The Sower started in Toronto
Over the last few years Poland is being faced with a growing problem of protestantization of the Catholic Church by American charismatic churches that have their origins in the awakening called the Toronto Blessing and its subsequent spiritual incarnations. What is this awakening that is supposed to continue today in the same place?
The Toronto Blessing is an alleged outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the people of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, formerly known as the Toronto Airport Vineyard church. On January 20, 1994, a Pentecostal pastor named Randy Clark spoke at the church during the sermon and gave his testimony about how he got “drunk” in the Holy Spirit and had uncontrollable outbursts of laughter. In response to his testimony, the gathered people began to laugh, growl, dance, shake, bark like dogs and even fall to the floor like paralytics. These experiences were attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit. Pastor John Arnott called it a great feast of the Holy Ghost. The phenomenon started to be known as the Toronto Blessing and the TACF church attracted the attention of the whole world.
TACF church is known for its emotional outbursts and psychologically bizzare behaviour of its members. Pastor Arnott began focusing almost exclusively on “the feast of the Holy Ghost”. Experiences started to play a greater role than the Scriptures. That was too much even for the extremely charismatic Vineyard Movement, which in 1995 separated itself from the Toronto Airport church, which, in turn, was renamed to Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship.
Many Toronto Blessing leaders argue that the revival associated with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is still ongoing there, and they organize tours from all over the world to Catch The Fire Conference that costs about $ 100. It is worth answering the following questions: Does the Holy Spirit pour out with great power in such loud and crowded places as an airport? Can awakening last for so long? Are not conferences like Catch the Fire only a well packaged marketing product?
Many supernatural phenomena occurring in the TACF can hardly be attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit. Certainly, some kind of spirit is operating during these meetings but it has nothing to do with holiness and does not prompt people to lead a holy life. How can one explain the behaviour of people pretending to be a monkey or a hen, several dozen of people falling down at the same time when one of the pastors waved his jacket, strong convulsions, neck contractures and whole body shaking? When we look at this “blessing” through the lens of the Scriptures, we will see that it has little to do with the phenomena described there. Nowhere in the Bible we find events similar to those from Toronto Airport. The only cases when we read about paralysis or strange behaviour in the Bible are the descriptions of someone exhibiting symptoms of demonic possession.
Whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.
Who sows the seed of deception
The vast majority of Protestant churches have long since distanced themselves from the Toronto Blessing movement, stating bluntly that the outpourings of the Holy Spirit no longer occur at this place. There have remained only a handful of pastors of rapidly developing churches, who have contributed to additional denominations by founding new ones in order to base their teachings not only on the “Prosperity Gospel” but to create new spiritual content based on the “Gospel of signs and wonders”.
People like: Bill Jhonson, Kris Vallorton, Randy Clark, Heidi Baker, Todd White, David Hogan, Benny Hinn, Bob Jones, Rick Joyner and many others marginalize or even reject the Gospel of the Cross, in which every preaching and proclamation of the word of God must have its source.
Below we present profiles of people who historically stood behind the beginning of this new theology and today have the greatest impact on people and emerging charismatic communities, which blindly follow their catchy slogans and succumb to delusion.
Kenneth Erwin Hagin
Kenneth Erwin Hagin (1917 – 2003) was an American neo-Pentecostal preacher, who was often called the “father” of the “Word of Faith” movement. He held prayer meetings, which were attended by hundreds of people.
As the most well known promoter of the Word of Faith Movement, he published more than 40 million copies of his books. He claims that the teachings he preaches were given to him by divine revelation. He also keeps saying that he repeatedly visited heaven and hell and that on many occasions he talked with Jesus, with whom he even had doctrinal disputes.
Some research conducted at universities on doctrines preached by him revealed that they are, in fact, just plagiarisms of works written by E.W. Kenyon, who created the theology of the Word of Faith Movement.
During his ministry, both in his publications and teachings, he preached downright heresies that had nothing to do with the teachings from the Scriptures:
You are as much the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ was
Man (…) was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority (…) God has made us as much like Himself as possible (…) He made us the same class of being that He is Himself!
Spiritual death means having Satan’s nature (…) [Jesus] (…) is the first one who was ever born again
Believe in your heart; say it with your mouth. That is the principle of faith. You can have what you say
Kenneth Copeland, a leader of Charismatic Movements, was born in 1936 in Texas. A teacher and promoter of the Faith Movement, he is also referred to as “the Godfather of the prosperity gospel”. He held prayer meetings together with Rodney Howard-Browne, during which they anointed people with uncontrollable laughter.
At one of the prayer meetings, he anointed Rodney Howard-Brown for ministry. The entire meeting abounded in the anointing of the participants with uncontrolled laughter, moans, screams and uncontrollable shaking of the bodies of the gathered people.
Kenneth Copeland claims that he experienced numerous mystical revelations. One of them he describes as follows:
The Spirit of God: Son, realize this. Now follow me in this and don’t let any tradition to prevent you from understanding of what I am saying to you. Think this way: a twice-born man whipped Satan in his own domain, the firstborn of many brethren defeated him. You are the very image and the very copy of that one. Kenneth: Well now you don’t mean, you couldn’t dare mean, that I could have done the same thing? The Spirit of God: Oh yeah. If you’d had the same knowledge of the Word of God that He did, you could’ve done the same thing, ’cause you’re a reborn man too. (…)Do not worry when people accuse you of being God. I did not claim to be God at all. I just kept saying that I was walking with Him and that He was in me.
He claims that the Spirit of God spoke to him and said that he could defeat Satan in the same way as Jesus did so, provided that he had sufficient knowledge of the Word of God. He even said to Kenneth: “You are the very image of [Him]. “In this case, the conversation was about defeating Satan by Jesus on the Cross, as evidenced in the words “a twice-born man [Jesus]”. What is worse, in emphasizing His humanity, he refers to these words twice in his earlier statement about Kenneth’s being His “very image and copy”.
It is interesting to notice one important detail in the last sentence by the Spirit of God, who referred to Jesus as “He”, as if he was not able to say the name “Jesus”. We know from the accounts of exorcists that during their ministry, when Satan manifests himself, he would never say “Jesus and Mary” but he would always use “He and She” instead.
During his ministry, Kenneth Copeland published a number of books and video tapes with the teachings, in which he presents heresies and blasphemies unknown in the entire church history before:
- He puts himself in the place of God by claiming that he is the god,
- He claims to have the same creative power as God, but cannot show it in any way,
- He teaches the same thing Satan spoke when he wanted to take the place of God,
- He teaches the same things that Satan said to Eve in the garden of Eden,
- He denies the deity of Jesus Christ,
- He denies the uniqueness and power of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, claiming that he could do it himself.
I was shocked when I found out who the biggest failure in the Bible actually is (…) The biggest one in the whole Bible is God (…) Now, the reason you don’t think of God as a failure is He never said He’s a failure. And you’re not a failure till you say you’re one.
You’re all God. You don’t have a God living in you; you are one! (…) When I read in the Bible where God tells Moses, “I AM,” I say, “Yah, I am too!”
In hell He [Jesus] suffered for you and for me. The Bible says hell was made for Satan and his angles. It was not made for men. Satan was holding the Son of God there illegally (…) The trap was set for Satan and Jesus was the bait.
Jesus existed only as an image in the heart of God, until such time as the prophets of the Old Testament could positively confess Jesus into existence through their constant prophecies.
You don’t have a god in you, you are one.
You are not a spiritual schizophrenic – half-God and half-Satan – you are all-God.
Pray to yourself, because I’m in your self and you’re in My self. We are one Spirit, says the Lord.
