THE COMING REVIVAL By Rodney Howard Browne
Examining the Prophets Claim of Revival
By Mike Oppenheimer - Let Us Reason Ministries
Rodney Howard- Browne is hailed as the originator of the Holy Laughter Movement and has brought a so-called revival to churches all over the world. He is the 2nd in line since it originated from Benny Hinn.
Browne's book The-Coming Revival is being sold as an explanation for the alleged great revival that is now taking place. But is what we are seeing in Browne's ministry truly revival? In this review, we will determine the validity of Browne's claims as we compare the theology of the Coming Revival with the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures.
On page 1 of The Coming-Revival, Browne quotes Amos 3:7 : "God does nothing without first revealing it to his prophets.' The Bible, however, in the New Testament states that "God in former times spoke through the prophets but in these last days speaks to us by His Son." ( Hebrews 1 :1 ) So we read that in these times, God does not speak exclusively through His prophets but has revealed His plans in the form of the Bible. Who are these prophets he speaks of?
Furthermore, Ephesians 2:20 says that: "The church has been built upon the prophets and apostles...' (past tense). At one time , the prophets and the apostles were the sole builders of the church but , today, the foundation has already been built. We don't need to lay another foundation.
On page 2, Rodney Howard-Browne tells us that the Spirit of God spoke through Kenneth Hagin ( an American "prophet') in 1980. The Spirit allegedly said that the world was on the verge of a great move and manifestation of the Spirit of God and that this would be the greatest hour of the church. Now we know who he thinks is a prophet.
It should be noted that nowhere in Scripture do we find God pointing to Himself in this manner such as "This is going to be the best !" When we look at the source of these prophecies we see that they originate from the mouths of men in the Word Faith Movement. What we hear is God has saved the best for last! It shouldn't surprise us to hear what comes up later about touching God's anointed ones and the inevitable claims of extraordinary hearings. These prophecies and miracle claims always fall desperately short of being fulfilled and validated.
Speaking on personal revival, Browne goes on to talk about those who are "spiritually dead" claiming that when they walk into a room, the temperature goes down 1 0 degrees because they are part of the 'frozen chosen." This illustrates what seems to be a central component in Rodney's teachings about God. This God Browne speaks of is associated with fire , heat, and power. If anyone is lacking these, then they are not filled with the Spirit and are desperately in need of what Rodney has to offer.
On page 3, he quotes Ezekiel 36:26,27: "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will 1 put within you: And 1 will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and 1 will give you a heart of flesh. And 1 will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgements, and do them."He relates those that are in need of revival with having a stony heart and uses this verse as a statement for revival.
However, Jeremiah 31 tells us that this is part of the New Covenant and that occurs when one is born again. This verse should not be used to refer to revival. God gives everyone a new spirit when they are born again.
On page 4, Browne gives an example of a coming revival that will stir up everything in its path and will hit every area of society. This statement has truth and could be accurate until one reads Rodney's further description of what he means when he speaks of the revival's influence.
On page 5, he writes that you can't have revival without stirring up the flesh. He uses Galatians 5 as a proof text and saying that Christians lie, cheat, backbite, are full of anger and much debate.( Where is debate mentioned in Galatians 5 ? Perhaps under the topic of dissension's: Browne may be including a veiled message to any who would question his revival).At any rate, Browne feels that wherever there is revival there will be manifestations of the flesh.
Browne goes on to categorize the manifestations that will occur during revival (p. 6). He says that you are very likely to witness these three types of manifestations in a true revival meeting: (1) The Holy Spirit, (2) the flesh , and (3) the devil. He states : " I'd rather be in a church where the devil and the flesh are manifesting than in a church where nothing is happening because people are too afraid to manifest anything... and if a devil manifests, dont worry about that either. Rejoice because at least something is happening." If thats where he feels comfortable then we can see his relaxed attitude toward what God does not want to happen. He just wants to see lively participation at the cost of whoever volunteers.
