SLAYING PLUS TONGUES EQUALS REVIVAL?
When W. J. Seymour preached at Azusa Street, the meetings were called a ‘revival’. Why? Because so-called slaying in the spirit and tongues were combined! To these early Pentecostalists they were the ‘proof’ that God was with them in a powerful way. The hard fact is, all the manifestations were those found in demonic hypnosis (see BTM Article on the subject).
One who took part in these early years, Bartleman, said: “At Eighth and Maple Streets such a divine ‘weight of glory’ was upon us we could only lie on our faces. For a long time we could hardly remain seated even…” (‘Another Wave Rolls In’, by Bartleman. Voice Publications. 1962). And: “It was also reported that the ‘jerks’ and ‘treeing the devil’ (that is, crawling on all fours and barking up a tree like a dog) were in evidence in the (Azusa) mission.”
Bartleman, in favour of the movement and not wanting to write anything negative, refers to a Baptist pastor who ran around hugging everyone he could get hold of. This was called ‘divine love’. Remember, all this – and the kissing – all took place at a time in history when such behavior would have been shocking. Yet it was accepted as of God, without question.
One missionary leader spoke with horror about what happened at Azusa Street, declaring that “it would be impossible to publish the things that have occurred there. The familiarity between sexes in the public meetings has been shocking, to say the least. Hell has reaped an awful harvest and infidelity has become more strongly rooted…than ever before.” (‘Demons and Tongues’).
All along in these descriptions we are reading carbon-copies of Toronto and other charismatic antics. Sexual impropriety is rife, as is marital breakdown and other problems.
Significantly, Seymour, a leader of the movement, “ultimately repudiated the initial evidence teaching (speaking in tongues) as providing an open door for witches and spiritualists and free lovism.” (‘Dictionary of P & C Movements’). Parham, the ‘father’ of Pentecostalism, had this to say about Azusa: “Men and women, whites and blacks, knelt together or fell across one another; frequently, a white woman, perhaps of wealth and culture, could be seen thrown back in the arms of a big ‘buck nigger’, and held tightly thus as she shivered and shook in freak imitation of Pentecost. Horrible awful shame!” Yes, that was the leader of the movement talking! (‘Fields White Unto Harvest’, by James Goff Jnr. University of Arkansas Press, 1988). In those days these were scenes of degradation and immorality. Before he left Azusa Street, Parham said “God is sick at His stomach” (Shumway). All of these things and more go on at Wimber and other charismatic meetings. Now we come to worse facts…
WITCHES AND MEDIUMS
The occurrences at Azusa Street soon attracted the attention of occultists far and wide. They did so not because God was in the movement, but because He was NOT!
“…spiritualists and mediums from the numerous occult societies of Los Angeles began to attend and to contribute their séances and trances to the services.” (‘The Holiness Pentecostal Movement in the United States’ by Vinson Synan. Grand Rapids. 1971). I would ask Pentecostalists to read that statement again. Does it not tell you something about the true nature of your denomination?
Seymour was terrified by these activities, which took place in the middle of his church’s services. He wrote frantically to Parham, begging him to come to Los Angeles to sort things out. “W. J. Seymour was still writing urgent letters appealing for help, as spiritualistic manifestations, hypnotic forces and fleshly contortions as known in the coloured Camp meetings in the south, had broken loose in the meetings.” He wanted to know which parts were real and which were false. It did not enter his mind that it was ALL false! The manifestations he refers to are exactly those that were shown in Rodney Howard Browne, Copeland, Benny Hinn and other charismatic meetings, during and since the Toronto Blessing. They currently are alive in Pensacola.
As Nader Mikhaiel correctly observes: “How could an outpouring of the Spirit of God attract the witches, the mediums and the spiritualists? Fragrance does not attract flies – a decomposing carcass does. Mediums and spiritualists are attracted to the spirit that is at work in them, that is, the Devil.” How else could these evil people participate in what was supposed to be a ‘revival’ meeting? The only answer is that the events at Azusa Street were not of God at all, but were of satan. That has a serious ramification – that Pentecostalism is based not on the work of God, but on the work of satan. As we have said many times before, this has nothing to do with how ‘nice’ a person is, or how ‘holy’ he claims to be, or how much he says he ‘loves Jesus’, etc. What matters is how he obeys the Lord’s commands as found in scripture. Azusa Street did not obey the Lord, but propagated perversions of truth. What followed, therefore, was also a perversion – which continues to this very day.
Again to quote Mikhaiel: “Did the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost attract mediums and spiritualists, to participate with the disciples?” No, of course they did not! Something I have discovered in my own work is that mediums and spiritualists are powerless in the presence of God. I have noted how spiritualists have been dumb when I have been near, and I have watched a man overtaken by a demon crawl into a corner, crying out that I leave ‘him’ alone because I ‘knew God’. He was forced to crawl and snivel, just as demons cried out to Jesus not to harm them. This happened not because of my own strength or holiness, but because of the Master I represented! I had no power of my own, yet even the derived, delegated authority of a mortal, sinful Christian was enough to send demons scurrying away. Why did they not scatter at Azusa Street? I think you can already guess the answer.
The power of satan was so strong that the “supernatural atmosphere of Azusa Street was felt within several blocks…”! If it had been the power of God, mediums and spiritualists would not have been able to enter that hallowed area. Instead, they flocked there and joined in the revelry, because they recognized that the same spirit as they had was present in Azusa Street.