Satan defeated Jesus on the cross and took his Spirit into the darkness of hell.
Benny hinn is one of the greatest televangelist in the US. He has organized many healing meetings, which he has been conducting for over 30 years, but up to this day he has no medically confirmed case of healing. In fact, it would be a miracle that he had one, so Benny Hinn has at least one confirmed miracle on his account among many that he perfoms. Unfortunately, all other miracles do not reflect reality.
He also claims that he was heavily anointed by the deceased Kathryn Kuhlman, although he never met her. He gained this anointment thanks to his friend Bill Johnson, who introduced him to “grave sucking”, which was a common practice in the Bethel church. The pastor visited numerous graves of the dead people, from whom he got their anointment.
What he preaches and what he states about himself is a blasphemy he took from the Faith Movement, which also influenced greatly a very well-known celebrity, Joyce Meyer.
Ladies and gentlemen, the serpent is a symbol of Satan. Jesus Christ knew the only way he would stop Satan was by becoming one in nature with him. (…) He did not take my sin; he became my sin. Sin is the nature of hell. Sin is what made Satan (…) He [Jesus] became one with the nature of Satan, so all those who had the nature of Satan can partake of the nature of God.
I am a “little messiah” walking on earth.
God the Father is a person separate from the Holy Ghost. Totally separate.
Had the Holy Spirit not been with Jesus, He would have sinned.
Hinn claims that when one is born again by faith in Jesus, he is given a new spirit man that is divine in nature and God-like.
Benny Hinn does not need God because he claims to be god himself and his divine actions can be seen on the videos below.
A Christian evangelist born in 1961 in South Africa. As a child, he grew up in a Pentecostal family and attended the Faith Movement school founded by Kenneth Erwin Hagin – RHEMA Bible College in South Africa. In 1987 he immigrated to the US together with his family. In 1996 he founded the River church at Tampa Bay, where he still serves as a pastor. He is the chairman of Revival Ministries International, River Bible Institute and River School of Worship.
After his immigration to the US, he began to conduct meetings during which he anointed people with “uncontrollable laughter”. At one of such meetings he was anointed by Kenneth Copeland for further ministry. He worked with Benny Hinn, who had a direct influence on him.
During the preaching on hell, the members of the congregation were laughing so hard, that they were unable to listen to this Word.
He bacame famous thanks to his ministry full of “signs and wonders”, “fire”, slaying in the Spirit and manifestations of uncontrolled laughter among gathered people, which caused him to call himself a “Holy Ghost bartender”. He was involved in the church revival in Carpenter’s Home Church in Lakeland, Florida, and in the Toronto Blessing revival in 1994, before the outbreak of which he anointed Randy Clark, while attending Kenneth Hagin’s RHEMA congregation in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At present, as a representative of the Faith Movement, he cooperates with the Vineyard movement.
Born in 1952, Randy Clark is a Pentecostal church pastor and one of the leading figures in Toronto Blessing community, who works in a ministry organization called Global Awakening. He has never detached himself from this movement, but he promotes it in the Christian world up to this day. He is very focused on “signs and wonders”, omitting or marginalizing other aspects of faith.
In 1993, together with Bill Mares, they went to the meeting conducted by Rodney Howard-Brown at Kenneth Wayne Hagin’s Faith Movement school, RHEMA, in Tulus. At this meeting Randy Clark fell to the ground when Rodney Howard-Brown prayed over him. According to Randy’s account, the person lying next to him “began to squeal like a pig”, and he himself started to laugh uncontrollably and this behaviour continued even when the entire meeting was already over.
On January 20, 1994, during a seromon in a chuch in Toronto, Randy Clark gave a testimony of how he got “drunk” in the Holy Spirit and had uncontrollable outbursts of laughter. In response to his testimony, the gathered people began to laugh, growl, dance, shake, bark like dogs and even fall to the floor like paralytics. These experiences were attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit. Pastor John Arnott called it a great feast of the Holy Ghosta and the phenomenon started to be known as the Toronto Blessing.
Born in 1951, he is a Pentecostal pastor of Bethel Church in Redding (California). Previously, this church was led by his father. Between the years 1978 and 1996, Bill served as a pastor at Mountain Chapel church in Weaverville, California. He participated in the Toronto Blessing revival in 1995, when he received his anointing. A year later, he and his wife Beni returned to Bethel Church in Redding to serve as pastors there. In 1998 they founded Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry to train a new generation of people awakened to ministry.
He preaches, writes books and organizes prayer meetings, during which the supernatural things happen that are described in other sections. He personally promotes and supports such people as Todd Bentley, Heidi Baker or Benny Hinn in their activities.
His teachings are visibly rooted in the heretical Faith Movement. The content of his publications and interpretations of the Sciptures that he preaches stand in opposition to the true Word of God and the teachings of the church.
Jesus had no ability to heal the sick. He couldn’t cast out devils, and He had no ability to raise the dead. He said of Himself in John 5:19, “the Son can do nothing of Himself.” He had set aside His divinity. (…) He put self-imposed restrictions on Himself to show that us we could do it, too. Jesus so emptied Himself that He was incapable of doing what was required of Him by the Father – without the Father’s help.
There are several problems associated with Bill Johnson’s teachings. For instance, the theological inaccuracy in the statement that “Jesus could not…” and that Jesus “laid aside His divinity”. We are teetering here on the verge of denying Christ’s divinity because divinity cannot be “put aside” by definition and God cannot be attributed with anything that would be against His being omnipotent.
He performed miracles, wonders, and signs, as a man in right relationship to God (…) not as God. If He performed miracles because He was God, then they would be unattainable for us
He equates Jesus with man by depriving Him of the divine nature, from where it is a short step to develop the “divine concept of man” that is proclaimed within the New Age movement.
On his Facebook profile he wrote a post that over 140,000 people liked.
If Jesus Christ performed His earthly miracles as God, I stand amazed. But if He did them as a man dependent on God, I am compelled to follow His lead.
Bethel Church in Redding (California)
Bethel Church has its roots in the heretic Faith Movement and Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin’s “prosperity gospel”. It cooperates with and promotes such people as: Benny Hinn, Orale Roberts, Heidi Baker, Todd Bentley, Randy Clark and Bob Jones.
Step by step, Prophetic Movement in Bethel Church ceases to read the Bible on a regular basis. Its members justify this fact by saying: “We need fresh words from the Lord today, and the Word of God alone is not enough to have a full relationship with God.” Today one can encounter more and more people who try to explain their unbiblical beliefs, visions and supernatural experiences by their personal experience, which they are unable to substantiate with the Word of God.
The Holy Bible is used when this church wants to confirm the direction it has already decided on, and is ignored when the Scriptures stand in contradiction to what was chosen. It have to be mentioned that its members desire a special experience with God so desparately, that they put themselves in the role of over-Christians, which fits the concept of the Manifest Sons of God.
An astonishing practice found at Bethel school is receiving an anointing called “grave sucking”, which involves visiting the graves of people whom God has used in the past, and soaking up the anointing from them. This is an evident occult practice.
The testimonies of the former members (link) of Bethel Church are clear-cut: in this church there is no teaching about sin, there is no proclamation of Jesus as the Crucified and Jesus Christ is not presented as our sole basis for justification, there is no preaching about hell and God’s judgement. Instead, we have another example of higly promoted “prosperity Gospel”.
In Bethel Church many people have mystical experiences with Jesus like, for instance, this young man talking about how Jesus apologized to him for the suffering he experienced (video below).
