James F. Tobin
II Corinthians 9:10
April 14, 1997
Pastor Stearn &
Dear Pastor Stearn & Board Members,
During the past months I have been researching and making telephone calls throughout the country to other men of wisdom and discernment, who have been closely following the Airport Vineyard Church in Toronto, The Latter Rain, Manifested Sons of God, Kansas City Prophets, Rodney Howard Browne and Brownsville/Pensacola Revival. I now make a Godly appeal to all of you. Although some of you believe that what you are receiving from the Brownsville /Pensacola Revival is from God, (and several have been ostentatious in your actions concerning it) please be willing to listen to this: (Jeremiah 6:17, “Also I set watchman over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet.”) Now is the time for us to re-examine Deuteronomy chapters 13 and 18. What does I Timothy 4:1-2 mean to you? “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” Brethren, it’s time to take seriously the warning of II Thessalonians 2:1-11.
I have sought the Lord in prayer concerning the “manifestations” currently taking place at Christian Bible Church. I have also spoken with several of you individually and found that you believe these “manifestations” are part of a genuine move of God. I believe they are not; and that a very dangerous precedent is being set into motion. Since my brief discussion with
Pastor Stearn, I have experienced two personal confrontations with individual member’s from our church family stemming from our differing opinions regarding the Brownsville/Pensacola Revival.
I want you to know that I sincerely love each individual in my church family and want God’s best for you and your family, but we are at a crossroads. Some have made the assumption that no one can give an opinion about the “manifestations” unless first visiting Brownsville/Pensacola. That is not good reasoning. For example, a jury need not be present to witness an individual involved in a criminal action. The evidence presented, witnesses interviewed and facts presented can determine whether or not the crime was committed by the one on trial. There is plenty of factual evidence and witnesses to show that there are many serious problems with what is happening in Brownsville/Pensacola. Josh McDowell wrote a book called “Evidence That Demands a Verdict”. Throughout this book Josh presents perhaps the best anthology of Christian apologetics that has ever been written. Taking a similar presentation the evidence shown in Brownsville/Pensacola, Airport Vineyard Church in Toronto, and the Kansas City Prophets are very much tied into one another. If the Assembly of God headquarters and even some of you rejected the Airport Vineyard Church in Toronto outpouring, why have you both switched your opinion and embraced Brownsville/Pensacola?
Furthermore, I still don’t understand the rush to send Brownsville/Pensacola $2,000 when they have approximately ten million dollars worth of property! Why wasn’t this vote mentioned at the last board meeting? I for one would like to know who voted for and who voted against.
I’m sorry if this offends you, but your desire for a revival no matter what the cost is construed as a manufactured revival i.e., (Select the right music, get the tempo correct, present the banners, have the catchers in place and bring in the right evangelist and the appearance of the revival you wanted). There is a tendency to judge things by numbers, excitement (manifestations), impressive and engaging speakers ability to gain the attention of multitudes, healings, miracles, even the testimonies of changed lives themselves. The proper means for judging anything which professes to be rooted in the Gospel is by the Gospel itself. What is eye opening to me is that no where in the Bible does it mention an end times world wide revival. The scriptures may indicate from man’s interpretation, that such an event may happen. However, what the Bible does mention over and over again is that there will be a GREAT falling away! Matthew 24:4 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” verse 23 & 24, “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe not. For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Mark 13:5 & 6, “And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Look at Mark 13: 21 & 22, Luke 22:8-36, and Galatians 1:6-10 especially verse 8 “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”, II Timothy 4:1-5, verse 3 & 4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”. What is most troubling is that II Thessalonians 2 may have already begun, verse 3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, ...” Although, I pray for a revival (restoration to life, an awakening) I pray for men everywhere to receive the gift that God gives through John 3:16.
David Wilkerson in a special letter addressed to his readers, ”Do I believe any of the “revivals” represent the last days outpouring the last great revival before Jesus Comes? No! Not at all” (Nor do I). “We should rejoice in every work of the Spirit that results in true conversions but any “revival” that purports itself to be “the great revival” and is promoted and “spread” by its leaders must be immediately discounted.” (I agree). “When the last great outpouring comes, (if there is one) it is prophesied to come “upon all flesh”. It will not be isolated in just a few areas. No one will be counting numbers. Hungry seekers will not be falling backwards - but frontwards, on their faces, humbled and broken. The preaching of the cross will be central. There will be no fundraising, (such as sending Brownsville $2,000) no introducing of star visitors. The meetings will be times of wooing by the Holy Spirit, because He never drives people to altars - He woos them. No one will have to defend such an outpouring (Kilpatrick & Hill does). All manifestations will focus on Christ, not on flesh (as some members in our church are doing). Weeping, brokeness, a lifting of holy hands in thankfulness for God’s mercy and grace will produce a true spirit of joy.”
Substituting the word “joy” for laughter is inaccurate and misleading. “Holy” laughter advocates blatantly a disregard of the biblical admonition that things be done decently and in order
(I Corinthians 14:40 “Let all things be done decently and in order.”). What does the Bible say about laying on of hands? The eighth chapter of Acts describes how the disciples would not lay hands on Simon, a baptizer believer even though he desperately wanted the gift of the Holy Ghost. Simon’s heart was not right in the sight of God. I Timothy 5:22 warns us to “lay hands suddenly on no man”. This manifestation of jerking, palsy, laughing and who knows what else is coming, is brought about by laying on of hands.
