John Wimber Plants a Vineyard

"And then she understood the devilish cunning of the enemies' plan. By mixing a little truth with it they had made their lie far stronger." CS Lewis 






Dylan Morrison, author of The Prodigal Prophet (reviewed here at TWW), shared his testimony about charismatic leaders who affected him. One of those men was John Wimber. Morrison explains in his book that he was first introduced to Wimber when he came to Ireland and did a “Signs and Wonders” conference. As a result, Dylan had close personal contact with Wimber which resulted in Dylan and his wife relocating to California where they would become involved with the Vineyard Movement.

John Wimber was one of the founding leaders of what has come to be known as the Vineyard Movement. According to the Vineyard website:

“His influence profoundly shaped the theology and practice of Vineyard churches from their earliest days until his death in November 1997. When John was gripped by God he was, a “beer-guzzling, drug-abusing pop musician, who was converted at the age of 29 while chain-smoking his way through a Quaker-led Bible study.”


Wimber was raised in a non-religious family in Kirksville, Missouri. In the early 1960s he became the keyboard player for a band called The Paramours. Interestingly, some have attributed the formation of the band The Righteous Brothers to Wimber (then called Johnny Wimber) because he was the one who recruited Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley to join the Paramours in 1962. According to the Wikipedia article on the Righteous Brothers (the Hatfield and Medley duo), “They adopted their name in 1962 while performing together in the Los Angeles area as part of a five-member group called The Paramours, which featured John Wimber, one of the founders of the Vineyard Movement, on keyboards. At the end of one particular performance, a Marine in the audience shouted, "That was righteous, brothers!", prompting the pair to adopt the name when they embarked on a career as a duo.” The Righteous Brothers are best known for their classic hits “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” and “Unchained Melody”. In 1963 The Righteous Brothers teamed up to launch their career and Wimber converted to Christianity because of his involvement at a Quaker church in Yorba Linda, California. He became a voracious Bible reader because the Scriptures excited him.

Soon after becoming a Christian, Wimber became focused on the miraculous. Here’s an interesting excerpt from the Vineyard website (referenced above):


“After reading for weeks about life changing miracles in the Bible and attending boring church services, John asked one of the lay leaders,

“When do we get to do the stuff?”

“What stuff,” asked the leader. “You know the stuff here in the Bible, the stuff Jesus did like healing the sick, raising the dead, healing the

blind. You know, stuff like that!”
“Well, we don’t do that anymore,” the man said to John. To where John replied, “You don’t? Then what do you do?” “Well, we do what we did here this morning,” the man replied. John answered, “You mean I gave drugs up for that?” John had much passion for the Scriptures, but he also often said, “It’s not enough to be Biblically literate, we must also learn to be Biblically obedient.”


In Wimber’s first decade as a Christian he led hundreds of people to Christ. He had established such a following that by 1970 he was leading 11 Bible studies involving over 500 people. Wimber’s popularity caught the attention of Christian leaders in California, and in 1974 he became the Founding Director of the Department of Church Growth at the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth which was founded by Fuller Theological Seminary. He also served as an adjunct instructor at Fuller Theological Seminary where his classes set attendance records. While there Wimber and C. Peter Wagner taught a church growth course together.

During this time a group of Christians began to meet in Wimber’s home. They embraced some of the beliefs of the Charismatic movement, which resulted in the group splitting off from the Quaker church to which it belonged.

Wimber became the pastor of this group which become known as the Anaheim Vineyard Christian Fellowship. Eventually, his home could not accommodate the growing group, and they began to meet elsewhere. After initially joining Calvary Chapel, Wimber and his followers had some differences with the Calvary Chapel leadership, which prilarily involved the practice of spiritual gifts. They then left Calvary Chapel to join a small group of churches started by Kenn Gulliksen, known as Vineyard Christian Fellowships, which became an international Vineyard Movement..

The Vineyard Movement is rooted in the charismatic renewal and historic evangelicalism. Church planting was especially emphasized in the Vineyard Movement. One of Wimber's famous sayings was that "church planting is the best form of evangelism". Both during Wimber’s lifetime and since his death the Vineyard Movement has established thousands of churches across the USA and internationally.

Wimber emerged as the leader of the Vineyard Christian Fellowships, which was a hyper-charismatic organization within the Vineyard Movement. It became known as the "third wave," "Signs and Wonders Movement," and "power theology". Wimber served as senior pastor of the 5,000-member Anaheim Vineyard from 1977-1994.


John Wimber became internationally known and often spoke at charismatic conferences with a focus on what he called “Power Evangelism and healing through the power of the Holy Spirit”. It is important to point out that even though he was considered to be a charismatic teacher, Wimber himself (as well as Vineyard Movement leaders) rejected the charismatic label when applied to their teachings. This new approach inspired Wimber’s friend, C. Peter Wagner to coin the phrase, "The Third Wave fo the Holy Spirit" to describe the concept he taught (and to avoid some current labels with their negative connotations). The Third Wave was different from classic Pentecostalism because Wimber and those he influenced emphasized that speaking in tongues was just one of the many spiritual gifts taught in the Bible. Wimber also differed from his contemporaries because he rejected the Word of Faith movement, especially its showiness.

