This is a follow-up material to the article on Counterfeit Christian Faith published on this blog in October, 2017. It was adapted from www.deceptioninthechurch.com.
As you read this material, it is important to remember that these are the teachings, beliefs and practices of the “revival” being preached in Nigeria by The Redeemed Christian Church of God, the Winners’ Chapel, COZA, Gbile Akanni’s Ministry, the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship, The Deeper Life, in fact every Pentecostal, Word of Faith, Love World, Charismatic and New Apostolic Ministries and churches. You must remember that each of these ministries and churches (and every one that follows them) teach and believe in a strange Jesus you cannot find on the pages of the Bible.
(BROWNSVILLE REVIVAL: THE DECEPTION OF THE ELECT (Part Two)
By: Jeff Spencer
From the “Quarterly Journal of The Irenaeus Foundation; Volume 3, Issue 1: Winter 1998
Web Site: The Irenaeus Foundation Introduction)
In the last issue of the journal, I explored three biblical imperatives that help us to understand and address the “revival” centers around the world such as Brownsville Assembly of God (BAG) and Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. Part One of this series demonstrated three things. First, Christians are commanded to labor in sound doctrine in order to keep pure the teachings of the Christian Faith (Titus 1:9; 1 Tim. 4:13, 16). Second, Christians are commanded to “test all things” (1 Thess. 5:21-22). When someone brings a teaching into the church, we should test that teaching against the Word of God, the objective source of truth. Third, Christians are commanded to defend the Faith (Jude 3; 1 Pet. 3:15). When one’s teaching or experiential claim does not line up with God’s Word, we are commanded, “by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).
Many have set out to discredit and debunk this “revival” as a move of God, focusing on the unusual “manifestations” such as laughing, shaking, and temporary paralysis. I contend, however, that these manifestations should not be the main focus of the critique. The major problem with Brownsville is the false doctrine. Just as the presence of a disease brings forth certain symptoms in the body, the false doctrine brings forth the “revival” manifestations, the barking, roaring, shaking, etc., which are merely the symptoms of the disease. Thus, the real problem that needs to be treated is the false doctrine. This, Part Two of the series, deals directly with BAG’s false teachings, gleaned from their many books, audio tapes, video tapes, television appearances, my visit to the “revival,” and other sources. What you are about to read is definitive evidence that this “revival” wildly deviates from the Scripture and departs from the Christian Faith in almost every point of importance. They preach a false Jesus. They preach and pass on a false spirit. They preach a false gospel. They blatantly practice occultism disguised as Christianity. St. Paul warned of this in 2 Corinthians 11:4, when he said, “4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted; you may well put up with it!” All this is clearly documented below. The False Jesus of Brownsville
DENIAL OF CHRIST’S DIVINITY
This “revival” movement has grown directly out of the bizarre doctrines and antics found in the Word-Faith Cult. Word-Faith preachers such as Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Rodney Howard-Browne, and Benny Hinn are well known for the false doctrine and antics that they inspire in their “revival” services. Moreover, the Jesus that is preached by the Word-Faith Cult is unquestionably a false Jesus, and the “revival” is inexorably anchored to the Word-Faith Cult. For instance, Rodney Howard-Browne is the preacher responsible for the “Laughing Revival,” which became famous in Toronto. Subsequently, it was taken from Toronto to Brownsville by the leadership of the Brownsville Assembly of God. Rodney Howard-Browne teaches a Jesus that was not God while here on earth. In his book, The Touch of God, Howard-Browne says, “Nothing Jesus did was because He was the Son of God. The Bible says He laid aside His royal robes of deity and when He walked the earth He did so as a prophet under the Abrahamic Covenant.”1 This statement is a denial of the deity of Christ, and thus, Howard-Browne teaches “another Jesus.”
