THE WANDERING RIVER OF BROWNSVILLE
“Awake America!” Crusades Transfers
the Chaos of the Pensacola Outpouring

by G. Richard Fisher

Mundus vult decepti — The world wants to be deceived.

The leadership of the Brownsville Assembly of God church, during the past several months, has been trying to go national with its Awake America! meetings. The meetings are scheduled for 12 major cities in the United States this year alone.

The Brownsville church in Pensacola, Fla., has been spreading errors both in doctrine and practice among visiting devotees for almost four years. It is only slightly more than halfway to eclipsing the seven-year span of the Azusa Street phenomenon of the early 1900s in Los Angeles. Charismatic “pilgrims” just can’t seem to get enough of the wild and wooly. Emotional excess has become an addictive drug to hyperfaith and hyper-Charismatics.

Steve Rabey, religion writer for Christianity Today, questions the effect of the crusades in his otherwise generally favorable book, Revival in Brownsville. Rabey assesses the meetings this way:

“...revival leaders have been presenting Awake America rallies, which are designed to spread the revival’s effects throughout the land. Each of the rallies, which began in 1997, has attracted thousands of faithful and curious, although it’s impossible to tell if they have had any deeper impact.”1

The Brownsville leadership never tires of providing the new, the bizarre and the dramatic. It all has become a lucrative business for pastor John Kilpatrick, evangelist Stephen Hill, theologian Michael Brown and music leader Lindell Cooley. Their individual corporations have raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars.2

It appears that these men must keep the adrenalin pumping and push followers to crazed extremes to keep the “revival” going. Manifestations of the most extreme kind have been documented. Reports from ex-revival fans tell of almost crazed and driven attempts with pushing and shoving matches to be touched and slain by the key revival leaders. These men have taken on an aura of rock stars. Hypnotic swoons are fashionable. Craziness is in vogue.

One former devotee tells how she was persuaded into buying a ram’s horn for over $200. She was told that when it was blown from the highest point in her city, Satan would get confused thinking it was the last trump and run out of town and the city would be delivered from demonic strongholds.

From most objective accounts, the visiting crowds at Pensacola are waning as people tire of the same old show. Therefore, the leadership is more earnest about getting the show on the road, although the concept of their traveling road show (Awake America!) goes back long before this.

Newspaper accounts factually report that errors abound and are still being spread. It is the belief of many of the careful observers of the phenomenon that the unbelievable practices can be accounted for by peer pressure, expectation, crowd control, hypnotic techniques, suggestibility and altered states of consciousness. Some even suggest the demonic is at work. These wild extended sessions still continue in spite of the blighted fruit.

There can be no doubt that there is a market for these shenanigans or they could not be exported from state to state. Benny Hinn and his miracle crusades have proved that all too well. It seems that people want to be deceived. They want their emotions stretched to the extreme. Christianity is hardly recognizable in all of this.

Esteemed pastor, teacher and author John MacArthur shares his views after having visited Pensacola and seeing the show for himself:

“I was down in Florida. People are being rocked down there by this Pensacola craziness that’s going on in the name of revival. And people flipping and flopping and diving on the floor and gyrating and speaking in bizarre and unintelligible fashion and all of this kind of wild thing is going on. And they keep saying, ‘This is God. This is of God.’ Can I be very straight forward with you? It is an offense to a rational, truth-revealing God, it is an offense to the true work of His Son, it is an offense to the true work of the Holy Spirit to use the names of God or of Christ or of the Holy Spirit in any mindless, emotional orgy marked by irrational, sensual and fleshly behavior produced by altered states of consciousness, peer pressure, heightened expectation or suggestibility. That is sociopsychological manipulation and mesmerism and it is a prostitution of the glorious revelation of God taught clearly and powerfully to an eager, attentive and controlled mind. What feeds sensual desires pragmatically or ecstatically cannot honor God. You have to preach the truth to the mind. That’s where the real battle is fought. So we bring God to people through His Word. That’s the only way we can do it.”3

First Timothy 4:3 tells of a day when people will “heap to themselves teachers,” eager to have their ears tickled or entertain sensual messages. Linguist Marvin Vincent says of that situation and that verse:

“In periods of unsettled faith, skepticism, and mere curious speculation in matters of religion, teachers of all kinds swarm like the flies of Egypt. The demand creates the supply. The hearers invite and shape their own preachers. If the people desire a calf to worship, a ministerial calf-maker is readily found.”4

In a report on the meetings at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Pa., The Christian News provided disturbing seductions as the prescript for the meeting:

“A press release declared the AWAKE AMERICA! crusade was not a denominational event, nor a Bible conference. Rather it was a ‘God’ thing, as ‘the Church is lifted over the dividing walls of gender, race, church affiliation, doctrinal issues and traditional rituals. The Brownsville leadership believe that Christ demands that Christians look beyond themselves — their history, even their theology — as He moves us further into His kingdom with fresh illumination of His Holy Word.’”5

So, from the start, the participants were advised to check their brains at the door, forget what they believe along with their doctrinal convictions and be open to whatever the leadership brought as “fresh illumination” no matter how outlandish. And the Pennsylvania meeting did get outlandish.

A reading of 1 Timothy would show anyone that doctrine was central in Paul’s view and that theology was not to be forgotten or compromised. The “shaking, dancing, swaying, and jumping,” along with the “slaying of the Spirit,” reported by The Christian News shows that the news release worked once the crowds were worked. It seems apparent that most wanted to be worked. As Vincent observed above, the demand creates the supply.

IT WON’T STOP RAINING

It is almost laughable to hear this referred to as “latter rain” falling, as did the National Coordinator of this event. Since 1901 and Azusa Street (the beginnings of the modern Pentecostal movement) every new “revival” or “wave” has been referred to under the same pretense. The heretical Latter Rain Movement in the late 1940s even named itself such. It was soundly condemned by the Assemblies of God denomination.6

In the 1960s, the Charismatic movement referred to itself as “the latter rain outpouring.” John Wimber once claimed the same thing, as has Rodney Howard-Browne, Benny Hinn, the Kansas City Prophets and the Brownsville team. Who will be next? The “latter rain” experiences just keep drying up. Meanwhile, all the “latter rains” have done is drown the Church in false teaching.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

Every new Pentecostal trickle is trying to claim that a contrived event is actually a contemporary fulfillment of Pentecost. According to the Apostle Peter, this is impossible since the prediction of Pentecost already occurred at Pentecost almost 2000 years ago. There is not a Scripture anywhere that would hint that Pentecost is a continual event that happens repeatedly during the 1900s — or in any other century. Peter says without hesitation that the events described in Acts 2 are what was prophesied by the Old Testament prophet Joel (“this is that,” v. 16). That is why every new move of emotional outbursts and wild claims keeps missing it and a subsequent move then makes the same claim. This is just one of the inconsistencies that finally drove this writer from the “Full Gospel” camp years ago.

Most shocking is the blatant disparaging of preaching by the worship leader of Awake America! reported in The Christian News. Cooley told the participants:

“If preaching would have saved the world, it would be saved. The only thing that will do it is God’s fire!”7

What is being suggested here is absolutely horrid. It is hard to fathom and frightening that the 12,000 people did not walk out of the auditorium at that point — especially since many of them were preachers and knew better. Modern-day Pentecostals are being boiled by small degrees as in the old story of the frog in a kettle of water. Regrettably, it’s an indication of how they are slipping from the Scriptures and how undiscerning they are becoming. Just think of it — preaching is not adequate any more, only “fire.” So-called “fire” is the strange fire of slaying frenzies, pandemonium, altered states of consciousness and deluded emotionalism.8

In another Awake America! meeting in Denver (June 2, 1998), there was no message and the preaching was replaced by frenzy. David Works, an obvious advocate of the chaos, gleefully reported:

“Then the meeting seemed to transform into a Benny Hinn-style healing service as it was clear there was a heavy anointing in the house. We even sang ‘Alleuluia’ like Bro. Hinn does. People started lining up immediately with testimonies and there were screams, shouts and one young lady took a lap around the arena floor! Some testimonies were given and there were more bodies out under the power on the platform. The meeting once again changed in a different direction. It was also a night of warfare. Michael Brown took the mike and remarked how when the children of Israel took Jericho a shout went up. The resulting shout from the crowd was deafening!”

Works further reports that the drummer pounded a drum for 10 minutes while the crowd was led in a chant of “Jesus, Jesus!” He also details that a man was introduced who gave his vision and makes this telling remark:

“The offering was rushed to keep the flow of the Spirit and there was no main message, the time being used instead for the altar call and personal ministry.”