Then on January 20, 1994, something dramatic happened at a Vineyard church in Toronto. It was called the “Toronto Blessing”, and hundreds of thousands of people eventually flocked to John and Carol Arnott’s church to experience a special “anointing”. When this phenomenon first occurred, there were about 120 people in attendance. Suddenly, most of the members fell down “laughing, rolling, and carrying on”. Some began crawling around and barking like dogs. Don’t believe us? Check out this video footage of this most bizarre manifestation of the Spirit. Our question is, which spirit has possessed these people?




Not only were people in Toronto acting like dogs, but there was an incredible GOLD RUSH that tool place there – in people's mouths!!! No kidding… Take a look.



No wonder hundreds of thousands of people were rushing to Canada to experience the Toronto Blessing…


This video really sums it up.


A year later this Toronto church was “released” from affiliation with the Vineyard movement. Apparently, the church’s emphasis on unusual manifestations of the Spirit caused growing tensions between Arnott’s church and Vineyard leadership, which was unable to exercise proper oversight over the revival. Toronto Blessing type revivals have also occurred in Pensacola, Florida, home of the Brownsville Revival, and Bath, England, among other places worldwide. This phenomenon peaked in the mid to late 1990s.

Wimber suffered a mild stroke in 1994 and handed the reins of this 5000-member fellowship to a partner at Vineyard Christian Fellowship, although he continued his preaching. Hedied of a brain hemmorrhage on November 17, 1997, at the age of 63.

The Christian Research Institute featured an indepth analysis of “The Wimber Phenomenon”, explaining some of the serious problems associated with Wimber’s ministry, which you can read here.

According to this article, Wimber’s “Signs and Wonders” conferences had a great deal of “hype”. Just the label “signs and wonders” sometimes caused attendees to become entranced by sensationalism, which is definitely NOT something which Jesus encouraged; in fact, Jesus discouraged it because it can cause people to seek after Him for the wrong reasons. Another problem with Wimber, especially at his conferences, was the strong anti-intellectualism he sometimes exhibited. His insistence that "At some point critical thinking must be laid aside" was quite problematic. The article goes on to state:

“Aside from these questions about Wimber's grasp of intellectual questions, there are some serious difficulties in his theology for a thinking evangelical. In the fist place, his use of Scripture is highly problematic. His starting place seems to be his own experience and Scripture is drawn in to proof-text his own position. This was particularly seen in his teaching methodology regarding healing. People were taught a theology of healing based on the observation of phenomenological responses (shaking, stiffening, respiration, laughter, fluttering of eyelids, etc.) and were encouraged to use such subjective criteria as the basis on which to evaluate spiritual responses.


A second theological difficulty is Wimber's radical Arminianism (some might well argue it is Pelagianism). He seems to have little or no appreciation of the doctrine of the Fall and speaks of being involved in "restoring the Edenic state" in and through his ministry. He leaves no real place for an on-going struggle with the old nature in the life of a Christian which the New Testament teaches the believer to expect. In the long-run this can only lead to disillusionment because the promised state is not attained — or to a refusal to face reality by denying one's own experience of temptation and sin.”


A third area of theological difficulty is Wimber's demonology; certainly most evangelicals would disagree with his assertion that a Christian can be "demonized." His view on this seems to contradict the assurance of Scripture that "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, behold, old things are passed away, and all things are become new." (2 Cor. 5:17) His concern with demonic activity does not seem to take seriously the Scriptural injunction that when Christians are afflicted by the power of darkness, a believer is to "resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)

Perhaps the Los Angeles Times summed up John Wimber’s legacy best by writing:


"John's enduring legacy will be the courage of his convictions to try to change the church of America for the better," Hunter said. "He'd be the first to say that occasionally he went too far. But he was genuine and gregarious, dynamic and disarming, and that is a rare blend for sure."


Wimber, who was said to resemble a cross between Kenny Rogers and Santa Claus, believed that the spiritual gifts of healing and speaking in tongues referred to in the Bible are still relevant. With them, Wimber believed, he could banish Satan, sin and sickness.”


Unfortunately, Wimber’s prooftexting and sometimes inaccurate interpretation of Scripture has been detrimental to many in the body of Christ. Is it any wonder that in the decade that followed Wimber’s death there was a significant move away from the manifestations of the spirit toward a more intellectual (reformed) theology?


Lydia's Corner: Numbers 15:17-16:40 Mark 15:1-47 Psalm 54:1-7 Proverbs 11:5-6


John Wimber Plants a Vineyard — 33 Comments

  1. I honestly find that “Toronto Blessing” video terrifying. I couldn’t make myself watch it all–it is the stuff of nightmares.

