Monday, January 18, 2010

Drunken Streams - Defiled Waters

It all started with "God's Bartender" Rodney Howard-Browne. It was developed at the "Toronto Blessing." We've already documented in a previous post an example of "spiritual drunkenness" taking place 5 years ago at a Toronto meeting. It seems that the "church," after a brief pause of some 2000 years, has in these last-days created a theology of spiritual drunkenness.

Wes Hall, The point man for the "IHOPU Awakening," carries the formal title of Provost, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Director of Forerunner School of Ministry. He spoke recently at the "awakening."I'm going to quote him extensively here to give you the full context and impact of what he is saying.

"And the Lord began speaking and says "I'm going to to release - I'm going to begin it (the awakening) with wine - my spirit." And there's various descriptions of the Holy Spirit in the bible. And the Holy Spirit is not an "it". He is the third person of the trinity, but He is pictured in various ways in the scripture and one of those pictures is wine."

"And the thing with wine is when you drink wine you become unpredictable sometimes in your behaviour. Changes the way you act, you become less conscious of your self and more conscious of the effect the wine is having on you. When you get drunk you forget about your circumstances, but you are in love with that that experience and that encounter that you are having in the natural, if you are drunk in the natural with alcohol. But when you are drunk in the spirit you become intoxicated with the love of God. Above every other thing and Song of Soloman 1, verse 2 : The bride calls out to Jesus, she says "your love is better than wine." His love is supposed to be more satisfying than the greatest pleasures of this world."

Actually, with wine, your behaviour is usually quite predictable. Ask any law enforcement officer. Natural, God-given inhibitions disappear. Also note here that the interpretation of Song of Songs as being a conversation between Jesus and the Church - sometimes called the "Bridal Paradigm" - is generally identified with IHOP and Mike Bickle, and is in no way representative of the beliefs of Christianity as a whole.

"Heh, Heh, Heh. Lord. Come Holy Spirit."

"I want to ask you to be in a mode of receiving. Again, you sat down, don't sit down in your heart. Stand up in your hearts and say "I want you Holy Spirit. I want more of your presence in my life."

"I tell you, the power of living out what Mike (Bickle) shared is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is to be filled with the fullness of God. The starting point for the forerunners, the starting point for John the Baptist was thirty years being filled with the Holy Spirit."

Forerunners is another name that Mike Bickle has given to his followers. He ties it in with "Joel's Army" by stating that his forerunners will release "the temporal judgments of God."

"I said it this afternoon, John the Baptist was manifesting in his mother's womb. Don't believe me, read Luke chapter 1, he was jumping up and down when he met Jesus. Filled with the Holy Spirit. He heard the bridegroom's voice, his joy was full, he operated out of a place of superior joy and ecstasy in the presence of the Lord."

The Bible does not say that he heard the "bridegroom's voice." Again this is part of the convoluted "Bridal Paradigm." What the Bible says is "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb." Does Mary represent the voice of God? When Hall states "he operated out of a place of superior joy and ecstasy" one has to ask: "How does Hall know?" This is pure, unadulterated Gnosticism.

Furthermore, as Hall implores, you should not believe him. Read Luke 1, as he insists. It says "for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth." Was John the Baptiser filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb, or rather "even from birth?" Any statement that goes further than birth (i.e. in the womb) is pure conjecture, yet here is it being taught as fact. It is almost as if Hall is speaking when the Lord has not spoken. And the reason it is being taught as fact is that it supports the concept of "drunken-glory" manifestations.

"And the problem is (that) there are so many barriers that we erect to actually experiencing the love of God that so many of us have actually gotten to thinking the love of God is just a concept and real pleasure is to be had elsewhere."

Indeed, in the presence of God there is "fullness of joy." Where the real problem is that Godly pleasure is not carnal gratification.

"No, the love of God is a real substance."

A side note- in the Gnostic church, just about everything is a "real substance." Todd Bentley, for instance, teaches that the anointing is a real substance. The problem with this theology is that it leads people to believe it is something that can be acquired, and the in the case of Simon, bought and sold.

"In the same way that alcohol intoxicates the flesh, the love of God is designed to intoxicate our spirits with the pleasure of God."

Etymology: Late Latin toxicus, from Latin toxicum poison, from Greek toxikon arrow poison, from neuter of toxikos of a bow, from toxon bow, arrow
1 : containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation

2 : exhibiting symptoms of infection or toxicosis
3 : extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful

I have serious issues with equating being filled with the Holy Spirit with intoxication. The Holy Spirit is not poison.

"The bible call us to drink from the river of pleasure."

The reference here is, Psalm 36:8, explained in verse 9:

"And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light."

This, of course, in no manner resembles intoxication.

"That's not just a concept - that's real pleasure. There are real pleasures at God's right hand. There's a real river that flows from His presence that releases his pleasure in the earth and into his people and through his people to the nations."