In the same fashion, Brownsville pastor John Kilpatrick denies the deity of Christ, and thus, preaches “another Jesus.” In his book, When the Heavens Are Brass, Kilpatrick denies the deity of Christ in a manner similar to Howard-Browne. Speaking of Jesus’ miracles, Kilpatrick contends that believers should “walk as Jesus walked-and remember, He did it all as a man who did not pull from any source other than those that are available to man.”2 In other words, the miracles Jesus did was because He was merely a man anointed by the Holy Spirit, or “an anointed man.”3 This is a veiled claim that Jesus, while on earth, was not fully God-He was missing some aspects of deity. However, Kilpatrick makes this claim in a manner that is not so veiled. He teaches that Jesus “did not move in omnipotence on the earth.”4 In other words, Jesus was not all powerful when He was on earth. Next, Kilpatrick claims that Jesus “did not move in omniscience on earth. Had Jesus been omniscient, He would have known when He was coming back.”5 Finally, Kilpatrick strips Jesus of His deity by claiming, “Jesus was not omnipresent on earth. . . . Jesus could be only in one place at a time because He was not omnipresent.”6
Kilpatrick’s and Howard-Browne’s Jesus is a false Jesus for the following reasons. First, Jesus, when He took on flesh, was 100% God and 100% man. Jesus taking on flesh was not a subtraction from His Deity, but an addition of a human nature to the Divine Person. He is two natures, a divine nature and a human nature present within one person. He did not become less-than-God as Kilpatrick and Howard-Browne suggest. The infinite, eternal, unchanging divine Person, without changing or giving up any attribute, took on a new nature, a human nature, so Jesus is two complete natures in one person. Second, at no time did Jesus give up any of His divine attributes. The subtraction of even one of His divine attributes would mean that Jesus was not God. This is because the divine attributes of God “are essential characteristics of His being. Without these qualities God would not be what He is—God.”7 In other words, without each and every divine attribute, God would not be God. God minus even one divine attribute equals non-God. Apologist Norman Geisler explains that, “God is by his very nature an absolutely perfect being. If there were any perfection that he lacked, then he would not be God.”8 Third, Jesus submitted to a voluntary non-use of His divine attributes while He was on earth. He did not give them up. Thus, when He did not know the time of His second coming, He was speaking as a man, voluntarily not using His omniscience. He did, however, use His divine attributes at times, but never to benefit Himself. For instance, the miracles He performed were never to make His life as a man easier, but to benefit others. In conclusion, since the Jesus of Kilpatrick and Howard-Browne gave up divine attributes, then the Jesus of Brownsville is not God. Kilpatrick’s and Browne’s problem stems from the fact that they are altogether mistaken when they assert that God’s attributes can be divorced from His being and God still be God. The False Spirit of Brownsville
IMPARTING A FALSE HOLY SPIRIT
Brownsville not only preaches a false Jesus, they preach and impart a “different spirit” than the Holy Spirit. The spirit that is being imparted at Brownsville is localized, transferable, and imparted through various occultic techniques, not to mention that it causes un-Christlike behavior, such as barking, roaring, vomiting, shaking, and paralysis.
The spirit is localized and transferable. The spirit that is being preached in this revival is contained in one place-Brownsville. Therefore, in order to encounter that spirit, one must visit the “power center” where the spirit is in operation. To receive the spirit of Brownsville, one must go to Brownsville. Thus, Steve Hill can be heard touting the “value of a pilgrimage” in order to “receive a fresh touch from God.”9 In other words, you must travel to the power center where the spirit is manifesting if you want the spirit imparted to you.
However, the localized spirit does not necessarily remain localized. Once one visits the power center and receives the spirit, one can then take that spirit back to his own congregation and start another power center. Steve Hill claims “People from all over the world have been touched by God’s Spirit, either as they come worship with us, or as they visit others who have been here.”10 Thus, the spirit is passed on exponentially from Hill to seekers, and from seekers to those in their home churches, much like one candle lights a second, then the second one lights a third, and so on. The point is that you cannot receive this spirit unless someone that has it gives it to you.
In contrast, the Holy Spirit of the Bible is omnipresent, or everywhere present. Moreover, He is all-powerful everywhere. In other words, the Holy Spirit is omnipotently omnipresent and omnipresently omnipotent. There are no “power centers” that one must visit in order to encounter the Holy Spirit. In fact, the whole notion that the Spirit is more powerful in one place, thus you have to make a pilgrimage in order to encounter the spirit is not Christianity, but occultism. Furthermore, by claiming that the power is localized, Brownsville denies both the omnipresence and omnipotence of the Holy Spirit.
