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by Teri Lee Earl


This article is featured on our "Renewal" page


This short article is not intended to be a thorough treatment of all things regarding the 'renewal.' I have taken my much longer article, "A Little Leaven," down after about five years of it being up on the internet. I believed that it served its purpose at the time, but that time is done. Instead, I will provide a briefer 'recap' of some of my most important observations during the renewal controversy, that I am leaving here for historical purposes. This is by no means my entire 'testimony' of everything I have witnessed or known either directly or indirectly (mostly directly), in regards to the renewal. However, in some ways it is a more thorough treatment of renewal than I have given before.

Please keep in mind as you read this, that this is written by an American witness from an American perspective, and therefore my perspective cannot be expected to accurately reflect anything known or experienced in other countries or parts of the world.  Indeed, it cannot be expected to reflect everything known or experienced throughout America, either. Furthermore, I fully expect that not all will agree with everything I say. Nevertheless, I humbly submit it for your own personal appraisal. Finally, I admit that I lack direct experience of the 'Brownsville Outpouring,' though I did keep up with reports from there, and though I did witness a Brownsville evangelist at the 1998 Light The Nation conference in Dallas, TX, which will be referred to in this text and commentary footnotes.

The renewal, a movement that started over a decade ago, focused on receiving a touch from the Holy Spirit. One of the early ministers of the movement was Rodney Howard-Browne, but the most controversial part of the movement involved a certain church in Toronto, Canada. This church, the Toronto Airport Vineyard (TAV) became known for the "Toronto Blessing," a term used to describe was idea that one could travel to that church and be blessed, and thereafter spread the anointing further. Toronto Airport Vineyard (TAV)was at first part of the Vineyard denomination. After enduring a painful excommunication from the Vineyard, TAV became TACF (Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship). Later on, the Brownsville Assembly of God church in Florida became well-known too, although less for controversy and more for repentence preaching and reports of salvations and healings. Of course, many other churches or fellowships in Canada, the United States, and beyond became affected by the renewal, either indirectly or directly,or temporarily or permanently.

Just as many others were, I was a first-hand witness to different aspects of the renewal. This included observing a good variety of different places or churches, as well as various renewal preachers and their practices regarding the renewal.' Some of these practices and preachings varied significantly from one another, and others not enough. Indeed, almost from the beginning of my direct observations in 1995, it was clear to both myself and many other Spirit-filled Christians that the 'renewal' was troubled by certain teachings and practices --teachings that by and large refused any serious or open examination from those involved, especially from renewal leaders.

A decade ago, my goal was to neither to justify the renewal as a whole nor to slander it as a whole, but instead to speak or write for the benefit and instruction of the reader, regardless of their personal perspective or experiences.  This is still my goal, though I admit that some of my personal opinions, as well as my strategies for dealing with the renewal controversy, evolved over time and observation.

For the first few years, my top concern was whether any demonic reactions or activities were being taken care of. These concerns expanded though, since many renewal preachers (primarily Vineyard folks) were commonly quoted by "anti-renewalists" who were astounded and amazed at their statements.  In addition to this, came the rush of words quoted from Toronto leaders or visiting preachers, who were often one and the same as Vineyard staff. Following that, came reports of false or strange prophecies, money controversies for Brownsville (1), gold dust and perfume, the "selling of the anointing" (2) and many other controversies and reports too numerous to mention.

My initial focus upon the demonic was in large part because I have a strong background and experience in discernment matters.  To put it very briefly, by the time the 'renewal' entered onto the Christian Charismatic scene, I had already been a Spirit-filled Christian for over 20 years. I had once been called by God into the deliverance ministry at an early age, had evangelized, and had a counseling and prophetic ministry too. I had been married to one spouse and raised three children in the Lord. All of this after my teenage years, when I thrown out of my own home at only seventeen years old for refusing to renounce Christ. This was after my many years of being raised in that same occultic home. Not surprisingly then, I am no stranger to the occult, to the power of the Holy Spirit's presence, and to God's grace. Indeed, it is only because of God's 'supernatural' power and grace to lead and strengthen me in the Christian Faith that I am here today.

During the height of the renewal controversy, renewalists spoke as though all things renewal were also all things Holy Spirit, and anyone who 'rejected' any part or facet of the renewal were likewise rejecting the Holy Spirit. This was a grave error on their part, which I believe revealed one of the root belief systems of heavy-handed leadership (that somehow their ministry must never be critiqued, lest you resist God Himself). In the mean time, anti-renewalists were objecting to the strange things credited to the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, the loudest of the 'anti-renewalists' were also anti-Charismatics who did not believe in the spiritual gifts. They tended to engage in quick evaluations with a guilt-by-association tracing, culminating into a great Anti-Christ Conspiracy Theory.

Neither tactic seemed to help anyone on either side of the fence, though it did succeed in rallying people to the different 'sides' and set their opinions in concrete. I hoped to be a less strident voice-- one that was much more friendly to the Charismatic or Pentecostal perspective-- so that those who were 'Charismatics' would be willing listen to my individual points. However, I did at first miscalculate the 'resistence' to what I had to say.

The first thing I did was to spend some time carefully expressing my concerns to as many renewalists and their leaders as I could. Unfortunately, because of denominational dictates that were probably well in place prior to the renewal days, it was not at all unique for people's concerns to be completely discounted and for people to be attacked for them.  As an example, anything perceived as 'negative' toward renewal leaders or possibly the renewal itself, were often 'moderated out' of the only renewal on-line forum-- the very large Vineyard-run New Wine e-mail list. More than one person wrote to me that they were 'secretly banned' from the New Wine list (all posts turned away without notice or communication, and silent treatment given by the moderators) One such person was Anton Hein, who was a 'pro-' renewalist at the time. He started a seperate e-mail list, CMR-Renewal, after such treatment. His list was open for discussion of *all* aspects of renewal and revival - including the controversial subjects. Anton also constructed the very large apologetics index website. URL:

I did not agree with those who acted as though the 'reputation' of any particular church or movement was more important than the 'reputation' of the Holy Spirit. To me, God is to be exalted and given glory, and not any place, person, church, ''movement,' or denomination. Any message or valid point can stand on its own or fail on its own, depending on those who hear it or those who will receive it. Since Vineyard and Canadian pro-renewalists were getting more and more reactionary to anyone they perceived as a possible "anti-renewalist," and since they strictly controlled communications on their e-mail lists at the time, I wrote my first article on the subject called, The Role Of Deception in Renewal and posted it on my website in Nov.1997. I then set myself to "post-pone" on the New Wine list.