Works then explained what “personal ministry” means:

“Personally, I waited before going down on the floor as I wrestled with my desire to have Steve Hill lay hands on me and nobody else. (Hey, I’m human!) Finally, I realized that the entire ministry team was under authority, I was under authority, so what the heck? Pastor Kilpatrick made his way around toward us and people were dropping left and right. I kept watching the guy who couldn’t walk as I thought it was cool.”9

ABSENCE OF THE REAL MESSAGE

If the Apostle Paul had been in Denver or Pennsylvania those nights, he may have well gotten right in the face of those Awake America! leaders and loudly said:

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ... For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. ... But we preach Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21, 23).

It is unbelievable that anyone in a Christian pulpit could suggest that something other than preaching is what is needed for the world’s salvation and to malign the Christian message in such a way.

Consider the Apostle’s words in Romans 10:14-15:

“How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things.”

Paul’s above declaration, evidently, is of little significance to these fire-wielding sorcerers. Moreover, one of the main thrusts of the New Testament is the centrality of preaching (see esp. Mark 1:38). For all the solicitation to the Gospels and the Book of Acts by Charismatics to establish their “signs and wonders,” they missed the very crucial fact that nearly every encounter with the unsaved in these Scriptures (the Gospels and Acts) was a preaching, witnessing or teaching event. It was a rational cognitive event filled with content and meaning. Check it out.

SHOUTING “FIRE” IN A CROWDED BUILDING

“God’s fire” (shorthand for the lunacy and craziness of the Brownsville meetings which is nowhere in the Bible) could not save because it has no content and nothing on which to base faith and trust. It is, in all fact, a different gospel. Faith (Greek: pisteuo) always implies an object. The objects must be God and His Word.

The “fire” theme is an old — but persistently revisited — Pentecostal canard. It is tried and true. Benjamin Irwin founded the Fire Baptized Holiness Church in 1895, claiming to impart a “baptism of fire” in which people would see balls of fire or feel burning in their bodies.10

The people could not get enough and Irwin went on to dream up three more baptisms with the unlikely names of “dynamite, lyddite and oxidite.” Irwin departed the ministry in moral disgrace, left the movement in chaos, and his trinity of baptisms were eventually discarded by the group’s new leadership. His own “fire” had not helped him win the war over sin.

We have witnessed Steve Hill charging through the crowds while screaming: “Fire—Fire—Fire— Fire!” It worked with some but not with others. We were not convinced or impressed.

Someone needs to inform Hill that the baptism of fire in Matthew 3:11-12, is clearly about the eternal judgment of God and the fires of hell. God’s people neither want nor will see that fire.

Vincent also explains clearly the obvious intent of Matthew 3:11-12:

“The whole metaphor represents the Messiah as separating the evil from the good, according to the tests of his kingdom and Gospel, receiving the worthy into his kingdom and consigning the unworthy to destruction (compare Matt. xiii. 30; 39-43; 48-50).”11

MORE UNVERIFIED CLAIMS

Evangelist Hill went on to make some outlandish claims as if God had given him an anointing straight from heaven and “a direct revelation.” If God is giving direct revelations to these men, He must be confused, considering the kinds of mixed messages they are conveying. Kilpatrick claimed a direct message from God in a “prophecy” of the downfall of the Christian Research Institute’s director, Hank Hanegraaff and then had to “repent” for his arrogance and stupidity.12

Hill then said that he knew someone who had led more than two million people to Jesus but there was no name given nor any documentation. Outlandish and unverified claims are made constantly by the unblushing leadership; everything from false reports about crime rates falling in Pensacola, to Hill’s autobiography, to the cumulative numbering of the same people over and over in their attendance figures and decisions at the Brownsville meetings.

With many more Awake America! crusades scheduled during 1999, it will be sad to see the errors, untruths and hype multiply along with the damaged lives and churches. The meandering and wandering of Brownsville’s polluted river is a blight on the Church.

DOES MIGHT MEAN RIGHT?

The Christian News report also noted that Michael Brown made the boastful and elitist claim that for “every Baptist on the earth today, there are four Pentecostal/Charismatics.” So what? Do numbers necessarily guarantee truth? What does a claim like that mean? Does a simple majority somehow establish what is right and good? Does it mean that a larger group has a larger share or more of the truth?

