Posts Tagged ‘jerry boykin’
Note: Warren B. Smith interviewed with Amy Spreeman from this week on this topic. You can listen to it below.
FALSE REVIVAL COMING?—Part 1: Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?” by Warren B. Smith is our newest Lighthouse Trails Print Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 16 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of FALSE REVIVAL COMING?—Part 1: Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?,” click here
Editors Note: Today there is much talk in the church about revival. Some leaders, citing God as their authority, state they have been told that a great “outpouring” of God’s Spirit is about to occur. Other leaders are describing this imminent “move of God” as another “Great Awakening”—a “second Pentecost.” What is immediately troubling to us is that some of the church figures who are leading the charge for this coming “revival” are the very same ones who gave us the “holy” laughter “revival” back in the 1990s—a “move of God” that was dubiously dubbed “The Toronto Blessing.”
Back when this alleged “revival” was spreading throughout the church, author and former New Ager Warren B. Smith wrote an article that expressed his concerns about what was taking place. His 1994 piece was titled “Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?” and was featured in a discernment newsletter and later reprinted in other Christian magazines and journals. The article’s main focus was on South African evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne—the man who was responsible for bringing the “holy” laughter “revival” into the church. As countless people flocked to Toronto to get “hit” with “holy” laughter, Smith urged everyone to take a closer look at what was being called a “revival.”
With no apologies for “holy” laughter and the strange manifestations associated with his “holy” laughter “revival,” a somewhat reinvented Rodney Howard-Browne now pastors a 3,000-member church in Tampa, Florida. He is frequently found preaching on cable channels around the country. Howard-Browne also heads Revival Ministries International and presents “Global Awakening” conferences throughout the world. In the summer of 2014, he organized and headlined a much ballyhooed two-week “Celebrate America” event that was held in Washington D.C. In asking for financial support for the event on his revival.com website, Howard-Browne asked people to “invest in the Great Awakening” that he believes he has been ordained by God to lead. Some of those who spoke alongside him included Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Senate Chaplain Barry Black, Retired Colonel Oliver North, Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin, author/columnist Dr. Ben Carson, and best-selling author Jonathan Cahn (author of The Harbinger).
Because Browne has placed himself at the forefront of the present-day push for revival in the church, we feel it important to revisit the concerns expressed by Warren B. Smith back in 1994.
Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?
I watched the video again. It was titled Signs and Wonders Camp Meeting 1994.1 Pastors of huge charismatic churches were stumbling around the church stage “drunk” with “holy” laughter. Wanting to testify to the fact that “holy” laughter had transformed their ministries and their lives, many of them were unable to speak when called on to do so. But their “drunken” condition became their testimony. Their halting speech was seen as “proof” of the “power of the spirit” that had come over them. The congregation roared in approval as pastor after pastor laughed uncontrollably then fell to the floor. Standing alongside the “drunken” pastors was evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, the self described “Holy Ghost bartender” who was serving up this “new wine” of “holy” laughter. Many Christians believed that Howard-Browne was God’s appointed channel for imparting joy and revival to the end-times church. Other Christians came to see Howard-Browne as a false prophet who has inflicted great damage to the body of Christ.
Early last spring we received a fax from someone expressing concern about a new phenomenon called “holy” laughter. He said that a San Francisco Bay Area Vineyard Church was experiencing what was being described as “revival” and that the manifestation of “holy” laughter was being cited as one of the signs of this “revival.” Church members and visitors were reportedly breaking into fits of spontaneous and uncontrollable laughter during their nightly services.
Later when I visited the San Francisco Vineyard and talked with several members of the congregation, I was told how hundreds of people were getting “hit” with “revival”—how some people were getting so “soaked in the spirit” they would lose consciousness for up to several hours after falling to the ground with “holy” laughter. The Vineyard members described “holy” laughter unqualifiedly as “awesome” and definitely “the work of the Lord.”
I learned that their Vineyard pastors had recently flown to a Vineyard church in Toronto where God had reportedly “touched down” and where “revival” had “broken out.” The San Francisco pastors participating in the Toronto “revival” had then “brought it back” to San Francisco. It seemed that one of the characteristics of “holy” laughter is that it can be easily transferred from one person to another through the laying on of hands. Thus, the Toronto “revival” had now “spread” to San Francisco. Nightly meetings were being held at the San Francisco Vineyard to accommodate the streams of people wanting to get “touched” by this “move of God.”
Within weeks of my visit to Vineyard, I happened to catch a program on “holy” laughter on a local Christian TV station. The panel of guests was enthusiastically discussing “holy” laughter and endorsing it unquestioningly as a latter days “outpouring” of God’s Holy Spirit. Comparing “holy” laughter to the “work” of the Spirit at Pentecost, they were convinced that “holy” laughter was completely authentic. They equated “holy” laughter with the biblical notion of joy. As far as they were concerned, “holy” laughter was the “joy of the Lord.” Scriptural references to joy were cited; testimonies were given; songs were sung; and by the end of the program, I felt like I had just watched a one-hour infomercial on “holy” laughter.