In this church such a deep deformation of man’s relationship with God has taken place that it is Jesus who apologizes to believers in Bethel and not members of this church ask forgiveness for their sins. By rejecting human suffering and its salvific value for spiritual development, character formation and the growing of faith through offering one’s sufferings to Jesus and experiencing how He is present in our lives and solves our problems, Bethel Church becomes fertile ground for new heresies.
Lack of spiritual discernment and constant pursuit of mysticism make their members able to belive in any revelation, any word they see or hear, which results in them building their position in the church as more and more recognizable mystics, prophets or even apostles. It would be good to know whether they have ever questioned any revelation, word from God or a prophecy that would lead them to discern if all of that comes from the evil spirit. If they have never questioned anything, they are a perfect target for the evil one because he is able to provide them with spiritual illusions that are intended to infest the resources of this church so it can work for him and serves his vicious purposes.
Warning of the converted occult
Renee Roland was practicing occult in Hollywood for many years and she was a reiki master. She practiced yoga and heard demonic voices. Now, she talks about some behaviours and teachings that are present in Bill Johnson’s Bethel school and in the International House of Prayer IHOP. She has converted and now she lives for Jesus Christ.
Renee, being a person who had contact with the occult, confirms that all human behaviours that are present in Bethel Church and IHOP can be found in yoga, reiki and everything that is associated with the New Age. She also says that in Bethel they do not preach the correct doctrine and they do things that are contrary to the Scriptures. She cautions unequivocally to stay away from them!
John Arnott, Carol Arnott
John and Carol Arnott are the founding pastors of Catch The Fire church (previously known as Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship) and overseers of the Partners in Harvest Network of Churches. John and Carol are international speakers, who perform a large-scale Revival ministry based on spectacular “signs and wonders”, having an impact on the lives of millions of people.
John graduated from Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale College) in the late 1960s and then pursued a successful career in business. In 1980, during a trip to Indonesia, John and Carol responded to God’s call on their lives for full-time ministry. Upon returning home in 1981, they started Jubilee Christian Fellowship church in Stratford, Ontario. Then in 1987 they went to Toronto, where they founded Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF). In January 1994, after the alleged outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Revival evolved into endless meetings and TACF became famous all around the world.
John and Carol are the organizers of the Catch The Fire conference, which unites the growing international family of churches in a shared ministry initiated at Toronto Blessing revival in 1994.
Speakers invited to those conferences include: Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and Heidi Baker.
The selection of invited guests shows that during these meetings what is proclaimed there are the heresies flowing from the Faith Movement, which in the form of “prosperity Gospel” are preached by its “Godfather”, Kenneth Copeland, and the one who is supposed to provide intense emotions and great show on the stage is a mountebank, Benny Hinn.
Born in 1955, Mike Bickle is an American Evangelical Christian leader, pastor and a founder of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. Having finished his ministry as a pastor of several churches in St. Luis, Bickle moved to Kansas City, where he started Metro Christian Fellowship in 1982. In 1990 the Fellowship joined the Association of Vineyard Churches led by John Wimber and remained a part of that association until 1996.
Międzynarodowy dom modlitwy IHOP w Kansas City
In 1999, Mike Bickle left Metro church and started the International House of Prayer, where worship is held 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. He also established a highly successful Bible college, known as the International House of Prayer University and started a group named Kansas City Prophets, responsibe for prophetic ministry, that inculed Bob Jones, Paul Cain, John Paul Jackson, and others. The people that Bickle promoted over the years – Bob Jones and Paul Cain – were publicly exposed as hypocrites leading a life completely different from what they taught.
Mike Bickle claims to have had several encounters with God, including hearing the audible voice of God and being taken to heaven. This testimony is reminiscent of Kenneth Hagin’s experience that he kept talking about, which, in turn, was copied from Kenneth Hagin’s mentor: E.W. Kenyon.
Both IHOP and Bill Johnson’s ministries have much in common, because both of them are rooted in the Latter Rain Movement and they are targeted at young people and focused on elitism, the manifest sons of God teaching and mysticism containing the elements of gnosis.
All their activities are based on spiritual confusion, which promises health, wealth, power, “signs and wonders”. People tired of the simplicity of the Gospel and youngsters overwhelmed by the spirit of this world easily find their place in the ministry groups that exist there.
For 22 years Todd White was an atheist addicted to drugs. As he says, when God came into his life, He set him free and appointed him for service. Currently, he acts as a street evangelist, putting his hands on every person he encounters and passing on his anointing. He is also a leader of ministry and teaching during the conference.
He is very close with Bill Johnson, Bethel Church, Jesus Culture band, Toronto Blessing movement and “New Apostolic Reformation” that promotes the “Gospel of signs and wonders”.
When he heard about Toronto Blessing and the anointing of “fire”, he got very interested in it and received this anointing from Randy Clark, and the whole event is reported by him as follows:
The Holy Spirit threw me onto the floor. I was screaming, it was the most horrible thing in my life, it was a very painful experience, I was shaking all over my body, I thought I was going to die, but Randy Clark said, “More, Lord! You won’t die from it!
He also received anointing for his ministry from Bill Johnson, Roland, Heidi Baker and Benny Hinn. He considers Patricia King to be his “spiritual mother”, with whom he belongs to the Manifestation of the Sons of God movement, that spreads new teachings and power.
The testimony of his anointing is terrifying and inspires terror, which is never accompanied by the Holy Spirit. Undoubtedly, it was more of a demonic activity than God’s grace.
Patricia King, who also gave him an anointing of, as she put it, “the New Breed”, reports this event as follows:
(…) he was just hit with an enormous power, fell to the ground like a dead man and and did not know what was going on with him. When he finally came to his senses, he was lying on the floor, covered with a bunch of money (which people scattered on him while he was “knocked down” by power), because he needed them in order to pay off his debts that he got into by buying drugs. It was this experience that opened a “new beginning in ministry” for him – soon after that he quitted his job and started “living by faith”, evangelizing and traveling the world.
In his teachings, Todd White often speaks of love, forgiveness of sins, and the fact that it is enough to accept Jesus in one’s heart and there is nothing more to be done. He does not say anything about justice, the holiness of God, the way to salvation, the necessity of repentance, suffering or penance. He treats the Gospel in a very superficial way and he supports his teachings only with those quotes from the Bible that are “comfortable” and confirm what he preaches. He depicts Jesus Christ as a “healing machine”, telling a person he encounters to say the formula for “forgiving the sins and accepting Jesus into the heart” and the Lord Jesus will heal him or her.
During his conferences he promises everyone that they will walk in Jesus’ power and that they will perform great “signs and wonders” and will conquer the world as being like “Jesus on earth”. His preaching is based primarily on emotions, miracles he boasts about, experiences and testimonies from his life. All of this he enriches and supports with attractive passages from the Scriptures, which he takes out of their context and which sells well to the public. The pattern of his preaching can be summarized in the following points:
- Jesus is the source of power and we should follow Him,
- Give your whole life to Jesus,
- You will possess the power of Jesus and you will perform great “signs and wonders”.
Such kind of teaching finds its way to our modern mutilated society, which quickly picks up these catchy slogans. Unfortunately, such approach keeps us in the sphere of emotions and sensations, without exerting any influence on the human heart, establishing a true relationship with God, and following Jesus not only through miracles and signs, but also through the cross and suffering up to the resurrection.
Born in 1976, a Canadian evangelist, who was a key person responsible for revival in Lakeland (Florida). In his childchood he had problems with alcohol and drugs and he was also convicted of sexually assaulting a younger boy.
In 1998 Bentley took over leadership of Fresh Fire Ministries Canada, a group, which became more than a revival movement. In April 2008 he was invited by Stephen Strader of Ignited Church in Lakeland to lead a revival there, which lasted four months. The event was highly publicized in the media and was transmitted all around the world.