This first article about the renewal contained my direct observations over the early treatment of 'manifestations' as they are called, and certain discernment gifts in various renewal meetings run by the Vineyard denomination at the time. For instance, I noted that in Vineyard announcements and forums, there was an across-the-board avoidance of the subject of demonic activity. Over-all, I observed that all Vineyard leaders called anything unusual a "fleshly" reaction to the Spirit, and insisted that 'animal' manifestions and others could not be demonic or occultic in nature, and were at worst "people reacting in the flesh." (3) Likewise, gifts of the Spirit were specifically targeted for downplay (apparently since they were not needed, in their opinion) (4) At the time, I personally found this to be very ironic, since John Wimber excommunicated Toronto Airport Vineyard over, in part, a failure to appropriately deal with odd manifestations. (5)

More importantly, although I was supportive of anything good that was reported in the renewal (such as salvations, healings, and a return to a "first love" devotion to God), I also pointed out in this first article that repentance (reformation of the heart, turning from evil deeds and embracing Godly works) is part of that drawing near to God. Weary of hearing the immature use of the word, "fun" in regards to meetings, and having had some prophetic dreams about it besides, I challenged the "party spirit" by saying that sin in our midst is an open door for the party spirit.

After I expressed warning and concern over any flippant attitude regarding the work of the Holy Spirit or the holiness of God, I presented the following scriptures as proof that God would disapprove of the 'party spirit'. These scriptures would apply to anyone who was resistent to God's holiness and righteousness, yet wanted to have 'fun' with Him:

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded."(James 4:8 NASB)

"I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me. I am weary of bearing them. So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you, Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless; Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow." (Isa 1:14-17 NASB)

"Be delayed and wait. Blind yourselves and be blind. They become drunk, but not with wine; They stagger, but not with strong drink. For the LORD has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep, He has shut your eyes, the prophets; And He has covered your heads, the seers. And the entire vision shall be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, "Please read this," he will say, "I cannot, for it is sealed." Then the book will be given to the one who is illiterate, saying, "Please read this." And he will say, "I cannot read." Then the Lord said, "Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote," (Isa 29:9-13 NASB)


As time went on, I noticed that there were careless misrepresentations throughout the renewal controversies. One of the most common of these involved the historical record of past revivals. For instance, Jonathan Edwards was often referred to on both sides of the controversy, to support both views for, or against. This piqued my interest. How could one revivalist theologian be used so effectively to present vastly different views?

Edwards is probably the best-known, most often-quoted theologian, reporter, and 'apologetic,' of the First Great Awakening during the colonial days of America. His quotes and his records cannot be superficially treated though because he can be so easily misrepresented. For instance, he was supportive of the Awakening but cautiously so. He did make objections over religious experience, but this was both influenced and modified by some important factors, as time went on, during the Great Awakening. First, was his observance of the many true conversions to Christianity during the revival. Then, on a more personal note, he was impacted by the unexpected spiritual experiences of his beloved wife, Sarah Edwards.

In the month of January, 1742, Mrs. Edwards suddenly (in her home as I recall) experienced an intense spiritual experience that was not that unusual for the Great Awakening, such as incidences of "fainting, visions, and religious ecstacy." After that, Jonathan Edwards was so impressed by his wife's change that he included her story in his 1742 Some Present Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in New England, without specifically naming her. So, prior to this direct experience, Edwards may have sounded against many aspects of the Great Awakening. Post it though, he would have sounded more favorable to them..

Since Edwards is responsible for a great volume of writings spanning a relatively long time period, much of how one might view Edwards depends upon what is 'cherry picked' out of his work. He was extremely level-headed and orthodox though, and ended up focusing on heart conversions rather than external expressions of emotionalism and the like. In his Treatise of the Religious Affections (1946) for instance, Edwards rigorously examined true conversion and carnal religiosity. He maintained that carnal religiousity may provoke a lot of commotion without true spirituality. He focused on the heart being touched by God and being turned away from self-centeredness, and he defended the place or existence of emotions during this process and in the Christian life. This was his response to liberal critics like Charles Chauncy who sneered at the intense emotions and disorder that occurred in the Great Awakening. (6)

Jonathan Edwards can be described as a tedious read, though well worth it. He was well grounded in Scripture. His contribution could be said to provide a "long view" of the fruits of a revival and without providing a detailed understanding of the reason for a any wild manifestations. It seems certain to me that he thought that strange reactions should pass after time, yet they would not be the preference of the Spirit. In other words, such 'reactions' or 'manifestations' should not magnified or considered a sign of spirituality, and should not be sought after.

Misrepresenting Edward's records may have been an honest mistake by those rushing to find evidence, pro or con. Other mistakes were more serious though, and less excusable. For instance, in one article that sought to expose 'doctrines of demons,' the work seemed well researched and contained complete enough quotes. However, there was a statement made about the Argentine revivalist Ed Silvoso and his Prayer Evangelism that was absolutely incorrect. Without reproducing the exact quote because of the author's copyright limitations, suffice it to say that the author was certain that Ed Silvoso's evangelistic teachings did not include street evangelism or other evangelistic events.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Ed Silvoso's book, "That None Should Perish," is a foundational expository on the 'Prayer Evangelism' they used for Revival in Argentina. The majority of the book lays the foundation for the Argentine evangelical plan of 'Light Houses,' and by page 270 Silvoso has built up to the point of 'Neighborhood crusades.' This was nearly the last step to the evangelization model and is thus a part of it. He does not go into a detailed description of 'neighborhood crusades' because he probably did not think he had to. It is well understood by anyone remotely familiar with the South American revivals that these refer to open-air preaching or outreaches. In fact, on pages 134-137 of his book, Ed Silvoso gives an account of an open prayer meeting in the Main Plaza of the city that led many to Christ. Also, near the end of his book, he gives a personal testimony of how he overcame his personal shyness regarding witnessing to unbelievers.