If the size of a group was any indicator of how close its members are to rightness and truth, then the one billion Moslems or 800 million Roman Catholics must be looked upon with favor. The Old Testament prophets constantly warned the masses in Israel that it was the “remnant” of truth seekers that God saw with favor (cf. Isaiah 1:9, Micah 2:12, Zephaniah 2:9, Zechariah 8:12). In many cases, at least in God’s eyes, the minority rules. Especially if that minority is grounded and founded on Scripture and lives by God’s rules of decency and decorum in worship as commanded in 1 Corinthians 14.

What Brown failed to mention was that within that mass of Pentecostal/Charismatic people are Trinity-denying Oneness Pentecostals, Latter Rain heretics, Word Faith adherents with a false Gospel of man as God and a demonic Jesus who had to be born again. Add to that the false prophets of the counterfeit revival, those being led astray by unscrupulous money-mongering televangelists, and the numbers are obviously reduced to a great degree. The remnant concept appears to apply to the Charismatic/Pentecostals more than ever. It seems that there are fewer and fewer of them with any sense.

After all, Paul says (1 Corinthians 14) if unbelievers see professed believers out of control (as in the Awake America! meetings), they have every right to conclude that these people are out of their minds (v. 23). No one can claim to be out of control because of the Holy Spirit, Paul insists (vv. 32-33). Beside that, the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit is “self control” (Galatians 5:23). It is absurd to pass off pandemonium as a work of the Spirit. The antics of Brownsville will not awake America or Americans. The real question is when are Christians and especially the Pentecostal/Charismatics that support these things, going to wake up?

DANCING IN THE DARK

Of course, Kilpatrick tries to justify the uncontrolled emotionalism by referring to David’s “dancing before the Lord” in 2 Samuel 6:14. We have heard this before.

Kilpatrick, in a surly statement, pronounced the following:

“If people do not like what you are doing — that is tough. If you have a problem with the shaking, you may not ever see revival. When you see people shaking on the floor — remember this is Pentecost again. I am sick of churches that do not have shaking and falling on the floor. God told David to dance before the Lord.”13

First, Scripture does not record (in Acts 2) that people were shaking on the floor on Pentecost. There was a clear, sane and rational Gospel presentation. There was also a miraculous ability to preach in other languages. Brownsville still provides hearing mechanisms with interpreters for foreign visitors because they have not even come close to a real Pentecost. Interesting also is that they still have a section for the people in wheelchairs. There are no real miracles taking place there either.

So then, are the shaking and falling justified by David’s “dance” before the Lord? Is this a proper use of the Bible? Is this a sound interpretation or just another passage ripped out of context? The question is further begged: How do we equate dancing, falling and shaking? Are they the same? One could not shake, fall and dance all at the same time.

Looking at the specific event of David’s “dancing” in 2 Samuel 6 as well as other scriptural references to dancing all reveal obvious dissimilarities. In addition, proper exegesis of the 2 Samuel passage demonstrates Kilpatrick’s constant disregard for proper biblical interpretation and understanding. He has no texts, only pretexts. Consider the following points concerning the Bible’s mention of “dancing”:

1. David’s “dance” was a unique event. It does not establish a normative pattern for worship or a worship precedent, especially New Testament worship. The New Testament Church just didn’t dance. That is clear.

2. The word “dance” occurs twice in Matthew, once in Mark, and twice in Luke. Four of the occurrences are decidedly negative and not used of worship. One is of the homecoming feast of the prodigal, in other words a Jewish party to celebrate a homecoming. It was understandable and appropriate.

3. There is no mention of “dancing” in Acts or the Epistles. To attach it to New Testament worship is not only “slim pickings” but there are no pickings at all. Why impose something on the Church that is never given in Scripture? Instead of being “sick” of those who do not fall, Kilpatrick should be sick of those who impose their will and strange practices on the people of the Church.

4. Any temple “dances” in the Old Testament were choreographed moves planned and done with decorum and dignity.

Remember that the Ark of the Covenant had been in the house of Obed Edom for three months (v. 11). David led a public procession taking the Ark toward Jerusalem and the temple. David with full presence of mind “danced” before the Lord (v. 16). At no time did he shake and fall as Kilpatrick’s interpretation suggests.