The spirit is received through various “techniques.” The spirit of Brownsville is passed on from one to another by various techniques such as touch, repetition of words, or turning off the mind and giving one’s self over to the spirit.
NEW THOUGHT, NEW AGE AND BLATANT OCCULTISM
One technique for imparting the Brownsville spirit is through touch. Members of the prayer team at Brownsville touch those who have responded to the altar call and shout, “More, Lord!” This imparts the spirit of the “revival” onto the seeker. Video after video shows Steve Hill enthusiastically moving from one seeker to another at the BAG altar touching forehead after forehead yelling, “More, Lord!” The result is always the same-the spirit is imparted and it causes seekers to shake, laugh, roar, fall out, etc.
This technique, touching one in order to impart a spirit or power, is very common in New Age circles and their eastern counterparts. For instance, Swami Baba Muktananda imparted “guru’s grace” to followers through touching foreheads. This Kundalini yoga technique is called “shaktipat,” and it produces various “physical and emotional awakenings” such as “laughing, roaring, barking, hissing, crying, shaking, etc.”11 American New Age guru Mark Griffin claims shakitipat is “the transmission of spiritual power (Shakti) from the Guru to the disciple; a spiritual awakening by grace.”12 Guru Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandasji, an expert on Kundalini yoga, says of shaktipat,
Another technique of great importance is Shaktipat, the transmission of energy. A powerful yogi can transmit energy to an aspirant and awaken the Kundalini [power in one’s body]. This is accomplished in one of four ways: by touch, gaze, sound or thought. The yogi may touch the disciple and transmit energy through physical contact, or gaze at the disciple and energy flows from the yogi’s eyes. The yogi may utter words which carry energy or, more subtly, energy can be transferred directly by the yogi’s thought or will.13
Surprisingly, this occultic transmission of power from the leader to the disciple, is being embraced by the Christian community and guru Steve Hill is being heralded as a modern-day prophet.
Another technique employed by Brownsville leaders to pass the spirit on to others is through the repetition of words. This causes the spirit to be passed on from those who have it to those who want it. This is exactly how Steve Hill claims he got saved. In his salvation testimony, Hill claims a Lutheran minister told him in order to be delivered from his atheistic, degenerate lifestyle, just repeat the name Jesus over and over. Hill complied, “The sound of that name again and again seemed to bring hope from nowhere. The confusion and fear faded slowly as I looked to the ceiling and began to utter, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!’ A peace, a warmth such as I never felt before, flooded my body. This power rushed in like a river and took command of everything. I kept crying out His name, louder and louder: ‘Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!’ The more I said it, the greater was my deliverance.”14 Steve Hill repeated the name of Jesus over and over again, and then was overcome by a spiritual power.
What is the problem here? If Steve Hill is telling the truth about how he “got saved,” then he is not saved-unless you believe that salvation can come apart from believing the true Gospel and apart from the true Jesus Christ. The experience Hill described cannot be a salvation experience for several reasons. First, by his own admission, the “presentation” to atheist Hill never dealt with the person or work of Jesus Christ. Which Jesus was the Lutheran minister preaching to the atheist? Certainly not the Christian Jesus because the Christian Jesus is not received through the repetition of a word, even His name. Second, the gospel was never presented to the atheist Hill. The only thing that the preacher said to the atheist Hill was he needed to speak the name of Jesus over and over in order for his life to be changed. There was nothing mentioned about putting faith in Christ or believing that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Third, Steve’s experience is exactly what happens in Hinduism, occultism, and the New Age. The repetition of a word over and over again is the New Age occultic technique called a mantra. When a mantra is repeated, an occultic, demonic power overcomes the speaker. This is exactly how Hill describes his conversion! So, the main man behind the Brownsville revival, if we take his testimony to be true, is not even a believer in the true Jesus, but an occultic Jesus, a demonic spirit, that overcame him while he was repeating a mantra over and over-and this same occultic spirit is imparted to people who visit Brownsville.