Then, several weeks later, there was a program about “holy” laughter on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. While preacher Rodney Howard-Browne was giving what appeared to be a serious message, people in the audience were laughing wildly for no apparent reason. But Howard-Browne seemed oblivious to the disruption and kept on preaching. Then when the laughter was at its height, he began incorporating all that was happening into his sermon. He said that the “holy” laughter they were experiencing was a last days expression of God’s “Holy Spirit.” He also compared the “Spirit” that was manifesting to the Spirit at Pentecost. He reminded his audience how those gathered in the upper room had been viewed by others as being “drunk” on alcohol when in fact they were “drunk” in the Spirit.
Howard-Browne’s audience continued to laugh hilariously as he spoke of a present-day “revival” and how “holy” laughter was ushering in this “revival.” At the end of the service, Howard-Browne shuffled around the huge assembly hall, now breaking into long fits of laughter himself. As he walked around, talking and laughing and speaking in tongues, he began to lay hands on people. After he said “be filled” and repeated the phrase “from the top of your head to the tips of your toes,” people fell to the ground in hysterical laughter. As the program ended, the evangelist continued to weave his way amongst the fallen bodies, many of them still convulsed in laughter.
Also during this time, I was sent a copy of a flyer saying that Charles and Frances Hunter, the authors of a new book titled Holy Laughter, were coming to Portland, Maine. The flyer said, “God is filling the church with holy laughter! Come and receive a baptism of joy! You will never be the same! Don’t miss this unforgettable move of the Holy Spirit!” Another book on “holy” laughter titled Fresh Anointing: Another Great Awakening, was also brought to my attention at this time. In it, author Mona Johnian describes the “holy” laughter “revival” that erupted in her Boston church after she and her husband attended a meeting led by Rodney Howard-Browne.
In the midst of this same two-month period, there was yet another program on “holy” laughter. I was watching a locally televised church service, and the guest preacher was Richard Roberts, the president of Oral Roberts University and son of Oral Roberts. His whole sermon was on “holy” laughter and how it had changed his life and ministry. He described how “revival” had come to Oral Roberts University. Roberts explained how he had canceled classes for two days so that his four thousand students could personally experience the “joy of the Lord” and receive the “gift” of “holy” laughter. I was not surprised to learn that the “revival” Roberts was describing had come through the person of Rodney Howard-Browne.
And then to round out my summer crash course on the subject of “holy” laughter, the August issue of Charisma magazine had Rodney Howard-Browne on its cover. He was clearly the man of the hour. The cover story on this by now wildly popular “Holy Ghost bartender” was titled “Praise the Lord and Pass the New Wine.” The article was yet one more endorsement of Howard-Browne and “holy” laughter. And what I was starting to realize was that all of the “holy” laughter I had recently encountered—the TV programs, the books, the various “anointings, and “revivals” could all be traced back to him: Toronto Vineyard, San Francisco Vineyard, the Hunters, Mona Johnian, Richard Roberts, and all the rest. The Charisma article described Rodney Howard-Browne as the “spiritual conduit” for “holy” laughter. But I wanted to know how Rodney Howard-Browne got his “anointing?”
The Charisma article stated that in South Africa, in the summer of 1979, Howard-Browne “spent hours praying for a deeper experience with God.” In the midst of his prayers, he is quoted as having told God, “Either you come down here and touch me, or I will come up there and touch you.” Charisma said that suddenly in the midst of that prayer Howard-Browne’s “whole body felt like it was on fire. He began to laugh uncontrollably. Then he wept and began to speak in tongues.” In Howard-Browne’s book The Touch of God, Charisma quotes him as saying, “I was plugged into heaven’s electric supply, and since then my desire has been to go and plug other people in.”
And certainly one of the most outstanding characteristics of Howard-Browne’s “anointing” and the whole “laughing revival” is that it is so immediately transferable from person to person. Those “anointed” by Howard-Browne can now “anoint” others. And that is what’s happening. The “Spirit” that visited Howard-Browne has exponentially multiplied as it has been passed on from person to person around the world. A video advertised in that same August issue of Charisma documents the spread of Howard-Browne’s “holy” laughter. It is titled The Laugh that was Heard ‘round the World (see a video example below).
The “holy” laughter “revival” started by Howard-Browne is spreading like wildfire around the world. A recent conference sponsored by Toronto Vineyard drew 2300 pastors from countries as far away as Cambodia. They had all come to observe the “laughing revival” that was now being called “The Toronto Blessing.” Even skeptical pastors were getting “hit” with the “Spirit” and then taking that “Spirit” back to their churches and towns.
Howard-Browne’s “laughing revival” has now officially moved into the Christian mainstream with a recent endorsement from Pat Robertson on his popular 700 Club. On October 27, 1994, Robertson said this about holy laughter:
[W]hat this says to me is revival is taking place in the world in a mass wave . . . and we look to the coming of the Lord. I think this is a very encouraging sign in the middle of all this trouble and all these wars and all this confusion. God is saying I’m on the throne and I’m going to touch multiplied millions. It’s wonderful. I applaud it.
