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On receiving the letter entitled, "Today an outpouring of His presence," I was immediately compelled to write a response. I regret that I am put in the position of responding to this because I know of the division it will cause. However, I was put in this position because of the large number of Open Arms Ministry's members who were listed as recipients of this same letter.

It still seems that many do not understand that Open Arms IS a ministry, (just like any church) with beliefs that this ministry is based upon. On many occasions, we have made it publicly known (with scriptural support) as to why we do not believe in much of what is accepted as truth in many Charismatic circles (note, we did not say in "ALL Charismatic circles"). It is the right of each person to believe as they do, however, it is also the right of Open Arms to believe as we do. The bottom line of any decision on what to believe should be this: which beliefs are supported with scriptures and which are not? Have we all reached the point at which scripture and sound doctrine are of no importance any longer and are to be replaced with feelings and experience as the ultimate test for truth?

In the following rebuttal, the entire contents of the letter received has been included, complete with original typing errors (for the purpose of not being accused of taking it out of context). For those who may wish to read the original letter, it is on file and will be sent upon request.

No names will be mentioned because it is not the intent of this rebuttal to point fingers at people. I am certain those who sent it and wrote this letter are sincere in their beliefs, and our purpose is not to bash anyone but to present the truth as tactful as possible with love.

We of Open Arms believe this present trend of the emphasis on "spiritual gifts" and "feelings" as the guide to seeking truth can be very dangerous and does in many instances open the doors for demonic influence and deception. Because of this, I found it necessary to respond as a warning to those who believe this newest trend of "feelings" as proof that it is of God, regardless of whether it contradicts the written word, must be confronted. (Titus 1:9)

The contents of the letter will be prefaced by "BVR" and be in green text, the responses from OAIM will be prefaced with the initials "OAIM" and be in blue text.

BVR

An Outpouring of His Presence


Brownsville Assembly of God, Pensacola, Fl

Sent: Sunday, August 29, 1999 10:09 PM

Subject: Today An Outpouring of His Presence


It happened again today... only it was more powerful, more life changing. GOD came. Just like I had a hard time writing about it in 1995

OAIM - What happened in 1995 was what was referred to as the Laughing Revival, in which people attending began laughing uncontrollably, which was explained as a moving of the Holy Spirit and this being the joy of the Lord. Much has been written on this particular event, and for those who may like further information, you can read more about it at the Christian Research Institute’s site at http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/cri/cri-jrnl/crj0192a.txt.

BVR - when we were swept away by the Presence of the Lord, I scarce can find any words to tell you about today. I have been in a daze since about 10:30 am when we felt the Sweet Nearness of the Lord. I promise you I have no idea what we did the first 30 minutes of the service. I was there all right but the following 3 1/2 hours overshadowed any memories of it.

OAIM - Just a question, in the original outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, is there any mention of anyone being in a daze and having memory loss, or is there any other place in scripture that supports this as being a result of God's presence? The Bible says in 2 Tim. 1:7 that God gives us a sound mind. Does being in a daze and having memory loss constitute a sound mind?

BVR - Pastor Kilpatrick came to the pulpit as said he was going to obey the moving of The Spirit and form a tunnel of faith. He began to call or the elders and deacons and the staff from BRSM (The School of Ministry) and then others he hand picked.

OAIM - Now look closely, the Pastor said he was going to obey the moving of the Holy Spirit. Otherwords, this is what the Holy Spirit was calling him to do, hand pick certain people along with the elders and deacons and form a tunnel of faith, yet the author states the Pastor hand picked these individuals. We are led to presume he was doing as the Holy Spirit had instructed him, but whether or not someone is hearing directly from the Holy Spirit can only be tested by whether what follows is consistent with the written word of God.

BVR - They moved the chairs from across the front of the pews so we'd have room. The people forming the tunnel lined up facing each other and they began to feel everyone through it. The ones praying would stretch forth theirs hands, lay hands on them or just pray as those passed throug. I was pretty much coherent in the beginning because I was so excited.

OAIM - Notice, the authors says that she WAS coherent in the beginning because she was so excited. This implies that sometime later she was not coherent. Again, besides feelings, where is the scriptural support for the Holy Spirit leading people to be incoherent? We also need to look for a scriptural precedent for a tunnel of faith. Since there is none, the reason this tunnel was formed was only because the Pastor said this is what the Holy Spirit was telling him to do, and to not do this would be not obeying the moving of the Holy Spirit. If one is to believe this Pastor's claims to be authentic, then of course, who would not want to follow the instructions of the Holy Spirit?

BVR - I got my cameras out and tried to get into a position where I could see some of the faces as they passed thru the tunnel. I became mixed up several times because I was so close to the Anointed prayers going up. At one point, a friend named Brain said something to me and when I turned to face him, my legs simply gave away. I got a little bit of the giggles for a moment because I had not realized I was getting to that point yet.

OAIM - She got mixed up because of the anointed prayers going up. Is this to suggest there are prayers that are anointed and prayers that are not anointed?

