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THE COMING GREAT REFORMATION

New Insights into the Coming Worldwide “Shaking”, Reformation and Revival

-by ANDREW STROM.

COPYRIGHT (c) ANDREW STROM, 1996, 2004.
First Published on the World Wide Web by A. Strom in 1996.

PERMISSION IS GRANTED to ‘link’-to, photocopy and pass around this work. However, if you wish
to ‘publish’ it or parts of it, you will need to obtain permission from the author first.
Andrew Strom – email: [email protected]

“THE COMING GREAT REFORMATION”
CONTENTS:

- Introduction (-Important).

- Chapter One. Visions of Reformation and Revival.

- Chapter Two. The Laodicean Church.

- Chapter Three. Religious Extremes – Legalism vs. License.

- Chapter Four. Revival!

- Chapter Five. The Sin of Rebellion.

- Chapter Six. Two Revivals?

- Appendix. Tommy Hicks’ End-Times Vision.

- Bibliography.

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“Learn from me, how difficult a thing it is to throw off errors
confirmed by the example of all the world, and which, through
long habit, have become a second nature to us.”
- MARTIN LUTHER, THE REFORMER.

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INTRODUCTION (IMPORTANT).

About three years ago I entered a period in my Christian walk of some of the deepest dealings of God that I have ever experienced. Along with this deep dealing came an anointing the like of which I had never before known, even when newly baptized in the Holy Spirit some years before. I would often spend whole evenings just basking in the awesome presence of God, tears coursing down my face, as I beheld Him again, in all His majesty and holiness. The one message that kept coming through again and again at this time was a very simple yet profound one: “Revival is coming!” I had been praying – often agonizingly – for Revival for about ten years up to this point, including seven years of the most shattering “wilderness”-type experience. And suddenly, it seemed literally as though the heavens had opened!

Each time I received anew this promise of “Revival” I sensed that it was an imminent – even urgent – message. And it was at about this time too, that God began to bring me across many other Christians who had been through a similar process to my own – praying and prophetic people from all kinds of backgrounds, each with a similar message from God. A number had even been given amazingly specific dreams and visions concerning what was to come. At that time I had very little idea of what had been said by prophetic ministries overseas about Revival coming to New Zealand, but right from the beginning, I was aware that God was showing us that in order to prepare His people for worldwide Revival on a huge scale, massive `change’ and Reformation would first have to be visited upon His church, just as with many great moves of God in the past. If we expect to be involved in the great last-days `harvest’, then surely it is logical that God would have to bring correspondingly huge `Reformation’ upon His church in order to prepare her for such a harvest? This is especially true if the church is in the kind of inward-looking, `Laodicean’ state that we generally see her in today.

I have been studying Reformation and Revival history now for over twelve years, and when I began to realize what God was saying to us here in New Zealand, I began to write and put out a series of small booklets on the subject. These seemed to produce a “snowball” effect, as more and more people read them and got into contact with me from all over the country. Before long I was in touch with literally hundreds of praying groups and individuals from right across New Zealand (population – three and a half million) and almost all of them, it seemed, were being shown the same things.

Some of the aspects that God has spoken about in detail here in NZ are: The great “shaking” and total Reformation of the church that lie ahead, the incredible “street-church” of tomorrow (a new `street-based’ Revival movement, absolutely saturated with the glory of God), the `violent’ new Revival ministries (apostles and prophets, etc), the powerful, piercing “repentance” preaching with tremendous conviction of sin, the healings and miracles, with thousands of young people gathered in the streets, and the glorious new `battle’ and praise music that He is about to raise up, etc. All of these aspects will be discussed fully in this book.

There will be many who will find the implications of what I am about to share quite shocking at times. This is not surprising. Have you ever heard of a “comfortable” Reformation? For those who have a vested interest in the status quo, true Revival and true Reformation have always been the most “uncomfortable” of sub- jects. And yes, many will be shocked by the picture that I paint within these pages. I believe that we are about to witness the greatest upheaval in the history of the church.

However, there is nothing that will be presented here that has not been thoroughly tested against the precedents and principles found right through the Scriptures and also church history. For over twelve years now, God has led me to study and take careful note of the ways in which He has moved amongst His people in the past, from the beginning of the Old Testament right down through the history of the church. These are the precedents and principles by which we must judge every new movement. There is no such thing as a Revival or new move of God that exists in isolation. Every Revival is built on the foundations laid in previous Revivals. And there are familiar patterns running right through all of the great moves of God that I have studied. Even Jesus felt the need to use the Scriptures to prove the validity of His ministry.

In recent years there has been considerable controversy over the movement known as the “Toronto blessing” and the various manifestations associated with it. This book is certainly not going to be completely spent merely discussing the various arguments for or against this movement. Rather, we will be concentrating on the great Reformation and harvest that lie ahead. However, despite the fact that the Toronto Airport church (home of the `Toronto Blessing’) has now been officially expelled from the Vineyard movement, Toronto is still an important topic in the context of this book. Therefore, I have set aside one chapter in which we will discuss this movement in some detail, using facts from both the Scriptures and church history, plus a number of visions that have been given to praying people in NZ which give insight into it. But like I said, the vast bulk of these pages will be spent discussing the coming great Reformation, Revival and harvest, and our preparation for them.

As well as looking at Reformations and Revivals down through history, we will also be discussing a large number of recent dreams and visions given to praying people in New Zealand. I have no desire that these visions be treated as `authoritative’ in themselves, though I myself certainly believe that they have been given by God. Rather, like anything else, these dreams and visions must be tested to make sure that they line up with the patterns that God has established whenever He has moved in the past. In other words, they must line up with the Scriptures and also with God’s established pattern of Reformation and Revival throughout church history. And of course, we must each also ask ourselves, “Does this vision witness with my spirit as truly be- ing of God?”

It is my belief that every one of the dreams and visions described in this book passes each of these tests with flying colours. True Reformation and true Revival have always been the most revolutionary, the most earth-shattering, the most `violent’ spiritual events of their time. It is my belief that we live in the most momentous days in the history of the church. Incredible events are about to unfold before our very eyes. In the many dreams and visions given in New Zealand, God has likened the coming move to a `Bride’, to a warrior army, etc. Of course, such analogies are entirely Scriptural, and they often describe perfectly the role of the coming `Revival’ ministries.

Surely, if we are in the `last days’, then the extraordinary times that we live in call for an unusually powerful and sweeping Revival? And surely, in such times as these, it makes perfect sense that God would send the greatest-ever Reformation in order to prepare His church for what must surely be the greatest `harv- est’ (the final one) in all history? We only have to look around us to see the urgent need for such a great move of God. Both the church and the world are desperately poverty-stricken spiritually. And right down through history, God has always brought an outpouring of great mercy before He has brought great judgement. May not this present desperate hour be one of those times?

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Chapter One
VISIONS OF REFORMATION AND REVIVAL.

For generations now, God has been speaking to His people all over the world about the great end-times Revival, the final “harvest” that will come before the tribulation and judgement that will close this present age. On the day of Pentecost the apostle Peter declared, “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit upon ALL FLESH. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams…” (Acts 2:17). The Bible speaks of the `former’ (or ear- ly) rain and also the “latter rain” (or `harvest-ripening’ rain) which occurs much later, just before the wheat fields are harvested. It is this great “latter rain” outpouring of God’s Spirit that we are now awaiting.

Jesus spoke of the harvest as being the “end of the age” (Matt 13:39). In the parable of the tares and the wheat He declared that at the time of this end-time harvest He would cause the `tares’ (or false wheat) to be separated from the true wheat. The true wheat would be gathered into His barn, but the false wheat would be gathered into bundles and burnt. We are now living in the days that will see the dramatic fulfillment of this parable, first in the church (for judgement must first begin at the house of God – 1 Peter 4:17) and then in the world. This `tares and wheat’ parable should be a very disturbing and significant one for the end-time church to contemplate, and in many ways it is central to some of the awesome (and sometimes shocking) things that God has shown us here in New Zealand regarding the immediate future of the church.

Some Christians have opposed the idea that there will be any great Revival at the end of the age. They point out that according to the Scriptures, the end-times church will be in a state of almost complete spiritual bankruptcy – materialistic, carnal, lukewarm – “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”. Surely such a church would be in no state to bring in such a great `harvest’ in Jesus’ name? And in this respect we have to admit that WHAT THEY ARE SAYING IS ABSOLUTELY REASONABLE AND CORRECT. Indeed, the Scriptures on the subject are universal in the picture they paint of an end-times church that is virtually apostate and Laodicean in every respect. How can such a church ever be part of the greatest Revival in history? The answer to this question is very simple: IT CAN’T!

Just as with many previous moves of God right down through the ages, God has made it very clear that once again, only a “remnant” of believers, who have willingly gone through the necessary preparation, will have a part in the coming Revival. Those who refuse to submit to this preparation process, preferring to remain in their present `Laodicean’ state – will clearly have no part whatsoever in the coming move of God. Rather, just as Jesus has promised, the lukewarm are to be “spewed” out of the mouth of God (Rev 3:16).

The Bible makes it very clear that God cannot live with a `blessings’ -obsessed, Laodicean-type church. And in this world of increasing darkness, it becomes doubly imperative that God has a people in the earth who are shining forth His light with the greatest possible effectiveness. This is what the coming Reformation is all about – finding and cleansing and anointing such a people so that they can shine forth His light in all the earth. This is why such a massive `shaking’ and repentance must first come upon the church. God must find and raise up such a people.

And as always, only a “remnant” who embrace this dealing of God will make it through into the coming move, just as only a remnant of the Israelites who left Egypt made it through into the promised land. The rest were overthrown by God in the wilderness. We live in the most awesome of days – the days of separation, judgement and “harvest” spoken about in Mt 13:24-43. And this entire process must first begin in God’s own house (1 Pe 4:17).

It is interesting to note in the parable of the tares and the wheat (Mt 13), that at the end of the age it is the `false wheat’ in God’s kingdom that is bundled together (unified) first and separated from the true wheat. When this separating process is complete, we see God’s judgement fall upon these `tares’. As history clearly shows, God is very patient, but the time must come for the `sifting’ and judgement of His people. While there is still true wheat amongst the tares, the tares are relatively safe. But as soon as this separating process is complete, the tares are in imminent danger of falling under the judgement fire of God’s holy wrath. He will not forever stand for a people who cause His name to be mocked and brought into an open shame.

Meanwhile, God’s true remnant will be being purified, tried as by fire, until every impurity is gone – prepared as a Bride fit for her King – pure and holy, “without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing” (Eph 5:27). This will be the company of saints who will bring in the great last-days harvest of souls, and who will preach the gospel of the kingdom in all the earth with great au- thority and power, and with signs and wonders following, before the end comes.

AN OPEN VISION OF THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

The following is a vision that was given to a friend of mine who is very experienced in this `prophetic’ area, late in 1993. This gentleman has many years of Christian ministry behind him, and in the last few years has been given a number of stunning dreams and visions about the coming move of God. However, he told me that this particular vision was one of the most powerful of all. It unfolded before his eyes like a movie in technicolor, with God speaking to him about aspects of it as he watched.

Basically, it was a traditional wedding scene. The radiantly beautiful Bride had just stepped out of the Cathedral and was standing on the top step, just outside. My friend was told that the Bride was LEAVING `CHRISTENDOM’ (AND ALL THAT GOES WITH IT) FOREVER, leaving the `church’ system behind. The Groom (who was Jesus) took her arm, so that He could lead her down and proudly display His beautiful Bride to all the world.

Still inside the Cathedral were all the relatives (these were the various `streams’ and denominations of the church as we know it). Suddenly, while the Bride was still on the top step, an invisible hand gave her a beautiful lily (which had been plucked out by the roots). This was her bridal `bouquet’ (her new anointing, perhaps?) and for some reason it seemed to be given to her rather late. She threw this bouquet backwards, and some of her relatives in the church, who had been watching her with great jealousy and awe, made a grab for the bouquet. Two of them seemed to snatch it up. The Groom then led the Bride down the steps and through the huge crowd of cheering people down below, who had been unable to get into the Cathedral. In a later vision, my friend was shown that after they had made their way through this huge throng, the happy couple were then taken away on their honeymoon, which was to last for a thousand years.

When speaking of the `end of the age’, Jesus Himself often used `wedding’- type analogies. In the parable of the five wise and the five foolish virgins, for instance (which is again obviously referring to CHRISTIANS), Jesus again divides the believers into two groups. When the watchman cries, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him!”, fully HALF of the (supposedly `Spirit-filled’) Christians suddenly find that there is a severe lack of “oil” in their lamps! Because of this, they are completely shut out of the marriage feast. Again, in Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast (Mt 22 v1-14), the King sends out His servants to tell those who have been `invited’ that everything is now ready, and that it is time to come and celebrate His Son’s marriage. But these `invited’ ones make light of it, maltreating His servants and refusing to attend. The King then sends His armies to destroy their city and raze it to the ground, and sends out His servants once again, into the highways and byways, compelling everybody, `both good and bad’ to come in and rejoice with Him at the marriage of His Son.

Like that last parable, I believe that we now live in days of tremendous danger for those who have already received their `invitations’ to the coming wedding feast. As in every Revival, many who have been invited, many who `should be there’, never make it, and their places are taken by the unknowns, the outcasts, the meek, the despised and the rejected. So let those who have `reputations’ to protect, those who are counted amongst the “wise and prudent”, those who are seen as ‘somebodies’,- let them all beware! For these are days not only of great opportunity, but also of great danger. “For many are called but few are chosen” (Mt 22:14).

It is my belief that God is going to delight in using the “foolish things of this world to confound the wise” in this Revival. As always, He is going to use the “little” people – the people who are of no account – to humble the powerful, the successful and the mighty. He is going to take the unknowns and the outcasts, the praying solo mothers and the ex-gang-members, the “fishermen and the tax-collectors”, and He is going to anoint them and raise them up into the mightiest army of miracle-working apostles, prophets, evangelists, etc, that this world has ever known. And all they will be interested in doing is glorifying Him in every conceivable way.

When this happens, many of today’s Christian leaders will marvel, just as the scribes and Chief Priests `marvelled’ at the boldness of Peter and John when they saw that they were “unlearned and ignorant men… and they took knowledge of them, that THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS” (Acts 4:13). That is the secret: “THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS”. And thus it will be of everyone that is used of God in this Revival. “I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes” (Mt 11:25).

I believe that many forgotten and hidden Christians, whom God has been quietly preparing for many years, will make up this radiantly lovely Bride of Christ in these last days. Like a hidden army, they will suddenly spring forth as if from nowhere, to take the field in the name of the Lord and of righteousness. Thus it has always been, and always will be, with the greatest moves of God. Hidden preparation and sudden, aggressive mobilisation have been the keys to many of God’s greatest victories in the past, and this time will be no different.

Be assured of this: Jesus must have His virgin Bride. He cannot return until a Bride is prepared for Him that is literally “without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing”. That is what this Revival is all about: to bring into being and display His beautiful Bride to all the world. In physical terms, this `Bridal’ company of saints will not look particularly amazing or special. Like the original apostles, they will be ordinary people with an extraordinary calling and anointing. Many of them will no doubt seem a little rough or `ill-suited’ (from an outward point of view) to be endued with such power, but this will only serve to bring God all the more glory. They may not look like much on the outside, but these men and women will have hearts that are literally “as pure as snow”. They will be a people who know exactly what it means to walk in total heart purity before God. To Him, they will be vastly more precious than all of the “gold or pearls or costly array” of this entire Universe. And they will go forth with great power, “destroying the works of the devil” in His name.

THE INCREDIBLE “STREET-CHURCH” OF TOMORROW

For the past fifteen years or more, all over the world God has been warning His people of the great “shaking” and Reformation that are about to come upon His church. In 1982, for instance, in a very powerful visitation, one well- known American intercessor/leader was clearly spoken to by God: “I am going to change the understanding and expression of Christianity IN THE EARTH in one generation”. As we have seen in the vision of the Bride, she was seen leaving `Christendom’ (and all that goes with it) forever – leaving behind the `church system’ as we know it. From this and many other visions and prophecies, etc, in New Zealand, it has become obvious to us that IN ORDER TO BE PART OF THE NEW MOVE OF GOD IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO COMPLETELY LEAVE TODAY’S CHURCH SYSTEM. This is not “rebellion”. (In fact we will discuss the subtle dangers of rebellion later in this book). What God has said to us in this regard actually has a tremendous amount of historic precedent, both in Scripture and in church history, as we shall see. The reasons and the timing for this move will become much clearer as we go along.

Of course, those with a vested interest in maintaining the present church hierarchies and systems will be violently opposed to such an idea. Many reformers, such as Martin Luther, John Wesley and William Booth faced enormous opposition from the established church leadership of their day for precisely this reason. This is why true Reformation and Revival are often the most controversial and the most persecuted spiritual events of their time. And this is also why it has often been the CHRISTIANS (particularly the leaders) who have persecuted new moves of God the worst.

Something that God has made very clear to us in NZ is that the coming Revival is to be a “street-based” (or `open-air’ based) move of God. Today we have a “meetings and buildings” oriented church, a church that is hidden away in `boxes’ from the eyes of the world. But, like the early church (where they met daily in the huge open-air temple courtyard – probably the most public place in all Jerusalem), and also like the mighty Wesley and Salvation Army Revivals, the coming move of God is to be truly street-based. (There will also, like the early church, be gatherings of the saints from “house to house” (Acts 2:41-47).

God is also going to use this Reformation and Revival to smash down the dividing walls that separate the Christians. Jesus has never stopped desiring that there be only “one” undivided body. Today, however, just amongst the Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians alone there are so many divisions, “streams” and denomina- tions that it is almost impossible to count them all. Each division has it’s own `label’, and in many ways they operate like competing corporations, selling the same “product” under different labels (with slight variations). It’s ridiculous! And the whole church system today is set up in such a way that it just ensures that these divisions continue. These are `structural’ divisions that have been virtually set in concrete – “institutionalised” divisions that are simply accepted and perpetuated by each new generation of Christians.

God is going to smash down these `walls’ in this Revival. How? By bringing His people out from underneath all these “labels”! In one very significant vision several years ago, a NZ prophet saw God firing “flaming arrows” into the churches. These flaming arrows were `on-fire’ ministries, speaking the word of God. Howev- er, the Pastors were rushing around trying to damp down the flames! God then sent a “mighty wind” to fan the flames, and suddenly the doors of the churches burst open and all the people flooded out onto the streets to become one huge throng. I believe that this is an exact picture of what is about to take place, and in many ways it also illustrates the whole concept of “Reformation” very well (as will be seen from later chapters).

Another local intercessor was also shown a vision relating to this several years ago, while deep in prayer. The first thing she saw was church buildings of every kind – stained glass, steeples, plain and modern, etc. This part of the vision was in black and white. The churches all looked abandoned – like a ghost town, with birds nesting in them and doors and windows askew, etc. And in each church, the intercessor saw a huge old curtain or `veil’ that was in absolute tatters.

The second part of the vision was all in colour. She saw hundreds of Christians outdoors (with guitars, etc) fellowshipping together in the open air. She knew that these Christians had abandoned their church buildings and `divisions’, and were now fellowshipping freely out-of-doors. When she asked God what the huge tat- tered curtain in each of the abandoned churches represented, she was told that when Jesus was crucified, the veil/curtain in the temple was rent, thus allowing the people free access to the `holy of holies’. However, the churches had raised up this veil once again. But now these structures had been abandoned, thus al- lowing the common people free access to God’s holy-of-holies once more. What an astounding vision!

One of the best examples I know of a truly “street-based” Revival movement was the early Salvation Army (1860′s to the 1890′s). In those days, the Salvationists were largely a bunch of `on-fire’, praying zealots, given to holding open-air street meetings in which their brass bands would crash away raucously and their preachers would exhort the people to repentance under a mighty anointing. Their motto was, “Go for souls, and go for the worst!” Many early Salvationists were arrested, and there were often full-scale riots involving huge mobs, etc. The newspapers were full of it. The Salvationists were both controversial and notorious. And thousands upon thousands of people were converted. With- in days of the first tiny contingent of Salvationists arriving in New Zealand, the following cable-gram was despatched to General Booth in England: “Dunedin, Auckland blazing. Christchurch shortly. Reinforce sharp.”

There can be no doubt that God desires a loving, militant “street-level” Church today. After all, isn’t that what the early church was all about? I believe that it will become common for incredible signs, wonders and miracles to be performed on the streets as a result of this coming Revival. In fact, I believe that we are about to see a demonstration of God’s glory in the area of the miraculous that will be even more powerful than the book of Acts.

Enormous love, enormous boldness and `joy unspeakable’ will be just some of the characteristics of this Revival. And everything will be bathed in prayer. In fact this Revival is going to be BUILT on prayer. As Charles Finney said, “Revival comes from heaven when heroic souls enter the conflict determined to win or die… `The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force.’” There is no substitute for faith-filled, Spirit-fired “agonizing” prayer. Only those who are prepared and praying will be involved in this Revival from the beginning. As history shows, great blessing can only ever fall when the people of God learn to seek His face with all their heart.

THE “VIOLENT” NEW MINISTRIES

Along with the picture of a radiantly beautiful Bride, God has also often likened the coming move to an army being prepared for battle, and then attacking the enemy with great violence. I myself believe that spiritual aggression and daring faith are all part and parcel of the Bride’s radiant beauty. She will “love not her life unto the death” (Rev 12:11). All over the world, there have been numerous dreams and visions that speak of the great army of God that is about to arise and do battle.

About two years ago, for instance, a New Zealand prophet was given a vision of the `vanguard’ of the army (those at the front), who were in a long column advancing slowly towards the enemy with measured steps. They were slowly forcing the enemy back, but the reason they didn’t rush forward into battle was because they were waiting for the rest of the army behind them to get into formation so that they could all rush forward together. In this vi- sion, there was a sudden `roar’, like a great shout of victory, and the whole army suddenly charged forward into battle, utterly decimating the enemy with a great slaughter. This went on for some time. Suddenly the prophet realized that in the vision, Satan himself was now isolated and completely surrounded by the armies of God. And there was a sudden awareness that Jesus was now present, and that Satan was about to be bound in chains and cast into the abyss.

While I am certainly not a believer in `dominion theology’ or other extreme teachings, it cannot be denied that the Bible clearly states in Heb 10:12-13: “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for His feet.” It seems clear from this and other Scriptures, that Jesus is waiting at the right hand of the Father until His enemies are defeated and placed `under His feet’. Of course, in a very real way, the devil is already a defeated foe, having been defeated by Christ at Calvary. However, it seems that he has remained in his position as the “prince of this world” for the time being. Isn’t it logical that in the last days God would raise up an army of believers who would truly enforce Christ’s victory over His enemies (as the Scriptures declare)?

It is my belief that the army of God that is now in the final stages of preparation on the earth, will pursue the devil’s forces across whole continents, razing his strongholds to the ground, laying waste to all his works, and slaughtering his armies across a broad front. This will truly be a people that will “destroy the works of the devil” with exceeding violence. After all, did not Jesus Himself say, “I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail (Greek: `stand strong’) against it”? The gates of hell simply cannot stand against the Church that Jesus builds! We are to smash down the gates and invade Satan’s territory, destroying every devilish work as we go. We are to be a “violent” people, fiercely intent (as Joshua’s people were) on “taking the kingdom by force”.

The following is a dream that was given to a prophet friend of mine, who has received a large number of stunning dreams and visions about the coming move of God over the past four years or so. This particular dream was given to him four times. It is probably the most `unusual’ one that he has ever been given, but he knows that it is of God. I believe that it may well give us vital insight into God’s battle strategy for the last days. The first thing that he saw was what seemed to be fallen angelic princes, drifting high above the earth. Though they were obviously very evil, they had the appearance of loving, `saintly’ angels. They appeared to be gloating at the ease with which they held sway over the people of the earth. Under their direct command were much uglier beings with huge swords – the `strongmen’ over nations – who were sent down to earth literally to cause men to kill one another, to make them willing to lay down their lives for nationalistic causes, etc. Basically, these `strongmen’ would use any possible means to cause human beings to die young, particularly on a large scale.

Now here comes the really bizarre part. It appeared in the dream that somehow, the highest demonic princes were able to `feed’ on the spiritual life that was released when these people were killed. It was brought up to them in the form of `manna’ by the strongmen. In the dream, my friend heard the fallen princes say to the strongmen, “Go down and kill as many humans as you can, for it is the last days, and we must store up as much `manna’ as possible before the end.” Suddenly, in the dream, a spaceship appeared, full of mighty men and women of God. They saw exactly what was going on, and for a while they tried to warn the people of the earth. However, this achieved very little, so they mounted a direct attack against the strongmen. They didn’t bother with the lower-ranked demons. They went directly for the `palace’ in the heavens in which the strongmen themselves were based.

When the spaceship reached this palace, the captain and the other leaders (the `five-fold’ ministries) from the ship stormed into the palace, leaving behind a support crew. Using space-age weapons (hand-held lasers, etc), they attacked the strongmen with deadly skill and great daring. These were highly trained specialists. They worked as a team, and they were utterly fearless in battle. The strongmen were terrified. They were trying to kill the five-fold ministries with their swords (not their guns for some reason), but were unable to do so. The strongmen were destroyed one by one, and soon the corridors were littered with their dead bodies. The demonic princes over them were panic-stricken, knowing that their support and protection was fast evaporating. It was a total rout, a complete victory for God.

Now some of you may have found the above dream a little `unusual’, to say the least. However, when my friend, who was given this dream four times, prayed about it, he realized that some of the concepts contained in it would have been almost impossible to understand if they had not been put across in such a way. I have noticed that in dreams and visions, God often uses the most simple illustations to shed light on the most profound truths. I believe that this dream and others like it, give significant insight into the great spiritual war that is about to be waged.

We are told in Heb 12:26, “But now He has promised, `Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also heaven.’” And in Rev 12:7 we read: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels, and did not prevail, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast down, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world: He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

I believe that the dream recounted earlier is speaking of the vital role that the end-times ministries will also play in this victory over Satan. We can tell that humans (not just angels) will have an integral part in this victory because just two verses later we read: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Rev 12:11). I do not believe that what is spoken of in the dream is merely a `prayer’ battle – to be fought out by the intercessors (though prayer will be vital, of course. In fact, the battle must be won in prayer first). Rather, I believe that somehow, in the coming Revival, when the new ministries have been raised up and anointed by God, there will be direct confrontations between certain of these `five-fold’ ministries and the `strongmen over nations’ that we have spoken of.

When these strongmen have been destroyed, and Satan and the rest of his angels have been cast down to earth by God’s angelic armies, then I believe we will see the period on earth known as the “Great Tribulation”, where unprecedented deception, darkness and persecution will arise. Right through the last days `harvest’ period, I believe that there will be persecution, earthquakes, natural disasters, `wars and rumours of wars’, etc. But when the real Tribulation begins, darkness and persecution will greatly increase. In fact, I believe that many Christians will be imprisoned and killed towards the end. “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you having great wrath, because he knows that his time is short” (Rev 12:12).

It is clear that the entire Bride of Christ will be actively “destroying the works of the devil” at various levels, in the coming Revival. But what exactly are these `works of the devil’? To me, they are anything that keep people bound in sin, misery, sickness or oppression. Jesus said that the `thief’ comes to “steal, kill, and destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). So how exactly did Jesus `destroy the works of the devil’ from out of peoples’ lives in His day? Well, one obvious aspect of Jesus’ ministry was His consistent preaching of a very strong and direct repentance message. He also said of His ministry, “The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Mt 11:5). Truly, His was a ministry of forgiveness, cleansing and liberation aimed especially at the poor, the sick, the broken-hearted, and all who were `oppressed of the devil’.

At times, Jesus also found it necessary to bring a “searing rebuke”, because of the hardness of heart present in a group or an individual. Obviously, at such times He perceived that a piercing, anointed word of rebuke was the only thing that would break down the strongholds of sin, compromise, religion, unbelief, etc, that were holding these people captive.

One thing that seems to have been coming through again and again in NZ, is the fact that the army that God is now preparing will attack the kingdom of darkness with incredible violence – with reckless daring and ruthless aggression. They will make no `treaties’ and they will take no prisoners. In one way, as we have discussed, I believe that Jesus is waiting at the right hand of the Father until His enemies are made a `footstool’ for His feet. In another, very real way, He will truly be with us by His Spirit, triumphantly leading His people into war.

A prophet friend of mine, who until recently has only rarely received dreams or visions, was given a particularly powerful vision about two years ago. He said that it was so real that it was literally just like being there. This vision only lasted a short time, but it had a very powerful impact on him. What he saw was this: He was standing in what appeared to be a valley, staring at something the size of a mountain that had just burst up through the surface of the earth. But this was no mere vol- canic eruption. What my friend saw was, in fact, the head of a gigantic white horse that had literally burst up through the ground. Around it’s head, molten lava was spurting. My friend said that he was frightened by the look of sheer ferocity in the eyes of the creature. There could be no denying that this was truly a `war’ horse, fiercely intent on the battle to come.

One of the things that strikes me as very significant about this vision is the fact that THE WHITE HORSE’S HEAD HAS NOW BROKEN THROUGH THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH. “… and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering and to conquer” (Rev 6:2). “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war… and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in white linen, white and clean…” (Rev 19:11-14).

All over the world in the past fifteen years or so, God has been speaking of a distinct grouping of ministries that would again arise in great power in the last days. These are the end-times “Elijah” ministries, who are about to be raised up, as prophesied for thousands of years, under a mighty anointing, “preparing the way of the Lord” and making straight `a highway for our God’ (Is 40:3). As we are told in Mal 4:5-6, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Jesus Himself stated that “Elijah comes, and will restore all things…” (Mt 17:11).

There are at least three great men of God in history who have walked under this mighty mantle and anointing of Elijah: Elijah himself, the prophet Elisha, and also John the Baptist (who came `preparing the way of the Lord’ at His first coming). Now that we are approaching Christ’s return – the “great and dreadful day of the Lord”, we can expect that God will once again raise up bold and anointed messengers, just as prophesied, who will go forth `in the spirit and power of Elijah’, preparing the way of the Lord once more. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Mt 24:14).

To get some idea of the rugged and even `violent’ nature of these Elijah ministries, it is necessary to go back and look at the `Elijahs’ of the past. There is no question that these were blunt, uncompromising, fearless messengers of God. They attacked the sin and compromise of their day with cutting power, for the full authority of the Living God was behind every word that they spoke. Their words were like a consuming fire, a piercing two- edged sword, a `hammer that breaks the rock into pieces’. And they stood unbending in the name of truth and of righteousness, to put to flight God’s enemies, to rebuke His wayward people, and to again lift up His `standard’ amidst the darkness of their time.

Witness the fearless prophet Elijah on top of Mt Carmel. (1 Kings 18). At his word there has not been one drop of rain in all Israel for three and a half years. And now here he is, the only man who dares openly oppose the evil Baal-worshipping empire under cruel queen/witch Jezebel. Hear Elijah lay down his mocking challenge to the Baal priests and prophets: “Perhaps your god is on a journey. Or perhaps he sleeps and needs awakening!”(v27). And then, at the time of the evening sacrifice, we see Elijah, that fearless prophet of God, call fire down from heaven right before the startled eyes of all present. “And when all the people saw it they fell on their faces: and they said, the Lord, He is the God; the Lord, He is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there” (v 39-40).

Now we jump to 2 Kings chapter one. The rebellious and evil king of Samaria has just sent fifty soldiers to bring the prophet Elijah down from the hill on which he sits. “And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume you and your fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty” (v10). Rather foolishly, the king then sends another fifty soldiers to bring Elijah down. These too are consumed by fire in exactly the same way. It is not until the next captain of fifty comes to him on his knees, begging and pleading, that Elijah agrees to go down with him to see the king.

The above incidents, which are typical of the kinds of things that took place in the lives of both Elijah and Elisha, demon- strate not only their power and authority under God, but also the spiritually `violent’ nature of this kind of ministry. One Scrip- ture that has been given to myself and others again and again in relation to the new move of God is Mt 11:12:- “… from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” I believe that the entire coming Revival worldwide is to be a spiritually `violent’ move – probably the most aggressive that this planet has ever seen. The `Elijah’ ministries will lead God’s armies into battle – a glorious army, “terrible with banners”, and no weapon that is formed against them will stand.

Who could doubt that we live today on the verge of the most momentous days in the history of the church? The Revival that is coming will surely be the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit that the world has ever known. It will be “the former rain and the latter rain in the first month, and the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil” (Joel 2:23-24). We live in a time when God’s mighty `men and women of valour’ will once again roam the earth, and when “the people who do know their God shall be strong and do exploits” (Dan 11:32). The apostles, prophets and evangelists that are about to arise in these last days, will be amongst the most anointed warriors of God that have ever trod the earth. They will literally walk in the resurrection glory of Jesus Christ. Endued with `power from on high’, they will go forth, a fearful army, “conquering and to conquer”, and nothing will stand in their path.

APOSTOLIC TEACHINGS AND PRACTICES

Like the early Church, the new move of God is to be built on the `foundation’ of the soon-to-emerge mighty “apostles and prophets” that He is about to raise up for this hour (Eph 2:20). This is to be an `apostolic’ move. As it was in the beginning, so it will be also at the end. Just as with every great move of God, this one is to be built around the new leadership that He is raising up specifically for this hour. Thus it will clearly be “WHEN THE NEW APOSTLES ARISE” that true Reformation and Revival will begin. It is these `apostolic’ ministries who will be the `violent’ ministries, raised up by God as Joshua was, to lead His people into war – to “take the kingdom by force”. And with the return of true apostolic leadership will come a restoration of many basic “book- of-Acts” type apostolic teachings and practices.

One of the most basic and obvious of these apostolic teachings, I believe, will be to restore the original meaning and purpose of the Lord’s Supper and also Believer’s Baptism. Both of these are seen by many Christians merely as something akin to a symbolic ritual, performed in `rememberance’ or just out of obedience to Scripture, rather than because they have tremendous spiritual impact from God’s point of view. In reality, there is actually NOTHING that Jesus has instituted in the New Testament that is merely a “symbolic” act or a `ritual’ that we are to perform. Such things belong to the Old Covenant, not the New. Everything that Jesus has instituted in the New Covenant has tremendous spiritual value and life-giving power, if only we can partake of these things by faith, as He intended.

When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we are supposed to be partaking afresh of the “bread of life” (the word of God) and the cleansing power of the “blood of the new covenant” (see Mt 26:26-28, Jn 6:48-58, 1 Cor 10:16- 17, 1 Cor 11:23-30, etc). We are to take this fresh impartation of spiritual life to ourselves by faith, as we eat and drink of the Lord’s Supper. Why do you think the early Christians partook of the Lord’s Supper “daily” in their gatherings `from house to house’? And why do you think Paul warned the Corinthians that some of them were `weak’ and others had died because they had not discerned the “one body” that they were to be partakers of, and were therefore “eating and drinking judgement” upon themselves? (1 Cor 11:27-33). There is real spiritual power in the Lord’s supper! This is not just some symbolic ceremony. We are clearly to be continual partakers of the “one body” of Christ, broken for us (and divided amongst us at Communion), and also the cleansing, empowering “blood of the new covenant”.

Believer’s Baptism (by immersion) is another thing that has lost it’s true significance over the centuries. We are told often that this is essentially a “symbolic” death-and-burial ceremony for the believer. There are many believers today (even `Spirit- filled’ ones) who think so little of baptism that they haven’t even “got around to it yet” at all. But what is God’s view of believer’s baptism? Does He regard it merely as `an outward symbol’? I think not! We are told in Rom 6:3-6, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death… We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.” It is clear from this and many other Scriptures that from a spiritual point of view, baptism is an event of tremendous impact and importance.

Can we claim to have truly “died with Christ” if we have not been baptized by immersion? No, we cannot. Can we claim to have been spiritually `cut off’ from our sinful body, so that we might no longer be enslaved to sin? No, Scripturally we cannot. And how else can we “reckon” ourselves to be `dead to sin’? I believe that rather than being some kind of “symbolic” death, God sees believer’s baptism as being a very “literal” spiritual death – a `cutting off’ of the sinful body of the believer. Why else would Peter tell the assembled crowd on the day of Pentecost, “Repent, AND BE BAPTISED in the name of Jesus Christ FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS…”? (Acts 2:38). And why else would Paul be told, on the day of his conversion, “Arise and BE BAPTISED, AND WASH AWAY YOUR SINS, calling on the name of the Lord”? (Acts 22:16). And what exactly did Jesus mean when He declared that, “Unless a man is BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”? (Jn 3:5. See also Mk 16:16-18, 1 Cor 10:1-2, Gal 3:27, Col 2:11-12, Titus 3:5, 1 Pe 3:20-21, etc).

Today, when people want to become a Christian, they are told to simply “ask Jesus into their heart”, or “give their heart to the Lord”. You might be surprised to learn that there is literally NOT ONE example of anyone in the New Testament being told to do anything like this at all. For instance, there are many, many examples in the book of Acts of people becoming Christians, and yet NOT ONCE are any of them told anything that even remotely resembles, “Just give your heart to the Lord”. Instead, people in Bible days were told, “Repent, and be baptized… and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38. See also Acts 8:12-20, Acts 8:35-39, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-6, Acts 22:16, etc). In the coming Revival, just like the book of Acts, repen- tance, water-baptism (by immersion) and baptism in the Holy Spir- it will be expected to occur IMMEDIATELY someone believes the gospel. Until all of these things have occurred, they will simply not be considered a true, New Testament Christian. This is clearly the only tenable Scriptural position on the matter. What a shockingly inadequate and unscriptural gospel the church has been preaching up until now!

I believe that another huge change in emphasis that will come in with the new move of God will be in the area of sacrificial giving to the poor. In the book of Acts the writer (Luke) devotes a tremendous amount of space to the way in which the early believers sold any excess land, houses or possessions, and gave to the poor (especially to the orphans and widows, etc). From the space that Luke devotes to this subject it is clear that this was a major emphasis of the early Church. And of course, it had always been a major emphasis of JESUS in the first place! To the `rich young man’, Jesus had said, “Sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Mk 10:21). To his disciples He had said, “Sell your possessions and give alms” (Lk 12:33), and, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” (Mk 10:23). And to the multitudes who accompanied Him He had said: “Whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:33).

If we are to follow the clear teaching of Jesus, then we are to renounce ownership of all that we have, and our possessions are to literally become God’s, to do with as He wills. It is interesting to note that after Jesus had eaten with Zacchaeus the Tax Collector, the little man declared, “Behold, Lord, the HALF OF MY GOODS I GIVE TO THE POOR, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold” (Lk 19:8). This was the fruit of genuine repentance in Zacchaeus’ life.

You have to admit, none of this sounds like much of a “prosperity” doctrine, does it?

And now we come to the book of Acts, where the apostles passed on the clear teachings of Jesus concerning riches and possessions, to the new converts: “And all who believed were together, and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:45). “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need” (Acts 4:34-35). What a tremendous demonstration of brotherly unity and love! For, as Jesus had said, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another” (Jn 13:35). Such sacrificial giving must always `come from the heart’. It must never be `forced’ or legalistic. However, as the Scriptures clearly show, giving of this kind really has to be a major emphasis of any true “Revival” movement. And I am convinced that it certainly will be, in the coming move of God.

The above are just some of the more obvious and fundamental apos- tolic teachings that I believe will be restored in the coming Revival. These are not obscure doctrinal points. They involve some of the most basic and fundamental questions of the New Testament: What do we tell people to do to become a Christian? Why do people need to be baptised in water? Why do we partake of the Lord’s Supper? What does Jesus require us to do with our possessions? All of these are PRACTICAL questions which impacted hugely on the everyday life of the early Church. No doubt there will be other fundamental teachings that will also be restored, when the new apostles arise to establish a true “New Testament” Church once again, in our time.

THE “NEW MUSIC”

About nine years ago I became greatly inspired by things that God was showing me about the early Salvation Army Revivals. My wife and I are both musicians, and God began to particularly draw our attention to the concept of anointed “street-music” – a kind of “Revival” music, to be taken out onto the streets just as the early Salvation Army had done a century before. As I have said previously, in those early days the Salvationists were a bunch of on-fire, praying zealots (mostly very young), who took the world by storm with a street-based Christianity totally unlike anything that was around at that time. The early Salvation Army was truly a `Revival’ movement in every sense of the word – born out of the great Awakening of 1859-60 in Britain. And they carried this tremendous `Revival’ anointing with them, out onto the streets.

One of the most controversial aspects of this new movement was the rather loud, “uncouth” praise-music that they employed in their street meetings. What they had done, in fact, was to take the `pub’ music – the `drinking’ music of their day, and transform it into loud, glorious praise music that the street-level people of those times absolutely loved (though you can imagine the storm of controversy in religious circles!) However, there was really nothing new in this concept. Both Martin Luther and John Wesley, as well as William Booth, have been credited with the saying, “Why should the devil have all the best music?” Street-level Revival requires street-level praise music! If it utterly glorifies God, what does it matter if it is a little `noisy’? (Actually, one eyewitness commented of an early Salvation Army band that, “It sounds as if a brass band’s gone out of it’s mind!”) This was truly `battle’ music – a call to repentance and to war.

Having been so inspired by all of this when I first read up on it, I photocopied some of the information and gave it to other Christian musicians that we knew at the time. My wife and I also became more and more involved in music, and in 1989 we began our first street-band. However, it was clear from the outset that we were lacking the most important thing of all – the “Revival” anointing that the Salvationists had had. Despite this, the whole concept had taken hold in my heart so strongly that I just couldn’t leave it alone. I KNEW that it was of God. Perhaps it was just the timing that was wrong?

In 1992 we finally gave up on the whole idea. Less than one year later, however, we received some amazing confirmation from a source that we had never come across before. In the meantime, too, God had taken me through a massive overhaul of my entire Christian walk, and I had come under a prophetic anointing the like of which I had never before experienced. The confirmation we received in 1993 came in the form of a taped message by American preacher James Ryle, who had been given a series of dreams and visions several years earlier which spoke at length of the new “street-music” that would arise with the coming Revival. What amazing and specific confirmation these tapes were! I was literally in tears as I listened to them.

It was after this that I began to learn that God was speaking to a number of prophetic people in NZ about the coming “new music” also. One local intercessor was given the same amazing vision on three seperate occasions while deep in prayer. In it, she saw thousands upon thousands of (mostly young) people gathered in the streets, praising God with all their might to a new, modern kind of praise-music. Non-Christians coming near would fall to their knees under great conviction, the presence of God was so strong. This anointed vision was so real that the intercessor wept whenever she received it. She believes that it’s fulfillment is very near now.

Another NZ prophet was given a very powerful vision in which he found himself in vast stadiums all over the world. He said that in each place, the same team was on stage, ministering to the people. He said that in one stadium (which he could tell was somewhere in Asia) he remembers looking over at the rest of the team (which included a band of musicians and singers) and then out at the vast crowd, and he noticed that instead of watching the platform, the people in the stadium were all staring up into the sky. In other words, they were looking to JESUS, rather than to the human vessels that God was using. It is JESUS who must get all the glory. There have been numerous dreams and visions all over the world of stadiums full of people, gathered to hear the gospel and to see and experience the great `latter rain’ outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit.

Of course, music will only be one part of this overall picture. There will be incredibly anointed preaching and dramatic healings and miracles that will glorify God in the most profound way also. But the interesting thing about `music’ is the impact that it has, especially amongst the youth. No doubt we are all aware of the tremendous way in which the devil was able to use popular music in the late 1960′s to literally “eastern-ise” the thinking and spiritual beliefs of an entire generation. (A `cultural revolution’ from which the West has never fully recovered). Isn’t God more powerful (and more `creative’!) than Satan? Therefore, shouldn’t true Christian music be the most stunning music that you or I have ever heard? And shouldn’t it be used to take territory away from the devil?

I believe that many, many `new music’ ministries are about to arise in true “Revival” power, to glorify God on the streets of every city. In the dreams and visions that James Ryle was given, he was shown that a “new sound” will arise that will sweep the world – a new `street-level’ praise music, mightily anointed of God. I believe that music itself was originally created for the purpose of praising and glorifying Him. So why shouldn’t such mu- sic be heard in the earth again? I am convinced that the devil’s own guns are about to be turned upon him. I believe that the mu- sic that is about to arise will help destroy many `works’ that have taken years for him to build. After all, why SHOULD the devil have all the best music? This is part of the devil’s territory that will definitely be “taken” in the coming Revival, I believe.

The new music that is about to arise will contain many of the same themes as the other forms of `Revival’ ministry. All the different types of ministry will work together. This new music is to be a Bride’s songs of love and praise to her glorious King, and also the sound of an army preparing for war – a kind of “battle” music – raw, powerful, even `violent’ at times. It is to be a `war cry’, calling sinners to repentance and rallying God’s people to battle, as well as publicly lifting high the name of our glorious Saviour and Lord. This `new praise’ will not be suited to a comfortable, peace-time church, but rather to a warlike people – a people preparing to “take the kingdom by force”. I believe that it will shock a lot of Christians. It will be SO SIMPLE, yet powerful, and above all else it will exalt the name of JESUS CHRIST, our Warrior King. Do not expect this music to be something of mind-blowing complexity. Rather, expect something of an almost child-like simplicity and `catchiness’, but also with real power.

It will not be the slick “professional”-type musicians who will unearth this new sound. No! Many of these lack the necessary humility – too busy seeking technical polish and perfection. Rather, it will be those with a simple heart after Jesus – a great love and a hunger for Him – this is by far the most important factor. It is SPIRITUAL PREPARATION, not musical perfection that God is looking for here. Only those who have died to pride, died to slick “showmanship” and died to the desire to glorify themselves, can ever hope to have a part in this anointing and this `new sound’. Like other end-time ministries, I believe that God is about to raise up many unknown and `hidden’ Christians into this music area. Truly, “many that are first shall be last, and many that are last shall be first” (Mt 19:30).

HOLINESS AND FAITH

In the coming Reformation and Revival, God is going to deal very deeply with sin, compromise, conformity to the world and materialism amongst His people. As stated earlier, the Scriptures show that Jesus cannot return until a Bride is prepared for Him that is “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing”. Today’s church is crippled by sin and compromise in the lives of individual Christians (eg: unforgiveness, gossip, backbiting, “white” lies, pretense, lust, financial dishonesty, worldliness, etc). However, when God really begins to move, the repentance that will occur will go very deep. As Frank Bartleman (a leader in the 1906 `Azusa Street’ Revival) stated, “I received from God early in 1905 the following keynote to revival: `THE DEPTH OF REVIVAL WILL BE DETERMINED EXACTLY BY THE DEPTH OF THE SPIRIT OF REPENTANCE’. And this will obtain for all people, at all times.” Anyone who has studied Revival history will acknowledge the obvious truth of this statement. In fact, historically speaking it would be fair to say that DEEP REPENTANCE LIES AT THE HEART OF EVERY TRUE REVIVAL.

Several years ago, a prophet friend of mine was given a whole se- ries of stunning visions of the coming move of God. In several visions, he saw vast numbers of people gathered to hear the most searching, anointed repentance preaching. The conviction of sin amongst the people was just incredible, bringing tremendous `Godly sorrow’ and deep repentance. Such scenes have been very common in many great Revivals of the past. And the coming move of God will be no different.

The (almost unheard-of today) experience of “justification by faith” (as the old Revivalists such as Wesley and Finney used to preach it) will also be proclaimed once again in this Revival. Speaking of his own experience, Charles Finney wrote: “In this state I was taught the doctrine of justification by faith as a present experience… I could not feel a sense of guilt or condemnation by any effort I could make. My sense of guilt was gone, my sins were gone, and I do not think I felt any more sense of guilt than if I never had sinned… I felt myself justified by faith, and, so far as I could see, I was in a state in which I did not sin.”

It is clear from the Scriptures that the above experience is to be regarded as “normal” for all Christians (see 1 Jn 3, etc). In fact, this will be seen as `elementary level’ Christianity by all who are to be involved in the coming Revival (ie. walking in a state of having “no knowledge of present sin”). If this seems bizarre to you then please read `Romans’ again! This is totally “normal” stuff. The believers in the coming Revival will walk in a state of total heart-purity before God. Their consciences will be completely clean, and they will WALK in this state by faith. They will not need to strive to maintain it. This will simply be the normal state of their heart before God. This is what walking in true “justification by faith” really means.

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Chapter Two.
THE LAODICEAN CHURCH.

For many years now, numerous prominent Christian leaders have been quite open with their opinion that we live today in the age of the lukewarm or `Laodicean’ church. In the past fifteen years or so, however, this recognition of the church’s alarmingly low spiritual state has taken on added urgency, as God has spoken again and again to prophetic ministries around the world, warning that the church is indeed `Laodicean’, and that judgement is about to “begin at the house of God” (1 Pe 4:17). Clearly, a tremendous “shaking” and judgement are about to come upon today’s church.

The Laodicean church is the last of the seven churches that Jesus addresses in the book of Revelation (Rev 3:14-22). During this passage, Jesus makes the following “promise” to the lukewarm church: “So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I WILL SPEW YOU OUT OF MY MOUTH… Be zealous therefore, AND REPENT.” It is clear from this passage that the Laodicean church exists under imminent threat of judgement – of being “spewed out” of the mouth of God. The only hope is deep repentance, and that immediately. Please remember that this is a PROMISE of God. It is not an idle threat. Unless there is swift and deep repentance, then God PROMISES to spew the lukewarm church out of His mouth. It is my belief that the role of a prophet is to be a kind of `watchman on the walls’, to loudly warn those who sleep of ap- proaching danger. In the current situation, there can be little doubt that a prophet’s job would be to `sound the alarm in Zion’ – to loudly warn the people until they are awakened to the very real danger of imminent judgement. Prophets are never supposed to be `comfortable’ preachers. As A.G. Gardiner said, “When a prophet is accepted and deified, his message is lost. The prophet is only useful so long as he is stoned as a public nuisance calling us to repentance, disturbing our comfortable routines, breaking our respectable idols, shattering our sacred conventions…” I have to say that I have been a little disappointed with some of today’s prophets in this regard. It seems to me that a number of them have chosen to emphasise all the `positive’ aspects of the coming harvest, rather than warning of the present imminent danger. Surely, if a prophet is shown that judgement is imminent, then he must use every available means to urgently warn the peo- ple? Otherwise he is not fulfilling what God has commissioned him to do, surely?

It is very clear, both prophetically and from the Scriptures, that today’s Laodicean church faces imminent and severe judgement, and that the Christians must be warned with great urgency. There is an old saying: “The people will not flee danger until they see it”. That is the express purpose of this chapter: seeing the danger. I make no apologies for the directness or the urgency of the message contained herein.

Some people today believe that the `Toronto blessing’ has renewed the church. From my observations, however, the manifestations and experiences associated with Toronto seem to have made little significant impact on the overall `Laodicean’ state of today’s church. (As I think should become evident from this and later chapters).

Some years ago I made a study of the difference between the New Testament Church as described in the book of Acts, and today’s church. I was alarmed to find that in nearly every respect, today’s Christianity is so different from that of the Bible as to beggar belief. In New Testament times, the Church was like a `consuming fire’ that swept over the whole world, “destroying the works of the devil”. Led by fiery, anointed men of God, the early believers constituted a bold, militant, uncompromising force, dedicated to pulling down the devil’s strongholds wherever they could be found. These were the `ground assault’ troops of the Most High. They endured much suffering, hardship and persecution in order to see the gospel preached `in all the earth’ in their day.

Today, however, we seemingly prefer to set sail for the kingdom of heaven with a little more “style”. We are told in the Bible that in the last days, men will be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”. We are also told that, “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Tim 4:3). Isn’t it true that we twentieth- century believers have invented for ourselves a kind of instant, convenient, `fast- food’ Christianity? A Christianity where all too often the preachers feel it is their role to entertain and cajole, rather than to convict and awaken? A Christianity where for many years now, seeking after `blessings’ has seemingly replaced `hungering and thirsting’ after God? A Christianity that is seemingly more concerned with “happiness” than real holiness? Who could deny that this century finds itself home to what is probably the most comfortable, the most materialistic, the most `fat’ and well-fed church in recorded history?

Jesus reported the cry of the Laodicean church as being: “I am rich and increased with goods, and have NEED OF NOTHING” (Rev 3:17). Incredibly, as we see from this statement, the Laodicean church DOES NOT EVEN RECOGNIZE HER OWN APPALLING SPIRITUAL NAKEDNESS AND BANKRUPTCY. She honestly believes that “all is well”! Certainly, no-one could imagine an era when the church has had so many `toys’, both physical and spiritual. “Rich and increased with goods” we most certainly are in these materialistic days:- lavish church buildings, costly radio and TV programmes, book- shops crammed with every conceivable teaching aid and religious gift, expensive conferences and seminars supplying yet more ear- fattening teaching to those with enough dollars to attend. Who could deny that Christianity is `big business’ these days? Several years ago it was announced in the US that one of the largest Christian music companies was suing another for as much as $20 million in a dispute arising from a distribution agreement.

On an individual level, things are almost as bad. The Bible says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, THE LOVE OF THE FATHER IS NOT IN HIM” (1 Jn 3:15). But who could deny that many Christians today are seemingly more devoted to their `career’ (or to their possess- ions, or their television) than they are to God? Jesus clearly stated, “You cannot serve God and mammon”, yet how many Christians today expend all their energy trying to keep both camps happy? The Bible tells us, “Be not conformed to this world”, yet how many Christians today have lifestyles, ambitions and possessions that are literally identical to those of the covetous, materialistic world all around them?

As Jesus Himself stated, “Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, `I NEVER KNEW YOU; DEPART FROM ME, YOU EVILDOERS’” (Mt 7:21-23)… “Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, fulness of bread, abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy…” (Ez 16:49).

Rather than give our money to the poor, today we Christians seemingly prefer to give it to the `church building fund’ or other big, glossy ministries. And while 40,000 children die each day of starvation and disease, and the world goes to hell all around us, we sit comfortably `at ease in Zion’, singing our happy songs about how much we love Jesus and long to be like Him. “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?” is still our grieving Saviours lament. “This people draw nigh to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me,” says the Lord (Mt 15:8). Probably more than any other, this generation of Christians has been guilty of diluting (or betraying) everything that Jesus stood for, and watering down what He said. Little wonder that we have become the laughing- stock of men and of devils. Instead of preaching `death to self’ and `taking up the cross’, today we prefer a more “comfortable” message: “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” (while the music gently plays, of course). A convenient, selfish `Santa Claus’ gospel for a convenience-loving, self-obsessed generation. Is it any wonder that we have a lukewarm church, when the gospel we preach is so lukewarm?

Today the whole of western society is in disarray: Broken mar- riages, youth suicides, teenage pregnancies, gang violence, drugs, etc, etc. Every year, it seems like the devil is gaining more and more ground, while the influence of today’s sickly, “happiness club” church just keeps growing smaller. We are supposed to be the `salt of the earth’, salting the world with Godliness and truth. Surely then, a good portion of the blame for this disastrous mess can be laid directly at the feet of the church? Jesus stated that salt that has lost it’s savour is “good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot by men” (Mt 5:13). The world is desperate for answers, but all we have to feed them is insipid, watered-down rubbish. And yet what do we hear today’s `Laodicean’ church cry?: “I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing!” Sick, insipid, lukewarm church – how will you escape the judgement that God has promised you?

Today it seems almost as though the church has made some kind of pact with the devil: We won’t attack you too hard, if you won’t attack us! (I tell you now, the new move of God will have no such treaty!) It makes no sense for the devil to bring real persecution upon today’s church: Better to let them sleep! After all, we are certainly not doing him a lot of harm in our present state. How easily ignored is today’s church! Almost the only time the world sits up and takes real notice is when there is some big scandal or something else to laugh at. As I said before, we have become the laughing- stock of an entire generation, both of men and of devils.

It is well-known that “music” often accurately represents and de- picts the culture it comes from. And it doesn’t take too long, when listening to today’s Christian radio, to come to the conclusion that if the music is anything to go by, then today’s Chris- tianity is in a pretty sick and tepid state. If we were to be brutally honest, we would have to say that very often, our music seems to be little more than `muzak’ – wallpaper music with Christian lyrics,- music that wouldn’t seem out of place in a lift or a supermarket. But in a supposedly lively, vital Christianity? In my opinion, even the local `Easy-listening’ station seems more musically adventurous than the local Christian station! Even so-called `contemporary’ Christian music often seems to be either a desperately “cool” – or tamed-down – rehash of secular styles from one or two years earlier, again with (vaguely) Christian lyrics over the top. Where is the creativity, the vitality, the life? Why are we musically so far behind the world, if the Creator of the whole Universe is on our side? Why isn’t the world following our lead, instead of us following theirs?

It is high time we acknowledged the sorry fact: Today’s Christian music is largely embarrassing, predictable and lukewarm. This is simply due to the fact that today’s CHRISTIANITY is largely embarrassing, predictable and lukewarm. But such things will not be said of the coming move of God. When true Revival comes, the music will be alive with the creativity and the fire of God, be- cause that is exactly how His people will be.