After the divorce with his wife in 2008, he resigned from being a leader of Fresh Fire Ministry, which a year later was renamed Transform International. The same year, with the help of Rick Joyner, he formed a new group called Fresh Fire USA.
In many respects the revival in Florida is identical to the Toronto Blessing in Canada or Brownsville in Pensacola (Florida). It focuses on miraculous healings and is accompanied by numerous ecstatic manifestations and esoteric experiences. Their leaders also claims that there have been many people raised from the dead. Unfortunately, none of the miraculous healings or resurrections have been medically confirmed, and when Todd was asked to provide such evidence, he sent only a few medical forms, which were partially and chaotically filled.
Todd Bentley claims that the Holy Spirit uses him to heal the people. If that is really the case, then He does it in a very acrobatic manner, which resembles more street fighting than ministry full of humility and love. Bentley does not pray over people. Instead, he just kicks them, roll over the stage, hits them in their face, uses wrestling grips on them and claims that it is God who tells him to do it!
Born in 1959, she is an American missionary working in Mozambique. In 1980, together with her husband Rolland, she went to Asia where they founded Iris Global organization that focuses on preaching the Gospel and helping children in Africa. While in Asia they worked with the poor people living in the slums of Jakarta and they spent 12 years there.
In 1995, Heidi and Rolland left for Mozambique to serve orphans and abandoned children there. A year later, Heidi became ill with tuberculosis and pneumonia but, in spite of her doctor’s recommendation, she went to a healing meeting in Toronto. She claims to have received a vision there from Jesus, who showed her thousands of children to feed. After receiving this vision, she was healed.
Heidi seems to be a very warm person who is full of love and who is dedicated to charitable service for the poor and the abandoned, for which she is known throughout the world. She is also invited to conferences during which supposedly supernatural activities of the Holy Spirit take place. She talks about spectacular healings, food multiplications, and even resurrections, which pastors trained by her are said to have performed more than fifty. Of course, none of these miraculous healings or resurrections has been medically documented.
Considering the person of Heidi Baker, one can be enchanted by her devotion and dedication to other people but the facts about her behaviour during prayer meetings and preaching are very disturbing.
Heidi Baker conducts a meeting where he encourages everyone to lay hands on the head of others to anoint them. He puts his hand on the boy’s head, who, after a while, begins to moan frantically, scream and writhe on the floor like a snake.
Heidi, at many meetings, very clearly addresses the gods (plural) and not the one God the Father. She mentions powerful experiences with the gods, she says to listen to gods and their commandments.
In the video above, there are many references to “gods”:
- 2:07 “after I had a powerful experience with gods”,
- 2:19 “living in the river over there with love with gods”,
- 2:49 “the heavy wavy glory of gods”,
- 2:54 “don’t to be fool that daddy is not the holy gods”,
- 3:04 “listen to your gods”,
- 3:48 “carry the presence of gods”,
- 3:50 “I just want more of gods”,
- 4:01 “the commands of the Lords”,
- 4:08 “glory of gods… ribba”,
- 4:31 “children teaches feel the king of gods”.
Heidi pronounces strange names or names: “szaka-baba”, “szaba”, “szaka-raba” and she does it when she turns to some gods. Instead of saying “Jesus”, she uses these strange names.
It is evident that adding the consonant “-s” at the end of the words “God” and making them plural is not accidental. It is not just releasing air at the end of the spoken phrase, lisping or emotions, but a deliberate action, which does not occur just once but repeatedly.
In the above video, instead of the name of Jesus, she uses the names of some gods:
- 0:01 “szaka-baba jeee god”,
- 0:33 “the river coming from the throne in of the lamb szaka-raba”.
An American pastor and preacher who promotes her teachings through numerous publications, radio and television broadcasts. She is firmly rooted in the Faith Movement and in her teachings she proclaims the “prosperity Gospel”. She preaches that if a person believes strongly enough, nothing is impossible for him – God then grant this person all his heart’s desires, such as physical health or wealth. This is a popular view held among the activists involved in the Faith Movement.
All I was ever taught to say was I a poor miserable sinner. I am not poor, I am not miserable, and I am not a sinner. That is a lie from the pit of hell. That is what I were and if I still was then Jesus died in vain. I’m going to tell you something folks, I didn’t stop sinning until I finally got it through my thick head I wasn’t a sinner anymore. And the religious world thinks that’s heresy and they want to hang you for it. But the Bible says that I’m righteous and I can’t be righteous and be a sinner at the same time.
Such teaching stands in opposition to what is written in the Scriptures:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
So we are righteous in the same sense in which Jesus became sin. Our sin was laid upon Jesus, and God the Father punished Him instead of us.
This woman pastor also teaches that Jesus has ceased to be the Son of God:
He could have helped himself up until the point where he said I commend my spirit into your hands. At that point he couldn’t do nothing for himself anymore. He had become sin. He was no longer the son of God, he was sin.
Jesus has always been the Son of God! He never became defiled in His nature, and He became sin only in the sense that he took the place of the believing sinners and took the punishment of us all in order to make us righteous before the Father.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
According to the Word of God, teachers who question the Son of God are antichrists:
Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also.
Her teachings are full of Bible verses taken out of context. She says to the gathered people: get up in the morning, smile, and everything will be fine. You will be healthy and wealthy – just believe it. Her audience is eager to accept such words, as everyone would rather be rich and healthy than sick and poor. The message is particularly appealing to people that are lost in their life and faith, and to those that seek quick and easy solutions.
It is clearly visible that the pastors mentioned above are developing a new doctrine, which aim is to wipe out the difference between the Creator and His creation from where there is a simple path to another heresy introduced under the cover of beautiful preaching. It should be noted that in their teachings false prophets sows only a few percent of “weeds”, which are very often difficult to detect exactly because there is nothing wrong with the rest that is preached.
The teachings of those people are often plentiful of catchy and popular topics related to abundance, fatherhood and sonship, inheritance, accomplished salvation and power. Year by year, their preachings become more and more deceptive, enriched with new heresies.
(…) The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away.
This new doctrine incorporates cleverly interwoven New Age ideology and theology of the Faith Movement, behind which one and the same spirit of deception stands.
New Age Ideology
New Age is a rapidly spreading movement that proclaims a gnostic approach in which everything is god: man as well. It is a monistic system in which the boundaries between all beings are eliminated and there is no distinction between God, man and the world. The elimination of these boundaries means that man is not considered a sinful creature and thus the concept of grace, asceticism, sin, the necessity of penance and the salvation given to us, cease to make sense. Such a worldview stands in opposition to Christian truths.
According to the truths proclaimed in this movement, the mind and spirit of a god-man have great hidden powers, which can be used to solve the problems plaguing humankind. A faith so constructed is in fact faith in man, and the spirit that is behind it is not the Spirit of Christ. The spirit that equates man with God is the spirit of the fallen angel – satan, of whom the prophet Isaiah says:
Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your harps; (…) How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! (…) You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.
The Apostle Paul said that this spirit would be deceiving people in the last days:
Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God.
It is worth quoting a statement by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, which clearly warns against falling under the influence of New Age trends, which under the name of prayer meetings cultivate the form of false worship.
Some local New Age groups refer to their meetings as “prayer groups”. People who are invited to such meetings should look for signs of true Christian spirituality and treat with suspicion any sort of initiation ceremony, for it happens that such groups prey on the lack of theological or spiritual formation of a person in order to gradually lure him or her into something that can be in reality a form of false worship. A Christian must be taught about the true object and content of a prayer – in the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ, to God the Father – so that she can properly figure out the intentions of a given “prayer group”. The Christian prayer and God of Jesus Christ will then be easy to recognize.
