By: K. B. Napier
In the past I have said that not all charismatics are the same, but that they all share the same guilt for their errors. Charismatics are the spawn of Pentecostalism. It is therefore prudent to see whether or not the child of Pentecostalism is just a wild and unprecedented mistake – or if it is a genealogical reproduction of its parent. If it is a mistake, then Pentecostalism might be exonerated. But, what if charismaticism is a true child, an image of its parent? If this is so, then we have no option but to cast Pentecostalism into the same pit that charismaticism belongs to.
These are very hard words if we personally know Pentecostalists – especially if they are of the ‘old school’. I know some, and they are nice folk. But this is where we must shed the emotional ties that can cause us to accept and promote error. Our aim must be to exalt and promote God’s word (KJV) and holiness, not our own version of what is acceptable. Emotion and friendships have no part in the process*. There is only one way to do this and, that is, to measure everything by scripture. We will now look briefly at the beginnings of Pentecostalism as a movement, as it manifested itself at Azusa Street church. (* Of course, friendships and emotion are important. What I am saying is that they cannot be allowed to alter the course of Truth, nor should they be allowed to cause us to accommodate lies. If necessary, we must be prepared to put aside friendships and our own emotional responses, if Truth demands it. That is a test of faithfulness).
Pentecostalist-type manifestations (Note: not ‘Pentecostal’ as in Acts 2) and beliefs existed long before the ‘latter rain’ events at Azusa Street, but it was at Azusa Street that Pentecostalism took proper shape and form. The inception of any movement is important. Was it a holy and Godly event, or not? This paper will show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the birth of Pentecostalism was defective. A monster was born.
As a child it displayed an immaturity of outlook. As a youth it desired adventure and started to flex its muscles (early 1960’s when charismaticism began). Then, in the 1990’s, the true nature of the monster was revealed as it rampaged the world and destroyed countless churches and Christian lives. It called itself the ‘Toronto Blessing‘ and personified the Biblical description of satan as an ‘angel of light’ and his activities as ‘works of darkness’.
Old-style Pentecostalists might throw up their arms in horror at this lineage, claiming that they have nothing to do with the evil ‘Toronto’ movement. But they are wrong and deluded. They are the parents of the charismatic movement that produced the Toronto Blessing, even if they attempt to distance themselves. They may not have taken part in the same terrible defilements, but the fact that they call themselves ‘Pentecostalists‘ is sufficient indictment. They are the same family and are bred from the same stock! The only difference is in degree.
We will, then, look at the Azusa Street phenomenon because it created the evil life-form that insidiously grew and erupted into the Toronto Blessing. The conclusion is very simple – every man and woman who calls him or herself ‘Pentecostalist‘ MUST, as a matter of urgency, repent and deny their Pentecostalist theology and affiliations. They must cast aside their erroneous beliefs and activities (which are evil in His sight), that they might receive the true favour of Almighty God.
These are strong words for evil days, my friends. There is no time for a soft approach…an approach that tolerated and advanced the cause of charismatic heresy in the latter part of the twentieth century. If you are a Pentecostalist, take heed. You are being held accountable, by the evidence of scripture. That is, by the Lord. In this Article my own feelings of friendship for Pentecostalists known to me are irrelevant. What matters is that we all adhere to the only measure of Truth we have – God’s word.
In His book ‘The Toronto Blessing and Slaying in the Spirit’, Nader Mikhaiel points out that Pentecostalists never write about counterfeit miracles. (Although Bill Randles, of the USA, tackles the topic amongst others in his own work, but that is very recent). The reason is very simple – if they once acknowledge that some of their activities are evil, then they risk having them all branded with the same epithet. The danger to the structure and existence of Pentecostalism would be very real. It would collapse, because it is built on a foundation of sand. This is probably why Pentecostalists will not acknowledge the occult beginnings of their own movement…..if, that is, they know their own history anyway.
Some Pentecostalists distance themselves from charismatic ‘excess’ as found in the Toronto Blessing. Some even distance themselves from various leaders such as John Arnott (Toronto) and/or John Wimber (Vineyard). Do not be fooled by this! All they are doing is shifting the furniture around on the deck of the Titanic! They are still Pentecostalists and still believe the same things as they always did, and still practice the same errors. They are like the kettle calling the pot ‘black’….but, sadly, most of them are unaware of this failure and would not dream of being unfaithful.
In general they do not do or say what their more adventurous charismatic cousins do or say. But they do or say other things, which, though less dramatic, are of the same stock of heresy. By saying what many reformed folk want to hear (a denunciation of Toronto-style manifestations etc), they appear to be different from charismatics. This, friends, is a big mistake. As we have already said – they are only different by degree, not by type. That is, their virus is exactly the same; it just manifests itself in a modulated form. In this way, even if Satan is detected in charismaticism, he can still maintain his presence through old-style Pentecostalism without fear of being recognized by most Christians.
he has succeeded admirably and we must admit to his cleverness. Even so, he has been recognized in Pentecostalism! Not just by me, but by a number of other watchmen, who also warn the Church of the charismatic heresy. Those who wish to be truly faithful should now take heed, for their souls’ sake.
