Manipulation – BEWARE ‘AUTHENTICATORS’

I have realised since the early days of the Toronto Blessing that the leaders of these kinds of ‘revival’ meetings are employing a manipulative trick which I like to call ‘authenticators’.

This is the spiel they use at the start of a meeting to pull people in and apparantly authenticate their ministry or behaviours so that the once sceptic is deceived.

About 6 months ago my family were looking for a church in our new town. We were going to a large one and were quite pleased as there were lots of youth of the age of our children. However every week there were some toronto-type manifestations. After about 2 months there was one meeting where many people were doing these dodgy things such as animal noises etc

We invited the Pastor to our house and began to talk to him about our concerns. He acknowledged that some of these are fleshy and some demonic but he also seemed to think some were evidence of a work of repentence.

He told us this story

“In the 1990s I was sceptical about Toronto so i went there”. In my first meeting John Arnhot said to all the Pastors who had come ‘You and I all know that what we see here is wrong, but look at the lengths these people are prepared to go to to meet with the Lord. What are you prepared to do to meet with Him here?’ Immediately (the Pastor continued)I knew that John Arnhot was right, not long after the Lord began dealing with me”

The Pastor put away his concerns and these things also began to happen to him.

Another church leader in a different place once said that he had been at a similar meeting and then heard the leader say “Never mind what others are doing, the Lord wants to deal with the critical spirit within you!”

Do you begin to see what I mean about authenticators? Clever devices for getting you to lay aside your concerns.

Ok heres another one………

Statistics of apparent fruit.

The Lord showed me something in a dream. There was a revival where all our loved ones were. All of them were lining up to go down an aisle to where the minister was laying hands on people. The minister was in darkness. My family were in the line and I was trying to get them out. Then out of nowhere a friend from our past appeared. He had always struggled with homosexual tendencies and had often backslidden in his faith. He was always full of shame and regret. He had become part of our family life in the 1990s and enjoyed hanging out with us and our children. However after a year or so he disappeared. We tried to find him for a few months and then stopped. His name was really distinctive so we could probably have succeeded in finding him if we had continued to look. Anyway in the dream he told me “Look I am back at church. I am free from homosexuality and I am happily married” My instant thought in my dream was that this was enough to authenticate the ministry; because my friend was coming to church and no longer struggling with his past!

When I awoke and spent time in prayer and the Word it became obvious that something like that would not be enough (although great) to make us submit to this ‘laying on of hands’ at the revival meeting. Suddenly I understood that there will always be a pull or authenticator like this. Maybe even something as strong as someone who has slipped through your net apparantly saved and delivered!

Watch out I say. Some could even employ familiar spirits to hit that one issue squarely on the head.

What do YOU think?

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Comments

  1. Hi John. It is good to see your balanced response. Share with us your feelings on the possibility of deceiving spirits get in on the act when the Holy Spirit has started something and in that way destroying what the Holy Spirit is doing. Perhaps the church is unwilling to acknowledge the possibility of deceiving spirits in the church and / or not being able to discern the difference between the Holy Spirit and demons. This will result in the local church either embracing everything spiritual as from God or rejecting everything as from the devil. Is there no possibility that the Holy Spirit can manifest his presence in a service and minutes later a spirit of deception can inject his poison? Could this same scenario not take place in the same individual? This could explain why an individual who has a loving relationship with the Lord Jesus can also embrace an unhealthy doctrine concerning angels. I know we would all like to think “My doctrine is perfect.” If God only used perfect people who would He use? God allows us to believe anything we choose to believe. Its when we allow our spiritual or material experience to formulate our doctrine that we end up going down the road to destruction.

  2. I remember a godly, prayerful old woman who was in our church in the early 80s who has now gone on to be with the Lord – she sometimes laughed to herself pleasantly and unobtrusively, after being prayed for.

    I also remember being alone praying in my room, when I was a teenager, in the early 80s. I had come home from school burdened to pray for some unsaved fellow-students. After interceding for a while, I got a note of victory in my spirit, and began to laugh.

    Then in about ’93, I felt led to pray with and for a woman, and to everyone’s surprise including my own, she began to have a joyful experience with the Lord which lasted about five minutes.