This 'critic' made a patently false statement regarding 'safe' evangelism, as well as engaged in an unfair attack regarding the Argentine's supposedly watered down, people-friendly gospel. (7) Having listened to teachings or exhortations by Pablo Deiros, Carlos Annocondia, Claudio Friedzon, Ed Silvoso, and Sergio Scataglini back in 1998, my direct observations opposed this critic's quick 'butcher job' of the Argentine revivalists. Throughout their preachings, they emphasized conversions, holiness, the Word of God, sin and repentence, as well as miracles or workings of the Holy Spirit (as a point of interest, many of these pastors are Baptists or have a Baptist background). In addition, there was plenty of exhortation to take Christianity outside of our comfortable and religious four-wall churches—even into dangerous drug-infested, street territory (only according to the specific leading of the Lord). These revivalists or evangelists not only exhorted others to do these things, but they themselves had done it.

The critic also assumed that the Argentine revivalists agreed completely with all renewalist practices. I happened to know that they did not. I know this because of my first hand observations at the "Light The Nations" conference in Dallas, TX, 1998, as referenced above and in the footnotes.

What I have just said above about this critic does not excuse renewalist leaders of doing similar types of things though, in their rush to defend renewal, warts and all.  For instance, in my previous work, A Little Leaven I detailed how one renewalist leader was quoted in the Charisma magazine as using the 1933 Shantung Revival in China to support "manifestations" in renewal. Rather than misquote this renewalist or treat him unfairly, I bought the book that was recommended. I read the forward by him, and then read the detailed eyewitness accounts of the Shantung revival in this same book.

I was personally surprised at what I found. I found that the renewalist's statements in the forward could not be supported at all by the actual account of the revival. (8) I provided detail proof of this in my previous article (already mentioned) .

In five years, no renewalist contacted me to dispute my proof.  Likewise, no anti-renewalist contacted me either, to dispute my defense of the Argentine revivalists.

Misrepresentations are a tragic consequence of simple human error, prejudices, or purposeful distortions. Rather than become the victims of misrepresentations as well as perpetrators of it, we as Christians need to rise above that. We need to do this for the sake of the intellectual honesty and spiritual integrity that would leave us open to God's truth in the matter. Spiritual lazyness that leads to instant, yet acceptable (to us) conclusions, just will not do in these end times.

Throughout any of my previous writings about renewal, I have studiously avoided making conclusions for the reader about any 'renewal' power demonstrations that he or she may have encountered, experienced, or heard about. I know and have talked to many renewalists. Most of these dear people sincerely desire revival and a touch from God. Many still do, and many DO acknowledge that the word, "revival" does not describe "renewal".  In other words, in their minds, either the "best is yet to come," or "it really did not go into a full revival, like it could have been."

However, the Lord is concerned with our spiritual integrity, for many reasons. There is no indication that we should accept anything and everything that comes along. Jesus said that we should love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind,  He did not say to love the Lord with our minds only, and He did not say that we should love the Lord with all our hearts and souls only (Matt. 22:37): We need all three.

Therefore, we do not have to toss aside the instruction to "prove all things" in order to prevent ourselves from quenching the Spirit. The two mandates are not mutually exclusive (1 Thess. 5:21-22). In other words, both the Spirit and the Word, can and do, agree!

Before I proceed to the next section, I would like to make the following notation:  Even though this the 'renewal' was all new to me and I was completely unfamiliar with revival history at the beginning of all of this, I have never believed it was wise to remain 'unalert' to Satanic attacks (1 Peter 5:8).  I tend to rebuke Satan if anything strange or questionable starts.  I have found that it is better to be wrong and to find out that something is of God after I have prayed, then to be wrong and find out something is of the devil after failing to put on the spiritual armor.  I know that people can suffer spiritual shipwreck after a trick of Satan.  So, I prayed prior to all 'renewal' meetings, and I assure the reader that I never checked my discernment at the door of any meeting.

Perhaps as a result of this, neither I nor any of my ever family 'manifested' in any of the strange ways that became controversial in renewal. This was not because I was unreceptive of the Holy Spirit in my life! In fact, there have been many ways the Holy Spirit has touched me over the years, some of which would sound controversial or odd to other Christians. So I have genuine empathy for any Christians during the renewal who were misunderstood or shamed somehow for manifestations or other things they could not help or did not understand at the time. Indeed, I have heard of people who were signaled out and rejected for a 'manifestation' and in my opinion, they were treated very inappropriately!

However, it is one thing to shame or reject someone for their own personal esoteric experiences, and quite another to promote 'manifestations' in a way that is harmful to the Body of Christ overall.  I will explain what I mean by this in the next section.


Prior to the 'renewal,' Pentecostal or Charismatic Christian teachers, missionaries, and other workers usually used the word "manifestations" in the phrase, "demonic manifestations." This term was used in order to describe supernatural or compelled activity by demons upon the human body and tongue. An example would be the demon-possessed man in Gerasene (Mark 5: 1-7) or the woman who had a spirit of divination (Acts 16:16-18). When people assembled together in the Lord and each one had something to share for the edification of the Body, Pentecostal or Charismatic Christians called these "gifts of the Spirit." By automatically defining what was of the Spirit and what was not in these phrases, "gifts of the Spirit" or "demonic manifestations" it was very quickly understood what was of the devil and what was not.

So, until recent years, Charismatic terminology did not call everything odd or unusual that happened under the sun a "manifestation" without defining the source. If one believed that the gifts of the Spirit were for today, then the gifts of the Spirit were expected to accompany Christians as they met together (see 1 Cor 14:26). This included the gift of discerning, or distinguishing, of spirits (1 Cor 12:10). Upon the preaching of the Word, miracles and signs came to spread the gospel (Mark 16:15-18). If the demonic showed up during the preaching of the Word, as with Paul in Acts 16:16-18, it was discerned as soon as possible (as a "demonic manifestation") and dealt with accordingly. You might notice that for some reason, Paul did not immediately challenge the demonic in my example, but he did so as soon as possible.  In a scriptural study, you might notice that demonic manifestations are not limited to the obviously strange, and could include a wide variety of behavior and problems (John 7:43-44; John 8:44; Luke 13:11; Matt. 12:22-28).

Many of us today have witnessed the occasional occurrence of demonic manifestations in various meetings or situations. Indeed, if the power of God is present or the Word of God is presented, demonic manifestations might be provoked, just as with Jesus and the Gerasene or Paul with the fortune teller.

However, soon after the 'renewal,' spiritual phenomenon --phenomenon other than the spiritual gifts-- began to be defined by the the general term, "spiritual manifestations." This is neutral and undefined. This is extremely important because confusion begins when definitions are over-generalized and made unclear. Without dividing the true from the false, there is simply no differentiation and this causes confusion in discernment issues.

