"That's How They Do It In Toronto!"
by Dr. Herb Babcock, Former Member of Brownsville Assembly Of God
I am presenting the background of our involvement in the Assemblies of God so that the reader will recognize that we are knowledgeable, experienced, and mature in our Christian walk. We have hidden Godís Word in our hearts.
I was born into a Christian family and chose Jesus to be my Savior while I was a small child in Sunday School class in the First Presbyterian Church in Canton, Illinois.
In 1963 my wife and I and our infant son moved to Davenport, Iowa, so I could attend Palmer College of Chiropractic. Intervarsity Christian Fellowship had an active chapter there and I quickly became a part of it, and that led me to visit several area churches. When I walked into the Assembly of God church in Bettendorf, Iowa, I sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit, so in 1965 I brought my family into fellowship there until I graduated from college in 1967. The pastor was Rev. O. H. Hamilton.
Louisville, Kentucky, became our new home in 1967 and we immediately joined the great church of Evangel Tabernacle under the ministry of Rev. W. L. Rodgers, where I served as a deacon for fifteen years. We were totally involved in nursery, Sunday School teaching, and choir. Since our church was the largest Assembly of God in Kentucky, virtually all of the "big name" evangelists and ministers came there. Many of the really large ministries of today were in their formative stages when we became acquainted with them and sat under their teaching. During these years I was active in Full Gospel Businessmenís Fellowship International, also.
My wife and I took a family to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to meetings held by Kathryn Kuhlman, and attended her meetings in other locations as well. We visited the church in Orlando pastored by Benny Hinn, and on another occasion attended a week long seminar in Carpenterís Church in Lakeland, Florida. We ministered for three years in Christian Prison Ministry of Kentucky.
Upon moving to Florida in 1983, we joined the First Assembly of God and were steadfast there until October 1988 when we moved our membership to Brownsville Assembly of God (BAG). It was a well established and growing church, where we participated in many aspects of regular church activities, especially the choir and drama presentations. We loved Rev. Kilpatrick and were blessed by his presentation of Godís Word. During our time there the church continued to be a vital, growing facility in the city of Pensacola. It certainly was not a cold or "dead" church and had grown steadily for years.
On Fatherís Day, June 17, 1995, Rev. Kilpatrick introduced Evangelist Steve Hill and said that he was available for one day while he was enroute to scheduled meetings elsewhere. We had no previous announcements of his coming. For several weeks leading up to this time; however, some changes had been taking place, and some of the members of BAG had been traveling up to Toronto meetings, even taking carloads and vanloads of members along. Mrs. Kilpatrick made two trips accompanied by the wife of one of the church officers. Rev. Kilpatrick started to drive up there one time, but his trip was interrupted and he returned to Pensacola without making it to the Toronto airport vineyard meeting. I saw no mention of this in his book. When this series of meetings began in Pensacola, a lot of organization had to be done in a hurry - namely, the formation of "prayer teams" and how to deal with the people who came forward. The order of the day was: "Thatís how they do it in Toronto."
In an effort to authenticate these meetings and the "impartation" the evangelist displayed a collection of newspaper clippings (or copies of them) and made reference to his extensive library of books pertaining to historic revival meetings of former years. Meetings such as took place on Azusa Street in California or in the Cane Ridge Hills of Kentucky. Steve Hill alluded to those meetings and told us that this is the same kind of event, yet having already declared that God is doing a "new thing." Nobody asked which was correct: a "new thing" or an "old thing" again?
My family and I hardly ever missed a meeting for the five weeks we participated. Over and over the evangelist told how he first received the impartation from a vicar in the Anglican church in England. When they met, Steve Hill said to the vicar, "We donít have to talk, just pray for me."
When Rev. Kilpatrick announced that God was going to move in our church and "do a new thing", and that we would "lose hundreds, but gain thousands"; I immediately thought of the Scriptures in Luke 15:4-7 where the shepherd leaves ninety-nine sheep in a safe place and goes out to rescue the lost one. The position announced by Rev. Kilpatrick is directly opposite of the Scripture example. Incidentally, during the last meeting I attended at BAG, not one Scripture was used. Recently, I met a local pastor (of another denomination) who had visited the BAG meeting and he said that there was no Scripture presented during the session he attended.
The word I have hidden in my heart is the Scripture in I John 4:1. "Beloved, believe not every Spirit, but try the Spirit whether it be of God!" We attended approximately 30 meetings and never once did the evangelist or pastor even suggest that either one of them had made any effort whatever to obey the Scriptures and try the spirits they are dealing with. That is the reason I could not continue to be a part of his ministry. In fact, both the evangelist and the pastor vehemently demanded that NO ONE question the impartation, or anything said by the pastor or the evangelist. NO ONE should DARE to come against "the man of God!" was repeated many times, threateningly.
It is interesting how a claim regarding a prophecy attributed to Korean Pastor Cho changed three times, each time becoming more specific until it identified Pensacola as the city where a "great end-time revival" would break out and spread throughout the world. Actually, I had heard of that prophecy years before when we lived in Kentucky, and there was speculation that Evangel Tabernacle would be the church where it was to start. The prophecy didnít change . . . the telling of it did.
I was included in the prayer teams until we disassociated ourselves from BAG. While on the prayer team, we were instructed to NOT pray in Jesusí name. We were told to NOT pray for the needs of people. The only thing we were to do was touch people on their forehead and say, "More, Lord!" and keep repeating that until there was an "impartation" of the spirit being promoted in the meetings. If the person did not respond in a reasonable time, move on to someone else. Any deviation from the limited procedure would result in being removed from the prayer team, which did happen to a few individuals.
I had previously heard of the practice in some belief systems of chanting, or repeating a phrase called a "mantra." That came to mind when we were told to say only, "More, Lord!" over and over. In Luke 21:8 Jesus told the disciples to take heed and not be deceived by people even though they claim to come in His Name. In other words, situations will be presented to people in such a believable way that people may be deceived.
Godís Word tells us to hide His Word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him. When we do that, we are strong in His Word and not easily deceived or following every wind of doctrine. That is the meaning of the Scripture verse: ". . . the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10). It is a joy to Him when we are strong and victorious through rightly dividing the Word.
As a result of all this, I am more aware than ever before and want to convey to everyone the truth that each individual is solely responsible for his/her right relationship with God. We each will stand individually before the judgment seat. We MUST have knowledge of HIS word and exercise discernment. Our eternal well-being depends on our choices.
"Beloved, believe not every Spirit, but try the Spirit whether it be of God!" (I John 4:1).
"I have no greater
joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." (III John 4).