JUDGEMENT AND REFORMATION

It is significant to note that when the people of Israel fell into a state of serious spiritual decline, God often held the kings and spiritual shepherds of Israel directly responsible for the nation’s degenerate state. Often, the judgement that fell upon the leaders at such times was far harsher than that which fell upon the nation as a whole. We see this principle at work right down through the Old and New Testaments. It is interesting to note that Jesus spoke essentially the same message to the religious leaders of His day, as had been spoken to the disobedient king Saul: “The kingdom shall be taken from you and given to another” (1 Sa 28:17 and Mt 21:43). As we shall see, this replacement of one leadership with another – the “kingdom” being taken away from one and given elsewhere – is the very essence of true “Reformation”.

Throughout the history of both Israel and the church, every new move of God has involved the raising up of new leaders, with God often bypassing or bringing judgement upon the existing leadership. So it is not surprising that it has frequently been the ex- isting leaders who have persecuted new moves of God the worst (often out of jealousy). And the coming Reformation and Revival will surely be no different.

It is time to face the obvious and brutal truth: It is simply not possible to have a lukewarm church unless the leaders are lukewarm, just as Israel was not able to fall into a state of worldliness or idolatry unless her kings and shepherds were men of compromise. The Bible is very clear that those who are raised up as leaders or teachers amongst God’s people will be subject to a much “stricter” judgement (James 3:1). However, I do not believe that God can even afford to have such men leading His church for long. This is why He has been so clearly saying that the coming Revival (like many before it) has been designed to LARGELY BYPASS AND SIDELINE THE CURRENT CHURCH LEADERSHIP. This is not “rebellion”. It is simply a statement of obvious truth, backed by the history of Revival and Reformation right down through the ages. God has been forced to take such drastic action many times in the past, and this Revival will be no exception.

Like Israel, many of today’s church leaders have clearly been guilty of compromising (diluting or toning down) God’s word to His people over many years. They have surrendered, in varying de- grees, to the `fear of man’. Many of them are afraid to preach uncompromising truth to their congregations, for fear that some of the people will become “offended” (not forgetting who pays their salary!) Instead, in their preaching, it almost seems as if they have adopted the modern marketing creed: “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative” (complete with jokes and amusing anecdotes, of course). No `sin, righteousness and judgement’ preaching here! And of course, no desperately-needed REPENTANCE for the lukewarm church, either.

As history shows, God must very often have entirely new leaders and a new movement to go with His new outpouring. This is what true “Reformation” has always been about. And sadly, whenever God is about to do something completely new, many leaders, feeling threatened, oppose it with every ounce of their being. This has unfortunately always been the way.

As Frank Bartleman noted, “A revival almost always begins amongst the laity. The ecclesiastical leaders seldom welcome reformation. History repeats itself…” And indeed, the history of the church is full of instances of respected Christian leaders persecuting the `new move’ of God. As has often been the case, today’s preachers are largely way too comfortable with the status quo. They have their cosy organizations and their church machinery, their governing bodies and their `keep the people happy’ routines. And God is about to “SHAKE” it all to such a degree that much of it will be literally `shaken to pieces’.

What God really needs in times of Revival are bold and anointed `Joshuas’, who will urge the people onward to “possess the land” – to `take the kingdom by force’. For God’s people in these last days are to be a people of war, and they must be led by men of war. And this is exactly the kind of leadership that He is about to raise up, to lead His people on in the coming great Revival.

SOULISHNESS IN THE CHURCH

For the past twenty years or so, I have had first-hand involvement with the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement. And I have to say that it has greatly saddened me over that time, to watch the gradual decline of this movement into what I felt was an evermore shallow, `feelings, emotions and experiences’-based Christianity. The preaching seemed to become ever-more laden with warm `positive-speak’ and hype, the music became ever-more slick and entertaining, and the people seemed to be more and more interested in `having a good time’, seeking a blessing, or seeking an emotional `touch from the Lord’, rather than seeking God for His own sake. The preachers and worship leaders obviously began to feel that they had to `entertain’ the people to keep them attending, and the people began to EXPECT to be entertained.

What this actually represents is a huge swing away from `Holy Spirit-based’ Christianity to a Christianity that is based in the “soul” area of man. As is well-known, the soul is the seat of man’s feelings and emotions, etc. What makes `soulish’ Christianity so dangerous is that mere feelings and emotions (which can come through just playing the right kind of music, or from any number of sources) begin to play a more and more pivotal role in the walk of the believer. He or she begins to rely on the weekly church service to get that emotional `lift’. A Christianity that starts to revolve around such feelings and experiences is wide open to deception (as history demonstrates again and again). The soul area of man is notorious for it’s ability to be manipulated. Any movement that cultivates “soulish” experiences is simply opening it’s people up to what could easily become demonic delusion. +This is why the Bible exhorts us to `be not carnally mind- ed’, and speaks of `death to self’, etc. The fallen soul area is the area that most needs to be `crucified’ in us.

This is not to say that we should become joy-less or `emotionless’ by any means! But what it does mean is that we need to be able to recognize and avoid soulish manipulation or false `spiritual’ experiences of this kind. We must seek to worship God `in spirit and in truth’, rather than with this kind of soulish excess. For where there is `soul-power’ operating, the devil will always get involved. Some of the most well-known cults, pagan religions, and New Age therapies, etc, revolve around soulish experiences that open people up to demonic forces. And as is well known, soul-power is also at the heart of witchcraft. This is real `Jezebel’ territory.

An intercessor that I know was recently given a very significant dream which relates directly to this subject. In it, she found herself in the “control room” of a large Pentecostal church. She was there because she was to lead the worship in the church that week, and she had already chosen the songs she felt were to be used. However, there was a woman in the control room – a rather `brazen’, painted, sensuously-dressed woman (Jezebel) – who acted as if she was in charge, and began to go through the songs, replacing many of them with her own choices. The intercessor then discovered that the songs this woman had chosen were very `sensuous’, off-colour, worldly songs! And this was supposed to be for the worship service! With righteous anger, she said to the woman, “This place is full of the spirit of Jezebel, and you’re more full of it than anyone!” The woman then sobbed pathetically (not out of repentance, but rather because she had been exposed – `Jezebel’ will often react in this way). When the intercessor asked the name of the pastor of the church, she was told that he was called `Pastor Greymouth’.

She believes that what God was showing her in this dream was that the strongman of `Compromise’ which is dominating much of today’s leadership, is allowing Jezebel to bring her sensuous, controlling influence into the church, and this is seen particularly in the worship. (Remembering that `sensuous’ means “appealing to the senses”).

Along with the rise of `soulishness’ in the church over the past twenty years or more, have come a whole raft of new methods and techniques for keeping the people “happy and involved” with the church. It seems like hardly a year has gone by without the arrival of some `new, improved’ church growth technique or youth programme. After all, the people must be kept “entertained”, mustn’t they? The church has been loaded down with man-made activities, methods and seminars, all organized, funded and run according to the “brilliant ideas” of men, and yet claiming the blessing of God’s hand. Let’s be honest here. Very little of this has been God’s idea at all. Like almost everything in the church today, much of it has been essentially man-pleasing, man-centred and man-entertaining.

In a very real way, today’s blind, “Laodicean” church could well be likened to a crippled, cancer-ridden woman who has learnt how to apply clothes and make-up in such a way as to disguise her terrible condition, and has convinced herself that if she keeps up the “blessings”, keeps herself active and puts on a good outward `show’, then all will be well. “I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” is her cry, but much of her `happy’ organizing feels ominously like `re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic’ to me. Like the Emporer with his new clothes, it matters little how active we are, or how much “noise” we make, the fact is, today’s church is, in reality, utterly spiritually naked. And only when the great `shaking’ and Reformation come, will the full extent of this nakedness be revealed.

As stated previously, the Laodicean church will clearly have no part in the coming move of God. Rather, as has occurred many times down through history, God is going to bring a cleansed and purified “remnant” out from the current church system, `tried as by fire’, to help gather in the great end-times harvest. Before this great Revival truly begins, however, I believe that the Laodicean church will be given one last chance to repent. God will raise up ministries and `voices’ to call the lukewarm church to her knees, and then out onto the streets. I believe that many will heed this call and will repent before it is too late. God will bring them out onto the streets, to become part of the great “street-Revival” that is about to explode around the world. In many ways, it could be said that the coming `harvest’ will first begin within the church. This has always been the way. True Revival has always been aimed firstly at “reviving” God’s wayward people, and then sending them out with great power to display His grace and glory to a dying world. And so, repentance must first begin with the Christians.

However, there will also be many who will refuse to heed this `repentance’ message, thereby placing themselves in severe danger of imminent judgement. It surely cannot be long before all that God has promised is fulfilled, and judgement truly “begins at the house of God”. In fact, it is my belief that this time is now very near. The stormclouds are gathered, and a great `dividing’ or polarisation is about to occur in the church. No-one will be able to sit on the fence. They will have to choose whether to cling to Laodicea, or throw in their lot with the `violent’, controversial, new “upstart” preachers. Such has always been the choice facing God’s people in times of Revival. However, because we are in the `last days’, I believe that this time the two groups will be even more clearly distinguished and separated than usual, just like `tares and wheat’ (Mt 13). One group will go on to great blessing, and the other to certain judgement. I do not believe that God can live with a Laodicean church. And all over the world, God has been saying that this judgement is now `imminent’, even at the doors. The tremendous “SHAKING” of the church is about to begin.

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Chapter Three.
RELIGIOUS EXTREMES:- LEGALISM vs. LICENCE.

Human beings are unfortunately creatures of extremes, and the devil has used this many, many times over the centuries to bind and deceive the church. If he cannot push us too far one way, then he will try to push us as far as he can in the opposite di- rection. There are many different forms of bondage and deception that the church has succumbed to over the years. Two of the most prevalent of these have been in the area of “religious” extremes: Pharisee- style legalism and spiritual pride on the one hand, and “hyper-grace”, the casting off of restraint, and `experience- centred’ Christianity on the other.

Over the past ten years or so, there has been a tremendous amount of teaching exposing the “legalism” side of religion, and this has been a very good thing. However, not surprisingly, the pendulum seems to have now swung right over to the opposite extreme, particularly in many Pentecostal/Charismatic churches, and we are now seeing what I believe is an equally dangerous over-emphasis: Hyper-liberty or `hyper-grace’ teaching, which can also lead to great error (as it has done many times down through history).

The purpose of this chapter is to expose in detail the often- subtle (yet deadly) snares of the devil at both extremes of this religious spectrum. It is interesting to note that both extremes are largely just a distortion of good, solid Christian truths. The `legalism/condemnation’ extreme is often just a harsh distortion of true repentance/holiness teaching, while the `hyper- grace’ extreme is largely a distortion of true teaching on the liberty that we have in Christ, etc. What happens is that these genuine truths are pushed to extremes through over-emphasis, and they end up becoming so unbalanced that they in fact become dangerous error. Even though the `hyper-grace’ extreme is the one that I believe is currently predominant in many churches, I do want to take a detailed look at both extremes, beginning with the “legalism” side.

The most well-known proponents of this `legalistic’ form of religion were, of course, the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ time. Many people think that the legalism of the Pharisees largely just revolved around `tradition’, but there was far more to it than that. Religion of this kind is often very subtle, taking on a large variety of shapes and forms. Jesus spoke of it as being like `leaven’, which spreads like a cancer until everything it touches is affected. I think that many Christians would be very surprised at the degree to which Pharisee-type religion has been present in the modern church, in one form or another. It is truly deadly stuff! This section is designed to expose many of these aspects of legalistic religion that have so influenced the church in modern times.

Without a doubt, one of the most obvious elements of pharisaic religion is “conservatism” (a love of the old ways, and a resistance to anything new). It is apparent that there are still many Christians (though far less than there used to be) who have still not come to terms with the 1960′s, let alone the 1990′s. Their Christianity is still greatly oriented towards a “respectable, middle class, conservative” approach to life, and they tend to judge people (particularly the youth) by whether or not their hairstyles, their clothes, or their music styles, etc, conform to their own rather drab, conservative standards. In other words, they are tremendously prone to judging people by their `outward appearance’ rather than by the `heart’. To them, these outward factors are issues of the utmost importance.

What impression do worldly people get when they enter the churches of such Christians? (Remembering that these visitors may well be gang members, drug addicts, New Agers, etc). All too often, I believe that the impression they get is that the only type of people God really likes are the sugary-”nice”, neatly dressed, clean-cut, respectable kind. They get the feeling that they would first of all have to change the way they dress, the way they express themselves, their hairstyle, their whole way of doing things, before they could ever come and be truly accepted by God. Because, as everyone knows, God only likes “nice, respectable” people, doesn’t He?

And tell me, what is the unspoken message that some church leaders are still sending out today? Isn’t it that you must be slick, well-dressed and (usually) Bible-college trained if you want to minister in front of others? These are just some of the lies that still influence many peoples’ view of Christianity. And very often they have been passed on without us even opening our mouths! Many worldly people still see Bible-believing Christianity as being dreary, conservative and backward-looking. (Either that, or rather “weird”). It just doesn’t seem `relevant’ to them at all. I tell you now, such unspoken messages are going to change in the coming Revival. In fact, in many ways they will be the exact opposite of what they have been. What people are really looking for is a relevant, down to earth, yet miraculous and Spirit- filled Christianity. This is what the early Church had, and this is exactly what the coming move of God will bring in also.

It is very clear from the Scriptures that Jesus deliberately identified Himself with the poor and the “sinners” during His time on earth. Both He and His message were extremely `relevant’ to the street-level people of His time. Born in a filthy stable, He also chose to die the death of a common criminal, strung up between two thieves on a wooden cross. The Pharisees bitterly criticized Him during His ministry for His apparent `lax-ness’ in enforcing the religious codes of conduct on His followers. Jesus didn’t seem strict enough, or outwardly “holy” enough for them! He didn’t look right, He didn’t dress right, and He didn’t sound right, and His disciples were even worse! What a motley, low-life bunch they must have seemed to the cultured, educated religious leaders of their day! After all, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”

The Pharisees spoke scathingly of Jesus as being a “friend of sinners”. But Jesus didn’t mind. He had come to `seek and save that which was lost’. He said, “John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, `He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating AND DRINKING, and they say, `Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds” (Mt 11:18-19). Jesus was a friend of the common people. He spent most of His time with them, sharing both their joys and their sorrows. He understood them and spoke their language. It was the religious types who persecuted Him the most. Eventually they crucified Him.

Like many Revivals, I believe that the coming one will meet the same kind of response as always from the religious and the judgemental. John Wesley was scathingly denounced in his day: “… He and his lay-lubbers – his ragged legion of preaching tinkers, scavengers, draymen and chimney sweepers, etc. – go forth to poison the minds of men.” Wesley’s policy was much the same as that of the Salvation Army: “… go always not only to those who need you, but to those who need you most.” His was also a `street movement’ in every sense of the term. And it was Wesley (along with Martin Luther and William Booth) who was quoted as saying, “Why should the devil have all the best music?” These men wanted a Christianity that was vital and relevant to the street-level people of their day. That is why they used the `pub’ music of their time for their praise and battle hymns!

To me, one sign that someone may have a legalistic `religious’ stronghold in their life is that they cannot see how God could possibly use today’s Rock music in any way. In fact, these people are no different to the religionists who opposed the early Salvation Army’s music on exactly the same grounds. What they are often guilty of is judging this style of music by it’s `outward appearance’, rather than seeing how the changed `heart’ of it could be greatly used to glorify God. In actual fact, I cannot think of a better form of music to use for `battle-hymns’ myself!

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES

It is still true of much of Christendom today that “keeping up appearances” has become an integral part of many believers’ lives. All too often, new converts seem to get the impression that the first thing they need to learn about the Christian walk is how to look and act “the part” in front of others. They seem to conclude that it is the `outward’ things that really matter. And so, to fit in, they begin to unconsciously obey our unspoken list of modern Christian do’s and don’ts: Thou shalt smile and look `loving’ at every opportunity in church, thou shalt raise your hands and clap with everyone else (lest they think that something is `wrong’ with you), thou shalt not smoke, say “sh_t”, or pick thy nose, thou shalt look and act like a “good Christian” at all times. What are we passing on to these new converts? Very simply, we are establishing within them what has, in many cases, become one of the great foundations of modern Christianity: `PRETENSE’ (ie. How to put on a good `outward show’).

In the Bible, pretense was known by another name: “HYPOCRISY”. Jesus said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like white- washed graves, which indeed appear beautiful on the outside, but within are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Mt 23:27). It is still true today that many of our churches are quite literally packed with “great pretenders” – people who know how to dress nicely, to smile warmly and say `bless you’, to seem outwardly like real, `spiritually together’ Christians – yet who have little deep relationship with God at all. The church has been like this for years. Surely this is nothing less than Pharisee-style hypocrisy wrapped in a modern cloak?

In much of modern Christendom, this kind of pretense is still considered to be “normal”. Many believers have been pretending to be “good Christians” for so long now that they have actually come to believe their own lie! Whenever they are around other Chris- tians, they suddenly become unbearably “nice”, joyful and `loving’. This is not true, `Holy Spirit’ love at all, but rather an out-and-out, self-manufactured forgery. I call this `pseudo’ or false love. It has nothing to do with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is totally manufactured. And who could deny that this kind of pretense is right through today’s church? I am convinced that false love, false humility, and false spiritually are still rampant throughout Christendom today. Having to be “seen” to do and say all the right things, etc, is still one of the great strongholds of Pharisee-type religion affecting modern Christians.

I am convinced that what God really wants is a people who, rather than being “great pretenders”, are actually one hundred percent `real’ in every way (ie. no pretense at all). In fact, I believe that God wants us to be truly transparent, not only in our words, but also in the way we act around others. We are to be “real”, down-to-earth people in a world that is crying out for reality and truth. Putting on a false `Christian’ front is actually just another form of dishonesty or lying.

The idea that `walking in love’ involves being unbearably “nice” to everybody all the time is also, I believe, one of the most harmful and false things about modern Christianity. Because this kind of “love” is so desperate not to offend anyone, it often ends up compromising the truth just to keep people happy. In 1 Cor 13:6 we are told that true Holy Spirit love “does not re- joice with iniquity, but rejoices with the truth”. This is a good test. Very often, today’s Christians are afraid to strongly challenge sin or lukewarmness in the church, because to do so would be “unloving”. And so they compromise the truth by staying silent when they should be speaking out. The fact is, this is not true “love” at all. It is compromise! True `Holy Spirit’ love will always care enough to speak vital truth, even if some people may be offended by it. After all, it is better to risk offending others, than to risk them going to hell. We see this principle at work many times in Jesus’ own ministry.

You can be sure that those whom God is going to use in the coming Revival will be extremely “real”, down-to-earth type people. They will also be absolutely fearless in `speaking the truth in love’ without compromise, no matter what the cost. They will be tremendously misunderstood and persecuted at times, but will literally “love not their lives unto the death”. This will be God’s holy army – a glorious, spotless Bride, totally befitting a husband who is the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords. As I have said before, many of these cleansed and anointed `Bridal’ war- riors will seem quite rough and `unsuitable’ to many people from the outside, but to God it is the “inside” that counts. (Remembering that some of His greatest apostles were rather `rough’ ex- fishermen, etc). On the inside, these men and women will have been washed “whiter than snow”, and they will walk with total transparency and heart purity before God. Their one desire will be to love and glorify Him with all their `heart, mind, soul and strength’. And they will go forth with great power, “destroying the works of the devil” in His name.

THE DAM BURSTS

Some time ago, an intercessor sent me a copy of a vision that she had had, in which a huge dam that was holding back a vast quantity of water, crumbled from the top downwards, layer by layer, thereby releasing a great flood of water. God had shown her that the dam in the vision was “man’s structure”, which was holding back His appointed ministries (and His anointing) from flooding out over the nation. At the appointed time, this structure will be unable to hold back the `bursting forth’ of ministries that God has ordained for the last days. These will be ministries that have been in hidden preparation for years, awaiting God’s time.

Who could deny that today’s church structures do indeed seem almost purpose-designed to largely thwart God’s purposes for His people? In fact, I would go as far as to say that the devil himself could hardly have thought up a better way of keeping the church bound and in chains, than our present church structures and set-up! Essentially, what we still have today is a “priesthood/laity” system, in which a small number of men are sent off to Bible college to gain knowledge, degrees and diplomas, and are then appointed to be the professional, “qualified” leaders of church congregations. This is totally unscriptural. In fact, it would be very doubtful whether many of the original apostles would have even been able to pass today’s entrance exams, let alone gain a full `degree in divinity’ or diploma of theology!

The “priesthood/laity” system was greatly used of the devil to keep the Catholic church in bondage for centuries. As soon as you have one man, or a small group of men appointed as “professionals” to run everything, then much of the simplicity and the vitality of primitive Christianity is lost. The church itself (not the “accredited” Bible-college system) is supposed to be a perpetual breeding ground for new, anointed ministries to be continuously rising up, “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit”. (See for example, the cases of Philip and Stephen, in the book of Acts). In today’s church, however, the “qualified professionals” tend to run around doing everything (for this is what they’re paid to do, after all!) while the congregation sit and watch. Anyone who is likely to bring a truly convicting or `uncomfort- able’ message is not welcome to speak because the leadership have a vested interest in keeping everything “running” smoothly. The people must be kept `happy’ after all! (Lest they go someplace else).

What we have today is really a whole bunch of “happiness clubs” rather than real churches. The people pay their `fees’ and sit back while the “professionals” do the work. We have ruined the church by turning her into something that she was never meant to be: an `institution’. And institutions almost always feel threat- ened by large-scale change or Reformation. It is very clear from what God has been saying, that He has no desire to merely “revamp” today’s church structures. They are well past that kind of remedy. He cannot afford to have the new Revival ruined by being crammed into the old, suffocating `boxes’. Rather, He is simply going to “spew” these structures out of His mouth (along with all who choose to cling to them). This is not an idle threat. In fact, as I have already said, I believe that this great “shaking” is very near now.

THE MANY GUISES OF “PHARISEE-TYPE” RELIGION

So far in our discussion of this `legalistic’ religious extreme, we have spoken about conservatism, `keeping up appearances’, and also some of the evils of the present religious structures and systems, etc. The following is a list of some of the other major strongholds of Pharisee-type religion that have greatly affected the church in modern times:

1. SPIRITUAL PRIDE. This is the “biggie” from which many others spring. Basically, spiritual pride is an attitude of self- satisfaction, based on the fact that we do all the “right” things, or believe the “right” doctrines, or belong to the “right” church or stream, etc. It is the opposite of being `poor in spirit’ (ie. recognizing one’s own spiritual poverty). And it often tends to look down rather smugly upon others who don’t seem as outwardly `spiritual’ or correct, or perhaps don’t belong to the same `group’ as we do.

2. JUDGEMENTALISM. Closely related to spiritual pride, this basically involves judging people by outward appearances, rather than discerning the `heart’. The Scriptures tell us that “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). This is a very important point to grasp. Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Mt 7:1). Judgemental people often harshly `categorise’ people by the way they look or the `group’ they belong to, etc, rather than whether or not they have a real heart after God. There is often little `mercy’ in their attitude. They also tend to “strain at gnats” (judging others over small, trivial points of law, etc).

3. LEGALISM. This involves imposing rules, laws, or “do’s and don’t's” upon oneself or others (even unconsciously) from the `outside’. (True change occurs when the Holy Spirit transforms people from within). Legalism concentrates on correcting outward things by making little “laws” against them, but this has no value whatsoever in God’s eyes (for He is concerned about purifying men’s “hearts” first and foremost). Legalism can be strict and condemning. It often involves using the Scriptures as a kind of `rule-book’ (which is an Old Testament approach. The New Testament advocates `heart purity’ and being `led by the Spirit’ instead).

Two examples of Old Testament laws that are often imposed today are Tithing and Sabbath-keeping. However, the New Testament is very clear: “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Gal 5:18. See also Col 2:14-17, Rom 8:1-16, etc). This is why I believe that many of today’s Morals Campaigners and Christian Politicians are actually achieving very little for God’s kingdom at all. They are seeking to pass laws that may change people outwardly, but will never cleanse their hearts.

4. KNOWLEDGE. This is often a great source of spiritual pride. Those who have gained extensive knowledge of the Bible or of certain doctrines or teachings, can tend to look down upon others who don’t have the same `understanding’ as themselves. They seem to forget that Jesus chose most of His disciples from amongst the poor and uneducated members of society. It was the Pharisees who were famed for their study and technical knowledge of the Scriptures, and their arguments over quite trivial doctrines and theories, etc.

There is nothing wrong with reading and seeking to understand the Bible, but it is important to remember that it is not just by study or reasoning that we discover the hidden truths of God, but by revelation from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2:4-16). Remember, the Pharisees killed the very Messiah that they had been theorizing and studying about for years! (See Jn 5:39-47). “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Cor 8:1). Spiritual knowledge of any kind has the potential to puff us up with pride, and this can be very subtle. Those who have received great revelation, etc, from God are likewise in great danger and must beware of pride creeping in. Secretly regarding oneself as a kind of `spiritual expert’ in any area can be extremely dangerous. And judging people primarily by what is in their `head’ rather than their heart is still wide-spread in modern Christianity.

5. LOVING THE “CHIEF SEATS”. Jesus said of the Pharisees that they “loved the chief seats in the synagogues”, etc. They loved to be `seen’ to be persons of real spiritual importance. This was a source of great pride to them. (They also loved to be “seen” praying long, `holy’ prayers and giving money to the poor, etc. These things are not wrong in themselves, but it is the MOTIVES behind them that are important). Many Christians even today love to put on a “holy, loving and humble” act in front of others. There are also many who love to be `seen’ associating with the “famous visiting speaker” or sitting on special chairs on the platform, etc. Again, MOTIVES are the important thing here.

6. FLESHLY STRIVING. This is a very common one, especially for the more active or `zealous’ Christians or leaders. I am speaking here of the kind of people who are always busy “doing” things for God, and who often look down on others who don’t seem quite as `devoted’ as they are. They are often working very hard for one particular Christian organization, striving to “make the vision happen”. They honestly believe that they are `pleasing God’ through all their efforts, their activities, their zeal and their good works, etc.

In actual fact, large numbers of these Christians are serving `Religion’ rather than God. Jesus said that the Pharisees would “compass land and sea” to make one convert. THEY were `busy for God’ as well! There is no “rest” in this kind of striving. People who are caught up in it often feel guilty if they are not “out there, doing something for God”. This can eventually lead to total burn-out. Jesus clearly told His disciples to wait until they were “endued with power from on high” before they went out to evangelise. But those who are into striving cannot bear to `wait’. And thus they end up serving “Religion” instead of God. The religious striving that I am speaking of here is anything that works hard to please God using man’s own methods, efforts or abilities.

7. ASCETICISM. This can be a particularly dangerous religious deception. It basically revolves around the idea that we can make ourselves more “holy” simply by denying our body of food, rest, etc. Again, it is an `outwardly- centred’ doctrine. It focuses attention on bodily self-denial rather than on true “holiness and purity of heart”. And again it is a distortion of true Biblical practice (genuine Spirit-led fasting, etc). Those who have fallen under this delusion often believe that if they can bring their body under more and more `subjection’ through fasting, suffering and other forms of self-denial, then they will be able to conquer their base desires and become more “pure”. This is actually no different to what many Hindu gurus teach, and in it’s extreme form it will open a Christian up to real demonic bondage and deception.

Self-control is a good thing, but even extremes of “keeping one’s body under” can never truly bring about `death’ to our fallen desires. These desires actually have their roots deep within our hearts and souls, not merely in our physical bodies. If we wish to truly deal with them, then we must use SPIRITUAL weapons, rather than mere bodily self-denial (for this will actually achieve little, long-term). As the apostle Paul said, “Why do you submit to regulations, `Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch’…? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigour of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh” (Col 2:20-23). We will discuss the use of true, effective “SPIRITUAL” weapons in dealing with our fallen desires and other `strongholds’ in our lives, at the end of this chapter.

8. CONDEMNATION. This is a feeling of heaviness or despair, a feeling of “never being good enough” to meet God’s high expectations. It is very different from being `convicted’ of specific sins by the Holy Spirit, which leads to Godly sorrow and repentance. Condemnation occurs when we come under “law”, and begin to concentrate on the outward things that we do, rather than on the state of our heart before God. It can sometimes be caused by “heavy” preaching on sin, holiness, etc, that does not carry the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Such preaching brings only spiritual `death’: “The letter kills but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3:6). The working of the Holy Spirit is required to truly expose men’s hearts and bring to light any sin in their lives.

Although it is a well-known fact that almost all of the best- known Revivalists used to deliberately preach searching, convict- ing sermons on “sin, righteousness and judgement”, it must also be remembered that these men always preached under the mighty anointing of the Holy Spirit. It was not uncommon for them to preach with tears streaming down their faces. On one occasion, Charles Finney said: “… it seemed to myself as if I could rain hail and love upon them at the same time; or in other words, that I could rain upon them hail in love… I felt like rebuking them with all my heart and yet with a compassion which they could not mistake. I never knew that they accused me of severity, although I think I never spoke with more severity in my life.”

I have come across a number of Christians who seem to be experts at bringing condemnation into people’s lives. They quite often have the “severity” of Charles Finney, yet entirely lack the genuine `Revival’ anointing that is absolutely essential for this kind of ministry. Such Christians are also often greatly lacking in the `fruit of the Spirit’ (love, joy, peace, etc), both in their preaching and in their own personal lives. Over a period of time, they will bring heaviness, condemnation and domination into the lives of others (rather than deep repentance, liberty and joy). Such people will invariably have huge `Religious’ strongholds in their lives, which must be completely smashed if they are ever to be truly used of God.

9. DOMINATION AND CONTROL. There are still groups around with heavy, controlling leaders, who expect unthinking `submission’ from their flock. True, Godly leaders, who walk under His anointing, do not need to use such tactics to maintain their authority. They rely on God to show His approval of their words and ministry. There are still Pastors around today who have used charm, natural ability, charisma, personality (in other words, “soul power”) and sometimes even control and manipulation to gain them prestige and power over others. Until recently, such men of- ten employed the heavy “Covering/Submission” doctrine (which taught that all Christians have to be in abject `submission’ to their Pastor – no matter what) to maintain control of the flock. This doctrine has since been widely recognized as an extremely dangerous `twisting’ of true Scriptural teaching. (In fact, it has been so thoroughly refuted in the past ten years or so that there now seems to be a massive swing over to the other extreme, leaving a `vacuum’ of true, Godly authority in the church – the kind of vacuum that the devil loves to exploit. More on this later).

No doubt there are still numerous churches today with relatively `heavy’, dominating, legalistic leaders. However, the number of these has certainly declined greatly over the past ten years or so. This heavy `submission’ doctrine definitely helped perpetuate the current “Priesthood/Laity” system (which in essence, divides Christians irrevocably into two `classes’). Today, there are oth- er forces at work, reinforcing and exploiting this `class’ system in different ways, but the result always ensures one thing: that the church remains bound in darkness and defeat (and yet is convinced that she is walking in abundant freedom and `light’!)

10. SECTARIANISM. This is a kind of strong devotion or attachment to one’s own group, `stream’ or denomination, rather than to the body of Christ as a whole. `Sectarian’ people often tend to look down on those who are not “one of them”. They often firmly believe that THEIR church or THEIR stream is somehow the best, and they love to highlight the (often trivial) differences between their particular group and all the others. Some of them even delight in mocking the others behind their backs, or `baiting’ or provoking them with doctrinal questions, etc. (Actually, an enjoyment of such religious debates is an almost sure sign of the presence of a sizable religious `stronghold’ in a person’s life. This is what the Bible is warning of when it speaks of those who are `contentious’ or given to strife, etc).

Christendom today is still full of people who are busy building and promoting their own group or leader at the expense of all the others. What they are doing, in fact, is promoting DIVISION in the Body of Christ. When they do this, these people are not primarily serving GOD’S kingdom at all, but rather whatever `human’ kingdom they have aligned themselves with. And all of these kingdoms carry a different “label”. As I have said before, God is going to bring about true unity in the coming Revival by bringing His people out from under all these `labels’ and divisions.

11. ENVY. It is interesting to note that the Bible says that the Chief Priests delivered Jesus up to be killed because of their “envy” of Him (Mk 15:10, etc). What an incredibly subtle yet destructive evil such `envy’ is! The Chief Priests and religious leaders of Jesus’ time were obviously envious of His fame, His anointing and authority, and His influence amongst the people. And it was largely from this motive that they schemed and plotted for months to try to discredit or destroy Him. This was the REAL reason behind much of their slander and opposition to His ministry. (Though it is doubtful that they even realized that this was their true motivation. Envy is very difficult to discern, even within one’s own heart. Deadly stuff!) And this will be the REAL reason behind much of the opposition to the coming Revival, also.

Anyone who is truly anointed and given influence or authority by God can often expect slander and persecution from others. This has always been the way. Often, the most bitter opposition will come from men who were desiring to be greatly used of God them- selves, thus proving that the real motive behind their desire was essentially “selfish ambition”, rather than an overwhelming passion to see God glorified. Often such men will also find themselves secretly pleased to hear of the demise or fall of some prominent ministry that they were secretly envious of. How sick and depraved the human heart can be! We must all beware of these kinds of motives operating in our own hearts and lives.

12. TRADITION. We have already touched on a number of the “traditions of men” associated with today’s church: The importance placed on degrees and diplomas from Bible college, the `priesthood/laity’ system, our often lavish church buildings (which are really just modern “cathedrals”), not to mention our many harmful traditions in music, evangelism and preaching, etc. Jesus said of the scribes and Pharisees that “in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mk 7:7).

Just think for a moment, how much of a `routine’ even we Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians have developed over the years. We still all dress up and go to our “Cathedral” once or twice a week, where we sit down, then stand up to sing our “five fast songs followed by five slow songs” (either clapping or raising our hands, depending on the type of song). After about the third `slow’ song, there will usually be a hush for a while (sometimes with `singing in the Spirit’, which will have been completely rehearsed by the musicians). We then sit down for the sermon, after which there is a `ministry’ time, we stand up for a few more songs, place our money in the offering bag, listen to the notices and go home. Week-in and week-out, it is almost always the same. Real “Early church” material! (I think not). And we dare to call the other churches `traditional’?

One very obvious tradition that has had a central place in Chris- tendom over many centuries (though not in the beginning) is the fact that our church life so greatly revolves around one particular day of the week (usually Sunday). This may seem like a minor point to some, but many of the errors of today’s church system have direct links with the whole concept of a “Sabbath- based” Christianity. A number of the early Pentecostal Revivalists also recognized this. Frank Bartleman wrote: “… we drift back continually into the old, backslidden, ecclesiastical conceptions, forms and ceremonies. Thus history sadly ever repeats itself. Now we must work up an annual revival. We go to church on Sundays, etc, etc, just `like the nations (churches) round about us.’ But in the beginning it was not so.”

In the book of Acts, the Jerusalem believers gathered DAILY in the huge, open- air temple courtyard. I believe that in the coming Revival, God is going to bring His people right away from “Sunday-based” Christianity, and it will be vital that we stay away. Otherwise the new move of God will very quickly become just another `denomination’, competing just as all the others do today – holding their meetings all at about the same time each week, so that the Christians are forced to choose which “division” or which “label” they will join. It was the famous Christian writer John Bunyan who declared: “Since you desire to know by what name I wish to be called, I desire, if God should count me worthy, to be called a Christian, a believer, or any other name sanctioned by the Holy Ghost. But as for those factious titles, such as Anabaptists, etc, I believe they came neither from Jerusalem nor Antioch, but rather from hell and Babylon, for they naturally tend to divisions, and ye may know them by their fruits.”

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As we have seen, those in the church today who find themselves at the “legalistic” end of the religious scale often tend, like the Pharisees, to be the more `active’ or zealous believers. It is very easy for such people to begin to place their “trust” in the fact that they belong to the right church or movement, or that they are so zealous in performing their `Christian duties’: going to meetings, organizing church activities, witnessing, tithing, etc. Even the fact that they read their Bibles more regularly than others can be a source of subtle (yet deadly) spiritual pride. They often tend to look down on those who don’t seem as outwardly “devoted” as they are.

Much of this legalistic form of religion involves `good’ things done from wrong motives. Many of these people are unconsciously trying to “work” or use their own efforts to become more pleasing to God, rather than relying solely on the cleansing blood of Christ. In their hearts there is secret pride and judgementalism, because they feel that their outward `efforts and duties’ make them somehow “better Christians” than the others. This is truly the `leaven of the Pharisees’ in all it’s deadly subtlety.

OPPOSITE RELIGIOUS EXTREMES

As we have seen, the results of legalistic or “Pharisee-type” religion are: condemnation, heaviness, domination, striving, men- pleasing, etc. This kind of religion is tremendously concerned with outward or `external’ Christian activity. It twists and distorts people’s motivation for doing genuinely `good’ things like reading their Bible, seeking true holiness, fasting, etc. And it results in a very harsh, unbalanced Christianity. When the Holy Spirit is truly moving, the balanced, Scriptural Christianity that results is one of genuine conviction of sin, Godly sorrow, deep repentance, release, liberty, joy, love, true holiness, etc. This is the Christianity of the New Testament, and also of the coming move of God. Legalism will certainly have no place in the coming Revival. But neither will the opposite religious extreme – `hyper-grace’, hyper-liberty or the “casting off of restraint”.

As stated earlier, it seems to me that over the past ten years or so, due to the fact that the dangers of `legalism’ have been recognized more and more by the churches, the pendulum has swung right over to the other extreme. As I said, if the devil cannot push us too far one way, then he will often try to push as far as he can in the opposite direction. There are demonic spirits behind both of these extremes. (Probably both ends use largely the same spirits. I doubt whether they mind which end we Christians are pushed to, just so long as we are pushed to one extreme or the other. At either end, deception and bondage await). At times, with movements that have fallen into error, there can be a rather strange mixture of certain aspects of `legalism’ alongside `hyper- liberty’ teaching. It is amazing what the devil can use to deceive us Christians at times.

When I speak of hyper-grace or hyper-liberty teaching, what I am speaking of is basically an emphasis that is at the exact opposite extreme to legalism. In fact, very often it is essentially a “reaction” against Pharisee-style legalism and all that goes with it. I believe that the hyper-grace emphasis that has had such a great effect on the church over the last ten years or so is largely a reaction against all the heavy domination, legalism and abuse of power that held sway (particularly in Pente- costal circles) throughout much of the seventies and early eighties. While it could be said that legalism essentially involves “judgement without mercy”, it could equally be said that `hyper- grace’ largely brings in the opposite extreme: “mercy without judgement”. In other words, this emphasis (or should I say, `unbalanced over-emphasis’) revolves far too much around all the `positive’ things like liberty, grace, joy, blessings, total freedom, etc.

The result of this hyper-grace teaching is the exact opposite of what legalism brings: Instead of `heaviness’ and condemnation, we get an increasing amount of spiritual `license’ or casting off of restraint amongst Christians. What is happening here is that, while legalism errs in it’s excessive emphasis on the “letter” (using Scriptures as `laws’, etc), hyper-grace or hyper-liberty often errs in it’s excessive emphasis on the “Spirit” (blessings, freedom, experiences, healings, `touches’, etc). In other words, solid Scriptural teaching on repentance, `taking up the cross’, holiness and other basic, `meaty’ subjects is toned down or totally de-emphasised, and in it’s place, spiritual experiences, total liberty in Christ, `inner healing’, etc, are brought to the fore.

In many ways this whole scenario could be likened very much to what took place in the youth culture of the late 1960′s. The young people of that time obviously felt “shackled” by the con- straints and conservatism of their parents’ generation and decid- ed to break free of these shackles entirely, giving full vent to their youthful urges, etc. At first, this must have seemed like a refreshing change, but it wasn’t long before these new doctrines of `true freedom and liberty’ amongst the youth began to get dangerously out of hand. All the old authority figures, the old standards, the old values, began to be simply rejected and tossed away – all in the name of “true liberty”. The new value system was really very simple: `If it feels good do it, give in to your impulses, cast off restraint, be free’! This was clearly no long- er just innocent youthful exuberance. It had now entered into the realm of out-and-out `lawlessness’ or rebellion. And many of the most damaging and poisonous errors of modern society (which have led to untold misery and deception for millions of people) can now be traced directly back to this so-called `liberty revolution’ of the sixties. (Mass drug use, `free love’, legalised abortion, hyper-feminism, the New Age, etc).

Some may feel that I am stretching things too far by comparing the current hyper-grace or hyper-liberty emphasis in the church, with the `liberty revolution’ of the late sixties. However, there are in fact many similarities between the two. Both seemingly began as a “reaction” against former constraint and conservatism. Both have involved new teaching on `true freedom and liberty’, and a casting off of the old constraints. Both have brought in an era where the old `authorities’ (ie. the Scriptures, and good, old-fashioned `common-sense’) no longer necessarily have the real say over what is “acceptable” or not. And both have brought in an era where `experiences’ are often valued more highly than anything the `old authorities’ had to say. Because of this last aspect, in the late sixties the devil was able to bring a tide of demonic Eastern religious beliefs and experiences flooding into the West on an unprecedented scale. It was a massive victory for the devil, and we are still living with the results of this demonic tide in the West today. This would never have been possible without the `hyper-liberty’ emphasis of the youth culture of that time.

I just want to make one thing very clear at this point: I am not against genuine teaching on the true liberty that we have in Christ. What I am against is the extreme over-emphasis of this genuine `Christian liberty’ doctrine. If only today’s grace teaching was truly balanced with an emphasis on deep repentance, `taking up the cross’, genuine holiness, Scriptural authority, etc, then I am sure that things would not have reached such a dangerous extreme. There can be no doubt about the deadliness of such religious extremes. There are demonic forces at work here. While it could be said that the `legalistic’ extreme brings Christians under bondage to `Pharisaical’ spirits, it could also be stated that `hyper-liberty’ is almost certain to bring Christians under bondage to `Jezebel’-type spirits. All the hallmarks are there. Wherever there is the “casting off of authority and restraint” to any real degree, `Jezebel’ will always get involved (especially when it is amongst God’s people). She loves to move in on the vacuum created by the diluting or compromising of true spiritual authority (in this case, of the Scriptures as well as the leadership).

In the story of the reign of Israel’s king Ahab, it is clear that the queen-witch Jezebel took great advantage of the vacuum created by the king’s spiritual compromise and insipid leadership to begin to manipulate and control him (and the entire nation through him). “Doctrines of demons” gradually took over, in the form of open Baal-worship. It is interesting to note that Elijah was the one who was raised up and anointed by God to oppose and destroy the power of Jezebel in the nation. The same thing is about to occur in our day when the new `Elijah’ ministries are raised up and anointed by God. There can be no denying that compromise, the diluting of true spiritual authority, soulishness and the `casting off of restraint’ create a literal “Jezebel’s playground” in the church. As I said before, all her hallmarks are now present in many of our churches.

It is interesting to note what occurred when the great leader Moses was called away by God to the top of Mount Sinai for a period. The devil eagerly exploited the vacuum of spiritual authority created by Moses’ absence, and the weak, compromising lead- ers who remained (Aaron and the others) were easily deluded into leading the people into great spiritual error (idolatry, etc). “… and the people sat down to eat and drink, AND ROSE UP TO PLAY” (Ex 32:6). This is certainly a very relevant example of `casting off restraint’. It is also interesting to note the comments of the great Revival leader John Wesley on one occasion: “ALMOST AS SOON AS I WAS GONE two or three began to take their imaginations for impressions from God. Meantime, a flood of reproach came upon me almost from every quarter…”

As we see from these examples, when true spiritual authority is “absent” from the scene, God’s people become easy prey for the devil’s deception. It is my belief that many of today’s Christian leaders who have imbibed the hyper-grace emphasis, have essentially reacted against the old `straight-laced’ style of Christian leadership, and have instead gone right over to the other extreme (ie. they have become populist or over-accomodating, wanting to be seen as modern,`hip’, and dynamic. Thus “authority” has become a dirty word).

This, along with the subtle down-grading of the Scriptures as a kind of `final authority’, has resulted in a huge “absence” of real authority in the church, which the devil has been quick to exploit. Fruits of this modern “cool” Christianity are: Worldliness, rebellion, compromise, pride, etc.

The Scripture, “they sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” has, in recent years, become very applicable to large sections of the modern church. Many of our young people in particu- lar have never known anything else but a kind of shallow, “good times” Christianity. They can often be found `raging it up large’ at modern youth events and concerts, not because they are just so `passionate’ in their deep worship of God, but rather because they really enjoy riding the shallow “buzz” of the music, etc. Let me be very clear here: This whole “cool” thing comes from the `spirit of this world’, not from God.

And it is not just the youth who have succumbed to this shallow “partying” spirit. Many of the older ones have now also given themselves over to it. Anyone who objects to this “party-time” emphasis in the church is soon labelled sneeringly as being `legalistic’ or judgemental. Like the youth of the sixties, we are now being told to just `let go’, to “yield” to the impulses we receive, etc. We are told that in doing so, we are breaking free from tradition and religion. In actual fact, what we are doing is giving ourselves over, lock, stock and barrel to `Jezebel’, to do with as she pleases. (Remember that I write this as a fairly `liberated’ modern musician myself. I am not at all “anti” most Rock music or youth culture, but I am certainly against the kind of shallow `casting off of restraint’ that we are seeing in today’s churches. This can only ever lead to deep deception).

It was Pentecostal pioneer Frank Bartleman who lamented, concerning the early Pentecostal movement: “As the movement began to apostatize platforms were built higher, coat tails were worn longer, choirs were organized, and string bands came into existence to `jazz’ the people. The kings came back once more, to their thrones, restored to sovereignty. We were no longer `brethren’. Then the divisions multiplied…” And as Samuel Chadwick so insightfully stated: “A religion of mere emotion and sensationalism is the most terrible of all curses that can come upon any people.” It had actually been prophesied in the 1906 `Azusa Street’ Revival that: “In the last days three things will happen in the great Pentecostal Movement: 1) There will be an overemphasis on power, rather than on righteousness; 2) there will be an overemphasis on praise, to a God they no longer pray to; 3) there will be an overemphasis on the gifts of the Spirit – rather than on the Lordship of Christ.”

Today, of course, much of this error is flooding into the church under the guise of “relevance”. In the name of `relevance’, we are rushing around desperately trying to make our music “cool” and our leadership style “cool” and our gospel “cool” and our youth events “cool”, etc, etc,- all in an effort to attract the world on it’s own terms. Let me say again: None of this is of God at all. It relies almost entirely on the `arm of the flesh’. It is really nothing less than worldliness, compromise and rebellion in a new and very subtle (yet deadly) form.

Instead of “holier than thou”, it seems like we are now expected to be “cooler than thou”. Our whole effort is aimed at proving to the world that Christianity is just as cool, just as much shallow fun, just as much of a party, as the world has to offer. And so, to prove all this, we have to entertain and entertain and entertain. We feel we have to become just like the world, in order to impress the world on it’s own terms. Thus, we now need to be seen in fashionable (or better-still,`hip’ or alternative) clothes. And our youth events become an excuse for a “party”. And our presentations become entertaining multi-media extravaganzas. All in an effort to equal or “out-cool” the world. (Which is why you now see `stage-diving’, etc, at our youth concerts – matching the world on it’s own mindless, hedonistic terms. “Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”). Like I said, cool pride, worldliness and rebellion – all in the name of “relevance”. JUST LIKE THE WORLD IN EVERY SENSE. Does this sound like God to you?

As Jesus Himself said: “If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (Jn 15:19). And as the apostle John wrote: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn 2:15). The apostle James likewise wrote: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

This whole “cool Christianity” thing is the complete opposite of the true gospel. The true gospel message involves “denying self, taking up the cross, and following Jesus.” But this new gospel of `cool’ says, in essence, “indulge yourself, enjoy it all, look cool, be cool (-carnal human pride in all it’s `look at me’ glory), and have God as well!” The true cross of Jesus speaks death to self, death to hype, death to pride and worldly `cool’, death to loving pleasures more than God. This is why the true gospel and the true message of the cross have always been “foolishness” to carnal man. They speak the OPPOSITE of worldliness – in fact, DEATH to the world! Surely today’s Christians can see the difference? (`Cool’ is just another name for “pride”, after all). I am convinced that what today’s youth need is a CHALLENGE worth giving their lives for, not merely another round of mindless `entertainment’.

The fact is, I am a great believer in “relevance” myself. But it must be a relevance that PREACHES THE ORIGINAL GOSPEL WITH IT’S ORIGINAL UNCOMPROMISING MESSAGE, using modern means. In other words, the gospel must remain as cross- centred, as convicting and as radical in it’s demands as it was in the beginning, but the means of transmitting it may change (though never merely for the sake of being `cool’). I actually believe that God is going to greatly use the secular media (including the TV networks) to spread news of what He is doing right around the world in the coming Revival. And neither do I mind a certain amount of being “all things to all men” in order to reach the lost (after all, Jesus Himself came as a poor man preaching to poor men). But if our motive for this is to enjoy appearing cool or `hip’/alternative, or to appeal to the “God is fun” brigade, then we have gone way too far, and our bowing to the `spirit of this world’ will greatly distort the message that we bring.

I hope you can see that I am by no means advocating some kind of strict, cloistered, “joy-less” Christianity, or a return to the dark days of conformist conservatism in the church. What I am, in fact, advocating is a vibrant, relevant brand of the ORIGINAL NEW TESTAMENT FAITH – updated for the 21st Century, but full of the essence of everything that made the early church what it was. This is clearly the only way that we are ever going to impact this present generation with the life-giving power of the cross of Jesus Christ.

I believe that the Christianity that is coming will be truly `liberated’ and yet completely unpretentious and down-to-earth (rather than `hip’-cool or `party’-fun). It will be a gritty, street-level faith – truly `in the world but not of it’ – reaching out to the “man on the street”, and utterly glorifying to God.

Probably more than at any time in history, we have a crying need today for searching, convicting `repentance’ preaching in the churches. The Laodicean church is in desperate need of some good, old-fashioned `Revival’ preaching on “sin, righteousness and judgement” (Jn 16:8). This is why I believe that Revival and Reformation are now so urgent. I do not believe that God can live with a compromised Laodicean church. There can be little doubt that He is about to take drastic action (as He has done many times in the past). Today’s church should be on her knees, begging God for forgiveness, not “partying up large”. But again we hear her cry: “I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Sick, selfish, lukewarm church,- do you not care that God has promised to “spew” you out of His mouth?

In the next chapter we will be looking at past Reformations and Revivals, and the very applicable lessons that we can learn from them with today’s situation in mind. But firstly I want to briefly discuss some keys that I believe God has given me regarding how to deal effectively with any religious `strongholds’ in our lives. In this chapter we have looked in some detail at the religious strongholds that can exist in the lives of Christians – both at the `legalistic’ extreme and also at the `hyper-liber- ty’ end of the scale. In dealing with such strongholds in my own life, God has given me a number of principles that are very effective in up-rooting or destroying not only `religious’ strongholds, but other kinds also.

If, having read about the various aspects of `religion’ in this chapter, you believe that it is possible you are being affected by one or more religious strongholds deep within you, then the first thing to do is to pray and ask God to shed light on every aspect of this stronghold. You must be willing to be totally transparent before God in this, and brutally honest with yourself. As with any kind of Godly refining or repentance, it can often `hurt’ to suddenly be faced with some of the darkness that exists in one’s own heart or soul. But this is an essential part of the process. We must ask God to shed light on any area of darkness within us that needs to be dealt with (whether it is spiritual pride, judgementalism, striving, or whatever).

The next step in dealing with each stronghold (and it is important that they be dealt with one by one) may well be to ask God’s forgiveness, particularly if this stronghold has caused you to hurt or offend others. The third step (and this is very important) is to “RENOUNCE” this stronghold by name, not just with your mouth, but FROM THE DEPTHS OF YOUR HEART AND YOUR WHOLE BEING, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST. What you are doing here is utterly `rejecting’ this stronghold, casting it away from you as a `hated’ thing, not just with your heart and mind, but from the depths of your soul and your whole being, in Jesus’ name. Because you want God to `reign’ in every part of you, you are violently up-rooting and casting away this stronghold of darkness within you. This area will now become a new stronghold of Godliness in your life – where “God’s will is done”, where His `kingdom’ is established in a part of you that was previously allied with darkness, and which the enemy was once able to use to manipulate you. And the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, etc), will now reign in this area far more than they ever have before.

This same process of “RENOUNCING AND VIOLENTLY CASTING DOWN STRONGHOLDS IN JESUS’ NAME” can also be used in dealing with other areas of darkness in one’s life: self-pity (the cause of much depression), rage, lust, rebellion, false doctrines, `wounds’ or resentments from the past, etc. In dealing with these things it is necessary to be TOTALLY RUTHLESS in rooting them out. We must not make `pets’ out of any of them. (For instance, some people secretly “enjoy” self-pity, and will cultivate it for hours. If they are ever to be truly free of it, then they must be quite RUTHLESS with this stronghold. The same goes for all of these things. We must be prepared to be brutally honest with ourselves).

About three years ago, when God showed me these principles, He led me through a period of about three days where I was asking Him to reveal and shed light on any of these kinds of strongholds in my life. Over this three days, many of these strongholds were `RENOUNCED’ and totally up-rooted and destroyed from out of my life. (Many of them were areas of darkness that I had been struggling to get complete victory over for years). It was so simple! My whole Christian walk was totally transformed within just three days. I was literally a new person. Glory to God! And I have never since reverted back to my old state. (By the way, I still remain on the lookout for any of these strongholds trying to reestablish themselves again. It’s like a garden,- “weeding” will be required at times, and there is always more `land’ to be taken!)

Really, the major principle that we are speaking of here, is the use of the “sword of the Spirit” (the word of God), which is the possession of every Spirit-filled believer, to violently lay seige to spiritual strongholds of darkness deep within us. (On a personal level, I believe that many of these strongholds have their roots in the fallen `soul’ area of man. This is why we must “RENOUNCE” them from the depths of our hearts and souls). The Bible speaks of the word of God as being a sharp two-edged sword, a consuming fire, and a hammer that breaks the rock into pieces. What we are doing here is using this God-given authority to cast down spiritual strongholds in Jesus’ name. And wherever an enemy stronghold is cast down, the `kingdom of God’ is established.

Essentially, this could be understood in terms of a kind of spiritual equivalent, on an infinitesimal scale, of Joshua taking the land of Canaan “by force” – casting down the enemy strongholds (Jericho, Ai, etc), and marching in to `possess the land’ in the name of the Lord (ie. establishing the `kingdom of God’ in the land, in His name). This is the exact principle that will be behind much of the coming Revival also. As Jesus declared, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Mt 11:12).

I believe that the above principle applies in exactly the same way on a global level as it does on a personal level: God giving His servants a special authority and anointing to take territory away from the enemy and to establish His `kingdom’ there instead. What we are now awaiting, is for the new, anointed “Joshuas” to arise in the earth, with the authority and power from God to cast down these global enemy strongholds (and the lies that go with them) – to spiritually `take the kingdom by force’. Glory to God! This is exactly what the coming Revival will be all about.

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Chapter four.
REVIVAL!

Through the years, as I have studied accounts of many past Revivals, it has become more and more apparent to me that many of today’s ideas about what Revival actually is, are not only inade- quate, but also often damaging and misleading. Many Christians see Revival only as a time of great celebration, joy and `harvest’. They do not realize that these things are the “fruit” that FOLLOW AFTER true Revival. True Revival itself is aimed at cleansing, purging and then empowering God’s people. If His people have fallen into a state of spiritual decline or bankruptcy, then the first thing that true Revival will bring is a tremendous conviction of sin and deep repentance. The whole idea is to see these Christians convicted and cleansed, so that they can once again become clean channels to bring God’s blessing and salvation to a dying world – so that they can once again fully display His glory in all the earth. True Revival brings God’s children to their knees. As one writer commented, Revival is “not the top blowing off, but rather the bottom falling out.” And as Frank Bartleman wrote, `The depth of revival will be determined exactly by the depth of the spirit of repentance.’

It is not uncommon, in times of Revival, for people to be so stricken with conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit that they are literally unable to do anything except lie face-down and cry out to God for mercy, in the greatest distress, until assured by Him that they have received His forgiveness. (Usually, especially in the early stages of Revival, these will be CHRISTIANS who have been harbouring sin of some kind in their lives). Sometimes they may even feel the need to confess their sin publicly before forgiveness and cleansing can take place. We must never forget that Revival is firstly aimed at the CHRISTIANS. As history clearly shows, it is a flood of deep cleansing, REPENTANCE and empowering aimed at “reviving” God’s people, so that they can bring in a mighty `harvest’.

The following is a description of some of the Revival prayer- meetings that took place in the Welsh Revival of 1858-59 (typical of many Revivals): “It was in its terrors that the eternal became a reality to them first. They seemed plunged into depths of godly sorrow… For some weeks it was the voice of weeping and the sound of mourning that was heard in the meetings. The house was often so full of the divine presence that ungodly men trembled terror-stricken; and at the close, sometimes they fled as from some impending peril; at other times sat glued to their seats…”

One eyewitness said of the famous 1904 Welsh Revival that it was not the eloquence of Evan Roberts that broke men down, but his tears. “He would break down, crying bitterly for God to bend them, in an agony of prayer, the tears coursing down his cheeks, with his whole frame writhing. Strong men would break down and cry like children… a sound of weeping and wailing would fill the air.”