My guess is that this phrase, "spiritual manifestations" was borrowed from secular accounts of revivalist activity in the past. After all, the term "spiritual manifestations" is used in secular books to describe 'religious' supernatural activity, including spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and physical healing--as well as blatantly occult activities or phenomenon (as in the Shaker cult's false revival, which I detailed in my previous article already mentioned, A Little Leaven).

Using a secular connotation like this begins to present great difficulties for the Christian community. This is because although the secular cannot be expected to differentiate between the profane and the holy, the Christian can. For instance, the Holy Spirit distributes the gift of distinguishing spirits (1 Corinth. 12:10) so that a Chritian community or fellowship has the capacity to differentiate between what is demonic, and what is of the Holy Spirit.

For the Christian then, incidences of the Holy Spirit should never be lumped together along with incidences of the devil, under a huge umbrella called "spiritual manifestations." Doing so knowingly is a grave thing indeed! (Mark 3:28-29) Now, some would obviously be bothered by trying to be overly specific, especially when new or different and unexplainable things begin to occur. However, even if one is at first unsure as to the source of what is happening, it is prudent to at least acknowledge that some things can be demonic and some things not. However, as previously said in regards to certain renewal circles back in 1995, this was never, ever, done. Instead, all things were consigned to the "flesh reacting" to God.

Because it was assumed that every bodily reaction in a renewal meeting is inspired by the Holy Spirit, it easy to take it a step further by calling everything "manifestations of the Spirit". This offended many Christians, and rightly so! So, calling all spiritual phenomenon a "manifestation of the Spirit" began to replace the common Charismatic language used at the time amongst renewalists. Is that important? Yes it most certainly is! Such a use of language clearly implies that all activity will be 'of the Spirit', just as the phrase states, leaving no room for any other option.

What is even more astonishing is that in the Bible, the gifts of the Spirit are "for the common good," and the term 'manifestations' in certain verses only refers to spiritual gifts for this purpose (1 Cor 12:4-11). Therefore, to use this phrase to describe laughing, crying, falling down, shaking or whatever else might occur, even if you believe they are of the Spirit and they have ministered a changed life or heart in the individual, can be most misleading. Why? Because "manifestations of the Spirit" simply are, Biblically speaking in the Biblical language, the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit are not the same as "emotional reactions to a touch of God," or the same as "demonic manifestations." To treat all as if they are lumped all together denies the gift of discernment and the reality of the Bibical record itself.

Unfortunately, in addition to this overgeneralizatio, "manifestations of the Spirit" have been used in many renewal forums to describe everything but the gifts of the Spirit. Eventually this has led to no discussion whatsoever of gifts of the Spirit, in spite of the fact that the Scripture clearly defines gifts alone as the reasonable or expected outcome of meeting with one another as Christians, and it defines gifts alone as manifestations of the Spirit! So if the Spirit is upon us and within us, is it too much to ask that gifts of the Spirit be recognized and celebrated and desired, rather than being overshadowed by the more nebulous and murky world of strange "manifestations"?

Yet the gifts of the Spirit, fell out of favor, as compared to these so called "manifestations of the Spirit" They were hardly even talked about in fact, except --astonishingly-- for instructions to not do them (in some meetings, no deliverance was allowed, and prophecy was disallowed too! See FOOTNOTE 4 again) Worse than that, some have taken it even further. Way back in 1995 came, another term emerged. This one was awholly alarming to me and showed the depths of extra-Biblical thought. That is, if the expected 'manifestations' did not happen to someone, they were called 'hard to receive'. Who invented this new, extra-Biblical, proof that the Holy Spirit is working in someone's life? I do not know, but I do know that it was never corrected.

If we accept anything and everything that comes along-- and I am speaking of the practice of emphasizing all "manifestations" as a wholly positive "evidence" of the Holy Spirit's work, then we are indeed swept away by every wind and doctrine. Being "drunk in the Spirit" or shaking like a leaf, are not the same as as gifts for the common good and neither should they be treated as the same, or celebrated as if they are the same. Yet I am a first-hand witness that such things were often treated as better than the gifts of the Spirit (9), and still are by some confused Christians, even to this day.


As I have noted already, the Bible gives no cause for the using the word 'manifestations' as the majority of renewalists have popularized it. We have already established that. Now I will take us a different direction in thought, and I pray that all bear with me, regardless of any preconceived ideas.

What if God were trying to give a message to the Church through these manifestations, some have asked? Well, ordinarily we would not consider this a possibility at all, since any message of God is going to be directed by His Spirit, which we know has a 'sound mind' (2 Tim. 1:7). Therefore, it would be most offensive to think that the Holy Spirit would have people acting in bizarre ways. And even if He did, anything God would do, would have a purpose--- one which would be not too difficult to find out. He is not so convoluted as to never be found by those who seek Him, His ways, or His messages. we would have to then interpret the 'message' contained in the 'manifestations' blindly, as best we could.

For the above reasons, it is a stretch  -- a BIG stretch-- to even consider the controversial "manifestations" as an activity inspired by the Holy Spirit at all.  However, just for the sake of argument as the saying goes, we will consider these strange "manifestations" in renewal as though they could have contained a message to the larger Body of Christ. This is indeed what some renewalist leaders did.

So, barring any thumbs down analysis that would say the Lord would never try to give a 'mystery' message through strange 'manifestations,' then there would have to be a message.  After all, why else would the Holy Spirit, who gives gifts for the common good, do such a strange things in a public place?

For several years since the start of the renewal, I observed how the stranger "manifestations" were interepreted by people who assumed they were from God. I produce for you below the following table. Even though the table only represents three examples of interpretation regarding three the most controversial "manifestations," it still reveals an over-all trend.

Favorable explanation by 'renewalists': 
No explanation given for this one that I know of.  However, I a trusted friend has told me that he witnessed a demon who 'barked' cast out of a person, after that person had attended a John Arnott renewal meeting, and began 'yipping' like a dog at the meeting and thereafter .

