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p.5 Then came Laughter and so much more

Rodney Howard Browne's laughing experiences came suddenly and were no joke. As the many divergent streams were being joined together. Few of any of these streams were left pure and intact, his influence muddied the waters.

These “streams,” began with Benny Hinn who introduced Browne and then Kenneth Copeland gave Rodney a latter rain prophecy (first drops of rain falling) both blessing this and approving it. It was then off to the races, as he "imparted" the laughing experience throughout the country and the world. Those who visited the meetings brought it back to their church more easily than catching covid.

Many at the time did not know Browne was trained in the word-faith movement’s grandfather Kenneth Hagin’s Rhema school in S. Africa, Hagin also had this laughter at times in meetings.

The laughing convulsions were imported into the United States from Africa and then to Canada. Vineyard’s Randy Clark attended a Rodney Howard-Browne meeting (1993) in Tulsa, Okla., at Kenneth Hagin, Jr.'s Rhema Bible Church. He was reluctant to go because of his theological differences with Hagin. Clark claims that “ The Lord spoke to me immediately, and said, 'You have a denominational spirit. How badly do you want to be touched afres h?”

These words were untested (God does not speak like this). Clarke submitted to these unbiblical words and got ‘it,’ and took ‘it’ to Toronto. What spread through the churches is a direct result from the Toronto vineyard.

With the popularity of the Internet, the then-called Toronto blessing that began in Canada was on the fast track superhighway of the Internet and became an overnight sensation.

Another imported this from the Vineyard. January 20th 1994 about 15 people from our church traveled over to Toronto Airport Vineyard to listen to Randy Clark, a Vineyard pastor from the USA. John Arnott had called our senior pastor to invite us. He communicated that Randy had been to the Rodney Howard Browne meetings and that the stuff had broken out in his church in the following weeks. John was hoping that something might break out with us too.

What came next were activities we see only in different fringe religions and cults, people barking and walking on all fours (leashed)

And they had a Bible explanation for all of it. Those involved in these practices fully enjoyed them others were stunned, shocked that anything this insane could take place in the church.

Many Vineyard churches were an open influence with what was known as ‘holy’ laughter, and its accompanying manifestations because they expected spiritual experiences in church. They attended these meeting and like Lonnie got it (a so-called anointing felt like electricity) and brought it home with them and they too received ‘it’. Many churches had spontaneous, uncontrollable laughter erupting from their members, even during times of solemn messages from the pulpit. They laughed when hell was spoken of, “ I don't want you to quench the Holy Spirit, I don't want you to stop laughing, just please dial the decibels down a little bit." And you really have that ability to do that, and still can enter into the joy, and so I just wanted to put that out there . (Randy Clark, Let The Fire Fall Conference, Anaheim Vineyard, July 1994)

Here we have the modern origin of a ‘fire baptism’ which was later used by Todd Bentley and Lou Engle, all are Latter Rain teachers)

Some staggered like drunken people, unable to walk a straight line, and shakes, jerks, twitching, and frozen stillness were just some of the spirit phenomenon displayed. Any abnormal expression was attributed to the Holy Spirit. All the phenomena were interpreted as evidence of a ‘fresh outpouring ‘of the Holy Spirit in response to the people's desire to see a new sign from God. The bizarre displays of fleshly activity were the same as seen for centuries which was considered demonic activity.

Women on the floor clucking like chickens is interpreted as if she is laying an egg the meaning God is hatching a new thing. Arnott had crowing and clucking sounds claiming these are prophetic, they announce a new day. So does an alarm clock would we see people ringing with sounds of ding-a-ling next?

This turned into far more than laying on the floor and laughing uncontrollably weeping, trances and visions, and animal noises like roaring like lions, (the lord is coming) barking like dogs was also prophetic, dogs bark when someone is coming. He asked do you know who is coming? Dogs also bite hopefully we won't see this happening. (we read in church history that some of the same manifestations occurred in other previous awakenings of which the evangelists said it stopped any revival taking place)

Arnott,‘‘All of the animal sounds are really interesting. ... Our official answer is we don’t know why people do that.’’ (John Arnott, pastor, Airport Vineyard, Toronto.) Regardless they wanted more of it.

The sounds of animals that belonged in a zoo were now in the church. Todd Hunter, Vineyard pastor was a strong advocate of what was taking place at Toronto, he commented ‘‘This is normal Christianity.’’

It was the Vineyard movement that helped introduce and lead the overall church into this, which was initiated by their lack of Biblical discernment and their myopic pursuit of experience (whatever works was accepted).

So many today attribute Wimber to be their main influence, such as Bill Johnson of Bethel church. However it is Lonnie Frisbee who is attributed to be Wimber’s main influence, he is the origin of Wimber’s paradigm shift in theology and practice. In the same manner, Benny Hinn led the ‘pursuing the experience Pentecostals’ into areas unknown (slain in the spirit and waving his jacket like Frisbee had waved his cape).