Hill is using the mantra technique, repeating “More, Lord!,” and “Fire! Fire! Fire!,” to pass on the spirit at the Brownsville “revival.” For instance, the Brownsville prayer team, the group that prays for people at Hill’s altar calls, is instructed to impart the spirit only by touch and the repetition of words. Dr. Herb Babcock, former prayer team member recounts, “While on the prayer team, we were instructed to NOT pray in Jesus’ name. We were told to NOT pray for the needs of people. The only thing we were to do was touch people on their forehead and say, “More, Lord!” and keep repeating that until there was an “impartation” of the spirit being promoted in these meetings.” Babcock continues, “If the person did not respond in a reasonable time, move on to someone else. Any deviation from the limited procedure would result in being removed from the prayer team, which did happen to a few individuals.”15 Dr. Babcock wisely left Brownsville Assembly of God over this issue. To forbid prayer in the name of Jesus is certainly against the Word of God, as is the practice of imparting “different spirits” through occultic techniques.
Yet, Steve Hill uses mantra to tap into or bring on power. This is not a Christian practice at all, but a technique used in eastern religions, New Age, and occultic groups. The mantras, such as “More, Lord,” or “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” are certainly Christian sounding words, but they have the same occultic goal as Hindu mantras “Om” or “Hare Krishna”-invoking a spirit and passing on the spirit from one person to the other. According to Harper’s Dictionary of Hinduism, “The mantra is a formula comprising words and sounds which possess magical or divine power.”16 Another occultist says, “Mantra is a form of words or sounds which are believed to have magical effect when uttered with intent.”17 And by uttering the words “More, Lord!,” or “Fire!,” over and over with the intent of imparting the spirit of Brownsville during altar calls, Steve Hill has unequivocally left the Christian Faith and is practicing full-blown occultism.
MANTRAS, RATHER THAN THE TRUE FAITH IN THE TRUE JESUS
In addition, concerning mantras, any word will do-even “Christian” words such as “Jesus” or “Lord.” One occultist, Michael Balarama of the Bhaktivedanta Meditation Society, advises the use of a number of mantras. He says of the different mantras, “You can choose one that appeals to you. They are all effective. The Vedas say there is no need of understanding the language of the mantra, nor is there any need of mental speculation, nor intellectual adjustment”18 Remarkably, two of the mantras that are recommended by Balarama are, “Lord Jesus have mercy upon us,” and “Hail Mary mother of grace, blessed is thy name and the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”19 Thus, in order to conjure the magical effect of the mantra, any word will do, even “Christian” words, such as “More, Lord!,” “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” This is proved by the fact that even occultists and eastern religions use the name of Jesus in mantras. Hence, even though the mantra technique is being used inside BAG, a Christian church, that does not make it any less occultic, even if the name “Jesus” is used.
Another technique used to pass on the spirit of Brownsville is to lead the congregation to turn off their minds, quit thinking, and let the spirit take over. The battle cry of the “revival” is “Turn off your mind and let the Spirit do what He pleases!” Rodney Howard-Browne instructs his audience to “tune out” by saying, “You can’t understand what God is doing in these meetings with an analytical mind. The only way you’re going to understand what God is doing is with your hearts.”20 In other words, don’t analyze, don’t think, just let your mind go and let God take control!
One clears the mind in order to come into union with God. The mind is seen as the enemy of true spirituality. Steve Hill instructed the crowd at Brownsville, “Now, let yourselves go. Don’t even think about what you are doing. Forget about those around you and what they are doing. Release your mind. Release your spirit and let the mighty river of the Holy Ghost take you wherever He wants you to go.”21 Notice the similarity of Hill command to the commands of several New Age/Hindu teachers,
Withdraw your mind from all created things (thinking about no thing). Such withdrawal of the mind is not the same as simply becoming unconscious, because there is a new focus of awareness. . . your mind will eventually become naturally quiet and still.22 You must achieve elimination of the mind, which is the arch obstacle in the spiritual path.23 Do not listen to your mind [but] . . . to my voice. . . . Give [your minds] to me . . . but it must be a complete handing over; no reservations; the mind is the source of delusion.24
In contrast, the God of the Bible is a rational, thinking God who demands His followers “love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). To turn off the mind even for a moment or to fail to use it to the best of your ability at all times is to disobey God. The mind is an essential ingredient of the Christian life. The Christian grows in Christ-likeness primarily through the discipling of the mind. The Apostle Paul commands the church to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:1-2), so that one can prove the will of God. God desires His people to be a thinking people because He is the ultimate Rational Being. Truly, without our minds we are helpless to discern truth from error. That is exactly why so much error-a false Jesus, a false spirit, and a false Gospel-is being accepted by “revival” attendees. New Age occultism says “Out with the mind!” but Christianity says, “transform your mind!”