There is a very good reason for old-style Pentecostalists to abandon their beliefs and to repent. Some ministries supported by non-charismatics are headed by Pentecostalists. Yes, they denounced the Toronto Blessing. This led many to believe they must be ‘sound’. But this cannot be so. I say this without animosity toward these men or their ministries. A man who remains – and likes to call himself – ‘Pentecostalist’, but who has publicly castigated the Toronto Blessing is still, nevertheless, of the same root. That root is described in these pages. You will see that a man who denounces the Toronto movement must also denounce his own past, which is of the same kind. Such a man’s ministry MUST, by definition, be tainted by his Pentecostalist beliefs and background. At some stage he must revert to those beliefs. Those who follow such men and who give moral or monetary support, must be aware of this probability, to avoid disappointment. A man who does not leave behind his Pentecostalism is a ‘Toronto-ist in waiting’. (Explanatory illustration: If a man in the Nazi Party denounced Hitler, would you be able to trust him if he remained in the Party?).
THE REAL THING – NOT COUNTERFEITS
One other mistake needs to be acknowledged. That is, the fashion of calling recent charismatic activities ‘excesses’ and the gifts and manifestations ‘counterfeits’. Neither of these terms apply. An ‘excess’ suggests that the core of something is acceptable, but that there is simply an abundance of it. That is, the substance is basically good, but what spills over is somehow just a bit ‘over the top’. Toronto-style activities and its allied beliefs are not ‘excesses’ at all, but are a totally different breed. They have no basis in scripture, so they are not just slightly twisted forms of something good – they are without scriptural roots and are evil.
As for their gifts and manifestations (and fruit) being counterfeits…well, this word is used by well-meaning reformed Christians who have only a superficial understanding of what they have observed, usually third-hand. The axiom is, that where there is something real, there will be a counterfeit by satan. The axiom is wrong in this case! In charismaticism, satan is not trying to mimic what is real at all – he has produced his own brand of religious experience, without reference to what God does. Thus, the Toronto Blessing and charismaticism itself are not ‘counterfeits’ – they are the real article. What are counterfeits are the explanations and theology given by charismatics in defense of what they say and do. The Alpha course follows in this ‘new’ tradition, by basing its theology on scripture and then by twisting it to accommodate charismatic heresy.
The manifestations themselves, which are the major cornerstone of charismaticism, are satanic and not counterfeit, for they do not even attempt to copy what God does. There is nothing like them in scripture, so they have no link with previous or present godly realities. That makes them unique and not copies. It is important that we describe the charismatic phenomenon carefully and properly, because the outcome has far-reaching effects. Once we attribute ‘excesses’ or ‘counterfeits’ to Pentecostalism we legitimize it and bring it into the Christian fold.
Let me give just one example of charismatic activity that is not counterfeit – though it is often referred to as such…tongues. Commonly today, Pentecostalists claim their own ‘tongues’ to be of God whilst they call charismatic tongues ‘counterfeit’. Reformed Christians follow this anecdotal image. The problem is, both charismatic and Pentecostalist ‘tongues’ are false! In scripture a ‘tongue’ is a normal foreign language, not a heavenly language that no-one can possibly understand. So, that makes all the ‘tongues’ used by both camps unique manifestatioantics…matan (or, sometimes, of one’s own sinful psychological output – though this also comes from an evil source). They are not ‘counterfeits’ because they do not mimic the real thing. One is a foreign language and the other is a badly cobbled-together form of gobbledegook. This is a central truth to understand, because Pentecostalism mainly hinges on tongues.
Judge the facts for yourselves as we now look at the Azusa Street antics…
Interestingly, the Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements itself states that slaying in the spirit is not Biblical. It says that it can be caused by peer pressure, autosuggestion, or self-desire to have ‘it’. But it does not include the possibility of ‘it’ being all of satan, or even partly of satan. Yet, this phenomenon is unbiblical! Both tongues and slaying in the spirit are unbiblical. They were the basis of the Azusa Street activities which gave birth to Pentecostalism.
David du Plessis, a much revered figure in Pentecostalism, admitted that slaying in the spirit should be avoided because it brought ‘nothing but trouble’ (quoted by Cardinal Suenens). God’s phenomenon do not bring this kind of trouble. satan’s activities do.
A blanket of silence is thrown over slaying and tongues, because both phenomena were linked together at Azusa Street. Doubt one and you must doubt both. So, the best strategy is to keep quiet. The fact is very stark – if slaying and charismatic tongues (the very foundation of Pentecostalism) are both unbiblical, then they are of satan. So, if both these phenomena are admitted to be demonic, the whole denomination/movement is a demonic device. No Pentecostalist or charismatic will ever admit to such a fact.
However, Cardinal Suenens, a charismatic, says that slaying is the work of an ‘alien force’! What ‘alien force’ can there be for Christians, except a satanic one? Today Pentecostalists and charismatics (kissing cousins) have fudged the issue with bamboozling words and arguments.