One could write several volumes chronicling the errors in the above statement. A revival of the Spirit does not manifest the flesh. God says clearly that if one walks in the Spirit, that he will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.(Gal. 5: 1 6). These are contrary to each other. The works of the flesh will never compliment the workings of the Spirit. If the devil and the flesh are manifesting in a meeting, 1 would hope that it was an exorcism and the devil would be leaving rather than staying and participating ! Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, not to put him on display. Is it really better to have this happening than to have an orderly service where solid, Biblical teaching is coming from the pulpit? Is it absolutely necessary for the Holy Spirit to show us outwardly what is being done or can He operate on the inside of people to transform their lives without drawing attention to the person or so-called work of the Spirit? 1 would be very concerned if 1 saw the devil or the flesh manifesting in the majority of the people at a meeting. However, this is exactly what transpires in many of Browne's meetings when , according to Browne, the so-called 'unseen one" moves through the crowd and causes them to emotionally react, sometimes bordering on the chaotic and bizarre.
On pages 6 and 7 of The Coming Revival, Browne gives a diatribe concerning the quenching of the Spirit: "Turn up heat. When the heat is stirred up, the light will become so bright that flesh bugs will be attracted to it." He goes on to say that one cannot stay in the flesh in the presence of the anointing of God, so we are not to stop every manifestation or we may quench the Spirit of God.
If what Browne writes is true, then why is it that many of the people that attend his revival meetings continue to react in bizarre manifestations throughout the duration of the meetings? Is not one of the fruits of the Spirit that of self-control ?
According to Browne's theology, if you can sit still you're not being touched by the Spirit. This would indicate that anyone who is not manifesting something is either spiritually dead or is not yielding to this new move of God. This fact in itself is a suggestion to the audience to definitely manifest something as proof that it is God. This auto- suggestion along with the pressure to act like others who are manifesting around them during a meeting contributes to the chaotic scenario one may be inclined to participate at one of Rodney Howard-Browne's meetings. If one does not participate, they will not look or feel as though they are spiritual.
On page 9, he states that Charles Finney would pray for God's glory to saturate the whole county in which he was next going to minister. As soon as people drove their buggies across the county line, they would begin shaking like a leaf.
Sadly, this is a clearly blatant exaggeration of Finney's ministry. The idea that one would suddenly be in contact with the Holy Spirit by merely crossing an imaginary boundary in a given state is just ridiculous. this much has yet to be proven from Finney's writings. On page 10, Rodney recalls an event in his own life in which the Lord spoke to him saying " Son, if they'd just quit talking and let My Spirit move. Instead, everyone got up and gave their 2 cents worth about what they thought was going to happen and the moment that the Holy Spirit moved, they stopped Him.'
It would seem that, as one reads Browne's books and teachings, there is a consistent pattern that suggests that God's moving is only apparent by manifestations, what we can see or feel. The Scripture is clear that God moves when His Word is preached in purity and truth. And that He will do what the Spirit leads through the Word. An example of this is found in Acts where Peter preached on Pentecost about Israel and repentance. Acts 2:40 says that "...those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about 3000 souls were added to them." The Word and the Spirit work in unison, not in opposition.
Browne continues by saying that " I don't want to be so full of pride, tradition, and bondage that I wont allow the Spirit of God to move." This statement is followed with his opinion on what some churches are like. He speaks of church services with 3 hymns and preaching out of an Encyclopaedia and 'reader's digest. "
I can agree that some churches are steeped in tradition, but it is God's Word that is to be foremost declared because the Spirit Himself gave us the Word and faith comes from hearing the Word. God commands us to preach the Word and to be ready in season and out of season. The disagreement lies with Browne's apparent affinity with the abnormal. On page 11, Browne states that "it's time we started having the abnormal in our services. It's time we started having something supernatural. People today talk a great deal about the Spirit of God, but if Jesus were here they'd run away from Him!" Browne makes Jesus seem like some cranking miracle machine. Not understanding the purpose of his miracles or for the apostles.
