This is an account of a revival meeting in which the Rev John Kilpatric of the Brownsville Florida Assembly of God spoke at.
By Robert C. Gray
What We Saw
14 Dec 96
The other day on the 12th of Dec 96 my wife and I attended a revival meeting at an Assembly of God church in St. Louis. The guest speaker at this revival meeting was the Rev John Kilpatric of the Brownsville Florida Assembly of God, which has been experiencing an unusual revival of momentous proportions for approximately 2 years now. In fact they claimed to have had 1.4 million people attend during this time period, and 86,000-100,000 decisions for the Lord. This is a tremendous outpouring of revival spirit, and therefore needs to be examined in the light of the Word of God.
The primary focus of this particular meeting was the pastors of the local Illinois and Missouri districts, which were given the place of honor. They were here to receive the Brownsville blessing, so-called, and to adjudge for themselves as to it's benefits. It was announced that 225 pastors, and their wives, were present in an audience of, I estimate 2,500 or more.
This Brownsville blessing (which I will simply refer to as blessing from now on) was imparted to those who wished to receive it via laying on of hands, by those who already had it. Again the primary focus for the pastors was Rev Kilpatrick who would at the end of the 7+ hour service personally lay hands on them, to receive this blessing.
We were warned early on, that during the service at various times, manifestations such as, falling down, shaking, laughing, convulsing, and other sundry activities might occur quite spontaneously in those receiving or participating in this blessing. We should ignore or continue to focus on the messenger and not on those receiving, or we might not ourselves receive. In any case it seemed quite important for all, or at least the majority present to receive this blessing, given by the laying on of hands.
My wife and I had gone quite simply as observers. We were somewhat skeptical of what was going to happen as we had done some considerable research, and we were aware that what was to occur, was nothing more than the Toronto blessing in another guise. So let me deviate for just a moment.
The Toronto blessing was received by Rev Kilpatrick's wife prior to the beginning of the Brownsville revival according to Rev Kilpatrick himself. She apparently, sometime prior to the beginning of the revival two years ago flew to Toronto and thereupon received it. Steve Hill the Evangelist who was the catalyst for the outpouring of the Brownsville blessing, on a fateful Fathers day 2 years ago, had also received the Toronto blessing by laying on of hands at a church in Brompton UK, prior to his ministering at the Brownsville church. The Brompton church was the center in the UK, for the spreading of the Toronto blessing, the pastor of that church having also received that blessing while attending the Toronto airport Vineyard church. So what we have is a move which began in Toronto moving into Pensacola via people who had received that particular blessing via laying on of hands, and expropriating it to Brownsville. This is important to note, as it is really the source of the activities which are ongoing there.
The Toronto blessing has been noted for it's extremes and it's excesses, and it's unusual emphasis on experiential relationship with the Holy Spirit, that often involves strange and unusual physical expressions. They take the form of hilarious, and continuous laughter, screaming, roaring, contortioning of the body, such as shaking, convulsions, vomiting, and falling uncontrolled to the floor, along with other such physical manifestations. It also comes frequently with dancing in the spirit, prophesying, being slain in the spirit, etc. Most of these manifestations took place at the meeting which we attended, and which was led by the Rev Kilpatrick, just as they warned us they would take place. So when I conclude that the Brownsville blessing is not a unique thing, but rather an extension of the Toronto blessing, I think my conclusion is a proper one.
Now it is interesting to note that although the Toronto blessing was not well received, in that it was considered to have gone into extreme excesses by most churches, the Brownsville blessing has been extremely well received, and endorsed by numerous leaders within the AG, and also within numerous other denominations. This is just the leopard changing his spots, but for some reason that escapes the thinking of these leaders. The only unique thing about Brownsville is that they claim to have been in prayer for revival for 21/2 years prior to it's occurrence, and that this is a mainstream Assembly of God church. One other interesting point was that this was not a spontaneous occurrence of the Holy Spirit on that fateful Father's Day, rather it may very well have been orchestrated.
Let me explain. Rev. Kilpatrick was speaking primarily to Assembly of God pastors that night, and he was instructing them to lay everything on the line for this revival, even to the point of going against their church boards, and as an example he shared with them his own experience. Before the outpouring of the Blessing occurred, Rev. Kilpatrick went to his board, and layed the keys to the church on the altar, saying, "If Brownsville, does not go for this revival, I'll resign." His wife and another board member made the same commitment. In essence, the Brownsville blessing was planned and orchestrated even before it occurred.
Otherwise nothing unusual differentiates them from Toronto. The tremendous response by the community, resulting in salvation, and transformation of drug addicts, etc., is considerable and should not be ignored, but I caution that some of these transformations may not be genuine. I will elaborate later on this.
One more thing to note, is that the blessing is passed on by laying on of hands. This is not simply a gift of the Holy Spirit, but is looked upon as an impartation gift. In other words it is imparted from a host to a recipient. I must also note that the Rev Kilpatrick never denied or acknowledged that the source of the blessing was from Toronto, however he did defend the Toronto blessing as being a genuine move of God, which Christians should not deny, or come against.
