was attending John Arnott‘s church in Toronto. I enjoyed it very much, except I
wondered at the fact that few in the church had read either of John Wimber‘s books or even
knew very much about the ―Vineyard Movement‖ they had joined. The good material in Power
Healing and Power Evangelism wasn‘t being taught. It gradually became clear to me that what I
thought was ―Vineyard Headquarters‖ in Anaheim, California, had only nominal contact with
Arnott. Visiting speakers from the U.S., mostly from Vineyard churches in the Northeast,
mentioned that unlike a structured denomination, the Vineyard had grown through planting
satellite churches which remained very much independent in their approach and how they
handled their affairs.
It was here in 1987-88, that I saw a ―Vineyard Fellowship‖ in practice. Very nice, well-meaning
people prayed for the sick and for people with emotional problems, and for people oppressed by
demonic spirits. Sometimes they prayed with discernment, sometimes not. Sometimes they
prayed with power, sometimes not. What I did see was a gap, a void, where discipleship should
have been. Everyone just basically did their own thing.


Soon after Steve and I were married, in conversation one day Arnott briefly referred to the fact
that some of Wimber‘s closest associates in Anaheim had been found to have serious moral
problems and had left the ministry. The church in Anaheim had evidently been deeply shaken by
these events. Wimber himself couldn‘t understand what had happened. In a few years, a modern-
day prophet named Paul Cain would come to Anaheim and start revealing more sin in the
leadership, through what he said was revelation by the Holy Spirit, or Words of Knowledge.
Wimber would rely on Cain‘s ministry heavily for the next four years.

Recurrence of this kind of problem in ―The Vineyard‖ should have hit home to me, but it didn‘t.
I was too close to see the truth. Even if I had, I would have struggled against it. The fact is that
when Steve and I were engaged, for the brief three months after he confessed his faith in Christ, I
was so insecure, and my thinking still so tied to the ways of the world after five years of
confused Christian experiences, that after our engagement we started living together almost
immediately. I felt our relationship would be in jeopardy otherwise, which goes to show you how
little I trusted God at the time. But, just the same, I can honestly say I have never heard in any
church, from any pulpit, a clear, uncompromising, and reasoned message to Christian singles
warning them against making the mistake I did. I knew, of course, it was wrong. But the Devil‘s
lie (―It doesn‘t really matter‖) had help. No one at ―The Vineyard‖ ever said a word to us about it.

A month and a half before the wedding we rented and moved in a house that was directly across
the street from where Jeremy Sinnott, our friend and Vineyard music leader, lived with his wife
and three young sons. How we were living was very obvious. We went together to a home
fellowship meeting at Jeremy‘s house once a week.

No one from our Vineyard fellowship ever counselled us about what we were doing. There was
never a whisper of disapproval. After we were married, the whole situation, and the strangeness
of it, stayed with me. God has blessed Steve and I in our marriage. But today, I would not leave a
couple, in the same circumstances as I was once, without guidance, and the Godly reproof that
was necessary. But I realize now that ―The Vineyard‖ is known for not taking a strong stand in
this area. According to Keith Green‘s book No Compromise, he had problems with them about
this in the early ‘70′s in Los Angeles.

Dangerous Foundations

But teaching at our Vineyard fellowship did not emphasize the Bible and the basic tenets of
Scripture the way even I, with my ―arrested spiritual development‖, hoped they would. After our
marriage I saw my husband increasing his familiarity with Vineyard choruses, and spending
quality time in music rehearsals, while the Word of God lay untouched.
And then new seminars were scheduled, for all church members who wanted to be ―in
leadership‖. I was shocked to see that some of the same material would be taught that I had been
given to study in my ―Word of Faith‖ church. It dealt with how to ―visualize‖ Jesus, so that you
could receive Christ‘s own direct, specific ―Rhema Word‖ for you every day. Then you could
write it down in a journal. I had read enough articles on ESP and psychic phenomena in Los
Angeles in the 1960′s to recognize a formula for receiving ―automatic writing‖ when I saw it.

When I shared my concerns with John Arnott, he brushed them off, saying that if there was
anything wrong in the course he was saying we should take, he would deal with it when it came
up in class. Today Mark Virkler, the author of that course and others, is still a featured Vineyard
Ministries guest speaker.

It was with much regret and heartache that Steve and I left the little Toronto Vineyard. We had
made close friends. But when I witnessed John Arnott and his wife giving approval to a woman‘s
report of a divine message from Jesus that she should leave her husband because he was like a
stone around her neck, I knew it was time to go. But even then, I remonstrated with Arnott about
the incident in a letter, to which I received no reply. Other current leaders with Arnott of the
Toronto Airport Vineyard were copied on the same letter in 1989. I received no response from
any of them.

In my ―old days at the Vineyard,‖ there was no barking like dogs, oinking like pigs, or roaring
like lions. At least not in Toronto. But in Western Canada, there was something similar that
happened in the mid-1980′s. A series of, I believe, twelve audiotapes was issued by Vineyard
Ministries in California under the titles: Demonization I and II. These were in my possession
until a couple of months ago when we moved, and unfortunately I discarded them at that time.
There was one tape I should have kept. It was a teaching on spiritual warfare by a couple in
California who subsequently divorced, and whose materials were removed from the Vineyard
catalogue a few years ago. In my recent packing frenzy, I did not even keep a note of their names,
which is unfortunate. The tape should have been kept, because it relates this couple‘s experiences
while on a ministry trip, probably to Calgary or Edmonton, although the specific Canadian city
was not named. They reported that unde! r the power of the Holy Spirit, a whole large roomful of
people to whom they were ministering on this trip started barking like dogs, oinking like pigs
and making other animal noises. They had never seen anything like it. The husband explained to
-the class in Los Angeles which he was teaching (this class was being taped) that he believed the
animal sounds were demonic. He believed there was a great deal of demonic influence in the
churches in Canada. He believed the root cause may have been the reluctance of churches in
Canada to confront the works of Satan. It seemed to him that in some way a spiritual pact had
been made between the churches and the powers of darkness in Canada.


I cannot explain any of this. But I cannot explain it away, either. Ten years ago, in a Canadian
Vineyard meeting, there were dramatic animal sounds. At the time, the Vineyard recognized
them as demonic.
Spiritual Warfare

I have certainly observed the spectacular at Vineyard conferences. In early 1988, before meeting
my husband, I flew to England to attend the Conference on Spiritual Warfare held that year in
Brighton, England. I was very disappointed that there was no teaching at all on deliverance. Here
I‘d flown across the ocean, taking a week‘s vacation, to obtain some training so I could learn
how to help people. When the Holy Spirit is moving, the demonic forces of darkness will
duplicate divine phenomena with counterfeits, deceive the ignorant, and torment urnmercilessly
those who are vulnerable to personal attack. The ministry of deliverance is vital today, just as it
was vital when practised by Jesus, and by the Apostle Paul.

But the conference should have been entitled: ―Conference on Inner Healing‖. The reality of the
demonic realm was not addressed. To this day, John Wimber discusses ―spiritual warfare‖ by
explaining that ―binding the strong man‖ has nothing to do with deliverance, and that Christians
have no authority to bind or loose anything. It turned out that my first evaluation of his approach
was correct, when I saw him ignore that poor shrieking woman in New Orleans.