Getting back to power evangelism, this was all detrimental to any gospel presentation even with them reinterpreting prophesy as part and parcel of these activities.

John Wimber took a wait-and-see attitude, while validating the experiences as perhaps fleshly at times, but, considered it a move of God. In his now famous statement " There's nothing in Scripture that supports these kinds of phenomena that I can see, and I can't think of anything throughout the church age that would. So I feel no obligation to try to explain it. It's just phenomena. It's just people responding to God " (2/95, Charisma).

Wimber came out with a soft protest, but he never did reject the laughing revival, He endorsed John Arnott's book, The Father's Blessing but rejected some of the extreme manifestations in Toronto.

In just over a year, December, 1995, he moved to disenfranchise the Toronto Airport Vineyard. Some saw this as evidence that the Vineyard was acting responsibly. However the Vineyard Association's statement of December 1995 concluded: "OUR ACTION DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE HAVE REJECTED THE CURRENT RENEWAL. Many of our churches have benefited greatly from this current renewal and have incorporated it into their church life within the healthy and biblical guidelines reflected in the articles and policies published over the past two years. WE HOPE THAT THEY WILL CONTINUE TO PURSUE RENEWAL IN THIS WAY."

But there was no health involved, only chaos, in fact Rodney Browne would say at his meetings, this much chaos can only come from the hand of God, ignoring the other hand being involved.

Finally, things got so out of hand even Wimber stopped his association with Toronto. Wimber stated in the Jan. 8, 1996, issue of Christianity Today: "I believe that there has been an authentic visitation of the Spirit there. However, I am unable because of my own scriptural and theological convictions to any longer give an answer for, or defend the way, this particular move is being pastored and/or explained. "

Yes, it got even too much for Wimber to explain. In September 1994, the Association of Vineyard Churches (AVC) issued guidelines explaining, they were not against such phenomena, however they did not want it promoted.

Regardless, AVC explained that the Toronto Airport Vineyard had gone "over the edge" by promoting and encouraging the animal sounds and accompanying behavior (Marcia Ford, "Toronto Church Ousted From Vineyard," Charisma and Christian Life, 2/96, p. 12).

The question of whether the manifestations were of God was not addressed, they were allowed but not promoted and encouraged. AVC did not reject them nor promote them, officially. It was left to the discretion of the pastor. What this showed is that the biblical guidelines for manifestations of the spirit were no longer heeded by many Vineyard churches which had them go further into experience over Scripture.

A good read: testimony of former Toronto Vineyard Pastor Paul Gowdy

More Latter Rain revivalism by experience

This became like an ongoing spiritual horror movie as it unfolded, churches fell down like dominos.

The "Pensacola Revival" was a direct link to the Toronto Blessing when on ‘Father's Day 1995 the same type of outbreak occurred there. Both Steve Hill and the leadership of the Brownsville AG had gone to Toronto to receive the new "anointing." Like an infectious disease, the body of Christ was affected worldwide.

As we look backward it all leads us to the origin of modern-day Charismatic renewal by Lonnie Frisbee, (from KK) on ‘Mother's day’ occurring at Wimber’s church that gave them the new openness to the spirit's power (or another’s spirits power).

This "pandemonium" practiced in Toronto was now manifested in Pensacola by Kilpatrick and he even mentioned it as a prayer for God to send "Pandemonium” because, like Wimber he thinks this is God making chaos.

The Evangelist Steve Hill, a Pensacola's Brownsville Assembly of God was interviewed on TV's "20/20," he explained his experience with god "I didn't believe in God, but...out of desperation...I said, 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.' I just began to say that name, and a power came through my body.. .." Much like Lonnie Frisbee’s experience in the canyon. If this is how Hill was converted, (a very unbiblical way) was this a spiritual birth? This calling on the Lord is not the gospel that saves.

Hill arrived at the church during the prayer meeting, saying: "I stepped over bodies to get to the pastor. When Sandy touched me, I fell to the ground . . . Then, I got up and ran to a couple and said, 'Pray for me, man, this is good!' They touched me and WHAM! I went back down.’ (From the Father's Day video, June 1995.)

‘Fathers Day’ was repeating how it was on ‘Mother's day’ in the Vineyard in 1980.

Rev. Kilpatricks statements revealed what Rodney Browne and Pensacola were, "THIS IS NOT A PREACHING REVIVAL" (Rev. John Kilpatrick Leadership Meeting Oct. 1996, Kerrville, Texas). Without preaching the Word there is no revival! So then instead called it a renewal.