Faith Movement Theology
Faith Movement, also known as the Theology of Positive Confession, has its origins in the 1960s in the United States, which on the charismatic and Pentecostal grounds resulted in a different notion of the practical consequences of Jesus’s death on the cross. Faith Movement emphasizes very strongly that during earthly life we can experience healing, prosperity and wealth, which are inscribed in the salvation of man.
The origins of this theology can be traced back to the teaching of Calvin, who, in opposition to the medieval church, began to sanctify work, claiming that if someone has a talent for acquiring wealth, it is a talent given by God and the acquisition of wealth is nothing bad, and can even become a good thing. It is worth to remember that for a Christian the possession of wealth is not a bad thing, unless it captivates him or distances him from God and his neighbor.
American preachers of the Faith Movement are very eager to quote fragments from the Bible about healing and having the right to be rich:
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him,and by his wounds we are healed.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
Such a selective approach to the Scriptures is very characteristic of the followers of the Faith Movement, Protestants or Pentecostal movements.In their teachings they cite only motivational fragments like the one mentioned, omitting the difficult doctrine of the cross and suffering. Thus, they formulate a doctrine on the basis of the chosen passages and not the entire text of the Bible.
This approach is very dangerous because it does not bring up the subject of the way of the sacrifice that leads to the abundance resulting from being resurrected with Jesus,but merely concentrates on receiving everything here and now without any effort of establishing a deeper relationship with God.
The Faith Movement preaches that man, through his own rebirth, becomes a god, and this is done in the following way:
- before the fall of the first humans, man was a god on earth,
- Adam, through sin, has given away his deity to satan,
- Jesus (as a man), being in hell for three days, took back the deity of man from satan,
- by being born again, man was freed from the nature of satan and became a god – the incarnation took place,
- the authority that had been possessed by God was handed over to “men-gods”.
Many people are led astray by listening to such distorted doctrine that derives from the Scriptures by changing the interpretation of God’s truths at the preacher’s will, who uses the name of Christ to reassure the listener that he acts in the authority of Jesus. Most victims of this deception are not aquainted with theology and the Bible well enough to spot falsehood and heresies in such teachings.
Jesus answered them: Beware that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ!’ and they will lead many astray.
Because the described charismatic movements adhere to a new doctrine, they also introduced new Gospels to their ministry, which perfectly complement this doctrine. The main features of these Gospels are the rejection of suffering and the cross, and the focus on external supernatural phenomena. The new Gospels are based on cunningly chosen passages of the Holy Scriptures, which are properly wrapped up and served to beaten by life Christians, who, faced with the choice of the true God-revealed Gospel and an attractive Gospel of prosperity, choose the latter.
The “prosperity gospel” originates from the Faith Movement and its message focuses on the resurrected Jesus as the Giver of all the blessings. It neglects the way of the cross that we have to go through in our lives in order to meet Jesus with His abundance. Preachers of such a gospel ignore the hardships and sufferings that each of us must undergo in this life. They do not explain the importance of suffering in our lives, which is a source of many fruit and graces. Suffering is God’s heart graver, with which the Almighty teaches and shapes unruly sinners. This new gospel diminishes the importance of the Cross and the merits that we have receive thanks to it.
It often happens that for these preachers the meaning of abundance does not go beyond the framework of material wealth and they focus on money as an end in itself and not as a mean to the development of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus wants to give spiritual and material abundance to everyone, but it must flow from a relationship based on the whole Gospel.
Gospel of signs and wonders
The “Gospel of Signs and Wonders” is a new trend created by those who are focused on the power, “signs and wonders” that accompany their ministry. Very often the pursuit of God’s power replaces building a relationship with God, thus giving a free operating space for the evil spirits. The purpose of proclaiming such a Gospel is to create greatest possible experience for the followers of those preachers, which leads to the deformation of spiritual life.
Pastors beaming with the “Gospel of Signs and Wonders” sets the boundaries within which the Holy Spirit can operate. One can say that they “juggle” with Him as they want and when they want. They wave their arms, throwing the Holy Spirit from the stage towards the gathered crowds and shouting: “Catch Him, He’s here, and now He’s over there”.
This mad pursuit of sensation led to the point in which a woman died and many other people suffered serious injuries during such mass falls in the spirit. When true and real falling in the Holy Spirit occurs, nobody is injured.
It is worth noting that healings that have place during such meetings end as soon as TV cameras are turned off. It might be hard to believe but none of these religious celebrities like Todd Bentley, Heidi Baker, Benny Hinn or Morris Cerullo have a single documented medically confirmed case of healing and most of them have been in the ministry for over thirty years.
Sensations above everything else
Spiritual formation that is promoted focuses on the source of clear and spectacular sensations, i.e. experiences of ecstasy, mass slaying in the Spirit, intercessory prayer, healings etc. without the necessity of giving up anything, the need for penance and to follow the path of the cross and to deny oneself. Agreeing with God’s will, accepting good and bad moments in our lives, even suffering, are replaced by the hunting for pleasure, i.e. for what I consider to be good for me. The main emphasis is placed on experiencing sensations continuously, marginalizing other aspects of faith.
Such an approach does not build character in a man, which is far more important than the anointing because it protects the believer from deception. The more anointed a man is, the more he is attacked by the evil spirit, who tries to entice him away from the narrow path that leads to Jesus.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Pastors of these churches are more like religious celebrities doing a “show”, focusing on their own ego, and managing their churches as a thriving business in order to maximize their profits. They are not interested in making daily effort to become true men of God, who put loving and serving other people above everything else as a paradigm of the true Gospel.
Is this the Holy Spirit?
During prayer meetings, especially those in charismatic communities, one can experience the real presence of the Holy Spirit. We can observe that on the basis of actions He performs. Actions which sometimes are difficult to explain and understand. His presence always brings about changes. The Holy Spirit cannot be controlled and be told how and when He should operate, because He never works when we want and in the way we want, but He always acts as He wants and when He wants.
The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.
When we are truly born of the Holy Spirit, in our life we start to see a beautiful fruit testifying the transformation of a man.
(…) the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (…)
Another very important sign of the Holy Spirit’s presence is freedom. Internal freedom, no subjugation to money, addictions or other people, which is so common in today’s world.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
During prayer meetings led by these charismatic celebrities, very spectacular things take place. People squirm in convulsions howling with pain, laugh like hyenas, behave like dogs, their heads, hands or the whole body shakes. Some people have characteristic neck contractures and others behave like crazy, running around the room and being unable to control their own bodies. Other people are taken down to the ground or fall down en masse.
It is impossible not to notice that there is a complete rift between visible effects of the Holy Spirit’s presence described in the Scriptures that have been mentioned above and the visible behavior of people during the type of meetings originated from the Toronto Blessing. These meetings witness demonic manifestations, people deprived of all their dignity, parades of pride and complete enslavement of people. Certainly, this is not the work of the Holy Spirit.
Among the various types of behaviors that accompany people, you can notice:
- People falling down
- People falling down en masse
- Falling into a trance
- Speaking in tongues
- Body bondage
- Body convulsions
- Body spasms
- Leg movements
- Hands shaking
- Neck contractures
- Head shaking
- Electric shock feeling
- Mad-like behaviour
- Behaving like animals
- Wild laughter
- Squirming on the floor
According to Hinduism, every human being has within himself/herself a source of divine energy, which, for instance in yoga, is called kundalini. In order to grow spiritually, regardless of our path, the kundalini must be active. For most people, the kundalini energy lies dormant at the bottom of the spine, in the root chakra called Muladhara. When it is awakened, it ascends through the remaining six chakras until it reaches the highest chakra called Sahasrara. When this happens, a person unites with his/her True Self and finds fulfillment.