And what of the people who have been shrieking at the Toronto Airport Vineyard for the past
year now? Have they ever been helped? Did they start out with spiritual ―problems‖? Or did
spiritual ―problems‖ find them, courtesy of the services at The Vineyard?

What disturbed me about what I witnessed in England, however, was the carnival atmosphere
Wimber encouraged while he was ―ministering in the Holy Spirit.‖ And I felt that certain
individuals in the auditorium, who were pointed out by Wimber because their bodies were
visually shaking, or even visibly rippling in a totally unnatural, almost physically impossible way,
were held up for ridicule.

Incredibly gullible, I still returned to the Toronto Vineyard after this experience, and was married
by the Toronto pastor, and stayed in the church with my new husband for several months.

I share a common human flaw with many others. It is very difficult for anyone to objectively
draw conclusions from their own observations when those conclusions would contradict a
strongly held personal prejudice towards either someone or something who has been sincerely
liked or disliked in the past. I had an emotional stake in the ―Vineyard Movement‖. Many pieces
of evidence had to come together for me, before I would finally begin to ask questions, and act
on the answers I came up with, unpleasant as they were.

Growing Literature on “The Vineyard”

In 1990, a group called ―The Kansas City Fellowship/‘ with strong ties to prophet Paul Cain,
affiliated with ―The Vineyard‖. Then one day my husband and I received materials on the
Vineyard and the ―Kansas City Fellowship,‖ which appeared in a publication called Media
Spotlight, Now my own misgivings were in print. Our experiences sharing this material with
pastors associated with the Vineyard were instructive.
In 1990, a Toronto Downtown Vineyard was being organized by a friend of mine named David
Van Essen, a Baptist pastor who had worked for several years with great devotion at an outreach
in Parkdale, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city. Steve and I went to the inaugural
meeting to discover that a California Vineyard pastor named Wayne Coombs was actually going
to head the church, with our friend David‘s local assistance. Coombs literally boasted of having
been a successful theatrical agent in Los Angeles. Coming from Los Angeles myself, and having
spent ten years there working in TV production offices and talent agencies, I realized I did
recognize his name. Personally, as a Christian, I was ashamed of my background in ―show biz,‖
and for good reason. But here was a pastor who made note of that background in a church
brochure. In fact, he still looked somehow like a Hollyood agent from the 1970′s – complete with
open-necked pastel shirt and a gold chain.

Our friend David had brought some of his Parkdale congregation to the meeting. They were
seniors, welfare recipients, and ex mental patients. They didn‘t seem to fit in. I was concerned
for him, and for them. I gave David our Media Spotlight material to read, but he never responded
to us about it, even though a year previously he had shared with me frankly on some misgivings
he had about the Vineyard. Then he was just at the stage of ―checking it out.‖ But now he and his
family had spent five weeks down at the Kansas City Fellowship, and he had no more doubts.
Within a year‘s time, our friend David had left Parkdale Baptist, left Toronto, and was
ministering as a Children‘s Pastor with a Vineyard Fellowship in Cambridge, Ontario. He is now
a social worker in British Columbia.

Within a couple of years of our friend David‘s leaving Toronto, the Dowton Fellowship
apparently fell apart. Wayne Coombs himself is no longer pastoring, but now directs an
organization which provides services for Americans who are seeking to adopt orphans from
Eastern Europe. His California Vineyard team had shared dramatic ―prophetic words‖ about how
the Lord had directed them to plant that new church.

Another Ontario pastor we know who became associated with The Vineyard was Steven Hill, in
Newmarket, north of Toronto. Hill was well-known in Toronto as a minister who was very active
in the Pro-Life Movement. In 1991, he sent a group of teenagers from his church down to the
Kansas City Fellowship. We sent him our Media Spotlight material. Several months later we ran
into him at a Pro-Life demonstration. To our shock, and embarrassment, he started yelling at us
in front of everyone, denouncing us for criticizing people he respected so much. We just left,
because the last thing we wanted to do was argue about all this on a public street corner where
we were all supposed to be proclaiming Jesus and the sanctity of life in the womb.

Around the same time, we received a phone call from New York State, from a woman we‘d
never met. She explained a mutual acquaintance had given her our number, because he knew
we‘d been connected with The Vineyard. She was coming to Toronto, and asked if we could put
her up. As we talked, she told us she had a prophetic ministry which had been powerfully
confirmed for her at the Kansas City Fellowship. At that point, I quietly shared with her our
concerns about that group, and our recent studies on demonic counterfeits of divine
manifestations. She immediately erupted in anger, and told me that my husband had better be
careful. I had mentioned to her that he was just recovering from a broken wrist he suffered from
a fall off his bicycle. She actually threatened us: ―He‘s going to break his leg now!‖ she snarled.
I was not happy to hear this. More than that, I didn‘t believe it. And it didn‘t happen. So much
for prophecy-by-phone.

Our Night at the Toronto Airport Vineyard

Steve and I would never have visited the Toronto Airport Vineyard in the summer of 1994
without the Lord‘s clear direction. We had heard about the meetings in the spring, and agreed to
just stay away.

But a Christian couple we knew were very troubled by what they had seen there and asked for
our advice. They described a new prayer technique where circles were drawn in the air, as well
as certain teachings which in the course of our discussion we realized came straight out of
occultic practises used in India.

In the meantime, the evangelism work Steve and I are engaged in has brought us in touch with
many people across Ontario who are interested in the Airport meetings. Steve and I are street
evangelists. We set up in parks, on beaches, on street corners packed with tourists or partygoers
– anywhere where a crowd can be reached to listen, as we sing a mixture of hymns, ―Country
Gospel,‖ and contemporary Christian music. While we are singing, the Holy Spirit brings
individuals under conviction in what I ]mow from their testimonies afterwards is a miraculous
way. They are prayed with, they are given good, solid tracts, and they are given free Bibles. We
take no donations. Our reward comes from heaven. We do this every weekend during the Spring,
Summer and Early Fall.

We met so many people this past year who mentioned ―The Vineyard‖ that we prepared a small
tract of our own for them, called Don‘t Laugh. But we still didn‘t plan on visiting the Airport
meetings ourselves.

But finally, an unsaved journalist Steve knows from his job asked Steve‘s opinion on The
Vineyard because he was writing an article for a newspaper in London, England. This man had
been resistant to our Christian witness over the years, and he was finally going to visit a church –
a Vineyard church!. Steve wanted to be able to tell him he‘d attended a meeting, too, so that he
could share the Gospel with him again, and also help him understand what he would really be

And so we went on a Sunday night, straight after singing all afternoon an hour‘s drive away.

The manifestations I witnessed did not surprise me. They were very much the same as those I
had witnessed in New Orleans and in England, and even previously in Toronto, except with a
kind of violent edge to them. The silly, funny ―laughter in the Spirit‖ of 1988 now took the form
of cackling and hooting. They called it ―holy laughter‖. People sat in chairs holding themselves
and rocking themselves a little back in 1988. Now their movements were manic. It reminded me
of a film I‘d seen of autistic children. This impression was reinforced when I saw others, seated
at the back of the room, banging their heads repetitively against the wall right behind them.
Some people were restless. They walked aimlessly around, jerking their arms continuously.
In 1987, Wimber preached from the Bible and people listened, even if they confessed privately
afterwards that they thought he taught for too long, and they were just waiting for the ―ministry
time‖ to start. Now, on this evening, when a visiting Vineyard pastor opened the Bible, he
deprecated what he was about to do with a snicker saying, ―Well, I guess I should open this Book
up sometime or other.‖ People started to laugh.