After each one fizzled another would eventually restart. The problem is that few know recent Christian history and they accept and repeat the same mistakes never learning what fruit it brings

The fire of God continued falling as strange fire

The newest wandering star breaking forth on the Signs and Wonders scene was Todd Bentley a Canadian evangelist from Abbotsford, BC, Canada.

“In his late teens, Todd had a dramatic encounter with the saving and delivering power of God. This experience brought Todd out of a lifestyle of drug and alcohol addiction without cravings or withdrawal symptoms. He was also delivered from a lifestyle involving criminal activity, youth prisons, drugs, sex, satanic music and bondage. Todd's miraculous conversion to Jesus was much like the Apostle Paul's on the Damascus road. Todd was instantly transformed into a radical disciple and soul winning evangelist for Jesus. (Website- About Us Todd Bentley's Personal Profile).

Much like Lonnie Frisbee we see Bentley “Saved” at 17, shortly after he began preaching and He also began prophesying during this time through his ministry “Fresh Fire Ministries International: Apostolic Network.”

The shakes, jerks, twitching, laughter and falling to the floor have all been standard in revivals since Kuhlman, Frisbee and Hinn, and it happened at Lakelands revival that Todd Bentley headed up ( it was also endorsed by Paul Cain.

Bentley was blatantly unbiblical and called on angels to me with power. He had dreams of an angel empowering his ministry. Prophet Bob Jones who was with the Vineyard apostles and prophet group confirmed to Bentley the same angel, Jones said, that visited healing evangelist William Branham in the 1940s.” (Paul Steven Ghiringhelli in Lakeland, Fla. Asst News Editor, Charisma) http://www.charismamag.com/news/archives/042208d.html

Now we find the angel that deceived Branham was openly deceiving Bentley from the respected prophet of the signs and wonders movement. All of this continues, none of this has fully vanished but diminished at times and those who are unstable are always trying to bring it back.

The conclusion of all this

God always has performed and always will perform His miracles according to His own purpose and pleasure by whom he chooses. Just as he picked holy men of God to write the Scripture he does so with dispensing his power to those who are obedient, but he is careful of whom he chooses. The excesses and errors of the Vineyard, as well as many within the charismatic /Pentecostal churches, merely prove that most of what is transpiring in the name of God's power is really a fleshly source actively seeking an experience with the spirit instead of having faith in the truth of God's Word.

Frisbee recalls in his book “the first time I met Kathryn Kuhlman. I had attended lots of her meetings but had never personally met her (he attended her meetings for 7 years, then met her along with chuck smith being interviewed on her TV show). He says “Kuhlman was definitely a wonderful spiritual mother and mentor to me. She had such a huge impact on my life. Before she died in 1976, she laid hands on me in a prayer of impartation. I obviously believe in women in ministry according to their calling.

“In fact, I believe that the anointing that is resting on my life can be traced directly to another woman of God—Aimee Semple McPherson…” (Not by Might, Nor by Power: The Jesus Revolution, Roger Sachs)

That’s about all one needs to know they need to avoid all this.

As far as comparing all this to Scripture I find only one conclusion, Lonnie Frisbee was a catalyst for ‘deception.’ It happened that way in the Vineyard and it can happen to your church if you accept the signs and wonders movement of our day, experiential learning. Lonnie spoke of himself in a way that he always believed; that his calling was apostolic, that he is a prophet, that he was a mystic with infused prayer (as the Catholics), and he was a seer. This became the direction Wimber was moving in after his introduction on Mothers Day and a few years after as he traveled with him to various countries.

The gifts of the Spirit are basically given for the edification of the Church. The sign gifts, i.e., the miraculous gifts were apostolic. Given to the apostles only, for when the laying of the foundation of the church began. But what was manifested had more to do with other religions and the Occult, not Christianity.

The conclusion of all this must be from Scripture: a tree bearing good or bad fruit. Matt 7:16-18 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”

Fruit would coincide with the Bibles description as the fruit of the Spirit being produced.

In like manner James states 3:11-12 “Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring can yield both salt water and fresh.  

Clearly, Lonnie setting Wimber on this course produced bad fruit. Where this will end for those that follow this model of experiential Christianity will not be good.

Today, Wimber’s Vineyard in Anaheim is called ‘the Dwelling Place’ Alan Scott, co-pastor of the former Vineyard Anaheim on April 22, 2022 announced this, and that they were being led by God to separate (nothing to reflect on their new name). They are no longer associated with the Vineyard churches.

The church’s website explains the Dwelling Place’s hope for the future.

In the future, we are going to plant churches and we are going to plant businesses,” reads the church’s “Our Story” page. “We are going to ordain ministers and we are going to ordain filmmakers. We are going to have schools of ministry and schools of industry. We are going to go where those before us didn’t have time to go or permission to go … because the story of the kingdom continues.” (Apr.2023)



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