Kundalini is defined as sacred spiritual power having the nature of “the Serpent Fire”, which is the basis of Indian tantra and hathayoga. This energy is considered the personification of the power of the cosmic goddess and the female element of god. Having contact with this energy is occult practice and leads to dramatic spiritual consequences.
The notion of “energy” treated as a deity blurs the differences between the soul and the body. This ideology is promoted under the banner of healing the body in order to heal the spirit. This type of concept shows that salvation in done at the level of the body and to achieve this there is no need to fight against sin. Currently, this product is sold under the name of “prosperity Gospel”, in which the cross, penance and suffering have been rejected.
At the First Symposium of the Dowsers Society in Warsaw in 1981 the term “energy” was defined according to which energy was assigned personal characteristics. The use of such “energy” is therefore an act of idolatry. Additionally, one can deduce what consequences of having contact with the deified energy can be on the basis of exorcisms carried out over its victims.
George Sidney Arundale, who researched the topic, spoke about the danger of awakening kundalini energy.
While it is being said that the path of occultism is “inundated with catastrophe upon catastrophe”, I will dare to say that activation of Kundalini energy is involved with something more than a disaster.
Another great danger that is connected with kundalini awakening is also the fact that at the beginning one can quickly notice some positive results, which in time evolve into horrifying experiences that can have impact on the rest of one’s life. Regardless of whether we are dealing with bioenergotherapy, reiki, acupuncture, acupressure, yoga, Transcendental Meditation, tantric sexual practices, rebirthing, etc., these are practices that awaken the kundalini energy.
Laying hands on the head
A common practice present during pentecostal meetings is laying hands on the other people’s heads. This is a ritual gesture performed during anointing and reserved exclusively for priests.
The only exception to this rule is a situation where people are related to each other through blood ties or the sacrament of marriage. Hence, the father of the family can pray over his wife and children laying his hands on their heads and vice versa, children can pray in this way over their parents.
Rodney Howard-Browne puts her hand on the heads of others. People fall to the ground. The woman starts screaming loudly, and the man beside him gets uncontrollable laughter.
Andres Bisonni gives another person an anointing by putting a hand on the head as a result of which these people fall to the ground what looks like a rest in the Holy Spirit.
Shaktipat is a ritual gesture of initiation, which involves imparting spiritual energy from the teacher to the student in order to awaken the kundalini. Anandi Ma has compared this process to lighting one candle with another that is already burning and giving light. When the teacher is fully realized and has complete control over the energy, shaktipat initiation ensures that the student’s energy remains active and stable.
The ritual, anointing gesture – shaktipat, has been copied by pentecostal movements, activists connected with the Toronto Blessing and charismatic communities that model themselves on these movements. If a person, in whom the kundalini spirit is present, anoints another person, then in comes to the various manifestations of this deified energy, which are perceived as manifestations of the Holy Spirit by these communities. Of course, the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with that.
In the television program, the guru talks about kundalini energy and then demonstrates the execution of shaktipat on a lying girl who begins to shake.
The meditation guru activates the kundalini energy of a man by doing shaktipat, as a result of which the man falls on the floor.
The Holy Spirit versus the kundalini spirit
Behaviours shown by these people strip them of their dignity, deprive them of freedom, humiliate them and have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit, despite the fact that the charismatic movements originating from the Toronto Blessing claim otherwise.
Comparing the above behaviours, which are supposedly caused by the Holy Spirit, with the behaviours of people who intentionally and openly awaken the kundalini spirit, it is hard not to notice that these behaviours are identical.
People falling down
The alleged Holy Spirit
Andres Bisonni gives another person an anointing by putting a hand on the head as a result of which these people fall to the ground what looks like a rest in the Holy Spirit.
The kundalini spirit
A meeting with the guru who performs kundalini energy on the participants by putting a hand on the head. Each of these people falls on the floor unknowingly, which reminds them of rest in the Holy Spirit.
Squirming on the floor
The alleged Holy Spirit
Heidi Baker conducts a meeting where he encourages everyone to lay hands on the head of others to anoint them. He puts his hand on the boy’s head, who, after a while, begins to moan frantically, scream and writhe on the floor like a snake.
The kundalini spirit
During meditation, in order to awaken the kundalini energy, the woman begins to writhe on the floor like a snake.
The alleged Holy Spirit
Celebration of the 20th anniversary of Toronto Blessing events on January 20, 1994. Stacy Campbell, standing at the pulpit, gets an uncontrollable quake of the head and body. John and Carol Arnott are standing next to her, Bill Johnson and Randy Clark sitting in the front row.
The kundalini spirit
During meditation, the released kundalini energy causes an uncontrolled shaking of the man’s head.
The alleged Holy Spirit
The girl on the stage at IHOP talks about her experiences, getting at the same time shrinking and shaking the body.
The kundalini spirit
Releasing kundalini energy during a Hindu group meeting. Present people are shaking uncontrollably, throwing them, bending in all directions, groaning and shouting.
The alleged Holy Spirit
During the meeting at Bethel Church, the woman who was given the “fire” begins to rage, scream, run and throw around the room in an uncontrolled way.
The kundalini spirit
Meetings of the New Age group in Oregon in the USA. People act like crazy. They scream, throw themselves, writhe on the floor, behave like animals, jump and shake their heads in an uncontrollable way.
The alleged Holy Spirit
During a meeting led by Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland slapped a man lying on the floor, who began to wave his legs in an uncontrollable manner.
The kundalini spirit
Meetings of the New Age group in Oregon in the USA. The woman starts swinging her legs in an uncontrollable manner.
The alleged Holy Spirit
A woman makes a certificate at Bethel Church and gets uncontrollable contractures of her neck.
The kundalini spirit
During meditation, the released kundalini energy causes the uncontrollable shaking of the whole body and neck contractures in men.
The way of the anointing
The development of delusion in Poland
Some of those people come to Poland to conferences organized by charismatic communities and this state of affairs poses a threat to the Church in Poland. A lot of young newly converted Catholics are fooled by this beautifully wrapped spiritual product and choose Protestant communities instead. Wanting to take a step forward in faith and accepting the teachings of the aforementioned pastors, they undergo spiritual burnout after a longer spiritual formation, and some start to suffer from spiritual lameness, from which it can take several years to recover.
What constitutes a serious problem is the fact that leaders form Polish charismatic communities receive the anointing from Protestant pastors and the people from their ministry, listen to their preaching and promote the Toronto Blessing movement to other members of their communities, thereby exposing them to this risky spiritual formation. These leaders can also pass dangerous anointing on to other people.
Copying of American standards is very noticeable in the music selection, the course of prayer meetings and conferences and also in the stage set design.
Fr. Andrzej Trojanowski has listed dangers in the charismatic spirituality, which may lead to deception or may have other negative effects and these include (among others):
- desiring God’s power more than God Himself,
- going for what Jesus can do for them instead of willing to cling to Christ,
- searching for special church services, i.e. healing Masses,
- getting tired of an ordinary Holy Mass.
Our country has already hosted the following people and their ministries: Randy Clark (Global Aweking), Todd White (associated with Bethel Church and Bill Johnson), Heidi Baker (Iris Global), Blain Cook (Global Awekning), Gary Oates, Joyce Meyer, Chris Gore (the leader of intercessory prayer team at Bethel Church) and several other leaders being in ministry in the aforementioned church communities.