Here is a typical extract from the autobiography of renowned Revivalist Charles G. Finney, concerning a meeting that he held in one particularly ungodly place: “I had not spoken to them in this strain of direct application more than a quarter of an hour when all at once an awful solemnity seemed to settle down upon them. The congregation began to fall from their seats in every direction and cry for mercy. If I had had a sword in each hand I could not have cut them off their seats as fast as they fell. Indeed, nearly the whole congregation were either on their knees or prostrate in less than two minutes from this first shock that fell upon them. Everyone who was able to speak at all prayed for himself… Of course I was obliged to stop preaching, for they no longer paid any attention. I saw the old man who had invited me there to preach, sitting about in the middle of the house and looking around with utter amazement. I raised my voice almost to a scream to make him hear above the noise of the sobbing, and pointing to him said, `Can’t you pray?’…”

In this kind of genuine outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the tangible presence of God is very real. Frank Bartleman described one of the meetings during the `Azusa Street’ Revival of 1906 as follows: “God came so wonderfully near us the very atmosphere of Heaven seemed to surround us. Such a divine “weight of glory” was upon us we could only lie on our faces. For a long time we could hardly remain seated even. All would be on their faces on the floor, sometimes during the whole service. I was seldom able to keep from lying full length on the floor on my face.”

This overwhelming sense of being in the awesome presence, the “shekinah glory” of a holy God, brings agonizing conviction of sin to those whose hearts are not right with Him, but also great rejoicing and true joy to the ones who know they have been washed clean. These extremes of great sorrow over sin, followed by genuine `joy unspeakable’, often bring accusations of “emotionalism” and hysteria from those who oppose the Revival. However, it has been found that deep and genuine moves of God that begin with deep conviction of sin, and result in deep joy, have always pro- duced sound and lasting fruit wherever they have occurred.

Many Revivals have resulted in such overwhelming joy, praise and jubilation in those newly forgiven, that bystanders have often been astonished at the shouts of glory to God, the unrestrained worship and singing, etc. It is important to remember however, that such “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” is only truly possible amongst those who have come to this place by way of brokenness and deep repentance. There must always be `death’ before there can be `resurrection’.

As Evan Roberts (of the 1904 Welsh Revival) said: “First, is there any sin in your past with which you have not honestly dealt,- not confessed to God? On your knees at once. Your past must be put away and cleansed. Second, is there anything in your life that is doubtful – anything you cannot decide whether it is good or evil? Away with it. There must not be a trace of a cloud between you and God. Have you forgiven everybody – EVERYBODY? If not, don’t expect forgiveness for your sins…” There can be no denying that deep repentance and prayer are truly the keys to genuine Revival. This has been the case with every previous outpouring, and it will undoubtably be the same with this coming one also.

A CLOUD OF CONFUSION…

With any new move of God, Satan is desperate to somehow thwart or destroy it, not just AFTER it has begun, but if at all possible, even BEFORE it begins. We see this, for instance, in the lives of both Moses and Jesus. In both of these cases, the devil attempted to kill these “chosen ones” (who were to become leaders of two of the greatest moves of God of all time), by having all the infants that were their age put to death. In both cases, Satan saw all the signs of a coming great move of God, and he wanted to “nip it in the bud”, so to speak, before it could really begin. The devil will use any means at his disposal to try and derail or destroy a new (or imminent) Revival. As history shows, one of his favourite tricks is to try to bury the new move under a great barrage of counterfeits, confusion and lies.

The devil has seen enough of Revival in the past to loathe and fear it in the extreme. Revival is the devil’s worst nightmare come true – a flood of cleansing and power designed to restore God’s people to being what they are meant to be in the world: a potent threat to Satan’s kingdom and all his works. When Revival breaks out, or is about to break out, the devil will often move on many fronts: targeting certain leaders whom God is using to prepare the people (for if a major leader falls, then the devil is able to bring in great deception), trying to break up relationships between key leaders, stirring up opposition from other Christians, introducing “counterfeits” on as large a scale as possible, stirring up controversy to distract people’s minds away from central truths, etc. If he can ruin a Revival in the `preparation’ stage, then the devil knows he has done incredibly well. However, if he can’t, then he will try to ruin it as soon as possible after it begins. Dirty tactics are the order of the day here. The bigger the cloud of confusion, rumours and counterfeits, the happier the devil will be. In short, he will do anything at all to try and discredit or hinder a new (or imminent) move of God. (Especially if it is the great end-times Revival!)

It was John Wesley who said, “Be not alarmed that Satan sows tares among the wheat of Christ. It has ever been so, especially on any remarkable outpouring of the Spirit; and ever will be, until the devil is chained for a thousand years. Till then he will always ape, and endeavor to counteract the work of the Spirit of Christ.” Counterfeits are very common in times of Revival: counterfeit manifestations, counterfeit conversions, counterfeit so- called “Revival” preachers, preaching the most extreme or distorted doctrines, etc. All used unwittingly by the devil to discredit or hinder the real Revival. As Adam Clarke said: “…in great revivals of religion, it is almost impossible to prevent wild-fire from getting in among the true fire.”

One of the devil’s favourite tricks in times of Revival is to push some of the `pro-Revival’ ministries to real extremes in their preaching and ministering, etc, so as to discredit the whole move of God because of them. As Frank Bartleman wrote, “Man always adds to the message God has given. This is Satan’s chief way to discredit and destroy it. Both Luther and Wesley had the same difficulties to contend with. And so has every God given revival… The message generally suffers more from its friends than from its foes.” John Wesley once prayed, “Oh, Lord, send us the old revival, without the defects; but if this cannot be, send it – with all its defects. We must have the revival.”

As I said, counterfeit spiritual manifestations are very common in times of Revival. These are often caused by believers seeking after `touches’, blessings or experiences, etc, rather than seek- ing God for His own sake. It is very dangerous for Christians to seek after anything but a deeper and purer relationship with God Himself. Any seeking after mere `touches’ or experiences is really nothing but “soulishness”, and can result in great spiritual deception. As always, a certain number of such false manifestations or counterfeit experiences will be merely fleshly, while others will be downright demonic. In fact, this is real “JEZEBEL” territory (especially if the manifestations involve a `casting off of restraint’ or a kind of “wildness”). Sometimes, in extreme cases, it is possible for whole movements to become `given over’ to these kinds of counterfeit manifestations, etc.

However, it is also important to remember that God Himself often does `unusual’ things in times of Revival. For instance, sudden, massive outpourings of the Holy Spirit will often result in tremendous outcryings of distress over sin or `trembling’ under the fear of God, then (when repentance and forgiveness have taken place) outbursts of joyous praise and thanksgiving, etc. They may also result in mass `speaking in tongues’, falling down under the power of God, dreams, visions, angelic visitations, etc.

A large number of these things can be easily counterfeited by the devil, of course, so it is vital that the leaders are well able to discern what is false and what is true. One of the devil’s favourite tricks in times of real Revival is to mix as many counterfeit manifestations as possible into what God is doing, thus causing many observers to discredit the whole thing as being `not of God’.

However, if such counterfeits are not causing large-scale problems, then it can be best for the leaders not to draw too much attention to them. (Attempting to loudly `correct’ relatively small-scale problems can sometimes make the people overly suspicious of ANYTHING unusual, thus making it hard for the Holy Spirit to work as well). However, if these counterfeits are flooding in on a large scale, then it will be necessary for the leaders to bring open correction, using all the authority that God has given them. If such authority and correction is `absent’ from this kind of situation, then the devil will quickly get in and take complete control. This is why `soft’ or compromising leaders are so deadly in times of Revival. How easily Satan can manipulate them for his purposes!

I believe that the leadership in the coming Revival will be very wary of encouraging soulishness in any way. I certainly can’t imagine them using the kind of “tugging at the heart-strings” techniques so often seen today. All that is showy, all that is soulish, all that is shallow and that would wrap people up in a warm, positive, “feel-good” cocoon – all this God hates. And yet this kind of thing seems to have been so common in recent years. In my experience, very few Christians even seem to be able to tell this kind of Christianity from the real thing any more.

The new Revival ministries will detest this kind of soulishness, hype and emotional manipulation. Their preaching (and their singing) will certainly not be in demonstration of personality, cleverness or showmanship, but rather, “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor 2:4). And I believe that the `new music’ that will accompany this Revival will also be completely free of any thought of manipulating people’s emotions in any way. However, despite all this, I have no doubt that the coming Revival will be accused of `emotionalism’ and hysteria, just like all those that have gone before.

REFORMATION – A `NEW WINESKIN’

Whenever God feels that it is vital that a new Revival is completely removed from the influence of the old leaders and the old church systems, etc, then He will bring about not just a Revival, but a total “REFORMATION” – a complete `leaving behind’ of the old structures and leadership, etc. This is clearly what God has stated will occur in the coming move of God. Really, the principle behind this concept of “total reformation” is the same as that described by Jesus Himself in Lk 5:37-38: “… no man puts new wine into old wineskins, else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will perish. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”

Church history often underlines the great folly of trying to preserve the `new wine’ in the old skins. How many Revivals down the centuries have literally `bled to death’, simply because men have tried to cram the `new wine’ into the old church systems and structures, etc? Often, all this has meant is that the Revival has been relatively short-lived, and has often failed to fully accomplish all that God had purposed for it. Really, the most effective and long-lived Revivals have been the ones that not only involved great outpourings of the Holy Spirit, but also the `leaving behind’ of the old church systems (and all that went with them), and the formation of a `new movement’ with new leaders, etc. Some well-known examples of this are the `Great Reformation’ under Martin Luther, the Wesley Revivals of the eighteenth century, and last century’s “Salvation Army” Revivals under William Booth (not to mention the original “Book-of-Acts” Revival itself).

All of these Revivals were really also `Reformations’, involving the leaving behind of the “old” systems, and the establishing of entirely `new’ movements, with new leaders.

The desire to stay with the “old”, to stick to what you know and feel comfortable with, to try and cram the new move of God into the existing structures, etc, is often a great temptation. However, this kind of `comfort zone’ mentality really has to go. It can be a deadly threat to the effectiveness and longevity of any Revival. If we are going to see a genuine move of God’s Spirit in these last days that will truly sweep the world, then we had better get used to the idea, not only of the `new wine’, but also of the `new wineskin’ that will go with it.

We have already spoken at some length of the coming “street- church”, or `street-based’ Revival movement. In many ways I believe that this will be very similar to the Book of Acts – a simple, effective, largely house-based and street-based move of God. It will involve huge open-air meetings where the new apostles and prophets will speak (with `signs and miracles’ following) and where the `new music’ will be heard. And it will also involve small local gatherings of believers (usually from `house to house’), where local Christians will come together to pray, partake of the Lord’s Supper, exercise spiritual gifts, etc: “When you come together, each one of you has a song, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification” (1 Cor 14:26). The leaders of these house gatherings will not be there to control or dominate, but rather to make sure that the Holy Spirit is free to move, and that any excesses do not get out of hand. This will be an ideal environment for new believers to begin to exercise their giftings – to `learn by doing’.

However, as well as discussing the new `structure’ of the coming Revival movement, it is important to remember that God’s true Church is an `organism’, not an organization. The true Church is built out of PEOPLE – God’s “living stones”. It is not built out of new `meeting’ formats or differently-designed `boxes’. The important thing is the PEOPLE. THEY are what make up God’s Church. We are told in Eph 2:20 that the true Church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets”, with Jesus Himself as the “cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” In other words, the Church is built out of PEOPLE, with Jesus as the `cornerstone’ and His apostles and prophets as the `foundation’ upon which it is built. Every Reformation and Revival in history has been built on the new `apostles and prophets’ that God has raised up for that hour. And this one will be no different. God has made it very clear that it is “WHEN THE NEW APOSTLES ARISE” that the coming Reformation and Revival will truly begin.

Just like the early Church, this is to be an `apostolic’ move. (ie. it will revolve around the teaching and ministry of the new apostles that are about to arise). “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles… And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47). In fact, every one of the `five-fold’ ministries will be abundantly represented in this Revival: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ… to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:11-13). These ministries are like the foundations and `supporting beams’ of God’s Church, around which the whole body is built, so that it can grow up into the `full stature’ of Christ.

One thing is for sure: Jesus Christ will truly be `Head’ of His Church in this Revival. Though the new apostles will be appointed to lead His Church in His name, it will be JESUS who will be in charge, and it is HE whom the new ministries will be constantly looking to for direction, etc. This is to be the Church’s finest hour. She will be the most radiant, the most glorious Bride in all history,- pure and holy, without `spot or wrinkle or any such thing’. God has saved the `best wine’ – the greatest anointing – for last,- for this move. We live in the days of the greatest Revival in the history of the world, and the last great “harvest”, immediately preceding the greatest JUDGEMENT that the earth has ever seen. And we live in the era of the most anointed `street-church’ in Revival history. As God has said, “I am going to change the understanding and expression of Christianity IN THE EARTH in one generation.” Tell me Christians, are you ready for this? “And they overcame him {the devil} by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; AND THEY LOVED NOT THEIR LIVES UNTO THE DEATH” (Rev 12:11).

REVIVAL LEADERS

In studying many past moves of God, it soon became apparent to me that there were often striking similarities between the various men that God had chosen to lead His people in times of Reforma- tion and Revival. In fact, the spiritual lineage of such men stretches way back to the “mighty men” of old – Joshua, Caleb, Moses, Gideon, Elijah, John the Baptist, etc,- men of great daring and renown – all the way down through the apostles and on to Savonarola, Luther, Whitfield, Wesley, Edwards, Finney, William Booth, Evan Roberts, Jonathan Goforth, John Sung, Smith Wigglesworth, etc, etc. All were men who had “paid the price”, who had spent much time alone in secret with God, and often years in the `wilderness’ before being anointed with power from on high and sent forth to loose God’s people from their chains of bondage and sin. Suddenly they arrived, as if from nowhere, utterly fearless and with a searing message that pierced straight to the hearts of their hearers. This is the way it has always been and ever will be, with such “anointed ones” of God.

As A.W. Tozer has said, “God has always had His specialists… who appeared at critical moments in history to reprove, rebuke and exhort in the name of God and righteousness… Such a man was likely to be drastic, radical, possibly at times violent, and the curious crowd that gathered to watch him work soon branded him as extreme, fanatical, negative. And in a sense they were right. He was single-minded, severe, fearless, and these were the qualities the circumstances demanded. He shocked some, frightened others and alienated not a few, but he knew who had called him and what he was sent to do. His ministry was geared to the emergency, and that fact marked him out as different, a man apart.”

The training ground for such men is often deep in the “wilderness” of brokenness, `nothingness’ and death to self. As the his- torian D’Aubigne wrote, “A great work of God is never accomplished by the natural strength of man. It is from the dry bones, the darkness and the dust of death, that God is pleased to select the instruments by means of which He designs to scatter over the earth His light, regeneration and life.”

Yet another writer has observed, “In the various crises that have occurred in the history of the church, men have come to the front who have manifested a holy recklessness that astonished their fellows. When Luther nailed his theses to the door of the cathedral at Wittemburg, cautious men were astonished at his audacity. When John Wesley ignored all church restrictions and religious propriety and preached in the fields and by-ways, men declared his reputation was ruined. So it has been in all ages… An utter recklessness concerning men’s opinions and other consequences is the only attitude that can meet the exigencies of the present times.”

Such men as these were often the most controversial figures of their day. They were loved by some and utterly loathed by others. They were usually perceived as a threat to the status quo, the church “establishment”, and so were often treated with great suspicion – even hatred – by those in power. These were men who had battled through in prayer, right into the very throneroom of God. There they had tasted of the heavenly glory, and had been imbued with a vision and a passion far beyond mere words. And now they were dangerous men – men on fire with love and devotion toward a holy God. Never again would they be satisfied with a church that did not fully display His glory and His majesty to a dying world. Never again would they allow their Saviour to be left, “wounded in the house of His friends.”

These Reformers and Revivalists were men who had surrendered all to God, who had been willing to pay any price to see God arise and scatter His enemies in the earth. They had willingly allowed themselves to be humbled and broken by Him, so that they might one day become true instruments of His glory. They were truly dead to `self’, dead to sin, “dead to the world and all it’s toys, it’s idle pomp and fading joys”. They were alive only to Jesus, and His word burned in their hearts as a consuming fire, and in their mouths as a two-edged sword.

REVIVAL PREACHING

It is a well-known fact that the old Revivalists used to often preach searchingly and fearlessly on “sin, righteousness and judgement”. There is a very good reason for this: Jesus had specifically stated that the Holy Spirit would CONVICT of these very things – “sin, righteousness and judgement”! (Jn 16:8). The whole purpose of these men’s preaching was to unleash the convicting power of the Holy Spirit upon their hearers. They aimed to thoroughly awaken the consciences of the people. Welsh Revivalist Humphrey Jones once urged a young preacher: “…to preach with severity and conviction; aiming continually at the conscience; charging the people with their sins to their very face; having no regard for men’s good or bad opinions; and avoiding the exhibition of self during the delivery of your sermon.” Now THAT is Revival preaching!

These men would wield God’s word under a mighty anointing, not as some kind of blunt weapon to bludgeon people with, but rather as an incisive, precision instrument, a “sharp, two-edged sword”, piercing deep into men’s hearts, exposing hidden sins, motives and desires, and bringing true Godly sorrow and deep repentance. What these preachers were looking for was a “broken heart and a contrite spirit”. As with Peter on the day of Pentecost, they preached with a view to seeing men `cut to the heart’, for only then could they be sure that the resulting repentance would be both truly deep and truly lasting.

This has almost always been the character of true Revival preaching, from the days of the apostles right down to the present. On the day of Pentecost it was Peter accusing the Jews to their faces of `crucifying the Messiah’ that caused them to be `cut to the heart’, and to cry out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:36-37). And the record states that three thousand people were converted that day after hearing this one, Spirit-fired sermon. Later in the book of Acts we read of Paul’s fearless preaching to governor Felix: “And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance and judgement to come, FELIX TREMBLED…” (Acts 24:25). And for another Scriptural example of this kind of bold, convicting preaching, we can turn to the martyr Stephen: “`You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do you’…” (Acts 7:51-53). There are many further examples of this kind of preaching throughout the New Testament (in the ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist, for instance).

Revival preaching is almost never designed to be deliberately offensive. However it is often extremely direct and utterly fearless. And, as one writer has noted, “fearless” preaching of this kind seems calculated to produce either deep conviction or “the bitterest animosity” (often both!) The old Revivalists were men of enormous Godly authority, and they used God’s word as a sword to `lay seige’ to the strongholds of sin, compromise and religion that were binding His people. This was never `comfortable’ preaching (for “sin, righteousness and judgement” are not comfortable subjects). However, these men well knew that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Pr 9:10). And they preached it as such.

As Martin Luther said: “I was born to fight devils and factions. It is my business to remove obstructions, to cut down thorns, to fill up quagmires, and to open and make straight paths. But if I must have some failing let me rather speak the truth with too great severity than once to act the hypocrite and conceal the truth.” And the great Revivalist Charles Finney said of one typical meeting: “The Spirit of God came upon me with such power that it was like opening a battery upon them. For more than an hour, and perhaps for an hour and a half, the word of God came through me to them in a manner that I could see was carrying all before it. It was a fire and a hammer breaking the rock, and as a sword that was piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. I saw that a general conviction was spreading over the whole congregation. Many of them could not hold up their heads.”

Renowned eighteenth century Revivalist Jonathan Edwards (preacher of the famous Revival sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God”) noted that the two outstanding features of genuine Revival were great conviction followed by great praise and rejoicing. The following are the characteristics that he himself observed: “(a) An extraordinary sense of the awful majesty, greatness and holiness of God so as sometimes to overwhelm soul and body, a sense of the piercing, all-seeing eye of God so as to sometimes take away the bodily strength; and an extraordinary view of the infinite terribleness of the wrath of God, together with the ineffable misery of sinners exposed to this wrath. (b) Especially longing after these two things; to be more perfect in humility and adoration… The person felt a great delight in singing praises to God and Jesus Christ, and longing that this present life may be as it were one continued song of praise to God…”

The Revivalists of old often preached under such an incredible anointing that the house would be literally full of the wailing cries and sobs of those stricken by God’s Spirit. One eyewitness wrote of Savonarola’s preaching that it caused “such terror and alarm, such sobbing and tears that people passed through the streets without speaking, more dead than alive”! Some modern Christians, totally unused to this kind of preaching, might say that such an emphasis on “sin, righteousness and judgement” is way over the top. However, in circumstances such as those found in today’s church, this kind of preaching is EXACTLY what is needed. This is why God has so often seen fit to raise up and employ this kind of preaching in conditions very similar to today.

The old Revivalists were so full of God’s presence, so saturated with His glory, so endued with power from on high, that Revival literally followed them wherever they went. They would never have dared to preach the way they did without this anointing (for `the letter kills but the Spirit gives life’). But how exactly did they obtain such a mighty anointing? Well, as most of the old records show, it was largely through agonizing, prevailing PRAYER that they had broken through into this realm of real `Revival’ power in their ministry.

REVIVAL PRAYING

Charles Finney said, “… unless I had the spirit of prayer I could do nothing. If I lost the spirit of grace and supplication even for a day or an hour I found myself unable to preach with power and efficiency, or to win souls by personal conversation.” George Whitefield said: “Whole days and WEEKS have I spent prostrate on the ground in silent or vocal prayer…” Frank Bartleman wrote: “At night I could scarcely sleep for the spirit of prayer… Prayer literally consumed me.” And D.M. McIntyre wrote: “Before the great revival in Gallneukirchen broke out, Martin Boos spent hours and days and often nights in lonely agonies of intercession. Afterwards, when he preached, his words were as flame, and the hearts of the people as grass.”

This was urgent, anointed, Spirit-fired praying, led and inspired by God. The old Revivalists used to speak of the spirit of prayer being “outpoured” upon them. They spoke of weeping, agonizing, pleading, wrestling, `travailing’ in prayer. The whole reason that these Revival preachers were so saturated with the glory and the presence of God was because they had truly broken through, right into His very throneroom in prayer, and had spent much time communing with Him there. Deep repentance, daring faith, and `agonizing’, Spirit-fired prayer have always been the keys to genuine Revival in any age (and this, of course, applies to everybody, not just to those in ministry).

As history shows, the church can only ever expect true Revival when at least a remnant of God’s people truly get DESPERATE – desperate about the backslidden state of the church, desperate about the lukewarmness within them and all around them, desperate about sin and compromise, desperate about the fact that GOD IS NOT GLORIFIED, that He is not truly LORD of His church, that His words are mocked and largely seen as irrelevant by a dying world. Revival will come when God’s people truly humble themselves, when they replace their `positive imaging’ (“Rise up, you people of power”, etc), with the reality of James’ lament: “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” (Ja 4:9-10). We all need to stop playing games and get serious with God. I really believe He is calling us to get `desperate’ about our plight before Him.

In the coming Revival, as with all Revivals, God will no doubt raise up particular intercessors who will `specialize’ in prayer. But really, such praying is for everyone. It was Matthew Henry who said, “When God intends great mercy for His people, the first thing He does is set them a-praying.” And Leonard Ravenhill wrote that “the man who can get believers to praying would, under God, usher in the greatest revival that the world has ever known.” God will often gather His people together (at least in twos and threes, and often more) to pray down a Revival – just like Pentecost itself. As A.T. Pierson wrote, “From the day of Pentecost, there has been not one great spiritual awakening in any land which has not begun in a union of prayer, though only among two or three; no such outward, upward movement has continued after such prayer meetings declined.”

John Wesley said: “Have you any days of fasting and prayer? Storm the throne of grace and persevere therein, and mercy will come down.” And Charles Finney declared: “Revival comes from heaven when heroic souls enter the conflict determined to win or die – or if need be, to win and die!” Brothers, sisters, we need to get DESPERATE about Revival!

REVIVAL IN THE COMMUNITY

Once the Christians who heed God’s call have been through the fire of His refining, purifying and cleansing, and have received His mighty anointing, then it becomes time for the community at large to experience this great `invasion’ of God’s Revival power also. This is when the `harvest’ will truly begin. This is the time for the church to fearlessly invade Satan’s kingdom under a mighty anointing, `releasing the captives’ as they go. For those who have experienced God’s cleansing and forgiveness, such a time can literally be like “heaven on earth”. One writer described Revival as being “a community saturated with God”. And Jonathan Edwards said of the 1735 New England Revival, “The town seemed to be full of the presence of God. It was never so full of love, or so full of joy; and yet, so full of distress as it was then.”

When Revival spreads out into the community in this way, it is not uncommon for bars to be transformed into prayer meetings, for large numbers of notorious criminals to be converted, and for judges to be left without cases to put to trial! Such is the impact of a mighty general outpouring of the Spirit of God. This is the kind of result that we can expect in the coming great move of God also. Really, these kinds of things are what the church should be seeing on a large scale all the time, but at the moment the `channels’ of such blessing are almost completely blocked by sin and compromise, etc, within the church.

REVIVAL PIONEERS

There can be little doubt that worldwide Revival is now truly “imminent” (after all, this has been prophesied in many nations). But how can individual Christians prepare for such a powerful move of God’s Spirit? The answer is really very simple: To be truly ready to play a part in any new move of God, it is necessary to first experience PERSONAL REVIVAL in your own life. In other words, it is necessary to have already been “revived” yourself. This “personal Revival” process involves seeking God with all your heart, ridding your life of any `cloud’ that may be coming between you and God (and asking Him to reveal anything else that He wants dealt with), brokenness, and `agonizing’ prayer (that God would outpour His Spirit upon you and fill you with His faith, His love, His word, His anointing, etc). As Robert Murray McCheyne said, “a holy minister is an awful weapon in the hands of God.”

Before any Revival begins, God spends much time (often many years) training His “pioneers”, preparing them (often in some secluded spiritual backwater) for the day when His Spirit will be outpoured and they will explode out of the wilderness and onto the world stage with a searing message and a holy boldness that will kindle fire in the hearts of all who hear them. As Frank Bartleman wrote of the Pentecostal pioneers who were gathered for the `Azusa Street’ outpouring, “they were largely called and prepared for years… They had been burnt out, tried and proven… They had walked with God and learned deeply of His Spirit. These were pioneers, `shock troops’, the Gideon’s three hundred, to spread the fire around the world. Just as the disciples had been prepared by Jesus.” He also observed that, “A body must be prepared, in repentance and humility, for every outpouring of the Spirit.”

As Arthur Booth-Clibborn wrote: “The company in the upper room, upon whom Pentecost fell, had paid for it the highest price. In this they approached as near as possible to Him who had paid the supreme price in order to send it. Do we ever really adequately realize how utterly lost to this world, how completely despised, rejected and outcast was that company?… Their Calvary was complete, and so a complete Pentecost came to match it. The latter will resemble the former in completeness. We may, therefore, each of us say to ourselves: As thy cross, so will thy Pentecost be.”

It is my belief that God is still looking for Christians to join the ranks of His “Gideon’s three hundred” for this Revival: “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land…” (Ez 22:30). “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Ch 16:9). Are YOU willing to become one of those who “stand in the gap” before the Lord? Are you willing to suffer the reproach and the rejection of others as you take your stand with Him? And are you truly willing to `pay the price’, to `take up your cross’ no matter what the cost? The Bible tells us that Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and aquainted with grief.” It is only those who are prepared and praying who will be involved in this Revival from the beginning. And for the pioneers, in many ways this will mean “loving not their lives unto the death”. A true pioneer’s most pressing desire will be to SEE GOD GLORIFIED in every conceivable way. This has always been the purest motive for desiring Revival in any age. And I believe that God is still seeking those who will `stand in the gap’ before Him for this present generation. Tell me, friend, might you be one of these?

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Chapter five.
THE SIN OF REBELLION.

There may be some readers who think that in discussing the coming Reformation, I have been guilty of inciting `rebellion against authority’. This is far from the truth. In fact, as this chapter will show, I am very keen to uphold all God-appointed authority. However, due to the seriousness of today’s situation and the strong prophetic warnings that God has been giving right around the world, I would have been very remiss not to strongly warn today’s leaders of what God has been saying. I only wish that things were different, and that I did not have to say many of the things that I do.

No Revivalist that I have ever read about was a `popularity’ -oriented, or `man-pleasing’ type of leader. (In fact, usually quite the opposite!) These were certainly not men to be trifled with. They knew when to be gentle, but were also never afraid to “reprove, rebuke and exhort” with all Godly authority where necessary. They were strong yet balanced leaders – firm but fair. Their love for God and for the people (in that order) enabled them to make allowances for people’s frailties, but also meant that they never gave the devil an inch. Such mightily anointed leaders as these are sorely needed in our day, and there can be no doubt that this is exactly the kind of leadership that is about to arise in the coming Revival. (For God must have His `men of valour’ – His Joshuas, Elijahs, Gideons, etc, to lead His people on to victory, just as the devil has his `heroes’ also).

However, while we may know and look forward to many of these aspects of the coming move of God, the fact is that most of us are still having to deal with the `old’ set-up, the church system as it exists today. And no doubt many of us have struggled with exactly how we are to approach our relationship with this current set-up. What should our attitudes be towards today’s church leaders, for instance, in situations in which we are personally involved? How would God have us relate to these leaders? And how can we recognize the seeds of `rebellion’ in our hearts? These are very important questions, and they are some of the major points that we will be discussing in this chapter.

In working through these issues in my own life, God has very clearly pointed me to the well-known “rebellion” lesson contained in the story of David. What I want to do in this chapter is to take a fresh look at the story of David, Saul and Jonathan, from a slightly new perspective. One of the main focuses, of course, will be the tremendous godly attitudes that this man David had.

You will no doubt recall how that King Saul had fallen into compromise, presumption and rebellion, and that the prophet Samuel had told Saul that the kingdom would be taken from him and given to another. The prophet then went and anointed David to be the future king. However, there was to be a time of waiting and preparation before David could assume the leadership of Israel. It is my belief that this equates directly to the current situation. I believe that there is definitely a “David company” of future `leaders of Israel’ (ie. the Church) whom God has been preparing in secret for many years right around the world. (These will be the apostles and prophets, etc, of the new move of God). Most of those who are part of this “David company” will already know who they are. Many of them will have received their first or even their second anointing (remembering that David was anointed THREE TIMES before he became leader of all Israel), and will probably already be operating in their calling to some degree.

One thing is certain: This will be a company of PROPHETIC PEOPLE – people whom God has been speaking to about the `things to come’. Such people will often have great difficulty fitting into the present system, for essentially they will have been “designed” for tomorrow’s church, rather than today’s. They will often feel like misfits, and may be misunderstood, persecuted and maltreated by those who identify themselves strongly with the present order. Often the powers-that-be will see them as some kind of “threat”.

Such was the case with David. For years Saul’s jealousy and rage caused him to have to flee for his life. Pursued relentlessly by Saul and his men, David was forced to hide out in caves, in the desert, and for a time even amongst the Philistines! How hurt and lonely he must have felt at times! Here he was, the one whom Samuel had anointed to be the future king of Israel, now an outcast, persecuted, maltreated, slandered… And this went on for years.

But now we come to the part of the story that applies directly to the major theme of this chapter. Remember, Saul was still king over Israel, even though he had already been rejected by God. He was still positioned as the leader of God’s people. Now here is the crucial question: What was David’s attitude toward Saul all this time? The answer is very simple: David regarded Saul as being the “Lord’s Anointed”, and he was utterly constant in his deep respect and love toward him. He would make no move to try and wrest the leadership away from Saul (as he could have done). He was very aware of God’s timing, and he would make no move to circumvent it. His policy was, “touch not the Lord’s anointed”. Twice he could easily have killed Saul and the kingdom would have been his, but he chose instead to demonstrate his love and his loyalty toward him. His love for Saul was truly from the `heart’. When news reached David that Saul was dead, he wept and mourned over him. He had still held out hope for Saul, and had treated him as the rightful leader of God’s people, right up until the day that Saul died.

It is my belief that by-and-large, there are essentially three types of leaders or ministries operating in today’s Christian world: the `Sauls’, the Jonathans and the `Davids’. Let us look at each of these in a little more detail (and I warn you, I will be very `frank’ in this):

1. The `Sauls’. These are the Christian leaders who have firmly aligned themselves with the present order, with it’s compromise, it’s soulish love of `experiences’, it’s rejection of seeking true holiness, it’s love of “pleasures” more than love of God, etc. Sadly, such leaders will often welcome any new Christian fad, so long as it doesn’t `cost’ them too much, and so long as it helps keep the people involved in the church. (This is why they have often welcomed new `church growth’ models and methods, etc). Beyond this, however, they stand firmly for the status quo. The thought of TRUE Reformation would absolutely horrify most of them (which is why they will oppose or persecute any genuine `Davids’ that they can identify). And when the new `David’-type ministries arise in their church, they will often attempt to “stomp” on them, to dominate them, or if that doesn’t work, to limit their influence as much as possible.

To the `Sauls’ of today’s church I believe God would have me say: Because you have made yourselves “lords” over the church in Jesus’ stead, God will snatch the royal sceptre from your hands. And because of the compromise that has been found in your mouths for so long, God will lay much of the blame for the sickly state of today’s `lukewarm’ church directly at your feet. You have been rejected by God as being unfit to lead His people. “The kingdom shall be taken from you and given unto another” (See Mt 21:43, 1 Sa 15:22-23, 1 Sa 28:17, etc). “Behold, you despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which you shall in no way believe, though a man declare it unto you” (Acts 13:41).

It is interesting to note that the most serious sin that Saul committed in God’s eyes (the sin that finally caused him to be rejected by God as unfit to lead His people) was that after the battle with the Amelikites, Saul compromised what God had said by allowing his men to take the best of the enemy flocks as spoil, instead of killing them all. This `men-pleasing’, rebellious disregard for God’s word, caused Saul to be immediately told that his kingdom would be taken from him and given to another. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king” (1 Sa 15:23). Notice that it was not Saul’s `control’ or domination of the people that caused him to be rejected by God, but rather his WEAKNESS AND COMPROMISE as a leader (ie. his desire to be pleasing and `accomodating’ toward his people at the expense of God’s word). Is it not the same today also?

2. The `Jonathans’. You will no doubt remember how that Jonathan, who was Saul’s son, had a tremendous devotion and love for David. They were like brothers. While Saul went about trying to kill David, Jonathan was doing his best to quietly protect and help him. I believe that there are quite a number of leaders and min- istries around the world today who are just like Jonathan. They have definitely been “friends of the true Revival”, But like Jonathan they are caught between their allegiance to the `old’ or existing order, and their affinity with the new ministries – the `Davids’. They want to be part of the great Revival that God is about to send, but they are just too attached to the old system and the old ways to really let go. (`Compromise’, again!) This is a very dangerous position to be in – in a very real way, just as dangerous as that of Saul. For it is very significant that even though Jonathan was a friend of David’s (ie. a friend of the “new move of God”), HE WAS KILLED ON THE SAME BATTLEFIELD AND ON THE SAME DAY THAT SAUL WAS KILLED. Jonathan never got to see or enter into the new move of God at all (ie. the reign of David). In essence, HE SUFFERED EXACTLY THE SAME FATE AS SAUL.

Another thing that is significant about Jonathan was that he was the “heir apparent” (ie. the `obvious’ choice to lead Israel in the new era, when Saul was gone). I believe that many of today’s “Jonathans” are also like this. They are the seemingly `obvious’ Revival-oriented leaders of today – the kind of men who preach on Revival, prophecy and prayer, etc, but in an “acceptable” kind of way. Many of them are truly prophetic, but they fit into the current set-up just a little too well. They have a `reputation’ to uphold in the existing system, and they can be trusted not to say anything too “radical”, or to rock today’s “Laodicean” boat too hard. They are certainly nothing like the stench in Saul’s nostrils that David was. No-one feels particularly `threatened’ by their presence.

As I have said, I believe that there are quite a number of `Jonathans’ in ministry all over the world today. The greatest danger for them is that because of their current respectability and their attachment to the existing order, they just can’t imagine God bringing judgement upon the very systems and `streams’ that they have formed relationships with. They love David and all that he stands for, but they just cannot let go of Saul. Deep in their heart they are still clinging to a kind of `acceptable’ amalgam between both the existing order and also the `new move’ of God. (It will never happen).

Today’s Jonathans would be quite happy if the `new wine’ could somehow be crammed into the old wineskins. They have their feet in both camps. And the terrible likelihood is that when the day of decision dawns, when that fateful hour arrives, because of their double-mindedness they will surely be found with Saul, rather than with David. And this can only result in tragedy. Their failure to see the signs that it is time to finally `abandon’ Saul, and throw in their lot entirely with David, means that they will surely be caught up in the very judgement that falls upon Saul. Sadly, all the signs are there that the cry, “How have the mighty fallen” is again about to ring out in our day.

To give you an idea of what God has been saying to some of the prophets in NZ about the terrible dangers of clinging to the old system, the following is a very pertinent dream that God gave to a local prophet about two years ago:

In the dream, they found themselves standing in a grand old house that had become quite run-down, and was now in a state of decay. Running down into this house were leaking gas pipes, which were literally pumping huge volumes of highly flammable gas into the house. A man and his wife (the owners?) were inside the house also, but though they were obviously aware of the terrible danger of a huge gas explosion, THEY WERE REFUSING TO LEAVE THE HOUSE. Suddenly the prophet was translated to a totally different building altogether, overlooking the old house. This new building was a very modern, spacious, multi-level structure, totally befitting the 1990′s. The prophet was initially on the balcony on about the fourth floor, looking down on the old house, but soon felt drawn inside to a place of greater safety, KNOWING THAT THE SLIGHTEST SPARK WOULD SOON CAUSE AN EXPLOSION IN THE OLD HOUSE THAT WOULD LITERALLY TEAR IT TO PIECES. And it was at this point that the dream ended.

This dream has been confirmed by another very experienced prophet who believes that God has shown him that a time will come when the true prophets will have to strongly warn those in the churches to `come out’ and to get involved with what God is doing on the outside. I believe that this time is very near now (for the early signs of `judgement beginning at the house of God’ are already clearly visible in many churches). However, it is important that we await God’s perfect timing in this `leaving behind’ of the old system. I do believe, though, that God is now calling His people to truly let go of the existing systems and ways in their hearts, in preparation for this time. We cannot afford to be found even partially clinging to `Saul’ (with his compromising, Laodicean, “experience-centred” Christianity) when that hour arrives.

3. The `Davids’. As we have seen, by and large, the reign of king Saul was not a particularly happy time for David. However, I believe that this long, enforced period of brokenness and humility in David’s life was ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL in preparing him to become a truly Godly leader of Israel. It was at this time that David could easily have become a `rebel’, deliberately stirring up dissension against Saul in retaliation for the way he was being treated. Remember, David had already been anointed by Samuel as the future leader of Israel. He was a renowned warrior, a natural leader, a mighty man of valour. If he had wanted to, he and his men could have stirred up a great deal of trouble for Saul. But instead, with great patience and forbearance, David endured all things, treating Saul as the “Lord’s anointed”, respecting his authority, not murmuring or causing dissension against him, etc. And I truly believe that we are to be like David in our attitude towards the church leaders in our own situations today.

Even though there must have been times when David felt extremely distressed, angry and hurt at Saul’s treatment of him, he never allowed this to become a festering `wound’ of resentment that would cause him to “react” in rebellion against Saul. I truly believe that if David had acted out of rebellion, then he may well have proven himself to be unworthy of his calling to lead God’s people. I do not believe that God ever sanctions rebellion. In fact, as we have seen, it was because of REBELLION that Saul had been rejected as king in the first place. I believe that God was watching David to make sure that this kind of rebellion was not found in him also. And of course, He is watching us for the self-same reason.

I am convinced that God would have even the `Sauls’ amongst today’s Christian leaders treated as the “Lord’s anointed”, right up until God Himself acts to completely anull their authority, and to anoint and raise up the `Davids’ to take their place. (Please note: It is GOD who will do this, in His own perfect time). Until that time, I believe that we are to willingly give today’s pastors genuine honour and loyalty as befitting God’s appointed leaders over His people. We are also to GENUINELY LOVE THEM AND PRAY FOR THEM. Remember, David mourned and wept over Saul when he died. What depths of Godliness this man David had! And I firmly believe that God is calling the `Davids’ of today to be of this same spirit. We are certainly not to be like Absolem, who sat in the gates of the city some years later, murmuring and subtly turning the people to rebellion against king David. Rebellion is sin, and every one of us needs to ask God to search our hearts to see if there be any “wicked way”, any dark seed of rebellion, found in us.

In saying all of this, I do not want people to think that I am advocating some kind of abject, unthinking “submission” to pastors (where you don’t “think” – you just do what you are told). This is certainly not the kind of relationship that David had with Saul. In fact, while David was utterly constant in his deep love and respect for Saul, he also did his best to avoid him as much as possible, even when Saul assured him that he would be safe! David and Saul were of opposing spirits, and “how can two walk together unless they be agreed?” They were by no means real `friends’ or natural allies. This is the way it has always been between these two opposite types of leaders. One walks under God’s special favour, and the other (who once knew this divine favour himself) now does not, and in their heart of hearts they both know it. (Which is why the `Sauls’ are so jealous).

It is also important to note that after Saul had `died’ (ie. had his authority and anointing finally anulled by God), David was appointed as king of Judah (ie. as the anointed and recognized leader of his own tribe). After being anointed to lead Judah, David now had no hesitation in waging war on the “house of Saul” for the leadership of the entire nation of Israel. This was no longer `rebellion’. David was now the only rightful, God-appointed leader of the whole kingdom, and it was time for him to `take it by force’. As the Scriptures tell us, “There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David; and David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker” (2 Sam 3:1).

It is interesting to note the order of events that led from David as shepherd-boy to David as God-appointed leader of a united and powerful Israel. (For this will essentially be the same path that many end-time `Davids’ will travel also). For David, God’s first school of preparation was shepherding a small flock of sheep – an ideal training ground for later leadership. Here, David learnt to faithfully care for those he had been given charge over, and to defend them fearlessly from the ravaging `bears and lions’, etc. As Jesus said centuries later, “You have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much” (Mt 25:21).

It was now that David received his first `kingly’ anointing, by the hands of the prophet Samuel. He then burst onto the public scene in quite spectacular fashion (the victory over Goliath), but quickly found himself offside with the existing leadership, and was forced into hiding, along with his small band of outcasts. All this time, God was testing and preparing him for the great task ahead. This period of agonized “waiting” in the wilderness went on for years. Finally, with Saul `dead’, David received his second kingly anointing, and became king of Judah, from whence he waged war on the “house of Saul” for leadership of the whole nation of Israel.

David was finally anointed as leader of all Israel some years later. Under his leadership, Israel became a united, prosperous, victorious nation, mighty in battle and utterly glorifying to God – displaying His grace and glory to all nations. This is exactly what the coming move of God will bring about also. All of this is the exact purpose and reason for the coming `Reformation’ and Revival. Glory to God! And the result will be a worldwide `harvest’ of staggering proportions – a great outpouring of God’s Spirit upon “all flesh”, in which the knowledge of His glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

But what will be the signs that all this is fully underway? How will we be able to tell when we are to completely abandon the old compromising `Saulish’ system, and to join with the new move of God? I believe that it will not be at all difficult to recognize the signs that the `Davids’ have arisen to lead God’s people out of bondage and into Revival. God will make sure that all His people are fully aware of what is occurring (though many whose hearts are still with `Saul’ will certainly not welcome the news!) This will not be a `secret’ operation. When the new Revival leaders arise, everyone will know about it. I believe that the vision recounted in chapter one, in which God fires `flaming arrows’ into the churches, gives us real insight into what is about to occur. In this particular vision, you will remember, the `flaming arrows’ that God fired into the churches were really “on-fire” ministries, speaking the word of God. The pastors ran around trying to damp down the flames, but God sent a `mighty wind’ to fan the flames, and suddenly the doors of the churches burst open, and God’s people ran out onto the streets, where they all became one huge throng. It is my belief that this is exactly what is about to take place.

One of the things that I most want people to take note of in the story of David and Saul is the vital importance of WAITING FOR GOD’S PERFECT TIME AND FOR HIS ANOINTING before we move. We see this principle so clearly in the life of David. This is why I want to encourage all of you who are reading this to WAIT UNTIL GOD MOVES before you try “pulling down the old” or setting up a “New Testament”-style church, etc. It is impossible to have a true New Testament church without true New Testament APOSTLES – raised up and anointed by God. Anything that is built before these new apostles arise is almost certain to just get in their way. WE MUST AWAIT GOD’S PERFECT TIME.

I actually believe that there may be attempts by some Christians to pre-empt what God is about to do, and start a large-scale rebellious “reformation” themselves, before God’s time comes. Such `Absolem’-like rebellion will certainly not have God’s blessing, and will eventually come to nothing, but for a while it may look good, and may even draw away large numbers of Christians (who will be forced to return in the end, with their tail between their legs, though a number of their leaders will never make it back). God never sanctions rebellion, and we must be aware of the difference between rebellious `revolution’ (or “coup d’etat”) and God-ordained “Reformation”. A rebellious Absolem-type movement will tend to launch a pre-emptive strike on the existing establishment, while a true `David’-type movement will wait until God’s time has come (ie. until Saul is `dead’ and the new anointing has arrived) before moving to assume it’s rightful place in leading God’s people. This is a very crucial difference which may become vitally important for us to recognize in the near future. However, it is also important to realize that there are currently many signs in the church that the TRUE “shaking”, Reformation and Revival are now very near – even at the doors. So let us remain alert!

THE NATURE OF TRUE AUTHORITY

In the 1970′s, a teaching arose in Charismatic circles that was known as the “shepherding” teaching (or the `covering/submission’ doctrine). Unfortunately, this teaching brought in extremes that led to heavy, dominating leadership and abuse of power by a number of church leaders at that time. In the 1980′s there was a “reaction” against this whole concept of `heavy’ leadership, but it seems that this reaction has also now gone too far, resulting in compromising, over-accomodating leadership in many churches. `Soft’ leadership of this kind also plays directly into the devil’s hands, as history clearly shows. Surely there is a Scriptural balance to be found somewhere?

It seems fairly clear from the Bible that every aspect of ministry in the church really does involve some form of `shepherd’- type activity. (These ministries are listed in Eph 4:11). The teacher is involved in `feeding’ God’s sheep, the pastor `shepherds’, guides and cares for the flock, the evangelist specializes in `seeking and saving’ the lost or wandering sheep, the prophet is like a `watchman’, set in place to guard and warn the flock of approaching danger, etc, and the apostle holds a place of `government’, performing all of these functions put together, with miracle-working power accompanying his ministry. (The evangelist in particular should also have `signs and wonders following’). All of these ministries work together, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULNESS OF CHRIST” (Eph 4:12-13).

If the Christian leaders are not “perfecting the saints” in this way, then they can eventually expect to receive `notice’ of their dismissal from their positions by God. Like any earthly employer, if His `managers’ are not performing, God reserves the right to terminate their employment and raise up others to take their place. (He has been forced to do this on quite a number of occasions down through history). God will not put up with ineffective or uninspired men leading His people for long. For, while the church is mired in a hole of it’s own making, the devil will be having a field-day. For the sake of the world, as well as His own people, God must have anointed, effective leaders of His Church. And if necessary, He will take drastic action to ensure that this is so, as He has done many times in the past.

It is my belief that all genuine forms of leadership ON EARTH can actually be equated with a form of `shepherding’. Even Jesus described Himself as being the “Good Shepherd”, who laid down His life for the sheep. And it is interesting to note that an important training-ground for two of His greatest leaders (David and Moses) was in shepherding sheep. But there are many other secular leadership roles which also involve the same principles. Fatherhood, for instance, was clearly seen by Paul as being good preparation for leadership in the church.

If a man was a good and effective father and husband, then this was taken as a sign of His potential in leading God’s people. In fact, Paul encouraged those who were evaluating men for eldership to look at their children (the `fruit’ of their leadership in the home): “He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God’s church?” (1 Tim 3:4-5). It is obvious from this and other passages that there are strong similarities between the leadership required in being a `shepherd’ of God’s people and also in being `shepherd’ of a family. With a family, a father must be strong and willing to bring correction where necessary, but he must also be loving and patient. If a father abuses his power by becoming a `heavy’, unloving, harsh “dictator in the home”, then his wife and children will suffer real emotional, psychological (and often physical) damage that may affect them for years. On the other hand, if the father’s authority and discipline are effectively `absent’ from the home (either through being overly `soft’ and “eager-to-please”, or through being physically absent), then his children may become rebellious and scornful of authority. (The children will often grow up not respecting either him, their school-teachers or other authority figures).

True, godly fatherhood involves both authoritative discipline, along with true patience and love. We must have a balance of both. In these “politically-correct” times, today’s men are often made to feel guilty if they wish to establish their rightful place as `head of the house’. This is simply ridiculous “New Age” garbage (RENOUNCE IT!) Much of the disastrous mess in today’s Western society can be traced directly back to the rise of these modern, so-called “liberating” philosophies. God has ordained that men are to be `head of the house’, and if this and other authority bench-marks are tampered with, then society rapidly becomes a disaster-zone of lawlessness and rebellion.

Today, we are paying a colossal price for the permissiveness of recent decades. In many modern homes, it is the television that rules the household, dictating the `times and seasons’ of the entire family, with the `sensitive, New Age’ parents surrendering much of their influence and authority to a `box’ in the corner. At other times, we find wives skilfully manipulating their rather pathetic `New Age’ husbands (`Jezebel’ again). Tell me, when will the REAL MEN stand up and say “ENOUGH!”? (Of course, it is the same in the church today also. Permissive leadership is `in’ and Jezebel rules supreme. Only true, godly authority can ever rectify this situation).

It is interesting to note that almost all of the new “liberation” philospohies that arose in the late sixties were aimed at undermining or attacking basic moral or authority structures, etc. Many of them also attacked the position of `men’ in society. The sexual revolution, the feminist movement, the “anti-disciplining of children” movement, etc, have all had a profound effect on Western culture. Men have lost much of their responsibility, their authority, their rightful position in society and their right to enforce that position. They stand confused and ashamed under the barrage of general condemnation of their sex, and their natural place in the world. Many men have believed these lies (that all men are “abusers of power”, etc), and have even cooperated in allowing their sex to be essentially de-throned and emasculated.

Whose work does all this sound like to you? As history clearly shows, the devil is a great student of the “bind the strongman” principle. He understands very well the statement that Jesus made about “binding the strongman of the house so that you can spoil his goods.” (See Mt 12:29). We are told that the devil came to “kill and steal and destroy”. The way he does this is often by first binding, deceiving or removing those who are in authority, and then `spoiling’ all that is in their domain. This applies to both secular and spiritual situations, and the devil has used it time and time again, to great effect. Why do you think the devil is able to captivate and destroy this present generation far more than the generation of 40 years ago? What has changed? Simply this: Many of the `strongmen’ (the sources of true authority, both small and great) in our society have been `bound’, and the devil is now `spoiling’ all that was once under their domain.

Like much that is happening in today’s church, the whole sixties party culture and “liberty revolution” scenario truly reek of `Jezebel’. All the signs of her handiwork are there. She loves to create and exploit a vacuum of true authority and leadership. She has already done so in the secular world, as we have just seen, and now she is doing so on an unprecedented scale in the church. However, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard…” (Is 59:19). Because the spirit of Jezebel has arisen with such great power in recent years, we can now begin to expect God to once again raise up the only ministries that can ever truly combat and defeat her: the Elijah ministries. The signs are now everywhere that the end-times `Elijahs’ are truly about to arise (because they are now so desperately needed!) When they do, they will expose and destroy Jezebel’s every stronghold, first in the church and then in the world. This is what “taking the kingdom by force” is all about.

In many ways, the over-riding theme of Jezebel’s handiwork could be summed up in one word: “REBELLION”. She constantly works to undermine or destroy all forms of authority (including God-given instincts, basic morality and even “common sense”). She loves to `thumb her nose at God’ and cause others to do likewise, by leading them into rebellion against any form of true authority. Thus, “casting off restraint”, rejecting or undermining true `authorities’ (Scriptures, parents, leaders, morals, the law, etc), the casting off of natural inhibitions or accepted “norms” of behaviour, wild or abandoned `partying’ (which is an integral part of many pagan religions),- these are all just part of Jezebel’s stock-in-trade.

Rebellion can take many forms, from simple mocking disregard for the authority of parents through to the overthrowing of basic, instinctive moral restraints in society (“Gay Liberation”, etc,- such movements are just steeped in rebellion). It is noticable that Jezebel often causes those under her sway to openly mock au- thority figures. Her favourite activities involve causing men and women to blatantly or gleefully parade their “casting off of restraint” right before God’s very eyes, so to speak. This is why control of the church is Jezebel’s most coveted prize – she loves the thought of leading God’s people into some kind of open lawlessness or `casting off restraint’. And it is always through the church leaders that she will seek to establish her control. (For she cannot move unless the leaders give her `room’).

As I said before, the devil and his demons are well aware of the “bind the strongman and spoil his goods” principle. This is why, when they are trying to deceive or destroy a movement, they will often primarily target the leaders. If the main leader (or leaders) can somehow be taken out, or made to fall into sin or deception, then the whole movement can often be either “hijacked” for the devil’s purposes, or else completely destroyed. How many times have we seen this “strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter” principle apply to situations in today’s church? Whole movements (sometimes very promising ones) have been crippled by the devil in this way, even in recent times. And the same principle applies, from tiny groups (ie. families), right up to whole nations and movements: Target the main leaders, bind (with sin and compomise) the `strongman’ of the house and spoil his goods. (Kill, steal and destroy his “children”, etc).

However, if the `strongman’ of the house will not compromise,- if he makes his stand, using all the authority that is rightfully his as leader or parent, then the devil will find it very difficult to get in. This is why God has spent so much time training and preparing the leaders of the coming move of God.

I BELIEVE IN LEADERS!

Something I want to establish very strongly here is that the coming new leaders must NEVER BE AFRAID TO TRULY “LEAD” GOD’S PEOPLE. If God appoints them to lead, then let them LEAD!

Over the last ten years or so, I have often moved in circles in which it has been emphasised that any future Revival must have “no superstars and no personalities”. Sounds good! Obviously, all the glory must go to God, and self-promotion, pride and the idolising of human leadership must have no place. But very often, I have found that this whole “no superstars, no personalities” thing has been taken much further, into the realm of basically desiring that there be no prominent leaders at all. So what do we really mean by all this? Do we mean to say that God is now finished with “men of valour” and men of `renown’ – the Joshuas, the Gideons and the Davids of ages past? Are we really now to have a kind of “leaderless” Revival, as some have stated? (Declaring that God has little need for prominent leaders at all, and that He Himself will do all the leading, with almost no requirement for earthly `shepherds’). Sounds so right, doesn’t it? So “spiritual” – so democratic. No superstars and no personalities. You have to admit, it has a nice ring to it.

The only problem is, if you take this concept to it’s logical conclusion, then you have to do away with almost every major form of ministry found in the Bible. If God had operated this way in the past, then there would never have been a Moses or a Joshua, a Gideon or a Sampson, A Samuel or an Elijah, a David or a John- the-Baptist, a Peter or a Paul, a Martin Luther or a John Wesley, a William Booth or a Charles Finney (etc, etc, etc…) No heroes, no leaders, no apostles, no “mighty men” of valour or renown to lead God’s people into war. For what use does God have of such men, when He can lead the people Himself? All of the men we have just mentioned were God’s “heroes” of their day – men whom God had raised up into a place of prominence and renown to lead His people, usually after secretly training them for years in the `wilderness’. And it has to be said: Every one of them was a strong and authoritative type of leader (because that is exactly what God had raised them up to be).

For me personally, this whole question has been one that I have pondered at length over the last few years. And I have to admit that during that time, what God has shown me has caused me to adopt the exact opposite position to that which I formerly held. I can no longer believe in a “leaderless” Revival. Everything that I have ever read about past moves of God, from the beginning of the Old Testament right down through recent Revival history has convinced me that this whole “leaderless” concept is a dangerous and deceptive fallacy. Not only is it almost entirely lacking in reason or historical legitemacy, but it actually goes against the very character of God and His dealings with men right down through the ages. For God has ALWAYS USED MEN AND WOMEN as His instruments to bring repentance, deliverance or Revival to His people, and as carriers of His anointing – displaying His glory to a dying world. And He has always raised up STRONG LEADERS to establish and carry forward almost every new move that He has visited upon the earth. I am convinced that He is about to do so again, in the coming great Revival.

A true Revival leader must never be `soft’ or compromising, but neither must he be harsh or authoritarian. He must be both a strong and a loving man of God,- wise, patient, “apt to teach”, but also not afraid to “reprove, rebuke and exhort” where necessary. Above all else, in these mild and insipid times, HE MUST NOT BE AFRAID TO BE A TRUE `LEADER’, despite what people say. History clearly demonstrates that with an `absence’ of strong leadership, the devil gets in so fast that the coming Revival would probably only last a matter of months (if that).

What happened to the 1904 Welsh Revival after Evan Roberts (who was without a doubt one of God’s great Revivalists) suddenly disappeared from the scene, should be an object lesson to us all. Within a very short space of time after he was gone, the whole Revival was being absolutely taken apart by the enemy, with no- one else around with the overall authority to correct the excesses, expose the counterfeits or keep the whole thing on the rails. It seems that Evan Roberts (whose Revival preaching was being reported by secular newspapers around the world at that time) had been persuaded by certain parties that his prominence in the Revival was somehow “stealing glory away from God”. So, as a truly humble man, he took what he obviously thought was the most `humble’ or “spiritual” option available – he hid himself away in a small house, and refused to see anyone or to preach again for many years.