  2. Concerning what was happening in Toronto, this is how I see it:

    They were saying yes to all that God had, all that God could do, all of the Holy Spirit, giving God as open a welcome as they could — a welcome into physical space (the building they were in), emotional space (the heart/soul/mind realm), bodily space (their physical bodies), spiritual space (wherever and whatever our spirit is)– without imposing limits according to their own comfort level, or according to what has become customary or culturally acceptable. Purposefully putting off any prejudices or preconceived notions.

    As I see it, the degree to which God was allowed to be unfiltered & present is simply what these individuals’ bodies/minds/souls responded to.

    When we talk about “the power of God”, “God’s power”, “God’s dunamis (explosive) power”…. just what do we expect to happen when we come in contact with it?? For everyone to sit still with their hands folded? To stand up, but stand still with their hands still folded? To stand up, stand still, and clap? To stand up, clap, and move feet as well? Where’s the legislation for such things, & who has the power or the right to legislate such things? Do we only expect the predictable (& boring) according to what we are used to seeing?

    Do we actually expect God’s presence and explosive power to be (boringly) predictable??

    How would God’s presence and power affect a human being when He is actually corporately allowed to come in without limits? Would the sound of a mighty rushing wind and little flames of fire be considered the extreme end of the spectrum of what we would ever expect since that was recorded & written down and canonized?

    Was God only active and doing things as long as someone was availale to write it all down? I propose God has done all manner of extraordinary things that never made it down on quill and papyrus.

    My point is that we can’t prescribe or predict what would or would not happen when God’s power and presence are in our midst in an unusal way, in response to having been welcomed with as much openness as one can muster… with as much unprejudiced, unlimited, unfiltered openness one can avail of oneself.

    Our true selves — our spirits, perhaps — are cloaked in things that block true, clear connection with God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Individually cloaked, and corporately cloaked. Indeed, now we see in a glass darkly, but then face to face. Who can say what is only acceptable for “now”, and what is exclusively reserved for “then”?

    If, in fact, God did choose to show up in a unique way in a place called Toronto in response to individual and corporate yearning and welcoming and openness, who are we to determine what it would look like? How can anyone begin to know what kind of affect an unusual concentration of the power and presence of God would have on a human body?

    It’s entirely reasonable to conclude that what the individuals experienced in Toronto was simply the involuntary response of an earthly human body / mind / soul / spirit which are unaccustomed to an unusual level of God’s presence and power.

  3. “Unfortunately, Wimber’s prooftexting and sometimes inaccurate interpretation of Scripture has been detrimental to many in the body of Christ. Is it any wonder that in the decade that followed Wimber’s death there was a significant move away from the manifestations of the spirit toward a more intellectual (reformed) theology?”

    Yep, John got some things wrong in his approach, but actually did a lot of good. Whatever damage he might have done by inaccurate interpretation of scripture, etc.,he did far more good by allowing God to work through him in miraculous ways.

    The move away from the manifestations of the Holy Spirit had more to do with people’s unbelief and bad doctrine then it had anything to do with Wimber. The, “intellectuals,” you refer to are probably the ones that want no emotion in the services. You gotta think, do they go home and “know” their spouse with turtleneck footed pajamas and tell their spouses, “I love you,” in some robotic monotone voice? Or maybe they’re the ones that just watch other people do things and never do things themselves, but criticize those who do on how they’re doing it.

    Thank God for the times I’ve been used to manifest the Spirit and be a part of believers’ healing and deliverance, in addition to seeing people come to Christ. We need more of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, individually and collectively.

    However, that Toronto stuff is weird and I could barely watch it. I’ve seen that in charismatic circles, yet, not to that extent. That has everything to do with the manipulative power of suggestion than it has anything to do with God’s manifestation, in my opinion.

  4. Elastigirl

    I cannot, under any circumstances, conceive of God asking us to be walked like dogs or howl like wolves whilst rolling around on the floor. When those in the Bible encountered God they fell down and worshipped not rolled around laughing. I am afraid this looks more like the wiles of the evil one or the tricks of a mediocre hypnotist. The gold teeth claims should not have even been allowed without first being verified. I believe if they had been allowed to be investigated we would have found out that all of them were placed there by hard working dentists.

  5. Michael

    I have no trouble with charismatic gifts. This post was aimed directly at the excesses of the Toronto Blessing and Wimber’s initial support. I think it is about hypnotic manipulation and I am afraid that there is something bordering on the evil one as well. Only he would want to see humanity acting like dogs and howling like wolves.

  6. I think Wimber gets a free ride from many folks because he was so laid back in his persona. But he did a lot of harm…he was not only sloppy, but dictatorial. He was the Southern California version of CJ Mahaney. I attended the Vineyard for many years (after the whole Toronto thing…) and many of the old time leaders that loved John remarked that he was a “benevolent dictator”. Of course, all dictators think that they are benevolent. In fact, it was Wimber’s use of the Puritan writings, especially John Edwards on revival, that opened up the Puritans to many other wings of the church, including SGM (PDI at the time).