The point I have just made can be summed up as this: the leaders of Brownsville are using techniques from the occult, New Age, and eastern pantheistic religions to impart a demonic spirit to those that attend the “revival.” Whether it is by touch, mantra, or the emptying of the mind, the “revival” leaders are unquestionably practicing occultism, even though the practices and the spirits are identified by Christian names and titles (i.e., mantra = “persistent prayer”; emptying the mind = “letting God take over”; occultic spirit = “Holy Spirit”). To be sure, “revival” leaders are tapping into a power that yields desired results-lives are “changed”-but the power that is imparting the results is not the Holy Spirit of the Bible, but ultimately Satan himself. Thus, the power at Brownsville is not the Holy Spirit, but occultism through and through. Notice the uncanny resemblance between occultic practice and the “revival.”
COMPARISON BETWEEN KUNDALINI YOGA AND THE BROWNSVILLE “REVIVAL”25
|IDENTICAL MANIFESTATION||“Kriyas” Shaking, trembling, roaring, barking, weeping, laughing, paralysis, heat.||“manifestation” Shaking, trembling, roaring, barking, weeping, laughing, paralysis, feelings of heat or coldness.|
|IDENTICAL TECHNIQUES||“Shaktipat” Transferred through touch, mantra, meditation.||“Impartation” Transferred through touch, repetitive prayer, emptying the mind.|
|IDENTICAL INSTRUMENTS||“Guru” Transferred by a guru who is “on fire” (i.e., he has had someone impart the power to him.).||“Anointed one” Transferred by minister who has also been “touched” and received this “spirit” from someone else.|
|IDENTICAL RESULTS||“Transformation” Surrendering to the power; inner peace; feelings of love; closeness to the deity; purification from doing evil; changed life.||“A Changed Life” Surrendering to the spirit; peace; feelings of love; cleansed; renewed commitment and intimacy with God; changed life|
The False Gospel of Brownsville
If the Gospel according to Brownsville is true, then salvation by faith alone through Christ alone is false. At BAG, the factor which determines your standing before God is how you live instead of how Jesus died to pay for your sins, past, present, and future. The “revival” is fueled by the preaching of a faith + works Gospel, in that one must clean up one’s act through repentance and then live a holy life for the remainder of one’s life if one wants to be with Jesus in glory. In order to have eternal life, Brownsville claims one must 1) turn from your sins, repent, clean up your life, 2) live a holy life from that day forward, 3) make a public confession of faith, 4) be baptized for cleansing. We will analyze the Gospel according to Brownsville in these four sections, not one of which is a part of the true Gospel.
To Be Saved, Clean Up Your Life. The Gospel according to Brownsville is one in which a person who wants a relationship with God must come to the altar and give up all known sin in their life. Then and only then will Jesus consider a relationship with you. This is clearly illustrated in Steve Hill’s sermon, “The Violence of Revival.” He says, “Since Jesus did His part, you must wage violent warfare against sin. If you want Jesus Christ to touch you and forgive you today, then you had better get violent about it. Get up and shake the devil off your lap.”26 Hill plainly presents salvation as something one must work for-we must “get violent” about the sin in our life or Jesus will not save us. In contrast, the Bible says we have no need to “get violent” about our sin in order to be saved, because Jesus got violent about sin in order that the world might be saved. He was tortured, crucified, and died on a criminal’s cross, thereby providing an atonement for our sin. We must simply trust in Him as the atonement for our sin. Since He dealt with our sin “once-for-all” we do not “deal” with our sin in order to be saved-we simply Trust Jesus. Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross, and to imply that we need to clean up our act or repent of sin in order to be saved is to deny the sufficiency of the atonement for sin that Christ made on the cross.
