TORONTO BLESSING HELPLINE ARCHIVE DOCUMENT
I have had the privilege of listening to, and hearing from, faithful Believers who have heeded the warnings from God about their dangerous position within charismatic and pro-charismatic churches. Mainly, although sad, their spiritual senses have been made more acute, and they experience a marvellous freedom, because they are able to hear God's word unfettered. This is where a 'but' must be offered. Another warning. I do not want to minimise your new feelings, but feelings are notoriously unstable and should never rule one's heart and mind... 'feelings' rule charismatics.
When we experience an horrific experience, or one that drains us physically, mentally and even spiritually, and we are given a brand new opposite experience, we suddenly feel as if a great burden has been lifted. And that can certainly be the case. However, behind that wonderful 'feeling' may easily be a deceiving spirit.
Perhaps you have seen the film 'Jaws', about a rogue killer shark? The promotional blurb goes something like this:
"Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water....". The authorities proclaimed with much relief that the shark had gone. So bathers returned to the beaches and again entered the water. The trouble was, a shark came back and ate a few more people before it was finally killed.
My friends, I do not see demons under every bed, and I do not believe demons have as much success as charismatics would have us think. However, these days are unique. We are seeing mass apostasy, as prophesied in scripture. There came a time in human warmongering when soldiers no longer acted as gentlemen, stopping at dusk and having a lull for Christmas! Now babies are burned alive with napalm, civilians are herded like animals and shot. Likewise, Satan is feeling his power and he is using every trick he has learned over the millennia, and he is not taking any prisoners.
For those, then, who have left charismatic churches, or churches involved in the Toronto Blessing, I offer a simple warning - be careful! The temptation is to suddenly let go and sigh in relief; to think you are now safe from the wolf in sheep's clothing.
Beware! King David lost everything because he suddenly relaxed. When he was in fighting form, he was vigilant and watched for the enemy. He sprang like a big cat on the prey. As soon as he relaxed, the devil came in and David fell to the subtle temptation of a woman's beauty. That was the end of his glorious godly career.
In the same way, your very sense of relief at leaving error behind can be used by Satan to trick you. You may get yourself out of the frying pan only to land yourself in the fire - something even hotter! I am speaking particularly to those Christians who felt it proper to leave their charismatic or Toronto Blessing environment. Yes, you were right to leave. But, the warning is for you, if you then moved quickly into yet another 'established' church.
I am not saying that everyone should do what I did: I and others left the established churches in 1987 because, mainly, they were corrupt. Their pastors were saved men, and
some of them were called of God. But, the practices and beliefs were tainted badly by selfism, tradition, ill-conceived doctrine and a lack of love. It became intolerable and so we had to leave. Nothing much has changed, except that some of these churches have been shown mercy by God, Who has given them an awareness of what the Toronto Blessing can do to harm them. But, many others have fallen to the lie.
To people who have only just left a charismatic situation, these churches must appear to be havens of theological correctness and Biblical Truth, undergirded by real love. Frankly, this is not so, in many, many cases.
That is why we left them in the first place! Yes, they are far better than charismatic pseudo-churches, because they are not (yet) involved in manifestations, etc., but, in other ways, there is little difference, for people are just swapping one error for another! It is a bit like buying a used car: you might acquire a good runner; on the other hand, you might buy a real dud, far worse than your previous one. After all, the previous owner did not want to sell it without good reason!
It is a fact that in the majority of churches Christians do not think for themselves. They are therefore open to lies of Satan given through the ministry, or through the grapevine. In most churches, there is a mixture of the saved and unsaved, and it seems no-one bothers to really distinguish the two. There are also big problems of traditional teaching, which effectively thwarts individual spiritual growth and stunts doctrinal knowledge and understanding. In many such churches - 'evangelical' with saved and called pastors - there are huge problems with traditional teaching that is far from Biblical. And
real brotherly love is hard to find, as is true discipline (or
any discipline at all!).
In evangelical churches today, faithful pastors are teaching about the dangers of the Toronto Blessing/charismaticism, but there is no real urgency about it because it is just something to do at the time! Many fail to see the ongoing import of what is happening. That is why amongst the memberships of true churches, there are already minor leanings toward the Toronto experience, because people who have simply sat in their pews for years are drawn, almost against their will, toward the seemingly brighter and more exciting light of the illicit experience. Most evangelical churches are as 'empty' as charismatic churches, devoid of deep spirituality based on personal understanding, real growth and true doctrine.