Something about that act caused David’s wife to despise him, (v. 16). Was it just that his wife, Michal, was against enthusiasm or dancing? Was she just a stick in the mud and against emotional expression or is there more to it? Note that she never says: “I am mad because you danced before God” or “Dancing before the Lord upset me.” That is key. She never mentions dancing.

A clue as to what upset Michal is found in verse 20 when she says that David “uncovered” himself “as one of those vain fellows.” It is apparent that she was not distressed and upset just because David acted emotionally toward God but revealed an even deeper problem. It had to do with pride of place and social status. David, in stripping his outer kingly robe and taking a place of less dignity, aggravated Michal’s proud sensibilities. It really had nothing to do with David’s dance but rather with (in her mind) the disgrace of lowering himself, uncovering himself and acting like a common person as we’ll see. The disrobing offended her.

Barbara Bowen explains the sense of what was going on and David’s strange reply in verse 22: “I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in my own sight.” Bowen then offers these comments:

“At the head of a great procession there would frequently be seen a half naked buffoon dancing, going through gesticulations usual on such occasions. It was all done in honor of the person to whom the procession was made, and was the office of a slave only.”

Bowen continues:

“King David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with trumpets; and David danced before the Lord, he took the place of a slave at the head of the procession to do honor to Jehovah. Michal, King David’s wife, not understanding her husband’s motive, and thinking he had lowered himself before the people, reproached him bitterly, and despised him in her heart.”14

Addressing David’s comment in verse 22 (“I will yet be more vile”) British scholar Adam Clarke paraphrases it: “I am not ashamed of humbling myself.”15 For a King to act as a slave is a long step down. The perfect example of that is Jesus (Philippians 2). It seems that the “dancing” is not even a big point in the text. Kilpatrick’s narrative does not even come close.

A further important note often overlooked is that the word “dance” in 2 Samuel 6 may not be the English word dance at all. The Hebrew word karar (only used in 2 Samuel 6) means simply to move around. So, in the end, David was not shaking, falling, spastic, out of control and out of his mind. He disrobed (as a servant would have), consciously, deliberately, willingly and took the place of a servant. He stepped down. In New Testament terms it would be similar to us becoming servants to others in practical ways and patiently ministering to them, not doing “carpet time” or spiritual “breakdancing.” Serving God by serving others, no matter what the inconvenience is certainly one big implication from this event.

SHAMANISTIC ROOTS

One can only speculate on how Kilpatrick’s American Indian heritage influences his theatrics today. Our past, while not having a determinative influence, does influence us. By God’s grace the negative influence does not have to rule us. Kilpatrick’s equating dancing with shaking and falling (in the above quote) is interesting and bears looking at and analyzing.

Kilpatrick documents his Native American descent through his mother in his small autobiography, Feast of Fire.16 He is not very clear but seems to indicate that he lived with his maternal grandparents in Alabama for a time.17 How much exposure did Kilpatrick have to the mystical, shamanistic, occultic influences of native American religion and how much does it affect him today? Preaching in Washington, D.C., Kilpatrick offered the information that his mother “was an Indian.”18

In this service at the National Church of God in our nation’s capital (pastored by Dr. T.L. Lowry of Mary E. Baxter fame), Kilpatrick’s exposure to and influence from Native American sources becomes evident. Toward the end of the service, during which he never even opened the Bible, he is heard leading the people in an eerie chant for an extended time. It sounds bizarre to hear a Christian pastor in a lengthy sing-song of “aaa-ooo, wee-oo wee-oo, wee-oo wee-oo, way-ooo way-oo” interspersed with singing tongues, “sheee-ooo, sheee-ooo.” The incessant chanting sounds New Age and incredibly like an Indian chant as the excitement of the crowd escalates. The congregation chants back in a hypnotic fashion as Kilpatrick screams, “My, what an anointing! This is awesome. Lift your voices again, again and again. ... The anointing destroys the yoke, pshuuuuu.”19 All of this goes on for an extended period of time before the tape finally runs out. It is unknown how much longer the hypnotic chanting went on.