WIMBER – A SON OF AZUSA STREET
Note that the start of John Wimber’s (not God’s) movement – the TB, Vineyard, etc. – contains exactly the same ingredients as those found at Azusa Street. Lies have been told about Wimber’s charismatic start, and lies are weaved into every charismatic wave and activity. The lies are spoken by charismatics themselves in order to boost their own movement, by twisting or lying about what really happened. So beware when listening to the glowing reports of charismatics!
Azusa Street is in Los Angeles, California, USA. The church there experienced its phenomena in the first decade of this century (20th). However, the same phenomena had occurred many times before, in the previous century, though not in such an organized way. The man who first organized Pentecostalist ideas into a theology was Charles Parham. He has the distinction of being the ‘father’ of modern Pentecostalism/charismaticism. His contemporary, W. J. Seymour, helped to spread the new theology and manifestations. (Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Zondervan Publishing House, 1988, and ‘The Holiness Pentecostal Movement in the United States’ by William Eerds, Grand Rapids, 1971).
The Azusa Street church held its historic meetings three times a day, seven days a week, and sometimes all night as well, for three years. (Note how the time scale and number of meetings coincides with that of the ‘official’ period of the Toronto Blessing?). Just as with the Toronto Blessing people flocked from around the world to experience ‘Pentecostalism’. And what was experienced?
“…a woman…stood shaking from head to foot…a man in front of her slid down out of his chair and became unconscious…the man…was…under high nerve pressure…He arose, staggered to them and began to shake his hand in front of their faces and wave his arms over their heads and moan…Then he put his hands on the heads of the women and began to shake their hair. Some of them lost control of themselves and went under an hypnotic spell. He rubbed a man’s jaw until the victim tumbled over on the floor and lay for half an hour, then suddenly began to jabber. Those who had received their ‘Pentecost’ cried out, ‘He has the baptism, he has the baptism!’.
A young coloured woman, doing her best to get the gibberish, went through all kinds of contortions in her effort to get her tongue to work.
…a coloured woman had her arms around a white man’s neck, praying for him. A man of maturer years leaped up out of his chair and began to stutter. He did not utter a distinct syllable…’tut-tut-tut-tut-tut-tut’. This was evidence that he had his ‘baptism’. (the first woman mentioned) this time singing a far-away tune that sounded very unnatural and repulsive…When the altar call was made, a woman walked up to the front and kissed a man…kissing between the sexes is a common occurrence in the tongue meetings.” (An eyewitness account in ‘Demons and Tongues’ by Alma White; Pillar of Fire Publishers, 1949). Classic early Pentecostalism – and classic 1990’s charismaticism. Both the same!
Here is another eye-witness account: “(Shumway – an author)…attended a ‘Pentecostal’ meeting where pandemonium was loose (Look up the meaning of ‘pandemonium’. This is what Shumway was referring to). Men and women…were talking excitedly ‘in tongues’. A man (holding on to a post) seemed to be in possession of an old-fashioned Peter Cartwright camp-meeting (charismatic-style antics in the previous century – see BTM article) case of the jerks. He was muttering and mumbling most of the time, but would (also) shriek. About sixty or seventy of the three hundred present were ‘possessed of the spirit’ (*I refuse to prefix the word ‘spirit’ with a capital ‘S’. It is not the Holy Spirit) and each was (trying to be louder than the others).
One of the three men…leading the meeting…was praying…kneeling upon an open Bible…He was almost beside himself with excitement, His arms waved and his body swayed. I thought…that he might be heard two blocks away. In this meeting there was barking like dogs, hooting like owls, and the like…After adjourning, one of the leaders remarked in my hearing ‘God had a wonderful hold on this meeting for a little while, didn’t He?’. (The same man then added) ‘God’s got a crowd ‘o folks here that’s willin’ to let him make fools of ‘em if he wants to.’ ”
Do you not find all this frightening? This could be a description of a modern Toronto-style meeting! Note the leader kneeling on God’s word? The ‘pandemonium’? The sexual activity? The same manifestations? The suggestion that God had control of only a small part of the meeting (thus satan had the rest!)? The making fools of people? It is also worth noting that early Pentecostalist congregations were commonly ordered out of town by the police because of the racket they made, and because of their general misconduct. (‘A Critical History of Glossalalia’ by C W Shumway. PhD Dissertation, Boston University, 1919). This is what today’s Pentecostalists revere and this is their true birthright.
Yet another eyewitness said:
“ …I found men and women lying on the floor in all shapes… (they were) jabbering all at one time in what they called unknown tongues. While I was praying, one of the workers took hold of me and said, ‘Holy Ghost, we command Thee to go into this soul’. The workers were jabbering and shaking their hands over me, and a demonic power (as I now know) took possession of me, and I fell among the people on the floor and knew nothing for ten hours. When I came to my senses I was weak and my jaws were so tired they ached. I believed then that this power was of God. They said I was wonderfully blessed, and the leader sent me from one place to another so that I could jabber in tongues.” (‘Demons and Tongues’. See above reference). Note – they commanded the Holy Spirit! Just like today.
He knew nothing of what he had done for ten hours! The same evil as we see today in charismatic meetings. If you are a Pentecostalist, can you not see it is evil? That your roots are in satan and not in God? That those you revere were themselves controlled by demons? If not, read on…
Continued in Part Two