    Many new comers to SGM may not realize how Charismatic SGM/PDI used to be…CJ Mahaney and a gang of Pastors traveled to Toronto to experience the mayhem first hand, and then held similar type meetings (laughter and all) for over a year. Dave Harvey’s church passed out John Wimbers official defense of the Toronto manifestations and began quoting John Edwards at length to defend the strange occurences at the meetings. CJ and Dave Harvey would often name drop John Wimber’s name in sermons back in the 90’s.

    Anyway-good post…


  7. doubtful

    Thanks for the information. We may need to use it in a future post. CJ and gang are chameleons and demonstrate an unstable theology. I bet they hoped this information was buried. Did CJ ever bark like a dog? 🙂

  8. Dee,

    Yes, it appears that the powers that be in SGM do not want anyone to know about the early years. I believe one of the reasons Kris started SGM Survivors is because comments were disappearing on other blogs. Here is one she copied from a website (not sure which one) and then reposted on her own blog. Kris explains that she doesn’t know who wrote it; however, in the comment thread, “Don” posts a comment acknowledging that he is the one who wrote it.

    Sorry for the length, but I thought all of the history should be included.

    Here’s The Comment
    By Kris, on November 22nd, 2007
    “Here’s the comment that was originally posted on a blog entry that has now disappeared. Although I do remember that the author of this comment had originally included his real name, unfortunately I did not copy the name when I copied and pasted the comment into an email. But here it is:

    I was in C.J. Mahaney’s home church (Covenant Life Church, nee Gathering of Believers 1978) from 1981-2000, and in its predecessor teaching-meeting, so maybe I can add something to this discussion.

    CLC grew out of a full-blown charismatic teaching ministry called TAG (Take and Give) in the D.C. area, which ran from the mid-to-late 1970s. C.J. Mahaney and Larry Tomczak became the young teachers, as TAG outgrew Lydia Little’s living room and moved from one school auditorium to another before maxing-out at over 2,000 participants & finding its Tuesday-night home at Christ Church on Mass. Ave. in Washington, DC.

    Mahaney was a former high-school class clown, pothead and college dropout who was radically saved after being busted for possession of illegal substances. Tomczak, from an industrial immigrant family in Cleveland, had come to Washington DC with plans to become an AFL-CIO labor organizer. However, his life was changed after stumbling into a black church and being confronted about his spiritual condition by an elderly man.

    At TAG there was enthusiastic worship, a wide mix of people ranging from high-school hangers-on to all denominations of the churched, including Catholics (I saw some dancing nuns back in those days of joyful worship). The Holy Spirit was present and did baptisms, healings and deliverances. There was excitement and tons of youthful energy. The centerpiece was the teaching, however, which was full of humor but focused on turning scriptural truth into real-life, everyday practice.

    CLC was started because Mahaney and Tomczak were being given truths by the Lord that are now taken for granted in much of US Christendom: emphases on belonging to and ministering through a local church of committed believers; small groups as the core unit of the church; family-oriented focus including practical teaching of the Christian roles of husband, wife and child; personal holiness and integrity among leaders and laity; discipleship and development of spiritual giftings, as pastors train the members to do the work of ministry, rather than doing everything themselves. The existing churches had no such vision, so a teaching fellowship turned into a church.

    CLC and Terry Virgo’s New Frontiers International have been close friends since those early days, with leaders visiting one another’s churches and conferences, and input from the late Arthur Wallis another strong influence on both streams.

    As CLC became successful in the ’80s at pursuing its vision, cassette tapes spread Mahaney and Tomczak’s teaching literally around the world. People began coming to Maryland from around the USA to join CLC, which grew from a few hundred in the early 80s to over 2,000 around the year 2000. In the mid-to-late 80s, CLC started planting churches in other cities (Tomczak’s Cleveland being the first), and some churches began joining the church-planting ministry, called People of Destiny International (PDI, now Sovereign Grace Ministries).

    During this time, CLC and PDI began writing their own worship songs, filled with scripture-based themes, to reflect the movement’s vision and understanding of the gospel. Though New Frontiers picked up on these songs, until just the last few years the rich & creative PDI music has been a hidden jewel.

    The transition from charismatic to Reformed was gradual but real, as Mahaney and the PDI leadership (Tomczak, Brent Detwiler, Steve Shank and others who were pastoring PDI churches) continued to develop their theology. Over the years, PDI rejected the prosperity gospel, the word-faith gospel, the therapeutic-faith gospel and other fads that tended to diminish the authority and holiness of God, the inherently sinful nature of man, and the individual’s responsibility for his own actions and response to the gospel. By the early 90s, however, the Reformed element was beginning to kick in, with more emphasis on the Puritans’ and Jonathan Edwards’ teachings, and a sudden emphasis on the Puritan teaching of “indwelling sin” rather than a victorious, power-filled faith which had previously shaped the culture.

    Also during this time, CLC became not only the home of the movement, but also the home of a new PDI pastors school to train pastors for current and future PDI churches. PDI also began publishing People of Destiny (now Sovereign Grace) magazine, and a series of small books on discipleship, small groups, and other topics. These publications got the movement’s ideas known to even more people, leading to more growth in the PDI churches and more established churches’ joining the movement.

