"Those who disregard the past are bound to repeat it."--George Santayana
In 1949 at the General Council of the Assemblies of God held in Seattle, the Council overwhelmingly approved a resolution that was prepared by a committee that dealt with the Latter Rain Movement. The resolution adopted disapproved of the following practices of the Latter Rain, and the action was made necessary as a result of the movement invading the Assembly of God churches:
1. The overemphasis relative to imparting, identifying, bestowing, or confirming of gifts by the laying on of hands and prophecy.
2. The erroneous teaching that the Church is built on the foundation of present-day apostles and prophets.
3. The extreme teaching as advocated by the "New Order," regarding the confession of sin to man and deliverance as practiced, which claims prerogatives to human agency which belongs only to Christ.
4. The erroneous teaching concerning the impartation of the gift of languages as special equipment for missionary service.
5. The extreme and unscriptural practice of imparting or imposing personal leadings by the means of the gifts of utterance.
6. Such other wrestlings and distortions of scripture interpretations which are in opposition to teachings and practices generally accepted among us.(1)
The Latter Rain featured individuals with "oil in the hands"; congregational singing of "the song of the Lord" singing in the Spirit; the emphasis on "God is doing a new thing"; the manifested sons of God teaching; the placing of experience over exposition; the branding of those who denounced the movement; getting away from what the church had been.
In a letter from the Executive Presbytery of the Assemblies of God (April 20, 1949), these observations were given. They are still valid today.
"The true test of any movement is whether or not it will stand up under the light of the Word of God. We cannot depend alone upon the testimony of spiritual blessing, which many have claimed to have received under the 'new order.' When the 'Jesus Only' issue swept the country in the years 1914-1917, there was a constant testimony that this was a revelation from God accompanied by great spiritual blessing. The movement was judged, however, not on the testimony of spiritual blessings, but on its adherence to the Scriptures. When it was found that its claims did not conform to sound doctrine, its message was rejected. Dire calamities were predicted upon all who failed to 'walk in the light' of that 'revelation' but all predictions failed of fulfillment. We have heard similar predictions for failure to accept the 'new order' teaching, which we regret exceedingly."
"How shall we labor with any effect to build up the Church if we have no thorough knowledge of her history or fail to apprehend it from the proper point of observation? History is, and must ever continue to be, next to God's Word, the richest foundation of wisdom and sweet guide to all successful practical activity."--Philip Schaff
It is the opinion of this Assembly of God pastor that we have once again endorsed a movement that will yet again chip away at the chink of armour once worn called Integrity. However, that is not the opinion of this pastor alone. Fully divided we now stand. Some will say that I am in wrong standing by publically speaking out on these issues; I will say I am in agreement with the stand of what was once a great denomination of godly men and women. My evidence exist in the 1949 mandate of the Assemblies of God. To my knowledge it has not been rescinded. Further, our General Secretary Woods has courageously and publically taken a stand against the so-called "laughing revival," the root of the movement of which I am to speak, which endorses many of the manifestations that take place. To substantiate such accusations I submit the following proofs:
PENSACOLA BLESSING--i.e., BROWNSVILLE ASSEMBLY OF GOD
Violation of Practice 1
Cathy Wood, reporter for Brownsville Assembly of God, states, "What started in Toronto...really is HERE too..We so appreciate Bro. Arnott for being open to God because that's where Mrs. Kilpatrick went...to his church in Toronto and the impartation (anointing) did truly follow her home to us!" (2)
"Our pastor's wife went to Toronto in February or March of 1994, I don't remember when for sure, but when she got back...without even telling of any of the manifestations she had seen...a few started that very Sunday she returned. She came back healed of things...so changed that Pastor was jealous of the refreshing touch God had given her! Happy, but jealous!" (2)
"Then Lindel Cooley became our new worship leader. Our other one was anointed but Lindel brought something more....He, too, had visited Toronto right before he came to Brownsville." (2)
Steve Hill has made no secret of receiving an impartation from Sandy Millar at Holy Trinity Brompton Church in England. This impartation came from Millar's "laying on of hands" upon Hill. (3)
The Branding of Those Who Denounced The Movement
There are many forums whereby Rev. John Kilpatrick's scorching letter addressed to Hank Hanegraaf can be found; but in the interest of brevity, we will take only certain excerpts:
"...But I don't know who called you to be the high sheriff of heaven and go around straightening everybody out. .I don't know who did that, but let me tell you one thing. You may criticize other people and other moves of God and other ministries, but you had better leave you hands off this one.......And Mr. Hanegraaff, I want to say to you, before you get back on television and start spouting off at the mouth again about something of which you know nothing of, you'd better be careful because God says 'vengeance is mine saith the Lord.' And I want to say something else to you. If you want to keep any semblance of a ministry, you had better back off from this revival and from what God is doing here. You had better back off because I am going to prophesy to you that if you don't, and you don't, and you continue to put your tongue in your mouth against this move of God, within 90 days the Holy Ghost will bring you down! I said within 90 days the Holy Ghost will bring you down! And I speak that as a man of God. I don't speak that out of vengeance, I don't speak that out of selfishness, and I don't speak it out of a hurt feeling, because my feelings are not hurt. I feel as normal today as I have ever felt. I don't have a chip on my shoulder, I don't have an axe to grind. But this is a move of God and you better leave it alone."
