I’ve been doing some research leading up to the Strange Fire conference and came across a rather alarming documentary. I tweeted the link out last week, but I thought I would embed the video and promote it to a larger audience.
The video is around 30 minutes long, but well worth the time considering if you are someone who has grave concerns about the charismatic movement among Christians.
The fellow who put together the documentary is himself charismatic and he has written a book that addresses the shocking similarities between the Pentecostal/charismatic practice of “slaying in the Spirit” and Kundalini Hinduism. The similarities are the bizarre behavioral manifestations that happen to a person like uncontrollable, spastic jerking, the rolling on the ground as if the person is gripped by a seizure, and the animal like noises. There is something to say about a demonic connection with all of this.
Just some thoughts as you go into watching the video.
First, the author says this strange “spirit” started invading the church around 20 years or so ago. Beginning in the late 80s early 90s during the Toronto revival. But I disagree with that assessment. Those bizarre manifestations have been a significant part of Pentecostalism and charismatic groups throughout church history. They are why Pentecostals were described as “holy rollers.” I have deceased relatives who witnessed such manifestation at Pentecostal services in Arkansas in the early 20th century, specifically under the influence of a well known woman “evangelist.” It “scared them flat to death” as my one aunt – now with the LORD – testified. Such manifestations have historically embodied the Pentecostal/charismatic movements when they would spring up.
Secondly, take note at the 13:10 mark where the key leaders to the current New Apostolic Reformation lay their hands upon and impart their “prophetic” blessing upon now debunked heretic, Todd Bentley. You have present on stage with Bentley C. Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, and a number of other folks from NAR. They are individuals that Michael Brown, if you recall from my GTY article responding to his criticisms of our Strange Fire conference, affirms are “godly leaders” and “personal friends of his” and such behaviors are merely the excesses of God moving that can later be corrected.
The fact that they made grandiose, prophetic announcements regarding how God was going to bless Todd Bentley’s ministry and then to have it all collapse within just a few weeks after that commissioning service when the affair he was having with a secretary was exposed, proves without a doubt the NAR leaders are frauds. Christians should run far from them.
And then third, my continuationist critics will charge that I am picking the easy, wacko fringe element within charismatic circles. I need to go and interact with Wayne Grudem, John Piper, Craig Keener, DA Carson, yada, yada, yada… I believe that charge is woefully naive and theologically Pollyannish.
The so-called open, but cautious continuationists insist the bizarre and devilish behavior portrayed in that video as charismatic is really fringe, cultic extremes. The reality is the other way around, however. It is the “open, but cautious” crowd who are the ones on the fringe of charismaticism. Congregations where the sign gifts are de-emphasized, and allegedly practiced according to Scripture and put into their proper, biblical place, are extremely rare. Regrettably, it is those extreme behaviors that mark the bulk of charismatic theology and practice and have the most lasting, deleterious impact upon the Christian faith.