    As it grew, PDI’s focus seemed always to be on the utterly practical, rather than on impressing anyone outside the movement. When questions needed to be answered regarding how to build a church building, how to organize children’s ministry, etc., CLC pastors would visit other churches in other movements (Cho in Korea, Vineyard in Anaheim, CA, etc) to learn from the successful. It seemed that 20 years spent in obscurity, working out their message and methodology, made it possible to emerge in the last few years as something that suprised many people.

    In the 90s came a chapter that I wonder if Sovereign Grace would even like to talk about today. In 1994, C.J. Mahaney visited a New Frontiers-related church in Missouri, which Terry Virgo was overseeing personally following a pastoral replacement. As Mahaney began to preach a sober message on the sad ending of Solomon’s reign, “holy laughter” began to break out in the church. Mahaney could no longer continue speaking, as the entire congregation was hit with the same renewal that currently was underway in Toronto, and being dispensed by Rodney Howard-Browne. The renewal affected both NFI and PDI, and throughout 1994 renewal — what PDI called “a time of refreshing” — held sway at CLC and other PDI churches. The high-water mark came at the Memorial Day 1995 Celebration conference in Indiana, PA (theme “Passion for His Presence”). In addition to prolonged periods of worship before the main evening meetings — punctuated by powerful prophetic songs — personal ministry was done after one evening meeting. As at Toronto or other renewal spots, the Holy Spirit came in power, and bodies were on the floor by the hundreds as prayer ministry produced laughter, tears, shaking in most of thoese receiving prayer (including myself).

    Though there was never any official public pronouncement given, it appeared that PDI began distancing itself from the Toronto-associated renewal after John Wimber expelled TAVC from the Vineyard in December 1995. While in 1994 and 1995 Mahaney was defending the renewal from its critics, including Hank Hanegraff, within a couple of years a PDI pastor, Craig Cabaniss, stated in a public debate that PDI had chosen “Geneva” (i.e., the Reformation) over “Toronto” (the current renewal/revival, and all the negative connotations associated with it).

    By 2000, when I left CLC for a smaller church that was more open to the ongoing move of the Holy Spirit, any participation in the 90s renewal had been officially forgotten, and there was a total emphasis on the Cross of Christ, the writings of C.H. Spurgeon, and on identifying and rooting out “indwelling sin” in each member. There was, to me, an unhealthy, guilt-producing, emotional reminder, nearly every week, of how awful our sins were that nailed Christ to the cross. What was unhealthy, to me, was that we were always left at the cross, whereas the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus rose again (having conquered death and sin) and now sits at the right hand of God — full of authority which he now shares with redeemed men and women for whom sin is not a continuing stumbling block, but something that should be less and less frequent in a maturing believer’s life.

    So like the Vineyard, PDI (renamed Sovereign Grace early in the 2000s — after co-founder Larry Tomczak had been forced from leadership in a dispute over whether he had properly overseen his family) had been established following one charimatic renewal, but had then gone on to reject the following charismatic renewal, instead turning back to a 500-year-old foundation in the Reformation.

    Yet PDI/SGM continues to want it both ways: to have charismatic “distinctives” such as believing in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and charismatic-style worship, while embracing Reformed theology and rejecting the charismatic wing of US Christianity. Today, SGM identifies with Baptist pastor and author John Piper (who, BTW, believes the gifts of the Spirit are for today), and anti-charismatic John MacArthur, while still maintaining contacts with Virgo’s NFI (which has maintained more openness to Toronto-associated signs-and-wonders ministry), and having nothing to do with any ministry clearly recognized as charismatic.

    All this to say that C.J. Mahaney has not suddenly become a “reformed charismatic.” What *is* sudden is the SGM movement’s sudden appearance on the “radar screen” of the church, now that his and his wife’s books, plus those of grafted-in Joshua Harris, have become Christian bestsellers. In addition, areas in which PDI/SGM were once too out-there for many (local-church & small-group emphasis) are now popular, and SGM has over 20 years of experience to share.

    What’s interesting to me is that in rejecting the Toronto-Brownsville style of renewal, PDI/SGM led to the birth of other very successful ministries. Lou Engle and Che Ahn, now leaders at Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena and other related ministries, were both part of TAG and CLC from the earliest days. They moved to Pasadena after Ahn had a dream in which a black man called him to California, much like Paul’s dream that led him to Macedonia. Ahn started a PDI church there but was eventually forced out of the movement — events that Ahn refers to obliquely in his 1998 book, INTO THE FIRE. Ahn and Engle continued to minister in the LA area, however, and when the 90s renewal hit the Vineyard churches, both were radically changed. Locating Harvest Rock Church at Mott Auditorium in Pasadena allowed Ahn to welcome the Toronto and Brownsville streams to California, and HRC hosted a number of Catch the Fire conferences since the late 1990s. Both men went on to found The Call and related youth/revival movements, including a new prayer-based ministry in Washington DC focused on social justice.