Other Scriptures:
Israel's watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs, they cannot bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep.They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, each seeks his own gain. Isaiah 56:10-11 (read entire chapter for context)


Favorable scriptural explanation by renewalists:
Lion of Judah/God the Almighty

Other Scriptures:
For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, like a great lion to Judah. I will tear them to pieces and go away; I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them. Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt.
And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me." (Hosea 5:14-15).
See also Hosea 11: 7-10 and Hosea 13:7-11

This is what the LORD says to me: "As a lion growls, a great lion over his prey-- and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against him, he is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor--so the LORD Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights." (Isaiah . 31:4)



Favorable scriptural explanation by renewalists:
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
Psalm 81:10
For both gold 'dust,' and gold fillings, it has been reported that one church that claimed it was in renewal, said: "It's been an Eastern custom that before the groom comes for his bride, he gives her gifts of gold."

Consider these scriptures instead:
Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. (Prov 8:10-11) See also: Prov. 8:19-20 

Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, (Ps 119:127)
See also: Ps 19:9-11

And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it. (Exodus 32:20)

They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be an unclean thing. Their silver and gold will not be able to save them in the day of the Lord's wrath. They will not satisfy their hunger or fill their
stomachs with it, for it has made them stumble into sin. (Ezek 7:19)

The above comments and examples are courtesy of not only my direct observations of what certain renewalists and their leaders said, but my own prayers and research as well. Some of my friends, who looked into the scriptures, also contributed. As you can see, certain types of scriptures that might apply were consistently overlooked by renewalist leaders. That is, if those scriptures could be construed as 'negative'. If they could be construed as 'positive,' then the scripture or reference was embraced and quickly spread around as the explanation for the strange "manifestation."

As far as strange or hidden messages, there is something important to consider: Jesus spoke in parables in order to both gently introduce his text and make it improbable for the non-seeker to understand. As Jesus explains: "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, "'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'" (Luke 8:10)

So, scripturally speaking, it is my conclusion that when messages from God are given in a strange way, such as in parables, they are most likely insults from God to the people as a whole.

Some may say that by suggesting that 'hidden' or 'strange' messages are an insult, I am being too harsh. I disagree. After all, in the Bible, God resorted to using shocking methods to reach a nation steeped in occultism, idolatry, and backslidden 'churchianity'-- a nation that had already gone into exile rather than listen to God's prophets! This was indeed what it was like during Ezekiel's time. Because of this, it is possible that God deliberately chose the 'weird' and shocking, since anything else would not have gotten their attention. In other words, since they would not listen to plain language through the other prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, Ezekiel arrived, acting in strange and offensive ways, to give them a "shock therapy" that was culturally significant enough to them.

So, according to Biblical precedent there is no gaurantee at all that any strange yet hidden 'message' given in public would be pleasing to the ears. In fact, the opposite is more likely.

It is my opinion that many renewalists viewed what was happening as proof of God's favor upon their organizations, meetings, or ministries. Many were desperate for something --- anything-- that showed they had a spiritual experience of some kind--that they too had the anointing or had known God's Presence. In this way some could show others that they were not "hard to receive," or had not "rejected the work of the Spirit in renewal." So, when challenged to come up with something Biblical, they were doomed to interpret everything in as positive of a light as possible.  This was ruthlessly reinforced by all those around them, and in the process, honesty and Scriptural integretity was lost, and probably a whole lot more.

True revival though really is about honesty and truthfulness. Such honesty is gut-wrenching at times, and yet it frees us to come into a place of holiness and reverence before our Lord. No relationship with God can remain at a kindergarten level. If we cannot take a hard look at our failings or shortcomings, we cannot reach out to a God full of Grace. We must acknowledge the 'negative' so that He might change us, even as we repent (turn away) from those things that may look spiritual on the outside but are indeed empty on the inside. If we pride ourselves in "manifestations", yet reject the gift of discernment, we have nothing to be proud of!


When a group or fellowship is closed to appropriate challenge, certain practices develop in order to protect egos, agendas, or ideas built more upon peer pressure then upon godly consideration. These practices can become more and more unethical,  leading to more and more error and troubles.  Shoving things under the rug and denying the problems, is definitely not a process that lends itself to healthy Christianity or revival.

There is no revival without conviction, repentance, and humility.  There may be a lot of interesting "manifestations" to discuss or debate, but these do not override the 'leaven' of spiritual pride, willful sin, false teachings, the love of money, or the control spirit (witchcraft).

Simply put, the Lord is not in the entertainment business. The devil, however, most definitely is.

Therefore, whereever church leadership "used" this renewal to multiply manifestations or to promote them, or wherever meetings or forums became manifestation-centered instead of Christ-centered, many were probably entertained but few were probably converted to God's holiness and purposes. Likewise, using anything of God as a source of wealth or prestige is also a conflict of interest between the god of Mammon and the Holy Lord.  Finally, keeping the Lord's Spirit in bondage to unBiblical denominational dictates is not a lasting work, since God's Spirit will not strive against the flesh forever (Gen. 6:3).

The good news is, many Christians today not only desire revival or a touch from God , but are also willing to follow the Lord out of error and immaturity. These Christians have long ago left an easy, pointless faith, or were never a part of it.  For them it is not about "chasing rainbows" or the next thrill, but only about truly abiding in Christ (John 15:4), a royal priesthood, separated apart by God (I Peter 2:9-12), willing to do the the work of His service (1 Chon. 9:13; Rev. 1:6).

Amen and Glory be to God!

© Copyright 2000-2005  by Teri Lee Earl, HarvestNETwork ( All Rights Reserved
No part of this article or footnotes may be reproduced without express permission from the author

FOOTNOTE 1: See these links to reports:

The Brownsville Controversy
There were nothing but great reports of healings and salvations spread across the internet regarding Brownsville in 1996, until 1997 when disputes over money began:
Brownsville Defense
Friday, Jul. 2, 1999 report off of CNN  from the Alta Vista web, and
Report and then rebuttal from Pastor Kilpatrick of Brownsville Kirkpatrick reestablishes his control over the gift of prophecy in his church.
Dr. Michael Brown's dismissal because he would not join the Assemblies of God, claiming that God had directed him to remain non-denominational. He then started his own FIRE school right there in Pensacola, with about half the staff of the school leaving to go with him.

Comment: Revivalist preachers of old did not lead intercessory prayer meetings toward revival, only to take the resulting cash flow for themselves-- purchasing expensive, high security houses on the cheaper real estate of a near-by southern state. How is it that the rank and file intercessors did not get a cut of this cash flow? Should any revival be a 'cash cow' for its preachers?