The word anointed means to consecrate to an office or religious service. Consecrate means to set aside, declare or set apart as sacred. Jesus is the Anointed One, who most definitely was consecrated, but how does this fit into prayers that are anointed and prayers that are not anointed?

Again, the words "mixed up" does not sound like this is what the Holy Spirit would lead one into.

Why would somebody's legs give away in the presence of a friend who said something to someone during one of these "anointed" prayers and "tunnels of faith"?

She giggled at this because she had not realized she was at that point yet. It sounds to me that she knew this was supposed to happen, but that it was not the right time yet.

Doesn't this sound a lot like the power of suggestion to you? When the Holy Spirit touches someone, isn't it without expectation, like as with the Apostle Paul on the Damascus road? I know it certainly was with me and with most who I have spoken with who have been baptised by the Holy Spirit at the time of receiving Jesus into their hearts and at other times being touched by his presence during their walk with the Lord. Even at this, many do not "feel" anything at conversion, because "feelings" have nothing to do with God's promises. In Acts 16:31, we are told what one must do to be saved. There is nothing in there that indicates we must have an "experience" or have certain "feelings".

BVR - The choir left their seats and began to form lines on the steps of the platform. They stretched their hands out and interceded for hours for the dear saints of God passing thru. As time passed, the Anointing became more intense. I don't think we had music playing... I can't remember. I think it was just singing in The Spirit for hours. It was the most beautiful sight to my eyes."

OAIM - The "anointing was so intense", she can not recall if there was music playing or not and "thinks" it was just "singing in the Spirit for hours". In other words, she is not even certain of what was happening, yet it was the "most beautiful sight to her eyes".

Where she states that the "Anointing became more intense", I refer you back to the above definition of anointing (and to that found in dictionaries). Since anointing means "set aside", how can there be levels of "set aside-ness"? Doesn't this term indicate an either or situation? Either something is anointed or it's not.

BVR - After over an hour, the lines were still long but I didn't want to miss the tunnel so an usher let me break line so I could go back and take photographs.

Shoooooooeeeeeee... I tell you, it became a fog once I stepped in. I continually bumped into everyone. When a hand touched my head or back, I would practically shriek out and go into a spin. I felt like a pin ball must feel like in one of those machines. When I bumped into one person it would throw me into another across the aisle. My knees kept giving away but I could feel strong usher arms picking me back up. Once I was through the tunnel I started spinning again until I hit the floor. It was like being swept away to another place. I cried and cried in thankfulness for the Lord's sudden Visitation. He has been doing this again for a few weeks....Just showing up and showering His Presence, but today was the strongest. And It got better!

OAIM - Read this account closely. Does this sound like what the Bible says happens in the presence of the Lord? Spinning, bumping into people, falling on the floor, practically shrieking out, like being swept away to another place? Is this what happens when the Lord visits us? I have checked out the word "shriek" in regards to the Bible. I found it used 3 times and all three times were in connection with a demon being cast out. Not a good choice of words for a godly experience. As for the spinning and bumping into people, I see no scriptural precedent for this type of behavior and it seems to me that it is contrary to I Corinthians 14:26-40 (vs. 40: "But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."). This behavior is more reminiscent of a slam dancing club than a Holy Ghost revival.

Also, it is interesting to note how "strong ushers arms" would pick her up. The question would be, if the presence of the Lord were so intense, how come the "ushers" and the "tunnel of faith" people were not overcome by this same "fog"? Was it because they were "super anointed" (which from the definition of the word cannot be) or was the anointing coming from them or were they just not effected by the anointing?

In regards to the fog, I assume this is taken from the concept that when God's glory inhabited the tabernacle and temple, it was said to be a cloud that filled the Holy of Holies. (Ex. 40:34-35, I Kings 8:10-11)

BVR - Eventually everyone had been prayed for but no one was finished. I felt myself long to be before the Lord. I knelt on the floor right in front of the pulpit and cried and cried. Soon I turned to a sitting position facing the pews. The building was packed. People were in trancelike states all over. Some on the floor in balls, some kneeling, some slumped over pews. Others in half bend worship stances. Husband and wives had their heads together. I could only open my eyes for quick glimpses, the glory was thick.

OAIM - “Eventually everyone had been prayed for but no one was finished." I don't have a clue as to what this sentence means. No one was finished doing what? More things which do not seem consistent with what the Bible says about being in the presence of the Holy Spirit are: people laying on the "floor in balls", "slumped over pews", "in trance-like states all over". The "glory" being so "thick" and only being able to "open my eyes for quick glimpses". When the scriptures mention being in the glory of the presence of the Lord, it causes a recognition of their extreme sinfulness and requires them to cry out, "Lord have mercy on me a sinner" (Is. 6:3-5). It is because of this awareness of our sinful state that we are unable to stand and take glimpses because of the crushing weight of our sinfulness being in the presence of His glorious light. Not once in the Bible is anyone in the presence of the glory of God in any state of mind other than this.

BVR - Soon a lady in center aisle began to wail out a sound that was like an air-raid siren. We were all crying but hers was piercing and dramatic. At the same time thunder began to explode in the skies over us and the rain came down outside in torrents. We could hear it so loud. We felt it was a sign that God was going to Pour out His Spirit on Pensacola.