Thus, with GOD’S true “strongman” gone (the one man with the true mantle and anointing, raised up by God to lead the Revival), the devil now had free reign to `spoil his goods’. In many ways this disaster could be likened to the children of Israel suddenly losing Moses after crossing the Red Sea, or losing Joshua just as they entered the promised land. The result was entirely predictable. Chaos! The devil had an absolute field-day, and the famous Welsh Revival, which should have been one of God’s enduring victories, ended in relative ignominy after little more than one year. Excesses and counterfeits flooded in, and thousands of young converts fell away (though many thousands still remained, and some new Pentecostal groups were able to emerge – so not all was lost).

I hope I am not being ungracious to the memory of one of God’s greatest Revivalists here. Please believe me, I hold Evan Roberts in the highest regard. But I believe it is very important that we learn the lessons from this, and other moves of God down through history. The simple fact of the matter is: NO LEADERS – NO REVIVAL. If those whom God is calling to be leaders of a new move of God fail to truly “LEAD” it, then the devil is able to very easily undermine or destroy what God is doing. It is not “humble” to refuse to take authority and be a strong leader when God is calling you to do so – it is simply irresposible and disobedient. And the same will be true of the coming move of God also. This is the exact reason why God is about to raise up so many currently- hidden “men of authority” (apostles and prophets…) as leaders of the coming great move.

The Revivals under Luther, Wesley and Booth were also quite sig- nificant in this regard. They were not perfect, but at least the leaders recognized the need for constant, authoritative leader- ship. This is no doubt one reason why these particular Revivals lasted as long as they did. (Another reason is that they were `outward looking’,- taking the Revival anointing out onto the streets,- especially Wesley and Booth. They also had a `new wineskin’ – new leaders, new structures, etc. All of these things were key factors).

The coming Revival will need strong leaders right from the start. And no doubt God has a hidden supply of these (as always), ready to take the field at His command. Glory to God! I also believe that in the the coming move, new converts will grow up and fulfil their potential in God very rapidly. New ministries will arise and mature at a startling rate. God will raise up both the very young and the very old. After all, isn’t this maturing of new, vigorous, anointed ministries one of the very reasons why God appoints leaders in His church (to bring them to maturity)? True leadership of God’s flock has clearly always been a great privilege, but also an awesome responsibility.

UNDERSTANDING TRUE AUTHORITY

I am absolutely convinced that this issue of “godly authority” and the believer’s exercise of it, is actually central to the entire coming Revival. (After all, the apostles COMMANDED people to be healed in Jesus’ name, etc). The whole concept of being given the authority and the anointing by God to be able to subdue a particular `kingdom’ in His name, to `take it by force’ and establish God’s reign there (as Joshua did with the promised land) is vital to fully comprehending God’s purposes for the coming move. This whole concept of `taking the kingdom by force’ and maintaining His rule there, is to be applied, not only on a large scale, but also firstly in our own personal lives. The coming Revival ministries will have a very deep understanding of what it means to walk fully in such God-given authority – using His anointed `word’ to establish His kingdom in any given situation. (As I have said before, God’s `kingdom’ is any place where enemy rulership has been overthrown, and where “God’s will is now done”). The new ministries won’t need to `strive’ to somehow manufacture this anointed word. They will simply walk in this authority as a “normal” state.

As Jesus said: “For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far jour- ney, who left his house, and gave AUTHORITY to his servants…” (Mk 13:34). “Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and OVER ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY (Lk 10:19). “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, RAISE THE DEAD, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give…” (Mt 10:8). “He that believes on me, the works that I do he shall do also, and GREATER WORKS THAN THESE shall he do” (Jn 14:12). Of course, such authority can only ever function safely if it is in total submission to God. This is why God must spend years training and `breaking’ His servants before He can ever entrust them with such power.

The mighty apostles, prophets and evangelists, etc, that are about to arise will truly walk in the resurrection glory of Jesus Christ. Here is how the apostle John described the risen, glorified Christ: “His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were as a flame of fire. His feet were like fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters. He had in His right hand seven stars, and out of His mouth went a sharp, two-edged sword. And His face was as the sun shines in it’s strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet, as dead.” (Rev 1:14-17). This is the Jesus whose glory will be openly displayed for all to see by the mightily-anointed “street-church” of tomorrow. This is the Jesus who baptizes “with the Holy Spirit AND WITH FIRE”. This is the Jesus who is truly worthy of all honour, praise and glory, in heaven and on earth.

I can no longer believe in a church that does not openly glorify Jesus Christ on the streets of every city. I cannot believe in a church that is so bereft of the genuine MIRACLE-working power of God, as that which we call the “church” today. Where are the Elijahs of God? Why do we seem so satisfied merely to watch as the world goes to hell all around us? I can frankly no longer believe in a “church” in which Jesus lies `wounded in the house of His friends’.

The Church I believe in is an invading force, a rampaging army, that cuts a swathe over the whole earth, “destroying the works of the devil”. It is a people of great power and ruthless determination, who batter down every `gate’ of hell and utterly destroy every stronghold, so that the oppressed might be liberated and the captives be set free. This will be a `Joshua’ army, commissioned by God to “take the land”, to raze every work of Satan to the ground and slaughter every living thing in the enemy camp. Like Jesus, they will `set their faces as flint’ toward the Holy City, and nothing will stand in their path.

In saying all of this, however, I do want to make it clear that I am not speaking here of “taking over” the earth’s political and educational systems, etc. This teaching (which is known as `dominion theology’) is quite widespread in some circles. However, the war that I am talking about is an entirely “SPIRITUAL” one – a war for the hearts and the minds of men. It is certainly not a war for control of the world’s secular institutions (for, as Jesus clearly stated, “My kingdom is not of this world” – Jn 18:36). The purpose of the battle that is about to be waged will be to expose and destroy the lies that bind the people of the earth, and to bring down the `principalities and powers’ that hold them captive. Destroying every `work’ and stronghold of the devil – that’s what this is all about.

THE REFINING OF THE `DAVIDS’

In closing this chapter, I would just like to return briefly to our analogy of the Sauls, the Jonathans and the Davids. There can be no doubt that God has been preparing a “David company” of leaders to arise and lead His people into the coming Revival – leaders after His own heart who have been in hidden preparation for years. However, a large number of these `David’- type ministries will probably have been badly stung by some of their dealings with the present `Saulish’ system. As I have said, the `Davids’ will almost always feel like misfits in the current church set-up. They are essentially `designed’ to fit into the revived church of tomorrow rather than the Laodicean church of today.

Some of them will have received such a hammering whenever they have dared to speak up in the past, that they have now become quite `crushed’ and hesitant about sharing their convictions. Others will be feeling rather `lonely’ – wondering if they are the only ones in their church who feel the way they do about the state of things. There will be others again who, like David, have felt compelled to withdraw from the current system altogether, to a place of refuge far away from the `Sauls’. Still others may have felt called into the `wilderness’, just so that they can spend time alone with God, learning from Him. Believe me, I can sympathise with all of these. However, I also believe that it is extremely vital that the Davids deal with any hurts, resentments, bitterness, rejection, or rebellion that have found a place in their hearts due to their unhappy dealings with the churches, or other `authorities’. Not only is this vitally important, but it is also URGENT I believe, because God is going to want to use these `David’ ministries in a great way very soon. For if the refining process is not complete, how can they hope to be a part of what God is about to do?

Every one of us needs to search our hearts to make sure that there is no deep root of resentment or rebellion lurking within us, as a result of our past dealings with authority figures (pastors, parents, etc), or other Christians. We need to be extreme- ly thorough and totally honest with ourselves. We must not make excuses. We must deal with the root of the problem. Past wounds and resentments, etc, can have a tremendous effect on our present attitudes towards authority. These kinds of bad experiences can cause us to become “reactionary” – still reacting against these wounds many years later. This is often the source of `rebellion’ in many peoples’ hearts. If we are `prophetic’, then such wounds will almost certainly harshly distort many of our prophetic words. (In fact, it has been truly said that many false prophets are really true prophets with `unhealed wounds’). It is vital that we search our hearts, and deal with these deep `roots’ or strongholds in our lives as urgently as possible (for they can seep poison right through every part of our lives, if we are not careful).

Here are some sure signs of `rebellion’ in a person’s life: They secretly enjoy hearing or seeing authority figures or institutions mocked or made a fool of. They can’t seem to help `murmuring’ or complaining to others against particular authority figures that they know. They enjoy deliberately speaking or acting (or even dressing) in such a way that will shock the “establishment”. (MOTIVES are the things that need to be looked at here). This list could go on and on, but I am sure you get the idea. “REBELLION” – a truly subtle yet deadly sin (and one of Satan’s all-time favourites).

How do we deal with such `roots’ of rebellion deep within us? In exactly the same way as we deal with roots or strongholds of any other kind: We ask God to shed light on them, and then utterly `RENOUNCE’ them in the name of Jesus Christ, not just with our words, but also from the depths of our very being. With rebellion, it will also often be necessary to ask God’s forgiveness and cleansing (with genuine godly sorrow). One thing that true godly sorrow and deep repentance will always produce is a genuine HATRED OF SIN, and this will bring abundant `good fruit’ into our lives.

As I said before, honouring and respecting authority does not necessarily mean abject, unthinking “submission” towards our leaders. We are still all individually responsible for our own walk before God, and we need to be sure that our leaders are not leading us astray. If they are leading us into serious deception, then God will often expect us to make a stand and say something about it. If this is done in the right spirit, then it is certainly not `rebellion’. However, if the deception continues, then after making our stand known, the best thing to do would probably be to leave that particular group (unless God tells us to stay). We are not to be unthinking `slaves’ to authority, but neither are we to ever be found amongst the rebellious “murmurers and complainers”. God will help us judge what is right, if our hearts are pure before him. We are certainly not obliged to be loyal to any man who is leading us into blatant deception. Really, I guess the best policy always is “BALANCE IN ALL THINGS”.

Just a short word here about the (often young) harsh, immature `prophet’- types who go around “blasting” people with bludgeoning, judgemental prophecies, etc. (I used to be one of these myself, some years ago!) Often, such `prophets’ may have a true calling on their life, but their immaturity, their (unknowing) pride and arrogance, and their secret `rebellion’ make them very dangerous to themselves and to others. Until they allow God to bring true brokenness and humility into their lives (an often painful process), then they will usually end up causing more harm than good wherever they go. There is a time for `rebuking’ (though only experienced ministries should ever really consider it), but most of the time, there is no substitute for “speaking the truth in love”. Wisdom, patience, gentleness meekness and love should all be part of the `strength’ that God has built into our ministries. Otherwise we can end up doing great damage to His precious flock. (For words can inflict great harm). Please think and pray about these things?

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Chapter Six.
TWO REVIVALS?

Over the last few years, the movement known as the “Toronto Blessing” has swept through many churches worldwide, particularly in the Western nations. This movement has brought with it some rather `strange’ spiritual manifestations which have caused quite a bit of controversy in the church. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the FACTS and the historical data related to this issue, in as straight-forward a way as possible. As stated earlier, I have been studying Revival and Reformation history now for over twelve years, and I hope that this will help me to provide an informed and factual perspective.

As is now well-known, the Toronto Airport Vineyard church (home of the `Toronto Blessing’) was finally expelled from the international Vineyard movement in December 1995. This expulsion came after what had apparently been twelve months of repeated warnings given to the Toronto church by John Wimber and the Vineyard Association.

I have to say on a personal level, before going any further, that having witnessed the `Toronto’ phenomena for myself, and having spoken to many people who have experienced it, right from the outset I have personally been deeply disturbed by much of what I have seen and heard. However, it is time now to take a look at what history has to say about such phenomena.

As many who have studied Revivals will know, it is important to remember that not only have there been many genuine Revivals down through history, but also many “counterfeit” movements as well (a number of which have resulted in quasi-`Christian’ cults that are still with us today). Even some of the most powerful true Revivals have eventually been infiltrated (or in some cases `hijacked’) through the devil flooding them with excesses and demonic manifestations, etc. Many of the great Revivalists came across such counterfeits on a regular basis, and wrote warnings against them. As John Wesley said: “At the first, revival is true and pure, but after a few weeks watch for counterfeits.” These false or demonic manifestations have often followed a very distinctive pattern. And alarmingly, I have to say that they have often resembled `Toronto’ very closely indeed (as we shall see).

The following is an extract from a century-old book by T.W. Caskey, in which he recalls many of the religious happenings in the southern states of America in the early 1800′s. This was the period when many huge `Camp Meetings’ were held in the South, accompanied by great religious excitement (which they called `revival’): “Some would fall prostrate and lie helpless for hours at a time… The whole congregation by some inexplicable nervous action would sometimes be thrown into side-splitting convulsions of laughter and when it started, no power could check or control it until it ran its course. At other times the nervous excitement set the muscles to twitching and jerking at a fearful rate and finally settle down to regular, straight-forward dancing. Like the `Holy Laugh’ it was simply ungovernable until it ran its course. When a man started laughing, dancing, shouting or jerking, it was impossible for him to stop until exhausted nature broke down in a death-like swoon…” The same writer goes on to tell how eventually a few preachers began to question whether such excitement really was the work of the Holy Spirit. Gradually, people began to `search the Scriptures’ and `test the spirits’ a lot more than they had been, and these rather `bizarre’ manifestations began to die out.

Another historian has written of the great Camp Meetings of the eighteenth century (particularly those in Kentucky), that crowds would often “go into trances, writhe on the ground and even bark like dogs”. As is well-known to many who have studied Revivals, such counterfeits and excesses have often flooded in particularly towards the end of a true Revival, when the devil has been trying to get in and completely destroy or discredit it. This is precisely what happened with the 1904 Welsh Revival (as you will see if you read “War on the Saints” by Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts – a disturbing book which probably places too much emphasis on the devil, but vividly describes many counterfeit manifestations very similar to what we are seeing today. Such counterfeits are also examined in Watchman Nee’s “The Spiritual Man”).

A number of `Toronto’ writers have implied that many old-time Revivalists such as John Wesley, Charles Finney and Jonathan Edwards would be very happy with such manifestations. This is far from the truth. I have studied the lives of these men, and all of them were strong “REPENTANCE” preachers who were very suspicious of any `bizarre’ goings-on. When people fell down in their meetings it was almost always under tremendous distress and CONVICTION OF SIN. This is very different from Toronto.

The great Revivalist John Wesley, who came across many examples of counterfeit manifestations in his years of Revival ministry, wrote of one particular occasion: “God suffered Satan to teach them better. Both of them were suddenly seized in the same manner as the rest, and laughed whether they would or no, almost without ceasing. This they continued for two days, a spectacle to all; and were then, upon prayer being made for them, delivered in a moment.” Charles Finney wrote, concerning the dangers of simply `yielding’ to strange impulses or impressions: “God’s Spirit leads men by the intelligence, not through mere impressions… I have known some cases where persons have rendered themselves highly ridiculous, have greatly injured their own souls, and the cause of God, by giving themselves up to an enthusiastic and fan- atical following of impressions.”

And Jonathan Edwards wrote, concerning the supposedly `heavenly’ trances that members of his congregation were entering into under the ministry of Samuel Buelle (a visiting preacher): “But when the people were raised to this height, Satan took the advantage, and his interposition in many instances soon became very apparent; and a great deal of caution and pains were found necessary to keep the people, many of them from running wild.” As Frank Bartleman (of the 1906 `Azusa Street’ Revival said: “Many are willing to seek `power’ from every battery they can lay their hands on, in order to perform miracles… A true `Pentecost’ will produce a mighty conviction for sin, a turning to God. False manifestations produce only excitement and wonder… Any work that exalts the Holy Ghost or the `gifts’ above Jesus will finally land up in fanaticism.” Does it sound like these men welcomed `bizarre’ manifestations to you? Certainly not! They knew how to discern what was of God and what was not.

In mid-1995, respected international Bible Teacher Derek Prince put out a tape in which he made some very strong statements about certain aspects of the Toronto movement. Like him, I would like to state categorically that I believe that human beings manifesting animal noises or animal behaviour is not of God, but rather of the devil. (In fact, he described on the tape how he had seen many such animal manifestations during demonic rituals he had witnessed in Africa). And what about the bodily distortions and the `jerking’ that have also become associated with today’s `Toronto’ movement? Is it God who desires to distort the bodies of His people so that they look like sufferers of Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, etc? (Repetitive `jerking’is also seen regularly in many mental hospitals – ask any psychiatric nurse). I have to ask the question here: Whose work does all this sound like to you?

Alarmingly, there are also many exact similarities between the Toronto experience and the demonic manifestations found throughout the New Age movement and also many pagan religions. A number of Indian gurus such as Bagwhan Shree Rajneesh and Ramakrishna have had the power to transfer a state of rapturous bliss to their followers merely by touching them. In the case of Ramakrishna, these states could last from a few minutes to several days, and were often accompanied by uncontrollable laughter or weeping. Swami Baba Muktananda also had this power, according to a former devotee, and the resulting `Kundalini’ manifestations included uncontrollable laughing, roaring, barking, crying, shaking, etc. Some of his followers also became mute or unconscious, while many felt themselves infused with feelings of tremendous joy, peace and love.

All such experiences have been based on “yielding” oneself to the power working through these gurus. Is it any coincidence that the manifestations associated with these demonic `Kundalini’ cults are almost identical to those of Toronto? Could it be that the same `spirits’ are at work? When Yan Xin, a Chinese `Qigong’ spiritual Master, gave a talk to a crowd in San Francisco in 1991, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that many in the crowd began to experience what Yan called “spontaneous movements”. He 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.” Likewise, the demonic “ministry” of renowned eighteenth-century occultic healer Franz Mesmer, was also known to produce many similar manifestations (falling down, jerking, convulsions, strange grunts and cries, hysterical laughter, etc).

To me, it seems beyond dispute that there has been a powerful alien spirit let loose in many churches for some considerable time. The kind of manifestations that we have been discussing do not belong in true Christianity at all, and never have. They are completely unsupportable from the Scriptures. Many Christians seem to think that if they are receiving their teaching in a church building, then they are quite safe from deception. But I am afraid the Bible does not support this point of view at all. Just because the Toronto manifestations have been cloaked in “Christian” terminology does not mean that they are from God. The fact is that such manifestations are found nowhere in the Bible, but rather right through the New Age movement. Shouldn’t this fact alone have rung alarm bells? Personally, I have been utterly astonished that such a movement could sweep through the churches with such ease. Surely if these are the `last days’ – the days of “great deception” and `lying signs and wonders’ – then we ought to be a little more careful about what we introduce into God’s church?

It is my strong belief that the whole `Toronto’ affair has been a very powerful “test” that God has deliberately allowed to come upon His church. After all, He has allowed similar times of trial and testing to come upon His people in the past, especially when He was about to move again in a great way. One important example of this, of course, was the time of testing that He put the children of Israel through in the wilderness, just before they reached the promised land. And tragically, only a tiny remnant – the two families of Joshua and Caleb – survived to enter Canaan from out of that entire generation. The rest were overthrown by God in the wilderness. Even the great leader Moses was unable to enter in.

Many Christians who have become involved with Toronto have obviously assumed that it “must be of God” because it often results in `inner healing’ or other spiritual experiences. However, such occurrences are certainly not conclusive proof that this movement is of God. In fact, the devil specializes in providing virtually identical experiences in occult and New Age groups right around the world. And as is well-known, “inner healing” has always been one of the very major emphases of today’s New Age movement (while it cannot be found in the Bible). Such experiences are obviously something that Satan finds it very easy to manufacture, especially when he is given the opportunity on such a grand scale. As the Bible clearly states, the devil will gladly disguise himself as an “angel of light” in order to deceive Christians. (2 Cor 11:14).

One of the most dangerous and obviously “New Age” aspects of Toronto has been the emphasis on `switching off your mind’, getting your mind “out of the way”, yielding yourself unthinkingly to the spirit that is operating, etc. I tell you, this exact practice is used all over the world to open up New Age devotees to demonic influence. It is literally the most dangerous, the most deadly practice that I have ever heard taught to Christians. It plays right into the devil’s hands.

The Bible makes it very clear that many demonic spirits are well capable of masquerading as the “Holy Spirit”. This is why the apostle John wrote: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God” (1 Jn 4:1). I am afraid I cannot agree with the idea of `directing’ the Holy Spirit, or proclaiming, “Come, Holy Spirit!” To me, such unscriptural practises are bound to lead to deception sooner or later. But the concept of just “switching off your mind” and yielding to whatever spiritual impulses come upon you, surely has to be the most dangerous teaching of all.

As Jessie Penn-Lewis wrote (in conjunction with Welsh Revival leader Evan Roberts): “… these demons hover round the soul, and make strange suggestions to the mind of something odd, or outlandish, or contrary to common sense or decent taste. They make these suggestions under the profession of being the Holy Ghost. They fan the emotions, and produce a strange, fictitious exhilaration, which is simply their bait to get into some faculty of the soul… another person said he felt like rolling on the floor, and groaning and pulling the chairs around, but he distinctly perceived that the impulse to do so had something wild in it; and a touch of self display contrary to the gentleness and sweetness of Jesus; and, as quick as he saw it was an attack of a false spirit, he was delivered. But another man had the same impulse, and fell down groaning and roaring, beating the floor with his hands and feet, and the demon entered into him as an angel of light, and got him to think that his conduct was of the Holy Ghost, and it became a regular habit in the meetings he attended, until he would ruin every religious meeting he was in… The effects of being influenced by this sort of demon is manifold, and plainly legible to a well-poised mind. They cause people to run off into things that are odd and foolish, unreasonable and indecent…”

The above authors also make the following very crucial statement in the same book: “The false conception of `surrender’ as yielding the body to supernatural power, with the mind ceasing to act, is the HIGHEST SUBTLETY OF THE ENEMY”. Surely, no-one who is reading this can still be in any doubt as to what spiritual `source’ the Toronto movement is from?

It is well-known throughout Christendom that the Bible speaks of the `last days’ as being a time of great deception and apostasy. Jesus Himself said of the `last days’ that many deceivers would come “in His name” and would lead many astray (Mt 24:5). He also stated that the deceptions that would arise in the end times would be so powerful that if it were possible, even the “very elect” would be deceived (Mt 24:24).

The apostle Paul was also full of warnings about this period: “… in the last days PERILOUS TIMES WILL COME. For men shall be lovers of their own selves… lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim 3:1-4). “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having ITCHING EARS; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto FABLES” (2 Tim 4:3-4). “Now the Spirit speaks expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to SEDUCING SPIRITS, and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim 4:1).

There have been several dreams and visions given to New Zealand prophets and intercessors about the Toronto Movement. In one particularly powerful dream given to an Auckland man many months before the term “Toronto Blessing” was even heard of here, he was shown that there would be TWO revivals. (This was the same man who was also given the open vision of the Bride of Christ described in Chapter One). In this dream of the “TWO REVIVALS”, he found himself in a large auditorium full of people. He noticed that many of those down the front of the meeting (particularly those who looked large and spiritually `fat’) were FALLING DOWN LAUGHING AND CRYING, etc. The words that were clearly spoken to him to describe what he was seeing were: “LAODICEAN REVIVAL”. He was then taken and seated with the `little’ people in the auditorium, who had not become really “caught up” in this falling and laughing, etc. (Though some had experienced a bit of it). As the prophet sat with them, these `little’ people were steadily drawn away from this “Laodicean” scenario, until there was a yawning gulf between them and those who were still `partying on’ at the front of the hall. Suddenly, thousands of young people burst out all around them, and they began to minister to them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophet knew that this was the beginning of the true Revival. Glory to God!

It is my belief that in many ways the Toronto experience has been the perfect deception for today’s Laodicean church: It cost nothing, it was “instant” and convenient, it conferred spiritual blessings, `touches’ and experiences without any need for conviction of sin, deep repentance or `taking up the cross’, and best-of-all it gave a flagging, powerless church some new `signs’ to prove that “all was well” after all. The real issue that lies at the heart of this whole controversy is one that revolves around the very character of God Himself. For it is obvious that we have been asked to choose between at least two “Gods” here.

On the one hand we have Toronto’s version of “God” – a being who lives to bring `touches’ and bodily sensations upon his people, and who loves to “party” with them – to `loosen them up’ so that they cast off all restraint and do foolish things that they would never normally do. Many of these `touches’ may appear to outside observers to be `ugly’ or even revolting and frightening (similar to asylum-type mental or drug disorders, etc), but, hey, let’s just get our mind “out of the way”, relax and enjoy it all! Who cares if it looks or sounds completely `demonic’ (animal noises, hysterical laughter, bizarre jerking, etc), so long as it feels good and seems to heal all those past `hurts’? To me, this is the very essence of the touchy-feely “Laodicean” view of God – a `God’ made entirely in their own image, and for their own convenience. Love without responsibility. Mercy without judgement. A permissive “Santa Claus” God – perfect for the shallow, pleasure-loving age in which we live.

On the other hand, there is the God of the Bible: Yes, He is a God of love, but also of justice and of judgement. Yes, He is a God of mercy, but also of war and of vengeance,- waiting patiently for the hour when His enemies will be delivered into His hand, so that He can cast them forever into a living hell. Yes, He is a God of liberty, but He is also a jealous God, who visits the sins of the fathers onto the third and fourth generation of those who hate Him. Yes, He is a God of compassion, but He is also a God of glorious majesty, might and power. And above all, He is a God of HOLINESS, who HATES SIN so much that He created a lake of fire in which to imprison all who have given themselves over to it. And I tell you now, He is not a God who could in any way be represented by a movement involving animal behaviour, animal grunts and cries, drunken stupidity, insane laughter, or ugly epileptic-type `jerking’ amongst His people. Anyone who believes that God may be represented by such sick and ridiculous ugliness is frankly worshipping the wrong God, or does not truly know the Living God at all.

This is why Toronto was such a good `test’ for the Laodicean church. It was a test to see who truly does “know their God”. And how do you think He feels about all those thousands of Christians around the world who chose to give themselves over to a false “God” and a counterfeit spirit – who didn’t even know Him well enough to recognize the difference? And what of those who led them into it? It is my belief that this `Laodicean revival’ has exposed the lukewarm church for what she really is – a “sitting duck”, almost completely prone to the most obvious deception from the enemy – a “happiness club”, still desperate for feel- good `touches’ and blessings after all these years.

It is significant to note that many of the parables that Jesus told about the last days speak of the people of God being `sifted’ and “separated”. (For instance, the parables of the `tares and the wheat’ and the `wise and foolish virgins’, etc). Is it not possible that God might use something like the recent deception to begin this sifting and separating of His people? The Bible makes it clear that judgement is to begin “at the house of God” (1 Pe 4:17). And it is a fact that the Greek word for `judgement’ used in the Bible usually involves `a separating or categorising’. Thus, in the parables of the `sheep and the goats’ and the `tares and the wheat’ for instance, we see the people being separated into two distinct groups or `categories’ as part of the judgement process. Whether it is “deception” in the last days that will bring about this separation in the church (which seems logical), or something else again, one thing is certain: Such a `separating’ of God’s people is definitely on the way.

In early 1995, a New Zealand intercessor was given a powerful vision relating to this. (She believed that it was somehow connected with the effects of `Toronto’). In this vision, she saw the waters being parted, just as Moses parted the sea. The words that she was given to describe what she was seeing were: “TWO CHURCHES”. In other words, what she was witnessing was the dividing of the current church into two totally distinct `churches’ or movements. For a time, while the gap between the two sides was still relatively small, Christians were easily able to jump from side to side. However, as the gap widened, this became more and more difficult, and eventually the only way people could get from one side to the other was to jump into the deep rift itself (the sides of which now looked like huge `cliffs’ of water), to be hauled up by people on the other side.

It is significant to note that right down through church history, new moves of God have often brought `division’ and separation amongst God’s people. While some Christians have chosen to go with God’s true move, others have taken the opposite stance. And from the parables that Jesus told, it seems clear that in the last days, this `separation’ will be far more final and complete than it has ever been before. The time has indeed come for judgement to begin “at the house of God”.

In saying all that I have said about Toronto, I do not want to give the impression that I am opposed to every kind of `unusual’ spiritual manifestation. God Himself often does unusual things in times of Revival. But there is a certain `character’ about them that stamp them as being from Him. For instance, tremendous conviction (which is very common in true Revivals) will often bring extreme distress over sin (wailing, weeping, etc), `trembling’ with godly fear, people falling face-down before God, etc. At the same time, the awesome presence of God will often cause those who have experienced His cleansing and forgiveness to be filled with indescribable joy and thanksgiving to God. It is my belief that there will even be “dancing in the streets” (just as David danced before the Lord `with all his might’) in the coming Revival. This may sound strange to some, but such holy, pure and exuberant praise is very common in times of real Revival.

However, what I am speaking of here is very different from the kind of bizarre “casting off of restraint” recently seen in many churches. It is possible to have joy and thanksgiving which is both exuberant and demonstrative, while still being holy and pure. This is the kind of praise that will be seen in the coming Revival. Of course, the new ministries (particularly the musicians) will have to be very careful to warn the people about the dangers of `soulishness’ entering in at this time. This is to be a form of worship that “GIVES” to God, rather than constantly expecting touches or blessings `FROM’ Him. True worship “gives out” to God without expecting anything in return – just because He is so worthy. It is an act of pure and holy `sacrifice’ to God. This is a very important principle.

As I have said before, if soulishness, excesses or counterfeits begin to get out of hand in the coming Revival then it will clearly be up to the leaders to bring correction. (Though if it is only on a relatively small scale, it may be best not to draw attention to it at all). As well as godly sorrow, holy fear and great joy, we can also expect a genuine outpouring of the Holy Spirit to bring all of the `gifts’ of the Spirit into everyday Christian life: Healings, miracles, deliverance, word of knowledge, tongues, interpretation, prophecy, etc. It is also prob- able that there will be people genuinely “falling down under the power of God” (not that we should ever `seek’ such experiences), visions, dreams, angelic visitations, “signs in the heavens” etc. A large number of these things can be easily counterfeited by the devil, so it will be important to have wise and discerning leaders around, who will know how to step in if things begin to get out of hand. The emphasis of this Revival will be on purity, holiness and evangelism, not the seeking-after of `experiences’. And everything will be centred around Christ. But it is very important that we do not allow the devil’s counterfeits to “scare us off” every kind of unusual manifestation, otherwise we could miss out on what God is doing also.

In forming my opinions about `Toronto’, I have not just stood `afar off’, making judgements about this movement from a distance. Rather, I have personally witnessed these manifestations for myself, as well as speaking with many people who have seen and experienced them first-hand also. None of this has changed my mind, which has been made up ever since I first saw this thing many months ago (at which time every ounce of discernment within me cried out that what I was seeing was not of God). I have seen and read much that is `pro-Toronto’, and have yet to be convinced that any of the manifestations associated with this movement are from the Holy Spirit. In fact, as we have seen, history clearly shows that the opposite is the case, and that this movement should be regarded as a demonic counterfeit, very similar to many such counterfeits down through the centuries.

One thing that has greatly disturbed me about the Toronto movement has been the tendency to simply abandon the practise of `testing’ spiritual experiences and new teachings against the Scriptures. The Bible tells us to “test all things”, and of course, there is the well-known verse: “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, FOR CORRECTION, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). But how can the Scriptures be used for `correction’ if we choose to “explain away” the need for Scriptural proof of our experiences and teachings, etc? If we don’t use the Scriptures to `test’ things any more, aren’t we opening the door to every heresy, false doctrine or demonic experience in existence? (As history clearly demonstrates). This “casting off” of the authority of Scripture, and the general `casting off of restraint’ that lie at the heart of Toronto, I have personally found to be amongst the most alarming aspects of all. As I have intimated before, there is much that has seemed extremely `Jezebelic’ about this entire movement.

THE PROPHETIC MOVEMENT IN CRISIS

All over the world in the past fifteen years or so, God has been speaking to His people about the great shaking, “change” and Revival that lie ahead. In the USA in particular, this has resulted in the formation of what is loosely referred to as the American `prophetic’ movement, which in many ways, has done an excellent job of informing Christians about the coming great Revival. However, as stated earlier in this book, there have been a number of aspects of this movement which I have to say have disturbed and disappointed me. One of these aspects is the rather mild, `toned- down’ version of the coming “shaking” and judgement that seems to have been preached by a number of these prophetic ministries. To my mind, this has left the people full of expectations of a spectacular `harvest’, but almost completely unprepared for the massive shaking and Reformation of the church which are to precede it.

It surely has to be significant that many who had imbibed the American `prophetic’ message were amongst the first to fall for the Toronto deception (many of them believing that it was somehow `preparation’ for the great Revival to come). Some preparation!

Many Christians may blame the local pastors or church leaders for the spread of this deception. And certainly, God will hold each of them accountable as shepherds of His flock. However, to me, much of the blame for the massive spread of this “Laodicean” deception surely has to be laid squarely at the feet of the prophetic movement. For every prophet is, to a very large degree, appointed by God to be a “watchman on the walls” – to discern and then to loudly warn of any enemy advance. Not only did the current prophetic movement utterly fail to do this, but they actually gave the strong impression that they basically condoned and supported this new movement! Any warnings that they did give were so mild and vague that they had almost no impact whatsoever. Tell me, prophets, is this what God raised you up to do? To go with the popular “Laodicean” flow? I tell you now, the consequences of your compromise at this critical hour may well haunt you for years to come.

Sadly, it is my belief that much of the American prophetic movement is dreadfully under-prepared for the coming upheaval. In fact, it is my belief that very little that it has built will survive the massive shaking that lies ahead. No movement will be immune from the `sifting’ and judgement that I believe God has already begun to visit upon His church. And the prophets them- selves, of course, will be no exception.

Tragically, it seems that a large number of today’s prophets have found themselves in the position of `Jonathans’ in the current scenario. In other words, they have become caught between their `reputation’ and position in the present order of things, and their desire to be part of the coming `reign of David’. They have a foot in both camps and they are largely `acceptable’ to both. This is a very precarious (and potentially deadly) position to be in. For as we have seen, because `Saul’ is currently in power, it is far easier to stick with him, than with the outcast Davids. Remember, in the Biblical analogy that we discussed earlier, JONATHAN STUCK WITH SAUL TOO LONG, and ended up falling under the SAME JUDGEMENT THAT CAME UPON SAUL. Even though today’s Jonathans have certainly been `friends of the new move of God’, it has clearly been far easier for them to stick with Saul than to risk everything and throw in their lot with the `Davids’. Such `Jonathans’ are surely now in deadly danger.

It is my belief that it will become more and more impossible to steer a “middle course” between what is of Saul and what is of David today. God will bring about a complete `separation’, a total dividing between these two camps, so that all that is of Saul can fall under the sword of His judgement, and all that is of David can go on to “possess the land” in His name.

Right from the beginning of this book, I have stated my belief that the Laodicean church will have no part in the coming move of God, but rather that a “remnant” coming out from Laodicea will enter into true Revival and harvest. We have already seen how the `last days’ parables of Jesus, and all of Reformation and Revival history, line up with this view. As I have said, I believe that this sifting and separation have already begun. God has begun to `test’ and divide His church. And this shaking is now about to grow much stronger, I believe.

Some time ago, God gave me an analogy from the story of the children of Israel, regarding the “violent faith” that is necessary to truly `take the promised land’. He showed me that the twelve spies who went in to `spy out’ the promised land were really just like prophets, who have been shown in the spirit what the Revival of tomorrow will be like – a land “flowing with milk and honey”. However, in the end result, ONLY TWO of these spies (or prophets) – Joshua and Caleb – had the `violent faith’ necessary to “take the kingdom by force”. The other ten spies, even though they had been shown what was to come, simply did not possess the spiritual `violence’ essential to taking what God had promised. Even though they were definitely true prophets (in the sense that they had truly “spied out the land”), they preached an insipid, compromising word, and all who trusted in them perished in the wilder- ness. Joshua and Caleb, the `violent’ prophets (and their families) were the only ones from that entire generation, who made it through into the promised land. The rest all fell at the final hurdle – the last great `test’. Their prophets had let both them, and God, down very badly.

What this analogy illustrates is something that is vitally important for all of us to understand also. Primarily, it is that THE KINGDOM MUST BE TAKEN BY FORCE. Mild, insipid, “reasonable” men can never lead the people of God into true Revival. What God really needs is violent, uncompromising “warriors” to lead His people into war – into taking possession of the land `by force’. Genuine Revivals have always been the most violent, the most controversial, the most revolutionary spiritual events of their day (and this applies even more to the `time of the end’).

What God has shown me very clearly (and this applies to all min- istries who hope to have a part in the coming great move of God) is that: It is not “who prophesies wins”; it is not even necessarily “who prays wins”; but rather, it is “WHO DARES WINS”. This is the secret to becoming part of the new move of God. For God must have bold, `daring’ warriors to lead His people into the coming great war. “WHO DARES WINS” applies to every would-be Revival ministry. It is simply only those who “dare” who will make it. And it will only be when the new “warrior apostles” arise that this true Revival will begin.

It is my belief that God’s original purpose was for the prophetic movement to prepare the way, and to welcome in the `apostolic’ move (which will be the move that brings in true Revival). However, things have changed markedly for the worse in the last few years. Ever since the disaster at Kansas in 1991, I believe that the prophetic movement has essentially made little further progress at all towards Revival (in fact, probably none). And any Spirit-inspired movement which loses it’s momentum in this way soon becomes easy prey for the devil’s deception. For the prophetic movement, losing their major prophet/leader Bob Jones was clearly far more than a tragedy – it was an absolute disaster that has had serious repurcussions right around the world (but particularly in America).

I have serious doubts that this movement can ever recover from the disasters of the last several years. In fact, historically speaking, movements that get themselves into such a position can be greatly used of the devil to block or hinder what God is desiring to do next. There is an old saying:- “The previous move persecutes the new move of God.” And in the current scenario, we would have to say that THE PROPHETIC MOVEMENT MUST SURELY NOW BE REGARDED AS THE “PREVIOUS” MOVE. But is it really possible that elements of the prophetic movement might oppose or persecute the very `new move’ that they themselves have prophesied? Yes, it is possible. (It has happened before). The major factor, if such opposition does arise from some existing prophets, will probably be what I call “older brother syndrome” (ie. envy or jealousy). This has been the hidden motive for much opposition to Revivals in the past, and this time will be no different.

Sadly, it has often been found doubly true of Revivals that “the good becomes the enemy of the best”. However, it is my prayer that many existing prophets will see this danger before it is too late, and will avoid this historic pitfall, if it is at all possible to do so.

THE “TIME OF THE END”

I wish to make it abundantly clear at this point that I am not one of those who believe that the triumphant Church will `conquer’ the earth and then deliver it as a kind of gift-wrapped “present” to Jesus when He returns. I do believe that the `Elijah’ ministries will first come and “restore all things” before Jesus returns, as He Himself stated (Mt 17:11. See also Acts 3:21). The Scriptures clearly state that these Elijahs of God will “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers”, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. (Mal 4:5-6).

I do believe also that, as the Scriptures declare, Jesus really CANNOT return until His enemies are already “made His footstool” or placed `under His feet’ (Heb 10:12-13. See also Acts 2:33-36). However, though I do believe in this period of victory and “restoration of all things” by God’s servants, I do not believe that this will be the end of what is to occur in the last days. In fact, I believe that all this will occur immediately prior to what the Bible terms the “Great Tribulation”.

Here, briefly, is my own understanding of the sequence of endtime events: Clearly, the first `theatre’ of God’s judgement is to be the church. The Scriptures are clear that a time of great “shaking” and testing, of great deception, apostasy and `sifting’ are to come upon the end-times church. It is my belief that it will only be a “remnant” from out of this Laodicean church, led by the `Elijah’ ministries, who will bring in the last great `ingather- ing’ of souls. This will be the time of the “restoration of all things” (including Israel) that is spoken of in the Bible. Despite this on-going `harvest’ and victory over God’s enemies, this will also be a time of increasing conflict, persecution and natural disasters in the earth. However, eventually this `Elijah’- led move will be utterly victorious. “And they overcame him {the devil} by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; AND THEY LOVED NOT THEIR LIVES UNTO THE DEATH” (Rev 12:11).

Meanwhile, a corresponding war will be fought by God’s angels in the heavenlies, against the devil himself and his demons. “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him… the KINGDOM OF OUR GOD and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down… Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short” (Rev 12:7-12). I believe that this will be the beginning of the “GREAT TRIBULATION” – worse than anything the world has ever seen. It is possible that many of the key `Elijah’-type ministries, with their main task already accomplished, will be completely taken off the scene at around this time. For, with the devil now expelled from his place in the `second heaven’, and trapped in the earth, the “testing” of the entire Revival movement, and of the hearts of all the inhabitants of the earth will now occur.

What will take place at this time, I believe, will follow exactly the same pattern as the preceding judgement in the church. Great deception will arise, to “deceive if possible the very elect”, and all the people of the earth (including those who have been converted during the time of `harvest’) will have to choose between seductive deception and true Christianity. The devil himself will be behind this deception, so it will be very powerful (with `lying signs and wonders’, etc). Only those who “overcome”, or `endure to the end’ will be saved. Tremendous persecution will come upon all who refuse to embrace this deception. What dark days these will be! Awful `tribulation’ will be visited upon the earth during this time, because of the devil’s great wrath and the judgement of God.

A number of New Zealand prophets have been given dreams and visions of this period. One man was given an incredible vision of the return of Jesus. However, he could also see in his vision that the ground was scarred and blackened, as though some terrible cataclysm had overtaken the earth. My belief is that God will not allow this period to go on for too long, otherwise “no flesh would be saved”. I believe that Jesus will return in great glory at this time, with all His angels and all His saints, to finally defeat the devil and his armies at Armageddon, and to cast him into the abyss. “Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:8). This Scripture gives some idea of how deep and widespread the devil’s influence will be at that time. Upon His return, of course, Jesus and His saints will rule over the earth for a thousand years. Glory to God!

What awesome times we are living in! No wonder the Scriptures urge us to remain `alert’, and to be “sober-minded”! It is my belief that clearly one of the major tasks of the new ministries will be to prepare the new converts for the great deception that is to eventually come upon the whole earth. (For these ministries may not be around when it comes). The best way to do this, of course, is to ensure that these converts have an INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, so that they can recognize any counterfeits.

What I have done in the above paragraphs, is seek to give a brief overview of what I believe could well be the sequence of events in these last days. To my knowledge, the above sequence does not do violence to any of the major Scriptural passages on the end-times. Rather, it seems to fit in with them quite well, so far as I am aware. No doubt we will gain further insight into all of these things as time goes by, and as events continue to unfold before our very eyes (as they are already doing now).

IN CONCLUSION

I know that some who have read this book will have found parts of it quite provocative and even shocking in places. However, it was never my intention to `whip up’ controversy, or to offend anyone. What I have attempted to do here is, with as much clarity as possible, faithfully inform and warn all who read this of the great dangers and also the great opportunities of the period that lies directly before us. If I had not spelled out clearly what God has been showing us in New Zealand, then I believe that I would have been seriously remiss in fulfilling the task God has given me.

As I have stated before, it is my belief that we stand today on the verge of the greatest “shaking”, the greatest Reformation, the greatest Revival in the history of the church. Truly, for many Christians, this will be the church’s `finest hour’. But it will also be the hour of greatest peril. Only those who “DARE” will win. Many who looked to have the greatest potential will be found to have fallen at the final hurdle, or to have shrunk back from taking their ultimate stand with God. And just because we are not involved with `Toronto’ does not mean that we will automatically enter into the new move of God, either. It is only those who have been truly “revived” themselves who can expect to have a part in the coming great `harvest’.

I just want to warn the `non-Toronto’ people not to develop a kind of “elitist” mentality, where they assume that just because they have not been deceived this time, they must be one of God’s “select few”. This kind of foolish pride is just as fatal as any other deception. Only those who are truly humble of heart will have a place in the coming move of God. There is definitely more than one way to miss out!

I would also like to warn the “non-Toronto” people of `reacting’ to this Toronto deception by becoming more and more legalistic, or “anti” every kind of unusual experience. This is exactly what the devil wants (for he loves extremes). I believe that our motto needs to be always, “BALANCE IN ALL THINGS”. (Remembering that those who are legalistic seemingly serve a rather `strict’, severe, merciless, `joyless’ God, while those at the “hyper- grace” end of the scale seemingly serve a God who is a kind of `good- times’ merchant, freely accomodating lukewarmness and sin – One whom they need have little `fear’ of at all. Both sides are actually serving a false “God”, made in their own image. The truth lies in the BALANCE of both extremes).

The Scripture, “Many that are first will be last, and many that are last will be first”, will come into play at every level in this Revival (even amongst the order of NATIONS). The spiritual and cultural `power centres’ of today should not necessarily assume that they will continue to be so. For God is going to use the little and the `foolish’ things of this world to confound and humble the renowned, the powerful and the mighty. There is coming a great tidal-wave of “CHANGE”. The old order is about to be overthrown, and the `new’ is to be established by God.

Sadly, in many ways the current situation in the church has reminded me very much of the parable of the `wise and foolish virgins’. When those who were truly “ready” had entered in, the door was slammed shut, and the `unprepared’ were locked out of the very marriage that they were supposed to be a part of. No wonder there was “wailing and gnashing of teeth”! We are about to see this parable quite literally fulfilled in our day. Tragically, like Esau, it seems clear that many in these days are going to be found to have sold their birthright for a mere “mess of pottage”.

As I have already said, the coming days will be truly `momentous’ ones for all Christians. How we respond to the opportunities and the dangers of this time is entirely over to us. I believe that we are about to see a new kind of ministry arise – the `Elijah apostles’, who will rout Jezebel and all her ilk from whatever strongholds they may inhabit, both in the church and in the world, and who will go forth, `destroying the works of the devil’ in Jesus’ name, with great daring and resolve. For years Jezebel’s influence in the church has been subtle and hidden, but now she has come right out into the open.

It is truly time for God’s `Elijahs’ to arise. A great army is about to take the field,- hidden and prepared by God for years for this last, dark hour. I believe that the Lord is about to once again be seen as a `God of war’, shaking the nations and scattering His enemies to the dust. We live in the most glorious of days.

I have spoken at length in this book of the `street-church’ that is about to arise, with it’s anointed repentance preaching, it’s “new music”, and it’s genuine signs and miracles, etc. I have also spoken of the many `specialist’ ministries that God is about to raise up, who will complement each other with their various giftings, often working in “teams”, etc. What a glorious `Bride’ this street-church is to be! No longer will God’s people operate from a mindset of expecting the world to `come to them’. Rather, it will be God’s people who will be going out into “all the world”. And they will not be making mere `church-goers’ of all nations, but rather true DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST. This will be their heart and their passion. And they will risk everything to accomplish it. These will be a people far more concerned with `holiness’ than with happiness. For them, true happiness will consist of walking in the very centre of God’s will. Glory to God!

My prayer is that, in some small way, this book will help to warn and prepare all who read it for the awesome days ahead, so that as many as possible might become part of the great thing that God is about to do. His name is about to be glorified in all the earth. And He is inviting many, many of us to be a part of it. Tell me, will you be one who heeds His call?

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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (ESSENTIAL!) READING

“Why Revival Tarries” by Leonard Ravenhill. “Azusa Street” or “Another Wave of Revival” by Frank Bartleman. “The Autobiography of Charles G. Finney”. “The General Next to God” by Richard Collier. “Revival” by Winkie Pratney. “In the Day of Thy Power” by Arthur Wallis.

(And many others).

PLEASE NOTE: There is a much more detailed Bibliography of references and quotation sources at the end of this book.

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APPENDIX -
TOMMY HICKS’ END-TIMES VISION.

The following is a stunning vision given to American preacher Tommy Hicks (who was a central figure in the powerful 1954 Argentina Revival).

VISION OF THE BODY OF CHRIST AND THE END-TIME MINISTRIES

My message begins July 25, about 2:30 in the morning at Winnipeg, Canada. I had hardly fallen asleep when the vision and the revelation that God gave me came before me. The vision came three times, exactly in detail, the morning of July 25, 1961. I was so stirred and so moved by the revelation that this has changed my complete outlook upon the body of Christ, and upon the end-time ministries.

The greatest thing that the church of Jesus Christ has ever been given lies straight ahead. It is so hard to help men and women to realize and understand the thing that God is trying to give his people in the end times.

I received a letter several weeks ago from one of our native evangelists down in Africa, down in Nairobi. This man and his wife were on their way to Tanganyika. They could neither read nor could they write, but we had been supporting them for over two years. As they entered into the territory of Tanganyika, they came across a small village. The entire village was evacuating because of a plague that had hit the village. He came across natives that were weeping, and he asked them what was wrong.

They told him of their mother and father who had suddenly died, and they had been dead for three days. They had to leave. They were afraid to go in; they were leaving them in the cottage. He turned and asked them where they were. They pointed to the hut and he asked them to go with him, but they refused. They were afraid to go.

The native and his wife went to this little cottage and entered in where the man and woman had been dead for three days. He simply stretched forth his hand in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and spoke the man’s name and the woman’s name and said, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command life to come back to your bodies.” Instantaneously these two heathen people who had never known Jesus Christ as their Savior sat up and immediately began to praise God. The spirit and the power of God came into the life of those people.

To us that may seem strange and a phenomenon, but that is the beginning of these end-time ministries. God is going to take the do-nothings, the nobodies, the unheard-of, the no-accounts. He is going to take every man and every woman and he is going to give to them this outpouring of the Spirit of God.

In the book of Acts we read that “In the last days,” God said, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.” I wonder if we realized what he meant when God said, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.” I do not think I fully realized nor could I understand the fullness of it, and then I read from the book of Joel: “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain -” (Joel 2:23). It is not only going to be the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, but he is going to give to his people in these last days a double portion of the power of God!

As the vision appeared to me after I was asleep, I suddenly found myself in a great high distance. Where I was, I do not know. But I was looking down upon the earth. Suddenly the whole earth came into my view. Every nation, every kindred, every tongue came before my sight from the east and the west, the north and the south. I recognized every country and many cities that I had been in, and I was almost in fear and trembing as I beheld the great sight before me: and at that moment when the world came into view, it began to lightning and thunder.

As the lightning flashed over the face of the earth, my eyes went downward and I was facing the north. Suddenly I beheld what looked like a great giant, and as I stared and looked at it, I was almost bewildered by the sight. It was so gigantic and so great. His feet seemed to reach to the north pole and his head to the south. Its arms were stretched from sea to sea. I could not even begin to understand whether this be a mountain or this be a giant, but as I watched, I suddenly beheld a great giant. I could see his head was struggling for life. He wanted to live, but his body was covered with debris from head to foot, and at times this great giant would move his body and act as though it would even raise up at times. And when it did, thousands of little creatures seemed to run away. Hideous creatures would run away from this giant, and when he would become calm, they would come back.

All of a sudden this great giant lifted his hand towards heaven, and then it lifted its other hand, and when it did these creatures by the thousands seemed to flee away from this giant and go into the darkness of the night.

Slowly this great giant began to rise and as he did, his head and hands went into the clouds. As he rose to his feet he seemed to have cleansed himself from the debris and filth that was upon him, and he began to raise his hands into the heavens as though praising the Lord, and as he raised his hands, they went even unto the clouds.

Suddenly, every cloud became silver, the most beautiful silver I have ever known. As I watched this phenomenon it was so great I could not even begin to understand what it all meant. I was so stirred as I watched it, and I cried unto the Lord and I said, “Oh Lord, what is the meaning of this.” and I felt as if I was actually in the Spirit and I could feel the presence of the Lord even as I was asleep.

And from those clouds suddenly there came great drops of liquid light raining down upon this mighty giant, and slowly, slowly, this giant began to melt, began to sink itself in the very earth itself, and as he melted, his whole form seemed to have melted upon the face of the earth, and this great rain began to come down. Liquid drops of light began to flood the very earth itself and as I watched this giant that seemed to melt, suddenly it became millions of people over the face of the earth. As I beheld the sight before me, people stood up all over the world! They were lifting their hands and they were praising the Lord.

At that very moment there came a great thunder that seemed to roar from the heavens. I turned my eyes toward the heavens and suddenly I saw a figure in white, in glistening white – the most glorious thing that I have ever seen in my entire life. I did not see the face, but somehow I knew it was the Lord Jesus Christ, and he stretched forth his hand, and as he did, he would stretch it forth to one, and to another, and to another. And as he stretched forth his hand upon the nations and the people of the world – men and women – as he pointed toward them, this liquid light seemed to flow from his hands into them, and a mighty anointing of God came upon them, and those people began to go forth in the name of the Lord.

I do not know how long I watched it. It seemed it went into days and weeks and months. And I beheld this Christ as he continued to stretch forth his hand; but there was a tragedy. There were many people as he stretched forth his hand that refused the anointing of God and the call of God. I saw men and women that I knew. People that I felt would certainly receive the call of God. But as he stretched forth his hand toward this one and toward that one, they simply bowed their head and began to back away. And each of those that seemed to bow down and back away, seemed to go into darkness. Blackness seemed to swallow them everywhere.

I was bewildered as I watched it, but these people that he had anointed, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, in Africa, England, Russia, China, America, all over the world, the anointing of God was upon these people as they went forward in the name of the Lord. I saw these men and women as they went forth. They were ditch diggers, they were washerwomen, they were rich men, they were poor men. I saw people who were bound with paralysis and sickness and blindness and deafness. As the Lord stretched forth to give them this anointing, they became well, they became healed, and they went forth!

And this is the miracle of it – this is the glorious miracle of it – those people would stretch forth their hands exactly as the Lord did, and it seemed as if there was this same liquid fire in their hands. As they stretched forth their hands they said, “According to my word, be thou made whole.”

As these people continued in this mighty end-time ministry, I did not fully realize what it was, and I looked to the Lord and said, “What is the meaning of this?” And he said, “This is that which I will do in the last days. I will restore all that the cankerworm, the palmerworm, the caterpiller – I will restore all that they have destroyed. This, my people, in the end times will go forth. As a mighty army shall they sweep over the face of the earth.”

As I was at this great height, I could behold the whole world. I watched these people as they were going to and fro over the face of the earth. Suddenly there was a man in Africa and in a moment he was transported by the Spirit of God, and perhaps he was in Russia, or China or America or some other place, and vice versa. All over the world these people went, and they came through fire, and through pestilence, and through famine. Neither fire nor persecution, nothing seemed to stop them.

Angry mobs came to them with swords and with guns. And like Jesus, they passed through the multitudes and they could not find them, but they went forth in the name of the Lord, and everywhere they stretched forth their hands, the sick were healed, the blind eyes were opened. There was not a long prayer, and after I had reviewed the vision many times in my mind, and I thought about it many times, I realised that I never saw a church, and I never saw or heard a denomination, but these people were going in the name of the Lord of Hosts. Hallelujah!

As they marched forth in everything they did as the ministry of Christ in the end times, these people were ministering to the multitudes over the face of the earth. Tens of thousands, even millions seemed to come to the Lord Jesus Christ as these people stood forth and gave the message of the kingdom, of the coming kingdom, in this last hour. It was so glorious, but it seems as though there were those that rebelled, and they would become angry and they tried to attack those workers that were giving the message.

God is going to give the world a demonstration in this last hour as the world has never known. These men and women are of all walks of life, degrees will mean nothing. I saw these workers as they were going over the face of the earth. When one would stumble and fall, another would come and pick him up. There were no “big I” and “little you,” but every mountain was brought low and every valley was exalted, and they seemed to have one thing in common – there was a divine love, a divine love that seemed to flow forth from these people as they worked together, and as they lived together. It was the most glorious sight that I have ever known. Jesus Christ was the theme of their life. They continued and it seemed the days went by as I stood and beheld this sight. I could only cry, and sometimes I laughed. It was so wonderful as these people went throughout the face of the whole earth, bringing forth in this last end time.

As I watched from the very heaven itself, there were times when great deluges of this liquid light seemed to fall upon great congregations, and that congregation would lift up their hands and seemingly praise God for hours and even days as the Spirit of God came upon them. God said, “I will pour my Spirit upon all flesh,” and that is exactly this thing. And to every man and every woman that received this power, and the anointing of God, the miracles of God, there was no ending to it.

We have talked about miracles. We have talked about signs and wonders, but I could not help but weep as I read again this morning, at 4 o’clock this morning the letter from our native work- ers. This is only the evidence of the beginning for one man, a “do-nothing, an unheard-of,” who would go and stretch forth his hand and say, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command life to flow into your body.” I dropped to my knees and began to pray again, and I said, “Lord, I know that this time is coming soon!”

And then again, as these people were going about the face of the earth, a great persecution seemed to come from every angle.

Suddenly there was another great clap of thunder, that seemed to resound around the world, and I heard again the voice, the voice that seemed to speak, “Now this is my people. This is my beloved bride.” And when the voice spoke, I looked upon the earth and I could see the lakes and the mountains. The graves were opened and people from all over the world, the saints of all ages, seemed to be rising. And as they rose from the grave, suddenly all these people came from every direction. From the east and the west, from the north and the south, and they seemed to be forming again this gigantic body. As the dead in Christ seemed to be rising first, I could hardly comprehend it. It was so marvellous. It was so far beyond anything I could ever dream or think of.