In all this writer’s exposure to Pentecostal practice during involvement with the Assembly of God and Full Gospel churches, I have not heard anything quite like this. My immediate thought was that it sounded strangely like a Native American chant. Why would anything like this be introduced into a Christian meeting? It is not biblical, so is it just filler or an attempt to mesmerize? Is it a drawing from the past for novelty and effect? Is it a remembered knee-jerk expression, a sort of religious cryptonesia?

Secondly, in the late 1800s the Sioux Nation accepted a false Messiah named Wovoka who promised them heaven on earth. It was a Christianized Indian version of a counterfeit revival with a super prophet (Wovoka) and the Kingdom Now. Wovoka claimed a vision of Christ and revelations directly from Him. He also introduced an occult and shamanistic practice called the Ghost Dance. The bizarre ritual of the Ghost Dance was picked up and practiced by numerous other tribes as they awaited the imminent, final consummation. These were “charismatic” Indians with some truth and a lot of error. Indian dances today reflect and have roots in this.

The similarity between the Ghost Dance practices and Brownsville’s manifestations may not be directly related. It may simply be that man cannot invent anything new. However, these comparisons, like those with the New Age Kundalini yoga, are striking.20

Robert Utley explains the strange goings-on in many of the reservations in 1890:

“By praying, dancing the Ghost Dance, and singing the Ghost Dance songs, Indians could ‘die’ and journey to this paradise for brief visits before it actually appeared. Wovoka taught the delegates the mechanics of the dance and the words of some songs. By dancing, singing, and praying, they worked themselves into emotional frenzies. They went into trances that enabled each to ‘die’ for a short time and to see what the future held in store for the Indian race. ... Yet, as powerfully as Christianity influenced the Ghost Dance religion, there were features, such as the dance itself, that evoked the old pagan religion; and the object of the whole movement, of course, was the restoration of the old savage life and its dominant values. Christianity and paganism had united to form the common denominator of a doctrine that offered grounds for belief to all Indians, progressive and nonprogressive alike. Such a combination appealed strongly to the heart and mind of the American Indians of 1890.”21

Of course, the disaster came when the kingdom did not come and Wovoka was discredited. This end was facilitated as well by the Sioux becoming more aggressive and militant in forcing the “kingdom” into existence. Believing themselves to be invincible, they fought a losing war.

Again the mysticism and manifestations in the Ghost Dance practices parallel the Brownsville phenomena. Kilpatrick’s exposure to Indian ways is documented. The likenesses could be tenuously connected or just be attributable to the repetitive nature of man’s error. In any case, nothing in Christianity should parallel New Age practices or shamanism.

It is amazing that knowledgeable people cannot put two and two together. David Works mentioned the incessant pounding of a drum and chanting. Kilpatrick talks about dancing and falling. Dr. Leonard George explains the ease with which people can be moved into altered states of consciousness:

“Humanity has developed an immense technology for induction methods. ... increasing stimulation, including dancing, drumming and various forms of RHYTHMIC SENSORY STIMULATION; focused attention and hyperalertness, as in concentrative MEDITATION; lowered alertness, as in states bordering sleep and some forms of HYPNOSIS; and psychophysical factors such as stress and drugs. ... If the nonconsensual reality experienced following an ecstatic dance is thought to be the abode of devils, then the person may well feel as if he or she has encountered some. Or, if the dancer expects a divine visitation after the dance, a very different altered state will likely happen.”22

George concludes that the efficacy of the experience is really in the eye and expectation of the beholder. In other words whether a person has a good “trip” or a bad one depends on how they want to interpret their own emotional experiences and feelings. This is hardly a good basis on which to determine truth and reality.

He also makes us aware of the power of dance:

“From the caverns of the Old Stone Age to contemporary music concerts, dancing has been a popular method to induce ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS. Two components of vigorous, repetitive movements — EMOTIONAL AROUSAL and RHYTHMIC SENSORY STIMULATION — can overload and disrupt normal patterns of brain functioning.”23

British pastor and author Alan Morrison reminds us of how easily sinful people can be manipulated:

“What we are really dealing with here are mind-games on a vast scale. For the collective, unregenerate imagination is a vast, open canvas on which the ‘powers of the air’, in conjunction with the corruption of the world, can paint whatever suggestion the observer, through his own inherent sinfulness, is open to receive — whether it is a vision in keeping with his religious tradition, the illusion of an acquired ‘divinity’, the belief that one’s leg has been lengthened by a faith-healing session, the urge to murder or steal, a recurrent sexual obsession, the re-experiencing of an early life trauma, or (as any advertising magnate will aver) the desire to buy a particular brand of baked beans!”24

Perhaps some thought-out, well-choreographed dance in a biblical drama presentation might be edifying to the viewers since those performing and those watching are bringing solid rational thought to the experience. But mindless, gyrating, spinning, pogoing, jumping and what Kilpatrick calls “dancing,” is a mind-altering, mind-battering New Age technique whether he cares to admit it or not. He was wrong about Hank Hanegraaff’s demise and he is dead wrong about this as well.