OAIM - Here is the word "felt" again, "felt" it was a sign. Is it trustworthy to trust everything we "feel" to be true? About the sign, Jesus said a wicked and adulterous generation looks for sign, but there is no sign other than the sign of Jonah. (Matt. 12:39)

Does someone suddenly wailing like an air-raid siren that is piercing and dramatic sound like someone who would be standing in awe before the presence of God?

BVR - As this lady cried out that sound and the thunder would boom it sincerely sounded like WAR. Air-raid and BOOM, the bomb sounds. Oh wow, I tell you, we felt God in that place! I am not sure what others thought but as this was gong on I felt in my own heart that God was saying, Yes, I am going to send My Power but it will bring a WAR. A War in some homes and a War in the city. Who is for Him and who is against Him. Many will have to decide once and for all. This fence that people are sitting on is gonna fall and the direction you most often lean is the side you will end up on. Oh, I bless The Lord.

OAIM - This is frightening, do you see what is being said here? If your church is not experiencing these kinds of things in your services, you're a "fence sitter" and "War" is being declared. And if anybody speaks against this, we are on the wrong side and are resisting the moving of the Holy Spirit. Is it possible that the Holy Spirit can tell one person one thing and then tell another person contradictory information? Our guide to what the Holy Spirit is saying must always be the written word of God. (2 Tim. 2:15)

Is a storm raging a sign that God is going to send His "Power" because you "feel' it is a sign? This entire section is extremely subjective and uses the ideas of a few scriptures (Matt. 10:34-38) and uses a good deal of liberty in expounding on them.

BVR -Our eyes and ears are indeed blessed. I usually write that scripture in my book before I give it to someone. Luke 10:23-24 .

OAIM - Luke 10:23-24 is the only scriptural basis this person presents to support all of what went on. However, a study of these verses clearly shows the things they saw as being things prophets and kings have desired to see and hear was that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, and that this knowledge was revealed unto the disciples of who Jesus was addressing in these two verses. This is extreme scripture twisting to support and equate these events as being what kings and prophets have longed to see and hear.

BVR - We realize here that many of you have not come into a revival of this magnitude yet, but listen beloved, you will. God is moving. He listens for those who are calling out His Name.

OAIM - If you haven't had these kinds of experiences, you will. This indicates to me that this is the only type of manifestation of the Holy Spirit that is “approved" as such and anything short of this is not "calling out His Name". The Bible says those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rom. 10:13, Joel 2:32). Are we now to assume that we are not saved because we have not “experienced” these kind of things in our churches? All of what you have read, is this what God requires of His church now? Is this really a latter day moving of God's Spirit that is supposed to sweep the world?

BVR - But it is the Lord's Mercy that we still have a place prepared for Him.

OAIM - I did not know we had to have a place prepared for the Lord's mercy to reside; I thought it was by His mercy that we are saved. Actually, this is another of those nebulous statements that I really don't understand the meaning of.

BVR - But it is no accident now. He came out of mercy and He stays out of mercy but we hold on to Him. We cannot let Him go. We keep His Will our main goal in life. We still hunger for Him after all this time. Only now we want Him more.

OAIM - Okay, what is it that is "no accident now"? More clarity needed here. True, it is of Jesus's mercy that He came to earth and it is only because of His infinite mercy that He remains here with us. But is our salvation dependent on us holding on to Jesus, (as if He is trying to get away from us) or is salvation dependent on what Jesus did for us out of love, mercy and grace two thousand years ago on the cross?


Is all of what you have read the "Will" of God in your life? The will of the Father is that all men receive eternal life through Jesus (
John 6:37-40 ).


From the flavor of this account of what went on in Brownsville, the expected assumption has to be that wanting more of "Him" (assuming this to mean Jesus) is to mean we need more feelings and to experience what has been described above as the moving of the Holy Spirit.


BVR - At Brownsville we pray for you all that God will do this where you are too. I write my letters to tell you, He is coming! I don't write to gloat that "WE are special - see what God did?" I write to tell you to get ready. Get ready.

OAIM - We pray that this is not what happens if this is revival, for we will stick to the scriptures and not "feelings" which contradict the written word. We too long for Jesus to return, for that is what we are getting ready for, not for more "feelings", "experiences" and "signs".

Upon hearing experiences such as these, we exhort you to test everything, as it says in I Thess. 5:21 , and hold it up to the infallible Word of God. I John 4:1 tells us, "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." 2 Thess. 2:9-10: "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, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."

Some have asked us, but aren't they doing these things in the name of the Lord? Remember what our Lord had to say in Matthew 7:21-23: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"

So, let us be like the wise man who built his house upon the solid rock of the truth of the Bible so that when the storms of deception and lies rages around us, our house will stand firm on the unshakable truth of God's Holy Word. (Matt. 7:24-29)

In His loving grace,

Doug and Deb
Open Arms Internet Ministry

CrossDaily.com

 

 

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