But as this body suddenly began to form, and take shape again, it took shape again in the form of this mighty giant, but this time it was different. It was arrayed in the most beautiful gorgeous white. Its garments were without spot or wrinkle as its body began to form, and the people of all ages seemed to be gathered into this body, and slowly, slowly, as it began to form up into the very heavens, suddenly from the heavens above, the Lord Jesus came, and became the head, and I heard another clap of thunder that said, “This is my beloved bride for whom I have waited. She will come forth even tried by fire. This is she that I have loved from the beginning of time.”

As I watched, my eyes suddenly turned to the far north, and I saw seemingly destruction: men and women in anguish and crying out, and buildings in destruction. Then I heard again, the fourth voice that said, “Now is My wrath being poured out upon the face of the earth.” From the ends of the whole world, the wrath of God seemed to be poured out and it seemed that there were great vials of God’s wrath being poured out upon the face of the earth. I can remember it as though it happened a moment ago. I shook and trembled as I beheld the awful sight of seeing the cities, and whole nations going down into destruction.

I could hear the weeping and wailing. I could hear people crying. They seemed to cry as they went into caves, but the caves in the mountains opened up.

They leaped into water, but the water would not drown them. There was nothing that could destroy them. They were wanting to take their lives, but they could not. Then again I turned my eyes to this glorious sight, this body arrayed in beautiful white, shining garments. Slowly, slowly, it began to lift from the earth, and as it did, I awoke. What a sight I had beheld! I had seen the end-time ministries – the last hour. Again on July 27, at 2:30 in the morning, the same revelation, the same vision came again exactly as it did before.

My life has been changed as I realised that we are living in that end time, for all over the world God is anointing men and women with this ministry. It will not be doctrine. It will not be a churchianity. It is going to be Jesus Christ. They will give forth the word of the Lord, and are going to say, “I heard it so many times in the vision and according to my word it shall be done.”

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
REFERENCES AND QUOTATIONS

CHAPTER ONE.

1. Source: J.C. Waite, “Dear Mr Booth”, pg 19.
2. C.G. Finney. Source: L. Ravenhill, “Why Revival Tarries”, pg 150.
3. Source: R. Collier, “The General Next to God”, pg 60.
4. Bramwell Booth. Source: Ibid. pg 59.
5. Ref: James Ryle, “The Sons of Thunder” dreams/visions (tape set).
6. F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 19.
7. “The Autobiography of Charles G. Finney”, pg 24-25.

CHAPTER TWO.

1. A.G. Gardiner. Source: A. Wallis, “In the Day of Thy Power”, pg 81.
2. F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 27.

CHAPTER THREE.

1. Rowland Hill. Source: L. Ravenhill, “Why Revival Tarries”, pg 59.
2. John Wesley. Source: R. Collier, “The General Next to God”, pg 33.
3. “The Autobiography of Charles G. Finney”, pg 79.
4. F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 153-154.
5. John Bunyan. Source: Ibid. pg 171.
6. John Wesley. Source: Ibid. pg 45.
7. F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 89.
8. Samuel Chadwick. Source: L. Ravenhill, “Why Revival Tarries”, pg 26.
9. Source: J. Swaggart, “The Pentecostal Way”, in ‘The Evangelist’, Dec ’86, pg 6.

CHAPTER FOUR.

1. F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 19.
2. Source: Eifion Evans, “When He is Come”, pg 55.
3. Source: F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 34-35.
4. “The Autobiography of Charles G. Finney”, pg 82.
5. F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 69-70.
6. Evan Roberts. Source: David Matthews, “I Saw the Welsh Revival”, pg 81.
7. John Wesley. Source: F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 45.
8. Adam Clarke. Source: Ibid. pg 45.
9. Ibid. pg 152.
10. John Wesley. Source: Ibid. pg 45.
11. A.W. Tozer. Introduction, L. Ravenhill, “Why Revival Tarries”, pg 11-12. Copyright (c) 1959. Published by Bethany House. Used by permission.
12. D’Aubigne, “History of the Reformation”. Source: F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 101-102.
13. Source: F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 46.
14. Humphrey Jones. Source: Eifion Evans, “When He is Come”, pg 49.
15. Martin Luther. Source: L. Ravenhill, “Revival – God’s Way”, pg 15.
16. “The Autobiography of Charles G. Finney”, pg 57.
17. Jonathan Edwards. Source: W. Pratney, “Revival”, pg 117.
18. Source: Fischer, “Reviving Revivals”, pg 84-86.
19. “The Autobiography of Charles G. Finney”, pg 105.
20. George Whitefield. Source: L. Ravenhill, “Why Revival Tarries”, pg 22.
21. F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 33.
22. D.M. McIntyre. Source: L. Ravenhill, “Why Revival Tarries”, pg 16.
23. Matthew Henry. Source: Ibid. pg 26.
24. L. Ravenhill, “Why Revival Tarries”, pg 42. Copyright (c) 1959. Published by Bethany House. Used by permission.
25. A.T Pierson. Source: Ibid. pg 156.
26. John Wesley. Source: Ibid. pg 16.
27. C.G. Finney. Source: Ibid. pg 150.
28. Jonathan Edwards. Source: Fischer, “Reviving Revivals”, pg 158.
29. R.M. McCheyne. Source: L. Ravenhill, “Why Revival Tarries”, pg 33.
30. F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 81.
31. Ibid. pg 43.
32. A. Booth-Clibborn. Source: Ibid. pg 55.

CHAPTER SIX.

1. John Wesley. Source: G. Strachan, “Revival – It’s Blessings and Battles”, pg 44.
2. “The Journal of John Wesley”, May 23, 1740.
3. C.G. Finney, “Reflections on Revival”, pg 66.
4. “Jonathan Edwards on Revival”, pg 153-154.
5. F. Bartleman, “Azusa Street”, pg 86.
6. Ref: Derek Prince, Personal Update #76, 1995. (Tape).
7. Ref (New Age): C. and S. Grof, “The Stormy Search for the Self”. (See also, Christian “SCP Newsletter” volume 19:2, pg 14).
8. Ref: T. Bambridge, “Hypnotism Investigated”, pg 93.
9. J. Penn-Lewis, “War on the Saints”, pg 150-151.
10. J. Penn-Lewis, “War on the Saints”, pg 148.

APPENDIX.

1. Tommy Hicks, End-Times Vision. Source: C. and F. Hunter, “To Heal the Sick”, pg 8-16. Used by permission.

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This article Copyright (c) Andrew Strom, 1996, 2004.
PERMISSION IS GRANTED to ‘link’-to, photocopy and pass around this work. However, if you wish
to ‘publish’ it or parts of it, you will need to obtain permission from the author first.

Andrew Strom – email: [email protected]

This book can be found at- http://www.revivalschool.com

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GREAT HEALING REVIVALISTS – HOW GOD’S POWER CAME

-BY ANDREW STROM & LARRY MAGNELLO.

Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, Maria Woodworth-Etter, John Alexander Dowie and others, plus the ENIGMA OF WILLIAM BRANHAM…

Copyright (c) 1996, 2004.
PERMISSION IS GRANTED to ‘link’-to, photocopy and pass around this work. However, if you wish
to ‘publish’ it or parts of it, you will need to obtain permission first.

Introduction
“FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT”

The Greek words for “BE FILLED with the Holy Spirit” (Eph 5:18), should be translated, “BE BEING FILLED with the Holy Spirit”. In other words, we are to be constantly seeking God so that we will become more and more full of His Holy Spirit. Some people believe that we Christians only receive one infilling of God’s Spirit in our lifetime. Such people may be sincere, but they are SINCERELY WRONG. This article is about men and women of God who were not satisfied with an initial token of God’s grace or presence in their lives. They were hungry for more, and in their desperation for greater and greater depths in God, they smashed through every barrier and overthrew every obstacle to experience an ever-greater measure of God’s holy presence and glory,- and to gain an anointing the like of which has rarely been seen since the days of the apostles.

It was MORE OF JESUS that they were hungering after, and He did not disappoint them, though the road was often narrow and winding. It was a path that few cared to travel. But it was simply not enough to be Spirit- baptized and speaking in tongues. They had to be ENDUED WITH POWER FROM ON HIGH,- baptized with the Holy Spirit AND WITH FIRE. And they had to see God glorified in their day, in the most profound way possible. They could not bear to live any longer, the way things were. Where was the power, where was the glory of apostolic days? They took it upon themselves, and were almost driven onward by God – to find out.

And so, with fastings and prayer, with agonizing travail and wrestlings such as Jacob had with God, with ridding their lives not only of their sins, but of their fleshly, soulish “WAYS” also – the ways of man’s strength and man’s power,- they battled on, right into the very throneroom of God. And by the time they got there they were truly broken and humbled men and women, true possessors of ‘clean hands and a pure heart’. And He met them there in the most profound way. Tell me, friend, do you hunger and thirst after more of God? Is it your one desire to love Him with ALL your heart and ALL your mind and ALL your soul and ALL your strength? And do you desire to see Him glorified on the earth to the highest possible degree? “And you shall seek me, and find me, WHEN YOU SHALL SEARCH FOR ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART” (Jer 29:13).

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Chapter One
SMITH WIGGLESWORTH.

Smith Wigglesworth was without doubt one of the most anointed men of God that has lived in recent times. He was known as the Apostle of Faith, and if anyone deserved to be described as “full of faith and of the Holy Ghost”, it was him. He lived and walked continually in the presence of God. And the miracles that accompanied his ministry were of the sort that have seldom been seen since the days of the apostles. People born blind and deaf, cripples – twisted and deformed by disease, others on death’s door with cancer or sickness of every kind,- all were healed by the mighty power of God. Even the dead were raised.

Born in 1859 into poverty, Smith Wigglesworth was converted by the Methodists at eight years of age. Even then, he was hungry for God and hungry for souls. He was in the choir of the local Episcopal church. “When most of the boys in the choir were twelve years of age they had to be confirmed by the bishop. I was not twelve, but between nine and ten, when the bishop laid his hands on me. I can remember that as he imposed his hands I had a similar experience to the one I had forty years later when I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. My whole body was filled with the consciousness of God’s presence, a consciousness that remained with me for days. After the confirmation service all the other boys were swearing and quarreling, and I wondered what had made the difference between them and me.” (Stanley Frodsham, ‘Smith Wigglesworth, Apostle of Faith’, pg 13. -Most of the following quotes are also taken from this excellent book).

Later, Wigglesworth was fully-immersed in water by the Baptists. But please remember that all of his early years of ministry and seeking God came well before the ‘Azusa Street’ Revival and the early Pentecostal movement. Smith had a hunger after God, and he experienced many breakthroughs into new levels of anointing even well before he experienced the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. He was already renowned for his healing ministry, and had seen God move in great power, even well before the new Pentecostal experience was being talked about. Unlike us today, who basically begin with Baptism in the Spirit as our first real anointing, for Smith this was the culmination of years of seeking and hungering after God, and so it was much closer to a real New Testament enduement of “power from on high”.

Smith Wigglesworth: “I had the grounding in Bible teaching among the Plymouth Brethren. I marched under the blood and fire banner of the Salvation Army, learning to win souls in the open air. I received the second blessing of sanctification and a clean heart under the teaching of Reader Harris and the Pentecostal League. I claimed the gift of the Holy Spirit by faith as I waited ten days before the Lord. But in Sunderland, in 1907, I knelt before God and had an Acts 2:4 experience…” (Pg 119). He described this experience as follows: “She [Mrs Boddy, a minister's wife] laid her hands on me and then had to go out of the room. The fire fell. It was a wonderful time as I was there with God alone. He bathed me in power. I was conscience of the cleansing of the precious blood, and I cried out: ‘Clean! Clean! Clean!’ I was filled with the joy of the consciousness of the cleansing. I was given a vision in which I saw the Lord Jesus Christ. I beheld the empty cross, and I saw Him exalted at the right hand of God the Father. I could speak no longer in English, but I began to praise Him in other tongues as the Spirit of God gave me utterance. I knew then, although I might have received anointings previously, that now, at last, I had received the real Baptism in the Holy Spirit as they received on the day of Pentecost.” (Pg 44).

After this experience, there was no stopping Smith Wigglesworth. He was a flame for God, and the fire fell wherever he went. He said: “I believe God’s ministers are to be flames of fire. Nothing less than flames. Nothing less than mighty instruments, with burning messages, with hearts full of love. They must have a DEPTH OF CONSECRATION, that God has taken full charge of the body, and it exists only that it may manifest the Glory of God. A Baptism into death in which the person is purified and energized…” He was certainly possessor of an audacity, a daring, a boldness the like of which has rarely been seen in Christendom in modern times. It was not uncommon for him to announce in his meetings: “Every sermon that Christ preached was prefaced by a model miracle. We are going to follow His example. The first person in this large audience that stands up, whatever his or her sickness, I’ll pray for that one and God will deliver him or her.” And the first person to stand, even if they were the most deformed cripple, would be healed!

On another typical occasion, a man came forward for prayer for stomach pain, and, commanding the pain to be gone, Wigglesworth punched the man in the stomach so hard that he was sent half-way across the room (completely healed)! This kind of thing happened more than once. Wigglesworth believed in COMMANDING the sick to be healed in Jesus’ name. His was an aggressive, holy faith. He was a “violent” man, taking ground from the devil by force. And yet he was also a man of great compassion, as well as of great authority. The devil certainly felt it when Smith Wigglesworth hit town!

A number of people were also raised literally from the dead under Smith’s ministry. Here is his own account of one occasion: “My friend said, ‘She is dead.’ He was scared. I have never seen a man so frightened in my life. ‘What shall I do?’ he asked. You may think that what I did was absurd, but I reached over into the bed and pulled her out. I carried her across the room, stood her against the wall and held her up, as she was absolutely dead. I looked into her face and said, ‘In the name of Jesus I rebuke this death.’ From the crown of her head to the soles of her feet her whole body began to tremble. ‘In the name of Jesus, I command you to walk,’ I said. I repeated, ‘In the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus, walk!’ and she walked.” (Pg 59). Not only was this woman raised from the dead, but she was instantly healed from a terrible illness also. She began to testify to people of her death experience and restoration. It has been recorded that Smith Wigglesworth raised 23 people from the dead in total, over the years of his ministry.

One time when Smith was waiting at a bus-stop, a woman was having trouble getting her small dog, which had followed her, to go home. First she tried sweet-talking it, and asking it to please go home. But after awhile of trying this to no avail, the woman suddenly stamped her foot and said severely: ‘Go home at once!’ The dog immediately took off home, with it’s tail between it’s legs. ‘That’s how you have to treat the devil’, said Wigglesworth, loudly enough for all those waiting at the bus-stop to hear. And this was his attitude toward the devil, every moment of every waking day. He literally travelled the world in the 1920′s and 1930′s, and thousands were saved and healed everywhere he went. Often he would arrive in a place almost unknown and unheralded, but within days there would be thousands thronging to hear, the power of God demonstrated in his meetings was so great. God was truly glorified everywhere he went.

He was a man who walked and lived in the very presence of God. And yet, in many ways he was a very natural, down-to-earth man. And neither was he afraid of issuing the odd stern rebuke. His object was to be in constant, unbroken communion with the Father. He had spent hours and days fervently seeking God in his early years, but later, “Although his life was a combination of incessant prayer and praise, and every word and work was an act of worship, he was not given to protracted periods of fasting and prayer.” (Pg 122). Instead, he had learned the secret of being in continuous, intimate communion with God (sometimes withdrawing quietly into himself for this purpose), even when he was in a crowd of people. He walked by faith, and he was “in the Spirit” at all times. This was one vital secret to his success. He said, “There are two sides to this Baptism: The first is, you possess the Spirit; The second is that the Spirit possesses you.” (See ‘The Life of Smith Wigglesworth’ by Jack Hywel-Davies). He had counted the cost, and everything was God’s. He was a man who truly understood GODLY AUTHORITY, and he WALKED in it by faith. He said, “‘Be filled with the Spirit,’ ie., be CRAMMED with the Spirit, so filled that there will be no room left for anything else.” That was the way he lived. Full of audacity, full of daring, “full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.”

On one occasion, he recalled, “I was travelling to Cardiff in South Wales. I had been much in prayer on the journey. The carriage was full of people whom I knew to be unsaved, but as there was so much talking and joking I could not get in a word for my Master. As the train was nearing the station, I thought I would wash my hands… and as I returned to the carriage, a man jumped up and said, ‘Sir, you convince me of sin,’ and fell on his knees there and then. Soon the whole carriage of people were crying out the same way. They said, ‘Who are you? What are you? You convince us all of sin’…” (Stanley Frodsham, ‘Smith Wigglesworth, Apostle of Faith’, pg 80). This episode reminds me very much of another bold, forthright and anointed evangelist – Charles G. Finney, who had found after a mighty Baptism of the Holy Spirit some years before, that even passing comments that he made pierced people to the heart with conviction of sin. He had gone on to become one of the greatest Revivalists of all time. (He died in 1875).

Smith Wigglesworth placed great emphasis on purity and holiness, like all true Revivalists. He said, “You must every day make higher ground. You must deny yourself to make progress with God. You must refuse everything that is not pure and holy. God wants you pure in heart. He wants you to have an intense desire after holiness… Two things will get you to leap out of yourselves into the promises of God today. One is purity, and the other is FAITH, which is kindled more and more BY PURITY.” (Pg 125). This one statement contains what is probably the key secret to Smith Wigglesworth’s outstanding success in God. And it is obviously a key that is well worth remembering for us also. Another point to remember is that Smith was very aware of the dangers of money, and guarded himself carefully against the possibility of covetousness entering in. He was truly beyond reproach in this area also.

It is my belief that Smith Wigglesworth was a kind of direct “forerunner” of the kind of ministries that are about to arise in our day. I believe that the coming apostolic ministries, who will be bearers of true Revival in these last days, will combine the daring, miracle-working faith of a Smith Wigglesworth with the deeply convicting ‘repentance’ preaching of a Charles Finney. And they will move under a mighty anointing that combines the best of both of these types of ministries. What glorious days these will be! Smith Wigglesworth himself died in 1946 at the ripe old age of 87, a flame of God to the very end. May he be an example to us all.

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Chapter Two
JOHN G. LAKE.

John G. Lake was known as God’s “Apostle to Africa”. Born in Canada in 1870, his family soon relocated to the United States, where he grew up. His healing and preaching ministry spanned the years 1898 (when he saw his wife instantly healed under the ministry of John Alexander Dowie) until his death in 1935. In 1908, God sent him to Africa, where his anointed miracle ministry resulted in what has been described as “the most extensive and powerful missionary movement in all Africa.” As Gordon Lindsay wrote, “during that time he spent five history-making years in South Africa, engaged in a ministry which in some respects rivalled that of the Early Church.” Upon his return to America, Lake established a ministry in Spokane, Washington which resulted in no less than 100,000 astounding miracles of healing within the space of five or six years. He then established a similar work in Portland, Oregon, which also attracted widespread attention.

Like Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake had already experienced mighty breakthroughs, powerful anointings and a real calling from God for many years before Azusa Street and the Pentecostal Revival. The following is a condensed account of the spiritual hunger and preparation that Lake was taken through by God, near the beginning of the most anointed period of his ministry. (Taken from the book, ‘John G. Lake – Apostle to Africa’, compiled by Gordon Lindsay, and told in Lake’s own words):

“Eight years passed after God revealed Jesus the Healer to me. I had been practicing the ministry of healing. During that eight years every answer to prayer, every miraculous touch of God, every response of my own soul to the Spirit had created within me a more intense longing for an intimacy and a consciousness of God, like I felt the disciples of Jesus and the primitive church had possessed… Shortly after my entrance into the ministry of healing, while attending a service where the necessity for the Baptism of the Spirit was presented, as I knelt in prayer and reconsecration to God, an anointing of the Spirit came upon me. Waves of Holy Glory passed through my being, and I was lifted into a new realm of God’s presence and power. After this, answers to prayer were frequent and miracles of healing occurred from time to time. I felt myself on the borderland of a great spiritual realm, but was unable to enter in fully, so my nature was not satisfied with the attainment…” (Pg 16).

“Hundreds, and hundreds of people were healed by the power of God during these ten years. But at the end of that ten years, I believe I was the hungriest man for God that ever lived. There was such a hunger for God that as I left my offices in Chicago, and walked down the street, my soul would break out, and I would cry, ‘Oh God!’ I have had people stop and look at me, and wonder. It was the yearning passion of my soul, asking for God in a greater measure than I knew. But my friends would say, ‘Mr. Lake, you have a beautiful Baptism of the Holy Ghost.’ Yes, it was nice as far as it went, but it was not answering the cry of my heart. I was growing up into a larger understanding of God, and my own soul’s need. My soul was demanding a greater entrance into God, His love, Presence, and Power. And then one day an old man strolled into my office, sat down, and in the next half hour, he revealed more of the knowledge of God to my soul than I had ever known before. When he left I said, ‘… God, if that is what the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with tongues does, I am going to possess it.’ Oh the wonder of God, that was then revealed to my heart!…”

“Finally I was led to set aside certain hours of the day that I dedicated to God, as times of meditation, and prayer. Thus a number of months passed, until one morning as I knelt praying, the Spirit of the Lord spoke within my spirit, and said, “Be patient until autumn.” My heart rejoiced in this encouragement and I continued my practice of meditation and prayer as formerly. It became easy for me to detach myself from the course of life, so that while my hands and mind were engaged in the common affairs of every day, my spirit maintained its attitude of communion with God… I said, ‘God, if you will baptize me in the Holy Spirit, and give me the power of God, nothing shall be permitted to stand before me and a hundred-fold obedience.’

“I prayed for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for nine months, and if a man ever prayed honestly, and sincerely in the faith, I did. Finally one day I was ready to throw up my hands, and quit. I said, ‘Lord, it may be for others, but it is not for me. You just cannot give it to me.’ I did not blame God. One night a gentleman by the name of Pierce said, ‘Mr. Lake, I have been wishing for a long time you would come over, and we would spend a night in prayer together. We have been praying for the Baptism for a whole year and there is not one of us baptized yet. Brother, I do not believe that you are either, so we can pray for one another.” I was so hungry to pray, so I went with all intentions of praying for the rest, but I had not been praying five minutes until the light of God began to shine around me, I found myself in a center of an arc of light ten feet in diameter, the whitest light in all the universe. So white! Oh how it spoke of purity. The remembrance of that whiteness, that wonderful whiteness, has been the ideal that has stood before my soul, of the purity of the nature of God ever since.

“Then a Voice began to talk to me out of that light. There was no form. And the Voice began to remind me of this incident, and that incident of disobedience to my parents, from a child; of my obstinacy, and dozens of instances when God brought me up to the line of absolutely putting my body, soul, and spirit upon the altar forever. I had my body upon the altar for ten years, and I had been a minister of the Gospel. But when the Lord comes, He opens to the soul the depths that have never been touched in your life. Do you know that after I was baptized in the Holy Ghost, things opened up in the depths of my nature that had remained untouched in all my life, and that which was shadowy, distant, and hazy became real. God got up close and let His light shine into me.

“Shortly after this experience, one afternoon a brother minister called, and invited me to accompany him to visit a lady who was sick. Arriving at the home we found the lady in a wheel chair. All her joints were set with inflammatory rheumatism. She had been in the condition for ten years…While my friend was conversing with her, preparing her to be prayed with, that she might be healed, I sat in a deep chair on the opposite side of a large room. My soul was crying out to God in a yearning too deep for words, when suddenly it seemed to me, that I had passed under a shower of warm tropical rain, which was not falling upon me, but through me. My spirit, and soul and body under this influence soothed into such a deep still calm, as I had never known. My brain, which had always been so active, became perfectly still. An awe of the presence of God settled over me. I knew it was God.

“Some moments passed; I do not know how many. The Spirit said, ‘I have heard your prayers, I have seen your tears. You are now Baptized in the Holy Spirit.’ Then currents of power began to rush through my being from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. The shocks of power increased in rapidity, and voltage. As these currents of power would pass through me, they seemed to come upon my head, rush through my body, and through my feet into the floor… Even at this late date, the awe of that hour rests upon my soul. My experience has truly been as Jesus said that He shall be within you ‘a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.’ That never-ceasing fountain has flowed through my spirit, soul, and body day, and night, bringing salvation, and healing, and the Baptism of the Spirit in the power of God to multitudes.

“Shortly after my Baptism in the Holy Spirit, a working of the Spirit commenced in me, that seemed to have for it’s purpose the revelation of the nature of Jesus Christ to me and in me. Through this tuition and remolding of the Spirit a great tenderness for mankind was to awaken in my soul. I saw mankind through new eyes. They seemed to me as wandering sheep, having strayed far, in the midst of confusion, groping and wandering hither and thither. They had no definite aim and did not seem to understand what the difficulty was or how to return to God. The desire to proclaim the message of Christ, and demonstrate His power to save and bless, grew in my soul until my life was swayed by this overwhelming passion.” (Pg 16-20).

“I found that my life began to manifest in the varied range of the gifts of the Spirit. I spoke in tongues by the power of God, and God flowed through me with a new force. Healings were of a more powerful order. Oh, God lived in me; God manifested in me; God spoke through me. My spirit was energized. I had a new comprehension of God’s will, a new discernment of spirit, and a new revelation of God in me.

“Then a new wonder manifested. My nature became so sensitized, that I could lay hands on any man, or woman, and tell what organ was diseased, and to what extent, and all about it. I tested it. I went into hospitals where physicians could not diagnose a case, touched a patient, and instantly I knew the organ that was diseased, its extent, condition, and location. And one day it passed away. A child plays with a toy, and his joy is so wonderful, he sometimes forgets to eat.”

Before obeying the call into full-time ministry, Lake felt the need to dispose of his very successful business interests. He sold everything, giving the money to God’s work, and embarked on full-time ministry with a heart full of the fire of God. Soon afterward, when he was ministering in a city in Northern Illinois, God spoke to him clearly and distinctly: “Go to Indianapolis. Prepare for winter campaign. Get a large hall. In the Spring you will go to Africa.”

John G. Lake continues: “One morning when I came down to breakfast, I found my appetite had disappeared. I could not eat. I went about my work as usual. At dinner I had no desire to eat, and no more in the evening. This went on till the third day. But toward the evening of the third day, an overwhelming desire to pray took possession of me. I wanted only to be alone to pray. Prayer flowed from my soul like a stream. I could not cease praying. As soon as it was possible to get to a place of seclusion, I would kneel to pour out my heart to God for hours. Whatever I was doing, that stream of prayer continued flowing from my soul … On the night of the sixth day of this fast, that the Lord had laid on me, while in the act of washing my hands, the Spirit said, ‘How long have you been praying to cast out demons?’ and I replied, ‘Lord a long time.’ And the Spirit said, ‘From henceforth, thou shalt cast out demons.’ I arose and praised God.” (Pg 21). An opportunity to test this newly-given anointing to cast out demons came the following Sunday, when a violently insane man was brought to Lake, who commanded the demon to come out of him in Jesus’ name. The man was instantly delivered, and two days later was released from the institution that he had been confined in.

In April 1908, Lake and his family left for South Africa. Though they had no visible means of support, they were miraculously provided for every step of the way. And thus began a tremendous Revival, with mighty healings, miracles and deliverances, which was to profoundly impact the African continent for years to come, even long after Lake was gone. In 1913, following the tragic death of his wife, Lake returned to America, but by this time the torch had also been passed on to Elias Letwaba and others in Africa, and the work went on there, in great power. Lake continued his ministry in North America until his death in 1935, and like Smith Wigglesworth, he fought an outstanding fight and ran a great race, right to the very end.

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Chapter Three
W.V. GRANT, Snr.

A number of great healing evangelists have been led by God to “fast and pray” for quite long periods in order to break through into greater realms of anointing and communion with God. W.V.Grant Sr, who was a mightily used and anointed man of God from mid-way through last century, was one such evangelist. Before coming into his full ministry anointing, he was one who spent all his spare time with Jesus in the secret place. This man constantly sought God, and fasted on the weekends. He read many books of God’s servants in the past and studied his Bible day and night. He would pray for a couple of days until he got answers. He would not leave his prayer room until he got an answer from God. This and Christian work was virtually his lifestyle for fourteen years.

He had already received the baptism in the Holy Spirit fourteen years earlier, and he spoke in tongues. “Yet, I felt like I had a bow without an arrow, a car without a battery, or a boat without a paddle. I read how Peter did it, but I could not do it. I had the highway map. I was on the right road, but on the wrong side.” (W.V. Grant, ‘Searching for the Supernatural’, pg 6). “I prayed around the altar. I fasted three days at a time. I testified about a supernatural God. I told people that I had the Holy Ghost. I spoke in tongues to prove it. All the time my heart was crying out, Where are all the miracles the Bible tells us about?” (Pg 2).

“I was a director over 13 churches… I saw people saved, filled with the Holy Ghost with other tongues. I saw a few people healed. I preached that we had the Pentecostal power. But where were the results we saw in the early church after Pentecost?… I read about 200 books written by Godly men. I read every word in the Pentecostal Evangel for years… After I fasted three days I still felt empty. That longing surely can be satisfied in some way? Who was putting that longing and searching in my soul?” (Pg 3).

“What was I waiting for? Nothing else mattered to me. I wanted to see His Glory. I wanted to see His Miracles. I wanted to see the dead raised. I wanted to see the devils cast out. I wanted to see the deaf, blind, and the mute made whole. Did not God say in the last days the lame man would leap as a hart, the tongue of the dumb would sing, and the eyes of the blind would be opened? (Isaiah 35:5)… John said in Luke 3:16, ‘He shall Baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with FIRE’… It was fourteen years after I received the Holy Ghost and tongues before I received the Holy Ghost and power.” (Pg 13).

“If God has called you into a full time ministry of healing the sick and casting out devils He usually gives you time to give yourselves to fasting and prayer… Then one night to my surprise the Lord appeared to me and told me to go on a seven day fast, which I was willing to do. After the fast was over the Lord appeared to me. I heard the angels singing a song I had never heard. I wrote it down. It was beautiful! It was like heaven. Then an angel just above my head spoke these words, ‘In My name shall ye cast out devils, ye shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.’ As I began to eat I felt something like an electric current run out at the ends of my fingers and down to the bottom of my feet. The fire of God was all through my body!” (W.V. Grant Sr, ‘Must I Fast for Forty Days’, pg’s 20, 36, 37):-

“But on the last day just about break of day, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me. Mark 16:17-18 – ‘These signs shall follow them that believe. In My name shall you cast out devils, they shall take up serpents, if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them, they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover’… I got up, and walked, and my feet were burning like they were connected to a high voltage wire. The Holy Spirit, and Fire was running all through my whole body from my head to my toes. It seemed like all my strength had been drained out of me, and the strength of Christ had taken its place. For several years since, devil’s have been cast out, and people healed.

“I had the Holy Spirit for years, but it seemed that now, I was not only filled, but baptized with zeal, compassion, and with the divine nature of Jesus, with virtue, and with the fire… If you feel like the Lord has called you into a special ministry of casting out devils, then remember this: There are many more things which are just as necessary as fasting. Fasting within itself will not be sufficient… But when I was called to fast, it was just as real as being called to preach. I was conscious of the fast, that it was the Lord’s doing and not my own… It takes a longer fast for one man to be brought to the place where he is yielded to the Lord enough to receive certain gifts in his life than it does for other men. It took a certain amount of days for me to fast and to become so yielded to the Lord; it seemed that all my strength left my body, and the Lord’s strength came into its place! Then I felt the virtue and divine nature, and the fire of the Holy Ghost dwelling in my body, which gave me power to meet devils and to cast them out.

“But I still have to be led by the Lord when and how to do it. It is not myself that doeth the works but the Father that dwelleth in me. God will not trust you with a ministry if you do not know the leading of the Spirit. I have talked personally to several evangelists whom God has called into a supernatural ministry. None of them went on forty day fasts without any food. Since God has given other people ministries of deliverance without a long fast you can take courage and believe for a ministry without fasting forty days…”

EVER-GROWING FULLNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

In Acts 2:1-4, we read of the tremendous initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon 120 of Jesus’ followers at Pentecost. However, soon afterward we also read of the gathering of believers in Jerusalem (now numbering in the thousands), where they prayed for boldness and SIGNS AND WONDERS, that God might be truly glorified (Acts 4:29-30). And we read that, “When they had prayed, the place was SHAKEN where they were assembled together. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (v 31). There had already been one mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but now they received another, just when they needed it most, and now more than ever, SIGNS, MIRACLES AND WONDERS followed them wherever they went.

Jesus said to His disciples: “HEAL THE SICK, CLEANSE THE LEPERS, RAISE THE DEAD, CAST OUT DEVILS: freely you have received, freely give” (Mt 10:7-8).And He also told them, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and OVER ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY” (Lk 10:19). “He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and GREATER WORKS THAN THESE shall he do.” (Jn 14:12).

As the Scriptures and also Revival history clearly show, a man or woman of God must often spend years in a “wilderness” of obscurity before they truly come into their ministry. This will often be a place of barrenness, “WAITING” and preparation where they must overcome and endure – all the while being molded and trained by God – if they are ever to reach their godly potential in anointing and empowerment from ‘on high’. While others concentrate on their careers, or busy themselves with building tidy little ministries along the usual predictable lines (which often need little of God to succeed), these men and women are called away into the secret place with God, from whence they will emerge broken but fired with an unshakeable resolve, humbled but never cast down. There have always been many called, but few chosen. As the apostle Paul wrote: “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I PRESS toward the mark for the PRIZE of the HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS.” (Philipp 3:13-14). God often prepares such vessels for many years, largely hidden from view, before unleashing them upon the world. And then suddenly they appear, as if from nowhere, to bring glory to their God, to rout the devil in His name, and to raise His standard in the earth once again. From such ‘mighty men and women of valour’, true Revivals are born.

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Chapter Four
MARIA WOODWORTH-ETTER.

Born in 1844, Maria Woodworth-Etter lived in Lisbon, Ohio. God called her to preach at a time when people did not believe that women should preach. In fact, at this time women were not even allowed to vote. She saw the death of her little children one by one until she decided to obey Jesus Christ and go and preach the Gospel. It has been recorded that she had one of the most powerful ministries and anointings – with astounding healings, miracles and wonders – that has ever been documented in the history of the church.

Reports state that she would come into a town after sleeping in a tent, and within days there would be approximately 20,000 people in her meetings. At times, God would give people working in the fields in a fifty-mile radius around her meetings visions of heaven and hell, and they would fall to the ground under tremendous conviction. It was like a “blanket” anointing that would come down upon the whole area. It has been reported that for whole blocks around her meetings, people would be falling to the ground and repenting.

The following extracts are taken from the book, ‘A Diary of Signs and Times’ by Maria Woodworth-Etter:

“At one time I was praying for the salvation of sinners, and the Saviour appeared on the cross by me, and talked with me; I laid my hand on his mangled body, and looked up in his smiling face. Another time I was meditating upon the love of God in giving his only Son to die for sinners, and of the beautiful home he was preparing for those who love him, and I seemed to float away, and was set down in the Beautiful City. Oh, the glorious sight that met my view can never be expressed by mortal tongue!” (Pg 25).

“In all my sickness and trouble the ministers and people came from the different churches in the town and had a prayer-meeting in my room. They prayed in the churches for my recovery. I was willing to die and leave my little girl and boy, feeling that God would care for them, but the work God was calling me to do loomed up before me. All these years God had been preparing me – for I was not willing. I felt like a worm in his sight. I promised God that if he would restore my health, and prepare me, and show me the work, I would try to do it; I began to get better immediately.

“I was very timid, and bound as with chains in a man-fearing spirit. When I arose to testify I trembled like a leaf, and began to make excuses – O God, send someone else! Then the Lord in a vision caused me to see the bottomless pit open in all its horror and woe. There was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. It was surrounded by a great multitude of people who seemed unconscious of their danger, and without a moments warning they would tumble into this awful place. I was above the people on a narrow plank-walk, which wound up toward heaven; and I was exhorting and pleading with the people to come upon the plank and escape that awful place. Several started. There was a beautiful bright light above me, and I was encouraging them to follow that light and they would go straight to heaven.

“In all these trials God was preparing me and opening the way for the great battle against the enemy of souls and now the great desire of my heart was to work for Jesus. I longed to win a star for the Savior’s crown. Sometimes when the Spirit of God was striving and calling so plainly, I would yield and say, ‘Yes, Lord; I will go.’ The glory of God came upon me like a cloud, and I seemed to be carried away hundreds of miles and set down in a field of wheat, where the sheaves were falling all around me. I was filled with zeal and power, and felt as if I could stand before the whole world and plead with dying sinners. It seemed to me that I must leave all and go at once. Then Satan would come in like a flood and say, ‘You would look nice preaching, being a gazing-stock for the people to make sport of. You know you could not do it.’ Then I would think of my weakness and say, ‘No; of course I cannot do it.’ Then I would be in darkness and despair. I wanted to run away from God, or I wished I could die; but when I began to look at the matter in this way, that God knew all about me, and was able and willing to qualify me for the work, I asked Him to qualify me for the work. I ASKED HIM TO QUALIFY ME.

“I want the reader to understand, that at this time I had a good experience, a pure heart, was full of the love of God, but was not qualified for God’s work. I knew that I was but a worm. God would have to take a worm to thresh a mountain. Then I asked God to give me the power he gave the Gallilean fishermen – to anoint me for service. I came like a child asking for bread. I looked for it… God did not disappoint me. The power of the Holy ghost came down like a cloud. It was brighter than the sun. I was covered and, wrapped in it. I was baptized with the Holy Ghost, and Fire, and power, which has never left me. There was liquid fire, and the angels were all around me in fire and glory.”

“I thought I would go through a course of study and prepare for the work, thinking the Lord would make my husband and people willing in some way to let me go out and work. But I could not get my mind fixed on my study. Everything seemed empty and vacant, and I was restless and uneasy… The dear Saviour stood by me one night in a vision and talked face to face with me, and asked what I was doing on earth. I felt condemned, and said, ‘Lord, I am going to work in thy vineyard.’ The Lord said, ‘When?’ and I answered, ‘When I get prepared for the work.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘Don’t you know that while you are getting ready, souls are perishing? Go now, and I will be with you.’

“I told Him that I could not talk to the people; I did not know what to say, and they would not listen to me. Jesus said, ‘You can tell the people what the Lord has done for your soul; tell of the glory of God and the love of Jesus. Tell sinners to repent and prepare for death and the judgment, and I will be with you.’ Still I made one excuse after another, and Jesus would answer, ‘Go, and I will be with you’… Then Jesus said again, ‘Go, and I will be with you.’ I cried, ‘Lord, I will go. Where shall I go?’ And Jesus said, ‘Go here, go there, wherever souls are perishing.’ Praise the Lord for his wonderful goodness in revealing his word and will in such a wonderful way, to such a poor weak worm of the dust. I saw more in that vision than I could have learned in years of hard study. Praise His Holy Name. I saw that I must not depend on anything that I could do, but to look to Him for strength and wisdom.” (Pg. 26-29).

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Chapter Five
JAMES DUNN.

James Dunn was another mightily-anointed evangelist from the middle of last century. It has been reported that he had an anointing of similar power to the famous William Branham, incredible though this may seem. Dunn had been desperately seeking more of God and his giftings for some time, when the Holy Spirit told him to pray to be FILLED WITH JESUS and he would also receive the gifts. Jesus spoke to him: ‘Don’t pray for the gifts. Pray to be more like Me.’

“I pastored the Pentecostal Holiness church there for two years before this ministry came to me. I had been fasting, and praying, and I had been reminding God. I believe God wants us to remind Him about the promises He has made to us, to call his attention to them. So I was reminding God that when I was employed in a responsible position for the government, we gave our men the best tools on earth possible to work with, so that they could do their job right. I told God that if we as mere human beings could give good tools to our laborers, how much better tools could He give us to work for the Kingdom of Christ. I continued praying in that way, and begging God for the gifts. Just imagine! I would cry: the tears rolling down my face. I would fast until the preachers in Princeton remarked that my clothes hung on me like a sack, because I had lost so much weight. They thought that the clothes had belonged to someone else. I don’t know how many pounds I did lose. I was way down in weight.

“One day I was just in a big way of praying; tears streaming down my face as I was alone before God. I was asking Him again to give me the gifts of the Spirit. A voice spoke to me and said, ‘Just a minute.’ And I stopped, and a voice spoke again, and said, ‘DON’T BEG FOR THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT, PRAY TO BE MORE LIKE ME.’ I said, Why Jesus, I had never thought of it in that manner, what do you mean, pray to be more like you? And the voice said to me, ‘THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT WILL OPERATE IN YOUR LIFE, IF YOU ARE FULL OF JESUS.’ So I began to pray that I would be just exactly like Jesus.

“It wasn’t long after that my wife saw a golden ball floating down the hall, and it floated into the door, and just as she woke me up, it disappeared. Shortly after that, one night I was in a state of prayer, my wife was asleep, it was about 11:00 o’clock. I said, ‘God, I am ready to die if it takes that, to have a better ministry of Jesus Christ! I am not able to do the job properly!’” (W.V Grant Sr, ‘Gifts of the Spirit in the Home’, Pg. 24-25: ‘Experience of Rev. James Dunn of Princeton, West Virginia’).

“Then one night while I was lying in bed and my wife was asleep, something happened. I was meditating on the glories and graciousness of God, and upon the things I needed from Him, and all at once, the Great Presence of God began to flood into the room. He came in such a supernatural way that the room was filled with His Glory. A great feeling of ecstasy and glory swept over me, and saturated my very body, mind, and soul. I began to get afraid, because when you get that close to God, something happens to you. I began to draw back from this Wonderful Force, and when I did it left. Then I realized I had made a mistake in drawing back. The next few days, I began to pray as I had never prayed. In about 3 or 4 nights I was lying in the bed again and I was meditating and praising the Lord, and asking Him for help and power in my life. All at once, this great feeling began to come into the room again.

“The very room and atmosphere lighted up. There didn’t seem to be any room for me there any longer, because God so completely filled the place. As I lay there, I lost all movement of my body other than my eyes. The Great Force of God moved down across my bed, and overshadowed me, and I felt the strangest, and most wonderful feeling. From my very fingertips, it began to move into my hands, and up my arms. I felt as if I were holding 220 volts in each hand, and it began to surge back and forth through my body. Then and there in that room, while this was taking place the old me was leaving, and the new me was coming in.

“From that night on my life was different. Many remarked how completely my ministry had changed. I had a positive message – a message, that had fire in it. God talked to me, and told me that if I would preach the message of deliverance, He would heal the sick. He would give me the Power to cast out devils. As I listened to this COMMISSION from the Lord, His power surged through me, and my arm happened to touch my wife’s body, and it almost caused her to jump completely out of the bed. That night God began doing things. He revealed to me the people’s conditions and diseases through the mighty Spirit of discernment. I found I was a different individual. God showed me things that I thought were impossible for a person to see or understand. He would show me the individual that was suffering, what they had, and He would direct me to them. After I had prayed for them, they would be healed of every disease.

“Now this particular period is the three different times that angels appeared unto me to do the Lord’s bidding. When I was in a revival, after I had gone on the evangelistic field, after my call into this particular type of ministry… I was taken up by the Lord into a high place, and I looked out across a deep blue, beautiful sea of water. I saw two great eagles flying toward me in the distance, and as they approached closer, I marveled at their size. Finally they got close to me and they were flying so fast, I said, My, I didn’t think anything could fly that fast. Why those aren’t eagles, those are angels of God. They got close to me, and began to dive like two great airplanes, one after the other. They just folded their wings, and dived down, down, down toward that blue sea. Oh, it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. They dived into this sea to catch fish there. A voice spoke to me, and said these were the angels that would go with me into the world, into all portions of the world, to gather the fish (or to gather men), that he would make me a fisher of men, and angels would help me; they would protect me, and keep the evil one from me; they would help me win the souls of men for Jesus Christ’s Kingdom. Many times in our meetings across the nation people have seen these angels beside me.” (‘James Dunn, Sign Gift Ministry’ by W.V. Grant Sr).

James Dunn was one of those men of God (a little different from Smith Wigglesworth) who believed in the absolute necessity of regular FASTING for the continued effectiveness of his ministry: “Fasting keeps the spirit strong and tends to keep the spirit, and give it control over the body. When a person fasts, and brings their body into travail before God, their spirit becomes stronger, and in harmony with God. So I find that in fasting, it gives me greater power to pray with people, or for people’s diseases. It gives me greater power with God to preach the word, and the revivals are a greater success. I feel that if a man should ever quit fasting, he is losing out in his ministry, and in his life for God. ‘When you are weak then you are strong.’ This is a separated life. God showed me at the very beginning of this ministry, that it was a separated life, that I must spend many hours fasting, praying, meditating, and staying before the Lord.” (‘James Dunn, Sign Gift Ministry’ by W.V. Grant Sr).

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Chapter Six
THOSE THAT HAD THE FULNESS BUT FELL IN THEIR WALKS

It is time now to look at some of the anointed men of God who won many battles against Satan, only to be defeated by him in the very end. It is from the lives of these men that we can learn some of the most important lessons related to this form of ministry.

JOHN ALEXANDER DOWIE.

John Alexander Dowie was born in Scotland in 1847, but spent much of his early life in Australia. He was a fighter in the true sense, boldly battling the sin and compromise he found all around him – even as a young minister in Australia. In later years, particularly after his move to Chicago in the United States, he became probably the most renowned pioneer of Divine Healing worldwide, and by the turn of the century had become known to millions around the world. In his early years of outstanding success in Chicago, where the power of God was being constantly demonstrated, and hundreds were being healed of every affliction, it seemed as if the devil was summoning every demon from hell to attack and somehow bring him down. He was arrested over 100 times on trumped-up charges, ceaselessly attacked by the most prominent media men in the city, and he even suffered street-riots and attempts upon his life. (-On one notable occasion, when he had been suddenly warned by a voice from God to leave his office, he narrowly averted being blown to pieces by a powerful bomb that had been planted there). Eventually, he won through, with credibility intact (in fact, greatly enhanced despite all the controversy), and became God’s most effective champion of Divine Healing in America up to that point.

Tragically however, when the early years of constant battle were done, and a time of relative peace and prosperity settled in upon him, this daring fighter who had brought healing to America, ended up being deluded by the devil into dressing in High-Priestly robes and thinking that he was Elijah the prophet. After this, the end could not be afar off, and John Alexander Dowie died in comparitive ignominy several years later, an ill and broken man – a shadow of his former self – having lost his ministry and literally everything he owned. How one of God’s greatest fighters could come to such a tragic end, is something that should be an object lesson to us all.

The quotations used here are almost all taken from the book, ‘John Alexander Dowie – A life story of Trials, Tragedies and Triumphs’ by Gordon Lindsay:

As with many men of God who are being prepared for a mighty ministry, God had used the early years of Dowie’s Christian walk as a “toughening- up” or training period. Dowie’s many struggles and pitfalls, plus the harsh spiritual ‘wilderness’ and obscurity of Australia, were used to mold and break him, bringing a great hunger and seeking after God. As Gordon Lindsay wrote in the Introduction to his book on Dowie, “when any man is chosen of God to be used in an unusual manner, God permits him to go through a training period, which sometimes includes trials and tribulations of the most severe nature.” He said that when Dowie first set foot on American soil at the age of 41, he was almost completely unknown, but that when the healing anointing that he had received from God was recognized, and God’s perfect timing came, John Alexander Dowie rose to in- ternational prominence with astonishing abruptness, as one of God’s great leaders of that period. Lindsay wrote of the decline of Dowie that, “it was at that moment when he began to engage in secular activities, and departed from the simplicity of his earlier days, that his decline began.”

John Alexander Dowie is described as, “a reformer who, fighting against the greatest of odds, single-handily challenged the apostasy of his time, and succeeded in bringing to the attention of the Church visible, if not to its acceptance, the message of the Gospel of healing – a message of deliverance for the whole man, body, soul and spirit… Against overwhelming opposition, a hostile press, bitterly opposed clergymen, antagonistic city officials, unscrupulous lawyers… he fought for and maintained the right to pray for the sick. Despite the fiercest persecution, numerous illegal arrests – as many as one hundred in a year – he outwitted and foiled his enemies, and succeeded in bringing to the attention of the world, the great truth that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Pg 3-4). And all through this period, numerous documented, outstanding miracles of healing were taking place under his ministry.

Please remember how NEW all this was at the time. Today, the things that Dowie fought for are taken for granted throughout the Christian world, but in those days there were basically NO SUCH THINGS as healing ministries or healing evangelists. Dowie was a pioneer, an instrument of God who paved the way for what was to follow, just like many Christian Reformers down through the ages.

However, the days of needing to constantly battle gradually drew to an end, and because of his newfound success and the relative prosperity of his ministry, Dowie eventually made the tragic mistake of relaxing his guard. As Gordon Lindsay noted, “Middle age is a dangerous period and not a few succumb to the temptation at that time of life to spiritually relax (something quite different to physical relaxation). The great difference between Dr. Dowie and others was that he had become a world leader whose actions were watched by the eyes of multitudes.” (Pg 195).

“In the days of adversity, John Alexander Dowie learned to lean heavily upon God. When every other resource failed him, he abandoned his life to the mercy and graciousness of God. But AFTER SUCCESS HAD COME, when thousands of people ALMOST IDOLIZED HIM, he apparently did not feel so strongly that same need. He allowed himself to become so very busy… A fateful mistake! How many sorrows would John Alexander Dowie have saved himself had he taken the time to get the mind of God on decisions which were so all important? How many fatal mistakes men of God have made because THEY DID NOT PAUSE TO TAKE COUNSEL WITH THE LORD WHEN THEY HAD SOME VITAL DECISION TO MAKE?” (Pg 194).

As Paul Billheimer wrote, “The sands of time are strewn with the wrecks of the broken lives of many, who were once mightily used of God, but who suffered shipwreck upon the rocks of SPIRITUAL PRIDE.”

In his early days in Chicago, certain people had approached Dowie with what they claimed as a “direct revelation from God” that Dowie was, in fact, ‘Elijah the Restorer’, the great end-times prophet. For their trouble, Dowie immediately rebuked them soundly and dismissed them from his presence, warning them never to mention such things to him again. However, the suggestion that had been planted that day kept ringing in his ears. “According to his own testimony, he tried to rid himself of it, but could not. A voice seemed to say, ‘Elijah must come, and who but you is doing the work of Elijah?’ Time passed. Then one day there came flooding into his consciousness a strange and intense conviction that he was indeed Elijah – the one spoken of by the prophets who was to come and restore all things. The impression came with such overwhelming power, that his entire personality became absorbed with it.” (Pg 188). In June 1901, Dowie took the fateful step of publicly announcing that he was indeed Elijah the Restorer. (A claim which was immediately challenged and denounced by religious leaders all over the world).

By this time, Dowie was also heavily involved with land development. Having purchased over 6000 acres of land near Chicago, construction was already underway on what would become ‘Zion City’, an entire large town to be occupied by Dowie’s followers, and to be run according to “Christian principles”. Sadly, no-one seemed to remember that the New Testament never advocates separating ourselves from the world in this way, but rather of living IN the world, but not being OF it. Initially, Zion City was a resounding success, both financially and in every other respect. But eventually it was to lead Dowie to financial ruin, and there can be no doubt that it contibuted greatly to his overall decline. One of his great dreams was to build ‘Zion Cities’ all over the world – no doubt part of his supposed mission of the “Restoration of all things” – from which he and his followers would begin to exercise rulership in the earth. What fateful days these were.

For many years John’s wife had been content, along with John, to live almost in poverty, trusting God. However, it has been reported that “when prosperity came to the Dowie family, she lost her simplicity of life: she bought gowns in Paris and indulged in extravagances…” (Pg 200). All of this would have been unthinkable to them only a few years earlier. “But with the prosperity that came to him in America, eventually the simplicity of his life was altered. He came to the conclusion, and apparently Mrs. Dowie abetted his proposals, that it would be to his advantage to build a costly executive mansion in which he could entertain important personages. This large edifice when finished was elaborately appointed with expensive furnishings.” (Pg 201-202).

In the end, it seemed almost as though the very things that Dowie and his wife had stood against all their lives, were the very strategies that Satan now used against them, to destroy them. And to help the tragedy along,- “at the crucial time of Dr. Dowie’s life when he needed help so desperately, it does not appear that his wife was a spiritual reservoir of strength that he could fall back on.” (Pg 201). At times, especially during this latter period, there were those who tried to warn him of the dangers of what he was doing. But he refused to listen. Even when his daughter died tragically as a result of a fire in 1902, he hardly paused to reflect on his headlong forward momentum.

The last days of John Dowie were not particularly good. He had fought a great fight for many years in his early period, but he was defeated in the latter part of his life. As is so often the case with great Revivals or great men of God who fall from the path, the harm that they can do and the ridicule that they can bring upon the Gospel in the end, can almost undo much of the good that originally came from them. How delighted the devil must have been, not only to deceive and sideline this great man of God, but also to use him to bring ridicule upon the very truths that he had originally proclaimed so effectively. God could not afford to have John Alexander Dowie continuing in this state for much longer. He had to take him home. Dowie died still believing he was Elijah, an ill and broken man, crippled in a wheel chair. His ministry was gone, Zion City was almost bankrupt, and he had lost everything that he once thought of as his own. “How have the mighty fallen!” He died on March 9, 1907.

THE ENIGMA OF WILLIAM BRANHAM

William Branham was another evangelist mid-way through last century who was mightily used of God for a number of years. In fact, there can be little doubt that he was endued with power to a degree that has rarely been seen since the days of the apostles. And there is still a great deal of controversy surrounding his life, death and teachings. To some of his most ardent followers (who are still around today), he seemed to assume almost semi- divine status,- a damaging and tragic fallacy that has frightened many sound Christians away from studying his life. On the other hand, even in his heyday some believers were sceptical and suspicious of the tremendous power and unusual signs and miracles that accompanied his ministry. There can be little doubt that Branham went astray in his ministry in the latter part of his life. (The fact that God took him home early, and that the cause of death was a car-crash in which his body became horribly tangled in the wreck, though he lingered on for a few more days – bears this out). However, it is my belief, and the belief of many who have studied his life, that in his early years he was one of the most anointed men of God that has ever lived in modern times.

As Gordon Lindsay wrote in his 1952 biography of Branham’s early life and ministry: “The story of the life of William Branham is so out of this world and beyond the ordinary that were there not available a host of infallible proofs which document and attest its authenticity, one might well be excused for considering it far-fetched and incredible.” (G. Lindsay, ‘William Branham – A man sent from God’, pg 9). Even his birth and childhood had unusual aspects to them. Born in 1909 in Kentucky, his family soon shifted to the state of Indiana, where they eventually settled not far from Jeffersonville. Branham’s family were the “poorest of the poor”. When he was seven years old, he experienced the first of many godly visitations: “It seemed to be a very still afternoon. I stepped back from the tree and noticed that in a certain place about the size of a barrel, the wind seemed to be blowing through the tree leaves. Then there came a voice saying: ‘Never drink, smoke, or defile your body in any way, for I have a work for you to do when you get older.’” (Pg 30).

Branham obeyed these strictures, but he had still not been truly converted. When he was about twenty years of age, the death of his brother Edward caused him to again turn his thoughts toward God’s call upon his life. However, he carried on the way he was going (essentially running away from God) for a couple of years. Finally, he ended up seriously ill – at death’s door, in hospital. And suddenly God visited him again: “Closer the wind came, louder and louder… I heard that same voice that said, ‘Never drink or smoke.’ And the leaves I heard were the same that blew in that tree that day. But this time the voice said, ‘I called you and you would not go.’ The words were repeated the third time. Then I said, ‘Lord, if that is you, let me go back again to earth and I will preach your gospel from the housetops and street corners. I’ll tell everyone about it!’… When this vision had passed, I found that I felt better.” (Pg 40-41).

However, Branham was not completely healed at this time. But he was now filled with a great hunger after God. “I started out to seek and find God. I went from church to church trying to find some place where there was an old-fashioned altar call. The sad part was I could find none… One night I became so hungry for God and a real experience that I went out to the old shed back of the house and tried to pray… All at once there came a light in the shed and it formed a cross, and the voice from the cross spoke to me in a language I could not understand… as I prayed it appeared again. Then it seemed to me that there had been a thousand pounds lifted from my soul…

“I knew then that if God wanted me to preach he would heal me, so I went to a church that believed in anointing with oil, and I was healed instantly. I saw then that the disciples had something that most of the ministers do not have today. The disciples were baptized with the Holy Ghost and so could heal the sick and do mighty miracles in His name. So I began to pray for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. One day about six months later God gave me the desire of my heart. He spoke to me in a great light telling me to preach and pray for the sick and He would heal them regardless of what disease they had. I then started preaching and doing what He told me to do.” (Pg 41-42). Branham began tent meetings in his home town of Jeffersonville, and for a 24-year-old who was just starting out, these were astonishingly successful, with up to 3000 people being attracted to the meetings at one time, and scores of conversions.