The Toronto Airport Vineyard is a focal point for international interest. But when a Charismatic
Anglican minister named David Pytches invited Wimber and his team to England in the early
1980′s, many of the same supernatural manifestations took place. The famous English ―House
Church Movement‖ had already begun independently, years before Wimber‘s visit. Today,
people forget this and just loosely associate the two.

Supernatural manifestations did not bring Revival to Great Britain. In spite of dozens of visits of
Vineyard staff to England and much interchange over the past 15 years, the fact is that the
―Vineyard Movement‖ there, as of last year, remained little-known, just on the fringes of what
we do know has been a genuine period of Renewal overseas. Now Christians from England are
coming to Toronto looking for Revival. Many of them are young and do not realize that what
they are seeing in Canada is a rerun that has been played over and over before, in their own
country since 1981, when John Wimber first ministered there.

Clearly, people are hungry for God, and sincere in their search for a closer walk with Him. But
they are being seduced, so many times, by a kind of impatience. The Lord deals with individuals
first. Then, those individuals minister to others, make disciples, and may then anoint them for
service, if that is God‘s will. It‘s a process. It may take one year, two years, three, or longer.
There are no short-cuts.

There is no account whatsoever in the Bible which even remotely resembles the travesty of
Christian assembly which every visitor to the Toronto Airport Vineyard has witnessed.

1 Cor. 14:31-33 reads: “For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be
comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. “For God is not the author
of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

No, God is not the author of confusion. There may be activity, fervent songs of praise, spoken
prayers… but there is decency and order, which shows itself in spiritual beauty, recognized by
all believers present, when it is God Himself who is in the midst.

In 1 Kings 22 we read about a lying spirit, sent by God into the mouth of a false prophet. In
Amos 5:23 and Amos 6:5, we read about God‘s hatred for sweet music played by hypocrites.
False prophets and false priests are denounced in God‘s Word over and over again.

―The days of visitation are come, the days of recompense are come; Israel shall know it: the
prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great
hatred.‖ Hosea 9:7
Where Is This All Leading?.

The music of the English composer whose work has been so greatly used in the English Renewal,
Graham Kendrick, is used by the Vineyard in the U.S. and Canada. The impression is given that
he is one of their own. Kendrick‘s music is used regularly in ―Marches for Jesus‖ around the
world. In many cities, Vineyard staff co-ordinate what is advertised as an interfaith public
avowal of faith in Jesus Christ. By involving themselves in ―Marches for Jesus,‖ the Vineyard
yearly gains greater credibility within many communities. It is a successful tactic.

Tactic is the correct word, although at first glance it may appear harsh for me to use it.

Rick Joyner is editor of The Morningstar Journal, published in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is
associated with Paul Cain, Francis Frangipane and other ―prophets‖ from Kansas City. Mike
Bickle, pastor of the Kansas City Fellowship, is a frequent contributor to Joyner‘s magazine. In
1992, The Morningstar Journal (Vol. 2, No. 3) published an article written by Joyner entitled: ―A
Vision of the Twelve Cities‖.

A friend of mine ordered a subscription of this magazine for me without knowing my feelings
about the Kansas City Fellowship. Issue by issue, I read various articles, and marked the
unscriptural passages. I noted to myself in one instance in the margin: ―It is a battle to make
myself read this much.‖ I was referring to the strain I felt in reading material that I felt was
deliberately permeated with error, all in the name of Christ.

In A Vision of the Twelve Cities, Joyner laid out tactics which The Vineyard, and its present
spin-off groups, are using to infiltrate and gain control over the entire Christian community in the
U.S. and Canada.

―Conferences are a basic part of the Lord‘s end-time strategy,‖ Joyner wrote. ―They are
comparable to the Lord‘s command for Israel to go up to Jerusalem three times a year for His

The organizers take Vineyard Conferences very seriously! But please note, many of these
meetings are never advertised as ―Vineyard Conferences‖.

In Joyner‘s words, ―annual, general conferences‖ are to be held in each of 12 major U.S. cities,
strategically located for geographic and demographic impact. These conferences, he wrote,
―would ultimately attract multitudes of believers…from every present stream in the body of
Christ, as well as independents‖

Then each general conference ―will spawn‖ local conferences for pastors, prophets, intercessors,
etc., to be held throughout the year in each region.

At the local level, ―city-wide weekly prayer and leadership meetings would also begin…‖
Referring to the vision of this divine strategy, which he claims to have received on February 6,
1989, Joyner states: ―Though I was given no timing, I felt that the conferences would begin in
the early nineties but that it would take several years before all twelve would be functioning.‖ He
states that ―such meetings will usually (not always) need to be sponsored by an entity outside of
the local spiritual politics.‖

Here is where the Vineyard groups step in. They present themselves as helpers and facilitators
for inter-denominational dialogue. At the same time, they are careful to groom their own public
relations image in the Christian community, steadily gathering new members from many other
churches. They also are given a platform for their own leaders, and the teachings of their leaders,
which over time are accorded greater and greater respect.

Joyner maintains in his article: ―This strategy is not to in any way become a separate stream of
influence in the church, but be a vehicle for the differing streams which already exist to
interchange and begin flowing together.‖

Joyner may believe his own propaganda on this issue, but he also believes the false prophets in
Kansas City.

He states that the twelve cities he saw in the vision were Albany, Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas,
Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Santa Maria, and Washington.
He estimates that 98% of the U.S. population live within 500 miles of at least one of these cities,
or about a one-day drive.

What would it be like if Christians who are barking like dogs, jerking spasmodically, laughing
insanely, and contorting themselves into demonic postures, all became acceptable as proof of a
―New Move‖ of the Holy Spirit… coming to a city or town near you?

On the night we attended the Toronto Airport Vineyard, Steve had a conversation outside, in the
cigarette smoke-filled air, with a man and woman who told him about a black, cold, icy ―thing‖
which had left the man while he was on the floor roaring like a lion, and then crawled up the
woman‘s arm, who was lying next to him — during ―ministry time‖ Neither the man nor the
woman seemed concerned or anxious about the experience. They had had no idea there was any
possibility of danger.

But two people in Toronto who have experience in deliverance ministry have already shared with
us that they are starting to see cases of severe problems in people who have been attending the
Toronto Airport Vineyard. But so many hundreds of people have left those meetings, driven to
the airport, and caught a plane to go — home.

Personally, I‘m afraid that the Body of Christ has opened a Pandora‘s Box. In that ancient Greek
myth, Pandora opened a box, and hordes of evil things escaped from it. Pandora (her name
means ―All-Gifted‖) was sent to earth by Jupiter, in order to punish Prometheus, who had stolen
fire from heaven. In Leviticus 10:1, Nadab and Abihu ―offered strange fire before the Lord.‖
They were killed.

