I thought it would be good to remind ourselves of the rise and impact of the false revival, from its beginning in Toronto in 1993/4. Here I present a video from a man who was personally involved right from the start, Andrew Strom.
He describes how he, as a ‘Charismatic’, came under intense pressure to conform, when in his heart he knew this was, as he says “an alien spirit” taking hold of Christians.
The footage here from the early days reminds me of what I saw at that time. Indeed, in the 1990’s I was given a video of Rodney Howard Browne and his “gift of laughter” BEFORE he became famous for the Laughter Revival at the Toronto Airport Church, and was appalled even then at what I saw.
Little did I know how big this thing would become.
Rodney Howard Browne
The man who reportedly kicked off the revival that is today reaching around the globe is called Rodney Howard Browne. (However, I would contend that the seeds were sown much earlier. See my website for details.)
He was born in South Africa but in 1989, the family emigrated to the United States, settling in Louisville, Kentucky, where Rodney soon after founded the Rodney Howard-Browne Evangelistic Association and in 1991, began holding revival meetings.
Howard-Browne is credited with introducing holy laughter to Carpenter’s Home Church in Lakeland, Florida during a series of revival services with Karl Strader in 1993.
He refers to himself as “God’s bartender” and the “holy ghost bartender” and made infamous the call to “belly up to the bar” to get the laughter manifestation.
The Fallout for Christians
Like Andrew Strom and others in 1994 I too came under pressure because I had a little newsletter “Mainstream” covering Christian topics, and what I said was supported before that time by a number of UK ministries, many of whom then fell back and became antagonistic when I would not approve the Toronto Blessing, as it was called at that time.
The Toronto Airport Church
A small church in Toronto was the setting for the outpouring that became known as the Toronto Blessing. John Arnott and Carol Arnott founded the church around 1988.
The church later joined John Wimber’s Vineyard movement and became known as Toronto Airport Vineyard Church [but was later expelled from the Vineyard group.]
It met in various rented locations throughout Toronto until the early 1990s when the church found a more permanent home near the Lester B. Pearson Airport.
In January 1994, Randy Clark, a Vineyard pastor, was invited to preach. John Arnott heard that Clark had attended a conference with Rodney Howard-Browne [see above] and had been greatly impacted by Howard-Browne’s ministry. The revival started during Clark’s two-month visit but continued after he left. [Source]
Here is a testimony from someone who was involved at the time. “The Toronto Deception“
The British Dilemma
As a British charismatic, opposing this movement was a very lonely path to tread.
Charismatics had already been ostracised in the UK churches, to the point that many had left and joined house meetings or small independent groups. When the Toronto Blessing arrived it seemed to conventional denominations to confirm all their worst fears. It was, to them, just another and greater heresy of the same kind. (However, later on many of those same churches joined the movement!)
It was useless to point out that the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit were biblical and valid, and being filled with the Spirit was not only encouraged in the bible but normative for the Church. (Ephesians 5:18 Acts 4:8, 31; 13:4)
Nonetheless, to say so was tantamount to accepting the revival lunacies. You had to be either/or. It became black and white, either you condemned it ALL, or you were counted as “one of them”.
Thus, to have fellow Charismatics speaking out was encouraging.
Andrew Strom was not a name I associated with the Discernment Ministry 20 years ago. I didn’t promote him at the time, in fact I was wary. He has slowly emerged from the wrong teaching and become one of the revival’s strongest critics, more believable because he was formerly amongst them.
So I present his video here, because it is a useful recap of all that has happened, showing some of the worst excesses of the day.
It is called “The Kundalini Invasion“.
For those who want to know, Kundalini is a yogic/spiritual term to describe the rising and release of the coiled snake of energy that is believed to be at the base of the spine. Here is an article about it: http://www.kundaliniguide.com/what-is-kundalini. The manifestations at the Toronto meetings were very similar to those experienced at yogic meetings, as you will see from the footage in this video.