Afterwards when Branham was baptizing 130 converts in the Ohio River, a heavenly light, like a blazing star, appeared above him just as he was about to baptize the seventeenth person. This was witnessed by the vast 4000-strong congregation that stood on the banks of the river looking on. Some of them ran for fear, while others shouted or fainted. A report of this unusual event appeared in the local newspaper shortly afterwards. It has also been reported that a voice spoke from within the light, saying, “As John the Baptist was sent to forerun the first coming of the Lord, so you are sent to forerun His second coming…” What is certain is that a heavenly light was seen, and it seems likely also that something along these lines was spoken over him.

It was in this same year of 1933 that a number of significant visions were given to William Branham. In June 1933 he was given a series of seven visions relating to world events that lay immediately ahead (and he told his congregation of these visions at the time). In the first of these he saw the Italian dictator Mussolini successfully invading Ethiopia, but eventually coming to a terrible demise – murdered and spat upon by his own people. In the second he saw America being drawn into a world war against Germany, which would be headed up by an Austrian. The war would overthrow this leader, and he would come to a mysterious end. The third vision showed the three ‘isms’ in the world – Fascism, Nazism and Communism, and that the first two would come to nothing, but that Communism would flourish. He was told, “Watch Russia. She will become a great world power.” In the fourth vision he was shown some of the tremendous advances in Science that would come after the Second World War.

The fifth vision showed the rapid moral decay in the world, relating especially to women. He was shown this decline from the beginning of the feminist “liberation” movement of the late 19th century, and the gradual gaining of worldly power by women, to the eventual election of a ‘boy president’ (probably Kennedy – known to have been elected because of the women’s vote) and after this the progressive decline in the way women dressed – deliberately exposing their bodies more and more in an ever-increasing display of brazen sensuality. With true womanhood so little valued, a terrible decay of all flesh came upon the earth, and every form of perversion arose, just as is prophesied for the Last Days.

In the sixth vision there arose in the United States a beautiful woman, clothed in splendour and royal robes – a woman given great power, and beautiful – yet cruel, cunning and deceitful. She dominated the land with her authority. Branham felt that she represented either an actual person, or else a particular organization (perhaps the Catholic church?) However, surely there is also the possibility that she represents a great “Jezebelic” spirit that utterly dominates the landscape? In the seventh and final vision, he witnessed a great explosion that rent the entire land and left America a smouldering, chaotic ruin, with no humanity in sight. This final vision then faded away. (This last one reminds me of another Branham vision/prophecy, which he referred to often in later years, that showed that the day would come when the entire state of California west of the San Andreas Fault, would be wiped out and sent into the Pacific Ocean by a massive earthquake).

The amazing thing about this series of seven visions is that they were given at a time (June 1933) when Branham had no way at all of coming to these conclusions through mere guesswork. In 1933 Germany was by no means ready for war, Russia was by no means a dominant world power, and Communism was a relatively minor force in the world. Some of the details given in the visions were just too extraordinary to pass off as mere coincidence. (See ‘The Acts of the Prophet’ by Pearry Green, pg 48-51, for a fuller description). Also, the fact is that these visions were given to an uneducated, simple man in the back-blocks of Indiana, a man who had little understanding at all of political complexities. And the fact that at least five of these visions have now been precisely fulfilled, means that we should surely take the others seriously also.

After the baptisms, a church was built for Branham to pastor in Jeffersonville. The next few years were a fruitful time in his life and ministry, during which he married a lovely Christian wife and they had two children. However, several years later Branham came to a crossroads and made a serious error of judgement that was to have serious repurcussions for his family and ministry. After attending a Pentecostal convention for the first time (up until then he had been an independent Baptist), Branham was invited by these Pentecostals to become a travelling evangelist for them, and he felt that this was definitely a call from God. However, he allowed himself to be persuaded by friends that the Pentecostals were “trash” (they were known as ‘holy rollers’ at the time – the lowest of the low), and he drew back from joining with them.

“It was at this time that the anointing of God which had come upon me left me. It never really returned until five years later… Everything went wrong. With my church going down, I didn’t know what to do. Then began the dark period of my life when the Ohio River flood that took so many lives, came, and was responsible for the death of two of those that were the dearest to me in all the world.” (G. Lindsay, ‘William Branham – A man sent from God’, pg 51). The great Ohio River flood of 1937 claimed the lives of Branham’s wife and baby daughter, and Branham was left heartbroken, with only his infant son left. This was only eight months after he had drawn back from obeying God and joining with the Pentecostals, and he himself acknowledged the tragic connection.

For a number of years after this, Branham continued to preach and also work at various jobs. He remarried, and when a new visitation of the angel of God came in 1946, he was working as an Indiana state game warden. This was to be the beginning of his international miracle ministry: “I must tell you of the angel and the coming of the Gift. I shall never forget the time, May 7, 1946, a very beautiful season of the year in Indiana, where I was still working as a game warden. I had come home for lunch… and while walking around the house under a maple tree, it seemed that the whole top of the tree let loose. It seemed that something came down through that tree like a great rushing wind… My wife came from the house frightened, and asked me what was wrong. Trying to get hold of myself, I sat down and told her that after all these twenty odd years of being conscious of this strange feeling, the time had come when I had to find out what it was all about. The crisis had come!

“That afternoon I went away to a secret place to pray and read the Bible. I became deep in prayer; it seemed that my whole soul would tear from me. I cried before God…I laid my face to the ground…I looked up to God and cried, ‘If you will forgive me for the way that I have done, I’ll try to do better… I’m sorry that I’ve been so neglectful all these years in doing the work you wanted me to do…Will you speak to me someway, God? If you don’t help me, I can’t go on’… Then along in the night, about the eleventh hour, I had quit praying and was sitting up when I noticed a light flickering in the room… the light was spreading out on the floor, becoming wider… as I looked up, there hung that great star. However, it did not have five points like a star, but looked more like a ball of fire or light shining down upon the floor. Just then I heard someone walking across the floor…

“Now, coming through the light, I saw the feet of a man coming toward me, as naturally as you would walk to me. He appeared to be a man who, in human weight, would weigh about two hundred pounds, clothed in a white robe. He had a smooth face, no beard, dark hair down to his shoulders, of rather dark-complexion, with a very pleasant countenance, and coming closer, his eyes caught with mine. Seeing how fearful I was, he began to speak. ‘Fear not. I am sent from the Presence of Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar life and your misunderstood ways have been to indicate that God has sent you to take a gift of divine healing to the peoples of the world. IF YOU WILL BE SINCERE, AND CAN GET THE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE YOU, NOTHING SHALL STAND BEFORE YOUR PRAYER, NOT EVEN CANCER.’” (Pg 76-77).

The angel told Branham that he would now have two special signs or gifts operating in his life, given to him by God. The first would enable him to detect or discern illnesses in people – a visible violent reaction in his left hand which would make it red and swollen whenever it came into contact with sickness. The second sign would be a gift that would enable him to discern the thoughts and deeds in the past life of the individual – specific sins that needed to be repented of, etc. It was often found that as Branham challenged people over such specific sins, and they confessed them to God, they would regularly be healed of whatever ailed them even before he had a chance to lay hands on them.

This angelic visitation marked the beginning of Branham’s incredible international miracle ministry, and also led directly to the great American Healing Revival of 1947 through 1955, in which many well-known ministries were raised up, and thousands upon thousands of people were saved and healed. As Branham himself said, “The great things which have taken place during these months are too innumerable to ever be recorded, but God has confirmed the angel’s words time after time. Deaf, dumb, blind, all manners of diseases have been healed, and thousands of testimonies are on record to date. I do not have any power of my own to do this… God always has something or someone to work through, and I am only an instrument used by Him.” (Pg 78).

Right to the end of his life, William Branham was renowned for his transparency, his simplicity and his genuine humility. No doubt this was due in part to his early life of hardship, brokenness and poverty – a great advantage when it came to his eventual ministry. I have read several of his early sermons, and they often appeared to be little more than personal testimonies accompanied by a simple (yet effective) gospel message. There was little sign of the somewhat strange, divisive and controversial teachings of his latter years. After all, the angel had told him that part of his commission was to help UNIFY Christians of differing backgrounds. Speaking of Branham’s “outstandingly humble spirit”, one observer wrote: “There is nothing boisterous or arrogant about him. He is a meek and humble man… He is a man loved by all. No-one begrudges him any of his success or is envious of his great popularity.” (David Harrell Jr, ‘ALL Things are Possible’, pg 39).

Over the following months and years, Branham travelled widely in the USA, and also to Europe and South Africa, etc. Thousands came from far and wide to hear him preach and to witness the many outstanding healings, miracles and ‘words of knowledge’ that accompanied his ministry. Often, he would call out the name, city of origin and background information of people in the audience whom he had never met, who had come to hear his preaching or to be healed. Of all the thousands of such ‘words of knowledge’ that he gave, none was ever known to be wrong or inaccurate. His gift was reportedly “exactly 100%”. The deaf were healed, the blind received their sight, and even the dead were raised. There were also a number of meetings where Branham was photographed with bright ‘haloes’ or strange lights around him. It became standard for Branham to have the angel of God standing beside him as he ministered, and he would often wait for the angel to arrive before he began. It was also commonplace for Branham to see specific miracles enacted before his eyes in vision form several days before they actually occurred, so that when he found himself in the precise circumstance pictured in the vision, he would know exactly what to do. Astounding! And everywhere he went, God was glorified in the most profound way.

There can be no doubt that Branham was the initial pioneer and the key leader of the great Healing Revival of 1947 through 1955. During this Revival, literally dozens of healing ministries were raised up all over America, some well-known and others less prominent, but all of them inspired by the example of Branham and others. Thousands were saved and healed, not just in America, but in many other nations also. And the mighty 1954 Argentina Revival under Tommy Hicks (with meetings of up to 400,000 people) also had strong links with this Revival. Even amongst the better-known evangelists who came into prominence at that time (such as Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborne, A.A. Allen, Jack Coe, etc), William Branham was acknowledged as something special – something extraordinary. “The younger deliverance evangelists viewed him as a man set apart, like Moses. ‘He was number one,’ said Richard Hall, ‘of the common run of evangelists that we have now, put twenty of them at one end and William Branham on the other; he would outweigh them all.’” (Winkie Pratney, ‘Revival’, pg 220-221).

Later in the 1950′s, when a number of healing evangelists were drifting into showmanship, hype, ‘prosperity’ doctrines and begging for money, Branham would have none of it. He was unchanged in his attitude toward these kinds of excesses right to the very end. One observer wrote of him in 1959: “On my last visit I mentioned how ‘car conscious’ American preachers are, almost judging a man’s success by the car he drives. At this particular conference, where Brother Branham was the principal speaker, they all came up in their nice cars, the picture of elegance, but Brother Branham drove up in a truck. He doesn’t seem to worry about these things…” (D. Harrell Jr, ‘ALL Things are Possible’, pg 162).

However, there were crucial weaknesses in the practices and ministry of William Branham, which tragically began to manifest themselves in the mid-1950′s. In 1955, largely through his own carelessness and lack of good management, Branham fell into financial difficulty. He had always been nonchalant, almost naive, toward all business matters. “He sometimes missed scheduled meetings and was totally unconcerned about business details. Some of his business associates came to feel that he was culpably irresponsible. At any rate, Branham came to write: ‘For nine years, the Lord met every need without my having to pull for money. Then, in 1955, in each of three of my greatest meetings, the income fell far short of expenses and others stepped in to make up large deficits’… Branham’s difficulties became more complicated in 1956 when the Internal Revenue Service filed a tax evasion suit against him… The unsophistic- ated Branham, apparently little interested in personal wealth, had made no systematic effort to account for the thousands of dollars that flowed through his ministry.” (Ibid, pg 39-40). For the remainder of his life, Branham worked under the burden of a $40,000.00 debt to the IRS. (Which was an enormous amount of money in those days).

It is obvious that God was little able to financially bless Branham’s ministry any longer, due to the careless and dubious state of his financial management. This had clearly become a “legal gateway” through which the devil could now disrupt and tie-down Branham’s ministry. And one of the most devastating results of this was that when most of the other prominent healing evangelists were called into large, mobile tent ministries (which God used very effectively at that time), Branham was unable to make this jump, due seemingly to the parlous state of his finances. Thus, his ministry immediately began to lose momentum, and it seemed that he was no longer on the ‘cutting edge’ of what God was doing.

By 1958, William Branham (along with many of the other healing evangelists) was deeply re-assessing his ministry. It was clear that the great Healing Revival was now well and truly over, and there can be little doubt that the decline in Branham’s own ministry had contributed to this. You can never afford to lose such a leader in any move of God, as history clearly shows. It was after this that Branham began to gradually withdraw into his own little circle, where he had an adoring and loyal following. (Essentially this circle was made up of “Oneness” or ‘Jesus- Only’ Pentecostals). And instead of his previous unwillingness to speak about contentious or divisive ‘minor’ issues, he now gradually began to emphasize such things more and more in his preaching. Slowly, these teachings became ever-more alarming and extreme.

As early as 1957, Branham had received a dream in which he was ministering in a ‘white disk’ above a pyramid. A voice from heaven proclaimed that no other man could stand in the disk “unless he die or be killed”, and that Branham was “the only one who can and will stand there.” Branham apparently considered this dream to be of ‘spiritual significance’. (Ibid, pg 41). By the 1960′s, he had apparently become convinced that he was the end-times “Elijah” and the true “Messenger of the Covenant”. And the adoring followers in his tight little circle were certainly not going to contradict him. A number of writers believe that it was when Branham took a ‘teaching’ ministry upon himself that he fell into error. It is clear that he had been anointed and commissioned by God to have a prophetic / evangelistic ministry, but never one of teaching. And as soon as he got into this area of teaching doctrine, he began to trespass into realms to which God had never called him, thus opening himself up to ever-increasing deception. It has been reported that towards the end, some of his teachings almost bordered on the occult. However, the original sign-giftings that God had given him never left him, right up until the time of his death in 1965.

There were a number of men who tried to warn Branham, and to bring him back into some form of balance, including his respected colleague and old friend, Gordon Lindsay. But Branham would not listen: “Brother Lindsay said, ‘I begged him not to teach. I said, “… Leave the Bible teaching to the teachers. Just go ahead and preach and exercise the word of knowledge and gifts of healing as the Spirit wills, and be a blessing to the Body of Christ.”’ This prophet said to Brother Lindsay, ‘I know I’m not a teacher, but I want to teach. And I’m going to teach!’

“It’s dangerous to intrude into a ministry office to which you are not called. In the Old Testament, if people intruded in to a holy place that was reserved for those who held certain offices, they instantly fell dead. Under grace, people in disobedience can last for a while, but sooner or later, those who intrude into ministry offices to which they are not called will be judged. It is dangerous to intrude into another man’s office.” (K. Hagin, ‘He Gave Gifts unto Men’, pg 164-170).

A full TWO YEARS before Branham died, Kenneth Hagin, who was renowned for his accurate prophetic ministry at that time (though he clearly got into serious error himself later), was given a prophecy about Branham which he took to Gordon Lindsay. The prophecy read: “‘At the end of 1965, He who now stands in the forefront of the healing ministry as a prophet will be taken out of the way. He’ll make a false step and Satan shall destroy his life, but his spirit will be saved, and his works will follow him. Ere 1966 shall come, he shall be gone.’

“I took that prophecy to brother Lindsay, because it’s scriptural to have other spiritual men judge prophecy. I never made it public. Prophets make a mistake by publicly broadcasting some of these things.” God later told Hagin: “I had to permit him to be removed, because of the damage he was causing in the body of Christ…”

“… Then brother Lindsay related something else to me that had happened regarding this same prophet. He said to me, ‘This past year, I was praying with my wife and sister Schrader about the work of the ministry. (Sister Schrader was a prophetess who has since gone on to be with the Lord.) We were praying about different projects in our ministry. Right in the middle of the prayer, Sister Schrader blurted out, ‘Go warn Brother [Branham]… he’s going to die.’ Brother Lindsay said, ‘I was busy, and I let that get by me, and I didn’t go warn him like I was supposed to. Then later, my wife and I and Sister Schrader were again praying about ministry projects. Again Sister Schrader blurted out right in the middle of prayer, ‘Go warn Brother [Branham]… he’s going to die. He’s walking in the way of Dowie.’ After his morning meeting, Brother Lindsay said, ‘I talked to him as the Lord had instructed me, but I saw that he wouldn’t listen…’ (K. Hagin, ‘He Gave Gifts unto Men’, pg 164-170). Please remember that Dowie had also got into error, proclaiming that he was the end-times “Elijah”.

Gordon Lindsay’s wife also confirmed the account given by Kenneth Hagin: “One day Kenneth Hagin came into our offices. He handed Gordon a piece of paper on which was written a prophecy he said the Lord had given him. The prophecy stated that the leader of the deliverance movement was soon to be taken in death, because he was getting into error and the Lord was having to remove him from the scene for that reason. Gordon took the prophecy and placed it in his desk. After Brother Hagin left I asked, ‘What do you think about this? Is this Branham?’ Gordon answered gravely, ‘Yes, it is Branham. He is getting into error. He thinks he is Elijah. He thinks he is the messenger of the covenant. The sad thing is that unscrupulous men around him are putting words into his mouth, and due to his limited background he is taking them up.’” (Mrs Gordon Lindsay, ‘My Diary Secrets’, Sixth Edition, pg 152).

Two years later, when driving to Tucson, Arizona, William Branham was involved in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. His wife was badly injured in the smash, and Branham’s body was horribly tangled in the wreck. He lingered on for a few days in hospital, though his head became terribly swollen and a tube was placed in his throat to assist his breathing. William Branham died on Christmas Eve, 1965, just before the turn of the year, exactly as the prophecy had predicted. Once more – “How have the mighty fallen”. Satan had again succeeded in ‘taking out’ one of God’s great servants. And there can be little doubt that God’s full purposes for Branham’s life and ministry remained at least partially unfulfilled. There was talk amongst a few of Branham’s followers that he might rise from the dead after several days, but it is clear that only a relatively small number believed this. (Such Branham-followers can still be found around the world today, some of whom adore him with a fervour bordering almost on idolatry – a sad and tragic epitaph to a once-mighty man of God).

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Chapter Seven
THE LESSONS WE MUST LEARN

Some people believe that the coming move of God will be so powerful and so awesome that it will be almost impossible for the ministries involved in it to fall into error or into sin. I simply cannot go along with this. History clearly demonstrates that the greater the power, the greater the potential for subtle pride and error to enter in. This is why God has taken so long in preparing His future (now hidden) ministries for the coming move. Please remember that Satan himself was once one of the most splendid and powerful creatures in all of Heaven – an ‘anointed Cherubim’ of the highest order, who walked in the very presence of God. The Creator Himself said of him: “You were the ANOINTED CHERUB who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were PERFECT in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you” (Ez 28:14-15). “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” (Is 14:12). If such a creature as this – walking in the very presence of God – can fall from grace, then so can we, even at the height of a powerful God-given ministry.

It is important also to realize the strength and the cunning of our adversary. The devil has had literally thousands of years to study mankind, and to learn how to manipulate human beings in the most effective way. He has seen Revivals come and Revivals go. He has caused great men of God to fall, and others to stumble or to not fulfill their potential. He is a past master at the arts of spiritual war, and he plays HARD, with no conscience and no mercy. He has had thousands of years to perfect his techniques for causing good men to fall, of setting snares that sometimes take months and years to bear fruit, but eventually lure men to the demise of their lives or their ministries. He has seen it all. And yet, by the power of God it is still possible to beat him, and to beat him well. But we must not be ignorant of his wiles or devices to trap us. And we must learn well the lessons that history has to teach us.

SPIRITUAL PRIDE

Spiritual pride is the major, but often very subtle underlying root of much deception, and the fall of many once-promising ministries. A friend from America who has studied this subject recently told me that over the past 21 years, he has personally known of at least a dozen anointed men of God who have lost their anointings and ministries. He says that a number have even ended up dead or in prison. “To whom much is given, much is expected.” To repeat Paul Billheimer’s words: “THE SANDS OF TIME ARE STREWN WITH THE WRECKS OF THE BROKEN LIVES OF MANY, WHO WERE ONCE MIGHTILY USED OF GOD, BUT WHO SUFFERED SHIPWRECK UPON THE ROCKS OF SPIRITUAL PRIDE.” As the Scriptures declare, “PRIDE goeth before the downfall” (Prov 16:18). If Satan cannot destroy us from without, then he will destroy us from within.

It is usually through our THOUGHTS – through our MIND – that such attacks come, with temptations to pride disguised as our own thoughts and feelings, etc. The devil will happily take a long-term approach with such attacks, slowly building on what he has been feeding into our mind until he can sway us into making bad decisions and judgements – blinded by subtle pride in that one crucial area. His object is to get us to ‘BELIEVE THE LIE’, and in that process this prideful deception travels from our mind down into our heart, where it is much harder to dislodge. Like a seed, it will then grow, and begin to manifest itself in our lives, until eventually, if it has not been dealt with, God may be forced to remove us from the ministry He has called us into. We are told in the Bible that we are to have the “mind of Christ”, and that we are to bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:5).

We are to be full of His Spirit, so that we may have A MIND CONTROLLED, a MIND DIRECTED, and a MIND FIXED ON GOD. I have found personally that such ‘roots’ or strongholds of pride, or anything else in our lives, can be dealt with very effectively by RENOUNCING them, from the very depths of our heart and soul, in Jesus’ name, and casting them away from ourselves as hated things. (This applies to bad habits and any other form of ‘stronghold’ also). “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Cor 10:4). We do not have to let the devil dominate any area of our lives in this way.

Obviously, those who are involved in powerful ministries are particularly susceptible to pride entering in, because of the amazing things that they see happening every day in their ministries, and the temptation to begin taking some of the glory for themselves, or to start to think that they are something ‘special’ – forgetting that every gift they have is from God. Such pride can be incredibly subtle, and the devil delights in placing such ministries under as much ‘pressure’ of this kind as he possibly can. However, it is important to remember that God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can bear. (1 Cor 10:13).

It is significant to note that William Branham was apparently still a truly humble man in many ways right up until the time of his death, and yet the devil managed to introduce subtle pride into his mind and heart in a couple of crucial areas. He presumed to become a teacher when this was obviously not his calling, and he eventually came to believe inflated “Elijah”-type revelations about himself and his ‘special’ position, proclaiming these to his followers. As the apostle Paul wrote, we are not to think of ourselves “more highly than we ought to think” (Rom 12:3). Speaking of the fall of Lucifer, God said, “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendour.” (Ez 28:17).

It is also important to remember that it is often when we have won our greatest victories in God, that we are most susceptible to attacks from the enemy. As Paul wrote, “let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor 10:12). We see this particularly in the life of John Alexander Dowie. It was when he had won through into a period of comparitive success and prosperity in his ministry that he apparently relaxed his guard, and became deceived into “BELIEVING THE LIE” that the devil was trying to sell him.

It is clear from the Scriptures that in the Last Days, there ARE to be ministries who will go forth in the ‘spirit and power of Elijah’. However, as Gordon Lindsay wrote in his biography of Dowie, “HAD HE BEEN THE VERY ELIJAH, WHAT AN UNFORTUNATE MISTAKE WAS MADE, IN PROCLAIMING HIMSELF AS SUCH! John the Baptist was satisfied in declaring himself ‘a voice crying in the wilderness’. When they asked John if he were Elijah, he said he was not. Yet Christ later said that he was! (Matt. 11:14) Jesus commended the humility of John who said, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’, and declared that none born of women was greater than he.” (G. Lindsay, ‘John Alexander Dowie’, pg 190). It is often when such DECLARATIONS of being a ‘last-days apostle’ or an Elijah are made, that things begin to go off the rails. The devil’s first priority is to get us to ‘BELIEVE A LIE’ (usually some inflated or prideful view of ourselves, or some excuse why a certain sin is ‘OK for me’) or even to publicly declare an EXAGGERATED TRUTH, and then to ACT ON IT. After this, as the deception grows and our blindness in that area deepens, surely only disaster can result.

However, one of the alarming things about such deception is that THE GIFTS, THE POWER AND THE CALLING OF GOD already operating in one’s ministry up to that point will usually continue to operate just as powerfully, often right until death. “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom 11:29). In other words, God will usually not take away such giftings, even if a ministry falls into deception. And so, they will continue to exercise such power, often thinking that “all is well” and ignoring all warnings, until it is too late. A fatal, but oh- so-common mistake. And history is littered with with the shattered remains of such ministries, who refused to heed God’s writing on the wall until it was too late.

FINANCES

You will notice that with both Dowie and Branham, errors of judgement in the financial area certainly helped to precipitate their downfall. With Dowie, his problem was becoming too caught up in financial dealings and the ‘cares of this world’ (almost certainly as a result of his “Elijah the Restorer” revelation). And there can be no doubt today, that God will deal harshly with anyone who uses their anointing and giftings as a means to wealth and luxury living. As G.H. Montgomery wrote of the decline of the Healing Revival, and of a number of evangelists at that time: “Men who preach the meek and lowly Nazarene to a lost and dying world, and yet live in palatial homes built on money contributed by God’s poor people, cannot call themselves followers of Jesus.”

With Branham, it was the opposite problem, as he obviously couldn’t care less about his finances, and perhaps presumed that “God will take care of it – I don’t need to arrange or give heed to anything”. Again, a fatal form of presumption. I have no doubt that God quietly warned Branham many times about his finances and lack of accounting or basic organization, but in the end it took a disaster to make him sit up and take notice – and by then it was too late, and his ministry was deeply mired in a financial pit from which it never truly recovered.

I have met a number of men and women of God in recent years who are also “anti-organization” to the point where if they were in a Revival ministry, they could very easily suffer the same financial fate as that of Branham. Their theory is that essentially, “God will do it all”, and many of them see any form of organization almost as a sin. But my question is this: If God doesn’t want humans involved in such ministry-related organization, then why did he invent the giftings of ‘HELPERS’ and “ADMINISTRATORS”? (1 Cor 12:28, RSV. The King James refers to these as ‘helps’ and “governments”, and they are found in every translation in the list of spiritual giftings for the church). It is also important to remember that the Early Church appointed seven men to administrate the funds collected by the apostles for use amongst the poor, etc. (Acts 6:1-7).

Obviously, such organization does not have to be too similar to today’s churches, but it does need to be streamlined, efficient, and above all – transparently honest, open and above-board. The last thing we need is shifty financial dealings bringing reproach upon God’s people. The early Salvation Army, which was a true Revival movement for at least it’s first 40 years, had just such an operation. Obviously, the whole move- ment was modelled on a mobilized army, with a central command post in London (from whence General William Booth ruled with a rod of iron!), and supply lines reaching out into every corner of the world. Like the early church, these people cared for the poor, as well as for God’s ministries, and thousands of people were clothed, fed and housed (as well as thousands more saved) right around the world. The early Salvation Army was one of the most long-lived anointed Revival movements that the church has ever seen, and there can be no doubt that this was greatly helped by the effectiveness and godliness of their organization. Revival literally followed them wherever they went. It is very clear then, from this and other examples, that ORGANIZATION DOES NOT HAVE TO BE OUR ENEMY. In fact, under God, it can become one of our most helpful friends.

MARRIAGE

We have already mentioned how that in Dowie’s latter years, when he was in desperate need of some balanced spiritual input into his life from people who were close to him, it seems that his wife was of little help (in fact, probably quite the reverse). This illustrates just how important a strong and godly marriage is for God’s servants, especially those who are being continually bombarded by the devil because their ministry against him is so effective. Those who are married, and who underestimate the importance of their marriage to their ministry are extremely unwise. The devil will be searching for any chink in their armour, and if there are weaknesses in their marriage, he will exploit these to the full. It is interesting to note that in a survey of the reasons why many divorced women in the U.S. left their husbands, a large proportion of them answered that it was because of “NEGLECT”. Their husbands had got so busy with their work, etc, that they had neglected their wives. And sadly, this is true of many Christian ministries also. A tragic and fateful state of affairs.

More than ever, I believe that in these Last Days, God desires to employ ministries in which there is a deep love and an obvious spiritual partnership between husband and wife. And this gives those of us who are married the added advantage of having someone to “watch our back”. Remember, Paul wrote concerning the qualifications for eldership or leadership in the church, that a man must be “the husband of one wife… He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God’s church?” (1 Tim 3:2-5). Our family life is far more important to God than many of us realize, and it gives real insight into whether or not we are truly suited to being in ministry at all.

DELUDED INTO SIN

As stated earlier, spiritual pride has been the underlying root cause of the fall of many ministries. The fatal presumption that “all must be well” (despite whatever sin or deception they’re involved in) just because the anointing is still there, and the miracles are still happening, is oh-so-common. And it is clearly this subtle pride which gives the devil a ‘legal doorway’ through which he can begin to deceive them in other areas also. You would be amazed at the excuses that such deceived individuals come up with as to why a certain sin is “OK for them”, even though it is certainly NOT OK for everyone else. The devil managed to delude and defeat a number of prominent ministries involved in the American Healing Revival. He got to some of them with love of money, ease and comfort, others through selfish ambition and envy, and some even became drunkards. And yet many of them were still performing miracles right to the end. But eventually, they lost everything. Speaking of the decline of the Healing Revival, Gordon Lindsay observed that many ministers had stopped “fasting and waiting before God.” He said that many of the ministries had declined, “largely because of a lack of humility and because of a tendency to self-exaltation.” He was reportedly sickened by the increasing emphasis on money. “Lindsay later concluded that even at the height of the revival many of the evangelists ‘hadn’t prayed through, they hadn’t touched God for their ministry, they just put up their banner.’” (D. Harrell Jr, ‘ALL Things are Possible’,pg 139).

One of the most common of the devil’s lures down through history, of course, has been sexual sin (sometimes of a perverted nature, but usually simple adultery). Please remember that the devil will be literally throwing everything at such ministries (though usually in a disguised or subtle way). They are hurting him, and he will not just stand idly by. He will search and probe for that one chink in their armour. This is why in the past God has often spent years training and preparing such ministries in obscurity, before giving them their anointing and their commission. He had to test them – to see whether or not they could survive the attacks of the enemy, and the temptations to pride, etc. He had to feel confident that He could entrust them with His anointing. And even then, He knew that some of them would let Him down.

In his book, “Set the Trumpet to thy Mouth”, David Wilkerson uncovered some very interesting facts about the reasons why pastors and other ministries in America were falling into adultery. A survey had been done, and it became obvious what the number one strategy of the devil was. In the vast majority of cases, these men had developed a close ‘spiritual’ relationship with a woman other than their wife, and this is who they ended up committing adultery with. They would often pray or discuss the Bible with this spiritual woman, until eventually they became close and intimate, and would be sharing things with her that they should have been sharing with their wife. How ‘spiritual’ it all was! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be married to a woman like this! (Not that they ever tried to share with their own wife in this way). What subtle and cunning deception. And Satan has had vast success in ‘taking out’ many promising ministries just through this one technique alone. Then there’s the old, “I’m allowed more than one wife at a time” deception. (Despite what the Bible says in 1 Tim 3:2, etc). Or, “God has shown me that my wife may die, so I need another companion.” As I said before, it’s amazing what the devil can get us humans to believe at times.

Almost every deception plays on secret desires or strongholds deep within us. Part of us wants to believe that the deception is true. This is why we must be so searingly and brutally honest with ourselves in RENOUNCING such deceptions and strongholds, if we are ever going to be truly free of them. (‘Self-pity’ is another subtle yet deadly one – the true cause of much depression. Many people quite enjoy having the ‘blues’ or feeling sorry for themselves, and this can be a most debilitating stronghold in one’s life. Don’t make a “pet” of it – RENOUNCE IT!)

Another thing I also want to briefly touch on here is the danger of “ENVY” entering into one’s ministry. This too can be a very subtle yet immensely destructive evil. (The Pharisees had Jesus killed due to ‘envy’, after all – Mk 15:10). If you ever find yourself feeling like attacking or murmuring against a leader who operates in more power or is better-known than you, just check your motives very carefully to see that envy or selfish ambition is not one of the causes of your antagonism. You would be amazed at the number of team ministries, etc, that have been destroyed through this kind of envy of the leadership (whether coming from without, or even worse – from within the group). Who knows what motivated Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus? (Remembering that Judas was one of the Twelve HAND-PICKED disciples). For some time now, I have wondered whether or not the Antichrist that is to arise at the very end of the age could be one of God’s genuine end-time apostles – gone astray. Does not the Bible call him the ‘son of perdition’, just like Judas? And will he not move in powerful signs, wonders and miracles, just like the genuine Last Days apostles? A frightening thought! (However, God’s people will discern the truth when the time comes). The pattern of the devil’s own fall seemed to be: Spiritual Pride, Envy (& selfish ambition), then Rebellion. And of course, this same pattern is now constantly found amongst fallen humans also (even Christian ones, sadly).

For God’s true ministries, the secret to surviving the coming Last Days period is basically the same as it’s ever been. They must have a deep hatred of sin, a genuine fear of God, a searing honesty with themselves, and a heart after God’s own heart – just as His servant David did. Only then can they truly be sure of “enduring to the end”. This is why God has spent so long preparing and ‘breaking’ these ministries, before sending them forth to lead His people out of bondage and into His glorious light once again.

GOD NEEDS LEADERS!

While I have no doubt that the coming move of God will be even more incredible than the great Healing Revival, and that the outpouring of His Spirit will be far greater than anything that has ever been seen before, I do believe that many of the same dangers and the same principles will apply, just as they always have. We must learn the lessons from history, or we are bound to repeat them.

One thing I do want to emphasise here, is that just like every previous move of God, this one will need LEADERS anointed and raised up by God, to advance and establish His Revival. Some people believe in a kind of “leaderless” Revival, where God “does everything” and human leadership is almost obselete. But from everything God has been saying about the coming move, I would have to be frank and say that such people are deluding themselves. THERE HAS NEVER BEEN, AND THERE NEVER WILL BE A “LEADERLESS” REFORMATION-REVIVAL. Tell me this: Would there have ever been a Book-of-Acts Revival without anointed apostles to lead it? And would the Jews have escaped Egypt without an anointed Moses to lead them? Would they have ever taken the promised land without a Joshua? And could they have defeated the Philistines without an anointed David or a Gideon? The answer is: NO – NEVER! God has always been, and still is, utterly committed to USING MANKIND as His instruments and leaders of Reformation and Revival in the earth. In fact, it would be fair to say that for God NOT to use such human leadership, would be to GO AGAINST THE ENTIRE BASIC NATURE OF HIS DEALINGS WITH MANKIND. As with every Reformation-Revival, God simply must have His leaders.

I can well understand why a number of Christians today have become disillusioned and disenchanted with much of today’s church leadership. But I cannot understand why they would want to do away with the whole concept of “leadership” altogether. The fact is, God may very well want to use THEM as leaders in the coming Revival. But I have found that a number of them hate the idea of leadership and authority so much that it is doubtful if they would ever heed God’s call. (I have to ask:- Couldn’t this just be a form of subtle ‘Rebellion’? What is the true motivation behind such a dislike of godly authority?) This whole thing has been of great concern to me for a number of years now. It is my belief (backed by much that God has been saying right around the world) that He has been secretly preparing a company of future Revival leaders for many years now (hidden, as always) – the Joshuas and Davids who will suddenly arise in God’s perfect timing to lead His people into Revival. If some of these men and women do not heed God’s call, then we are in big trouble, surely? But on the other hand, perhaps this is just another example of the truth of the old saying, “Many are called, but few are chosen”? (I urge you to pray and think about these things).

What God has clearly spoken to me is:- “NO LEADERS – NO REVIVAL”. And He has also said that “WHEN THE NEW APOSTLES ARISE, REVIVAL WILL BEGIN.” Just like the early church, it will be the new apostles who will carry the genuine Revival anointing in these Last Days, and it will be when they arise that Revival will truly start. (This has been so with every true Reformation-Revival). These will be men of enormous godly authority and power. They will certainly not abuse such authority, but neither will they be afraid to “reprove, rebuke and exhort” where necessary. And these powerful ministries, along with the many prophets and evangelists who are also about to arise, will go forth under a mighty anointing – an army ‘terrible, with banners’ – “destroying the works of the devil” in Jesus’ name. Many of these leaders may seem rather ‘rough’ by outward appearance (just like the ex-fishermen and tax collectors of the Book of Acts), but they will walk in total heart-purity before God. And I also believe that though they may not be ‘apostles’ as such, God is going to use CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS in a tremendous way in the coming Revival as well (often in a way that may even put the adults to shame). What glorious days these will be.

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Chapter Eight
SMITH WIGGLESWORTH’S VISION.

The following account is of a particularly powerful vision given to Smith Wigglesworth during the early part of World War II, when he was being visited by a young Lester Sumrall (the well-known healing-deliverance evangelist and founder of the charitable organization ‘Feed the Hungry’). This account of Wigglesworth’s vision comes from pg 168-169 of Lester Sumrall’s 1995 book, ‘Pioneers of Faith’:

“… Shutting his eyes again, he said, ‘I see the greatest revival in the history of mankind coming to Planet earth, maybe as never before. And I see every form of disease healed. I see whole hospitals emptied with no one there. Even the doctors are running down the streets shouting.’

“He told me that there would be untold numbers of uncountable multitudes that would be saved. No man will say ‘so many, so many,’ because nobody will be able to count those who come to Jesus. No disease will be able to stand before God’s people… ‘It will be a worldwide situation, not local,’ he said, ‘a worldwide thrust of God’s power and God’s anointing upon mankind.’

“Then he opened his eyes and looked at me and said, ‘I will not see it, but you shall see it. The Lord says that I must go on to my reward, but that you will see the mighty works that He will do upon the earth in the last days.’

“… The idea that I would get to see this revival was almost overwhelming. And in the last decade or so, I believe we have seen this revival begin to sweep the earth. We have seen amazing moves of God in Africa… Recently, I was in China and met with the underground church. I was told there are at least forty-five million Full Gospel Christians in China. I discovered a depth of prayer and integrity there that I have not felt anywhere else in the world… So I believe we are seeing Wigglesworth’s prophecy begin to be fulfilled. We are seeing the first stages of it.” (-Lester Sumrall died on April 28, 1996).

Another of Wigglesworth’s prophecies states that the last great Revival will bring a marrying together of the “Word” and the “Spirit” in a way we have not seen before. There have been many Revivals involving the spoken ‘word’ in a major way – notably those of Edwards, Wesley, Finney, etc. And over the last century there have been many Revivals that majored on the Holy Spirit. But this is to be one that involves a “marrying together” of the spoken-word type ministry and the Holy Spirit-focused ministry. What power will be released when this happens! Can you imagine the preaching of a ‘Charles Finney’ combined with the signs and miracles of a healing revivalist?

Interestingly, in the 1990′s a well-known international preacher prophesied that two prominent Christian leaders must die before the great Revival will come. This lines up very well with what God has been showing myself and others about key leaders of the ‘Old Guard’ needing to pass on before God’s new leadership can truly emerge. In recent years we have seen Derek Prince, Kenneth Hagin and Bill Bright pass away. It is certainly an interesting prophecy, and a fascinating time to be alive.

It is my belief that we now live on the verge of the most momentous days in the history of the church. The glory of God is about to come down. And no longer will God’s people be a laughing-stock, both of men and of devils. Clearly, the time is soon coming when God’s ‘mighty men and women of valour’ must again come to the fore, as in days of old. I believe that God is again looking in our day for men and women who will risk everything for Him, who have died to sin and to self, who cannot abide fleshly showmanship or hype, and who desire only to serve God with a purity of spirit rather than an excess of soul-power.

Surely Watchman Nee’s words are tragically true, not only of many Christians today, but sadly of many leaders also: “The corrupted old man in the believer has died but his soul remains the power behind his walk. On the one hand the sinful nature has been drastically touched but on the other hand the self life still persists and therefore cannot escape being soulish… To depend upon the soul life to carry out the wish of the spirit is to use natural (or human) force to accomplish supernatural (or divine) goodness. This is simply trying to fulfill God’s demand with self-strength… Few are those disposed honestly to acknowledge their weakness and incapability and to lean utterly upon God. Who will confess his uselessness if he has not been humbled by the grace of God? Man takes pride in his prowess… He does not understand that however good to the human outlook his efforts may appear to be, they can never please God… He fails miserably to be spiritual and continues to abide in the soul.” (Watchman Nee, ‘The Spiritual Man’, Vol.1-3).

It is in the barren ‘wilderness’ of brokenness and despair, that God chooses to deal with such soulish self-power in His servants. And it is only when this ‘self’ has been utterly put to the sword that God can afford to entrust these servants with His miracle-working power. Only when they desire nothing but His glory, can He grant them the weapons of a mighty warfare. As a prophecy that was given several years ago in America stated: “I have used many swords in years past; and some were made of polluted metals. I used them because they were the only weapons available to Me. But for this last Great Revival, I must have swords of the purest metals which have been through the hottest fires so that they will not break in My Hand…”

It is my belief that our Almighty God is now looking for men and women whom He can entrust with such an anointing. He is looking for a people who will truly “love not their lives unto the death”, who know the dangers but who are willing to risk all (even in light of the failure of some in the past), to see God glorified and His standard raised in the earth in our day. We are still surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses – men and women who fought a glorious fight and ran a peerless race. And God is now looking for men and women of this same ilk, who hunger and thirst after Him, who press forward into the deep things of God, and who have willingly paid the price and spent much time alone with Him. Like Elisha, who would not let go of Elijah until he had received a double portion of that great prophet’s anointing, they will never let go of God until He blesses them with a similar enduement.

Charles Finney said, “PRAY MOST for the Holy Spirit of God, and WRESTLE MOST with God for His blessing… If you have the Holy Spirit of God, you must expect to feel great distress in view of the condition of the church, and of the world.” It is only through such fervent, agonizing, WRESTLING prayer that we can break through into these greater realms in God. And then, how Satan will oppose us! (And most likely, the church leaders also). As the apostle Paul wrote: “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of OUR TROUBLE which came to us in Asia: that we were BURDENED BEYOND MEASURE, ABOVE STRENGTH, SO THAT WE DESPAIRED EVEN OF LIFE.” (2 Cor 1:8).

As David, king of Israel declared, “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God” (Ps 42:2). And it was clearly the apostle Paul’s great desire, “That I may KNOW HIM [JESUS], and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death” (Philipp 3:10). Again, Charles Finney declared: “Revival comes from heaven when heroic souls enter the conflict determined to win or die… ‘The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE.’” Some years ago, God shared with me the secret of becoming part of the new move of God. It is simply this:- “WHO DARES WINS”. As I said before, I believe that God is currently searching for such men and women, “tried as by fire”, who will lead His people into the coming great war. And “DARING” will be one of the most important qualifications. Tell me, friend, will you be one of these?… “But TARRY YE in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be ENDUED WITH POWER FROM ON HIGH” (Lk 24:49).

This article Copyright (c) Andrew Strom, 1996, 2004.
PERMISSION IS GRANTED to ‘link’-to, photocopy and pass around this work. However, if you wish

to ‘publish’ it or parts of it, you will need to obtain permission first.
Andrew Strom – email: [email protected]

This book can be found at- http://www.revivalschool.com

{Grateful acknowledgement to Larry Magnello for a good portion of the concept and research that has gone into this publication. Used by permission}.

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CHARLES FINNEY – MOST POWERFUL REVIVALS

The Essential Revivals – In His Own Words

-Edited and Updated by Andrew Strom.

COPYRIGHT (c) ANDREW STROM, 2004.
PERMISSION IS GRANTED to ‘link’-to, photocopy and pass around this work. However, if you wish
to ‘publish’ it or parts of it, you will need to obtain permission first.
Andrew Strom – email: [email protected] 

“CHARLES FINNEY – MOST POWERFUL REVIVALS”
CONTENTS:

1. The Early Years.

2. Conversion.

3. Revival Breaks Out.

4. Licensed to Preach.

5. Revival Ministry Widens.

6. The Flame Spreads.

7. Comments on the Education of Preachers.

8. Revival in Antwerp.

9. Revivals Throughout the Region.

10. Revivals in De Kalb and Western.

11. Revivals in New York State.

12. Revival at Oberlin College.

Postscript.

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“Revival comes from heaven when heroic
souls enter the conflict determined
to win or die – or if need be, to win and die!
‘The kingdom of heaven suffers
violence, and the violent take it by force.’”
-Charles Finney.

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CHAPTER ONE
THE EARLY YEARS

It is true that my name has been linked with an extensive movement of revivals, but I approach the subject with reluctance for many reasons. I have kept no diary, and so I must depend on my memory. Having said that, I have been reminded of these revivals so many times, and have so often referred to them in all the years of my ministry, that I am confident that I remember them pretty much as they occurred.

I was born in Warren, Connecticut on August 29, 1792. When I was about two years old, my father moved to Oneida county, New York, which was a wilderness at that time. No Christian meetings were held there. Very few Christian books were to be found. The new settlers, mostly from New England, almost immediately established common schools; but they heard very little intelligent preaching of the Gospel. I went to a common school until I was fifteen or sixteen years old.

Neither of my parents were religious, and among our neighbors there were very few religious people. I seldom heard a sermon, unless it was an occasional one from some traveling minister, or the miserable holding forth of some ignorant preacher who would sometimes be found in that region. The ignorance of these preachers was such that the people would often return from the meetings and spend a considerable time in irrepressible laughter at the strange mistakes which had been made and the absurd things we had been told.

In our neighborhood we had just built a meeting house and brought a pastor in, when my father moved again – to the wilderness skirting the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Here again I lived for several years with no more exposure to Christianity than I had experienced in Oneida county.

When I was about twenty years old I travelled to New Jersey near New York City, where I worked as a teacher. I taught and studied as best I could, and returned to New England twice to attend high school. I considered going to Yale College. My tutor was a graduate of Yale, but he advised me not to go. He said it would be a waste of time, as I could easily accomplish their whole curriculum in two years, while it would cost me four years to graduate from Yale itself. As a result I failed to pursue my school education any further at that time. However, I later acquired some knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. But I was never a classical scholar.

My tutor wanted me to join him in running an academy in one of the Southern States. I was inclined to accept his offer, but when I informed my parents, whom I had not seen for four years, they both immediately came after me and convinced me to go home with them to Jefferson county, New York. Thus I became a student in the law office of Squire W in Adams, Jefferson county. This was in 1818.

Up to this time I had never enjoyed what might be called Christian privileges. I had never lived in a praying community, except when I was attending high school in New England; and the Christianity there was not designed to get my attention at all. The preaching was by an old clergyman – an excellent man, truly loved by his people. But he read his sermons in a way that left no impression on my mind at all. He had a monotonous, humdrum way of reading what he had probably written many years before.

To give some idea of his preaching, his written sermons were just large enough to put into a small Bible. I sat in the gallery and saw that he placed his fingers in the Bible at the passages to be quoted during the reading of his sermon. This made it necessary to hold his Bible in both hands. As he proceeded he would liberate one finger after another until the fingers of both hands were read out of their places. When his fingers were all read out, he was near the end of his sermon. His reading was totally monotonous and though the people listened attentively, I have to say it did not seem much like preaching to me.

I often heard people speak well of his sermons, and sometimes they would wonder if he was alluding to things that were happening amongst them. They always seemed curious to know what he was aiming at, especially if there was anything more in his sermon than a dry discussion of doctrine. And this was really quite as good preaching as I had ever listened to anywhere. But anyone can judge whether such preaching was calculated to instruct or interest a young man who neither knew nor cared anything about Christianity. When I was teaching school in New Jersey, the preaching in the neighborhood was mainly in German. I do not think I heard half a dozen sermons in English during my whole stay in New Jersey, which was about three years. Thus when I went to Adams to study law, I was almost as ignorant of Christianity as a heathen. I had been brought up mostly in the woods.

At Adams, for the first time, I sat under an educated ministry. Rev. George Gale from Princeton, New Jersey, became pastor of the Presbyterian Church in that place soon after I went there. His preaching was of the old school type. It was thoroughly Calvinistic, and whenever he came out with doctrine, which he seldom did, he would preach what has been called hyper-Calvinism. He was, of course, regarded as highly orthodox; but I didn’t get much out of his preaching. As I sometimes told him, he seemed to begin in the middle, and to assume many things which I thought needed to be proved. He seemed to take it for granted that his hearers were theologians, and to assume they understood all the great and fundamental doctrines of the Gospel. I must say that I was more perplexed than helped by his preaching.

Until this time I had never lived where I could attend a prayer meeting. But because one was held by the church near our office every week, I went and listened to the prayers quite often.

In studying law, I found the old authors frequently referring to the Mosaic Law as authority for many of the great principles of common law. This aroused my curiosity so much that I went and bought a Bible, the first I had ever owned; and whenever I found a reference by the law authors to the Bible, I turned to the passage and consulted it. This soon led to me taking a new interest in the Bible, and I read and meditated on it much more than I had ever done before. However, much of it I did not understand.

Mr. Gale was in the habit of dropping in at our office frequently, and seemed anxious to know what impression his sermons had made on me. I used to discuss things frankly with him, and now I think that I sometimes criticized his sermons unmercifully.

I perceived that his own mind could not define what he really meant by a lot of the terminology he used. In fact, I found it impossible to attach any meaning to many of the terms he used all the time. What did he mean by repentance? Was it merely a feeling of sorrow for sin? If it was a change of mind, in what respect was it a change of mind? What did he mean by faith? Was it merely an intellectual state? Was it merely a conviction, or persuasion, that the things stated in the Gospel were true? I could not tell, nor did he seem to truly know himself.

We had many interesting discussions, but they seemed to make me question more and more, rather than satisfying me as to the truth.

But as I read my Bible and attended the prayer meetings, heard Mr. Gale preach, and spoke with him and others, I became very restless. I became convinced that I was in no state to go to heaven if I died. It seemed to me that there must be something in religion that was of infinite importance; and I decided that if the soul was immortal I needed a great change inside me to make it into heaven. But still my mind was not made up as to whether Christianity was true or not. However, the question was too important to leave alone.

I was particularly struck with the fact that the prayers I had listened to from week to week were not being answered, that I could see. When I read my Bible I learned what Christ had said about prayer, and answers to prayer: “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” I also read what Christ said – that God is more willing to give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him, than earthly parents are to give good gifts to their children. I heard them pray continually for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and then confess that they did not receive what they asked for.

They urged each other to wake up and pray earnestly for revival, saying that if they did their duty and prayed for the outpouring of the Spirit then revival would come. But in their prayer meetings they would continually confess that they were making no progress towards revival.

This inconsistency, the fact that they prayed so much and were not answered, was a sad stumbling block to me. I didn’t know what to make of it. Were these people not truly Christians, and therefore they did not prevail with God; or did I misunderstand the promises and teachings of the Bible, or was I to conclude that the Bible was not true? It was truly bewildering to me, and for awhile it seemed as though it would almost drive me into unbelief. It seemed like the teachings of the Bible did not line up with the facts that were before my eyes.

One time, when I was in one of the prayer meetings, I was asked if I wanted them to pray for me. I told them ‘No,’ because I did not see that God answered their prayers. I said, “I suppose I need to be prayed for, because I am conscious that I am a sinner; but I do not see that it will do any good for you to pray for me. You are continually asking, but you do not receive. You have been praying for a revival ever since I have been in Adams, and yet you do not have one. You have prayed enough since I have attended these meetings to have prayed the devil out of Adams, if there is any virtue in your prayers. But here you are praying on, and complaining still.” I was quite irritable, I think, because at the time I was continually being brought face to face with spiritual truth – which was a new thing for me.

But on further reading of my Bible, it struck me that the reason why their prayers were not answered was because they did not meet God’s conditions for answered prayer. They did not pray in faith, expecting God to give them what they asked for. For some time this thought sat in my mind as a confused question rather than a definite answer. But it gave me a sense of relief in regard to the truth of the Gospel; and after struggling for two or three years, my mind became quite settled that whatever questions there might be, either in my own or my pastor’s mind, the Bible was the true Word of God.

Having settled this fact, I was brought face to face with the question of whether I would accept Christ as presented in the Gospel, or pursue a worldly course of life. The Holy Spirit was working on me so strongly that I could not leave this question alone for long.

——————————————————————————–

CHAPTER TWO
CONVERSION

On a Sunday evening in autumn 1821, I made up my mind that I would settle the question of my soul’s salvation at once – that if possible I would make my peace with God. But because I was very busy in the office, I knew that unless I was really determined, I would never do it. So I decided, as much as possible, to avoid all business and other distractions, and focus entirely on the salvation of my soul. I carried this out as best I could. I was required to be in the office quite a lot, but I was not too busy on Monday or Tuesday, and had the opportunity to read my Bible and pray most of the time.

However, I was very proud without knowing it. I had convinced myself that I didn’t care what others thought of me. In fact, I had been quite consistent in attending prayer meetings and going to church while in Adams. The Christians had begun to think that I must be anxious about my salvation. But I found, when I came to face the question, that I was very unwilling for anyone to know that I was seeking the salvation of my soul. When I prayed I would only whisper my prayer, after having stopped up the keyhole in case someone discovered me praying. Up until then I had left my Bible lying on the table with my law books, and it never occurred to me to be ashamed of being found reading it, any more than I would be ashamed of being found reading any of my other books.

But after I had decided to seek salvation, I kept my Bible out of sight. If I was reading it when anybody came in I would throw my law books on top of it, to create the impression that I had not had it in my hand. Instead of being outspoken and willing to talk with anybody and everybody on the subject like before, I found that I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t want to see the minister because I did not want him to know how I felt, and anyway I had no confidence that he would understand and give me the direction I needed. I avoided conversation with the elders of the church, or with any of the Christian people. I was ashamed to let them know how I felt on one the hand, and on the other, I was afraid they would misdirect me. I felt myself shut up to the Bible.

During Monday and Tuesday my convictions increased, but still it seemed as if my heart grew harder. I could not shed a tear; I could not pray. I had no opportunity to pray above my breath, and I often felt that if I could be alone where I could use my voice and let it out, then I would find relief in prayer. I was shy and avoided speaking to anybody on any subject. I tried to do this in a way that would cause no-one to suspect that I was seeking the salvation of my soul. Tuesday night I had become very nervous; and in the night a strange feeling came over me as if I was about to die. I knew that if I did I would sink down to hell; but I quieted myself as best I could until morning. At an early hour I started for the office. But just before I arrived, something seemed to confront me with questions like these: “What are you waiting for? Didn’t you promise to give your heart to God? What are you trying to do? Are you trying to work out a righteousness of your own?”

Just at this point the whole question of Gospel salvation opened up to me in a wonderful way. I think I saw, as clearly as I ever have in my life, the reality and fullness of the atonement of Christ. I saw that His work was a finished work; and that instead of having, or needing, any righteousness of my own to recommend me to God, I had to submerge myself in the righteousness of Christ. Gospel salvation seemed to be an offer of something to be accepted; and that it was full and complete; and that all that was necessary on my part was to get my own consent to give up my sins and accept Christ. Instead of being something I could achieve by working myself, salvation was a thing to be found entirely in the Lord Jesus Christ, who presented Himself before me as my God and my Savior.

Without being aware of it, I had stopped in the street right where the inward voice seemed to arrest me. How long I remained there I cannot say. But after this revelation, the next question seemed to be: “Will you accept it now, today?” I replied,” Yes, I will accept it today, or I will die in the attempt.”

North of the village, over a hill, lay some woods where I went walking most days when the weather was fine. It was now October, and the time was past for my frequent walks there. But now, instead of going to the office, I turned and started for the woods, feeling that I must be alone and away from all human eyes, so that I could pour out my prayer to God.

But still my pride made itself felt. As I went over the hill, it occurred to me that someone might see me and suspect that I was going away to pray. Yet probably there was not a person on earth that would have thought such a thing. But my pride and fear of man was so great that I skulked along under the fence until I got so far out of sight that no one from the village could see me. I then veered into the woods about a quarter of a mile and found a place where some large trees had fallen across each other, leaving an open space between. I ducked in there and knelt down to pray. As I had turned to go up into the woods, I remember saying, “I will give my heart to God, or I never will come down from there.” I repeated this on the way up: “I will give my heart to God before I ever come down again.”

But when I attempted to pray I found that my heart would not pray. I had assumed that if I could only find a place where I could speak aloud, without being overheard, I could pray freely. But when I came to try, I was dumb; that is, I had nothing to say to God. I could only say a few words, and those without heart. In attempting to pray I would hear a rustling in the leaves, and would stop and look up to see if somebody was coming. I did this several times.

Finally I found myself verging on despair. I said to myself, “I cannot pray. My heart is dead to God and will not pray.” I was kicking myself for having promised to give my heart to God before I left the woods. When I came to try, I found I could not give my heart to God. My inward soul hung back, and there was no going out of my heart to God. I began to feel that it was too late; that God must have given me up and I was past hope.

I could not believe how rash I had been, to promise that I would give my heart to God that day or die in the attempt. It seemed like it was binding on my soul; and yet I was going to break my vow. A terrible weight of discouragement came over me, and I felt almost too weak to stand upon my knees.

Just at this moment I again thought I heard someone approach me, and I opened my eyes to see. But right there the revelation of my pride, as the great difficulty that stood in the way, was clearly shown to me. An overwhelming sense of my sinfulness in being ashamed to have someone see me on my knees before God, took hold of me. I cried out at the top of my voice that I would not leave that place if all the men on earth and all the devils in hell surrounded me. “What!” I said, “such a degraded sinner as me, on my knees confessing my sins to a holy God; and ashamed to have any human being find me on my knees before Him!” The sin appeared awful, infinite. It broke me down before the Lord.