    Meanwhile, after Tomczak chose to break with PDI rather than continue submitting to a potentially never-ending period of correction, he was welcomed at Brownsville AG and became a member of the teaching staff at their revival school of ministry. He now pastors Christ the King church in Atlanta, and has published books that explore themes he has been advancing since the 1980s — divine appointments and being a spiritual pioneer.”

  9. Dee-

    I don’t think CJ ever did any barking, at least, not to my knowledge. But he did have a sermon recorded about his experience at Terry Virgo’s church, in which he basically offers an endorsement of most of the whole Toronto Blessing.

    The quote from Don is very similar to my own memories, especially of Celebration 1995, in which almost the whole PDI/SGM pastoral leadership participated in a full blown, slain and laughing in the Holy Spirit love fest.
    When SGM began to back away from these free for all meetings, they began to emphasize evangelism (in the model of Steve Sjogren’s servant evangelism-another Vineyard influence to SGM). Of course, this “soft” definition of Evangelism allowed SGM to call a car wash “Evangelism”…..the other emphasis was a deeper look into The Puritans (John Owens, Thomas Watson) beyond Jonathon Edwards and his writings on revival.

    Anyway, I digress….thanks again for the post.

  10. Just a footnote — I don’t think God necessarily intended for anyone to be walked like dogs or howl like wolves whilst rolling around on the floor, & I wasn’t at all comfortable with it.

    All I’m proposing is that it is possible that God’s presence was there in an unusual way, or an unusual dose. The human body, mind, nervous system, heart/soul/spirit are totally and completely unprepared & unequipped for something like that. God is sheer power, not in a theoretical sense but in a scientific sense. He’s also sheer truth, knowledge, love (inadequate word), compassion, kindness — but sheer power. [Exodus 33:20, God said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”; other verses that describe God’s presence or being in terms of fire, lightning, etc.]

    When a living being comes in contact with a powerful force like electricity, the living being responds involuntarily to this power they are not accustomed to. This isn’t a perfect analogy, since the stuff of God’s presence and power is incalculable, indefinable, & beyond anything we could speculate. But who can say what should or shouldn’t happen to a human being when in contact with an unusual dose of God’s presence?

    Make no mistake, I wasn’t at all comfortable with what people were doing in those video clips. But my feeling is that if God was truly present, He didn’t cause that odd behavior — rather, it was the result of an unusual dose of God’s presence which human beings in their minds, bodies, etc. were not prepared for. Cause and effect, rather than a specifically laid out plan for the evening in which God predetermined that “Joe is going to roll to the right then left, Mary will roll to left then right, John will do this, that, and then the other….”

    I’m sure such an experience triggers things in one’s physical body, one’s soul/spirit, one’s mind / thoughts, one’s emotions. Minds/emotions are very complicated, and I would say there are many fine lines between raw responses to raw power, partially contrived responses, the power of suggestion….

    I’m finding it hard to find the right words. I’m wanting to bring some fairness and open-mindedness to the conversation, knowing that we all tend to keep God and all that He is & can do in our nice, tidy boxes which we control.

  11. Elastigirl:

    There are legitimate physical things that can happen when we come into contact with God’s power. I have experienced it and have prayed for people, only to see them drop to the floor under God’s power and deliverance. I’ve also seen the exact same physical manifestations that were a result of the power of suggestion, where people just “helped things along.”

    We obviously saw things like people “slain in the Holy Spirit,” in the New Testament. We must certainly show discernment to see what is of God and what’s not.

  12. Michael,

    I’m well familiar with the physical things that can happen when we come into contact with God’s power. Just because something was extremely different and odd doesn’t mean it can’t be of God. Again, I propose that the differentness / oddness wasn’t necessarily preplanned and “ordained” by God to happen. I propose that it is not unreasonable to conclude that it was the result of an unusual dose of God’s presence, and the human beings present had nothing to compare it to and didn’t know exactly how to handle it.

    I suppose I’m comparing the situation to the lack of a circuit breaker. I just read about circuit breakers (since i couldn’t give much of an explanation on my own):

    “Whenever electrical wiring in a building has too much current flowing through it, these simple machines cut the power until somebody can fix the problem. Without circuit breakers (or the alternative, fuses), household electricity would be impractical because of the potential for fires and other mayhem resulting from simple wiring problems and equipment failures.”

    In a nutshell, (I’ll proposition y’all again!): I propose that the human beings present in that Toronto meeting simply lacked something akin to a “spiriual circuit breaker” so as to conduct a possible unique dose of power of God’s presence in a more “intelligible” way.

    Perhaps another analogy is the discovery of fire. When human beings discovered fire or how to make fire, it was new, full of uncertainties, yet an observable force and power. How to make the best use of it, how to facilitate it, came with experience and practice. I think it’s safe to say that the people in Toronto has no prior experience with that kind of situation.

  13. Deb & Dee,

    I’m the “Don” who originally posted that account, which Kris found and used to kick off her blog. I was a member of CLC from 1981 through 1999, and had joined TAG in 1975 before it morphed into CLC.