(4) Dr. Brown in his "Scorning the Sacred" chapter is a thinly veiled attempt at silencing the critics. While he chastizes the "critics" of Brownsville and warns of the possibilities of incurring God's wrath, he has no concerns for himself as he predicts and presumes that the Brownsville "critics":
1. First and foremost, are ignorant. 2. Are foolish. 3. Elevate the traditions made of men. 4. Scorn the sacred things of God 5. Are tragic, sad, pitiful gossips with biased opinions, spewing garbage and spreading baseless accusations, to whom nothing, absolutely nothing, not even the things of God are sacred. 6. Have a pattern of acting in ignorance and unbelief.
There are as many as 26 different accusations listed. Suffice it to say this is the general spirit of them all. (5)
God Is Doing A NEW THING
A statement introduced by the Latter Rain Movement and later disapproved of by the 1949 General Council of the Assemblies of God that was God was doing a new thing. I personally heard Rev. Kilpatrick say this was a "New Move of God," in Kerrville, Texas, in October 1996, a service about which I will speak more later.
The Placing of Experience over Exposition
"THIS IS NOT A PREACHING REVIVAL," Rev. Kilpatrick went on to say, "for when men preach a good sermon, men get the credit."
In his sermon "The God-Mockers," Rev. Kilpatrick states that those who want to measure everything by the Scriptures need to know that THESE THINGS CANNOT always be measured by the Scriptures.
This information was printed and passed out at Brownsville Assembly of God to explain the manifestations that are taking place at the revival:
1. Falling on the floor (being slain in the Spirit)--Resting in the presence of God. Something tremendously important is being done within you (deep inner healing, preparation for the ministry, physical healing, receiving of visions, feeling the love of God.)
2. Laughter--The medical profession has discovered health and wholeness comes through laughter. Healing can come through laughter.
3. Shaking (head, feet, and body)--Sign of a much deeper happening. Not just body shaking, but there is a prophetic shaking. This is often a type of intercessory prayer. People who shake are often used prophetically. God will shake the status quo and our agendas, plans, complacency, and the theology that says God only works "this way." Everything built on sand will be shaken.
4. Deep bowing--The Jewish people who worship at the wailing wall do so with deep bowing. This manifestation is usually seen in intercessors.
Note: These manifestations and explanations listed were almost copied verbatim from the Toronto literature.
"1 billion served..." That's the McDonald's food chain claim and it serves as self-aggrandizement. The sign that once existed and may still exist out front of Brownsville Assembly of God says "100,000 saved" (or whatever the number is now) and does no less than McDonalds.* The Bible warns us to avoid such. The Bible declares to us that heaven rejoices over one. (6)
"We had to start tickets to get into the church..." (9)
*Since then, under scrutiny of peers, the sign has been changed to "100,000 have responded to altar calls."
Lies and Deception
Rev. John Kilpatrick in his letter of apology to Hank Hanegraaf dated 6/18/97 states, "When I heard our church linked with cultic deception, it caused me to feel anger and indignation......." Further stating " I was not speaking that as a prophet but as a shepherd putting something in the ears of God.......it was me speaking that and not a `thus saith the Lord.'"
Compare these statements with those made in his first PROPHESY--his words, not mine: "AND I SPEAK THAT AS A MAN OF GOD....I don't speak out of vengeance....my feelings are not hurt." (4)
On more than one occasion, Rev. Hill has repeated the story of police dropping off teenagers whom they would have otherwise taken to jail. Pensacola police department emphatically denies this stating that anyone caught doing so would have been dismissed.
On more than one occasion, Dr. Brown and other leadership have stated that the crime rate in Pensacola has drastically been affected. Pensacola Police Dept. statistics for the last five years prove differently.
Rev. Hill has stated the public schools' Christian activities and groups have grown vastly. The Pensacola School Superintendents differ with this stating emphatically that some parents had to be called because students were disrupting classes by shaking and falling on the ground.