The interesting pattern in all of this, is that Christians seem to need to receive this gift which is a latter day gift, and a new move of the Holy Spirit. Although not found in the Bible, this does not negate it's value according to it's recipients. If they do not receive the gift, then they will be out of the stream of God's latter day blessings. They constantly refer to this as a river of water, or a blowing wind, and or, the fire of the Holy Spirit. Those who do not receive, are compared to the 5 foolish virgins in Matthew chapter 25 who had no oil. Thus they are implying that those who attend these meetings, and don't get into the stream of power flowing from those who have it, may in fact be unsaved. It is also necessary to emphasize that this is referred to as power.
I would like to note that there was a statement made that in these latter days that preaching and simply teaching the word was no longer sufficient, the Spirit had to get involved, through signs and wonders due to the much sin that abounded. This is unscriptural. If I'm not mistaken the Holy Spirit is involved in the preaching, and teaching of the word, and that it was through the foolishness of preaching that men would come to know the Lord (1 Cor 1:18-25). This passage also states that Christ is the power, and wisdom of God.
In Acts chapter 8, Simon the sorcerer tried to purchase the ability to cause men to receive the Holy Spirit, as it seemed to him to be quite magical, and that was his profession. Peter rebuked him for his desire to merchandise the gift of God. Simon repented, and hopefully that was a happy conclusion to that story. But what of these men who are passing this blessing around. Are they trying to make merchandise of the gospel. Simon was a famous man in the parts in which he lived and he wanted to enhance his reputation. I'm sure it would of done good things for his purse as well, but principally he was concerned about his reputation. Just prior to the preaching a man who was a part of the Rev Kilpatrick's evangelistic entourage, got up and took a collection for the purchase of a 500,000.00 coach bus so that the Rev Kilpatrick could travel in comfort. The need for this was that he was taking this blessing around the country, and we did not want him to get worn out, or else the blessing would end.
Why would it end? Because he was the source for it, that is the only conclusion one can get from that statement. I thought the Holy Spirit was the source of the gift, and that Jesus Christ is the ultimate source, or is he? This blessing and they don't usually refer to it as a gift, is passed on by the laying on of hands, by someone who has already received it. Receiving it from the hands of Rev Kilpatrick seems to have even greater repercussions. Therefore when the pastors went to the lobby to receive this impartation, the rest in the auditorium, maybe 1,000 in line to receive, were waited on, by others who had the blessing. I think we can conclude that neither the Holy Spirit or Jesus Christ are the source, in these cases. Christ is not so limited that he requires one man to keep an International revival alive, and their claim is that it has become truly International.
Now that is not to say, that revivals of this type are not springing up all over the US, however, most of them seem to be springing from the route source of either Brownsville, or Toronto. Christ said, He would build His kingdom and that nothing could prevail against it. Certainly not the energies, or the lack thereof, of a single pastor.
I promised to elaborate on the thousands of seeming conversions. I am not going to deny that genuine salvation experiences are occurring, however, I'm concerned that the numbers are highly skewed, and this is why. They are claiming that many pastors and Christians are getting saved, because they weren't genuinely saved to begin with. I'm sure that many Christians are only professing Christians, however, if they're confused, or, are convinced that salvation comes as a result of this kind of power, it could be that they are trying to get saved all over, and this is not genuine salvation. Some of what was said, suggested just that.
I must add that in the occult, power is also transferred by touch. The Kundalini force of the Hindu's is transferred often in just the same manner. It is also often referred to as a stream of power that follows the devotee around, just as Rev Kilpatrick describes his experience, as a stream which follows him around, that he can feel around his legs. This is not to be confused with laying on of hands which is taught in the scriptures. Hands combined with prayer were and should be layed on people for specific needs and requests, this is biblical according to James. I must add however this is a transferrence of power and prayer isn't even a part of it. "Whooosh and Frreshhhh" are not prayer they are extended sylables and have nothing to do with any biblical pattern. The occult however does use meaningless sounds as form of breath control when using occult power.
On balance I'm sure that I will not convince all readers, that what we have seen is not of God, but has it's roots in the flesh, or possibly in a demonic force. Please, however, examine for yourselves whether or not these things be of God. Use the word. Paul was proud of the Bereans, because they examined everything he told them by the Word. They didn't believe him until they examined it, in light of scriptural evidence. He called them noble. Be noble like the Bereans, don't except someone trying to lay hands on you to receive a power, until you know unequivocally it's source.
God calls men to be sober, and to use sound judgment, not to be drunk in the spirit, or to be hilarious, or to be unwise, simply accepting, without testing all things, by the word of God. These are the things this blessing wants you to ignore. They say, jump in, the water's fine, don't believe it, not for a minute.
In Emmanuel (God with us),
Robert C. Gray