But what does the Bible say about laughter?
Last summer, after watching Rodney Howard-Browne on TBN, I consulted my concordance to see if there was any biblical precedent for “holy” laughter. Surprisingly, I found only 40 references to laughter in the Bible; 34 of them were in the Old Testament, while only six were in the New Testament. Of those 40 references, 22 of them referred to scornful laughter, as in Nehemiah 2:19 when Nehemiah said, “they laughed us to scorn.” Of the 18 remaining references to laughter, seven of them referred exclusively to Abraham and Sarah’s initial disbelief and ultimate astonishment that God would give them a child in their old age. Barely into my study on laughter, I was already down to my last 11 references.
In Job 8:21, Bildad, one of Job’s false comforters, wrongly advised Job that if he were in right standing with God he would be prosperous and full of laughter. The Psalmist in Psalm 126:2 recorded that when the captivity of Zion was over, “then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing.” Proverbs 29:9 says, “if a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.”
With only eight remaining references, I had seen nothing in the Bible up to this point that suggested anything even resembling “holy” laughter. In Ecclesiastes 2:2, Solomon says, “I said of laughter, it is mad.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 7:3-4 says, “sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Ecclesiastes 7:6 says, “for as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of a fool: this also is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 10:19 says that “a feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry.”
Interestingly the Bible’s last three references to laughter—the only three references to authentic laughter in the New Testament—warn against laughter. These three references actually seemed to underline Solomon’s contention in Ecclesiastes that “sorrow is better that laughter” and that now is a time to weep and not to laugh. In Luke 6:21, Jesus says, “blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” In Luke 6:25, Jesus says, “woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.” James 4:9 tells us not to laugh but to “be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.”
I had searched the Scriptures to find any biblical precedent for “holy” laughter, and there was none. To my amazement, I had discovered surprisingly few references in the Bible to any kind of laughter. Did this mean that God doesn’t have a sense of humor or that people in the Bible never laughed? No. It just meant that laughter apparently was not something God chose to emphasize very much. And certainly Jesus’ last words on laughter—”woe unto you who laugh now!”—were not ones that would seem to give any encouragement to a “laughing revival.”
The Lord says, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18).
14 Concerns About “Holy” Laughter and the “Laughing Revival”
(1) There is no biblical precedent for “holy” laughter.
Laughter is rarely mentioned in the Bible. Yet, when it is, the Bible seems to make more of a case for holy sorrow than for “holy” laughter. Scripture supports Solomon’s contention that “sorrow is better than laughter.” It does not support the present “laughing revival.”
(2) Substituting the word joy for laughter is a non sequitur. It is inaccurate and misleading.
There is no scriptural authority for equating biblical references to joy with the involuntary manifestations of “holy” laughter. Just because there are insufficient Bible texts to make the case for “holy” laughter, it does not follow that you can simply redefine the word laughter by substituting the word joy.
(3) “Holy” laughter advocates rarely, if ever, discuss the need to test the spirits.
The Bible warns us that not every supernatural manifestation is necessarily from God. 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Charles and Francis Hunter write in their book Holy Laughter, “Once you begin to walk in the supernatural you really have to be ready for anything and everything and never question the way God does it!”
(4) “Holy” laughter advocates rarely, if ever, talk about the Spirit’s express warning that in the latter times some people will be supernaturally seduced by deceptive evil spirits into following them and not the one true God.
1 Timothy 4:1 warns, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
(5) “Holy” laughter advocates rarely, if ever, talk about the Bible’s warnings of false prophets who come in the name of Jesus but bring with them “another spirit.”
2 Corinthians 11:4 says, “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
(6) Many laughter advocates condescendingly discourage and even openly intimidate sincere Christians who question the “laughing revival.”
According to the August 1994 Charisma article, Rodney Howard-Browne “disparages” people who “try to apply theological tests” to what he does. The Hunters’ book Holy Laughter refers to skeptics as God’s “frozen chosen.” Mona Johnian writes, “skeptics, hesitators and procrastinators do not get anointed.” She warns that “any person or church that wavered could be eliminated.”
(7) Rodney Howard-Browne’s prayer to God just prior to his “anointing” (“either You come down here and touch me or I’ll come up there and touch You”) is unscriptural.
Howard-Browne’s prayer was, in essence, “my will be done.” It was not “thy will be done” as taught by Jesus in Scripture. Why should we automatically assume it was God who answered his prayer?
(8) “Holy” laughter advocates, in talking about “signs and wonders,” rarely, if ever, mention the Bible’s many warnings about deceptive signs and wonders.
In Matthew 16:4 Jesus warns, “a wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.” In Matthew 24:24, Jesus says, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” In 2 Thessalonians 2:9, the apostle Paul warns of the coming Antichrist, “even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”
(9) “Holy” laughter advocates seem to lay hands on almost everybody. The Bible specifically warns against this.