These manifestations are causing chaos and confusion and contradicts the Bible’s description of the person of God. I Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints”. These acts of the flesh have manifested themselves in past revivals but are they from God? A recommended book to read called,” War on the Saints” by Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts wrote on the deceptive strategies used by evil spirits against God’s people during the Welsh revival at the turn of the century. Both authors were involved with the revival and were extremely concerned about the demonic manifestations that began to dominate in their meetings. I believe the same demonic manifestations are beginning again.
Regarding this past Sunday night April 13 “the Banner Ministry” or should it been called the “Banner Strategy” as is discussed in, “Feast of Fire” by John Kilpatrick page 43; you have purchased banners which appear to be from Brownsville you have read their manifesto and have begun the process of orchestrating the Brownsville revival. Your prophets have been deceived. After rereading the different banners listed, God spoke to me, “Son of Adam, do you see my name written? Son of Adam, do you see my Son Jesus name written? Son of Adam, do you see my Holy Spirit’s name?” No! No! and No!
This spectacle parade is nothing short of Dominionism. Bill Randles explains it best in his book called, “Making War in the Heavenlies” page 13 & 14. “The problem with Dominionism, is that it is man-centered. We will “take dominion”, be the victorious army. The dominion teaching exalts man, singing about how, we are more than conquerors,” (forgetting it is, “through Him who gave himself for us”).” Brothers you have been duped. Rick Joyer, Peter Wagner, Dick Bernal, Kjell Sjoberg, Rodney Howard Browne, Steve Lawson, Ken Copeland, John Wimber, Kenneth Hagin and the list goes on have all been pushing this false theology for years.
The problem is nobody is reading and watching. The sheep are asleep. The pastors have wandered off in search of church growth and revival seminars as well as seeking adulation’s. They have shielded themselves by the misuse of scripture in “Judge not...” or “Touch not my anointed...”. Instead any one that may have a valid criticism is being labeled “The Accuser”, “Jezebel” or “Michal” spirit. Therefore it makes no use in applying scripture such as I John 4:1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Instead, the sheep have allowed their authority to interpret what the Bible is teaching. Sounds like Roman Catholicism has made inroads into the church. The banners represent the stations of the cross, only the stations of the cross center about Jesus and His crucifixion. The banners from Brownsville symbolize establishing God’s kingdom on earth. Nowhere do I see the Apostles marching in with banners on the day of Pentecost and yet “three thousand souls were added” (Acts 2:41)!
Others have said, if this is from God you can’t fight against it, but if it isn’t it will fizzle out. Not true. The Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t of God but they have not fizzled out!
Spiritual Mapping for prophetic prayer action is unscriptual. Yet some of us were discussing finding out more about the history of Nashua at a past board meeting.
Brothers I can’t go back, but I can extend to each of you my apologies for not sharing my concerns with you sooner regarding the impending dangers facing our church.
Up until the recent change in direction CBC had a good fellowship, however some of you have stated your dissatisfaction and desperation for more. More of what? More power, more love, more of whom in your life? Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. I haven’t changed but you have changed. You have embraced a movement that is sweeping this nation that you believe is from God, I can show you many things about it that are NOT from God. My brother’s this IS very serious business coming into your heart and into our church! In my opinion you are making a mistake. You may choose not to believe the following statement, I love you and am very concerned for your family. My advice to you is to look again into the scriptures and ask yourself, what does the BIBLE say about the end times?
I will have to agree with author A.W. Tozer who stated, “I am a Bible Christian and if an archangel with a wingspread as broad as a constellation shining like the sun were to come and offer me some new truth, I’d ask him for a reference. If he could not show me where it is found in the Bible, I would bow him out and say, I’m awfully sorry, you don’t bring any references with you”.
When I first heard of the so called renewal at the Airport Vineyard Church in Toronto and the revival at Brownsville/Pensacola I prayed and sought God’s wisdom for my life concerning these moves. I studied the scriptures and was led to read Matthew 24: 23, 24; and what is most troubling was in II Thessalonians 2: 1-12. The trumpet according to Jeremiah 6:17,18 & 19 is sounding the alarm, “Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.” The call is still “SOLA SCRIPTURA”, scripture as final authority for all matters of faith and practice.
Based upon the above, I therefore disagree emphatically with the direction Christian Bible Church and the Assemblies of God is moving in. I regretfully withdraw, my wife’s and my name from the membership, and from my position as a deacon. (Psalm 51:2, “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”)
A humble servant of God, His Son Jesus and of the Holy Spirit,
PS: If any of my brothers wish to discuss this matter please let me know and I will gladly pray, and or share my resources, with you. During this distressing time I also sought counsel from Brother DiTrolio. He is non-committal at this time regarding the “manifestations” and Brownsville. I did send him the book by Bill Randles, “Weighed and Found Wanting”.
I would also recommend to read:
Making War in the Heavenlies by Bill Randles