Spiritual counterfeits is a subject which was given expert, comprehensive treatment in the book
War On The Saints by Jessie Penn-Lewis, with Evan Roberts. It was written in the early 1900′s,
following firsthand experiences of the supernatural in the famous Welsh Revival. Not
surprisingly, Rick Joyner has written: ―Jessie Penn-Lewis may be one of the classic historic
examples of how heresy hunters are used by the enemy to derail true works of the Holy Spirit.‖
(See Morningstar Journal, Vol. 2, No. 4. )

The lady from New York who prophesied about Steve‘s impending broken leg also asked me,
pointblank: ―Do you have a copy of War On The Saints?‖ Her question was a logical one, seeing
as my comments to her could well have come from that source. Or perhaps she was really a
psychic. I fearlessly replied that I did and that I thought she should read it. She replied, ―You
throw that .book away. I‘m coming up to Canada, and I‘m not the only one.‖

I have been asked what I think is really going on at the Toronto Airport Vineyard. From this
personal ―memoir,‖ I have tried to show why I feel I should speak out. There have been too
many contacts, too many impressions, too many stories over the years, and I know we are not in
the realm of coincidences, but in the realm of the purposes of God being worked out in the lives
of Steve and myself.

I believe that there are demonic powers which have always fought against the Church and
against the Holy Spirit‘s workings on this earth. I believe demonic powers are show-offs, who
love attention. I believe demonic powers want to cripple the testimony of every Christian and to
render him or her as ineffective as possible in serving Christ and bringing lost souls to eternal

I believe that a great ―falling away‖ (2 Thess. 2:3) has already begun. In due time, ―a man of sin,‖
―the son of perdition,‖ will be revealed… ―even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan
with all power and signs and lying wonders…‖ (2 Thess. 2:9). Those who do not love the truth
will believe a lie, for God Himself will send them a strong delusion (2 Thess. 2:11).

The delusions of doctrine on Christian television are, I feel, only the beginning. There is far
worse to come. I don‘ t ]mow what form the final heresy will take, but I know God‘s Word says
that there are many in the Church who will fall away. And, as I‘ve said, this has already started.

Demonic powers, I believe, have gained control over the Vineyard Movement and The Kansas
City Fellowship ―Prophetic Movement‖, as well. I can only conjecture that, at some high level,
what Jessie Penn-Lewis calls ―ground‖ was given to the Enemy as an entryway, a gateway.

The New Age and occultic techniques which the Toronto Vineyard and other Vineyard groups
have welcomed over the years, and taught to their members, have opened the door even wider to
the powers of darkness; so that now demonic manifestations are increasing in strength.

I believe the plan of Satan is to join all churches and denominations together into an association
based on false doctrine and a false Gospel. Having shown to God that they have no love for His
truth, that they are ―unfaithful‖ to Him, many deluded individuals, who believe they are
Christians and love Jesus, will be punished. God will allow them to be deceived and to believe a
lie. The day will come when they will gladly worship none other than the Antichrist, who will
present himself to them as a supernatural being with great, divine powers.
I believe ―The Vineyard movement‖ is playing an important role today in preparing the way for
this terrible End-Time Delusion. It will be used to help spread the lie of the Antichrist himself.

The ―prophets‖ who are being promoted by The Vineyard and The Kansas City Fellowship will
step forward, at the proper time, in churches all across America and Canada. They will all deliver
the same message. It will be a message of spiritual deception, but many will be fooled into
believing it. But the voices of these prophets will proclaim the Antichrist as God, welcoming him
into the Holy of Holies.

Finally, Satan will be plunged into the lake of fire. But he will have plundered the lives of the
saints to the very last instant of his doomed existence.

2 Responses to ““NOT JUST A MEMOIR OF THE VINEYARD,” 1986-1994”

   1.        Destiny Sweet Says:
        July 12, 2008 at 6:56 pm | Reply

        That was real has been 14 yrs since I was exposed to this movement..I am still
        waiting upon the Lord to bring me to a place where I can be as succinct with my
        frightingly real testimony.I suffered almost complete shipwreck due to these false
        leaders,their demonic sorcery and false prophesies..even the brief brush with JPJ,the
        Golls successively in Grant‘s Pass OR and was literally ‗sent‘ across country on a
        journey by faith staying a month in Toronto oct94-nov94 even though I was deeply hated
        and cast out..maligned and cursed by the network of those affliaited..the testimony and
        the evidence of how God was with me to eventually understand exactly what was
        befalling my precious brethren is one i believe He wants written..I do not wish to protect
        myself from scrutiny..having no reputation left to protect..except that I have been brought
        to full repentance and soundness..and am cleansed form all my unrighteousness..and
        theirs by His precious Blood shed on the Cross!thank you Jesus..what I have to share
        showing the way God has dealt with many of these men..even the cities where I was
        ‗violated‘ IE New York, New Orleans..Florida..might interest you..I was hoping you
        might be able to help me put some of it in the proper that it glorifies God
        and is accurately portrayed…It is a testimony of God‘s mercy for sure.

        Having crossed paths with amny Leaders during my brief exposure to this golden
        calf..and being persecuted in the midst of it all while yet innocent to what was actually
        transpiring through the likes of the Arnotts..met Jeremy Sinnott..James Ryle and
        Wimber..the tyrannical Hunters and Benny Hinn….so many interesting stories…it has
        been a long hard road that God revealed to me beforehand..asking me
        seriously..Will you go? who can I send? You will marvel like i have at the wqay the
        puzzel pieces have begun to all fit together..God hates injustice…He despises robbery..I
        have forgiven these folks but will not shelter them from exposure..I am waiting on God to
        show me how to write all that needs to be made known.Please pray with me for this
        wisdom..I sometimes fear that I am dragging my feet or that there is such great
        opposition to the completion of this commissioned work..a work that is supposed to help
save the body of Christ..I do not mind that I would have to expose my own
ignorance..God chose the way He would reveal all this to me according to His
will..dramatically and powerfully and it has all made me strronger and given me the
treasures of darkness..deeper humility and reverential awe of God..Holy I can
spot deception very quickly..I am brought alot of folks who are falling away or become
half mad due to lack of discernment and understanding of the Word..I‘ve run the gauntlet
and survived..only due to His immense love..and enduring mercy.

Thanks for your prayerful regardss to whether you are available and inspired to
help me practice writing this out for eventual public presentation..have you ever had
anyhting supernatural happen to you that was of God since you have ben saved..and can
you write ..for my daughter ..your take on reasons you are ashamed of your affiliation in
tv..the media.

I knwo that Satan has desired to destroy my testimony ,,but the blood of the Lamb and
the word of my testimony will help some to know the truth and be able to
overcome…and be triumphant.