FOOTNOTE 2: The idea of being 'soaked' in a Holy Spirit anointing, and thus taking it from there to other places, is one that has been popularized by many renewalists. This has included Rodney Howard Brown, Toronto, Pensacola, and others. Money was eventually attached as a commodity to this 'anointing'. See the following text, reproduced from the TACF website as of August, 1999. I have boldened some of the text for emphasis:

TACF School of Ministry

What's the purpose of the School of Ministry?

We think of this as a "school of the heart", versus a Bible school or seminary. We hear pastors saying, "Don't give us people loaded with information, give us young leaders with healthy hearts and teachable character -- we'll fill in the specifics." So we've designed the SoM program to emphasize personal renewal, practical ministry experience and Godly character-building.

What makes SoM different from other programs?

The key difference is that the School is church-based: it operates in the context of a local congregation, and its goal is to train up young church leaders. The other distinction is that the School is in the midst of the Holy Spirit's outpouring here in Toronto –the students are immersed in what the Lord is doing, filled to overflowing and are taking it with them when they go.

How much does the course cost?

The cost of the Fall school will be $5630.00 (CDN), which covers instruction, housing, food, transportation, a mid-term month long outreach, books and materials. A $30 non-refundable fee is to be included with the completed application form. A $500 deposit is due on acceptance to the school. This deposit secures your place and is not refundable. The balance is payable in full at registration. Amounts are subject to change, so be sure to check with us closer to the time you are thinking of registering.

What happens after?

Most SoM graduates return to their home church to serve and encourage their local congregation and help "spread the fire", either as lay people or staff. Others go on to missions organizations or other training schools. Some go on to plant churches from their home congregations.

Now compare with Acts 8:18-21

My earliest direct observations of this started in 1998. One of the most stunning displays of unholy American commercialism in Christianity I have ever seen in my life was at the 1998 Light the Nation conference, in Dallas, TX, held in Dallas TX, May 5-8. Throughout the conference, ads flashed up on overhead projector proclaiming "Catch the Fire" and "Bring Home the Anointing," in conjunction with a suggestion to buy particular audio or videotapes of the meetings there, or material from Toronto. Clearly the objects were implied as being blessed beyond measure with the power to spread revival. Not only that, but at every opportunity the Colorado-based officiators (C. Peter Wagner) plugged one book or another that was available in the back room, often while introducing the next speaker. This back room was a very large room devoted to the selling of wares, complete with author's booths for signings!

In contrast to the clear implication that the anointing could be packaged and bought, were the Argentine revivalist teachings. While the Americans suggested that the Argentine revivalists were there to pass the anointing on, the Argentines took almost every opportunity to teach the opposite: that the Holy Spirit was Living Water, and we need not depend on them or anyone else for the anointing.

Besides the Argentine's lack of participation in commercialism messages, other differences surfaced on how each group viewed aspects of revival. The Argentines' consistently spoke of  ministries "outside the four walls," whether on the streets, in hospitals, etc. (as led by the Spirit) In contrast, John Arnott excused Toronto from street ministry because they were "still praying for anointing" before they go out in streets/ministering outside church. They wanted to "have more of Jesus's anointing for miracles like healing lepers, and they were still praying about it..." Shortly thereafter, the Argentine Pablo Deiros quietly stated "If we commit ourselves to obey what the Lord says in the Word, we will immediately be in revival."

It was asked of the Argentines there on the panel, "Why has Argentine revival not stopped?" The answer they gave was:
1) Totally focused on winning Argentines to the Lord
2) Wariness (wary of) supernatural evil--demonic oppression. They have an 'E.R.' side room during meetings, to help demon-possessed.

These are direct quotes from my notes as I attended the "Panel of Revivalists" session at the Light The Nation conference referred to in this text.

During their preachings their preachings at this conference, I noticed neither the Argentines nor the Brownsville preacher (Michael Brown), all of whom emphasized repentence and holiness, got little or no Toronto- like "manifestations" in response to their preachings from the audience. However, the Holy Spirit did minister strongly with healings and repentence.  John Arnott did not preach or teach at this conference, but merely flew in for the panal session, I assume. These of course, are my own personal observations during that conference and the preachings or teachings there.

See my Light The Nation report.

I am a first hand witness of this, observing the the 'renewal' apologetics given in 1994 - 1995,  before the Toronto/AVC split which was announced on Dec.6,1995. I was in the Vineyard for three years, and I admit my experience is limited. However, although I was told that "Each Vineyard is different and this is allowed, because we are not a denomination," I found this not to be entirely true. At that time my observation was a uniform one across all of the Vineyard-sponsored renewal meetings I attended -- and I attended some out-of-town, too. We were were consistently told that  'renewal' was from God and therefore everything that happened in the meetings, regardless of what that was, was a 'manifestation of the Spirit'. The only thing that was mentioned as a possibility for disruptive or odd so-called "'manifestations of the Spirit" was "a lot of flesh".  This included the controversial animal noises. This over-all refusal to discuss "manifestations" as being possibly demonic in nature continued in all other forums by Vineyard people too, in my observation, such as the on-line New Wine e-mail list. All were very zealous in defending what seemed unusual in renewal as "just flesh reacting", regardless of what that was. This is also confirmed by an April 26, 1995 copy I have from Richard Riss on this e-mail list, stating that Rodney Howard Browne was (quoting) "uncomfortable with the Vineyard for many reasons. First of all, in the Vineyard, the leadership allows things to happen that Rodney would not like to see happen--for example, roaring like lions. At one point, this was upsetting enough to him that he almost made a formal pronouncement against the Vineyard..." A Dec. 11, 1995 announcemnt by Steven Nicholson of the Vineyard who participated in the Vineyard board meeting where excommunicating the TAV from the AVC  was discussed, stated that (quoting), "The problem is NOT that people "roar" or "cluck" or "bark." The problem is that in the opinion of John Wimber and the Board of the Canadian leadership these things have been spotlighted, spiritualized, and otherwise promoted contrary to policy..."

The exception to this pattern may have been Randy Clark, who I have read consistently supported deliverance from demons in his public preachings and travels. He eventually parted from the Vineyard denomination and continues to travel and have meetings to this day. My direct observation and experience during my attendence at a Randy Clark meeting would be a different eye-witness account than other Vineyard-run or Toronto-run meetings.  Though there was rejoicing in worship, frivolity was not at all the order of the day, and neither were wild, senseless, manifestations.