The above quote is a glimpse into his own agenda and can be summed up in this : Abnormal occurrences indicate that God is here. His quote raises several problems. First, when Jesus was physically with people, He never wanted them to revere the signs but used these to validate who He was so that their belief would be directed towards Him and his teaching. We should be willing to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to what He has to say without requiring Him to perform a miraculous sign or wonder to get our attention. Signs and miracles did not produce the faith that many claim in Jesus day. Those who truly have real faith today are not dependent on signs and wonders. Real faith is believing even when one can't see. the Holy Spirit is concerned with affecting practical issues in our lives. He wants us to be controlled in our speech and actions in order that we may be able to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit to all. Those who do not believe need something to see. Jesus said that " Unless you see a sign you will not believe.' He also made a harsher statement 'An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign. Something that Rodney seems to neglect in his teachings.
Browne goes on to speak well about Charles Parham who was thrown out of the Azusa Street Revival in 1906. Parham continued to denounce the revival and W. J. Seymour, despite the fact that Browne states otherwise. ( See Synan the Holiness Pentecostal Movement p. 112).
On page 13, we read Rodney's praise of William Branham, who admittedly said that he received his power from an angel (who he said was Jesus) that was leading him through life since he was 3 years old. Branham taught that Satan and Eve had sexual intercourse and that Cain was birthed as the result of this encounter. This heresy is known as the serpent seed doctrine. Branham also taught that the Zodiac and the Egyptian pyramids were God's revelation revealed in the stones and the stars. Rodney also often uses Branham's catch phrase: "Denominations are abominations.' Because churches should be united under one headship. Who should we have run the church? The one who does the most miracles? The one with most power can win right! I choose the one who bought the church, let him decide between the Spirit and the pastors. It is for these reasons Branham was respected, for the power manifested, certainly not for his expository preaching.
In addition to these the most concerning is William Branham taught that the Trinity (Which is a major tenet of the nature of God), was of the devil. His supposed hearings at his meetings were credited to the angel mentioned earlier. So one can only wonder what was at work with such power if he denied the essentials of the faith and attributes an accompanying angel for his power.This is ignored by Brown and other hyper Charismatics.
Clearly these and many other statements should allow those who love God's Word to see and discern the problem with false teachings such as these. Branham and his teachings are painfully clear of the men Browne looks to as mentors for revival.
Continuing on, Rodney mentions numerous other men in the healing revivals that became part of the Latter Rain Movement. We are finally able to glimpse the origins of Browne's theology and his motivation for seeing these so-called miracles and manifestations.
On page 14, we read about revival waves. Rodney makes an analogy with surfing and says that revival is somewhat like when surfers "ride waves and then paddle out for the next one. There's a right wave and there's a wrong wave. You have to know how to read the waves."
I agree that one should know how to read the waves. As a surfer, I know all too well one must have a discerning eye on what he is about to take off on. The flaw with Browne's analogy is that surfers always go for another wave because they are never satisfied and are always on the lookout for that perfect ride. This can also be applied to those who are always seeking more manifestations and a better feeling. The exhilaration of the ride keeps on getting better, and so one is continually looking for more and is never satisfied.
Going back to the heating revivals, one can see through investigation of its origins and teachings, that its passing in time could be viewed as a blessing and not as something missed. While real miracles and healings do occur today, people who are bent on the phenomenon view what is going on today as a lack in the church . They feel that the normal Christian life should mirror the lives of those in the Apostolic age. M any are claiming that the apostles and prophets need to be restored in the church today in order to get the power back. This is the same teaching that emerged from the Latter Rain Movement in the 1940's. These were self-proclaimed offices then and today we see the same mistake being made by those who claim the power of miracles in order to ascend to greater positions of leadership in the church.
Another mistake made is the giving of the gifts of ministry by impartation or the laying on of hands for the anointing. The Bible clearly states that it is Jesus who gives the gifts as he wills and that Jesus is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. No man can ever function in this manner without setting himself up as equal to Jesus.
The primary manifestation claimed by those who have the new anointing is joy or laughter. We cannot find laughter related to anything spiritual or as a spiritual gift. while much more can be said concerning the numerous inferences throughout Browne's book, we will refrain from commenting on those and direct our attention to the major statements.
On page 22, Browne writes that people who never thought they were called and others who thought you weren't called ' will walk into your living room one day and suddenly an angel will appear to you.