Just at that point this passage of Scripture seemed to drop into my mind with a flood of light: “You will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart.” I instantly seized hold of this. I had intellectually believed the Bible before; but never had I seen the truth that faith was a willing trust instead of an intellectual state. I was suddenly conscious of trusting at that moment in God’s trustworthiness. Somehow I knew that that was a passage of Scripture, though I do not think I had ever read it. I knew that it was God’s word, and God’s voice, as it were, that spoke to me. I cried to Him, “Lord, I take you at your word. You know that I am searching for you with all my heart, and that I have come here to pray to you; and you have promised to hear me.”

That seemed to settle the question that I could perform my vow that very day. The Spirit seemed to emphasise the phrase, “When you search for me with all your heart.” I told the Lord that I would take Him at his word; that He could not lie; and that therefore I was sure that He heard my prayer, and would allow me to find Him.

He then gave my many other promises from the Old and New Testaments, including some powerful promises regarding our Lord Jesus Christ. I never can, in words, make any human understand how precious and true those promises appeared to me. I took them one after the other as infallible truth, the assertions of God who could not lie. They did not seem to fall so much into my intellect as into my heart, and I seized hold of them with the grasp of a drowning man.

I continued to pray this way, and to receive promises for a long time. I prayed until my mind became so full that, before I was aware of it, I was on my feet and tripping up the hill towards the road. The question of becoming converted had not even arisen in my thoughts; but as I went up, brushing through the leaves and bushes, I recall saying with emphasis, “If I am ever converted, I will preach the Gospel.”

I soon reached the road that led to the village, and began to think about what had just happened; and I found that my mind had become wonderfully quiet and peaceful. I said to myself, “What is this? I must have grieved the Holy Spirit entirely away. I have lost all my conviction. I don’t have one bit of concern about my soul; The Spirit must have left me.” It seemed like I had never been so unconcerned about my own salvation in my life.

Then I remembered what I had said to God while I was on my knees – that I would take Him at his word. In fact I remembered a whole lot of things that I had said, and concluded that it was no wonder the Spirit had left me. For such a sinner to take hold of God’s Word in that way must surely be presumption if not blasphemy. I concluded that in my excitement I had grieved the Holy Spirit, and perhaps committed the unpardonable sin.

I walked quietly towards the village, and my mind was so perfectly quiet that it seemed as if all nature listened. It was the 10th of October, and a very pleasant day. I had gone into the woods immediately after an early breakfast and when I returned to the village I found it was dinner time. Yet I had been completely unaware of the time that had passed. It seemed like I had been gone from the village for only a short time.

But how could I account for the quiet of my mind? I tried to recall my convictions, to get back the load of sin which had been weighing me down. But all sense of sin, all consciousness of sin or guilt, had departed from me. I said to myself, “What is this, that I cannot arouse any sense of guilt in my soul – a sinner like me?” I tried in vain to make myself anxious. I was so quiet and peaceful that I tried to feel concerned about that, in case it was the result of having grieved the Spirit away. But try as I might, I could not make myself anxious at all. The calm in my mind was breathtaking. It can’t be described in words. The thought of God was sweet to my mind, and the most profound spiritual tranquillity had taken me over.

I went to dinner, and found I had no appetite to eat. Then I went to the office, and found that Squire W had gone to dinner. I took down my bass viol as I often did, and began to play and sing some spiritual songs. But as soon as I started to sing those holy words, I began to weep. It seemed as if my heart was all liquid, and my feelings were in such a state that I could not hear my own voice singing without causing my emotions to overflow. I tried to keep back the tears, but couldn’t. So I put my instrument away and stopped singing.

After dinner we were busy moving our books and furniture to another office. Because we were so busy, we hardly spoke much all afternoon. But my mind remained in that profoundly tranquil state. Everything appeared to be going right, and nothing seemed to ruffle or disturb me in the least.

Late that afternoon I began to feel compelled that as soon as I was left alone in the new office, I would try to pray again. I was not going to abandon the subject of Christianity and give it up. Though I no longer had any concern about my soul, I would still continue to pray.

As darkness fell, Squire W said goodnight and went home. I had accompanied him to the door, and as I closed the door and turned around, my heart seemed to be liquid within me. All my feelings seemed to rise and flow out, and the cry of my heart was, “I want to pour my whole soul out to God.” The intensity was so great that I rushed into the room behind the front office, to pray.

There was no fire and no light in the room, but it appeared to me as if it was perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door, it seemed like I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It seemed to me that I saw Him as I would see any other man. He said nothing, but looked at me in a way that broke me right down at his feet. I poured out my soul to Him. I wept aloud like a child, and made whatever confessions I could. It seemed to me that I bathed His feet with my tears; and yet I had no distinct impression that I touched Him.

I must have continued this way for quite some time, but I was too absorbed to remember anything I said. I know that as soon as my mind became calm enough, I returned to the front office, and found that the fire was nearly burned out. But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit. Without any expectation of it, without any thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a way that seemed to go through me, body and soul. It was like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves and waves of liquid love. It seemed like the very breath of God. I remember distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.

No words can express the wonderful love that filled my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love; I literally bellowed out the inexpressible floods of my heart. These waves came over me and over me, one after the other, until I cried out, “I will die if these waves continue.” I said, “Lord, I cannot bear any more.” Yet I had no fear of death. How long I continued in this state, with this baptism continuing to roll over me and go through me, I do not know. But I know it was late in the evening when a member of my choir – for I was the leader of the choir – came into the office to see me. He found me in this state of loud weeping, and said to me, “Mr. Finney, what’s wrong?” I could not answer for some time. He then said, “Are you in pain?” I gathered myself up as best I could, and replied, “No, but so happy that I cannot live.”

He turned and left the office, and in a few minutes returned with one of the elders of the church, whose shop was nearby. This elder was a very serious man, and I had scarcely ever seen him laugh. When he came in I was in much the same state as when the young man went out to call him. He asked me how I felt and I began to tell him. Instead of saying anything, he fell into the most spasmodic laughter. It seemed as if it was impossible for him to keep from laughing from the very bottom of his heart.

There was a young man in the neighborhood who was a close friend. I learned later that our minister had repeatedly talked with him about Christianity, and warned him against being misled by me. He told him that I was very dismissive of the faith, and he thought that if he associated with me he would be led astray.

After we were both converted, my friend told me that he had said to Mr. Gale several times that my conversations had often impacted him more, spiritually, than his preaching. I had shared a lot of my inner thoughts with this young man.

But just when I was describing my feelings to the elder, this young man came into the office. I was sitting with my back to the door and barely noticed that he came in. He listened with amazement to what I was saying, and the first I knew he partly fell on the floor and cried out in the greatest agony, “Please pray for me!” The elder of the church and the other man knelt down and began to pray for him, and when they had prayed, I prayed for him myself. Soon afterwards they all went home and left me alone.

The question then arose in my mind, “Why did the elder laugh like that? Did he think that I was under a delusion, or mad?” This suggestion brought a kind of darkness over my mind and I began to ask myself whether it was proper for such a sinner as I had been to pray for that young man. A cloud seemed to come over me and not long afterwards I went to bed, not distressed, but still at a loss to know what to make of things. Even after the baptism I had received, I went to bed without knowing for sure that my peace was made with God.

I soon fell asleep, but woke almost immediately because of the great flow of God’s love in my heart. I was so filled with love that I could not sleep. Eventually I fell asleep again, only to be woken in the same way. When I awoke, the dark cloud would return, and the love that seemed to be in my heart would die down; but as soon as I went to sleep, it was so warm within me that I would immediately awake. This continued until late into the night. Finally I obtained some sound sleep.

When I awoke in the morning the sun had risen, and was pouring a clear light into my room. Words cannot express the impression that this sunlight made on me. Instantly the baptism that I had received the night before returned in much the same way. I went onto my knees and wept aloud with joy. For some time I was so overwhelmed with the baptism of the Spirit that I could not do anything but pour out my soul to God. It seemed as if this morning’s baptism was accompanied by a gentle rebuke, and the Spirit seemed to say to me, “Will you doubt? Will you doubt?” I cried, “No! I will not doubt, I cannot doubt.” He then cleared the subject up in such a way that it was impossible for me to doubt that the Spirit of God had taken possession of my soul.

In this state I was taught about ‘justification by faith’ as an actual experience. I had never realized that justification was a basic doctrine of the Gospel before. In fact I didn’t really know what it meant. But I could now see and understand what was meant by the passage, “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I could see that the moment I believed, while up in the woods, all sense of condemnation had entirely dropped out of my mind; and that from that moment I could not feel a sense of guilt or condemnation by any effort that I could make. My sense of guilt was gone, my sins were gone, and I don’t think I felt any more sense of guilt than if I never had sinned.

This was just the revelation I needed. I felt myself justified by faith and, as far as I could see, I was in a state in which I did not sin. Instead of feeling that I was sinning all the time, my heart was so full of love that it overflowed. My cup ran over with blessing and love, and I could not feel that I was sinning against God. Nor could I recover the least sense of guilt for my past sins. However, I didn’t say anything to anyone about this experience of justification at that time.

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CHAPTER THREE
REVIVAL BREAKS OUT

That same morning, the waves of love and salvation were still flowing over me when Squire W came into the office. I said a few words to him about his salvation. He looked at me with surprise, but made no reply. He dropped his head, and after standing a few minutes left the office. I thought no more of it, but learned later that the remark I had made pierced him like a sword and he did not recover until he was converted.

Soon afterwards, Deacon B came into the office and said to me, “Mr. Finney, don’t you remember that my case is being tried at ten o’clock this morning? I suppose you are ready?” He had paid me a retainer to act as his attorney in a lawsuit. I replied to him, “Deacon B, I have a retainer from the Lord Jesus Christ to represent His case, and I cannot represent yours.” He looked at me with astonishment, and said, “What do you mean?” I told him in a few words that I had enlisted in the cause of Christ, and that he must find somebody else for his lawsuit; I could not do it. He dropped his head and went out, without making any reply. A few moments later through the window, I saw that he was standing in the road, seemingly lost in thought. I later learned that he went and settled his lawsuit, and then gave himself to prayer. He soon got into a much higher spiritual state than he had ever been in before.

I went out to talk with anyone and everyone about their souls. I had the impression that God wanted me to preach the Gospel, and that I must begin immediately. Somehow I seemed to know it. If you ask me how, I cannot tell you. But somehow I knew it with a certainty that was past all doubt.

When I was first convicted, the thought had occurred to me that if I was ever converted I would have to leave my profession, of which I was very fond, and go preaching the Gospel. This stumbled me at first. I felt I had worked too hard and studied too long to think of becoming a Christian, if it meant I would have to become a preacher. But in the end I decided to submit the question to God. And after that I forgot all about it, until it came back to me on my way back from praying in the woods.

But now after receiving these baptisms of the Spirit, I was quite willing to preach the Gospel. In fact I was unwilling to do anything else. I no longer had any desire to practice law. Everything in that direction felt empty, and had no attraction for me at all. I had no desire to make money. I had no hunger for worldly pleasures of any kind. My whole mind was taken up with Jesus and His salvation, and worldly things seemed to be of very little concern. Nothing could compare with the value of souls; and no work could be so sweet, and no employment so vital, as that of presenting Christ to a dying world.

And so out I went to talk with anyone I might meet. First I dropped in at the shop of a shoemaker, who was a man of prayer. I found him talking with a son of one of the elders of the church, and this young man was defending Universalism. The shoemaker turned to me and said, “Mr. Finney, what do you think of the argument of this young man?” He then shared what had been said in defense of Universalism. The answer seemed so obvious to me that in a moment I was able to blow the argument to the wind. The young man saw that his argument was gone, and he simply walked out without saying a word. But I saw that instead of going along the street, he went around the shop, climbed over the fence, and was heading straight across the field toward the woods. I thought no more about it until evening, when the young man reappeared, telling of his conversion. He said he had gone up into the woods and given his heart to God.

I spoke with many people that day, and I believe the Spirit of God made lasting impressions on every one of them. I cannot remember any that I spoke with, who were not converted soon afterwards.

The reports of what God had done for me created quite a stir in the village that day. Some thought one thing, and some another. In the evening, without any announcement being made that I could learn, everybody headed for the place where they usually held their prayer meetings. My conversion had been quite a shock to many. I later learned that some time before, some members of the church had wanted to make me a particular subject of prayer, but that Mr. Gale had discouraged them, saying that he did not believe I would ever be converted. He said he had found that I knew a great deal about the faith, but that I was very hardened. He also said he was very discouraged by the fact that I led the choir and taught music to the young people. He said that they were under my influence to such a degree that he did not believe that they would ever be converted while I remained in Adams.

I found after I was converted, that some of the worst men in the place had hid behind me. One in particular, a Mr. C, who had a Christian wife, had repeatedly said to her, “If Christianity is true, why don’t you convert Finney? If you Christians can convert Finney, I will believe.”

An old lawyer by the name of M, who lived in Adams, heard the rumors that day and said it was all a hoax. He said I was simply trying to see what I could make Christian people believe.

However, the people rushed to the place of worship that night. I went there myself. The minister was there, and most of the infuential people in the village. No one seemed ready to open the meeting but the room was totally packed. I did not wait, but got up and began by saying that I now knew that Christianity was from God. I went on and told all the important parts of my experience that day. Mr. C was present, who had promised his wife that if I was converted he would believe. Mr. M, the old lawyer, was also present. What the Lord enabled me to say seemed to take a powerful hold on the people. Mr. C got up, pushed through the crowd and went home, leaving his hat. Mr. M also left and went home, saying I was mad. “He is serious about it,” he said, “there is no mistake. But he is deranged, that is clear.”

As soon as I had finished speaking, pastor Gale got up and made a confession. He said he believed he had stood in the way of the church and had discouraged them when they wanted to pray for me. He also said that when he first heard that I was converted, he did not believe it. He said he had no faith. He spoke in a very humble manner.

I had never prayed in public before. But after Mr. Gale finished speaking, he called on me to pray. I did so, and found that I had a good deal of power and freedom in prayer. We had a wonderful meeting that evening, and from then on we had a meeting every night for a long time. The revival spread in every direction.

Because I had been a leader among the young people, I immediately appointed a meeting for my class, which they all attended. I went to work to see them converted, and the Lord blessed every effort that was made in a powerful way. They were converted one after the other very quickly, until only one was left.

The work spread, not only through the village, but out of the village in every direction. My heart was so full that, for more than a week, I did not feel at all like sleeping or eating. I seemed to literally have ‘bread’ that the world knew nothing of. I did not feel the need of food or sleep. My mind was full of the love of God to overflowing. I went on like this for quite some time until I found that I must have rest or I was in danger of losing my mind. From that point on, I was more cautious. I ate regularly and slept as much as I could.

The Word of God had wonderful power, and every day I was surprised to find that a few words spoken to an individual would stick in his heart like an arrow.

After a short time I went down to Henderson where my father lived, for a visit. He was an unconverted man and only one of the family, my youngest brother, had ever become a Christian. My father met me at the gate and said, “How are you, Charles?” I replied, “I am well, father, body and soul. But, father, you are an old man. All your children have grown up and left you and I never heard a prayer in my father’s house.” He dropped his head and burst into tears, and replied, “I know it, Charles. Come in and pray yourself.”

We went in and prayed. My father and mother were deeply moved, and were both converted. It is possible that my mother had had a secret faith before this, but if so, none of the family ever knew about it.

I remained in the neighborhood for two or three days, and talked with everyone I met. The next Monday night they had a monthly prayer meeting in that town. The area was very much a moral wasteland, however, and Christianity was at a very low ebb. My youngest brother attended this monthly meeting, and later told me all about it.

Deacon M of the Congregational church was a quiet, feeble old man. He had a reputation as a good Christian but seldom talked about it. He led the meeting. A scripture was read, they sang a hymn, and Deacon M stood up behind his chair and led in prayer. The other people knelt down around the room.

My brother said that Deacon M began his prayer as usual in a low, feeble voice. But before long he began to raise his voice, which trembled with emotion. He started to pray with more and more intensity, until he began to rise up on his toes and come down on his heels, and then rise up on his toes and drop down on his heels again, so that they could feel the jar in the room. He continued to raise his voice. And as the spirit of prayer led him onward he began to raise his chair along with his heels, and bring that down on the floor as well. He continued to do this, and grew more and more emphatic, until it seemed that he would break the chair to bits.

In the meantime the people that were on their knees began to groan and sigh and weep, and agonize in prayer. The deacon continued to struggle on in prayer until he was almost exhausted, and when he stopped my brother said that no one in the room could get off their knees. They could only weep and confess and melt down before the Lord. From this meeting the revival spread in every direction, all over town. And so it spread from Adams in the center, through nearly all the towns in that county.

I have spoken of the conviction of Squire W in whose office I studied law. I have also said that when I was converted, it was in a grove where I went to pray. Very soon after my conversion, several other conversions occurred under similar circumstances. People went up into the grove to pray, and made their peace with God there.

When Squire W heard them tell their experience, one after the other, in our meetings, he thought to himself that he had a parlor to pray in, and that he was not going up into the woods to have the same story to tell as all the others. He strongly committed himself to this. And though it seemed such a trivial thing, yet it was a point on which his pride had been committed, and so he could not get into the kingdom of God.

I have seen quite a few cases like this over the years – where a person’s pride was committed on some trivial point. In all such cases they had to yield on that issue, or they could never get into the kingdom of God. I have known people to remain for weeks in great distress, convicted by the Spirit. But they could make no progress until they yielded that particular thing to God. Mr. W was the first case of this kind that I had ever seen.

After he was converted, he said the question had often come up when he was in prayer – and that he half knew that it was pride that made him take that stand, and that kept him out of the kingdom of God. But still he was not willing to fully admit this, even to himself. He tried in every way to make himself believe, and to make God believe, that he was not proud. One night, he said, he prayed all night in his parlor that God would have mercy on him. But in the morning he felt more distressed than ever. He finally became enraged that God did not hear his prayers, and was tempted to kill himself. He was so tempted to use his penknife for that purpose, that he actually threw it as far as he could to avoid the temptation. He said that one night, while returning from a meeting, he was so convicted about his pride that he looked around for a mud puddle to kneel down in, so he could show that it was not pride which kept him from going into the woods. In this way he continued to struggle for several weeks.

But one afternoon I was sitting in our office when a young man burst in and exclaimed, “Squire W is converted!” He continued: “I went up into the woods to pray, and heard someone over in the valley shouting very loud. I went up to the brow of the hill and saw Squire W pacing to and fro and singing as loud as he could. Every so often he would stop and clap his hands with his full strength and shout, ‘I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!’ Then he would march and sing again, and then stop and shout and clap his hands.” While the young man was telling us this, Squire W appeared, coming over the hill. As he came down he met Father T, as we called him, an aged Methodist brother. He rushed up to him, and gave him a huge bearhug. After putting him down and talking for a moment, he came rapidly towards the office. When he came in he cried, “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” He fell on his knees and began to thank God. He then told us what had happened. He said that as soon as he gave up that point and went into the woods, it was such a relief. And when he knelt down to pray, the Spirit of God came upon him and filled him with unspeakable joy. Towards spring the zeal of the older members of the church began to decline. I had been in the habit of rising early in the morning and praying alone in the meeting house, and I finally succeeded in getting quite a few brothers to meet me there for a morning prayer meeting. This was at a very early hour. I persuaded my minister to attend these meetings as well. But soon they began to slacken off, so I would get up in time to go around to their houses and wake them up. Many times I went round and round, and called the brothers that I thought would be most likely to attend, and we would have a precious time of prayer. But still they attended with more and more reluctance. I was very discouraged by this. One morning I had done the rounds, but when I got back to the meeting house there were only a few of them there. Pastor Gale was standing at the door of the church and as I came up, all at once the glory of God shone all around me, with real power. The day was just beginning to dawn. But all at once an incredible light shone into my soul, that almost made me fall to the ground. In this light it seemed as if I could see that all nature praised and worshipped God except man. It seemed to be like the brightness of the sun in every direction. It was too intense for my eyes. I remember breaking into a flood of tears because of the fact that mankind did not praise God. It was as if I experienced something of the light that blinded Paul on his way to Damascus. I surely could not have endured it for long. When I burst into such loud weeping, Mr. Gale said, “What is the matter, Brother Finney?” I could not tell him. I found that he had seen no light, and that he saw no reason why I might be in such a state. So I said very little. I simply replied that I saw the glory of God, and that I could not bear to think of the way He was treated by men. To be honest, it was a vision of His glory that I could hardly describe in words. I wept it out. And the vision passed away and left my mind calm.

When I was a young Christian, I used to have many experiences of communing with God that cannot be described in words. And very often they would end with an impression like this: “Go, and see that you tell no-one.” I did not understand this, and several times I tried to tell other Christians about these communings with God. But I soon found that it did not work trying to tell people what God was doing in my life. They could not understand it. They would look surprised and sometimes incredulous. I soon learned to keep quiet about these experiences, and to say little about them.

I used to spend a great deal of time in prayer, sometimes literally praying without ceasing. I also found it very helpful to set aside days of private fasting quite often. On those days I would seek to be entirely alone with God, and would generally wander off into the woods or get into the meeting house, or somewhere entirely by myself.

Sometimes I would pursue the wrong direction in fasting, and attempt to examine myself very introspectively, as the church taught us to do. I would try to look into my heart and examine my feelings – particularly my motives and my state of mind. When I did this, I always found that the day would pass without any real progress being made. Later I could see why. I was turning my attention away from the Lord Jesus Christ and looking at myself the whole time. But whenever I fasted and let the Spirit take His own course with me, and gave myself up to let Him lead and teach me, I always found it very beneficial. I found I could not live without the presence of God, and if at any time a cloud came over me, I could not rest, I could not study, I could not do anything until the way was totally cleared between my soul and God.

I had been very fond of my profession. But as I have said, when I was converted all was dark in that direction, and I had no pleasure in the law business. I had many urgent invitations to conduct lawsuits, but I always refused. I did not dare to trust myself in the excitement of a trial. And the business of conducting other peoples’ controversies seemed odious and offensive to me.

In those early days, the Lord taught me many important truths regarding the spirit of prayer. Not long after I was converted, a woman whom I had boarded with became very sick. She was not a Christian, but her husband was. He came into our office one evening and said to me, “My wife cannot live through the night.” This seemed to pierce my heart like an arrow. It came upon me like a crushing weight, which I could not understand at all. And with it came an intense desire to pray for that woman. The burden was so great that I left the office almost immediately, and went up to the meeting house to pray for her. There I struggled, but could not say much. I could only groan with groanings loud and deep.

I stayed there for quite some time in this state of mind, but got no relief. I returned to the office, but could not sit still. I could only walk the room and agonize. I returned to the meeting house again, and went through the same process of struggling. For a long time I tried to get my prayer before the Lord, but somehow words could not express it. I could only groan and weep, without being able to express what I wanted in words. I returned to the office again, and still found I was unable to rest, so I returned to the meeting house for the third time. Suddenly God gave me power to prevail. I was able to roll the burden upon Him, and I felt an assurance that the woman would not die – in fact that she would never die in her sins.

I returned to the office. My mind was perfectly quiet and I soon went home to bed. Early the next morning the husband of the woman came into the office. I asked how his wife was. He said, smiling, “She’s alive, and seems a lot better this morning.” I replied, “Brother, she will not die with this sickness – you can be sure of it. And she will never die in her sins.” I don’t know how I knew this, but it was made clear to me somehow. I had no doubt that she would recover. She did, and soon became a Christian.

At first I did not understand what it was that I had gone through. But shortly afterwards, as I was discussing it with a Christian brother he said to me, “That was the travail of your soul.” He pointed me to certain scriptures to help me understand.

Another experience which I had soon after this, illustrates the same truth. There was a young woman in our town who remained unconverted. Many of the Christians were concerned about her. She was a charming girl, and knew a lot about Christianity, but she remained in her sins.

One of the elders of the church and myself agreed to pray for her daily – morning, noon and night – until she was either converted or we were unable to keep it up. I found myself greatly distressed for her, more and more as I continued to pray. I soon found, however, that the elder was losing the spirit of prayer for her. But this did not discourage me. I continued to hold on to God with increasing intensity. I also took every opportunity to speak plainly and searchingly with her about her salvation.

After things had continued this way for some time, one evening I called to see her just as the sun was setting. As I came up to the door I heard a shriek from a female voice, and a scuffling and confusion inside the door. I stood and waited. The lady of the house came to the door holding part of a book which had obviously been torn in two. She was pale and very upset. She held out the book and said, “Mr. Finney, do you think my sister has become a Universalist?” The book was a defense of Universalism. Her sister had found her reading it, and tried to get it away from her. It was this struggle over the book that I had heard.

I declined to go inside. The whole thing struck me in almost the same way as the announcement that the sick woman was about to die. It loaded me down with great agony. As I returned to my room I felt as though I would almost stagger under the weight that was on my mind. I struggled and groaned and agonized, but could not present the situation before God in words, but only in groans and tears.

It seemed as if the discovery that that young woman, instead of being converted, was becoming a Universalist, horrified me to such a degree that I could not break through with my faith and get hold of God on her behalf. There seemed to be a darkness hanging over the question, as if a cloud had risen up between me and God regarding her salvation. But still the Spirit struggled inside me with ‘groanings that could not be uttered’.

However, I was forced to go to bed that night without having prevailed. But as soon as it was light I awoke, and the first thought I had was to cry out to God again for that young woman. No sooner was I on my knees than the darkness gave way and He said to me, “Yes! yes!” If He had spoken with an audible voice, it could not have been more clear. It instantly relieved my burden. My mind became filled with the greatest peace and joy, and I felt completely certain that her salvation was secure.

I assumed wrongly, however, in regard to the timing, which was not something that I had really heard from God about. I expected her to be converted immediately, but she wasn’t. She remained in her sins for several months. I felt disappointed at the time that she was not converted straight away, and wondered whether I had really prevailed with God on her behalf. Soon after I was converted, the man I was boarding with who was a magistrate, was deeply convicted of sin. He had been elected a member of the state legislature. I was praying daily for him, and urging him to give his heart to God. His conviction became very deep. But still he delayed. My burden for him increased.

One afternoon several of his political friends had a long meeting with him. That evening I again tried to bring his case before God. The urgency I felt for his conversion had become almost overwhelming. In my prayer I had drawn very near to God. I do not remember ever being in more intimate communion with the Lord Jesus Christ than I was at that time. His presence was so real that I was bathed in tears of joy and gratitude and love. It was in this state of mind that I attempted to pray for my friend. But the moment I did so, my mouth was shut. I found it impossible to pray a word for him. The Lord seemed to say to me, “No, I will not hear.” Anguish seized hold of me. I thought at first it was a temptation. But the door was shut in my face. I didn’t know what to make of it.

The next morning I saw him, and as soon as I brought up the question of submission to God he said to me, “Mr. Finney, I’ll have nothing more to do with it until I return from the legislature. I am committed to carry out certain measures in the legislature that are incompatible with Christianity, and I have promised that I will leave it alone until after I have returned from Albany.”

From that moment the evening before, I had had no spirit of prayer for him at all. As soon as he told me what he had done, I understood it. I could see that his convictions were all gone, and that the Spirit of God had left him. From that time he grew more hardened than ever.

When the time came he went to the legislature, and in the Spring he returned an almost insane Universalist. I say almost insane, because instead of having formed his opinions from any evidence or argument, he told me this: “I have come to this conclusion, not because I have found it taught in the Bible, but because such a doctrine is so opposed to the carnal mind. It is a doctrine that is rejected and spoken against, which proves that it is distasteful to the carnal or unconverted mind.” This was staggering to me. But everything else that I could get out of him was as wild and absurd as this. He remained in his sins, finally fell into decay, and died a dilapidated old man, in the full faith of his Universalism.

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CHAPTER FOUR
LICENSED TO PREACH

As I said, in the spring the older members of the church seemed to decline in their zeal for God. This greatly distressed me and many of the other young converts. About this time I read in an article entitled, “A Revival Revived.” The substance of it was that in a certain place there had been a revival during the winter, but in the spring it declined. However, when urgent prayer was made for the continued outpouring of the Spirit, the revival was powerfully revived. This article sent me into a flood of weeping.

I was boarding with Mr. Gale at the time, and I took the article to him. I was so overcome with a sense of God’s goodness in hearing and answering prayer, and that He would hear and answer prayer for the revival of His work in Adams, that I went through the house weeping aloud like a child. Mr. Gale seemed surprised at my feelings, and my confidence that God would revive His work. The article made no such impression on him.

At the next meeting of the young people, I proposed that we begin a concert of prayer for the revival of God’s work – that we pray in our own rooms at sunrise, noon and sunset for a whole week – and then come together again. Nothing else was done to revive the revival. But the spirit of prayer was immediately poured out powerfully on the young converts. Before the week was out I learned that some of them, while attempting to pray in their rooms, would lose all their strength and be unable to stand or even rise onto their knees. They would simply lie prostrate on the floor, and pray with unutterable groanings for the outpouring of the Spirit of God.

The Spirit was poured out, and before the week ended all the meetings were full. There was as much interest in Christianity as there had been at any time during the revival.

But about this time a mistake was made, or perhaps a sin committed, by some of the older members of the church. I learned later that quite a number of the older people resisted this new movement among the young converts. They were jealous of it. They did not know what to make of it, and felt that the young converts were out of place in being so urgent with the older members of the church. This eventually grieved the Spirit of God. It was not long before bitterness began to arise among these older members of the church. The young people held out well. As far as I know, the converts were almost universally sound, and have been thoroughly effective Christians.

In the Spring of 1822, I applied to the Presbytery to become a licensed preacher. Some of the ministers urged me to go to Princeton to study theology, but I declined. When they asked me why, I told them that my finances would not allow me to go. This was true, but they said they would pay my expenses. Still I refused to go, and when asked, I plainly told them that I would not put myself under such an influence as they had been under. I felt they had been wrongly educated, and they were not my ideal of what a minister of Christ should be. I told them this reluctantly, but I could not honestly hold it back. They appointed my pastor to supervise my studies. He offered me the use of his library, and said he would help me with my theological studies.

But as far as he was concerned, my studies were virtually nothing but controversy. I could not go along with his views on the new birth, atonement, faith, repentance or any of the basic doctrines. But he held his views quite fiercely and he sometimes seemed impatient because I did not receive them without question. He used to insist that if I tried to reason on these subjects, I would probably lose my faith. He reminded me that some of the students at Princeton had left as atheists, because they used their reason, and would not simply accept the teaching of the professors. He warned me repeatedly that as a minister I would never be any use unless I accepted the truth – meaning the truth as he believed and taught it.

I’m sure I was quite willing to believe what I found taught in the Bible, and told him so. We used to have many long discussions, and I would often leave his study deeply depressed and discouraged, saying to myself, “I cannot accept these views, come what may. I cannot believe they are taught in the Bible.” Several times I was on the point of giving up my studies altogether.

There was only one member of the church that I talked to openly about all this, and that was Elder H, a very godly, praying man. He had been taught Princeton theology, and was quite a strong Calvinist. But as we discussed these things he became convinced that I was right. He would visit often and pray with me, to strengthen me in my studies, and in my discussions with Mr. Gale. He helped convince me that, come what may, I would preach the Gospel. Several times he found me when I was in a state of deep depression after coming from Mr. Gale’s study. At such times he would go with me to my room, and sometimes we would pray until late at night – crying out to God for light and strength and faith. He lived more than three miles from the village and often he stayed with me until ten or eleven at night, and then walked home. The dear old man! I have reason to believe that he prayed for me daily as long as he lived. After I entered the ministry and great opposition was raised to my preaching, I met Elder H one time, and he alluded to the opposition and said, “My soul is so burdened that I pray for you day and night. But I am sure that God will answer. Keep on, brother Finney. The Lord will give you victory.”

The time finally came when the presbytery gathered in Adams to examine me and decide if they could license me to become a preacher. This was in March 1824. I expected a severe trial, but I found them quite friendly. I think the obvious blessing that had accompanied my teaching and preaching made them more cautious than they would otherwise have been in getting into any controversy with me. During my examination they avoided asking any questions that would tend to bring my views into collision with theirs. They voted unanimously to license me.

It was at this meeting that I first saw Rev. Daniel Nash, who is generally known as “Father Nash.” He was a member of the presbytery. At that time he was in a rather cold and backslidden state. But I will be mentioning him again before long. The Sunday after I was licensed, I preached for pastor Gale. When I came out of the pulpit he said to me, “Mr. Finney, I will be truly ashamed if you make it known that you studied theology with me.” This was so much like him and what he had said repeatedly to me, that I made little or no reply. I hung my head, feeling discouraged, and walked away. Later he saw things very differently, and told me that he blessed the Lord that in all our discussion he had not had the least influence to change my views. He apologised and said that if I had listened to him it would have ruined me as a minister.

The fact is that Mr. Gale’s education for the ministry had been totally defective. He had imbibed a set of beliefs that were a straitjacket for him. He could accomplish very little or nothing if he carried these out. I had the use of his library and searched it thoroughly on all the questions of theology that came up. And the more I studied the books, the more I was dissatisfied.

I had been used to the logical reasoning of the judges in my law books. But when I went to Mr. Gale’s books I found them very unsatisfactory. I’m sure it was not because I was opposed to the truth, but rather because their positions were unsound and not properly proven. They often seemed to state one thing and prove another, and frequently fell short of logically proving anything.

Often when I left Mr. Gale, I would go to my room and spend a long time on my knees with my Bible, crying out to God to teach me His view on these things. I had nowhere to go but directly to the scriptures.

Slowly I developed my own views. I knew I could not accept pastor Gale’s teachings. After a lot of study and prayer, I formed views that were in opposition to them, which seemed to me to be truly Biblical.

Not only were Mr. Gale’s theological views the kind that would cripple any ministry, but his practical views were just as bad. This is why he predicted all kinds of disaster for my future. He assured me that the Spirit of God would not approve or cooperate with my ministry, and that if I spoke to people the way I intended to, they would never listen. They would become offended and stay away. And unless I wrote out my sermons I would quickly become stale and boring. He told me I would divide and scatter instead of building up the people. To sum up, I found his views to be almost the exact opposite of mine in every practical way.

It is no surprise that he was shocked at my views on preaching the Gospel. With his background, that is what you would expect. He followed his views with very little result. I pursued mine, and by the blessing of God the results were the opposite of what he predicted. When this became clear, it completely overturned his theology. At first, this destroyed his hope as a Christian, but after awhile it totally transformed his preaching.

However, there was another defect in Brother Gale’s education, which I regard as very basic. If he had ever been converted to Christ, he had failed to receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit that would make him a powerful preacher and see souls converted. He had fallen short of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is totally essential to success in ministry.

When Christ sent His apostles to go and preach, He told them to wait in Jerusalem until they were ‘endued with power from on high.’ This power, as everyone knows, was the baptism of the Holy Spirit poured out upon them on the day of Pentecost.

It was totally essential for success in their ministry. I don’t believe this baptism was simply the power to work miracles. The power to work miracles and the gift of tongues were given as signs to prove that God had sent them. But the baptism itself was a holy purifying, an anointing, giving them light and filling them with faith, love, peace and power – so that their words would pierce into the hearts of God’s enemies, quick and powerful, like a two-edged sword. This is totally basic for success in ministry, and I have often been surprised that to this day so little emphasis is placed upon it. Without the direct teaching of the Holy Spirit, nobody will ever be much good at preaching the Gospel.

As I said, Mr. Gale later came to the conclusion that he had never been converted. I have no doubt that he was a good and sincere man. But his education was sadly defective – theologically and in every way. And from what I saw of his spiritual state, he did not seem to have made his peace with God when I sat under his ministry.

But do not think for a moment that I did not love and respect Mr. Gale. I did both. He and I remained the firmest friends until the day he died. I have told you about these things because, sadly, I think they apply to many ministers even today. I believe that their practical views of preaching the Gospel, whatever their theological views may be, are terribly defective. And their lack of the power of the Holy Spirit is a radical defect in their preparation for ministry. I do not say this in a nasty way. But it as a tragic fact that has deeply saddened me over the years. The more I have seen, the more I have become convinced that with all their training, there is still a lack of knowledge of the best way to present the Gospel, and a terrible lack of the power of the Holy Spirit.

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CHAPTER FIVE
REVIVAL MINISTRY WIDENS

Because I had no regular training, I did not expect to minister in large towns or cities, or preach to sophisticated congregations. I intended to go into the new settlements and preach in schoolhouses, barns and groves as best I could. So after being licensed to preach, I went into the northern part of Jefferson county, and began my ministry at Evans’ Mills in the town of Le Ray.

I started preaching in the stone schoolhouse at Evans’ Mills. The people seemed very interested, and crowded in to hear me preach. They complimented my preaching and the little Congregational church had hopes that there would be a revival.

Convictions occurred under every sermon that I preached, but there was still no general conviction amongst the people. I was very unhappy with this. At one of the evening meetings, having preached there quite a few times, I told the people that I had come there to secure the salvation of their souls. I said I knew my preaching was highly complimented by them, but I had not come there to please them, but to bring them to repentance. I didn’t care whether they liked my preaching or not, if in the end they still rejected my Master. I said I could not spend my time with them unless they were going to accept the Gospel. I quoted the words of Abraham’s servant: “Now will you deal kindly and truly with my master? If you will, tell me; and if not, tell me, that I may turn to the right hand or the left.” I insisted that I must know what course they wanted to pursue. If they did not want to become Christians, I wanted to know it so that I did not waste my time. I said to them, “You admit that what I preach is the Gospel. You say you believe it. Now will you receive it? Are you going to accept it or reject it? You must have some opinion about it. You admit that I preach the truth, so I believe you are obliged to obey it. So will you meet this obligation? Will you do what you know you should? If not, tell me, so that I may turn to the right hand or the left.”

After turning this over until I saw that they understood it well, and looked very surprised at my way of putting it, I then said to them, “Now I must know your decision. I want you who have made up your minds to become Christians right now, to stand up. But on the other hand, those of you who have decided not to become Christians, and want Christ to understand this, should sit still.” After making this plain so I knew they understood it, I then said: “You who are willing to pledge to me and to Christ, that you will immediately make your peace with God, please stand up. On the hand, you that are committed not to accept Christ – please sit still.” They looked at one another and at me, and they all sat still, just as I expected.

After looking at them for a few moments, I said, “Then you are committed. You have taken your stand. You have rejected Christ and His Gospel. You are witnesses against one another, and God is a witness against you all. You may remember as long as you live, that you have publicly committed yourselves against the Savior, and said, ‘We will not have this man, Jesus Christ, to reign over us.’” This is the substance of what I said to them, as near as I can recall. When I spoke to them this way they began to look angry, and arose en masse and started for the door. When they began to move, I paused. They turned to see why. I said, “I am sorry for you and I will preach to you one more time, tomorrow night.”

They all left except Deacon McC who was from the Baptist church there. I saw that the Congregationalists were in shock. They were few in number and very weak in faith. It seemed that the people from both churches who were there, except Deacon McC, were in despair – thinking it was all over. But Deacon McC came up and took me by the hand and said, “Brother Finney, you have got them. They cannot rest under this. The Christians are all discouraged, but I’m not. I believe you have done the very thing that needed to be done, and we will see the results.” I thought so myself, of course. I intended to place them in a position that would make them tremble at what they had done. But that evening and the next day they were full of anger. Deacon McC and I agreed to spend the next day in fasting and prayer – separately in the morning and together in the afternoon. I learned that the people were threatening to tar and feather me, or something similar. Some of them cursed me and said that I had put them under oath that they would not serve God. They said I had drawn them into a public pledge to reject Christ and His Gospel. This was pretty much what I expected. In the afternoon Deacon McC and I went into the woods and spent the whole afternoon in prayer. As evening fell the Lord gave us a promise of victory. Both of us felt that we had prevailed with God, and that the power of God would be unleashed among the people that night.

The meeting time arrived, and we left the woods and went into the village. The people were already rushing to the place of worship, and those that were not there already left their shops and offices, or threw down their golf clubs, and packed the place until it could hold no more.

I had not even thought about what I would preach. In fact, this was common with me at the time. The Holy Spirit was on me, and I felt confident that when the time came for action I would know what to preach. As soon as the place was packed so that no more could get in, I stood up and without any singing, opened with this Scripture: “Say to the righteous that it shall be well with him; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe to the wicked! it shall be ill with him; for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” The Spirit of God came upon me with such power that it was like opening a gun battery on them. For more than an hour – perhaps for an hour and a half – the Word of God came through me in a way that I could see was carrying all before it. It was like a fire, or a hammer breaking rock – a sword that pierced to ‘the dividing asunder of soul and spirit’. I saw that a general conviction was spreading over the whole congregation. Many of them could not hold up their heads. I did not call for any reversal of the stand they had taken the night before, or for any commitment of any kind. I simply took it for granted during the whole sermon, that they were committed against the Lord. Then I announced that there would be another meeting and dismissed the congregation.

As the people went out I saw a woman in the arms of some of her friends who were supporting her, and I went to see what was the matter. I thought she must have fainted. But I soon found that she was not fainting, but that she could not speak. There was a look of great anguish on her face. I advised the women to take her home and pray with her, and see what the Lord would do. They informed me that she was Miss G, sister of a well-known missionary, and that she had been a member of the church for several years.

That evening I accepted an invitation, and went home with a family whom I had not stayed with before. Early in the morning I found that I had been sent for several times in the night, to visit families where there were people who were in terrible spiritual distress. Everywhere I went that morning I found a state of wonderful conviction of sin and alarm for their souls.

After lying speechless for about sixteen hours, Miss G’s mouth was opened, and a new song was given to her. She was taken from ‘the pit of miry clay’, and her feet were ‘set upon a rock.’ This led to a great deal of soul-searching amongst the members of the church. She said she had been totally deceived. For eight years she had been a member of the church, and thought she was a Christian, but during the sermon the night before she saw that she had never known the true God. When God’s true character was presented, her hope disappeared ‘like a moth,’ as she put it. She said that such a picture of God’s holiness was presented that it swept away her false assurance of salvation in a moment.

There was an old man there who was an atheist. He was very angry at the revival. Every day I heard about his cursing and blaspheming, but took no public notice of it. He refused to attend any of the meetings. But at the height of his opposition, while sitting at his table one morning, he suddenly fell out of his chair in a kind of fit. A doctor was called and said that he had only a short time to live. If he had anything to say, he needed to say it at once. He had just enough strength and time to stammer out, “Don’t let Finney pray over my corpse.” This was the last of his opposition in that place.

I met Father Nash again, whom I had last seen at the meeting of the presbytery. He had been ill with inflamed eyes, and for several weeks was shut up in a dark room. He could neither read nor write, and gave himself almost entirely to prayer. He went through a massive overhauling of his whole Christian walk, and as soon as he was able to see, he went all-out to win souls for Christ.

When he came to Evans’ Mills he was full of the power of prayer. He was a totally different man from what he had been. He told me that he had a prayer list, with the names of people that he prayed for every day, and sometimes many times a day. I found that his gift of prayer was wonderful, and his faith almost miraculous.

There was a man by the name of D, who owned a tavern in a corner of the village. All the opposers of the revival would meet there. The bar was full of blasphemy and he himself was an ungodly and abusive man. He would take great pleasure in swearing and blaspheming whenever he saw a Christian. One of the young converts lived almost across the street, and he told me that he wanted to sell up and move away, because every time D saw him he would come out and swear and curse and say everything he could to belittle him. I don’t think he had been to any of our meetings.

Father Nash heard us speak of this Mr. D as a hard case, and immediately put his name on his prayer list. He stayed in town a day or two, and then went on his way.

Not long afterwards during a crowded evening meeting, who should come in but this notorious Mr. D? His entrance caused quite a stir. People were worried that he had come in to make a disturbance. In fact, some people actually got up and left. I knew his face, and kept my eye on him. But I soon realized that he had not come in to oppose, but seemed to be in great anguish. He squirmed in his seat, and seemed very uneasy. He stood up and tremblingly asked if he could say a few words. I told him that he could. He then made one of the most heart-broken confessions I have ever heard. His confession seemed to cover his treatment of God, his treatment of Christians and the revival, and of everything good.

This broke up the hard ground in many hearts. It was the most powerful thing that could have happened at that moment to propel the revival forward. Mr. D became a strong Christian and rid his barroom of all the blasphemy and so-on that had taken place there. From that time on, a prayer meeting was held in his barroom nearly every night.

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CHAPTER SIX
THE FLAME SPREADS

Not far from Evans’ Mills was a settlement where there was a German church that had quite a large membership, but no preacher and no regular meetings. Once a year a minister came and administered baptism and the Lord’s supper. He would confirm their children, and after they had received communion they took it for granted that they were Christians, and that all was safe.

They asked me to go there and preach. I agreed, and I preached the first time from this Scripture: “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”

The settlement turned out en masse, and the schoolhouse where they worshipped was filled to overflowing. They could understand English well. I began by showing what holiness is not. Under this heading I took everything that they considered to be Christianity and showed that it was not holiness at all. Secondly I showed what holiness is. Thirdly, I showed them what is meant by ‘seeing the Lord’. And after that, why those that had no holiness could never be admitted into God’s presence or be accepted by Him. I then finished with some pointed comments that were designed to really make the subject go home. And it did go home by the power of the Holy Spirit. The sword of the Lord slew them on the right hand and on the left.

Within a few days the whole settlement was under conviction. The elders of the church and everyone were in anguish, feeling that they had no holiness. At their request I appointed a meeting for those who were seeking God. This was during their harvest time. I held the meeting at one o’clock in the afternoon, and found the place literally packed. People had thrown down their harvesting tools and come to the meeting.

This revival among the Germans resulted in the conversion of the whole church, I believe, and nearly the whole community. It was one of the most interesting revivals I ever saw.

While I was ministering there, the presbytery were called together to ordain me, which they did. During the revival at Evans’ Mills, there was a wonderful spirit of prayer among the Christians, and true unity. The little Congregational church, as soon as they saw the results of my preaching, recovered and rallied behind the revival as best they could. They really grew in grace and in the knowledge of Christ during that revival.

I placed great emphasis on prayer as an essential prerequisite to revival. The atonement of Christ, His death and resurrection, repentance, faith and all the other basic doctrines were discussed as thoroughly as possible, and made effective by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The methods I used were simply preaching, prayer meetings, private prayer, personal conversation, and special meetings for those who were seeking God. No other methods were used. And there was no appearance of fanaticism or division or heresy. In fact, nothing ever resulted from that revival that was questionable or damaging, as far as I know. However, there was quite intense opposition at times. One thing that added to this opposition, was that the area was a kind of “burnt district” (spiritually speaking). A few years earlier a wild excitement had passed through, which they called a revival, but which turned out to be false. Apparently emotionalism had run so high that it caused a terrible reaction, and many were left with the impression that Christianity was a mere delusion. Thus they felt justified in opposing anything that even looked like a revival.

I found that it had left some ridiculous practices behind amongst the Christians. For example, in the prayer meetings every believer felt it was their duty to testify for Christ. They must “take up the cross” and say something in the meeting. One of them might say: “I have a duty to perform. I testify that Christianity is good, though I must admit I do not enjoy it at present. I have nothing in particular to say, but I hope you will all pray for me.” Then another person would stand up and say something to the same effect: “Christianity is good but I do not enjoy it. I have nothing else to say, but I must do my duty. I hope you will all pray for me.” Thus the time would pass. Of course the unbelievers would mock these meetings.

It was quite ridiculous. But this is what they thought a prayer meeting was supposed to be like, so to get rid of it I had to make every meeting a ‘preaching’ meeting. When we met together, I would begin by singing, and then would pray myself. I would then call on one or two others to pray, naming them. Then I would read a Scripture and talk for awhile. When I saw that this had made an impact, I would stop and ask one or two to pray that the message would take hold in their hearts. I would then continue with my talk and after awhile, stop again and ask one or two more to pray. This is how I avoided opening up the meetings for their ‘testimonies.’ They could then go home without feeling that they had neglected their duty in not testifying for God. And so we got over that silly method of holding meetings that created so much laughter and ridicule among unbelievers.

After the revival took thorough hold, opposition totally ceased as far as I could tell. I spent over six months there and at Antwerp, dividing my time between the two places, and towards the end I heard nothing of open opposition.

During the six months that I ministered in that area I rode on horseback from settlement to settlement in various directions, and preached the Gospel whenever I had the opportunity. When I left Adams my health had been quite run down. I had coughed blood, and my friends thought that I would only live a short time. Mr. Gale told me not to attempt to preach more than once a week, and to make sure that I did not speak for more than half an hour at a time. But instead, I visited from house to house, attended prayer meetings and preached every day and almost every night, for that entire time. Before six months were out, my health was totally restored, my lungs were sound, and I could preach for two and a half hours or longer, without feeling tired at all. I think my sermons generally averaged around two hours. I preached in the open air, I preached in barns, I preached in schoolhouses, and a glorious revival spread over that whole region.

During the early part of my ministry especially, I used to get knocked back by other preachers because of the way that I preached. They would disapprove of me for illustrating my ideas using everyday situations, as I often did. Among farmers and mechanics and other working people, I borrowed my illustrations from their various occupations. I tried to use language that they would understand – words that were in common use.

Before I was converted it was different. In writing and speaking, I sometimes used ornate language. But when I came to preach the Gospel, I was so anxious to be understood that I tried to express my thoughts with the simplest language I could.

Ministers would say to me, “Why don’t you use events from ancient history, and take a more dignified way of illustrating your ideas?” I told them I didn’t want the illustration itself to occupy peoples’ minds, but rather the truth that I was trying to get across. I said that my aim was not to create a style of oratory that would soar above the heads of the people, but to make myself understood.

They used to complain that I let down the dignity of the pulpit, that I was a disgrace to the ministerial profession, that I talked like a lawyer at the bar, and that I talked to the people in a colloquial manner. They complained that I said “you” instead of preaching about sin and sinners and saying “they”. They also told me that I said “hell” with such emphasis that I often shocked people. They said I urged people to respond as if they might not have a moment to live, and sometimes they said that I condemned people. After I had preached for some time and God had poured out His blessing everywhere I went, I used to say to ministers that I did not dare to make the changes that they wanted. I said, “Show me the fruits of your ministry. If you can prove by your results that you have found a better way, then I will adopt your views.” I would say to them: “I want to improve all I can, but I will never adopt your way of preaching unless I see evidence that you are right and I am wrong.”

They would often complain that I was guilty of repetition in my preaching. I would take the same thought and turn it over and over, and illustrate it in various ways. I told them that I felt it was necessary to do this, to make myself understood. Then they would say that the educated people in my congregation would lose interest. But the facts soon silenced them. They found that under my preaching, judges and lawyers and educated men were converted in their droves, but under their methods such a thing almost never occurred.

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CHAPTER SEVEN
COMMENTS ON THE EDUCATION OF PREACHERS

In what I say on this subject I hope my brothers will not think I mean them any disrespect. I have always taken their criticisms kindly, and given them credit for good intentions. Now I am an old man, and many of my views and methods are known to the public. Is it out of place for me to speak freely to the ministry on this subject? In reply to their objections, I have sometimes told them what a judge of the Supreme Court told me: “Ministers do not use common sense. They are afraid of repetition. They use terminology that is not understood by the common people. Their illustrations are not taken from everyday situations. If lawyers did that, then they would destroy themselves and their case. When I was at the bar I used to take it for granted that I would have to repeat my main arguments about as many times as the number of people in the jury-box. I learned that unless I did, I would lose my case. The aim is to get a verdict before the jury leaves the box, not to display our oratory and then let them go. We have to get a verdict. So we have to be understood. If ministers would do this, the effects of their preaching would be hugely different from what they are now.”

I never bore any grudge towards other ministers for the rough way they often treated me. I knew they were only trying to help. One time a well-known temperance lecturer from Connecticut came down to hear me preach. He was indignant at the way in which I “let down the dignity of the pulpit.” He insisted that I should not be allowed to preach until I had a proper ministerial education. He said I should stop preaching and go to Princeton immediately to learn theology.

I don’t want to give the impression that I thought that my views or methods were perfect, for I had no such thought. I was aware that I was but a child, so to speak. I had not been to the higher schools of learning, so I never had any higher ambition than to go into new settlements and places where the Gospel was not being preached. I was often surprised, in the first year of my preaching, that educated people found my preaching so compelling. This was more than I had expected. In fact it was more than I had dared to hope.

But the more I saw the results of my preaching, the more I could see that God had led me and taught me, and given me the right way to go about winning souls. I know it must have been God who taught me, because I never obtained these principles from man. I have often thought that, like Paul, I was not taught the Gospel by man, but by the Spirit of Christ Himself. And He taught me in a way that was so clear and strong, that no argument of my ministerial brothers had any weight with me at all.

I have to say this as a matter of duty. For I am still totally convinced that to a large extent the schools are ruining the ministers. Preachers these days have wonderful facilities for obtaining information on all theological questions, and are vastly more learned, so far as theological, historical and Biblical learning is concerned, than perhaps any age in history. Yet with all their learning, they do not know how to use it. They are, to a great extent, like David in Saul’s armor. A man can never learn to preach except by preaching.

Ministers need one thing above all others, and that is singleness of eye. If they feel they have a reputation to protect, they will do little good. Many years ago a pastor friend took a break for his health’s sake, and employed a young man just out of seminary to preach while he was away. This young man wrote and preached as majestic sermons as he could. The pastor’s wife finally had to say to him, “You are preaching over the heads of our people. They do not understand your language or your illustrations. You bring too much learning into the pulpit.” He replied, “I am a young man. I am cultivating a style. I am trying to prepare myself to minister to an educated congregation. I cannot descend to your people. I must cultivate an elevated style.” I have never seen this man’s name connected with any revival, amongst all the great revivals we have had since then, and I never expect to, unless his views are radically changed.

I could name ministers who are still alive today who were deeply ashamed of me when I first began to preach because I was so undignified in the pulpit, used such common language and spoke to the people with such directness.

I was aware from the start that I would meet with opposition, and that there was a wide gulf between my views and the views of other ministers. I never really felt like one of them, or that they regarded me as truly belonging to their fraternity. I was bred a lawyer. I came straight from the law office into the pulpit, and talked to the people as I would have spoken to a jury.

Any thinking person will see it as infinitely out of place to use the language of learning and rhetoric when immortal souls are on the line, hanging on the edge of everlasting death. Men do not speak that way when there is a real emergency. When a city is on fire, the fire captain does not read his men an essay or a fine piece of rhetoric. It is a matter of urgency, and he has to make every word count.

This is the way it always is when men are urgent and serious. Their language is pointed, direct and simple. Their sentences are short and powerful. They appeal for direct action. This is the reason why the uneducated Methodist preachers and the serious Baptist preachers always made a much greater impact than our most learned theologians. And they still do today. The passionate preaching of a common exhorter will often move a congregation far more than any kind of cultivated rhetoric. Great sermons lead the people to praise the preacher. Good preaching leads the people to praise the Savior.

People have often said to me: “You do not preach. You talk to the people.” A man in London went home from one of our meetings deeply convicted. His wife asked him, “Have you been to hear Mr. Finney preach?” He replied: “I have been to Mr. Finney’s meeting. He doesn’t preach. He only explains what other people preach.” I have heard this kind of comment again and again. People say, “Anybody could preach like you. You just talk to the people. You talk as if you were at home, sitting in the living room.” Others have said: “It seemed as if Mr. Finney had taken me to one side, and was talking with me face to face.”

Ministers usually avoid preaching directly to the people. They will preach to them about others, and the sins of others, but rarely will they ever say: “You are guilty of these sins, and the Lord requires this of you.” They often preach ‘about’ the Gospel instead of preaching the Gospel. They often preach ‘about’ sinners instead of preaching to them. They go to great lengths to avoid being personal. But I have always gone down a different line than this. I have often said, “Do not think that I am talking about anybody else. I am talking to you and you and you.”

Ministers told me at first that people would never put up with this – that they would get up and leave, and never come back. But they were mistaken. A lot depends on the spirit in which it is said. If it is done in the spirit of love, with an honest desire for their very best, there are very few who will continue to resent it. At the time they may feel rebuked and upset, but deep down they know that they needed it, and it will ultimately do them good.

I have often said to people, when I saw that they looked offended: “Now you resent this and you will go away saying that you’re not coming back – but you will. Your own convictions are on my side. You know that what I’m telling you is true, and that I’m saying it for your own good – and you cannot continue to resent it.” And I have always found this to be true. My experience has been that honesty is the best policy for a preacher. People are not fools. They have little respect for a man who will go into the pulpit and preach smooth things. There is a part of them that despises it.

I do not spend hours and days writing my sermons, but my mind is always pondering the truths of the Gospel, and the best way to preach them. I move around amongst the people and find out what they most need to hear. Then, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I choose the topic for my sermon. I think deeply about it, pray over it and get my mind full of it – and then go and pour it out to the people. With a written sermon, after the preacher has written it down there is little need to think or pray much more about it. He may read it over on a Saturday evening or Sunday morning, but he does not feel the need to be powerfully anointed, that his mouth may be opened and filled with arguments from above. He is comfortable in the fact that he only has to use his eyes and his voice, and he can preach. Thus the message is not necessarily new or fresh – an anointed message direct from God.