How is Jeremy lately?..He was the only one who was even remotely kind to me during
that month..he was stunned that I traveled by faith the way I did..his counsel was so planted in me a dangerous precedence..I‘m certain if he really knew the
damage it did me ..he would be so blown away..I will continue to pray for him and his
family..I still remember the teens from Vineyard youth meetings after the whole
world came pouring in there..they hung out with me in my rv to get out of the cold when
they got bored with the same old carnival..sometimes they were crying and always they
were downhearted and sadand confused at the breakdown of their families
who were serving the greater christain world while no one seemed to care about them ..or
was very focused on supervising the teens…their own report.The Counselor obviously
wasn‘t being made many memories..but which ones will edify ..which are
the most important..when is it too much to say..these I am learning..slowly.My
Father,heavenly doesnt desire that I be hurt further by all this .but He knows what I can
handle and I trust Him.

thanks again for your consideration..GMS

   o        S.B Says:
       April 25, 2010 at 8:16 am | Reply

       Hi, I was really glad to read this story and see how God carried you through
       it…all (Ezekiel 34 promises to the sheep).
       There are heavy religious strongholds in alot of the churches in Ottawa (the
       catholic church endorses the building of groves in honour of ―mary‖)The
       corruptions scandals of the RC are not new they can‘t cover it up anymore -I think
       that‘s why its such a mess here in Canada – the native community suffered
       horrible abuse because of the residential schools.
       I was a baby Christian and went to a pentacostal church here in Ottawa Ont. an
                  Jesus was warning me not to go up for the altar calls- I was confused and when I
                  got home he gave me some passages about this church (which was on a hill by the
                  way:Proverbs 9:13-18
                  13A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.
                  14For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,
                  15To call passengers who go right on their ways:
                  16Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth
                  understanding, she saith to him,
                  17Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
                  18But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths
                  of hell.
                  I was pretty scared because I didn‘t understand why He was showing me a
                  passage about a prostitute- but later I sadly began to see why…. Bless you and
                  your family He will take care of you in the days to come-
                  Isaiah 26:20
                  Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee:
                  hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
                  Peace to you all! Sarah in Oh-OOhCanada:

This is a personal testimony of Antti Huima, Finland. It may be freely distributed in any form for any purposes
except for direct commercial benefit, provided that this notice is included in verbatim and that the whole text is
faithfully reproduced without any modifications in the content. Excerpts may be taken, but the referer is asked to
include somewhere in the presentation the quote is to be appear in a reference to a place where the original
document can be found. The e-mail address of the author is:

                       Antti's Testimony of the "Toronto Blessing"

                                                                                          Date: the 1st July 1996

For the glory of God

MY NAME is Antti Huima and I live in Finland, Scandinavia. I'm 21 years old for now.

It was in the Spring '95, when the Toronto Blessing came into Finland in power. There was a
conference in Jyväskylä (one of the biggest towns in Finland) that Toronto people from the
United States (Toronto, I suppose) came to, and excited visitors from Finland were all around. I
didn't understand what was going on, though I was wondering why people were not allowed to
pray during the ministry time and why it all was scary to some extent. I fasted for three days and
searched for God. Our senior pastor had been in the conference and brought the phenomenon
into our church, though it didn't break through very well. However, I weren't very alarmed and
first tolerated the thing.
There is a church in Espoo that is called SHS for short (it's an abbreviation for some Finnish
words). It was at least formerly a word-of-faith church. From Easter '95 on, TB was there in
power and people flocked in to see and experience it. I too was drawn to it at last with one my

The service began like any charismatic meeting with worship. When the pastor of the church was
then speaking, suddenly something lika a deep darkness filled me. It felt like I was in a
nightmare or had just woken from one. I wasn't able to pray and felt bad. That's the first thing I
can remember. The second thing is, that the preacher (from USA) said (when speaking of the
spirit) that

"...during the Noah's days, the springs of the deep burst forth and water flew on the surface of the
Earth... now, when the spirit comes on you, in you too the springs of the deep shall open and the living
water shall flow out... by the way, I have thought that there, where the springs of the deep were, was/is
the Hell."

Later we went out, because I had to be in a Bible group meeting soon. I was still unable to pray,
and opened the car's window to get fresh air, but it did not help my sick feelings. I tried to eat
something, but it didn't help. Ultimately, in the Bible group, one of my friends asked if they
should pray for me. I agreed, and we prayed, and there -- glory -- when I was appealing to the
blood of Jesus Christ, the darkness was lifted away and deep peace and light came instead.

I was in SHS for another time. That time I had decided not to listen to any alarm signals I would
get, because I had heard many wonderful things to happen through TB. I was there, and the same
preacher from the USA was there. I felt bad, but tried to ignore my feelings. Then I felt that some
force was pulling my legs backwards. I remember seeing one of my friends in the front of me,
shaking on the floor in a way that resembled snakes. It was far away from the God I knew. Then
I felt how some spirit was trying to break into me. It was around me, I could feel it, but I wasn't
able to recognize it as the Holy Spirit. I was, however, going for the ministry, when I saw other
friend standing and doing something that could be best described as something erotic (this isn't
so new with TB). I decided to go out for fresh air becouse I felt bad. When I got out,
immediately after leaving the building, all my senses cried: "Never! I never want that stuff!" and
soon I left. When I later meet my friends, they asked why I was so pale. I told them where I had

I later spoke with a man who was in the New Age / occult before his conversation to Christianity.
He told about having had similar experiences with spirits trying to break into people in New Age
meetings. Remember this what he said then: "It's very, very dangerous situation. You can feel
the spirit, and it feels bad, but when it gets in all the bad feelings vanish, and it feels very good

Later I felt almost physically bad often when the TB spirit was present. Sometimes I was not able
to be in prayer meetings, because I felt so bad and had to leave. It didn't happen just once or
twice and was very real. I believe that the Holy Spirit in me was signalling about a hostile spirit.
It is a real force.
Then we had a camp in which about sixty of our church's youth took part. There were four
people who had experienced a spontaneous TB experience a week ago, and were very excited
about the change it had incorporated into their devotional lives [though they were young and
wouldn't use such a term]. We had a prayer meeting. When the four people came in, I
immediately felt something unknown and scary enter the whole room. I began to pray in tongues,
feeling the pressure around. Later I was talking with some of the four. This is important. One of
those told, that

"I feel some power working in me, but it does not feel just good. I feel there is something bad, and I am
scared... one of us sees now Satan walking in the prayer meetings very often... that's why they were
commanding it to leave. When I was in the prayer meeting, I could feel there were two kinds of hands
above people. There were white hands that tried to bless people, but then there were black hands also
that tried to perform [counterfeit] miracles too."

I told about these events to one of our church's elders who was there, but he didn't believe all this
at first but said that people were imagining this. Some people have difficulties in understanding
that the evil forces may indeed gain access even to Christians if they aren't opposed when

Then I was in the Summer Conference '95 of the Pentecostal Church Finland. I was to give a
testimony in a big youth meeting. When I was praying for the testimony, I suddenly knew that I
should speak about the false prophets in I Kings 22; and warn people about TB. It was very hard,
because the majority of people in the Conference (and the preachers) were excited about TB. At
least the number of people publicly opposing the movement was virtually zero.

Ok, I knew before the Lord that I should speak this very thing, and, comprehending it, began to
weep, because I was scared. I (really) thought, that I will never get out of the Conference alive,
because I was going to oppose a thing that wasn't opposed (at last publicly) by the pastors here.
And more; the most excited people about TB were the young people, and this was a youth
meeting where were all the guys who had promoted the thing during the Conference (TB was in
force there!) And I began to get scared. It was Friday, and I prayed down that day and in the
evening. I went to bed, but was not able to sleep. I felt sick, like I was about to vomit. It wasn't
anything physical. From the moment I decided to speak about the thing I began to feel really real
spiritual pressure, and this was part of it. Because I wasn't able to sleep, I rose up and stepped out
of the place I was sleeping. I met the leader of our Youth Choir that was to sing in the meeting
where I was to testify. He promised, that the whole choir would pray for me continuously until
the meeting.