The eighth chapter of Acts describes how the disciples would not lay hands on Simon, a baptized believer, even though he desperately wanted the gift of the Holy Ghost, because his heart was “not right in the sight of God.” 1 Timothy 5:22 warns us to “lay hands suddenly on no man.” Yet “holy” laughter is passed on from person to person without so much as a second thought.
(10) “Holy” laughter advocates blatantly disregard the biblical admonition that things be done decently and in order.
1 Corinthians 14:40 says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Mona Johnian in her book Fresh Anointing says, “decently and in order! We must do things decently and in order. The Bible itself commands it, cry those who are frightened by that which is beyond traditional order.”3 She advises her readers to “break with tradition.”4
(11) The chaos and confusion that usually characterizes the “laughing revival” contradicts the Bible’s description of the Person of God.
1 Corinthians 14:33 states, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
(12) Laughter advocates rarely if ever, discuss the well-documented demonic deceptions that have manifested in past revivals.
To combat the deception that arose during the Welsh revival at the turn of this century, authors Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts wrote War on the Saints: a disclosure of the deceptive strategies used by evil spirits against God’s people. Both were very involved with the revival and were extremely concerned about the demonic manifestations that began to dominate their meetings. The foreword to War on the Saints warns of “the grave dangers that beset the path of uninformed enthusiasm.”
(13) A number of Christians have experienced the equivalent of “holy” laughter when they were in the New Age.
Indian Guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was affectionately known by his followers as the “divine drunkard” because he was reputed to have drunk so deeply from the well of the “Divine.” As a former follower of Rajneesh, I met hundreds of Sannyasins who had flown to India “to drink” from “Bhagwan’s wine.” When followers were physically touched by Rajneesh, or even if they were merely in his presence, they would often experience feelings of great exhilaration and joy. Disciples of Swami Baba Muktananda would often manifest uncontrollable laughter after receiving Shaktipat (physical contact) from the guru.
(14) The “laughing revival” could one day merge with what the New Age calls the coming day of “Planetary Pentecost.”
Barbara Marx Hubbard (revered New Age leader and a 1984 Democratic nominee for the Vice Presidency of the United States) writes in her book, Teachings from the Inner Christ, how the human race will soon experience a day of “Planetary Pentecost.” Hubbard, claiming to be in contact with “Christ,” writes, “the Planetary Smile is another name for the Planetary Pentecost. When enough of us share a common thought of our oneness with God, Spirit will be poured out on all flesh paying attention.”5 In her book The Revelation, Hubbard says that “Christ” (in describing the Planetary Smile) said,
An uncontrollable joy will ripple through the thinking layer of the Earth. The co-creative systems, which are lying psychologically dormant in humanity will be activated. From within, all sensitive persons will feel the joy of the force, flooding their systems with love and attraction . . . as this joy flashes through the nervous systems of the most sensitive peoples on Earth, it will create a psycho magnetic field of empathy, which will align the next wave of people in synchrony, everywhere on Earth. This massive, sudden empathic alignment will cause a shift in the consciousness of Earth. 6
Writing in Happy Birth Day Planet Earth, Hubbard repeats what she heard from “Christ.” He said:
As the planetary smile ripples through the nervous systems of Earth, and the instant of co-operation begins, and empathy floods the feelings of the whole body of Earth, separation is overcome, and I appear to all of you at once.7
The controversy over “holy” laughter is splitting congregations and causing deep divisions in the body of Christ. And while many people have already taken sides, there are many more who are still trying to figure out just what is going on. Is this really a move of God, or is this the kind of deception the Bible warns about in Matthew 24, 1 Timothy 4:1, and in the second chapter of Thessalonians?
Unity is indeed the heartfelt desire of every sincere Christian (Psalm 133:1). But the Bible warns of massive deception that will come at the end and in Christ’s name. Before the Church—in the name of unity—free falls into a worldwide “laughing revival,” we had better be sure what it is we are uniting with.
In reflecting on “holy” laughter during these very troubled times, I recalled a music special I had seen on television a number of years ago. In the midst of an otherwise polite Hollywood type crowd, a male vocalist sang straight faced and sober into the teeth of their celebration. His words were electric and piercing, and they seemed to hang in the air. He sang, “You’re laughing now, but you should be praying. You’re in the midnight hour of your life.”
Some Examples of “Holy” Laughter in Other Religions
1) Kundalini Energy is typically described as a powerful energy source lying dormant in the form of a coiled serpent at the base of the human spine. When freed, it reputedly has the capacity to effect great physical healings. Christina and Stanislov Grof, New Age authors of the book The Stormy Search for the Self, describe how the awakening of Kundalini energy can be triggered by an advanced spiritual teacher or guru. And how the awakening can bring up memories of past psychological traumas. The Grofs state that:
Individuals involved in this process might find it difficult to control their behavior; during power rushes of Kundalini energy, they often emit various involuntary sounds, and their bodies move in strange and unexpected patterns. Among the most common manifestations . . . are unmotivated and unnatural laughter or crying, talking tongues . . . and imitating a variety of animal sounds and movements.8
The Grofs also state that “careful study of the manifestations of Kundalini awakening confirm that this process, although sometimes very intense and shattering, is essentially healing.
A. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the former Oregon guru, tells one of his followers in his book Dance Your Way To God:
Just be joyful . . . God is not serious . . . this world cannot fit with a theological God . . . so let this be your constant reminder—that you have to dance your way to God, to laugh your way to God.9
Often referred to as being “drunk on the divine,” Rajneesh encouraged his followers to come and “drink” from him. Bhagwan’s spiritual “wine” was often passed along with a single touch to the head. Many of his Sannyasins would fall to the floor in ecstasy after their encounters with Rajneesh.
B. Ramakrishna, an Indian saint, “daily went into ‘samahdi,’ a trance in which one involuntarily falls down unconscious and enters a rapturous state of super-conscious bliss (ananda), complete with beautiful visions and often involving astral projection. These states could last anywhere from a few minutes to several days and were often accompanied by uncontrollable laughter or weeping. He could send others into this state with a single touch to the head or chest.”10
C. Swami Baba Muktananda would transfer what was called “guru’s grace” to his followers through Shaktipat (physical touch). This “grace” triggered the gradual awakening of the Kundalini, which in turn produced various physical and emotional manifestations. Manifestations included uncontrollable laughing, roaring, barking, hissing, crying, shaking, etc. Some devotees became mute or unconscious. Many felt themselves being infused with feelings of great joy and peace and love. At other times, the “fire” of Kundalini was so overwhelming they would find themselves involuntarily hyperventilating to cool themselves down.11
2) African Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari—The Grofs, in their book The Stormy Search for the Self, also cite an interesting parallel between the Kundalini awakening and the trance dance of the African Kung bushmen. During rituals, the bushmen “enter a profound altered state of consciousness associated with the release of powerful emotions such as anger, anxiety, and fear. They are often unable to maintain an upright position and are overcome by violent shaking. Following these dramatic experiences, they typically enter a state of ecstatic rapture. According to the bushmen tradition, the dance releases from the base of the spine a cosmic healing force called ntum or ‘medicine.’ This is then passed by direct physical contact from one person to another.”12
3) Qigong (ancient Chinese practice)—Yan Xin, a Chinese Qigong master known to most of the over one billion people in China, gave a talk in San Francisco in 1991. Seventeen hundred devotees, most of them Chinese, showed up at the Masonic Auditorium to listen to Yan. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that “minutes into his talk, several began experiencing what Yan Xin calls spontaneous movements.” The Chronicle reporter said that “before long, the scene resembled a Pentecostal prayer meeting with many people waving their arms and making unintelligible sounds.” Yan told his audience, “Those who are sensitive might start having some strong physical sensations—or start laughing or crying. Don’t worry. This is quite normal.” The article said that “since 1985, when a Qigong revival started sweeping China, 50 to 60 million Chinese have gone to see Yan.”13
4) Subud—According to The Encyclopedia of American Religions, the central element of the Subud faith is the practice of “latihan.” Latihan is the way one surrenders to the power of God. It is a group process. The Encyclopedia says:
The latihan proper is a time of moving the consciousness beyond mind and desire and allowing the power to enter and do its work . . . often accompanying the spontaneous period are various body movements and vocal manifestations—cries, moans, laughter and singing. These occur in the voluntary surrender of the self to the power. During this time, people report sensations of love and freedom and often, healings. All reach a higher level of consciousness.14
To order copies of FALSE REVIVAL COMING?—Part 1: Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?,” click here
- You can watch this video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jduW9apCP1c.
- Charles and Frances Hunter, Holy Laughter, p. 65.
- Mona Johnian, Fresh Anointing, p. 35
- Ibid., p. 45.
- Barbara Marx Hubbard, Teachings from the Inner Christ, p. 79.
- Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation, pp. 234-235.
- Barbara Marx Hubbard, Happy Birth Day Planet Earth, pp. 10-11.
To order copies of FALSE REVIVAL COMING?—Part 1: Holy Laughter or Strong Delusion?,” click here
See Kevin Reeves book The Other Side of the River.
A Special Report by Understand the Times and Lighthouse Trails
As America is quickly approaching another presidential election year, some interesting things are taking place within evangelical/Protestant Christianity that are connected to next year’s election. Dominionist/Kingdom Now political and religious figures are joining forces with evangelical Christian groups. While having concern for the state of America is more than legitimate, will Christians replace commitment and loyalty to the Gospel for commitment and loyalty to a dominionist agenda? If they do, they will learn the hard way that compromise and a “whatever it takes” attitude will do more harm to the cause of Jesus Christ than good.
This article is not a statement that Christians should not be involved in or concerned about the political state of their countries. Rather, the intention of this article is to exhort believers to use discernment in understanding the times in which we live. It is to show how a present ecumenical, dominionist movement (that is heading toward a one-world religion to “establish the kingdom of God on earth”) is operating and deceiving many Christians. As Christians, we are to be witnesses for Jesus Christ and His Gospel message of salvation to those who believe on Him by faith. But today, many Christians may be on the brink of buying into a plan that will ultimately create a global religion and global government.