I truly believe that I have studied a lot more because I have not written out my sermons. I have been forced to become extremely familiar with my subject, to fill my mind with it, and then go and pour it out to the people. All I do is sketch the briefest outline before I start.

Unless preachers actually try this kind of preaching, unless they begin to simply talk to the people, keeping their hearts full of truth and of the Holy Spirit, they can never become spontaneous preachers.

For about the first twelve years of my ministry I never wrote a word, and most of the time had to preach without any preparation at all, except what I got in prayer. Often I went into the pulpit without even knowing what Scripture I would preach from, or anything that I would say. I relied completely on the Holy Spirit to open up the whole subject to my mind, and I have never preached with greater success or power. If I did not preach by divine inspiration, I don’t know how I preached. It was very common, and has been during my whole ministry, for the subject to open up to my mind in a way that surprised even me. It seemed that I could see with tremendous clarity just what I needed to say, and whole platoons of thoughts, words and illustrations came to me as fast as I could deliver them. When I first began to make outlines, I made them after, and not before I preached – to record the thoughts that God had given me. But I found that I could never re-use these old outlines anyway, without remodeling them and getting a fresh perspective from the Holy Spirit. I almost always get my sermon topics on my knees in prayer. And I have often found that when the Holy Spirit gives me something to preach, it comes so strongly that it literally makes me tremble, so I have great difficulty in writing. I find that such sermons always tell with great power upon the people.

Some of the most powerful sermons I have ever preached were actually received just as the meeting was about to begin. I am telling you this to give glory to God, and not to any talents of my own. Let no-one think that these powerful sermons were produced by my own brain or of my own heart, unassisted by the Holy Spirit. They were not mine, but came from the Holy Spirit within me.

And let no-one say that this is claiming a higher inspiration than is promised to every preacher. For I believe that all ministers are called to preach under a mighty anointing of the Holy Spirit. What else did Christ mean when He said: “If any man believes in me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”? Every preacher should be so filled with the Holy Spirit that all who hear them are convinced that God is in them of a truth.

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CHAPTER EIGHT
REVIVAL IN ANTWERP

I must tell you about the revival in Antwerp, a village north of Evans’ mills. I arrived there in April and found that no Christian meetings of any kind were held in the town. There was a Presbyterian church there, consisting of a few members. They had tried to keep a meeting going in the village. But the elder who conducted their Sunday meetings lived about five miles away, and had to pass through a Universalist settlement. The Universalists had broken up the village meeting by making it impossible for Deacon R to get through their settlement to the meetings. They would even take off the wheels of his carriage. Finally the opposition got so bad that he gave up and all Christian meetings in the village ceased. A lady agreed to open her house for a meeting that evening. So I went out and invited people, and about thirteen showed up. I preached to them and then said that if I could get the use of the village school house, I would preach on the Sunday. I got the permission of the trustees, and the next day an invitation was circulated among the people for a meeting on Sunday morning.

In walking around the village I heard a tremendous amount of profanity. I don’t think I had ever heard so much in any one place before. Whether they were playing ball or doing business, it seemed as if the people were continually cursing and swearing and damning each other. I felt almost like I had arrived on the borders of hell. I had an awful feeling as I walked around the village on Saturday. The very atmosphere itself seemed poisonous and a kind of terror took hold of me. I gave myself to prayer on Saturday, and finally this answer came: “Be not afraid, but speak… for I am with you, and no-one will hurt you. For I have many people in this city.” This completely relieved me of all fear. However, I found that the Christians in town really were afraid that something serious might happen if meetings were started up again. I spent almost all of Saturday in prayer, but walked around the village enough to see that the invitation that had been sent out was creating quite a stir.

On Sunday morning I went up into the woods where I could be alone with God, and spent a great deal of time in prayer. However, I did not find any relief, so I went back there a second time. But still the burden increased. So I went back a third time, and then the answer came. I found that it was time for the meeting and went straight to the schoolhouse. I found it totally packed. I had my pocket Bible in my hand, and read them this verse: “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I can’t remember much of my sermon, but I know that my main point was the treatment that God received in return for His love. The subject affected me deeply, and as I preached I poured out my soul and my tears together.

Several men were there that I had heard using the most awful profanity the day before. I pointed them out in the meeting and told the congregation what they had said – how they called on God to damn each other. Indeed, I let loose my whole heart upon them. I told them that they seemed to howl blasphemy in the streets like hell-hounds and it seemed to me that I had arrived on the very edge of hell. Everybody knew that what I said was true, and they quailed under it. They did not seem offended. The people wept about as much as I did myself. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

Mr. C, the landlord, had refused to open the meeting house in the morning. But as soon as this first service closed, he stood up and said that he would open the meeting house in the afternoon. The people scattered and carried the information in every direction. Thus, in the afternoon the meeting house was nearly as crowded as the schoolhouse had been in the morning. Everybody was at the meeting, and the Lord let me loose upon them in a powerful way. My preaching seemed to be something new. It seemed as if I could rain hail and love upon them at the same time – or in other words, that I could rain upon them hail, in love. It seemed as if my love for God, and the abuse that they heaped upon Him, sharpened my mind to the most intense agony. I felt like rebuking them with all my heart, and yet with a compassion that they could not mistake. I never heard them accuse me of severity but I probably never spoke with more severity in my life.

Most of the population became deeply convicted. From that day on, whenever I appointed a meeting anywhere in the area the people would throng to hear. The revival spread with great power. On Sundays I preached twice in the village church, attended a prayer meeting in between, and usually found a schoolhouse somewhere to preach in at five o’clock in the afternoon.

On the third Sunday that I preached there, an old man came up to me. He asked if I would go and preach in a schoolhouse about three miles distant, saying that they had never had any Christian meetings there. He wanted me to come as soon as I could. I decided on the next day, Monday, at five o’clock in the afternoon. It was a warm day. I left my horse in the village, and decided to walk down. However, because I had preached so hard on the Sunday, I became exhausted even before I reached the place. I kicked myself for not taking my horse.

But at the appointed time I found the schoolhouse full, and I could only get a standing-place near the open door. They sang, but I can’t really call it singing. What it amounted to was that each one bawled in his own way. I had been a music teacher, and their horrible discord distressed me so much that I put both hands over my ears, and held them with my full strength. But even that did not shut out the discords. When they were finished I fell down on my knees, almost in a state of desperation, and began to pray. The Lord opened the windows of heaven and the spirit of prayer came down upon me. I was able to pour my whole heart out in prayer.

I had not even thought about what to preach, but waited to see the congregation. As soon as I had finished praying I got up from my knees and quoted this Scripture: “Quick, get out of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city.” I said I did not know exactly where that passage was from, but I told them roughly where they could find it. Then I went on to explain it. I told them how incredibly evil the city of Sodom became, and what sinful practices they fell into. I told them that the Lord had decided to destroy Sodom, and visited Abraham and told him what He was going to do. He promised Abraham that if He found ten righteous people in the city He would spare it. But He actually found that there was just one righteous person there, and that was Lot. So God’s angels said to Lot, “Whatever you have in the city, get it out… because the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

While I was relating these facts the people looking as if they were getting angry. Many of the men were in their shirt sleeves and they looked as if they wanted to rush forward and teach me a lesson with their fists. I saw their strange looks, but I could not understand what I was saying that had offended them. But it seemed as if their anger rose higher and higher as I continued the story. As soon as I had finished, I turned to them and said that I understood they had never had a Christian meeting in that place, and so I took it for granted that they were ungodly people. I pressed this home upon them with more and more energy, with my heart so full it was almost bursting.

I had only been speaking to them in this direct way for about quarter of an hour, when all at once an awful solemnity seemed to settle down upon them. The congregation began to fall from their seats in every direction and cry for mercy. If I had had a sword in each hand, I could not have cut them off their seats as fast as they fell. Nearly the whole congregation were either on their knees or on their faces in less than two minutes from this first shock that fell upon them. Everyone who was able to speak at all, prayed for himself.

Of course I had to stop preaching, because they no longer paid any attention. I saw the old man who had invited me there to preach, sitting in the middle of the room and looking around with utter amazement. I raised my voice almost to a scream to make him hear, and pointing to him said, “Can’t you pray?” He fell on his knees, and with a loud voice poured his heart out to God. But the people paid no attention. I then spoke as loud as I could, and tried to make them listen. I said, “You are not in hell yet. Now let me direct you to Christ.” For a few moments I tried to hold forth the Gospel to them, but scarcely any of them paid any attention. My heart was so full of joy at such a scene that I could hardly contain myself. It was with great difficulty that I restrained myself from shouting and giving glory to God.

As soon as I got my emotions under control, I turned to a young man who was close to me and was busy praying for himself. I put my hand on his shoulder to get his attention, and spoke in his ear about Jesus’s salvation. As soon as I got his focus onto the cross of Christ, he believed, was calm and quiet for a minute or two, and then broke out praying for the others. I then turned to another person and did the same thing, with the same result. Then another, and another.

I kept on like this until I found that the time had come for me to go to another appointment in the village. I told them this, and asked the old man who had invited me there to take charge of the meeting. He did so. But there were too many wounded souls to dismiss the meeting, and so it was held all night. In the morning there were still people there that could not get away. They were carried to a house in the neighborhoood so school could start. In the afternoon they sent for me again, because they still couldn’t break up the meeting.

When I went down there the second time, I found out why they had become so angry during my sermon the day before. I learned that the place was called Sodom, which I did not know – and that there was only one godly man in the place, and they called him Lot. This was the old man who had invited me there. The people assumed that I had chosen my subject and preached to them that way because they were so evil as to be called Sodom. It was an amazing coincidence, but as far as I was concerned it was completely accidental.

Although revival came upon them so suddenly and powerfully, the converts were sound and the work was permanent and genuine. I never heard of any disastrous reaction taking place.

I have spoken of the Universalists who prevented Deacon R from attending meetings by taking off the wheels of his carriage. When the revival got to full strength, Deacon R wanted me to go and preach in that neighborhood. So I decided to preach one afternoon in their schoolhouse. When I arrived I found the place full. Deacon R was sitting near a window. They sang as best they could. I then prayed, and felt like I had real access into God’s throneroom. I stood up and read this Scripture: “You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?”

Deacon R looked very uneasy, and he soon got up and went and stood in the open door. I assumed that he had gone to keep some of the boys near the doorway still. But I later learned that it was because of fear. He thought that if they attacked me, he would be able to escape. He could see that I was going to be very direct with them; and he wanted to keep out of their reach. During that sermon I poured myself out upon them with all my might, and before I was through there was a complete overturning of the very foundations of Universalism in that place. It was very similar to what happened in Sodom. Thus the revival swept through every part of town, and some of the neighboring towns also.

During this revival there were two cases of instant recovery from insanity. As I went into a meeting one time, I saw several ladies sitting in a pew with a woman dressed in black who seemed to be in great distress. They were partly holding her and preventing her from getting out. One of the ladies came and told me that she was an insane woman – that she had been a Methodist but believed she had fallen from grace. This led to despair, and finally to insanity. Her husband was a heavy drinker who lived several miles from the village. He had left her at the meeting and gone off to the tavern. I said a few words to her, but she replied that she had to go. She said she could not bear to hear praying, preaching or singing, because hell was her home and she could not endure anything that made her think of heaven.

I told the ladies to keep her in her seat if they could, without disturbing the meeting. I then went into the pulpit. As soon as the singing began she struggled hard to get out. But the ladies obstructed her, and kindly but persistently prevented her escape. After a few moments she became quiet, but seemed to be avoiding listening to the singing. I then prayed. For some time I heard her struggling to get out, but before I had finished she became quiet, and the congregation was still. The Lord gave me a great spirit of prayer, and a text from Hebrews: “Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

My aim was to encourage faith, in ourselves and in her. She kept her head down, and seemed determined not to listen to anything I said. But as I continued she gradually began to raise her head, and to look at me from inside her long black bonnet. She looked up more and more until she sat upright, and looked me in the face with intense concentration. As I urged the people to be bold in their faith, to launch out and commit themselves with total confidence to God through the sacrifice of our great High Priest, she suddenly startled the congregation with a loud shriek. She then threw herself almost out of her seat, and I could see that she was trembling. The ladies in the pew partly supported her, and watched her with prayerful interest and sympathy. As I went on she began to look up again, and soon sat upright, her face wonderfully changed, full of triumphant joy and peace. I have seldom seen a human face as radiant as hers that day. Her joy was so great that she could hardly contain herself until the meeting was over – and then she let everybody know that she had been set free. About two years later I met her again and she was still full of joy and peace.

The other case of recovery was that of a woman who had also fallen into despair and insanity. I was not there when she was restored, but I was told that it was almost instantaneous – and it occurred when she was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Revivals are sometimes accused of making people mad. But the fact is, people are naturally mad on the subject of religion, and revivals restore them rather than making them mad.

During this revival we heard that there was a lot of opposition to it from Gouverneur, a town about twelve miles further north. We heard that they threatened to come down and attack us and break up our meetings. Of course, we paid no attention. In fact, it wasn’t long before revival hit that place as well.

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CHAPTER NINE
REVIVALS THROUGHOUT THE REGION

People were begging me to stay at Evans’ Mills, and I finally agreed that I would stay with them for at least a year. I had become engaged to a young lady, and we were married in Whitestown in October, 1824. A day or two after our wedding I returned to Evans’ Mills to arrange for our furniture to be transported there. I told her she could expect me back in about a week.

The previous fall, I had preached a few times at a place called Perch River, northwest of Evans’ Mills. I was intending to return for my wife about the middle of the week, but a messenger from Perch River came and said there had been a revival working its way slowly among the people ever since I preached there, and he begged me to go down and preach at least once more. I finally went down there on theTuesday night, but I found the interest so deep that I stayed and preached on the Wednesday and Thursday nights as well. Finally I gave up on the idea of returning for my wife that week, and continued to preach in the neighborhood.

The revival soon spread in the direction of Brownville, a large village several miles to the southwest. At the urging of the church there, I went to Brownville for the winter, having written to my wife that due to the circumstances I would have to delay coming to get her until God opened the way.

God was moving in Brownville but the church was in such a state that it was difficult to get them involved. The behaviour of the leadership was a real hindrance to the revival at times. It was very frustrating, and there were a lot of obstacles to overcome. Sometimes I would find that the pastor and his wife had stayed away from the meetings to attend a party somewhere in town.

I was staying with an elder of the church who was one of the pastor’s closest friends. One day I met him in the hall and he said to me, “Mr. Finney, what would you think of a man who was praying week after week for the Holy Spirit, with no result?” I replied that I would think he was praying from false motives. “But what are the right motives?” he asked. “If he wants to be happy, is that a false motive?” I replied, “Satan could well pray with as good a motive as that.” I then quoted the words of the Psalmist: “Then will I teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will be converted.” I pointed out: “The Psalmist did not pray for the Holy Spirit so he could be happy, but so he could be useful, and that sinners might be converted to Christ.” After saying this I went out and he returned to his room.

I stayed out until dinner time and when I returned he said he had a confession to make: “Mr. Finney, I owe you an apology. I was angry when you said that to me, and I must confess that I hoped I would never see you again. What you said convicted me that I had never been truly converted, and that I had never had any higher motive than a mere selfish desire for my own happiness. After you left the house I prayed for God to take my life. I could not stand for people to know that I had been so deceived. I have been a close friend of the pastor, yet I saw that I had always been a deceived hypocrite. I couldn’t stand it and I just wanted to die.” However, he was truly broken before God, and from that time on he became a new man. Early in the spring of 1825 I left Brownville with my horse and buggy, to go and pick up my wife. I had been absent for six months since our marriage, and because of the mail we had seldom been able to exchange letters. I drove about fifteen miles, but the roads were very slippery. I discovered that my horse needed new horseshoes. I stopped at Le Rayville, a small village about three miles south of Evans’ Mills. While my horse was being shod, the people discovered I was there and insisted that I should preach at one o’clock in the schoolhouse.

I agreed, and when one o’clock came the place was packed. While I preached the Spirit of God came down with great power. The outpouring was so powerful that I agreed to spend the night there, and preach again in the evening. But the anointing increased more and more, so that in the evening I announced there would be another meeting in the morning, and in the morning I announced there would be another one in the evening. Soon I could see that I would not be able to make it to pick up my wife. I asked one of the men there if he could take my horse and buggy and pick her up for me. He did so, and I went on preaching from day to day and from night to night – and there was a powerful revival.

While I was in Brownville, God showed me in a totally unexpected way that he was going to pour out His Spirit in Gouverneur, and that I must go there and preach. I knew absolutely nothing about the place, except that there had been so much opposition to the revival in Antwerp there the year before. I have no idea how or why the Spirit of God made this clear to me. But it seems it was a direct revelation from God. In prayer I was shown, as clear as day, that I must go and preach in Gouverneur, and that God would pour out His Spirit there.

Soon afterwards I met one of the members of a church in Gouverneur, who was passing through Brownville. I told him what God had revealed to me. He stared at me as though I was mad. But I urged him to go home and tell the Christian people there what I had told him – so they could prepare for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He told me that there were two churches in Gouverneur standing near each other – and that the Baptists had a pastor but the Presbyterians had none.

Later, when revival broke out in Gouverneur and attracted a lot of attention, the Baptists began to oppose it. They spoke against it and tried to stop it in any way they could. This encouraged a group of young men to band together specifically to oppose the revival. The Baptist church was quite influential and the stand they took greatly aggravated the situation, and gave it a very bitter edge. These young men seemed to be standing right in the way of the revival.

Brother Nash and I made up our minds that this blockage must be overcome through prayer. Nothing else would do. We decided to pray until we prevailed with God – until He assured us that no power in hell or earth could stop the revival.

I did the preaching and Brother Nash gave himself almost continually to prayer. The next Sunday we met at five o’clock in the church for a prayer meeting. The place was full. Near the end of the meeting Brother Nash stood up and spoke to the group of young men who had banded together to oppose the revival. I think they were all there, and they sat bracing themselves up against the Spirit of God. It was too serious for them to really mock what they were hearing, yet everyone could see how stiff-necked they had become.

Brother Nash spoke to them in a very urgent way and pointed out the guilt and danger of the course they were taking. Near the end he became very fired-up and said to them, “Mark my words, young men! God will break your ranks in less than one week, either by converting some of you or by sending some of you to hell. He will do this as surely as the Lord is my God!” He brought his hand down on the top of the pew in front of him with jarring force. He sat down immediately, dropped his head and groaned with pain.

The house was as still as death, and most of the people had their heads down. I could see that the young men were very stirred up. From my point of view, I regretted that Brother Nash had gone so far. He had committed himself, that God would either take the life of some of them and send them to hell, or convert some of them within a week. However, on Tuesday morning the leader of these young men came to me in the great distress. He was desperate to submit to God, and as soon as I began to question him he broke down like a child, confessed, and gave himself to Christ. Then he asked, “What shall I do, Mr. Finney?” I replied “Go to all your friends and pray with them, and urge them to turn to the Lord.” He did so and before the week was out, nearly all of those young men were converted.

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CHAPTER TEN
REVIVALS IN DE KALB & WESTERN

From Gouverneur I went to De Kalb, another village still further north. A few years before, there had been a revival there under the Methodists. There had been quite a lot of excitement, and many instances of what the Methodists call “falling under the power of God.” The Presbyterians had opposed this and so there was quite a bit of bad feeling between the Methodists and the Presbyterians. As far as I could see it was the Presbyterians who had been in the wrong.

I had not preached long one evening when, just at the close of my sermon, I saw a man fall from his seat near the door, and the people gathered around to take care of him. It looked as if he had “fallen under the power of God”, and I assumed he was a Methodist. I have to say, I was a little concerned that it might re-open old wounds. But I was surprised to find that it was one of the most infuential members of the Presbyterian church who had fallen. And it was remarkable that during this revival, there were several cases of this happening among the Presbyterians, but none among the Methodists. This led to confessions and explanations amongst the members of both churches – until the friendship and good feeling between them was restored.

One afternoon there were some arrivals from Ogdensburgh and among them was Elder S. He went to the meeting in the morning, and was invited by Elder B to go home with him for lunch. Elder B was full of the Holy Spirit and on the way home he preached to Elder S, who had become very cold and backslidden in his walk with God. Elder S was deeply affected by his words.

As they sat down to lunch, Elder S asked Elder B, “How did you get this blessing?” Elder B replied, “I stopped lying to God. All my Christian life I have been full of pretense – asking God for things that I did not really want. I copied other people’s prayers – often without meaning them at all – and basically lied to God. But as soon as I made up my mind that I would never say anything to God that I did not really mean, He answered me and filled me to overflowing with His Holy Spirit.”

At that moment another visitor, who had not yet begun to eat, shoved his chair back from the table, and fell on his knees and began to confess how he had lied to God and how he had been a hypocrite in his prayers, as well as in his life. The Holy Spirit fell upon him immediately, and filled him as full as he could hold.

The next day Elder S returned to Ogdensburgh. But I understand he made many calls on the way, and prayed with many families. And thus the revival spread to Ogdensburgh.

In early October, the church synod that I belonged to met in Utica. I took my wife, and we went down to Utica to attend, and to visit her father’s family who lived nearby.

Mr. Gale, my theological teacher, had left Adams not long after me, and had moved to a farm in Western Oneida county. We had not gone very far on our return journey when we met Mr. Gale in his carriage. He leaped out and said, “God bless you, Brother Finney! I was going down to the synod to see you. You must come home with me. I do not believe that I was ever converted.” He was so insistent that I agreed, and we drove immediately to Western.

As I have stated before, the spirit of prayer that prevailed in all of these revivals was a very noticeable feature. It was common for young converts to be deeply burdened in prayer. Sometimes they felt compelled to pray all night until they were totally exhausted. The influence of the Holy Spirit was so strong on the minds of Christians that they seemed to carry the weight of immortal souls with them everywhere they went. They became extremely serious and watchful in what they said and did. Instead of chatting, when they met together it became common for them to fall on their knees in prayer.

Not only were there a lot more prayer meetings, but they were fully attended and they were often very serious and solemn. There was a lot of private prayer also. Many Christians spent hours in prayer. Sometimes two or more would take the promise, “If two of you agree on anything they shall ask, it shall be done for them by my Father in heaven,” and make one particular person a focus of prayer. The answers came so often and so quickly that no-one could escape the conviction that God was daily and hourly answering prayer.

If anything happened that threatened to harm the work – if any root of bitterness, fanaticism or disorder sprang up – then the Christians would give themselves to prayer for God to direct and control things, and it was amazing how readily He was able to move the obstacles out of the way.

In my own experience, I have to say that unless I had the spirit of prayer I could do nothing. Even for a day or an hour – if I lost the spirit of grace and supplication, I found myself unable to preach with power and effectiveness, or to win souls by personal conversation. It has always been the same with me.

For several weeks before I left De Kalb to go to the synod, I was deeply burdened in prayer and had an experience that was quite new to me. I found myself so burdened down with the weight of immortal souls, that I was forced to pray without ceasing. Some of my experiences alarmed me. I would actually find myself saying to God that He had made a promise to answer prayer, and I could not and would not be denied. I felt so certain that He would hear me, and that faithfulness to His promises made it impossible that He would not hear and answer, that I found myself saying to Him, “I hope you do not think that I can be denied. I come with your faithful promises in my hand, and I cannot be denied.” I cannot tell you how absurd unbelief looked to me, and how certain it was in my mind, that God would answer these prayers that I found myself praying in such agony and faith. I had no idea of the exact form the answer would take. But my impression was that the answer was near, even at the door, and I felt myself greatly strengthened in spirit. I put on the harness for a mighty conflict with the powers of darkness, and expected to see a far more powerful outpouring of the Spirit of God in that new country where I had been ministering. I have spoken of my detour to Western as I was returning from the synod meeting. It was here that the ‘Western revivals’ began – which created quite a stir and were opposed by certain prominent ministers in the East, who raised the cry of “New Measures.”

When we got to Western, Mr. Gale invited me to the prayer meeting that afternoon. They asked me to lead the meeting but I declined, preferring to hear them pray and talk rather than taking part myself. The meeting was opened by one of the elders. He made a long prayer, or perhaps I should say a narrative – I hardly know what to call it. He told the Lord how many years they had been holding that prayer meeting each week, and that no answer had ever come. He made a number of statements that greatly shocked me. After he had finished, another elder took up the same theme. In another long prayer he went over almost the same ground, covering anything that the first one had left out. Then the third elder did the same. By this time I could say, like Paul, that my spirit was stirred within me. They had finished and were about to close the meeting, when one of the elders asked me if I would say a few words. I stood up and, using their own statements and confessions, gave them an extremely searching talk.

When I stood up I had no idea what I would say, but the Spirit of God came upon me, and I took up their prayers and statements and confessions, and dissected them. I asked if they understood that their prayer meeting was a mock prayer meeting. Had they come together to mock God, by implying that all the blame for what had happened was His alone?

At first they looked angry. Some of them said later that they were on the point of getting up and leaving. But I followed them up on the track of their prayers and confessions, until the leading elder burst into tears and exclaimed, “Brother Finney, it’s all true!” He fell to his knees and wept aloud. This was the signal for a general breaking. Every man and woman went down on their knees. There were probably only a dozen present, but they were the leading members of the church. They all wept and confessed, and broke their hearts before God. This scene continued for an hour, and a more thorough breaking and confession I have seldom seen.

As soon as they recovered a little, they begged me to stay and preach to them on the Sunday. I regarded it as the voice of the Lord, and agreed to do so. This was Thursday night. On Friday my mind was deeply burdened. I went into the church often to pray and found that I had a mighty hold on God. The news got around, and on Sunday the church was full. I preached all day, and God came down with great power upon the people. It was obvious to everyone that a move of God had begun. I made arrangements to preach in different parts of town, in the schoolhouses and so-on, and the revival increased on a daily basis.

In the meantime, I was deeply burdened in prayer. I also found that there was a real spirit of prayer, especially among the female members of the church. The wives of two of the elders of the church were greatly burdened in prayer.

I called in at Mr. H’s and found him pale and anxious. He said to me, “Brother Finney, I think my wife will die. She is so burdened that she cannot rest day or night, but is totally given up to prayer. She has been in her room all morning groaning and struggling in prayer, and I am afraid it will completely overcome her strength.” Hearing my voice she came out, and there was a heavenly glow on her face. She was radiant with a hope and a joy direct from heaven. She said, “Brother Finney, the Lord has come! This work will spread over all this region!” Her husband looked surprised and did not know what to say. It was new to him, but not to me. I had seen this kind of thing before, and I believed that prayer had indeed prevailed.

The revival continued to spread and strengthen, until it began to show clear signs of the direction in which the Spirit of God was leading from that place. It became clear that the revival was spreading in the direction of Rome and Utica.

I had preached and prayed almost continually during the time I had been at Mr. Gale’s. I liked to pray out loud when I was alone, so I spread a buffalo robe in the hayloft to muffle the noise and spent a great deal of time there in secret prayer to God. Mr. Gale had told me several times that if I wasn’t careful my health would break down. However, the Spirit of prayer was on me and I could not resist Him, but poured out my soul to God continually. It was November and the weather was becoming cold. Mr. Gale and I came home late one day but instead of going into the house, I crept up into the hayloft to pour out my burdened song to God in prayer. I prayed until the burden left me. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep almost instantly. The first I knew, Mr. Gale was climbing up into the hayloft saying, “Brother Finney, are you dead?” I awoke, not realizing where I was at first. But one thing I knew – that my mind was calm and my faith unwavering. The work would go on – I felt assured of that.

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CHAPTER ELEVEN
REVIVALS IN NEW YORK STATE

I made my way to Rome, New York, and preached there three times one Sunday. It was clear to me that the Word had a powerful impact. I could see that many people were bowed down with deep conviction of sin. In the morning I preached from the Scripture, “The carnal mind is at enmity with God,” and followed it up with something similar in the afternoon and evening. I waited until the pastor, Mr. Gillett returned, and told him what had happened. He didn’t seem to realize that the work was beginning with such power. But he wanted to hold a “meeting for inquirers” anyway. As I have said before, the methods that I had used in promoting revivals were pretty simple: A lot of public and private prayer, preaching, personal conversation and visiting from house to house. And when there were people wanting to become Christians we held “inquirers meetings” for them. These were the only methods I had used up to that time.

Mr. Gillett asked me if I could be at the meeting of inquiry. I told him I would, if we could hold it on the Monday evening. It was to be at the home of one of his deacons. When we arrived we found the large sitting room full to overflowing. Mr. Gillett looked around with surprise, because many of the most intelligent and influential members of his congregation were there. We spent a brief time trying to talk with them, but I soon saw that emotions were running so high that there was danger of an outburst that would be almost uncontrollable. I said to Mr. Gillett, “We can’t continue the meeting like this. I will say a few words, and then dismiss them.”

Nothing had been said or done to create any excitement in the meeting. The emotion was totally spontaneous. The Spirit was moving with such power that even a few words of conversation would make the stoutest men writhe in their seats, as if a sword had been thrust into their hearts. I don’t think it’s possible for someone who has never witnessed such a scene, to realize what the force of the truth is sometimes like, under the power of the Holy Spirit. It was indeed a sword – a two-edged sword. The pain that it produced when a few searching words were spoken seemed unbearable. Mr. Gillett became very agitated. He turned pale, and said to me, “What shall we do? What shall we do?” I put my hand on his shoulder and whispered, “Keep quiet, keep quiet, Brother Gillett.” I then spoke to them as gently and plainly as I could about their only remedy. I pointed them to Christ as the Savior of the world, and kept on talking for as long as they could bear it, which was only a few moments.

Mr. Gillett became so agitated that I stepped up to him, took him by the arm and said, “Let us pray.” We knelt down in the middle of the room. I prayed in a low, unemotional voice, interceding with the Savior that they might accept the salvation He offered and place their trust in Him. The emotion deepened every moment, and I could hear their sobs and sighs. I closed my prayer and stood up quickly. Everyone stood and I said, “Now please go home without speaking a word to each other. Try to keep silent, and go to your rooms.”

At this moment a young man almost fainted and fell on some other young men standing near him – and they all partially fainted and fell down together. This produced a loud shrieking, but I hushed them up, and said to the young men, “Please open the door wide so everyone can go out in silence.” They did as I asked. There was no more shrieking, but they went out sobbing and sighing. In fact, their sobs and sighs could be heard until they got out into the street. The next morning, as soon as it was light, people began to call at Mr. Gillett’s to have us go and visit members of their families whom they said were under great conviction. We ate a hasty breakfast and started out. As soon as we were in the streets, the people ran out and begged us to go into their homes. And whenever we went into a house the neighbors would rush in and fill the largest room. We would stay and talk for awhile and then go to another house – and the people would follow us around.

The state of things in that town was amazing. Convictions were so deep and universal that we would sometimes go into a house and find people either kneeling or face-down on the floor. We visited from house to house like this until midday. But I said to Mr. Gillett, “We can’t go on this way. We need to hold a special meeting.” He agreed, and went to the public schools to announce that at one o’clock there would be a special meeting. We went home, had our lunch, and started for the meeting. We saw people hurrying, and some even running to get there. They came from every direction. By the time we arrived, the large room was totally crammed with people. Men, women, and children crowded in. This meeting was very similar to the one we’d had the night before. The emotion was overwhelming. Strong men were so cut down by the things that were said that they were unable to help themselves, and had to be taken home by their friends. The meeting went on until it was almost night. It resulted in a huge number of conversions, and the revival spread in every direction.

The atmosphere in the village – and the whole neighborhood – was such that nobody could even visit without feeling awed by the impression that God was there in an unusual and powerful way. One incident was particularly memorable. The sheriff of the county was based in Utica, but there was another courthouse as well – which was in Rome. So the sheriff had to come to Rome regularly on business. He later told me that he had heard what was happening there, and he and others had been laughing about it at the hotel where he boarded.

But one day it was necessary for him to come to Rome. He said he was glad because he wanted to see for himself what everyone was talking about. He drove in without feeling anything unusual at all, until he crossed over the old canal about a mile from town. He said as soon as he crossed the canal, a strange feeling came over him, an awe so deep that he could not shake it off. He felt as if God pervaded the whole atmosphere. This feeling increased the whole way, until he came to the village. He stopped at the hotel and the owner looked as if he felt just the same way – as if he was afraid to speak. Several times during his brief visit he had to get up from the table and go to the window to try and distract himself to keep from weeping. He could see that everybody seemed affected the same way. Such an awe, such a solemnity – like nothing he had never come across before. He hurriedly completed his business and returned to Utica. But he never spoke lightly of the revival in Rome again. And a few weeks later he was converted.

It is difficult to describe such a deep and widespread state of spiritual emotion, with no disorder or fanaticism, as we saw in Rome. Many of the converts of that revival are scattered all over America, and they will tell you that in those meetings there was great order and solemnity, and a lot of care was taken to guard against anything getting in that was not of God.

The Spirit’s work was so spontaneous, so powerful and so overwhelming that we had to use great caution and wisdom in conducting the meetings, to prevent an outburst of emotion that would have quickly exhausted the people and brought about a reaction. But no reaction came. A sunrise prayer meeting was started, and I believe for more than a year it was very well attended. The morals of the people were so changed that Mr. Gillett often said it didn’t seem like the same place. Any sin that was left had to hide its head. No open immorality could be tolerated. I have given only a very faint outline of what happened in Rome. A true description of all the moving incidents that were crowded into that revival could make a volume in itself.

I should say a few words about the spirit of prayer in Rome at that time. Wherever you went, you heard the voice of prayer. Walk along the street, and if two or three Christians happened to be together, they were praying. Wherever they met, they prayed. Wherever there was a sinner unconverted, especially if he opposed the revival, you would find two or three brothers or sisters agreeing to make him a specific focus of prayer.

When I had been in Rome for about twenty days, one of the elders in Utica died, and I went down to attend his funeral. Mr. Aiken conducted the funeral and I learned from him that the spirit of prayer was already present in his congregation. He told me that one woman had been so deeply burdened about the state of the church and the unsaved in that city, that she had prayed for two days and nights almost continuously, until she could pray no more. She had such travail of soul that even when she was exhausted, she could not endure the burden she was under unless someone else could pray in her place – and express her desires to God.

I told Mr. Aiken that revival had already begun in her heart. He recognized it too, of course, and invited me to come and begin ministering amongst his people right away. I soon did so, and the work began at once. The Word had an immediate impact, and the place became filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Our meetings were crowded every night and the revival continued with great power, especially in the two Presbyterian congregations.

In the middle of this revival, a striking incident occurred. The Oneida presbytery met in Utica while the revival was at its height. An old minister who was a stranger to me was quite annoyed by the heat and fervor of the revival. He found that everyone was talking about it, and people were praying everywhere, even in the stores and other public places. He had never seen a revival before. He was a Scotsman and, I believe, had not been in the country very long.

During the presbytery meeting he made a violent speech against the revival. What he said shocked and grieved many of the Christians who were there. They felt like falling on their faces before God, and crying out to Him to prevent what was said from doing any harm.

The presbytery adjourned for the evening. Some of the members went home, and others remained overnight. Christians gave themselves to prayer. There was a great crying out to God that night, that He would turn back any evil influence resulting from that speech. The next morning, the old minister was found dead in his bed.

During these revivals, people from distant towns heard what God was doing, and came to see for themselves. Many of them were converted to Christ.

Another incident occurred in this same region. There was a cotton factory just above Whitesboro, now called New York Mills. It was owned by a non-Christian – but a good man. I preached nearby in the village schoolhouse one evening, which was large and crowded with hearers. I could see that the Word made a powerful impact on the people, especially the young people who worked in the factory.

The next morning I visited the factory to have a look. As I went through, I noticed that those who were busy at their looms and other machines seemed agitated. Walking through one part where there were many young women working, I saw a couple of them looking at me and speaking very seriously to each other. They seemed agitated, although they both laughed. I walked slowly towards them. One of them was trying to mend a broken thread, and I saw that her hands trembled so much that she couldn’t fix it. The girl grew more and more distressed, and could not continue. When I came within eight or ten feet of her, I looked solemnly at her. She sank down and burst into tears. This caught on almost like gunpowder, and in a moment nearly everybody in the room was in tears. This spread through the factory. The owner was there, and seeing the state of things he said to the foreman, “Stop the mill and let the people attend to religion. It is more important that our souls be saved than that this factory run.” The factory was shut down and I scarcely ever saw a more powerful meeting than that one. It was a huge building and many people worked there. The revival went through the mill with incredible power, and in a few days nearly everybody there was converted

. Dr. Lansing, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Auburn, came to Utica to see the revival there. He urged me to go and minister for a time with him and I agreed. But when I arrived in Auburn in 1826, I found that some of the professors in the theological seminary there were taking a hostile attitude to the revival.

I had been aware that a large number of ministers east of Utica were writing letters about the revivals, and taking a hostile stand against them. But until I came to Auburn I was not fully aware of the amount of opposition I was destined to meet from these ministers – who did not personally know me but were influenced by false reports. Soon after I arrived in Auburn I learned that a secret network was developing with the aim of uniting the ministers and churches to hedge me in, and prevent the revivals from spreading.

I was told that all the New England churches in particular were closed to me. I became quite upset by all of this. I didn’t say anything to anyone, but gave myself to prayer. I asked God to direct me and to give me the grace to ride out the storm. One day I was in my room and the Lord showed me a vision of what lay ahead. He drew so near to me while I was praying that I literally trembled. I shook from head to foot, under a full sense of the presence of God. It seemed more like being on the top of Sinai, with all the thunderings, than in the presence of the cross of Christ.

Never in my life was I so awed and humbled before God. But instead of wanting to run away, I felt drawn nearer and nearer to this Presence that filled me with such awe and trembling. After a period of great brokenness before Him, there came a great lifting up. God assured me that He would be with me and hold me up – that no opposition would succeed against me. He showed me that there was nothing I should do, but to keep ministering and allow Him to vindicate my ministry.

The sense of God’s presence, and all that passed between myself and God at that time, I can never describe. It led me to be perfectly trusting, perfectly calm, and to have nothing but the best attitude towards all the brothers who were misled and were aligning themselves against me. I felt sure that everything would turn out alright in the end – that the best course for me to take was to leave everything to God and just keep on going. As the storm gathered and the opposition increased, I never doubted for one moment how it would result. I was never disturbed by it. I never spent a waking hour thinking about it – even when it seemed as if all the churches in the land, except where I had ministered, would unite to shut me out of their pulpits. This was what the leaders of this opposition had vowed to do. They were so deceived that they thought they had no choice but to unite and, as they expressed it, “put him down.” But God assured me that they would never put me down. Soon after my arrival in Auburn, an interesting incident occurred. My wife and I were the guests of Dr. Lansing, the pastor of the church. His congregation was quite worldly in a lot of ways, and non-Christians accused them of being leaders in fashion and worldliness. As usual my preaching was aimed at the reformation of the church – to get them into a revival state. One Sunday I preached as searchingly as I could on this issue of worldliness. The Word took a deep hold on the people.

At the end of my sermon I asked the pastor to pray. He agreed strongly with my sermon, and before he prayed he spoke to the church, confirming what I had said to them. Suddenly a man stood up in the gallery and said, “Mr. Lansing, I do not believe that such talk from you can do any good while you wear a ruffled shirt and a gold ring, and while your wife and members of your family sit there, dressed as leaders in the fashions of the day.” It seemed like this would kill Dr. Lansing outright. He made no reply, but threw himself across the side of the pulpit and wept like a child. The congregation was almost as shocked and affected as he was. They almost all dropped their heads and many of them wept openly. Apart from the sobs and sighs, the house was deathly silent. I waited a few moments, but Dr. Lansing did not move, so I said a brief prayer and dismissed the congregation.

I went home with the dear, wounded pastor. He took the ring off his finger – it was a slender gold ring that could hardly attract attention – and said that his first wife, on her death bed, had taken it off her finger and placed it on his, asking that he wear it for her sake. He had done so, without a thought of it being a stumbling-block. He said he had worn ruffles since his childhood, and thought nothing of them. “But if these things are a stumbling-block to others,” he said, “I will not wear them.” He was a good man and an excellent pastor.

Soon after this, the church decided to make a public confession to the world of their backsliding and their unchristian attitudes. A confession was written, covering everything. It was submitted to the church for their approval, and then read in front of the congregation. The church stood, many of them weeping, while the confession was read. From that time the revival went on with greatly increased power.

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CHAPTER TWELVE
REVIVAL AT OBERLIN COLLEGE

In January 1835, Rev. John Shipherd and Rev. Asa Mahan persuaded me to go to Oberlin College, Ohio, as professor of theology. So I ended up spending my summers in Oberlin and my winters in New York for several years. Students thronged to the College from every direction.

Businessman Arthur Tappan had promised to finance the College until we no longer needed his help. But we had only just started putting up the buildings, and still needed a large amount of money, when a great financial crash decimated Mr. Tappan’s business, and nearly all of the men who had agreed to support the faculty.

For years afterwards we struggled with poverty. At one stage, I saw no way of providing for my family through the winter. Thanksgiving Day arrived and found us so poor that I had to sell my travelling trunk which I had used in my evangelistic ministry, to replace a cow which I had lost. I woke up on Thanksgiving morning and placed our needs before the Lord in prayer. I said that if help did not come I would assume that it was for the best, and that I would be completely satisfied with whatever God wanted to do. I went and preached, and enjoyed my own preaching as well as I ever did. I had a blessed day, and I could see that the people truly enjoyed it as well.

After the meeting my wife returned home. When I reached the gate, she was standing in the open door with a letter in her hand. She said, “The answer has come, my dear,” and handed me a letter containing a check from Mr. Josiah Chapin of Providence for two hundred dollars. He had been here the previous summer with his wife. I had said nothing about our needs at all, as I had never been in the habit of mentioning them to anybody. In the letter he said that I could expect more from time to time. He continued to send me six hundred dollars a year for several years, and on this we managed to live.

We had a wonderful revival whenever I returned to New York. We also had a revival in Oberlin continually. Very few students came without being converted.

I am convinced that the higher realms of Christian spirituality can only be gained through a terribly searching application of God’s Law to the human conscience and heart.

Over a period of time I became very dissatisfied with my own lack of stability in faith and love. God did not allow me to backslide to the same degree as some other Christians. But I often felt weak when the devil tempted me, and I often needed to hold days of fasting and prayer, and to spend time overhauling my own spiritual life, in order to keep the close communion with God that I needed for revival ministry.

In looking at the state of the church I had to wonder whether there wasn’t something higher and more enduring than the church was aware of – whether there was a higher form of Christian life. I was aware of the ‘Sanctification’ that the Methodists taught. I spent hours searching the Scriptures and reading whatever came to hand on the subject until I became convinced that there really is a higher and more stable form of Christian life – and it is available to every Christian. This led me to preach two sermons on ‘Christian Perfection’, where I aimed to prove that it really is attainable in this life. I was convinced that the doctrine of “entire sanctification” (the ability of Christians to live without known sin) was a doctrine taught in the Bible, and that God had already made available to us a way to live in this state.

The last winter that I spent in New York, the Lord brought a great refreshing upon me. After a time of brokenness and soul-searching, He brought me into a large place and poured a sweetness into my soul similar to that which Edwards says he experienced. That winter I went through a thorough breaking – to such a degree that sometimes I could not keep from weeping loudly over my own sins and also the love of God. Such times were frequent that winter, and resulted in a great renewal of my spiritual strength. They also added to my views of the depths of what God had provided for Christians, and the abundance of His grace.

I know my views on Sanctification have been the subject of a lot of criticism. After a year or two, the cry of ‘antinomian perfectionism’ was heard, and this charge was brought against us. Letters were written and ecclesiastical bodies were consulted, and a great effort was made to present our views as totally heretical. Throughout the land, many ecclesiastical bodies passed resolutions warning against the influence of Oberlin theology. There seemed to be a huge uniting of ministers against us. But we said nothing.

The policy that we have always held to, was to leave the opposition alone. We kept to our own business, and always had as many students as we knew what to do with. Our hands were full, and God always encouraged us in our work.

Nowdays it is hard for people to realize the opposition that we met with when we first established the college. But none of this opposition ruffled our spirits or made us want to fight back. During these years of smoke and dust, of misunderstanding and opposition from without, the Lord was blessing us richly within. Not only were we prospering in our own souls, but we had a continuous revival – we were in what could be called a ‘revival state.’ Our students were converted by the hundreds and the Lord overshadowed us continually with the cloud of His mercy. God’s Spirit swept over us continually from year to year, producing the fruit of the Spirit in abundance – love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. I have always attributed our success entirely to the grace of God. During the winter of 1843 the Lord gave me another thorough overhauling and a fresh baptism of His Spirit. My mind was greatly burdened on the question of personal holiness – and the church’s lack of power and faith in God.

I gave myself to a great deal of prayer. I would go to bed as early as I could, rising at four o’clock in the morning because I could no longer sleep, and go to the study to pray. I was so deeply absorbed in prayer that I often continued from four o’clock until breakfast at eight o’clock. My days were spent searching the Scriptures. I read nothing else all that winter but my Bible, and a great deal of it seemed new to me. Again the Lord seemed to take me from Genesis to Revelation. He led me to see the connection of things – the promises, the threatenings, the prophecies and their fulfillment. The whole Scripture seemed ablaze with the light and the life of God.

Just before this, I had a great struggle to consecrate myself to God in a greater way than I had ever thought possible. I had often laid my family on the altar before God. But during this time I had a great struggle in giving up my wife to God’s will. She was in very poor health, and it was evident that she could not live long. I had never seen so clearly what it meant to lay her and all that I possessed on the altar of God. For hours I struggled on my knees to give her up without reserve to the will of God. But I found myself unable to do it. I was so shocked and surprised at this that I was literally sweating with agony. I struggled and prayed until I was exhausted, and found myself unable to give her up. But later I was enabled to fall back in a deeper sense than ever before, on the perfect will of God. I then told the Lord that I had such confidence in Him that I was totally willing to give myself, my wife and my family, all for Him to do with whatever He willed.

I understood consecration to God in a deeper way than ever before. I spent a long time on my knees pondering the whole thing, and giving up everything to the will of God – the interests of the church, the progress of Christianity, the conversion of the world, and even the salvation or damnation of my own soul. In fact I went so far as to say to the Lord, with all my heart, that He could do anything with me or mine that He wanted. I had such a confidence in His goodness and love that I believed He could do nothing to which I could object. I felt a kind of holy boldness in telling Him this. So deep and perfect a resting in the will of God I had never known before.

I gave up my hope, and rested everything on a new foundation. I remember telling the Lord that I did not know whether He intended to save me or not. I did not even feel concerned to know. I said that if I found that He was preparing me for heaven, working holiness and eternal life in my soul, I would assume that He intended to save me. But if, on the other hand, I found myself empty of His light and love, I would conclude that He saw it wise and expedient to send me to hell – and either way I would accept His will. My mind settled into a perfect stillness.

This was early in the morning, and through the whole of that day I seemed to be in a state of perfect rest, body and soul. The question often arose in my mind during the day, “Do you still abide in the will of God?” I said without hesitation, “Yes, I take nothing back. I have no reason to take anything back.” The thought that I might be lost did not distress me. Indeed, during that whole day I could not find in my mind the least fear, the least disturbing emotion. Nothing troubled me. I was neither elated or depressed, I was neither joyful or sorrowful. My confidence in God was perfect and my mind was as calm as heaven.

In the evening the question arose in my mind, “What if God sends me to hell, what then?” -”I would not object to it.” -”But can He send a person to hell who accepts His will in the sense that you do?” This question was no sooner raised in my mind than settled. I said, “No, it is impossible. Hell could be no hell to me, if I accepted God’s perfect will.” This sprung a vein of joy in my mind that kept developing more and more for weeks and months, and indeed years. For years my mind was too full of joy to feel really anxious on any subject. My prayers seemed to all run into, “Your will be done.” It seemed as if my desires were all met. What I had been praying for I had received in a way that I did not expect. “Holiness to the Lord” seemed to be inscribed on all my thoughts. I had such a strong faith that God would accomplish His perfect will, that I did not care about anything. When I went to God to commune with Him as I often did, I would fall on my knees and find it impossible to ask for anything except that His will might be done in earth as it is in heaven. My prayers were swallowed up in that, and I often found myself smiling, as it were, in the face of God, and saying that I did not want anything. I was very sure that He would accomplish all that He wanted to – and my soul was completely satisfied with that.

It seemed as if my soul was wedded to Christ in a way I had never even thought or imagined before. In fact the Lord lifted me so far above anything I had ever experienced, and taught me so much of the meaning of the Bible, that I often found myself saying to Him, “I had never imagined that such a thing was true.” It seemed to me that the passage, “My grace is sufficient for you,” meant so much that it was a wonder I had never understood it before. I found myself saying, “Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful!” as these revelations were made to me. I spent the remainder of the winter teaching the people about the fullness there is in Christ. But I found that I preached over the heads of the majority of them. Most did not understand me. There were some that did, and they were wonderfully blessed.

I had often experienced unspeakable joy and very deep communion with God, but all this had fallen into the shade under these new experiences. I would often tell the Lord that I had never had any concept of the wonderful things revealed in the Gospel, and the wonderful grace there is in Jesus Christ.

As the excitement of that period faded and my mind became more calm, I saw more clearly the different steps of my Christian walk, and came to recognize the connection of things that had been put in place by God from beginning to end. Since then I have felt a religious freedom, a buoyancy and delight in God and His Word, a steadiness of faith, an overflowing love and liberty, that I had only experienced occasionally before.

A few years after this time of refreshing, my darling wife died. This was a great sorrow to me. However, I did not feel any murmuring or resistance to the will of God. I gave her up to Him without any resistance whatever. But I was very sad. The night after she died I was lying in my room alone, and some Christian friends were sitting in the living room, watching through the night. I had been asleep for a little while, and as I awoke the thought of my bereavement flashed over my mind with such power! My wife was gone! I would never hear her speak again, or see her face! Her children were motherless! What should I do? My brain seemed to reel, as if my mind was going. I rose from my bed exclaiming, “I will go insane if I cannot rest in God.” The Lord soon calmed my mind, but still at times waves of sorrow would come over me that were almost overwhelming.

One day I was on my knees, communing with God on the subject, when suddenly he seemed to say to me, “You loved your wife?” “Yes,” I said. “Well, did you love her for her own sake, or for your sake? Did you love her or yourself? If you loved her for her own sake, why are you so sad that she is with Me? Shouldn’t her happiness with Me make you rejoice instead of mourn, if you loved her for her own sake?”

I can never describe the feelings that came over me when I heard these words. My whole state of mind was changed instantaneously. From that moment, sorrow was gone forever. I no longer thought of my wife as dead, but alive, and in the midst of the glories of heaven. My faith was so strong and my mind so filled with the light of God, that it seemed as if I could enter into the same state of mind that she was in, in heaven. I felt like I experienced the same state of profound, unbroken rest in the perfect will of God. I could see that this is the essence of heaven, and I experienced it in my own soul. I have never to this day lost the blessing of this state of mind.

These are experiences in which I have lived a great deal since that time. But in preaching, I have found that there is nowhere that I can preach these truths and be understood, except by a very small number. I have found that very few appreciate these teachings on the fullness of Christ’s salvation, upon which my own soul delights to feed. Everywhere I am forced to come down to where the people are in order to make them understand me, and I have found that most churches are in such a low state that they are utterly incapable of understanding what I regard as the most precious truths of the whole Gospel.

When preaching to unconverted sinners I am forced, of course, to go back to first principles. In my own experience I have so long passed these outposts and first principles that I cannot live on those truths. However, I have to preach them to the unsaved to see them converted. But it is only now and then that I find it really worthwhile to pour out to Christians the fullness that my own soul sees in Christ. Even here in Oberlin, the majority of believers do not understandingly embrace these truths. They do not oppose them, and as far as they understand them they are convinced. But as a matter of experience they are ignorant of the highest and most precious truths of the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.

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POSTSCRIPT
-by Andrew Strom

There is no doubt in my mind that Charles Finney was the most dominant and influential figure in world Christianity during the nineteenth century. We have just been reading about the way God used him in his early Revivals, but he grew in stature and influence decade after decade, right through the middle part of the century. And in the Western nations it was a century of Revivals like no other.

In 1829 Finney conducted his first Revival meetings in a large city – Philadelphia. The pattern was always the same – fearless ‘repentance’ preaching (in the mold of John the Baptist), and ‘agonizing’ prayer. And there was often great opposition – especially from other ministers – many of whom had never heard him preach. In 1830 he preached in New York City for the first time, and a Christian newspaper was founded called the ‘New York Evangelist’ to publicise his views on Revival. In 1831 he went to Rochester, New York, where he saw one of the most powerful Revivals of his life. In fact, it was so powerful that its infuence was felt right through the United States and an estimated 100,000 people were converted in the space of just one year.

In 1833 Finney became pastor of the Chatham Street Chapel in New York City – a church that would become a leader in the anti-slavery movement by refusing to admit slaveholders to communion.

In 1835 one of Finney’s most influential books was published – his ‘Revival Lectures’. Thousands of copies were sold and the book made its way around the world, where it sparked Revivals in many places – even after his death. It was basically a book on “How to see true Revival occur”. 1835 was also the year that he accepted the position of Professor of Theology at Oberlin College, Ohio – a post that he held right up until his death. He spent several years dividing his time between the church in New York and the College in Ohio. Again, there was continual opposition to his ministry during these years. But there was also continual Revival.

Eventually Finney left the pastorate in New York and based himself out of Oberlin. He continued to hold Revival meetings in various towns and cities during the non-academic part of each year. In 1846 he published his well-known book on Systematic Theology, and in 1849-1850 he visited England on a preaching tour for the first time, where he saw God move powerfully.

I am convinced that Finney’s Revival ministry helped to set the scene for the great Prayer Revival of 1857-1858, during which an estimated two million people were converted in the space of just two years. Speaking of this powerful awakening, Finney wrote: “For a time it was estimated that at least fifty thousand conversions were occurring per week. Daily prayer meetings were established right across the Northern states. I remember in one of our meetings in Boston, a gentleman got up and said, “I am from Omaha, Nebraska. On my journey east I have found a continuous prayer meeting all the way – a prayer meeting about two thousand miles long.”

A short time later the Revival jumped the Atlantic into the United Kingdom. And it just so happened that Finney was due to minister in England and Scotland in 1859-1860, which coincided with the height of the Revival there. Perfect timing! One of the movements that was greatly impacted by Finney’s ministry was the early Salvation Army, which was started by William Booth in England not long after the Revival. They modelled a lot of their preaching on Finney. In 1868, Finney completed work on his autobiography, which was published after his death eight years later. (-This book is based on it). Even in his final months Finney was still preaching. He died in Oberlin on August 16, 1875 at the ripe old age of 82 – a Revivalist to the very end.

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This book Copyright (c) Andrew Strom, 2004.
PERMISSION IS GRANTED to ‘link’-to, photocopy and pass around this work. However, if you wish
to ‘publish’ it or parts of it, you will need to obtain permission from Andrew Strom first.
Andrew Strom – email:
[email protected]

This book can be found at- http://www.revivalschool.com

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Articles

-“THE CHURCH OF TOMORROW” – Andrew Strom

-ARTICLE – “HOW TO HAVE A *PERSONAL* REVIVAL – Andrew Strom. – Practical steps.

-“LOVE PEOPLE PLEASE!” – Andrew Strom

-PROTECTION FROM DECEPTION – Derek Prince. – Controversial! 

-15-YEAR-OLD HAS A “PERSONAL REVIVAL”

-“TO the YOUTH of AMERICA” – Andrew Strom.

-“WHY I LEFT THE PROPHETIC MOVEMENT”  - Andrew Strom.

-“WE’VE LOST THE GOSPEL” – by Andrew Strom

-*PART 2* – “WHY I LEFT THE PROPHETIC MOVEMENT”  -”Naming Names?”

-“WE’VE LOST CHRISTIANITY” – by Andrew Strom.

-THE 5 KEYS TO DISCERNMENT – A. Strom.

-“ASK JESUS INTO OUR HEART”?? – Why is it not in the Bible??

-1965 VISION OF COMING DECEPTION – Stanley Frodsham.

-TODAY’S “UNSAVED” CHURCH – by A. Strom. -How many in our churches today are REALLY walking in Salvation?

-”TWO SECRETS” OF REVIVAL – by Andrew Strom. – Two keys to ‘PERSONAL REVIVAL’.

-THE EDITOR’S BACKGROUND. – “My wilderness experience”.

-JESUS AS “LOVER”?? – Andrew Strom. – A new movement sweeping the church. Is it Scriptural?

-ECONOMIC JUDGMENT IS IMMINENT – 4 PREDICTIONS FROM 2006 – 2007 – A. Strom

-“RE-THINKING THE POPE??” – Why were Evangelical leaders calling the last pope a ‘Great Evangelist’?

-*ARCHIVES* – Read recent messages from our Prophetic/Revival EMAIL LIST.

-“THE PASSION MOVIE” – A Challenge for THE CHURCH - by A. Strom.

-THE ‘NED FLANDERS’ SYNDROME – by A. Strom. - Why the church has been losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the ‘man on the street’ for the past thirty years.

-THE ‘TORONTO’ CONTROVERSY - Disturbing Facts from History – by A. Strom.

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FORUM – UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Our Forum is coming! But we are just ironing out the wrinkles right now…

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