    Next in about ’95, I had given an altar call in a church, and so many people responded, so I decided to ask the Pastor’s wife to help me by praying for some of the women. Her eyes were closed, so in order to get her attention I briefly touched her wrist – and as soon as I did, she fell to the floor – and she was still on the floor after everyone else went home, until only her husband (the Pastor) and I were left. Her husband looked at her rolling around the floor praying and rejoicing, and asked me, “What’s happening to my wife?” I said, “I don’t know, but I know it’s good – and I know it’s God”. When I’d touched her, I wasn’t even releasing my faith – I thought I was simply getting her attention to ask her to come help.

    But on each of the above occasions I only saw INDIVIDUALS laugh for joy – I’d still not seen a WHOLE CONGREGATION laugh for joy in the Holy Spirit. I’d never heard of such a thing.

    A short time later I was in another meeting and the Lord told me He wanted to touch His people. So I told the congregation this, and then many people started crying. Others began speaking with tongues. I found out later, it was their first time to speak with tongues. No-one even laid hands on them. It just fell on the congregation. Others prophesied and saw visions. Watching everyone cry, I wondered how much of it was the Holy Spirit and how much was just emotions. I remembered “the fruit of the Spirit is…joy”. So I asked the Lord to show me some joy. Before I finished asking, the whole church began to laugh. I’d never seen a whole congregation laugh before. At this time I had no knowledge of what was happening in Rodney Howard-Browne’s meetings or at Toronto. This happened faraway on the mission-field where I’d been for many months and I’d heard no news from around the world.

    A few months later I was preaching in a different church, and the Lord told me He wanted the congregation to receive the joy of the Lord. I didn’t know what to do, so I laid hands on several people and said, “Receive the joy of the Lord”. Pretty soon the whole church was laughing. After 40 minutes, a deacon asked for testimonies. We then heard of a deeper work that had been going on in people’s hearts whilst they were laughing, such as healings. I still had not heard about Toronto or any such thing.

    God had been showing me in the Scriptures that He wanted us to break out of the usual mould of how we run church services, showing me that He wanted His Spirit to manifest. So the results we were seeing came as a result of acting on what we were seeing in the Scriptures, not because we’d come into contact with Toronto, because we hadn’t come into contact with it, we hadn’t even heard about it. The more we made room for God, the more we saw in manifestation.

    The more God moved, the more people gathered. Night after night the people gathered as God visited. Other churches started joining us. This was in a very remote part of that particular country. There was lots of laughter, tears, repentance, confession, reconciliation, deliverance from demons, visions, tongues, interpretations, prophesying, a little bit of healing, and lots of preaching of the Gospel. It spread to many churches. Unprecedented unity came about. It spread to High Schools and Universities. Lots of sinners came to Christ. It even happened that unbelievers heard their own language being spoken as others spoke with tongues, and as a result of this sign they came under conviction and repented. Many young people felt called into the ministry, and made the decision to go to Bible college. It was a wonderful move of God that lasted for months. Pastors from other islands came to check it out, then the same revival broke out in their own churches when they went home. Literally thousands of people were touched by the Holy Spirit.

    At the height of all of this happening, a Pastor from my home country of Australia came to visit. And he told me of similar things happening with Rodney Howard-Browne and at Toronto. This was the first I ever knew of it.

    The Pastor from Australia witnessed what was happening with us. For example, he saw one 14-yr old girl who was filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues. She could barely speak her own language for days! When she got to school on Monday, she was still speaking in tongues. The teacher claimed to understand her, yet she knew the girl couldn’t speak that particular language. The whole class fell under the power of God. The girl laid hands on her classmates, cast out demons, and led them to the Lord. All over the school, students started to come under a conviction of sin. Classes couldn’t continue! This lasted for days, for weeks. It soon spread to other educational institutions. I visited one University, and saw students on the floor under the power of the Spirit, in a lecture room. God started to pour out His Spirit upon other townships too.

    After 19-months I returned to my home country of Australia, to discover that everyone was talking about Toronto. I was surprised to learn about the controversy. On the mission-field, there was no controversy. Even nine-year olds were having visions of angels, Jesus and heaven. It was pure. To everyone, it felt holy. And it produced holiness. Hallelujah!