The apostle Paul was very clear that we are not to entangle ourselves with those who say they are of the faith but preach “another gospel” (Romans 16:17, Titus 3:10, 2 Corinthians 11: 13-15).
The definition below of dominionism is helpful in understanding the goals of the dominionist movement:
The Gospel of Salvation [according to dominionism] is achieved by setting up the “Kingdom of God” as a literal and physical kingdom to be “advanced” on Earth in the present age. Some dominionists liken the New Testament Kingdom to the Old Testament Israel in ways that justify taking up the sword, or other methods of punitive judgment, to war against enemies of their kingdom. Dominionists teach that men can be coerced or compelled to enter the kingdom. They assign to the Church duties and rights that belong Scripturally only to Jesus Christ.1
Dominionism shares some of the same ideologies as the emerging church, the primary similarity being the belief that a utopian “kingdom of God” will be set up on earth prior to the return of Jesus Christ, and in fact there won’t actually be a bodily physical return of Christ; but rather His presence will become more manifest within us the more the kingdom of God on earth is created. This is totally contrary to Scripture that tells us that Jesus Christ will return physically (where every eye shall see Him), and it will be to a world that has become completely chaotic and reprobate, not utopian and godly.
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. (Revelation 1:7)
With that in mind, it is vital to know that a number of dominionist groups are rallying the support of conservative Christians under the guise of “restoring America” back to its “Christian roots.” A look at a couple of these groups is important.
The Seven Mountains of Culture
The Seven Mountains of Culture was founded by Os Hillman who is the founder and executive director of Marketplace Leaders Ministries. Hillman teaches a workshop called The Change Agent Intensive Workshop and has been featured on many major media programs.
The best way to describe The Seven Mountains of Culture is through the following promotional video clip:
An article titled “7 Mountains – Set to Go Viral” by Discernment Ministries examines the goals of this dominionist agenda, expressing “concern that this radical mandate for dominionism, and the leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) which birthed it, are becoming part of the political Right and evangelical mainstream.” The article states that the “7 mountains mandate is already becoming a unifying rally point among evangelicals from many diverse theological camps and from some very unexpected quarters.”
The Dominionist/Reclaiming our Culture mind-set is a dangerous path that leads, not to biblical truth, but rather to an ecumenical, Road to Rome, “Army for God” that will attempt to force culture to be “Christian” (something Jesus Christ or the disciples never mandated) and will end up leading all down that Road to Rome and eventually into a one-world religion and one-world government.
The Discernment Ministries article assesses:
Not only does the Kingdom of God have a different King to the kingdoms of the world, but it has different citizens, has a different future and it operates by different principles. One of the principles that makes God’s Kingdom radically different to that of the world is the lust for power as opposed to the willingness to serve.
“Jesus said: ‘Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.’” (Matthew 20:25-28).2
This is not to say that Christians should not try to be a light and the “salt” in a fallen culture (Matthew 5:13). But there is a difference between what Scripture instructs us to do and what the 7 Mountains movers teach; they believe they are “building an actual PHYSICAL kingdom here on earth — structurally through man’s mechanisms. This is the 7 mountains that they want to take over. They believe they can take them over by political, scientific, and psycho-social means.” And like the New Agers, they also want to build the spiritual kingdom within, “which they believe they can perfect themselves here on earth via mysticism” thus “they will begin to ‘manifest’ Christ — become the sons of God.”3
Lou Engle’s The Call is another dominionist group that is tied in with the 7 Mountain agenda. In a 2008 Lighthouse Trails article, we linked to the advisory board of The Call. The link has been removed from their site but this cache file shows the members at that time. Some of them are contemplative advocate Ron Luce (Teen Mania), Loren Cunningham (founder of YWAM, featured on the 7 Mountain video above), Steve Douglas of Campus Crusade for Christ (which just removed the name Crusade and Christ from their name), Rick Joyner, and C. Peter Wagner – dominionist figures who want to bring the kingdom of God to earth before Christ returns. The following video is from a large youth rally put on by The Call. You will see Lou Engle and Rick Joyner watching thousands of young people jumping up and down to the repetitive beat of drums and hundreds of Shofars being blown.
A Civil War?
In a radio transcript titled “Blues and Grays,” Understand the Times states:
Christianity is about to be purified through a civil war, they say. Is this behavior indicative of a revival as some claim? Or is this exactly what occurred in the past when “enlightened Christians” became the “manifested sons of God”?
[In] an article written by Rick Joyner called the Coming Civil War in the Church. . . . Joyner states he believes a civil war will soon be breaking out within the church. He states: “There is a huge portion of the church which is being held bondage to the same religious spirit that manifested itself to the Pharisees, and it will attack any new movement that arises in the church. The more anointed the new movement is, the more these traditionalists will be threatened by it, and the more vehemently they will attack it.”