The pressure continued, it made it hard to pray and made me to scare. It continued into Saturday,
and I can remember many times looking at the clock and thinking "praise God! Only two hours
now... then I will have given the testimony, and all this pressure is over." One girl prophesied to
me before the testimony and gave an encouragement from the Lord. Without it I probably
wouldn't have had enough courage to do what I was supposed to do. Ok, I spoke, and all the
pressure was gone. TB is a deadly serious thing. It's spiritual, and the forces behind it are
very real.
In the Autumn '95, I began to get more information about TB. I saw horrible videos from Rodney
Howard-Browne and Toronto meetings, where people were acting as demoniacs. What I saw was
horribly real, and horribly far away from the acts of the only true God -- praise to His Righteous
Name! One man in Finland wrote a book named "Powerful Deception -- The Toronto Blessing
Compared to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or How the Occultism got Into Christianity". It began to
transform my that-far misty view of some perhaps bad thing to a vividly clear understanding of a
powerful deception among the Christians.

I began to find articles in the Internet. I read, read, read. And the more I read (both pro and cons),
the more I became convinced about that I should do something. So, after certain events, I wrote a
memo named "A Short Memo on the Toronto Blessing" (it was about seventy pages, in Finnish)
and shared copies of it to people who wanted them. Many people found help through it. Though
many people in TB don't accept negative information about TB, it's however important to share
the facts. If you are standing against the delusion, I want to encourage you to use some efforts to
share the facts. If you do that in the will of God, you might be able to help some of His precious

Much has happened in Finland, and much of it is very sad. I have heard (but only heard) of two
women kissing one another for more than an hour "in spirit"; people doing movements pertaining
to sexual act "in spirit"; one woman getting naked; another masturbating in a meeting. People
getting scared, having compulsory movements they cannot get rid of. People think that the glory
of God is present when people shake on the floor and bark. The senior pastor of our church left
when there was a difference of opinion about TB among he and the elders of the church. It's
rumored, but I don't know for sure, that hundreds of people were leaving our church in summer
'95 as they couldn't stand TB.

One woman in our church saw a vision years ago. She saw the feet of Jesus. She saw only the
feet, but was sure that she was looking at the Lord's feet. Then, in the vision, she began to look
upwards. She saw the Lord's waist and chest, and was sure she was looking at the Lord. And the
"person" she looked to, she said, was just like Jesus. Only one thing was different. She told, "he"
had eyes like the eyes of the Devil.

This vision was then interpreted as to warn people about Satan who "masquerades itself as the
angel of light" and tries to enter the Church in the form of Jesus Himself.

Before the camp I mentioned earlier, I was told about a woman who was in a TB-style meeting.
Suddenly she felt a power in her hands, felt them shaking and heat in them. She wondered what
was going on when she saw Jesus who said to her: "I want to give to you the gift of healing." The
woman considered this for a while, and then said: "Show me your hands, please", as she wanted
to see the scars left by the nails on the cross. "Jesus" disappeared. There came another Jesus,
who said: "If you had received that power, the same things you see happening there in front
would have begun to happen through your hands too."

This is really possible, and we've got to be serious about the false Christs and false prophets,
different spirits and different gospels the Bible mentions.
I reject the Toronto Blessing. I don't believe it's from God. I testify, that opposing TB has in no
way injured my personal relationship to the Lord -- praised is His Name! People who say to you
that if you oppose TB, or even discern it, you are opposing the God Himself, and will be under
judgmenet, are lying to you. Lying. Do you think that God will judge you if you weigh the things
as He has commanded?

They will say that you are a Pharisee and perhaps stop talking with you. It was somehow sad to
meet the wife of the former senior pastor of our church (he who left) and greet her without
getting any response (the Short Memo on the Toronto Blessing was read by the elders of our
Church and somehow contributed to the situation, and she knew it).

They will say to you that millions of people are involved, and that they cannot be wrong. I say
that they, sadly, can. Read Luke 7:13-14.

I want to convince you, that in everything I have done I have tried to be honest to myself and to
God. I have no personal reason to oppose Rodney Howard-Browne or any other people involved.

But as far as I understand: it's a deception. A real, dangerous deception. People are experiencing
same manifestations as people in occult, for example, in Kundalini energy. The same
manifestations are also experienced in hypnosis. The phenomena are unbiblical and many give
an unholy impression. As John Wimber has said, "many of these phenomena would have
formerly addressed to demons." The doctrinal barriers are crushing down too fast, so that false
and deadly doctrines get into the churches.

I have been called to love God and His Truth. Because I do it, though very weakly, I have
rejoiced much of the passage Habakuk has written:

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Hab.
2:14) (NIV)

No matter what happens even to me, I know that ultimately the truth of the Lord shall fill the
Earth and I already rejoice now. It's wonderful. Praised is the Lord of Hosts!

Prayer request. Please, remember me some day in the front of our Lord.

Antti Huima

Renewal: the Hype, the Hope and the Reality

By Len Hjalmarson
"When the sky is the limit, it's easy to neglect
foundations." Jimmy Long, Generating Hope

My wife and I joined a Vineyard church in 1994, the year that the renewal founded in Toronto broke
out. It wasn't long before Vineyard churches in Canada were strongly impacted, and soon the renewal
became a source of blessing to hundreds of thousands of believers world-wide.

What have the intervening years brought us? We've had great parties and learned to enjoy God more.
Many have deepened their love for Christ, and many more have been converted. These are the best
results of renewal.

Yet unprecedented blessing shouldn't make us blind to the problems raised by renewal. As I was
reflecting on the renewal recently I read an old article by a Brethren brother. He comments that
unusual spiritual experiences are like super rich food: wonderful for the taste-buds, but dangerous
when they become regular fare. The truth is that one can feast on calorie rich foods, but starve to
death while getting fat.

Almost a year ago I unsubscribed to one of the most popular prophetic lists on the Internet. I did this
with great reluctance, in part because I had had some contact with the principals of the list, and I
knew them to be believers of integrity. There was no doubt in my mind about their motives or their
love for the Lord and His people.

Six months later my wife and I left our charismatic church after two years of participation. Why did I
unsubscribe from the prophetic list, and why did we leave a church participating actively in the
renewal movement?

The Evangelical Church in North America: Touched but not Transformed?

It wasn't an easy decision. Even the decision to write this article was a difficult one. I love the church,
and I love what God is doing in the world. After 8 years within the renewal movement, I love renewal,
and that love compelled me to write this article.

I had two primary motivations for ending my subscription to the lists last spring. First, I felt that I was
relying too much on others to hear from the Lord. I felt like I was losing objectivity, and learning to
live on regurgitated food. I felt like I was feasting yet getting more hungry all the time.

We left the renewal movement because we felt that there was an unbiblical emphasis in the prophetic
and renewal movements. Somehow the renewal has contributed, often unwittingly, to a climate where
certain gifts are exalted above others. We believe that wrong emphases are contributing to the loss of
something essential in the church, and eroding foundations that the Lord has built.