Defence of the Toronto Blessing
One of the main persons who enquired into the revival in Toronto was Fr. Peter Hocken. He investigated these events in 1995, that is a year after the revival, which could have been initiated by the Holy Spirit, but then transformed into the imitation of His actions by the evil spirit to whom the pastors ministering at TACF opened the door through their pride, egocentricity, pursuit of money, signs and wonders. We do not know the exact date from which the delusion started but the evil spirit, if he had not been operating there from the very beginning, certainly appeared there very quickly.
Opinion on the Toronto Blessing
As Catholic theologian Peter Hocken (1995) has recently noted in his reflection on the Toronto Blessing, this central message “concerns the Lord loving his people, and that we have simply to believe in the loving mercy of our God to receive and experience this divine love.” The stance for receiving the Toronto Blessing (as it has come to be known worldwide) is found in Jesus’s admonishment “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark 10:15). The physical manifestations (laughing, jerking, shouting, rolling, etc.), understandably the focus of media reports about TAV, are regarded by some simply as signs that the “Heavenly Father is playing with his children.” As Catholic theologian Peter Hocken reported: “I heard John Arnott preach three times, and I found these the more powerful messages. Two nights I had pastors from neighboring Vineyard churches, and these were not very profound and somewhat rambling. Some visiting Lutheran pastors from Germany were not impressed!” (I must confess to similar reactions. Although I have been touched by God in some way by each visit, I often find the substance of the message lost in sermons that go beyond their allotted time.) Meanwhile manifestations may be underway – waves of laughter, weeping, an occasional shout – that would be extremely disruptive in most other western religious rituals. The second problem posed by delimitation is one of “insisting on literal observances despite different social and cultural conditions.” In making some reflections “as a chronicler of the Charismatic Renewal and as a Catholic theologian,” Peter Hocken (1995) suggests one door through which such literal adherence may enter when he notes how some of the emerging theology reflects “the world of Baptists, Pentecostals, and independent Charismatics, and would not be satisfactory to anyone from a tradition with a stronger ecclesiology.” Hocken continues: “I also felt the biblical justification for “manifestations” was too much locked into an Evangelical mentality that has to find biblical justification for every detail of contemporary Christian life.”This problem of universalizing the evangelical experience is also reflected in TAV’s tendency to link the Toronto Blessing with the First Great Awakening rather than in focusing on the very different social and cultural conditions into which it is being poured.
The way Fr. Hocken carried out the investigation into the Toronto Blessing phenomenon leaves much to be desired. It is unprofessional and it lacks the reliability and responsibility of a person investigating such a serious matter.
His study does not fit into any methodology standard for other types of research, i.e. sociological research, criminal investigations, prosecution charges, verification of contractors by business intelligence or credit capacity analysis. It is also disproportionate to all investigations of supernatural phenomena conducted by the Catholic Church, which are extremely strict, precise and detailed. Such studies usually take many years and researchers appointed by the Church approach the phenomena they investigate with great caution, doing so for the sake of the faithful.
Fr. Peter Hocken, who has been promoting the events that took place in Toronto for 22 years, gave his opinion on such an important matter on the basis of 3 sermons by John Arnott from TACF, which could be about 2 hours long in total. For the sake of comparison, he listened to 2 sermons by pastors from Vineyard churches, who probably questioned the veracity of the TACF phenomena. Promoting these events for such a long time, after issuing one opinion, he probably did not subject them to re-verification, which he should have done periodically. If at the beginning he acknowledged the described events as the work of the Holy Spirit, he could not be sure that it would not change into delusion in the following years.
The statement that “Heavenly Father is playing with His children” is completely out of place in regard to the way the participants of these meetings behave, which was shown in the presented video material. Heavenly Father never robs a man of his dignity, because it runs against the the divine nature of His love.
Taking into account that the discussed phenomenon was examined on the basis of 3 sermons given by pastor John Arnott and 2 sermons given by pastors from Vineyard churches, it can be stated that this study is completely unreliable and wrong. An analysis of other pastors’ sermons can only give an answer whether the doctrine they preach is correct but certainly it cannot answer the question whether the Holy Spirit was involved in the Toronto Blessing revival. There is no information about who these pastors were and from which movement they come from. This is another “black hole” in the evidence. No indication of the personal details of the people referred to by Fr. Peter Hocken makes it impossible to verify their credibility.
In the next sentence Fr. Peter Hocken presents his spiritual understanding of this matter: “(I must confess to similar reactions. Although I have been touched by God in some way by each visit, I often find the substance of the message lost in sermons that go beyond their allotted time)”. On the basis of just one feeling, he spoke positively about the Toronto Blessing event.
The presented opinion has nothing to do with a thorough analysis, the results of which can be published with full responsibility and be the basis for becoming an ambassador promoting the Toronto Blessing as a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. No evidence was provided that this was actually the case, whilst the echoes of promoting these events by Fr. Peter Hocken are still visible today among deluded church communities, which are carelessly transferring the teachings that are advocated there to their own backyard.
That very night the brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea; and when they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so.
Opinion on the leaders of the Toronto Blessing
As a priest involved for many years in the Catholic charismatic renewal, and at the same time a theologian and researcher of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, my knowledge of Heidi Baker and her ministry comes from Renewal contacts who have personal experience of Heidi’s ministry, which I do not, and from my research reading and study. Among all my friends and contacts whose judgment I trust, both Catholic and Protestant, I have never heard anything negative said about Heidi Baker and her ministry. I know people who have been to Mozambique to have firsthand experience of her work, and they were very impressed. She is unusual among high profile charismatic ministries in having a big focus on the poor. From my studies, I know that Heidi and her husband Rolland, who founded Iris Ministries, belong to a group called Revival Alliance. Among others in this network are John Arnott of Toronto, Randy Clark of Global Awakening based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and Bill Johnson of Redding, California. (…) To my knowledge, none of the leaders in the Revival Alliance are anti Catholic, unlike for example the late C. Peter Wagner associated with what is unhelpfully called the New Apostolic Reformation. John Arnott has been among those who have been meeting with Pope Francis, and Randy Clark is quite pro Catholic. It would appear that Pope Francis sees real possibilities in ‘walking together’ with these leaders who are open to the riches of the Catholic tradition.
It is worth paying attention to the structure of Fr. Hocken’ statement, in which, by emphasizing the importance of his authority several times, he imposes his opinion on the readers.
In the quoted statement, Fr. Peter Hocken refers to the ministry of Heidi Baker, who represents Iris Ministries together with a group called Revival Alliance (Randy Clark and Bill Johnson).
Fr. Peter Hocken carried out an interview among his friends from whom he did not heard anything negative about the ministry of Heidi Baker. He wrote that none of these leaders is anti-Catholic and that the meeting of John Arnott with Pope Francis is a noteworthy fact, claiming at the same time that the leaders of Revival Alliance are open to the richness of the Catholic tradition.
The presented opinion does not offer any substantive argument for suggesting that people at the Toronto airport experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It also does not clarify the issue of genuineness of the spiritual endowment of the leaders in question. Not only are these arguments of little value but also they do not address a key phenomenon which is the danger of delusion in this charismatic movement.
Unfortunately, Fr. Hocken’s standpoint, which is treated by the Toronto Blessing supporters as an important argument, adds nothing substantive to the process of discerning the identity of the spirit ministering in Toronto and is of no value in this specific context.