We are in agreement with this. However, Hall takes it too far by equating pleasure with drunkenness. And to a born-again follower of Jesus, drunkenness is not pleasure.

"And the Lord said, "I'm going to release wine at IHOP. In the first stage I want to release fire, I want to release wind [phew!], I want to release healing - that no disease known to man would stand; I want to release anointing - conviction on the preaching of the gospel, but I want to begin by causing you to encounter the love of God, at the deepest level possible." And we are just beginning that journey."

In the context here, Hall is stating that the Lord will "release wine" at IHOP in the manner of John Arnott's Toronto Blessing.

"And the Lord began moving in our student body. Right after we'd celebrated ten years of night and day prayer, the Lord began moving in our students as students began testifying of the Lord, how the Lord had broken barriers of self-hatred and shame resulting from terrible things that had happened in their past, and they had never loved themselves,and they'd never seen themselves as one who God would love, those who had never encountered the love of the Father. The Lord broke off the barriers so that they could encounter for the first time the love of the father, and the love of the Bridegroom, as a real thing, as a real tangible experience."

Well, for this we are thankful. Many of these things seem rather basic to Christianity and are found in the Bible.

"We are supposed to know the love of God as a reality in our lives. And the Lord began moving upon our student body and we said "Lord, what does this mean?" and the Lord said "I want you to ask me for more." And so we began to ask him for more at the beginning of November. When he broke out in our student chapel in just a small way we said "God, if this is the season of rain we want more rain." If this the season when you are beginning to pour out wine, we want more wine. That's why we fast and pray. Read Matthew 9. Matthew 9 when Jesus is teaching on fasting for more of the bridegrooms embrace {cite?], he says "When I am taken away from you", he said to his disciples "then you will fast." Why will you fast? So that you can receive more of the new wine."

Hall obviously made up the stuff about "more of the bridegrooms embrace." Again, it is part of the convoluted "Bridal Paridigm" whose bible proof exists in no-existent references. Believe it because "he told you so" if you please.

The connection in scripture between fasting and new wine is tenuous at best, however, if the connection could be made, it would be not for MORE new wine, but simply new wine. More importantly, if verse 13 implies that we fast after Jesus's ascension, then the implication is that we continue to fast until He returns.

"We fast so that we can receive a greater measure of the Holy Spirit which communicates the love of God to our hearts so that we can walk in power and walk in his authority. But He says "when you fast it will be for the new wine. When you fast it will be for the thing that makes your hearts glad."

Here, I suppose he is repeating a "prophecy" because Jesus did not say "when you fast it will be for the new wine" in the scriptures. We also have many scriptural examples of believers receiving the Holy Spirit without fasting.

"Jesus does not intend for us to walk in mourning and sadness He intends for us to walk in fullness of joy."

Indeed. So we differ greatly on what "fullness of joy" looks like. Here's where this is going- the excesses of the past (Toronto drunkenness) is now accelerating to full blown blasphemy. At its very worst, it looks like this John Crowder meeting as the church receives "Holy Communion." Take note of the wine bottles.

Warning- this video is very disturbing.

Crowder, once thought as fringe, is becoming mainstream Apostolic/Prophetic. This is where this is going. It is all being joined together. Crowder's books are in the IHOP bookstore. He has ministered at Bethel meetings. Of Toronto and IHOP, Bickle himself says the "two streams" are being joined together. Carol Arnott repeats a prophesy that "The three steams (Toronto, IHOP and Bethel) must come together. Watch and Pray.

The bottom line. When we read of John the Baptiser in Luke 1, we read "He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth." We when read Ephesians 5:18, we read "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."

Alcohol is not the anti-Holy-Spirit. The scriptures do not tell us that the Holy Spirit is the bizarro-world replacement for Alcohol. Rather, we are told to avoid intoxication with alcohol, and instead be filled with the spirit. This is somewhat hard for me to explain, but the bottom line is this: to equate the Spirit-Filled Life with drunkenness, as some mockers tried to do in Acts 2:13, is just plain stupid. The two are not alike; there is no comparison.

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:11-13)


  1. Just keep bringing to us the truth and showing the deception that is occuring. I appreciate it and pray that many will come by this site and read as well as other sites that take the time to bring forth the deception.

    God is and will have his day in this matter and those whom he will bring out of this he will open their eyes.

  2. The truly frightening and depressing aspect of all this is the embrace of men like Bentley and Crowder. I remember being introduced to Bentley in 04/05 and thinking, "Yikes... this must be the on the fringe of the fringe!" So when Lakeland came on the scene I was stunned.

    And now Crowder. I know people in these movements, and I want to believe they're reasonable people; that they love Jesus, have repented of their sin and put their trust in Him alone. (And I do continue to believe there are many genuine believers trapped in these movements.) But it has become increasingly difficult for me to attempt rational conversations with them. How can you not detect the BS and outright heresy within 30 seconds of listening to someone like Bentley or Crowder? You have to drink awfully deep of this KoolAid to lack even this basic level of discernment.