Joyner’s solution for removing the people who oppose this “anointed new move” sounds rather militant. Listen to what he says:
“The longer we continue to compromise with such institutions which use manipulation or control for the sake of unity or for any reason the more it will ultimately cost us to remove the cancer from our midst.”
Joyner then went on to describe how the conflict in the church will develop:
“The coming spiritual civil war will be between the Blue’s and the Gray’s. In dreams and visions blue often represents heavenly-mindedness, and gray speaks of those who live by the power of their own minds – which is equivalent to the brain’s gray matter. This will be a conflict between those who may be genuine Christians, but who live mostly according to their natural minds and human wisdom, and those who follow the Holy Spirit.” 4
Jerry Boykin and Rick Joyner
A name that is showing up a lot on the speaking schedules of evangelical gatherings is that of General Jerry Boykin (once a Delta Force member and one time head of the Green Berets). Boykin is a high officer in the “Knights of Malta,* an ecumenical (Orthodox, Evangelical, Catholic and Protestant) order. Boykin holds the title of Grand Chancellor in the Order. According to the Knights of Malta website, the order is sanctioned and “blessed” by the Vatican (see 1 and 2document). In document 1, Pope Benedict XVI “invokes . . . the continued protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Each “Knight,” including Boykin (and Rick Joyner who is a “Supreme Council Member” of the Order), is required to take a vow. In this vow, the Knight pledges himself to “be guided by the ideas of the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem (started in 1090 and is the predecessor of the Knights of Malta).
Many people may not realize what the term ecumenical actually means, at least to the Catholic church, which describes ecumenism as the absorption of all Christian groups that have “broken away” from the Mother Church back to it.5
Jerry Boykin has spoken at numerous dominionist events such as the 7 Mountains conferences (see May 2010) and a New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) event called Transformation Michigan. In addition, Boykin is on the board of Rick Joyner’s organization called The Oak Initiative. (Joyner is the President; other board members include dominionists Cindy Jacobs and Lance Wallnau).
In Kevin Reeves book, The Other Side of the River, Reeves discusses Rick Joyner. Reeves, a former elder of a Latter Rain/dominionist church, states:
Joyner’s blatant Latter Rain beliefs were assimilated into our congregation on the wings of the mythical end-times revival which would supposedly sweep millions into the kingdom. A super-spiritual elite group of prophets and apostles will be raised up, Joyner states, and will transform the world of these last days, doing greater miracles than even the apostles who walked with our Lord. Whole nations will tremble at the mention of their names.
Interesting. Sounds a lot easier to deal with than Jesus’ prophecy that “[Y]e shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9).6
In Final Quest, Joyner says he hears from a dead saint (one of the foolish virgins mentioned in Scripture), who has told him the things that are to come. According to researcher and writer Sarah Leslie, “Rick Joyner was one of the ‘Kansas City Prophets’ who now wields considerable influence through his ‘prophecies’ about a coming militant church.”7 Joyner states:
We are coming to the times when passive Christianity and passive Christians will cease to exist. There is a maturity, a discipline, and a divine militancy coming upon the people of God. Those who have succumbed to humanistic and idealistic theologies may have a hard time with this, but we must understand that God is a military God. The title that He uses ten times more than any other in Scripture is “the Lord of hosts,” or “Lord of armies.” There is a martial aspect to His character that we must understand and embrace for the times and the job to which we are now coming.8
We know that the Lord will return with a cloud of witnesses to bring down judgment on the earth, but we don’t believe Rick Joyner or the self-proclaimed apostles and prophets will be leading the way.
Jerry Boykin and Calvary Chapel
It is non-debatable that Jerry Boykin resonates with Rick Joyner – they are in the same Knights of Malta order and work together in The Oak Initiative. Thus, it is troubling to learn that Boykin has been speaking at numerous different Calvary Chapels and sharing platforms at conferences with Chuck Smith and other Calvary Chapel pastors over the last few years (e.g., the 2009 Epicenter conference and Epicenter 2008 with Smith, Boykin, and Joel Rosenberg; Greg Laurie’s Preach the Word Prophecy Conference in 2010, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in 2009, and Calvary Chapel Chino Hills Prophecy Conference in March 2011). Boykin will also be speaking at the Calvary Chapel Honolulu Pastors’ Conference in August 2011, and his materials are sold in the Calvary Chapel store, listed as one of four “Other Authors.”
So here we have a man who is part of an order sanctioned by the papacy (the certificate from the Vatican is on the Knights of Malta website) and part of a dominionist group, speaking to Calvary Chapel groups. Is Calvary Chapel going to be one of those evangelical/Protestant groups that will exchange the solidity of the Gospel for a “whatever it takes” attitude for political purposes and other purposes? Do they not see the error in this? Incidentally, other denominations and Christian groups are doing the same thing. Check out the denomination you belong to – you may be surprised.