As for Toronto and their reported wild manifestations:  To be fair, it was reported that these "animal noises" were not as frequent in meetings as sometimes said.  In addition, Robin Dhillon, the worship leader of Scarborough Vineyard (a church in Toronto, Canada) at the time, protested that the Vineyard accusations against TAV were patently false in her observation. She stated that the media in Toronto at the time was purposely finding and broadcasting the few odd 'animal noises' on the T.V. as much as possible, which was then broadcast and reported all over North America. These statements of her observations were posted on the New Wine list in a Dec. 13, 1995 e-mail.  Similar protests were made by Wayne and Evelyn MacKay of another Vineyard church in Kitchener, Ontario (in a Dec. 16,1995 New Wine e-mail) I am not reporting this in order to defend Toronto or Vineyard's over all treatment of manifestations in general, but only to state there were sharp differences of opinion between members of Vineyard churches near TAV, and AVC in America.

See also:
Vineyard Experience By Rev. Gordon Williams
A fair, thoughtful examination of Vineyard-run meetings and discernment issues.

In all my observation before the TAV/AVC split, Vineyard run meetings in America consistently downplayed the need for deliverance. Most certainly, anything that happened was considered "of the Spirit." Furthermore, in some of the meetings, sponsored by the Vineyard yet using the training manuals of the Melbourne Tabernacle church of Florida, the trainees were forbidden to cast out a demon, or prophesy any corrective prophecy exposing sin without prior approval -- (both of these are gifts of of the Spirit who 'gives as He wills' 1 Corinth 12:11). I was perplexed by the fact 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 which operated in discernment of the Spirit, I was indeed quite alarmed. In fact, I declined to attend any further trainee talks since, if I followed their rules, I would then have to quench the Spirit and avoid ministering to those who needed deliverance. I also observed some spin-off meetings which later requested NO prophesying whatsoever. In these meetings I both observed and experienced a few invited leaders or others who violated the rules in order to minister in the gifts of the Spirit. I am not aware of whether these ministers were discovered or reprimanded, since I certainly did not report them.

To be fair, an AVC Board Report of Sept./Oct. 1994 was released to New Wine list on Dec.1995. This release I must note, was AFTER the TAV/AVC split, and was obviously forwarded as a defense of the AVC's decision to expell TAV. In it, John Wimber, Todd Hunter and others discuss the problematic manifestations and how they did not want these spiritualized over and above actually workings of the Holy Spirit such as "witnessing, healing, demon expulsion, ministering to the poor and widows, etc." and they said, "Each extra-Biblical manifestation must be discerned individually."  By their own  public standards given, it could be said that most, if not all, Vineyard churches and forums should have been severely reprimanded or excommunicated at that time, and not just TAV. Extreme "disconnect" to public stated policy and actual practice in Vineyard churches and forums were not unusual at all, however. For instance, in this same public statement it was stated of "critics", "let's interact with them as godly men and women without becoming reactionary, bitter, unteachable, or controlled by them," To date (over ten years), I have not met or known one Vineyard leader or person who "allowed" any reasonable or mild disagreement, whether accidental or on purpose--of anything that conflicted with their "positive-only" treatment of all specific actions (i.e. sinful or unBiblical) of their  leaders, policies, churches, or denomination. I am not examining the possible reasons behind these across-the-board disconnects here, but for a gentle expose' on actual over-all Vineyard practice, see On Vineyard and Renewal -a short article designed to help those who have encountered frank spiritual abuse or immaturity in a Vineyard church specific setting.

FOOTNOTE 5: In the SPREAD THE FIRE, VOL 1, NO. 4- Part 2 of 4 produced by TAV just before the split, deliverance and mental illness was discussed by Dr. Grant Mullen at length, in relationship with renewal 'manifestations' I believe this was a good discussion. However, it was probably not enough by any means to balance out the 'celebrating' of "manifestations" that I witnessed John Arnott and others do, nor the downplaying of deliverance needs and the barring of the gift of discerning of spirits that the Vineyard practiced as stated in above footnotes.  Finally, independent observers consistently complained that TAV was expelled without prior notification or warning. As just one example of this, Richard Riss stated in a Dec. 21, 1995 letter he wrote to Robin Dhillon (produced on his e-mail list): "You are absolutely correct. There was no knowledge of any expulsion." Since Vineyard did not treat manifestations as a possible deliverance need, and since TAV and Vineyard differed little in their actual practices, I am not certain how TAV ex-communication was warranted as a fair reaction to their differences. However, I do know it probably solved Vineyard image problems at the time, since Toronto was becoming an embarrassment to them. It was consistently rumored that John Wimber was weary of the media reports and controversies surrounding Toronto. Afterwards, many congratulated AVC for their decision.

FOOTNOTE 6: Christian History Magazine, Volume IV, no 4 of 1985

FOOTNOTE 7: My complaint of either intellectual dishonesty or sloppy research regarding Ed Silvoso was based on the site. Currently, what I am referring to is published at "Cross and Word" under the URL, The article is called "Doctrines of Demons: The Global Network(b) (Part 9)" Yet another misrepresentation by the same author (Tricia Tillin), was found by myself at site in the article, "Keepers of the Keys: the Gates and Gatekeepers of The New Order," which was once published at Under the subtitle, 'Transition to David’s Temple', Tricia quotes from an article hosted here at HarvestNET at After her short quote, she proposes certain thoughts as if they are taught in the article she quotes from, but they are not. She does not link or give a URL to our article as she makes these claims. She then follows with a quote from another article by Bill Burns, in order to substantiates her claims in the sentences prior. The problem is that Tricia Trillian wrote it as if the author knew or agreed with Bill Burns, or as if the two writings taught something similar, --neither of which is true.. In addition, Tricia writes as though the article hosted on HarvestNET said many other things it did not say.

FOOTNOTE 8: The April 2000 edition of the Charisma magazine, mentioned the Toronto Blessing which, since 1994, "has attracted 3 million visitors to its auditorium. But it has also drawn criticism from some, particularly Hank Hanegraaff of the California-based Christian Research Institute. He has condemned the Toronto revival for encouraging "esoteric experiences."

The article reports that Randy Clark, then senior pastor of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in St. Louis with a ministry called, "Global Awakening" (he has since left the Vineyard denomination) became enthusiastic about some historical information he has recovered regarding a particular 1933 Chinese revival. He is further quoted here from CHARISMA:

"the best argument to Hanegraaff's criticism came from Clark's former evangelism professor, Lewis Drummond of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Drummond once stated that the greatest revival in the history of Southern Baptists was the Shantung Revival, which occurred in northern China in 1933.
"I was shocked to find that almost all the phenomena that occurred in the Shantung Revival had happened in my meetings in Toronto in early 1994," Clark says.