There appears to be a consistent lack of people knowing the will of God from the Bible and therefore an external manifestation is necessary to prove it. Angels do not commonly show themselves and it is quite unusual in the New Testament times with the exception of God using an angel to reveal to Zacharias, Mary, and Joseph the news of the coming birth of Christ. Nowhere are we told to look for angelic appearances and more teaching is seen concerning warning and testing spirits than encouraging seeking an encounter with them.
On page 23, Browne mocks those who went to Bible school and tells them to place their diploma or doctorate on those who need healing to see what happens: " The devil's not afraid of a diploma. When you show him that piece of paper, he'll pull out his diploma and say' Join the gang-you and 1 went to the same school'. The power of God is not going to flow through those who have theory, its going to flow through those that have revelation."
I had always thought that those who pursued a Biblical education were learning more deeply the revelation given to us in the Bible, yet it appears that Rodney's idea of revelation is extra-biblical. One doesn't learn theories in school but one certainly can invent theories without education a lot easier than those who have schooling. To say that the devil will declare that "you and 1 went to the same school" indicates his disdain for theology and is actually a blatant attack against those who study the truth.
Biblically speaking, God used Paul, the most educated Jew of his time, to write most of the New Testament and perform enormous miracles. Paul's example disproves Rodney Howard Browne's statements and shows that education enhances not hinders a person's effectiveness for God. Of course, to be fair, Browne ends his paragraph stating that he believes in teaching and that it will be a part of the move of the 90's. What KIND of teaching is he really talking about? This should be concerning to those who follow the yellow brick trail to the prophets (wizards?) of Oz.
However, this brings confusion to the statement preceding it. My educated guess would be that his teachings would center on the manifestations of power since this has been consistent with the content of his books and action at his meetings. What seems to be sorely lacking is teaching on Jesus Himself which is what Jesus defined as the work of the Holy Spirit. (John 14,16).
On page 24, Browne says "The first drops of rain are beginning to fail from the final wave of God's glory...I believe we slipped over the edge into this great outpouring in 1990." In his meetings, this is what he claims happened at the first Pentecost, so this is clearly a reference to the Latter rain. He goes on to say that "This coming revival will be a culmination of all other revivals.", and mentions the miraculous signs and wonders, people being translated by the Spirit as Philip was in the book of Acts..."Creative miracles will happen, eyeballs will form, legs and arms will grow out, people will leap out of their wheelchairs." ( The Holy Spirit transportation is also mentioned in another of his books-The Reality of the Person of The Holy Spirit p. 31-32).
These types of miracles are not even hinted in Scripture as occurrences common to the church after the apostles died. While Browne claims that all these things have begun in 1990, we have no reports of legs and arms growing back or eyeballs forming in empty sockets. This idea of Spirit transportation is going on today within the New Age Movement via astral projection and other occult phenomenon. We must test the spirits and these occurrences if they were ever to happen.
Browne continues on page 25 saying that 'people will say 'Come to America because of the revival' , but people in other countries will say' we don't need to because revival is here'...the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the water covers the sea."
This is a misquote of Hab. 2:14: For the Earth will be filled with the KNOWLEDGE of the glory of the Lord. Most consider this a prophecy in reference to the Millennium when the Lord will be physically on the Earth. Browne continues to write about the workings of angels who will tell people on the street to go to church services that Will scare the devil out of people so they will repent and get saved.' All of these statements reveal the errors of the way Browne views the Bible and the last days.
A central theme of his teachings concerns God's glory as manifested by the Spirit. When God's glory appears it is a physical manifestation that people can see and usually accompanies the presence of God Himself. It is described as a light brighter than the sun. Browne says that stadiums will be filled when the glory of god sweeps everywhere. There seems to be an influence from one of Branham's disciples during the healing revivals -- Paul Cain. Cain claims to have seen a vision hundreds of times in which stadiums were filled with people glorifying God. Cain also claimed that there would be an army known as JOEL'S ARMY that would march through the land bringing judgement and repentance to all. Could drinking at "Joel's place' that Rodney Howard-Browne promotes and the Latter Rain teachings share a connection with the JOEL'S ARMY that Paul Cain and Rick Joyner promote?--
I DONT THINK WE HAVE TO WAIT TO SEE.