Hill lays out many conditions for salvation, but the basic thrust of Hill’s false Gospel is this-”God wants to set you free but you have to do your part.”27 For instance, in his sermon, “The Silence of God,” Hill lays out these conditions for salvation, “There is also a pardon for you, but only after you confess, repent, and submit your life to Him.”28 Another sermon, “The Rebel’s Reward,” gives another set of conditions, “If you don’t repent of your rebellion, if you fail to obey God and get right with Him, then your wicked heart won’t be cleansed.”29 Pastor John Kilpatrick also denotes similar false requirements for salvation, “Even harlots, thieves, backsliders, and little children can release Heaven’s incredible power [notice the New Age terminology] by repenting, obeying, and submitting to God.”30 So, Hill and Kilpatrick have said we must get violent about sin, do our part, repent, confess, submit your life, obey, and get right with God. I must ask, “What about placing our faith in Christ, Steve and John?” Whatever happened to the word “believe”? Was Christ’s work on the cross not enough?
Kilpatrick and Hill lay out so many conditions for salvation that they are without doubt preaching a works salvation. The one thing that is abundantly clear is that Kilpatrick and Hill are abundantly unclear on how one must get saved. In fact, in the many sermons of the “revival” that I have read or heard, I have never once heard them correctly explain the Gospel-Jesus did all the work for salvation on the cross, and all we must do to be saved is to simply believe, or trust, in Jesus (John 3:16). He worked, we trust in Him. Plainly, to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” is just not enough for Brownsville leaders. Truly, I have not heard them mention it at all!
To Be Saved, Make a Public Confession of Faith. According to Brownsville, one’s salvation is real only if the cleaning up of one’s act is done in conjunction with a public confession of faith. Hill claims that one of the many steps to salvation is “Confess Him publicly as our Lord and Savior.”31 Similarly, in his sermon “Counterfeit Conversion,” Steve Hill states this very plainly, “I believe people need to come to Jesus Christ the same way he died for them on the cross-publicly, boldly, and in front of everybody. It has to be real. Anything less is going to be counterfeit. . . . I demand the real thing because Jesus deserves the real thing.”32 Thus, if someone does not make a public, bold confession of faith when they clean up their life, their conversion is counterfeit.
To Be Saved, Live a Holy Life Until the End. Not only must one turn from all sin and respond publicly to an altar call to be saved, the person must live a holy life until he dies if he wants to be in heaven with Jesus. In fact, if a Christian has any sin in his life, he is not saved. In a recent sermon given on the steps of the Governor’s Mansion in Montgomery, Alabama, Steve Hill yelled, “If there is sin in your life and you are calling yourself a Christian, change your name! You are a heathen-at best a backslider!”33 Consequently, the presence of sin means the absence of salvation. Brownsville evangelist Dick Reuben illustrates that salvation can be lost through sin in one’s life when he says, “We [at BAG] don’t differentiate between those that have never received Jesus and those [ex-Christians] who are backslidden, because, you see, there’s no difference between a backslider and one who’s never known Jesus. They’re both sinners on the way to hell. If you don’t think you can backslide and miss heaven, then you didn’t read the same book I’ve read.”34
Kilpatrick teaches the same thing, saying, “I’m not so sure that everyone who is in the Body of Christ will be in the Bride of Christ!”35 In fact, Kilpatrick claims that “The Lord said to me when I was in prayer, ‘Not everyone who is in My Body will be in My Bride.’”36 Thus, the deciding factor that determines whether or not one gets to heaven is not one’s trust in Jesus, but how one behaves. People can trust Jesus from here to eternity and never see heaven because they misbehave and allow sin into their life. Heaven is only for those with clean lives, and sinful behavior can separate you from God forever. This is entirely different than the God of the Bible who declares that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39). Eternal is a free gift, and it is exactly that-eternal. We did no work to receive eternal life, and we can do nothing to lose it.
To Be Saved, Be Baptized For the Forgiveness of Sins. Steve Hill believes that “transformation . . . comes as a result of water baptism.”37 Remarkably, in the chapter about water baptism in The Pursuit of Revival, Steve Hill very clearly claims that cleansing of sin not only comes through cleaning up your life, living a holy life as a Christian, and public confession of faith, but cleansing also comes through water baptism. Hill claims, “When an individual encounters the living God, like Paul did on the road to Damascus, he or she is changed in no small way. And the lives of those around him are affected as well, especially by the cleansing of sin that comes through baptism.”38 Thus, Brownsville teaches that unless one is baptized, one cannot be cleansed of sin. Simply trusting in Jesus and the work He did on the cross is not enough.