Attitude towards the Virgin Mary
Charismatic church communities that are under the influence of Protestantism have one characteristic feature in common, namely the resentment towards or even total rejection of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Rosary. When church community leaders decide to take this step and resign from the devotion to the Holy Mother, then the process of their delusion begins. From now on, the working of the Holy Spirit, the creator and the guide of a given church community, ceases to operate and the community starts to resemble a business franchise of the Protestant movement that is based on the “copy/paste” principle and focuses on the “Gospel of signs and wonders”, seeking more and more sensations.
Devotion to the Holy Mother is an effective and reliable weapon in the battle against delusion. Without the Blessed Virgin, the path to heresy is very short, because it is the Holy Mother of God who is the first charismatic and preacher of the Gospel that unerringly leads people to her Son.
Of course, there are many forms of spirituality which God uses to draw people to Himself. A person that is not characterized by Marian spirituality can approach God by a different path, the one that is closer to his/her heart. It does not mean that this path is worse – it is just different.
The key issue in discerning deception is always the attitude towards the Holy Mother. We do not talk here about deep devotion to the Rosary, which of course is a recommended practice, but about the way in which the Holy Mary and people having devotion to her are treated. Mary is the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and from this mere fact she deserves the deepest respect, just as every mother does.
A person treating the Holy Mother with contempt, mocking people that pray the Rosary, ridiculing the devotion to the Mother of God or calling such people idolaters – such kind of person has surely been deceived by the evil spirit. There is absolutely no doubt about it.
The evil spirit, wanting to deprive a man of a weapon which is the Holy Rosary, will first inject venom and suasion against the Holy Mother, then he will lead a man away from Mary in order to take him into captivity at this point. Not only has such a person followed the deception himself but also he will engage other people in it, repeating the same tactics of deception which he himself has succumbed to. He will start by ridiculing and marginalizing the Holy Mother and then, by pulling people away from Mary, he will implicate them in deeper and deeper deception.
A person of different spirituality who has not developed devotion to the virgin Mary but who treats Her with deep respect, accepts such devotion in others and does not fight with the Blessed Mother is simply guided by God along a different path and it is not unlikely that in the end the Mother of God will appear on this person’s way.
The spark will come from Poland
Poland will ignite the world and from Poland will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus Christ, who spoke these words to Saint Sister Faustina.
I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming.
The Polish Church is to be unique in the history of the world, giving hope, faith and love to other nations. It is not in Jesus\ plans to take a copy from the West so that it can be passed through Poland to other nations. The Holy Spirit together with the Blessed Virgin are already transforming our Church, preparing it according to the plan of Jesus and that is what the Servant of God Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski was talking about.
In our Homeland we see the fulfillment of a specific mystery whose meaning we may not fully understand yet (…). We are not able to penetrate this mystery! … these are the secrets of God.
God’s plans for our nation were also confirmed by Sister Lucia in her visions of the Blessed Mother.
The Polish nation will go through the path of revival. For the first time it will discover and achieve the true goals of humanity. [The Polish nation] will determine the future of Europe. In Poland, the revival of the world will begin through a system that will create new laws.
Charismatics are necessary
It should be emphasized that charismatic movements are much needed in the Catholic Church. A strong argument in favor for the above statement is the fact that until the fourth century the early Christian church was very charismatic. Prophesying, intercessory prayer, healings and releasing were a part of everyday life of the contemporary Church.
During his pontificate, Pope John Paul II saw the need to develop the charismatic movement and he was its supporter. The future path of the Catholic Church also leads to being open to charisms once again.
Father dr Doroteusz Sawicki from the Department of Orthodox Theology at University of Białystok reminds us that Satan is a spirit and certain phenomena, emotional and spiritual states are coming from him. He also emphasizes that we must be very careful not to replace Christian spirituality with pseudo spiritual experiences that will introduce people into euphoria instead of teaching them how to humbly serve God and their neighbors.
Pseudo spiritual experiences in their outer form are not different from the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but their after effects are completely opposite, leading man to his downfall and making him a tool of destruction for other people. Therefore, that is why it is so important for the Church to take earnest spiritual care over charismatic communities.
Father Marek Blaza, SJ – The Ecumenist Theologian, emphasizes that the Church must make sure to protect charisms from the evil spirits, who are eager to act under the guise of good. When the first bad fruits appear, one should be very careful and discern whether the evil one has got involved in the ministry. The priest takes notice of two extreme approaches to charismatic communities, i.e. a total lack of control over them or total prohibition of the development of a charismatic ministry in the Church.
Acquiring charisms brings us closer to Jesus, giving us such an important intimacy of relationship. Jesus then reveals His beauty to us, which makes us unable to walk past Him indifferently. Where the charisms are used in the right way, there is a strong faith and an increase in the number of believers.
Jesus wants to give us abundance of blessings and graces, starting from charisms through serving the neighbor, spiritual gifts, virtues, holy family, health and ending with material goods. But the greater the bestowment, the greater the responsibility and the risk of falling into pride. One must be very careful not to succumb into delusion and to wisely manage the spiritual and material wealth entrusted to us, which is a very difficult task for a sinful and weak man to accomplish.
Charismatics, especially those having a problem with humility, are the most susceptible to deception. Going after the greatest anointment possible, they do not concentrate on building their character on the basis of the right approach to suffering and the relationship with God. If such a person additionally follows the teachings of the people coming from the Toronto Blessing movement, there is a serious risk of deception and consequently of departing from the right path to follow Christ.
Let’s not make these mistakes again
Before we started working on our website zwiedzeni.pl, we had made a preliminary research on whether the evil spirit, who has the ability to imitate the action of the Holy Spirit, could have sneaked into the above-mentioned religious movements. After having read collected materials, teachings of the people mentioned above, after having watched many hours of video material and after spiritual discernment, we can state, as of today, that there is a great risk of deception involved in the ministry of the described people and the spirit that manifests itself is the spirit of kundalini. Very often this spirit does not work alone but is accompanied by other evil spirits.
All this activity is aimed at devaluation of the person of Jesus Christ as God, equating His divine person with man, and then putting man in the place of God. In addition, it is more and more visible that the New Age trend is permeating into the activities of the mentioned preachers and this is done in order to deceive people en masse. The proclamation of the “Gospel of success” and the great “signs and wonders” merely serve to build up the attractiveness of this product and the use of the name of Jesus Christ serves as a way to invest authority to its proponents.
Subsequent meetings with the faithful, based on the wave of popularity of events in Toronto Blessing, are aimed at helping demonic forces penetrate into Christian communities and at anointing the greatest number of people possible. Having contact with any of the person mentioned or gaining knowledge from their teachings carries enormous spiritual, physical and psychological risks. Implementing these practices to one\s Catholic communities is irresponsible and poses a threat to unsuspecting participants of the meetings held in a given community.
It should be emphasized that these people are a definite minority of Protestant communities and should not be identified with the whole environment. Their very dynamic development is the result of marketing activities, including broadcasting their own TV programs, publishing a large number of books, creating “spiritual spectacles”, etc. This gives the false impression that these churches are representatives of the entire strand. In fact, they belong to a handful of people going after fame and money and having increasing influence on the development of Christianity. Unfortunately, they have a considerable impact on young people, which gives us cause for concern.
We warn against making the same mistake, which was allowing a false healer, Clive Harris, to conduct healing sessions in Polish churches in the ’70s and’80s. After many years this person admitted that he was healing with the help of demons. Consequently, he initiated almost 3 million of Polish faithful into occultism.
Each time the Gospel is preached it should be accompanied by “signs and wonders”, but they must come from God and they can not constitute the main element of Faith.
For the sake of the good of the faithful of the Church and in line with the principle “prevention is better than cure”, we provide you with content we have collected for your personal discernment and we encourage you to regularly visit the website in order to keep track of upcoming new materials.