The Charismatic Movement Part 1
An Excerpt From “the Fake Jesus.”
To discern the signs of the times, I believe that we need to comprehend “what went on yesterday, about 100 years ago. So this blogpost is dedicated to sharing a historical perspective and to let you, the reader decide. I myself try all supernatural occurrences from the words of Jesus: A good tree doesn’t bring forth bad fruit and a bad tree doesn’t bring forth good fruit—and also–you shall know them by their fruit.
Remembering the fervor of the early 80’s, the word of faith movement clearly “took off” primarily because of tongues. Everyone was seeking the initial sign of the baptism in the Holy Ghost, as word of faith preachers, pastors and teachers all concurred that tongues was the initial evidence. At times, seeking after uttering a tongue seemed higher in priority than salvation, as the leaders taught that being saved was only a beginning step to being “filled.”
Consequently, those who proclaimed to be “born again” did not settle for conversion alone because being filled with the Holy Spirit meant that “you spoke in tongues.” History was my least favorite subject in high school, probably because what was past didn’t seem important to me. When we are young, we live in the present moment. Many misunderstand that just because being born again involves “old things being passed away,” how will we be able to assess our spiritual growth if we don’t consider “how we used to be?”
Along these same lines, I believe that the truth about tongues can be found in its historic roots, that go back a century or so ago. Prior to the early 20th century, history would suggest that the speaking in tongues actually DID cease for 19 centuries. While the Middle Ages constituted long years of spiritual darkness, the Protestant Reformation exemplified a revelatory outburst of light regarding the doctrines of sin, salvation, justification by faith and holiness. This period marked the interpretation of scripture by some of the finest minds in church history. Even though there were some instances of “the ecstatic” among a group called the Anabaptists, for the most part, the Reformation was silent about the speaking in tongues.
Moreover, within the founding days of America, neither the Pilgrims, the Puritan leaders, nor any other Christian group indulged in speaking in tongues. Times of great emotional conviction were recorded and believers were moved to show their convictions through their fervency of feelings and emotions. Yet, even though thousands were convicted of their sins in frontier revivals, the speaking in tongues found no expression.
Earnest Christians and ministers in this period of history set themselves to rediscover truth. Literary Christian scholars produced excellent essays and formulated insightful scriptural interpretations, yet not one spiritual leader ofthe Reformation period in the USA even intimated that the doctrine of speaking in tongues had any role at all in the spiritual life of that day.
In the third decade of the 19th century, a pastor in London by the name of Edward Irving made a public declaration of healing, prophecies and tongues, including them in his worship services. Upon visiting Irving’s church, contemporary essayists wrote in the London Times, “God was working miracles by hysterics.”
Though Irving was ousted from the Presbyterian Church, he started another,namely,the Catholic Apostolic Church. In various parables, Jesus gave us a simple tool of discernment. He tells us that good trees produce good fruit, bad trees produce bad fruit,and that we “know them by their fruit.” The Lord made it clear that a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. As I continued to study,I found that the precursors of the pentecostal movement which centered itself in the speaking in tongues was filled with “bad fruit.”
Let’s look at the lives and work of each outstanding leader, one at a time. It is interesting to note the sdignificant influence of women in the tongues movement and the establishment of the denomination of pentecostalism.
Mother Ann Lee” the founder of the Shakers, 1736-1784: Mother Lee was the charismatic founder of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as the Shakers. After a difficult early life, she joined a group of Christians in Manchester, England, who had split from the Quaker movement. Their unorthodox views and impassioned convulsions in worship drew ridicule and persecution, along with the nickname “the Shakers.”
While imprisoned, Mother Ann received a revelation that she was the embodiment of the second coming of Christ, in feminine form. Lee claimed that she could also discourse in 72 tongues. Lee settled in Watervliet New York, a town about a 15 minute drive from where I now live.
Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormons,1805-1844: Smith was among the first to advocate for the speaking in tongues. He believed that tongues opens the door to visions and revelations. After all,this is the way that the book of Mormon had come to him. Taken from a chronological history of the Mormon church, I found this:
History of the Church 2:428, 27 March 1836: [at the end of the temple dedication] “President Brigham Young gave a short address in tongues, and David W. Patten interpreted, and gave a short exhortation in tongues himself, after which I [Joseph Smith] blessed the congregation in the name of the Lord, and the assembly dispersed a little past four o’clock, having manifested the most quiet demeanor during the whole exercise…. During the evening of the same day, Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; I beheld the Temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place. This continued until the meeting closed at eleven p. m.”
Bare in mind,readers, what John Smith and the Mormons believe about Jesus Christ of Nazareth: They preach that Jesus is the brother of Satan, an elder brother of all people on this planet. Mormons teach that Jesus was born on an unnamed planet near the star kolob through God the Father having sex with one of his many wives. In short, that the Lord was born on Earth through God manifesting a body and having sex with Mary. They claim that Jesus was married to three women at the same time, and had children. Consider the outrage of teaching that Jesus saved himself by obeying the principals of Mormonism and that the Lord is an example for all good Mormons to follow. John Smith also claimed that Jesus received godhood after he rose from the dead and that He is now one of many gods over his own planet with his many wives making spirit babies and populating that planet.
So consider this. The founder of this doctrine is one of the first Americans toproclaim that he “spoke in tongues.” Assuming that what John Smith wrote in the Mormon history book about the supernatural manifestation that occurred in his gatherings, ask yourself this. Based upon John Smith’s blasphemous doctrine, ask yourself, “was the Holy Spirit and the angels of God the author of that experience on March 27, 1836???????? “
Marie Woodworth Etter, faith healing and evangelist: (1844-1924) is one of the best known Holiness preachers of the pre-Pentecostal era. From around 1885 onwards she began to use the charismatic gifts in her meetings, and was known for healings, trances and visions. Licensed to preach in 1884, Etter was the mega preacher of her day in tent revivals. Her critics called her “the Voodoo Priestess.” She was known for speaking in tongues, along with strange and sundry manifestations that were attributed to the movement of the Holy Ghost. She was was also known for preaching texts out of context, preached regularly for the Mormons, and seemed to be the person who started the phenomena known today as “slain in the spirit.”