"When the sky is the limit, it's easy to neglect foundations." Jimmy Long, Generating Hope

Two years ago the Lord highlighted this phrase as I read from Jimmy Long's book on reaching the
postmodern generation. At the time it was like a lightning bolt to me… I was shocked as the Lord
showed me how renewal, while giving new strength to the church, was at the same time threatening
to erode biblical foundations of love and community.

How could this be?

Twelve Problems with the Renewal Movement

Renewal has touched but not transformed the church. This has two dimensions, both structural and

1) While many have been inwardly renewed, the new wine has not been allowed to reshape our
wineskin for church and ministry. As a result, many have been deeply touched but find no way to
express that new life. We need new models of leadership and ministry, but many leaders fear change.
John C. Maxwell, in a recent newsletter, points out that leaders hesitate to give away power because..

* I won't be indispensable any more.

* My authority might be challenged some day.

* Their influence could surpass my own.

* They might receive credit due to me.

2) While many people have been renewed, too few are being discipled. Many have been touched by
the Lord, but they have not been vitally connected to other believers, grounded in the Word and
involved in ministry. A recent survey by the Barna Research Group (March, 2001) found that four out
of 10 Christians do not attend church or read the Bible in a typical week, while seven out of 10 are not
involved in a small group that meets for spiritual purposes. As a result, believers come back to the
well again and again, not recognizing that the focus has become "what can I get" rather than "what
can I give?" We have neglected the foundation of discipleship.

3) The renewal movement feeds into our western cult of personality. We announce the coming
speakers in advance, listing their achievements, titles, and their publications. Jesus pointed away from
himself to the kingdom. Instead of accepting every speaking engagement, we should be equipping
others to go and encouraging local churches to develop their own people.

Sadly, we measure the greatness of Christian leaders in the same way as we measure the greatness
of worldly position: by popularity, influence, the number of books and tapes that are sold and the
number of conference bookings. We exalt our leaders to prominent positions and bestow honorary
doctorates, participating fully in the same methods of honor that the world uses. We do not measure
by the measure that Jesus' advocates: "whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your

4) A related issue, professionalism and specialization have created ministry models that encourage
passivity and dependence, with a few leaders always prominent and the few "doing ministry" to the
many. We disempower the laos of God, and then wonder why believers are slow to take initiative or
walk in authority.

Releasing only the most dynamic gifts ensures that ordinary people feel ineffective, constantly
comparing themselves to the most gifted among us. Graham Cook writes, "People who feel
insignificant remain ineffective and small. They become grasshoppers in their own sight and may
never inherit all that Jesus died to give them." A Divine Confrontation. Jean Vanier comments that "we
have to create structures which encourage everyone to participate, and especially the shy people.
Those who have the most light to shed often dare not show it; they are afraid of appearing stupid.
They do not recognize their own gift.. perhaps because others haven't recognized it either."

5) Centralization of ministry limits diversity. Those constantly on the platform become the model for
gifted ministry, impacting our willingness to release other gifts and other styles of ministry.
Furthermore, leaders tend to affirm those like them. When only a few leaders are empowered to lead,
they tend to build an empire in their own image, limiting the freedom of other gifts and styles. One
reason that the arts are not alive and well in most evangelical churches is because our churches are
not places that support creativity or diversity.

6) We have emphasized gifts over character. As a result we become performance driven and push
people toward burnout, at the same time failing to recognize the importance of trials and testing as
part of the normal Christian life. Years ago Michael Green described this danger as being "infatuated
with a theology of the Spirit while neglecting a theology of the Cross." In fact, ministry and Christian
growth are more about ordinary everyday life than about the mountaintop experiences.

7) We have emphasized a few charismatic gifts over the need for balance in the body. As a result, the
leadership gifts that are most needful, in particular relational (community building) gifts and gifts of
wisdom, are sadly neglected. Prophetic and miraculous gifts are exalted beyond their importance while
other balancing gifts are less visible.

8) We have disconnected certain gifts from the life of the body and from Christian community. In
particular, prophetic and healing gifts are trumped to draw people, mostly believers, to extraordinary
meetings and conferences. As a sidelight, we have merchandised the gospel, using renewal as a
means to build personal businesses (Every popular teacher has a tape ministry. While this isn't always
wrong, it becomes very difficult to draw the line between ministry and profit motives, and many
ministers fall into a snare and give ministry a bad name. Equally dangerous, we learn to value
information more than formation as believers increase their knowledge of God without increasing their

9) Renewal and God's work is often hyped. In exalting what God is doing "out there" we put the
spotlight on unusual activities of God, instead of holding up the ordinary and everyday acts of love as
the primary means of the gospel. Every believer can love their neighbor. Every believer can be a
listening ear and a voice of compassion. Not every believer is anointed for prophetic or healing
ministry, and Paul cautions us that it is the "weaker gifts" which are the most needful (1 Cor.12:22).

The issue of hype is also relevant to performance. Our motivation may be good, but misdirected. We
don't need to work people into a lather in order to reach godly goals. By doing so we feed a
performance orientation and lead people rapidly to burnout. St. Exupery wrote that, "If you want to
build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach
them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."

10) We have moved from Christianity as lifestyle to event driven Christianity. Recently Chad Taylor
wrote of Timothy's House, a discipleship house in Boise, Idaho.. "What does it really cost to see a
whole region shaken by God? Is it more than infrequent conferences and prayer meetings? Could it
cost us our lives instead? Our dreams and aspirations? Would it require that we take up our cross and
follow Him wherever He may be going?"
11) A related issue, renewal tends to relegate spirituality to the mountain-top experience, and
neglects the spirituality of the ordinary. Yet 99% of our lives as believers are lived in the everyday,
mundane work-a-day world in the valley. "Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool." All of
creation reflects the glory of God, and we need a spirituality that reflects that truth. CS Lewis wrote

"There is no good trying to be more spiritual than God. God never meant man to be a purely spiritual
creature. That is why he uses material things like bread and wine to get the new life into us. We may
think this rather crude and unspiritual. God does not: He invented eating. He likes matter. He
invented it. (Mere Christianity, bk.2,ch.5)

12) Perhaps the greatest indictment of all, we have reinforced the fortress mentality and neglected the
poor. More and more money is invested into renewal and renewal conferences, events that separate
Christians into their own ghetto parties, while less and less time and resources is put into the poor and
needy. We keep Christians so busy getting touched and renewed that they have no time to impact the
lives of unbelievers around them.

Seven Correctives

1) A Revival of Wholeness and Love

Where at one time the church needed the message of the whole gospel, including the charismatic
gifts, now we need a new message of the whole gospel, including the message of love and
community. We need saints of the everyday, the main and the plain, loving their neighbors and
practicing hospitality, more than we need more saints focused on gifts and miracles.

We need less emphasis on healing and salvation, and more emphasis on shalom and transformation.
No, let me clarify. Physical healing is just one manifestation of the kingdom, it's part of the broader
circle of redemption and is too often used to build territory rather than strengthening community.
Worse, healing has become part of the consumer gospel. We need the gospel in its fullness, not a
patchwork gospel where we feed consumers the most popular elements. We need believers with a
renewed understanding of the corporateness of Christ, willing to give themselves for the gospel and
their neighbor. We need disciples, willing to walk in the way Jesus walked, not mere converts who
come to the trough for another feeding.