The Gospel according to Brownsville is undeniably a false Gospel. And a false Gospel yields a false salvation. Therefore, even though BAG claims that 120,000 souls have been saved, this claim must be categorically rejected entirely on the basis that the 120,000 people have not responded to the true Gospel, the true Spirit, or the true Jesus. They have responded to a false Jesus, a false spirit, and a false Gospel-something that Scripture warns about over and over again (cf. Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 11:4; Matt. 24:23-24; 2 Pet. 2:1). Tragically, people will spend eternity separated from God because of the “revival” that is being held night after night in Brownsville, Florida. Conclusion: Brownsville-Apostasy from the Faith
END-TIME REVIVAL? THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF NO SUCH THING
The Bible does not speak of a great end-times revival, but of a great end-times apostasy of believers. Could these “revival” movements be that great end-times falling away from the Faith? I believe it very well could be. The Bible declares that in the end times, there will be a great falling away from the Faith. 1 Timothy 4:1 says, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” Furthermore, speaking of the last days in his last epistle, Paul states, “For the time will come when they [the church] will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). It is undeniable that there will be a great deception among true believers.
What would such a deception look like? It certainly will not be something very obvious. Satan is not going to waltz into the church on Sunday morning and say, “OK everybody! Listen up! I’m Satan and this is the great apostasy, so get in line and follow me out the door and away from the Faith.” No, he is much more clever. His end times deception will be through a subtle twisting of biblical Christianity, mixing biblical truth with demonic error. So close is this mixture, in fact, that many believe it to be biblical Christianity, and thus, fall away from the true Faith. Because of his disguise as an “angel of light” and his ministers disguise as “ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:14-15) everything they do looks and sounds very Christian. Thus, many believers are deceived and lead away from the Faith by deception through false doctrine-a subtly different Jesus, different spirit, and different gospel. In other words, the Great Apostasy from the Faith will be orchestrated by ministers who, on the surface, appear righteous and godly. Their teaching will be so close to true biblical Christianity that many will follow the false “angel of light” and the false “ministers of righteousness” away from the Faith, the true Jesus, the true Spirit and the true Gospel. This type of deception is what I believe is going on in Brownsville. The church is falling for the lies and near-truths that seems so close to what has been taught for centuries. As I have established above, Brownsville is indeed preaching another Jesus, a different spirit, and a different gospel than orthodox Christianity.
The difference is subtle enough to deceive many believers. As Charles Colson has pointed out, “I have spoken of frontal assaults and the sneak attacks. There is something worse. . . . The enemy is in our midst. He has so infiltrated our camp that many simply no longer can tell an enemy from a friend, truth from heresy.”39 So beware, beloved, there are those in your midst that want to lead you into this great apostasy. Stand firm in sound doctrine. Test all things to see if they are biblical, and if not, defend the Faith! Follow Peter’s decree and “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Pt. 3:15). You won’t win a popularity contest, but you will be pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ as you snatch deceived believers from the very hand of Satan.
In this article, I have clearly and beyond doubt shown that Brownsville Assembly of God preaches a false Jesus, a false Spirit, and a false Gospel. It is my prayer that this article opened your eyes to the dangers of the “revival” due to the occultism and false doctrine being preached. If the doctrine is false, then the whole movement is false. God is does not work through a false Jesus, a false spirit, and a false Gospel-if He did, He wouldn’t have warned us about the dangers of false christs and false gospels over and again. The way God is working in Brownsville can be seen in the testimonies of the hundreds of BAG members who have recognized the danger and left the church because of its false doctrine. If you permit me to be quite frank, someone would have to be totally unconcerned about truth to continue to embrace this “revival.” Or, someone would have to be totally disinterested in the true Jesus, the true Spirit, and the true Gospel if he fails to speak out against this end-times deception. To be silent on this matter is to sanction it.