Most of the manifestations common in present day meetings like the Toronto Blessing were experienced in the Woodworth-Etter meetings, so much so that some critics of the current movement trace The Tronto blessing back to Etter. Etter was certainly faithful to her calling and it appears that she was honest and sincere. But as I point out in “Faces of the Religious Demon”, I believe that “we are now living in an era when the Lord will turn over those with a religious demon to a reprobate mind. At that moment,the captive’s thoughts will be permanently darkened to the degree that he becomes incapable of receiving the truth. (pg 47) Considering her dedication, I hope that Etter escaped our era.
Charles Parham, founder of pentecostalism, 1873-1929 An extremely controversial figure, I recommend to those who are interested to search with his name and read about him for yourself. There are rumors of homosexuality, racism, ( membership in the Klu Klux Klan) and freemasonry. He was actually arrested for lewdness in a public place, attempting to sollicit sex from men. There are also several allegations and reports concerning his strange doctrinal interpretations. In regards to tongues, in the fall of 1900, after leading his students through a series of Bible studies on repentance, justification by faith, sanctification, and healing, Parham instructed them on Spirit baptism. By the end of December, they were prepared to encounter the day of Pentecost in a new way. After the revival commenced on New Year’s Day, Parham announced that the students had spoken many languages. He himself claimed he had received the capability of preaching in German and Swedish. On January 1, 1901, Agnes Ozman spoke in a tongue that sounded like “Chinese,” though never actually verified. She is renowned as being the first pentecostal person to ever speak in tongues.
The problem with her tongue speaking is that it is claimed that she spoke non stop for 3 days in Chinese, actually unable to speak in English until she was “released” to do so. Others among Parham’s students were alleged to have spoken in a variety of languages including Japanese, Hungarian, Syrian, Hindi, and Spanish. Parham noted that “cloven tongues of fire” appeared over the heads ofthe speakers. Sometimes interpretations followed such as “God is love,” “Jesus is mighty to save,” and “Jesus is ready to hear.” Parham anticipated that he could send out missionaries all over the world who would supernaturally speak in the native tongue of the land, without having studied it. It never happened and Parham was extremely disappointed that his missionary plans were thwarted.
Although Parham was accused of being a racist, he preferred to consider himself a separationist, as exemplified by the fact that he allowed a black man to participate in his bible study classes, sitting in a restricted and separated part of the study hall. That man was William Seymour. William Seymour, a waiter and the Azusa Street leader (1870-1922) went to Los Angeles and taught the Holy Spirit baptism in a warehouse on Azusa Street. On April 4, 1906 a revival began and thousand’s of people came to 312 Azusa to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This revival lasted from 1906-1913, and during this time, thousands of Pentecostal missionaries went forth establishing missions throughout the world.
Seymour’s work at Azusa is regarded among most Pentecostal historians as a genuine move of God in restoring the church to true power and authority. However, it has also been reported that the Azusa Street meetings were filled with spiritualist mediums, hypnotists, and others who had a deep interest in the occult. There are reports of fits,babblings, moral compromise with people falling on top of each other, jerks, twitchings,shakings, ie. mass hysteria. In fact, the spiritual pandemonium of the meetings became more than Seymour could handle, and so he sent for his teacher, Parham to come and help out. When Parham arrived, he was outraged and appalled.
As a result, Parham and Seymour had a rift that was never reconciled. Parham publicly denounced both the revival and Seymour in October 1906 for the emotionalism displayed in the worship at the Azusa Street revival, and for the intermingling of blacks and whites in the services. Seymour had sought Parham to help him control these “ecstatic” excesses. But visiting the mission for the first time and observing what Parham believed to be “manifestations of the flesh,” Parham stood up and declared: “God is sick at His stomach!”
Even so, it is reported that emotionalism played a strong part in Parham’s own worship services. This unfortunate incident and his judgmental nature alienated Parham not only from Seymour, but others as well. It is alleged without substantiation that Seymour “stole Parham’s pentecostal movement” by blackmail as Seymour was privy to Parham’s secret sex life. Shortly, the pentecostal movement had now begun to move well beyond both men. Indeed, Pentecostalism emerged in India in 1906 among holiness believers without ties to Azusa Street.
Evan Roberts and The Wales Revival of 1904-1905; Part of the appeal of this widescale revival lay in Evan Roberts himself, a charismatic and sincere preacher. Although he came from the Welsh Methodist tradition, he wasn’t a theologian, and he never finished his training to be a minister. His message was for all the people of Wales, regardless of denomination, and it was immensly appealing. Meetings would be a mixture of prayer, self examination and singing, and they could last for hours.
The most outstanding aspect of the revival was its impact upon everyday societal life. Crime dropped, saloons closed, in short, the entire community was affected. It is believed that at least 100,000 people became Christians during the 1904-1905 revival, but despite this, the revival did not put a stop to the gradual decline of Christianity in Wales, only holding it back slightly. It has been argued by some Christian historians that the 1904-1905 revival lacked depth in terms of nurturing the newly converted Christians in biblical teaching. Evan Roberts admitted that wildfire erupted “from the very outset.” He reported that the physical, mental, and spiritual wreckage resulting from the baptism in the Holy Ghost was appalling in its effect upon the revival’s leaders and workers, to say nothing of the new converts.
It is reported that “thousands,” and, “nearly all,” were “wrecked.”