2) A Revival of Community

If we really want revival, then we need a revival of true community. John Driver, the Anabaptist
scholar, comments that, "To be or not to be a community is not an option for the church. By nature
the church is a community and experiences communion. The question before the people of God is:
what kind of community will we be? The New Testament invites us to formulate a theology and
practice of communion based on the nature of the Body of Christ." Community and Commitment,
Herald Press, 1976.

We need a gospel of presence as much as a gospel of power. Failing to establish the gospel of
presence, where Christ dwells in and among the faithful community, the gospel of power will only be a
flash in the pan. The renewal in John Wesley's time lasted almost a hundred years because it was also
a renewal of love and community where "the whole body, joined and knit together by that which every
joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of
the body for the edifying of itself in love." Eph.4:15
3) A Local Gospel

We need the miraculous gifts to be rejoined to the life of the church. Those with unusual anointing
could do less traveling, and more equipping in their own towns and cities. If we can transform our
local Christian communities into healed and loving bodies of disciples, we will take our country for
God. "The only way to propagate a message is to live it… Community is the place where the healing of
our own lives becomes a foundation for the healing of the nations." Jim Wallis, Call to Conversion

4) A Corporate Gospel

We need to exalt character over gifts, and reestablish the more excellent way of love. We need to
renew our focus on Christ's life in the body, with all gifts functioning to build the church (Eph. 4). The
ministry models we see most often are individualistic, and "apostles" are too often self-appointed, or
determined by popularity or the size of their tape ministry. Frank Viola writes,

"What does a contemporary apostle look like? Many who claim to be apostles lack the goods of the
genuine worker. True apostles hide themselves rather than hustle themselves. Their work is largely
unseen, their service frequently unnoticed. They do not build denominations, programs, or
organizations; they exclusively build the church of Jesus Christ." (Who Is Your Covering? Present
Testimony Ministry, 1999, p.92).

A.W. Tozer, in 1948, wrote that, “The self-sins... dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of
our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them. The grosser
manifestations of these sins -- egotism, exhibitionism, self-promotion -- are strangely tolerated in
Christian leaders, even in circles of impeccable orthodoxy. They are so much in evidence as actually,
for many people, to become identified with the gospel. I trust it is not a cynical observation to say that
they appear these days to be a requisite for popularity in some sections of the Church visible.
Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice.”
(The Pursuit of God)

5) A Decentralized, non-Specialist Gospel

James Denney wrote that "you cannot suppress the prophet without creating the priest."
Centralization of power disempowers the laity and squelches freedom and creativity. Rick Joyner, in
The Morning Star Journal (Vol.11, No.1) writes,

"There is a vast movement coming that is going to unify around organization that actually displaces
the leadership of the Holy Spirit in the church… this false unity movement [is] "organized crime," and
will seek to preempt the Lord's true unity movement in every place. In this case, the wheat and the
tares will be growing up together… the Lord's work was not a movement toward greater centralization,
but from centralization to greater dispersion." P.57

Where centralization allows leaders to direct larger and larger organizations, it also tends to fragment
relationships, the very glue of the church and the foundation of intimacy and personal growth. Size
per se is not the issue, but wise leaders recognize that bigger isn't always better.

Consumer oriented Christianity has been reinforced by our current ministry models and leadership
cult. This in turn has reinforced individualism and centralization. Men and women who don't have clear
boundaries between the kingdom and personal goals use public platforms as a way of building
personal kingdoms and advancing personal agendas, while at the same time exalting Christ and doing
ministry. But should a spring put forth both muddy water and clear?

6) An Empowering Gospel

Passivity and dependence on leaders are HUGE issues when believers gather. There is little point in
talking about the wonders of our inheritance and identity in Christ when our models clearly
demonstrate that the "priesthood" is limited to the few.

The problems are foundational and the solution is not to simply open up the meetings. Have you
heard the story about the scientist working with fleas? He used cellophane to cover a container loaded
with fleas and then heard the "tick-tick" as the fleas continually bounced off the cellophane. After a
few days he didn't hear the impacts, and curious, he removed the cellophane. To his astonishment,
the fleas did not leap out of the container. They had adapted to the limits of their environment. Just
opening our meetings is not a solution.

Neither is adding small groups a solution. Small groups commonly mirror the ethos of the larger
gathering, recreating the same set of problems with passivity, dependence, and inevitably, boredom.
(Read "The Connecting Church," by Willard and Frazee.) In fact, it is probably impossible to create
community in large churches apart from a complete transformation in ministry models.

7) A Sacramental Gospel.

Sacrament is defined by the Westminster Confession as "the visible and outward form of an inward
and spiritual grace." The incarnation teaches us that God loves to work in the world in the flesh. Love
is the way. Listening to a symphony. Ice skating under moonlight. Bouncing a small child on the knee.
The simple things are frequently the most important, but we need ears to hear and eyes to see. "The
world is charged with the glory of God." Henri Nouwen writes that,

"Our task is to help people concentrate on the real but often hidden event of God's active Presence in
their lives. Hence, the question that must guide all organizing activity in a parish is not how to keep
them busy, but how to keep them from being so busy that they no longer hear the voice of God who
speaks in silence." (Way of the Heart, p. 63)

A sacramental understanding can help safeguard us from the errors of the mountain-top. God is alive
in the valley and even in the desert. I recall a scene from Gilbert and Sullivan‟s “The Little Prince”
where the pilot and the Prince are walking at night in the desert in search of water. Antiphonally, they
sing a song…

Prince: “What makes the desert so lovely at night?”

Pilot: “What makes the desert so lovely at night?”

Prince: “Millions of reasons, lovely to tell, because the desert is hiding a well.”


The only renewal that will last is one that deepens our connection to Christ and His body. If we fail to
grow in love and the knowledge of God, the renewal will fizzle and fail and will never become revival.
Only the whole body, connected and knit together in love, with every part contributing its share, will
build the church in lasting and transforming ways.

Recently Dallas Willard, in The Divine Conspiracy, argued that consumer oriented Christianity is killing
the church. We are so accustomed to being spoon fed that we no longer know how to go deep.

No one can build muscles for another. We need to teach people to dig in and dig deep. Furthermore,
we need to lead in such a way as to minimize dependence on leadership. We need to empower people
out of the fortress and into the world where they can impact their friends and neighbors for God.

In the midst of our celebration of the Holy Spirit we must rediscover the call of the Cross. Jesus chose
the way of suffering and in the midst of healing and miracles we can make the mistake of the
Corinthian church and feel that we have already arrived (1 Cor. 4).

Finally, we desperately need to learn to find God in the ordinary. Evangelicals need to rediscover a
sacramental view of life.

May the Lord reconnect us to biblical vision and values as He releases new wine in His church
worldwide. May His kingdom come!

                Len Hjalmarson manages and with some others is
                involved in a street ministry in Kelowna, BC. He is married to Betty, a registered
                nurse, who is involved with women in recovery groups. They have two daughters, a
                cat and a sudden flurry of rabbits. Len holds a MDiv from MB Biblical Seminary in
                Fresno, CA.

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