Bartleman tells us that the folk at the church were petrified by the occultists: “…spiritualists, hypnotists…all the religious soreheads and crooks and cranks came…We had the most to fear from these…This condition cast a fear over many which was hard to overcome. It hindered the spirit so much. Many were afraid to seek God for fear the devil might get them.” A revival? Never! This is the kind of fear generated by the might of satan, not by God. God cannot be hindered by satan.
As Mikhaiel points out – Seymour was a false apostle. But no more so than all others who follow in his footsteps. If God works through a Pentecostalist it can only be by special divine intervention, over and above what He normally does. Such an intervention must be in spite of a man being a Pentecostalist. Any such grace is certainly not a reason to remain a Pentecostalist.
PARHAM – UNABLE TO ACT
Parham could not shift this awful pestilence. He was ‘repelled’ by what he witnessed and when he attempted to rectify the situation, Seymour and his followers split from him. They did not like it. This is exactly how Toronto Blessing leaders reacted to rebuke and help from faithful Christians. Parham saw hypnotists (occultists) practicing hypnotism at the altar. Later, he confessed that it was all of satan, for he saw “hypnotic influences, familiar spirit influences, spiritualistic influences, mesmeric influences and all kinds of spells and spasms, falling in trances etc….” He refuted them as being of God, as his own wife testified. (‘The Life of Charles F Parham’ by Sarah Parham. Garland Publishing. 1985).
It transpired that Parham was “not wanted” at Azusa Street. Why not? Because one of the elders was himself a hypnotist, who passed on the power to speak in tongues to others! Or as Parham put it: “chattering, jabbering, speaking in no language at all”. (Parham).
Parham tried to counter the evil at Azusa Street by holding parallel meetings elsewhere, to deliver people from possession by demons. He said: “between two and three hundred who had been possessed of awful fits and spasms and controls in the Azusa Street work were delivered, and received the real Pentecost teachings and many spake with other tongues.” Superficially this all sounds great – Parham successfully stole away satan’s prizes!
But we must look far deeper than that. satan is no fool. He was as much at work in Parham’s meetings as he was in Azusa Street. But in a different way. He merely shifted his locus of attention, from one church to another. With much panache, he grandly allowed Parham to ‘exorcise’ his demons, and then placed them back again, making Parham’s converts speak in tongues that were just as false as the ones they previously had! satan has a grim sense of humor, friends. If he can gain something by pretending to be cast out by false prophets, then he will gladly join in the fun. So, what appears to be an exorcism is actually a worsening of the situation. As scripture tells us, if a man is not cleansed of sin after being exorcised of demons, then even more demons will enter him, causing even greater havoc in his life…a havoc far worse than he had experienced previously. Remember this when you next contemplate the supposed exorcisms in charismatic and Pentecostalist meetings. satan is not being cast out – he is just reinforcing his position by assuming another guise.
SPREAD OF INFECTION
Just as happened with the Toronto Blessing, so the Azusa Street phenomenon spread, and the same manifestations occurred. The founder of the Foursquare Gospel church, Aimee Semple McPherson, wrote of exactly the same manifestations as are found in Pensacola and in charismatic churches worldwide today. That is because the same satanic influence and falsity has been passed on, decade by decade.
This woman received the ‘spirit’ and the ‘gifts’ in the same way as charismatics do today. Such is obviously not of God. For example, “it was as though He would tear my body to pieces…He verily split my throat…(someone said to her) ‘the Lord is able to repair any damage He does to the old temple. After being tossed about violently for quite awhile until I was panting for breath and wet with perspiration, I…poured forth praise to God in tongues…” (‘This Is That’, by Aimee McPherson. Echo Park Evangelistic Association. 1923). Of God? Never! She, too, called the ‘revival’ the ‘latter rain’ of God. When this ‘rain’ spread to Britain, rooms were ‘rocked’ at prayer meetings. That is the work of demons, not of God.
This is just a smattering of information concerning Azusa Street and the formation of Pentecostalism. If a reader cannot see the demonic behind it all, then there is very little that further study would bring. Pentecostalists should consider this – if what they have is truly of God, why is it the same as is being experienced by charismatics, and which has been experienced continuously since Azusa Street, where mediums and spiritualists recognized the ‘spirit’ to be their own Satanic spirit? The experiences are not just similar – they are exactly the same.
May God help us all to ‘read between the lines’ of what is happening today.
Discernment is essential if we are to remain faithful to the Lord and stand against error.
This Article has given the historical facts concerning the beginning of Pentecostalism. Now that you know the truth, what are you going to do about it? If you have Pentecostal friends, will you show them their error? Or will you stand by and allow them to think they are okay? Will you let them continue thinking that their various Pentecostal ideas are of God? Will you urge them to repent and leave what is a heinous deception of the Devil dressed in acceptable guise?
The days are short.
There is no time for nice chit-chat. Pentecostalism (charismaticism) is growing rapidly. Will we now stand against it and raise the banner of Jesus Christ? Or will we all stand by and allow charismatics to raise their own false standard, proclaiming themselves to be God’s people on this earth? You have the choice – to stand firm or to mix with error. Telling friends they are in gross error is a very hard thing to do. This is acknowledged. But what is being tested is not friendship – it is loyalty and faithfulness to the Lord, His word and Truth. It is always sad when those we thought were friends shun us because of a firm stand for the Lord. That is the way it has always been.
(Acknowledgements for quotes are made to: ‘The Toronto Blessing and Slaying in the Spirit – the telling wonder’ by Nader Mikhaiel….an exceptional book written by a man of discernment)
Bible Theology Ministries
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© November 1994