RHB Spiritual Revival Meetings - An eyewitness account
by Loo Kee Sin
"Why cannot we be contented with the divine oracles, that holy, pure word of God, which we have in such abundance and clearness, now since the canon of Scripture is completed? Why should we desire to have any thing added to them by impulses from above? Why should we not rest in that standing rule that God has given to his church, which the apostles teaches us, is surer than a voice from heaven? And why should we desire to make the Scripture speak more to us than it does?" [Jonathan Edwards, Some thoughts, p.404]
"Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God....God help me. Here I stand. I can do no other." [Martin Luther]
44 co-operating local churches (mainly charismatic) hosted the RHB Spiritual Revival Meetings from 18/9/95 to 21/9/95 in Singapore. I was present at these night meetings on the 18th., 20th. and the 21st evenings to see, hear and determine for myself if these meetings were in-line with what the bible teaches.
These night meetings started well with worship but became rowdy
after Rodney Howard-Browne came on the stage and people began to giggle, laugh, shake and
writhe their bodies uncontrollably and irrationally.
I do not doubt many were hungry for God, and sincere in their search for a closer walk with Him during these meetings. But hunger and sincerirty alone do not guaranttee that their longings would be properly satisfied under such irreverent condition, although God may chose to do so where and when He sees fit. As "holy laughter" are being accepted by the multitudes, the grave consequence is that, it lowers their inhibitions, and by doing so, they are being prepared for greater deception to follow. The Bible warns in Proverbs 30:6 'Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.'. The down playing of doctrine or "head knowledge" based on God's word contained in the Holy Bible in favor of extra-bibilical interpretations and mystical experiences can leave the door wide open to demonic forces to come in.
Instead of giving prominence to the teaching of God's word on spiritual revivals, the emphasis was on the preaching of a different gospel i.e. the "prosperity gospel" in all the 3 nights that I attended. RHB's only superficial references to the Bible on the 18th. was taken from Ephesian 5:17-19 and preached on Genesis 37:3 (I just can't relate how this verse got to do with spiritual revival!) on the 20th.. RHB justified his non-preaching by attributing it to the move of the "holy spirit"! There were also no preaching on sin and repentance during altar calls on the nights of 18th and 20th. except for a cursory mention on the night of 21th.. He had also encouraged all present to step over into the realm of the supernatural and step out of the realm of reason to receive the holy ghost! As another pastor puts it: 'Whatever other "manifestations" that have occurred, the controlling feature of all true revival should be the conscience-pricking work of the Holy Spirit, leading people to see their wretched state, which in turn leads to real conversion...' and 'an overwhelming sense of sin and personal unworthiness and a deep desire to unite in prayer for pardon and holiness'. These were clearly lacking during the crusade night of the 21th. and the other nights. Instead of winning souls, these manifestations can become stumbling blocks as one doctor friend from Penang commented: "Troubling even to a nonbeliever like me! How can you convert anybody?". What we're seeing today in the "holy laughter" movement is worse than the scenario Apostle Paul was condemning in: 1 Corinthians 14:23: 'If therefore the whole church should assemble together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?'.
What stood out and were common during these meetings were RHB and
his other preachers preaching long and passionate sermons in all the 3 nights on
"giving". On more than one occassion, believers were encouraged to write out
their checks in favor of the "ministry" just before the offering pails were
passed around. The theme were invariably similar: give as much as you can so as to receive
many times more from God. 'This is nonsense and unbiblical...' as another minister
who has not fallen into the trap puts it: '...if our gifts to God is to expect material
blessing, then we are serving mammon and not God!'. Matt 6:24 (KJS) No man can serve two
masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the
one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.'.
On the night of 21th., it was also announced that only those pastors who had been "anointed" and trained by RHB himself (by so-called transferrance of "anointing") were allowed to lay hands on those who wished to receive the "anointing". Again this was clearly unscriptural as it honored the man RHB rather than God! Whose anointing should we be seeking? God's anointing or RHB's?
To believe or teach that Christians need to be prayed for and got drunk to be filled with the Holy Spirit is, again, unscriptural. The Scriptures clearly teach that the Holy Spirit already dwells in a Christian (Romans 8:9) and be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). It is by confessing our sins, moment by moment, which ensures a continual experience of forgiveness (1 John 1:6-10), and the peace of mind, that we are filled with the Holy Spirit as we consciously allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives. There is no short-cut to spiritual growth except by studying, obeying and applying the Word of God and to trust the Holy Spirit who inspired them, to continue His work in us.
The Apostle John has said in 1 John 4:1 (KJS) 'Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.'. The scriptures do not predict a widespread revival, but they do predict a great falling away from the truth. There will be false teachers, false prophets and lying signs and wonders taking place. The Apostle Paul also warns in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 'The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,'. Therefore the test today is not whether someone vocally says Jesus is Lord, or agrees that Jesus has come in the flesh, many cults do this. The Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other false pseudo-cults praise the name of Jesus! Why even demons do! The test today as we near the end of this age, is whether or not something is in agreement with God's Word. Nothing else! The greatest concern of Jesus and the apostles, when considering the endtimes, was that Christians might get deceived.
The Bible also tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is "self-control" and commands: 'Let all things be done decently and in order.' (1 Cor 14:40). Since laughter, drunkeness and other manifestations are no fruits nor gifts of the Holy Spirit, the claim that these come from God cannot be substantiated. There is even a suggestion of judgement of drunkeness and laughter in Jeremiah Chapter 51.
Jeremiah 51:37-39 (KJS)
Jeremiah 51:37-39 (NIV)
Having seen and heard first-hand the "laughter movement" and checking it against God's Word, I have no doubt that this movement is extremely dangerous. Opponents to "Holy Laughter" or "Toronto Blessing" have been labelled as Pharisees by some who embraced the movement. "Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth?" (Galatians 4:16).
Our Lord Jesus has warned in Matt 24:24-25 'For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand'. The apostle Paul also warned in 2 Tim 4:3 'For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear'.
The Apostle Paul has said in: 1 Corinthians 14:40 'Let all things be done decently and in order.' and in 1 Corinthians 14:33 'For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.' that our God is not a God of confusion. What else results but confusion if we remove the sufficiency of the Scripture as the absolute against which we measure all teachings and subjective impressions and impulses? It is our prayer that this article would serve as a warning to those who are still uncertain of the movement that God would be merciful in granting discernment to all who seek Him.
Please see Dr Eddy Cheong's article Deceiving
the Elect - Laughter Movement for A Scriptural and Critical Analysis of the
Laughter Movement, and Cross + Word - excellent Web Site
containing more articles and testimonies on the Laughter Movement.