    It all still makes me angry, but more and more it also just makes me plain sad.

  3. Great research. Very needed. I affirm the contents of this blog. I preach in various parts of the world and over the past several years, I have seen the unfortunate growing influence of Toronto, IHOP, and Bethel on large groups of people. Most disturbing for me is that I've encountered pastors who secretly disagree with the likes of Todd Bentley but they've asked me not to mention anything in the pulpit about their heresies lest I upset certain people in their congregation. Not upsetting anyone now takes precedence over sound doctrine (God's very Word) in many places. I've also watched several pastors fully embrace the likes of Bill Johnson and lead their congregations down the slippery slope of utter doctrinal weirdness. These strange movements are growing at an alarming rate.

    I'll leave you with a prophesy. I can assure you that the person who prophesied the following was not toking on anything. He was simply filled with and was being led by the Holy Spirit.
    2 Timothy 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.

  4. Glad I found your blog, but I would tend to disagree with you concerning the Song, as it historically has been seen as the love of God and the Church. But, beyond that, amen to everything you are doing to call attention to the heresies here.

  5. J.L.,

    Not in the sensual manner presented by Bickle and others in their "Bridal Paridigm" teachings.

    Yes, I understand the allegory.

    I've written on this in depth here:

  6. Adam Bowman1/21/10, 7:36 PM

    Bill This was a highly disturbing read. We talk about this at bible study and make jokes but I had no idea that thes folks were so far off the deep end.

  7. Here's an odd one- Wes Hall actually preaching a good Holiness message. Go figure.

  8. Bert Farias6/8/10, 9:35 AM

    There's often a fine line between what is real and what is counterfeit. Excesses, extremes, and abuses do not do away with the real. There is a real infilling of the Holy Spirit where one is drunk and yes, intoxicated. I believe you make too much of the word 'drunk' and 'intoxication'. In your attempt to deal with what I believe is error through overemphasis your article seems to nullify the entire experience. I've witnessed people's eyes turning bloodshot in a moment, slurred speech, and staggering. You cannot say that this is not a state of spiritual drunkenness. This actually is in the realm of miracles, signs, and wonders. Where people miss it is by trying to put on something where they get into the soul with it. At the same time a person can privately train themselves to enter into this Spirit-filled life by drinking of the Spirit of God by speaking and singing in psalms,hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16). And if you drink enough it is not rocket science to know what will eventually happen. Smith Wigglesworth said: "I can get drunk on the Spirit any time I want to, and then I can sober up immediately when I am around the unlearned". He had learned through spiritual use and exercise to enter into that realm and life in the Spirit.

    I udnerstand your concerns. There is a balance, but don't throw out the baby with the bath water.

    Bert Farias

  9. Indeed, Wigglesworth was a strong proponent of singing in the spirit - always - as an aid to bringing joy in his life. This is the essence of Ephesians 5:19 and I concur.

    All I'm saying is the fleshly stirring up of this "maifestation" in the 1990 has progressed to something that is terribly wrong today.

    Thanks for commenting. Your book "Soulish Leadership" meant more to me than you will ever know. Well, now you do!

  10. I looked at the communion vid several times and except for the guy in the green shirt at the end couldn't see any bottles. His didn't look like any wine bottle I have ever seen.
    While it may seem silly. I would not go so far as the author did in calling it disturbing.
    I will say that I observed the awakening services from IHOP and while quite a few people were laughing there were a majority who were being healed and delivered as the autor noted was Scriptural without any of this type of "manifestation". They were merely prayed for and received.
    I also think it should be noted that leadership ended up closing out the services because they wanted to get back to focusing on Jesus and preparing their hearts to move forward to take the gospel to the ends of the earth which is the stated goal of IHOP.
    They have, literally, hundreds of prayer teams and ministry teams taking the gospel in dozens of nations.
    Most denominations today no longer even send missionaries let alone teams of them.
    There are things that I disagree with Mike Bickle about. But the basic foundations they teach to their 1200 students line up with most of classic Protestant Christianity unless one is cecessionist or pre-trib, neither of which were Classically Protestant.
    Unless one has gone to KC, MO, toured their campus and listned to what they teach their students one must be careful of taking soundbites out of context.
    I can do the same with the Scriptures but it doesn't make what I say a true representation.

  11. Bottle swigging going on at 0:44 at the communion table.

    I don't generally take soundbytes out of context, having reveiwed the Wes hall video several times and having spent many hundred hours reviewing Kansas City teaching.

    I stand by this:

    Hall takes it too far by equating pleasure with drunkenness. And to a born-again follower of Jesus, drunkenness is not pleasure.


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