Clark also discovered that the Southern Baptists reprinted the book in 1970, but they omitted all reports of the revival phenomena. He has reprinted the book in its original form, adding only an introduction. The unedited version of THE SHANTUNG REVIVAL is available through Global Awakening at (314) 416-9239."

I have purchased the book from Global Awakening and have read it, as stated in my article. Randy Clark's brief introduction at the front of the book emphasizes the fact that salvation of souls will occur in conjunction with the Holy Spirit's work, which may include "phenomena" He states: "What do I mean by the term "phenomena?" I am referring to such things as moaning, groaning, crying, falling, shouting, shaking, being "struck" prostated on the ground for long periods of time, intense often emotional times of intercession, prophecy, healing, sometimes even raising from the dead, and sometimes tongues and interpretation." (pp. 8 Randy Clark's forward) It is fair to say that all of these were in the Shantung Revival, and that these "phenomena" were supportive of evangelism, which resulted in significant numbers of salvations, just as Randy suggests. However, Randy Clark also makes statements in his introduction that seeks to compare the Shantung Revival with the Toronto Blessing, and this cannot be substantiated at all. The Revival did not contain, "most of the phenomena found within the "Toronto Blessing," as Clark states, but is largely absent of the main reports and character of the Toronto Blessing, even as reported by their own leaders and attendees. (pp.10)

There is no 'drunkeness' mentioned in these unedited accounts. There are no 'animal noises,' or phenomena or visions that are used for anything other than conviction and holiness. There are no testimonies that did not concern salvation or the lost. While this concern for the lost can be expected since these are missionaries reporting from the mission field to each other or their connections, the letters still do not at all reflect the same focuses for which Toronto is known for. In fact, they are so unlike the type of testimonies that have dominated Toronto Blessing, even those on the renewal "New Wine" e-mail list for instance, that there is really no comparison to this revival and the Toronto Blessing renewal.

The only basis for any comparison at all, and this would be very incomplete and therefore misleading, is that there was on occasion some falling down, shaking, crying, and laughing (see pp. 58, 64, 73, 81 of the book). Of a slightly stronger comparison to the renewal controversy, would be the mockery of these spiritual phenomena by outsiders who claimed it was all mesmerism. One of these was a Mr. Li, who claimed to be an expert on the subject of mesmerism and enjoyed "imitating some of the outward manifestations of the Spirit's work in the audience" after the meetings were over. Later, his equally cynical missionary friend, Mr. Chiang, observed Mr. Li exhibiting what seemed to be more of the humorous imitations yet was not, because Mr. Li confessed to Mr. Chiang that he was experiencing "the real thing." Afterwards, Mr. Li spent the rest of his time at the revival meetings in "Bible reading and prayer," instead of in mockery.

As the story further unfolds, Mr. Chiang was so impressed by the change in Mr. Li that he decided it was not mesmerism. He eventually owned up to the fact that, in spite of his missionary training and status, he had never been a true believer of the Christian faith. Mr. Chiang then became a Christian and accepted the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

All in all, written accounts by the Christians of the Shantung revival do not focus on phenomenom as many renewalists do in their testimonies, just as Randy Clark himself objects to by also saying such a focus is inappropriate. The 'manifestations' as listed above in the Shantung Revival, were always interpreted and presented as being for the sake of conviction and salvation, which is different than reports than most "Toronto Blessing" attendees and by especially their leaders. This is indeed an important and unavoidable distinction between the two. This is not to say that conviction or salvation were completely unknown in portions of the renewal, of course, or in Randy Clark meetings, which I have already noted, were different in my opinion than most Vineyard run or Toronto run meetings.

In summary, the reprinted reports from the Shantung Revival cannot really be compared to the main focus of Toronto Blessing, nor its controversial components, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, in my opinion, the Shantung Revival compares more accurately to the U.S. Great Awakening, which most critics of Toronto Blessing already count as a true revival. However, although the account of the Shantung Revival cannot really be used as a defense against the 'critics' of Toronto as Randy Clark suggested back then, it can still be used to defend the 'disorderly' and unexpected workings of the Holy Spirit. It can also serve as a testimony to the value of accepting or seeking a filling, or more infilling, of the Holy Spirit, as the occasion warrents it. (Acts 4:23-31)

FOOTNOTE  9: This I found out during my one trip to Toronto (we looped through Canada on our way to Michigan and stopped by TACF) During the TACF meeting, which I did not take notes for and do not have a transcript of, John Arnott and others were speaking of people being 'drunk' for as much as a year or two. I have heard this kind of talk spoken of by others who visited TACF, so by all reports this was a rather common thing for Arnott and his friends to talk about in the meetings. This was a curious thing to me, so later on after the meeting, in the wee hours of the morning, my husband and I privately asked the worship leader a few questions. I asked him, "Why do some remain 'drunk' (in the Spirit, presumably) for long periods of time? Do those who experience this tell you what the purpose of this is? Humility can be found for a day or two", I said, "Were they prior alcoholics, or something?" Though I doubted I would get reasonable answers (considering the clear precedent of Scripture and common sense) I asked him these questions for his sake. I was of course receptive to any reasonable testimony he knew of from people who experienced this--testimonies I had not heard from John Arnott and his speakers.

Astoundingly, our friend responded by telling my husband and I what the leadership of TACF thought it, behind the scenes. He said that anyone who was 'drunk' for long periods of time was considered to "slated for major leadership." The longer they were 'drunk' the better, for it was considered a quality of a leader! After a time his TACF leaders would promote the 'spiritual drunkards' as leaders, he said. While he spoke, the scriptures flashed through my mind of the ethics and qualifications of spiritual authority or leadership as taught by Jesus and in the epistles, with a big, fat, ZERO coming up for 'drunkeness' in the Spirit.

I don't know if my astonishment showed, but our private conversation was suddenly interrupted by the nearby cacophony of a 'drunk' renewal person at the restaurant we were seated. Since we did not return there the next day, we did not discuss it again. This worship leader left TACF shortly thereafter to attend another, nearby church.

© Copyright 2000-2005  by Teri Lee Earl, Harvest NETwork ( All Rights Reserved
No part of this article or footnotes may be reproduced without express permission from the author

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