In the UK the Toronto Blessing (TB) has been running its vile course for 12-18 months (Date of this paper - September 1995). Huge numbers of people have fallen for the lie but, surprisingly, there are still many who know nothing about it! So, what is the position today and what is going to happen in the future?
The Position To Date
In any normal time, people (Christian and non-Christian) tend to move about between the various types of churches. It has long been my contention that they settle in churches that happen to mirror their own personalities and likes, with scant regard for doctrinal truth. However, some genuinely look for what they believe to be 'true' churches displaying a fairly good balance of doctrine, love, etc. When the Toronto Blessing came on the scene, even this regular pattern of migration was altered.
The TB, without doubt, has changed the face of the churches throughout the world forever. At one time such phenomena were limited to the charismatic groupings, and they were looked upon as something odd, on the edge, but just within the range of 'acceptable' by most Christians, who never wandered into the 'signs and wonders' camp. The TB started with the 'wilder' fringe of charismaticism and quickly set in like a fatal disease, spreading throughout charismatic churches everywhere. Although some were cynical about it, they nevertheless tended to join with it. Some have since left it behind, but still adhere to charismaticism itself (which does not make sense).
Soon, others, from the full spectrum of churches and denominations, wanted to know what was happening and they flocked like sheep to the brash and blatant meetings. In every area where the TB arrived there came division and hatred. From the start, Christians who reject the TB have been persecuted, hated, scorned, condemned from pulpits - often by their own former pastors - and some have received death threats. Those who openly defy TB leaders are targets for sustained attacks by them. Yet they claim to have received an abundance of the Holy Spirit, giving them limitless love for others!
The phenomenon has now 'levelled out' in most places and leaders usually 'force-feed' their congregations by holding special meetings to revitalise flagging spirits! Even so, small numbers of charismatics are slowly leaving their churches, because they realise the whole thing is false. Many now meet in their homes together, but others refuse to be 'caught' again and so they stay away from churches altogether. (BTM now advises these people NOT to immediately enter another established church until they sort-out their own confusions and 'charismaticised' theology. See Outline: ‘Out of the Frying Pan’). I fully expect the charismatic scene to solidify once charismatics start to ‘theologise’ their false message, because this will give the movement an aura of respectability. It will be an illusion.
Few of these disenfranchised folk have pastors and it seems that although they pray and study together, they have not yet discovered what they ought to do or what a church is, etc. They are without pastoral help and guidance; on the other hand, perhaps they are afraid to seek such guidance since being subject to 'leaders' who demanded total obedience to themselves!
Without doubt, these folk require much spiritual 'rehabilitation'. They need to be 'de-programmed' of charismatic thought and doctrine, much of which is very subtle and dangerous. It is folly to think they can simply leave charismatic churches only to quickly re-enter another church, without some kind of adverse result. They may have left their
church behind - but they have not left behind the
charismaticism that bound them hand and foot for so long! They need to relearn doctrine, practice and Biblical thinking.
Sadly, churches that never fell to the TB do not really help. Thousands are coming away from TB churches, only to feel lost, but non-TB churches refuse to get involved! Their pastors think it wise to just keep quiet and not to rock the boat. Many are afraid of confrontation and what it might do to their 'reputation'. Some are not too concerned, so long as their own church is not affected. They fail to realise just how important the TB movement really is, and what is behind it.
The TB is not like previous similar movements, but is more wide-reaching and powerful. Only a few of the manifestations appear to be psychological; the rest are Satanic. The preaching is Arminian (humanistic) and the supposed 'fruit' of the Spirit do not really exist. Yet, thousands and thousands have become quasi-charismatic through them, taking the false ‘fruit’ and teachings back to their own churches. Thus, most churches now have Satanic 'sleepers' who will be awakened when Satan comes next. They will then act as a fifth-column, destroying true Christian witness and playing havoc with churches.
The Future Battle
The present quiet (September 1995) is only a lull before the storm. Charismatic leaders are now regrouping and writing a new theology, meant to 'explain' what has happened. They are gladly misusing scripture in order to provide adherents with what
appears to be a Biblical answer. It is this new theology that will 'convince' many outside observers, too. Such theology will be extremely successful, because it will cleverly mix truth with lies and half-truths.
Over the past several decades, charismatic thinking and terms have permeated ordinary churches. So a fully 'theologised' charismaticism will easily dupe many who presently look on from the sidelines, or those who 'sit on the fence' (as most evangelicals do today!). Sustained pressure from the majority is very hard to endure and most people will give in to it at some time, except they be mature Believers who rely only on the Lord's strength. At the moment many leaders are trying to extend a 'hand of friendship' to those who reject the TB, so that they may win some over. The new ‘Alpha’ course looks to be part of this new ‘theologising’ deception.
When this theology has been formulated - and leaders are doing so right now with great speed and dedication - the next phase or wave will come. Like the TB, it will provide many signs and wonders, and will probably display even more spectacular 'miracles' etc. These will convince the people who do not make their stand right now and they will also confirm those already caught in the deception.
The next wave will be two-pronged. At the same time as presenting more signs and wonders, Satan will also attack strong opposers with subtle darts. He has already started this work on many fronts. Do not think this attack will only be from the churches or along 'religious' lines. No - they will come on all sides, from family, friends, work, finances, etc. Probably, they will be multi-faceted, so that whilst a man is busy defending one door of his house, Satan will attack simultaneously from other sides. The aim will be to create confusion, anxiety and exhaustion, leading to the person giving in to the attack and joining the others, or leaving the battle altogether!
Before the TB began, Satan cleverly got rid of many good pastors, through sexual misconduct and other open sins. Now he must be rid of as many opposers as possible, so that he can bring in yet another wave. What other wave? The third wave that will start to combine Christianity with Roman Catholicism in earnest, and then with New Age groups and cults. Thus he will move quickly toward the time of one universal 'faith' under his own control. (2010 note: This has happened, especially through the Alpha course. And the ‘new breed’ is found in Pensacola and similar venues).
What Must We Do?
What must we do now? We must stand firm and refuse to think 'some' of the TB is of God. Once you start thinking it
is, your faith will be ruined. Those who now sit on the fence MUST come down one way or the other. If they refuse to do so, when Satan comes next, they will be unable to resist. That is a fact! We must ensure that whilst there is now a lull, we examine our personal beliefs and strengthen our doctrinal positions. Pray for the downfall of charismatic leaders, that they ‘leave the arena’, or repent. Offer charismatics a place to go; do not just remain silent. They are desperate for true fellowship, but who will offer it? Enter the battle friends, for only a seasoned soldier will be able to stand and fight when Satan comes next!
Many loathe the idea of 'fighting a battle', but that is exactly what we are supposed to be doing as Believers! I am often depicted as a troublemaker or as one who 'enjoys a fight'. That is far from the truth! My stomach churns in trepidation whenever I have to confront others, even on paper. I sometimes get worn out and anxious by the battle and often wish I could relax. But, I know I must press on, or go under. When David relaxed between battles, he fell to mighty sins and lost his kingdom! Let us fight on and rally around the Lord's ensign, or be cowards. God help us all.
© September 1995
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