    I remember the Celebration ’95 event doubtful describes – still have the t-shirt and the live-worship CD! – and remember quite clearly how God’s Spirit came in power during ministry time following an evening session. He certainly set me on a different path that night — after getting up off the floor, all I could do was worship, and listen to worship music, for the following two weeks. It was hard to sleep or do anything else, as the Lord did deep work in my heart.

    Prior to that weekend, I was hoping the Spirit would “show up” at Celebration ’95, as things had quieted down somewhat after the amazing encounters that occurred during Summer 1994.

    I sat through a number of Sunday-morning messages in 94 and 95, in which C.J. vigorously defended the renewal and vouched for the reality and desirability of “the religious affections” (Jonathan Edwards’ phrase for the direct experience of the Spirit in one’s heart).

    These Sunday messages were followed by extended worship and prayer ministry, with bodies laid-out all over the CLC auditorium. Mine was one of those bodies — my children knew that if they couldn’t find me after church, they should look among the “slain” for their daddy, who would be either weeping or laughing as the Lord did wonderful things in my heart that were too deep for words. (I’m shaking as I type this, just remembering the joy of God’s intimate touch and his wordless communications with me.)

    I had many more encounters, throughout 1995 and into 96 and 97. I was “ruined” – as C.J. Mahaney used to say – for what I’d thought was Christianity (and I was already born-again and Spirit-filled!). It was like Isaiah in the temple, or Job in the whirlwind – I couldn’t go back, and didn’t want to. Lest you think this was all “emotionalism” — the Lord was going very deep in me, rebuilding my entire spiritual foundation as He led me through the Bible as though I was reading it for the first time. There were long periods in the spiritual wilderness, interspersed with times of oasis refreshings. It’s so hard to describe in words, but it wasn’t all fun ‘n’ games and hasn’t been since.

    I agree with elastigirl — when the raw power of God’s Spirit touches human flesh – no one knows what will happen, and outward manifestations (including the much-reviled barking, which I’ve never seen after spending many hours in such meetings since 1994) have no *necessary* correspondence with what is going on inside a person.

    My dismay over PDI’s turn away from what they called the “refreshing” is well-documented at SGM Survivors. They turned away from the Spirit’s doing deep works of repentance and spiritual healing in many people (myself included), and turned toward the spiritual bondage of “indwelling sin” that still afflicts the entire movement. Like the Pharisees of old, they missed the hour of their visitation.

    While I agree there were some things Arnott could have done differently in Toronto (such as validating miraculous signs), the reality of my spiritual transformation in the mid-90s, and continuing growth in the grace and faith of Jesus Christ, makes me an unashamed, unrepentant poster child for the Toronto Blessing.

    Any video showing the “horrors” of Toronto must be balanced with Warren Marcus’ documentary, “Go Inside the Toronto Blessing,” which features interviews with people whose lives were radically changed for the better by their “floor time” with the Spirit of Jesus Christ. I know personally several of the people interviewed by Marcus in that video. You should also talk with Dr. Grant Mullen, a Toronto psychologist who was personally affected by the Spirit at Toronto, and who testified to dramatic improvements in some of his patients as a result of their receiving prayer at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship.

    Finally, regarding Wimber, he was a human being with flaws and errors, just like the rest of us (and C.J. Mahaney). But you can’t take CRI’s or John MacArthur’s books damning Wimber and Arnott at face value — read Michael L. Brown’s “Let No One Deceive You: Confronting the Critics of Revival” and James A. Beverley’s “Revival Wars: A Critique of ‘Counterfeit Revival’ for their rebuttals of Hanegraaff and MacArthur’s research and conclusions.

    I’ve stated many times, on the blogs and elsewhere, that true revivals are messy affairs that bring out the best and worst in everyone involved. But that’s to be expected — if the people being affected didn’t need God’s help in growing toward maturity in Christ, there would be no need for “revival” at all. The worst position to take in a revival, however, is to be on the outside — criticizing what you don’t like but refusing to participate in any way, and pooh-poohing the salvations, healings and changed lives that absolutely do occur.

    I’m not going to debate or argue these things – I’ve lived for 16 years with the fruit of the amazing encounters God allowed me to experience, and know the qualitative difference they’ve made in my walk with God.

    I just appeal to everyone here: accept the possibility that real revival isn’t something you schedule for a Wednesday night – it’s a face-to-face encounter with the living God, who is far more powerful and loving than we can ever believe. If you think you can “go a few rounds” with the power of God, and emerge unscathed and unfazed — you obviously haven’t (yet) experienced what most experienced at Toronto. But I pray that, one day, you will.

  14. Don,

    Welcome to TWW! So glad you found us! I really appreciate your documenting the history of PDI/SGM back in 2007. What you wrote was extremely insightful. Kris said that your comment “disappeared”. Do you remember where you posted it and why your comment was removed?

    Although I would not call myself “charismatic”, I have had many intimate encounters with the Holy Spirit who indwells me. God has revealed Himself to me in so many wonderful ways!