Presidential Candidate Rick Perry and His Dominionist Partners
On August 6th, 2011, Texas Governor Rick Perry took part in a rally called The Response. Perry, who announced his bid as a presidential candidate on August 13, 2011, partnered with some interesting figures at The Response, including C. Peter Wagner, Mike Bickle, and Cindy Jacobs, each of whom is in the dominionist camp. Perry also participated in a 2010 rally called Freedom Foundation Summit with Rick Joyner, Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, and Lance Wallnau (an “Apostle” promoting the 7 Mountains teaching). If Perry does not share the dominionist persuasion as these others do, should he not distance himself from them rather than mingle with them? Many proclaiming Christians in America are desperate for a godly leader and may follow Perry merely out of that desperation. But if he is truly tied in with Wagner, Joyner, Bickle, and Jacobs, then maybe these desperate Christians should think twice about which candidate they are going to rally behind.
Will the Christian Church Sell Out?
During the years just prior to the last presidential election, an all out effort was made by leaders in the emerging church to help get elected a liberal, far left president. Many of these leaders, such as Rick Warren, said things that made many conservative Christians feel guilty for voting on moral issues such as abortion and homosexuality. Books by emerging “progressive” authors suggested that Christians shouldn’t even become involved in politics (e.g. Shane Claiborne’s book, Jesus for President). And while the older conservatives were being manipulated not to vote, young Christians were being persuaded to vote differently than their “old fashioned parents,” to vote for social justice regardless of biblical standards or lack of them. And, well, no need to say what these emerging efforts did to America.
No single political party can save the world. The Bible says that the closer we draw to the second coming of Christ, the worse the state of the world will be in. Rather than “evolving” into perfection, mankind is disintegrating.9 It’s because of man’s sin and a world that has for the most part rejected the Savior of the world. Revelation 12:9 states that the day will come when Satan will “deceiveth the whole world.” Yet just as Jesus gave the coin to pay the tax to Caesar, so too we as Christians can be responsibly active in our world. But foremost, let us remember that the Bible says we cannot serve both God and man at the same time (Matthew 6:24).The true calling of born again believers is to preach the Gospel, make disciples, and contend for the faith. And we must never compromise by embracing dominionist agendas and interspiritual Peace Plans and joining forces with those whose goals and ambitions are contrary to the Christian commission given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We must ask ourselves, is a militant dominionist agenda what we really want to embrace and support? Is it what we want to serve?
In a powerful radio interview, Ingrid Schlueter addressed this dominionist agenda. She stated:
We have a group of leaders who are horrified with the moral collapse in this country. I am horrified with the cultural collapse in this country. We have a problem in identifying and discerning why our culture is collapsing. What we are seeing around us is not fruit of Christians not caring. It’s fruit of Christians abandoning the gospel. And if we’re not going to define the gospel along biblical terms, and we’re going to allow false teachers in among us, and we’re going to link arms with said false teachers, and we’re going to work with them who are preaching another gospel, who are teaching lies, if we’re going to link arms with them to save the culture, we are not only engaged in a futile effort, but God is going to, in turn, judge that conduct. Because judgment, Scripture tells us, begins at the house of God.10
A Herescope article on this issue states:
The sad fact is that great opportunities to present the message of the gospel of salvation are being lost. Precious time is being wasted . . . Those who truly need to hear a message of repentance, salvation and hope aren’t being witnessed to. Discipleship isn’t happening. . . . It is a false gospel that preaches that the culture/nation can be changed rather than focusing on the lost who will perish in hell if they do not repent. . . . And when the lost are truly saved and born again, their lives will change and this is when the miracles begin to happen and when the culture around them begins to be positively impacted by the salt and light of their changed lives.11
Understand The Times and Lighthouse Trails are dedicated to warning the sheep about last days spiritual deception. While it is difficult to have to sound this warning at a time when many are concerned about the state of their countries and the world at large, Jesus made it very clear about how we are to view the world, behave in the world, and reach out to the unsaved. He never told his disciples to form associations with those promoting spiritual deception in order to establish a kingdom on earth. On the contrary, Jesus said:
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (John 15:18-19)
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. (2 Corinthians 6:17)
My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36)
- “Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism” by Sarah Leslie: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/05/sarah-leslie/dominionism.htm
- “Seven Mountains Set to Go Viral by Discernment Ministries”: http://herescope.blogspot.com/2010/06/seven-mountains.html
- Sarah Leslie, Discernment Ministries in an e-mail conversation on 8/15/2011 with Lighthouse Trails.
- “Blues and Grays” by Roger Oakland: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/radio%201299%20BLUES%20AND%20GRAYS.doc
- Kevin Reeves, The Other Side of the River, (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2007), p. 99.
- “TAKING THE LAND—“We Are Establishing Our Eternal Place And Position Here On Earth” by Rick Joyner, 11/29/05, http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=3617
- Please watch Roger Oakland’s powerful DVD lecture series on evolution vs creation. It shows the connection between evolution and the current spiritual deception in the world today: Searching for the Truth on Origins.
- VCY America interview between Ingrid Schlueter and Sarah Leslie: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=4590
- “May Day Prayers: What Repentance?” by Herescope: http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/010/discernment/5-may-day.htm