My own personal observations:
Much of the information I have gathered has not come from the "critics" of Brownsville but out of Brownsville itself. They have damned themselves by their own words. My experience and the Word of God reveals to me this too is a trait of a proud and arrogant Satan. I listened to Rev. Kilpatrick in Kerrville, Texas, at a meeting that our district and section leaders encouraged leadership to attend. This happened long before the "evidence that demands a verdict" begin to manifest itself. It was shortly before this that I begin to suspect that all was not well, that slewfoot was once again making himself known among the elect. When I begin to see young scholars leaving our denomination, a red flag went up. As I begin to inquire, I increasingly found that the problem was coming out of the situation in Florida. I made mention of these concerns to my district officials before the leadership meeting. My inquiry was met with silence. The following were some of the additional concerns that I addressed in an addendum to my first correspondence:
"Rev Kilpatrick spoke for three and one-half hours without any mention of Scripture..... this statement stood out--`This is not a preaching revival.' He went on to say something to the effect that when men preach a good sermon, men get the glory. May I remind us: "So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Rom. 10:17) When Peter preached the Word, no one praised Peter. God was praised and three thousand were added that day.(9)
"And when he made the call for everybody that wants prayer come forward, there were a thousand people come rushing forward." (referring to Father's Day '95 ) He repeated this claim in the Pentecostal Evangel, yet the video tape I previewed (10) did not quite fit that description. As we ALL SAW, Rev. Hill pleaded and begged for some time. It WAS NOT a spontaneous move into the altars as we are led to believe. Sometime later (after the film was edited), we were shown full altars. I understand that under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit one might forget some details here and there, but that same person did not fail to notice the cleavage of, as he put it, a `well-endowed woman.' I find that quite interesting that he would notice something like that in the middle of one of the greatest revivals ever known to mankind. My board members also found a like comment made on the tape (10)--`Was her husband home?'-- rather risque in the middle of one of the greatest revivals known to mankind."
Regarding jerking manifestation:
"....those of you who have had reservations about the manifestations of jerking need to know two things: 1) That it wouldn't save you and it wouldn't change your life..... 2) that you are trying to dictate to the Holy Spirit how He has to operate within His people. (I didn't highlight this because it is paraphrased.) Then the good Reverend turned right around and admonished his audience of CLERGY, PASTORS, and BISHOPS that there were not to be any messages in prophecies or interpretations tonight. That is not what God is doing. WHO is dictating what the Holy Spirit may or may not do?"
Brick after brick was added to the foundational belief of this being a Latter Day Deception. Still there were those proponents of Brownsville that said you cannot judge because you have not been there. In July I went. Interesting enough the greatest revival known to mankind was close on Sunday (usually a church's main service) due to RAIN!. Thankfully the Baptist down the street were still listening to God's Word.
I did take time to canvas the neighborhood. This was my observation: Across the street is one of the largest bingo parlors I have seen. Down the road, about two blocks is a girly strip joint and bar. Every other house and business has burglar bars on the windows. I stopped two policemen and asked, "How long have you been on the force?"
"Eighteen years," he replied.
"How is the crime rate, here?" I asked.
"You are safe as long as you are standing here with me. This is crack center U.S.A. Short of Divine intervention, nothing will help it."
Gee, I am thinking...the neighborhoods are full of poor desperate government- housing people in drastic need of revival and hope. Yet, God seemed to be held captive within the walls of Brownsville. While this is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Pensacola, the leadership lives in one of the most affluent. What is wrong with this picture? My conviction stands firm. We are in the midst of one of the greatest LATTER DAY DECEPTIONS known to mankind. The Bible tells us that there will be a separating of the chaff and the wheat, a great shaking, a time when if it were possible the very elect will be deceived.
Rev. Ron Stringfellow, Pastor of Medina Valley Assembly of God
(1) Anointed To Serve, William Menzies, Ph.D., Gospel Publishing House, 1971.
(2) Cathy Wood, http://victorious.com/revived/
(3) "Ministries Today," Nov./Dec. 1996, p. 27.
(4) Pastor John Kilpatrick, Brownsville Assembly of God, Pensacola, FL. April 6, 1997.
(5) "Let No One Deceive You," Dr. Michael Brown.
(6) Brownsville Assembly of God
(7) Rev. John Kilpatrick's apology dated 6/18/97
(8) Pensacola Police Dept., office of records.
(9) Rev. John Kilpatrick Leadership Meeting dated Oct. 1996, Kerrville, Texas.
(10) Brownsville tape, "Father's Day '95".