So, ex-charismatics ought not to think they have at last reached a safe haven, away from all harm. Their very feeling of safety can be a danger signal, for it was in their realm of 'feelings' that Satan was able to work before, through charismatic teachings and activities. To attend an established church because its pastor preaches what is Biblically correct is no proof of spiritual authenticity. Biblically-true teaching MUST link with personal growth, personal knowledge and personal understanding, plus personal and true love for the Brethren. Yes, every church has its faults, but that is no excuse to allow faults to flourish! The Lord does NOT expect such faults to continue, but He expects that we expose them and deal with them. Otherwise, we are just as deluded as charismatics. (This applies to my own fellowship also).
Do not think that a lack of signs and wonders is a proof of spiritual life, for it is not. In the past I have been a member of churches that preach the real Gospel and where doctrine is treated seriously - but usually in a partisan way. In such places there has been no true love for the Brethren, only correctness! Grave error can grow in these places just as easily as in charismatic churches. Coming out of a charismatic church is indeed a great relief. To hear the gospel preached without falsity is like being bathed in light. But the dangers are very real. Even if the 'faults' within a particular church appear to be within tolerable limits (although we should never tolerate them, because they are sin), Satan can ensure that the escapee from charismaticism is lulled into a 'feeling' of safety, thus preparing the ground for further attacks.
If he could not retain you in his own special environment in a charismatic church, then he will use errors within your new church instead. The whole objective is to make you fall, or to stop you coming to a fuller knowledge of God's will. Thankfully, many who have come away from charismaticism did not immediately enter an established church, but they stayed out and looked hard at their own lives, refuting what they once knew and repenting of involvement. They then began the slow, long process of relearning what is Truth, from scripture. They came to know others in the same position, and started a fellowship, becoming another local church.
We are saying this: charismatic churches should not exist and it is right that Christians ought to leave them. However, in so doing, do not be mistaken. The churches you then enter, evangelical with called pastors and faithful gospel, may not be what they seem to be. I can tell you this after over 45 years being in them! Satan is now sifting Believers like wheat. At the same time, the Lord is bringing faithful Believers OUT of the very churches you are now entering. Ask yourselves
"why?". Even the very best of established churches today are out of the Lord's will, for countless reasons. Yes, there is much good in them, but 'much good' is not sufficient! In the presence of the Toronto movement and the almost 100% charismatic take-over of minds and hearts, the Lord is causing us to rethink and to get back to what is true – He is
not cementing us into establishmentism!
Be careful, friends. Do not allow your new feelings of safety to lull you into dropping your guard. It is NOT NECESSARY to join another established church. Where two or three are gathered in His Name, there IS the 'Church'! If you DO join an established church, then, do so with a mind centred only on the Lord. Compare what is said and done with scripture. Do NOT accept anything blindly, because it 'feels' right: what does
scripture say? And above all, NEVER accept 'faults', but always attempt to remove them, going ever onward toward the mark of righteousness in Truth. Your main task now is to completely relearn everything, especially doctrine.
What I say here is not a 'knee-jerk' reaction to the Toronto Blessing, for I have been warning about the established churches for years. Many of them are in a mess, but do not even know it. The whole structure of churchdom is wrong and perpetuates the myth of what makes a 'church'. The very fact that they have structures should be a warning!
The meetings that are held are also a sign of wrong thinking: their form, type, content and aim, and the attitude of Christians toward them. It is NOT that I want everybody to think just like me, or that this is a vain and unsubtle way to gain followers for my own small fellowship. NO - I say these things so that fellow Believers should THINK and only do what GOD says in His word. In that word you will not find reference to the kind of evangelical structures we see today. Indeed, we find the opposite. Modern structures are like a stranglehold on those who wish to grow in maturity (we are talking generally, but few churches can claim to be as free as God's word demands).
Every local church makes mistakes, but this is not the same as deliberately allowing sin to proliferate. And such sin DOES proliferate: how pastors are chosen, their role, their actions, their beliefs, deacons and their role, the structure and content of meetings, the existence of dead meetings, the real meaning of prayer and the oddity known as 'prayer meetings' (which are anything but), the inability of most to study God's word, the serious inability to apply God's word to one's life and to think systematically in Biblical ways, the real lack of love for the Brethren - I could go on and on. The items found in the sample list above are NOT found one at a time, here and there; often they are ALL found at once in every single church there is! That is why I am concerned for ex-charismatics who think they have at last reached safety!
If you do become a part of an established church straight away (something I do not recommend without first putting yourself right before God), then please listen to these warnings, or your previous good fight might end in ruin, rather than in glory. There are good men out there who pastor faithfully. But, even amongst many of these, there are grave errors. They may not involve signs and wonders and charismatic excesses, but they exist all the same, and are just as deadly to your spirit.
© July 1995
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
Please 'Make a Donation' to support the work of Bible Theology Ministries