Jude’s words certainly apply: “these are sensual (soulish) persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit” (v. 19). It is dangerous indeed to claim that our sensual emotions are the Holy Spirit.

WAKE UP AMERICA!

The way in which the leaders of Brownsville are distorting Scripture, denigrating the Bible, and moving people away from true worship is to be deplored. It is sensual and deadly. Yes, America does need to wake up. This country needs to wake up to true repentance, true holiness, the dignity and decorum of worship and the fear of God. Moreover, the Christian Church needs to wake up and revive the gift of discernment rather than despise and attack those who have it.

Dr. Colas, in his Christian News article, concluded his evaluation of the Awake America! crusade with these words:

“There was a lot of emphasis on emotion and experience and very little, if any, emphasis about testing their experience by the Bible, instead of testing the Bible by their experience.”25

Amen! Awake America! is a travesty and a tragedy. What a tragic day when professing Christians want and even crave deception.

Endnotes:

1. Steve Rabey, Revival in Brownsville. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998, pg. 177.
2. See M. Kurt Goedelman, “The Green River of Brownsville,” The Quarterly Journal, Oct.-Dec. 1998, pp. 2, 17-19.
3. From the cassette tape, “God’s Word in Today’s Church: Five Reasons Why I Teach the Bible (2 Timothy 3:1-4:4),” tape #80180T, 1998, side 2.
4. Marvin Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1946, Vol. 4, pg. 321.
5. Dr. Ralph G. Colas, “Charismatics Awake America,” The Christian News, Nov. 2, 1998, pg. 22.
6. See further, M. Kurt Goedelman with G. Richard Fisher, “The Latter Rain Movement: Showering Heresy on the Church for Nearly Fifty Years,” The Quarterly Journal, April-June 1995, pp. 4, 10-12.
7. “Charismatics Awake America,” op. cit.
8. See further the article on Benny Hinn’s “Fire” Anointing contained in this Journal.
9. David Works, Internet report, “Awake America Denver,” http://www.sni.net/~dworks, copy on file, emphasis added.
10. Stanley M. Burgess and Gary B. McGee, editors, Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988, pg. 309.
11. Word Studies in the New Testament, op. cit., Vol. 1, pg. 25. 12. See M. Kurt Goedelman, “Brownsville Pastor Confirms Non-Prophet Status,” The Quarterly Journal, Oct.-Dec. 1997, pp. 2, 18-19.
13. “Charismatics Awake America,” op. cit.
14. Barbara Bowen, Strange Scriptures that Perplex the Western Mind — Clarified in the Light of Customs and Conditions in Bible Lands. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1965, pg. 23.
15. Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1967, pg. 323.
16. John Kilpatrick, Feast of Fire. Pensacola, Fla.: self-published, 1995, pg. 3.
17. Ibid., pg. 4.
18. John Kilpatrick, June 7, 1997 service, National Church of God, Washington, D.C., cassette tape on file.
19. Ibid.
20. For a comparison of Kundalini yoga with modern day revivalism, see Warren Smith and Danny Aguiree, “Some Examples of Holy Laughter in Other Religions,” SCP Newsletter, Fall 1994, pg. 14.
21. Robert M. Utley, The Last Days of the Sioux Nation. New Haven and London, Yale University Press (printed by Vail-Ballou Press, Inc., Binghampton, NY), 1963, pp. 69-70.
22. Dr. Leonard George, Alternative Realities. New York: Facts on File, 1995, pp. 12-13.
23. Ibid., pg. 61.
24. Alan Morrison, The Serpent and the Cross. Birmingham, England: K&M Books, 1994, pg. 274.
25. “Charismatics Awake America,” op. cit.

 

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