    We didn’t see anyone jirking, no-one making sudden loud shreeks, no groups of people making animal noises. Just joy, laughter, tears, people unable to stand up, deliverance, visions, tongues, interpretations, prophecies, repentance, people getting into the Word, etc.

    It was wonderful to learn God was doing this simultaneously all around the world at the same time – even in places where people had not come into contact with Toronto.

    I know what we experienced was genuinely from God, because it happened as a result of acting on what we saw in the Scriptures, particularly I Cor.12-14. There was a holiness, a reverential fear, about it.

    I read something written by John Arnott about alleged animal noises at Toronto. He explained that only one or two people made an animal noise, for example, one person crowed like a rooster. He wrote that he questioned the person about it afterwards, and the person explained, “It’s a new day!” So it was evidently the person’s own lighthearted way of expressing their glee. John Arnott added that the person was a Pastor, and a visitor, not a regular at Toronto. He then said that beyond those two isolated incidences, there were NO OTHER INCIDENCES OF ANIMAL NOISES AT TORONTO. And yet from the staggering amount of talk that’s gone on about it, you would think it was a regular occurrence at Toronto. Not so, according to John Arnott. I’ve noticed that most critics who bring-up the subject of animal noises at Toronto are really only quoting what they’ve heard from another critic. They’re not usually critiquing something they’ve actually witnessed themselves. John Arnott said he did not necessarily endorse that visiting Pastor’s manner of expressing their joy.

    But even if questionable things did take place at Toronto – my above testimony illustrates that there was a genuine move of the Spirit of God all around the world at that time. At that time I even witnessed an entire hilltribe come to Christ that had never before heard the Gospel nor seen foreigners before. I also saw spontaneous laughter and tears happen without any suggestion on my part whatsoever, in the most remote villages. It’s beautiful, and it drew so many to love Jesus.

    I think, what I witnessed, and Toronto, Pensacola, Shillong, and Rodney Howard-Browne’s meetings, are basically the same anointing, basically the same move of God. Perhaps it was purer in my part of the world than in other places, or perhaps not, I don’t know. But I do know that each leader and each congregation responds differently to the same move of God. The Spirit is poured upon human vessels.

    I never saw anything get out of hand in our gatherings. But if I did, I would not have hesitated to correct it, while at the same time not despising or forbidding the genuine.

    I think, had I not been brought into this experience through my own acting on the Word of God, and had I not experienced all of this before ever hearing about Toronto, I too might have been turned-off by some of the things which we are now hearing reports of coming from some obscure sources. But the fact that I experienced such a pure, beautiful move of God amongst the poor, quite independent of anywhere else, showed me that God was doing something around the world. There was a beautiful move of His Spirit that God was making available to all the world at that time.

    But that doesn’t mean flawed humanity can’t get in on it too. But if it does get in on it, it doesn’t mean there never was a genuine move of God to begin with. In some places, flawed humanity manages to stay out of it. In other places it may happen a bit more than in other places. But the underlying truth is, God was pouring out a beautiful blessing!

    I once listened to an Australian guy criticize at length the whole Toronto blessing thing. After listening to him, without saying a word, finally I said, “Now let me tell you something.” And I took about 15 minutes to tell him what I’d witnessed. He was speechless. He was in awe. He knew what I described was a heavenly move of God. And he could see it was inherently the same move.

    Don’t forget that many of St Paul’s hearers misrepresented his teachings too, and brought the doctrine into disrepute. But in some places where Paul visited, this didn’t happen as much as in other places. But either way – whether they twisted it or not – it was a genuine move of God that was being introduced into the world at that time through Paul. It’s the same today.

    The same Bible which says “judge prophecy” also says “despise not prophesyings”. The same Bible which says “let all things be done decently and in order” also says, “forbid not to speak with tongues”. Keep our heart like a little child, innocent to evil, wise to what is good.

    Just because Paul had to instruct the Corinthians how to manage the move of God wisely, does not mean the whole thing had been false.

    There can be a genuine move of God around the world – and some leaders will manage to keep it in a purer expression than others. Some have differing ethical standards in how they report certain things. But if you’re going to throw the whole thing out because of how it’s being treated in one or two places – you’re the one who’s going to miss out. And you may hinder others from flowing with it too.

    Paul didn’t throw the whole thing out just because the Corinthians needed some guidelines.

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