    I am grateful that your life has been radically changed through your charismatic encounters with God. Based on what you have shared, it certainly sounds like you are walking very closely with Hiim.

    What I really want to know about the Toronto Blessing is this — did God really put gold in all those people’s mouths? And why would He manifest His power is such a temporal way?

    I hope you will continue to read and comment here because you will bring special insights to our discussions, especially when they involve what is now known as Sovereign Grace Ministries.

    May God continue to bless you richly!

  15. Thanks for your gracious welcome, Deb.

    I believe that original post was on Challies’ blog, though I don’t remember exactly anymore. I do remember that it vanished after a number of former PDI people started commenting about their bad experiences. My post was really the first public expression on the Web about PDI that attempted to tell its history without “forgetting” important aspects. The follow-up comments were the first hint that something wasn’t right in “the happiest place on earth.”

    RE gold teeth: I don’t know if that is real or not, though I was at a TACF conference during which people claimed their teeth suddenly changed. I know people who attest to feathers appearing during worship, and have seen one feather. I’ve also seen and touched an oily substance in someone’s palm.

    None of these things has happened to me, but the things that have, have been so remarkable that I can’t reject other believers’ stories just because they sound strange. If God hadn’t suddenly filled me with His Spirit one day in 1978 – without my asking – I would likely doubt any unusual spiritual event or manifestation.

    I don’t know why God might be doing these things, except to show that since Pentecost, heaven has truly invaded earth and all things are possible for those filled with the same mighty power and Person who raised Jesus’ cold-dead body back to life – the new Body of a human-divine creature never before seen in the universe.

    People are beginning to believe that Paul’s statements about our current life and authority in Christ weren’t hyperbole, but mere hints of the truth. Spirit-led meditation on the Gospels, Acts and epistles is shaking the heavenly places, as saints begin to believe in true forgiveness, and true sanctification through the renewing of our minds by the Spirit empowering the written Word inside us.

    That’s leading to revelation that we’re not saved just to avoid hell, but to join Abba’s loving family as full partners (adopted sons, legally). From there, He guides us into joining the family business, which is to make His “Kingdom come, on earth as in heaven.” That means extending Jesus’ loving rule first in me, then by extension into every place in which He gives me grace, skill, authority. It’s for every area of life. God is breaking out of the walls of the buildings where we’ve trapped Him, working good through saints who expect Him to direct them at all times (not just “quiet times”).

    So much more I could say, but I hope you get my point. The full in-breaking of Holy Spirit – made possible through Jesus’ entire redemptive activity on earth – has been God’s desire since Pentecost. We’ve been living so far below the revelation given Paul & his fellow apostles and prophets, that what should be normal for us seems bizarre, and much spiritual “weirdness” is a side-effect of the Spirit trying to help the Church escape from the grave-clothes wound tightly around her for centuries.

    Meditating prayerfully on the New Testament – and giving it final authority over the Old Testament – will allow the Spirit of Jesus to transform us into creatures that can disciple entire nations, as Jesus commanded and Father promised in Psalm 2.

  16. I believe that the danger in all of this is trying to figure it out. What I mean is that outside of scripture, if we take an experience and attempt to “figure it out” we risk deciding that this experience is for everyone or that we have to import the experience to our particular church or even that we need to keep on experiencing what we did at that time in the past. What happens is that we create a theology around the experience and are tempted to project that on others or even back on ourselves. The result will be legalism.
    “Hey. I just got back from _________ and the Lord really touched me.”
    “I’ve never experienced that before.”
    “I am sure that God wants everyone to experience it. He is loving and good, therefore why would He not give you what he gave me.”
    “I am not feeling it.”
    “(I wonder what’s wrong with this guy. Maybe he is not a true believer. Maybe he’s got sin in his life. It must be a lack of faith.)”

    Do you get my drift. I think we are all wired differently and God works in different hearts in different ways because He knows what works for each of us. As sinful humans, we tend to flock together with folks that are like us. So the less emotionally charged individual goes there and the other person goes here and they both think they have God figured out for the other person.

    But to tail this thing around back to SGM, the problem is not that they rejected the Toronto thing. The problem is that they felt superior for doing so and so we all felt we were in a church with the “right balance” and those other ones were inferior. I think that the folks that leave SGM because “they are too Charismatic” or because they are “not Charismatic enough” are missing the point. SGM makes you feel that you are in a superior church and that you are superior for being there. Their leadership structure is flawed and allows for abuse. They have promoted a culture of legalism and reject people who don’t fit in. If we have rejected SGM in favor of another place, just be aware that we can fall into that same trap in our new place. In my opinion, the best way to stay balanced is to embrace believers that have differing points of view on the secondary issues and to actually make friends with believers that are outside of our small Christian world.

  17. Looking elsewhere – I agree with you 100% in all your statements. A couple of comments…

    Too many people have built theologies around experiences — or lack of experiences — trying to “normalize” their own situation and force everyone to agree or suffer the unloving consequences. Holy Spirit is doing so many different things around the world at one time, in so many cultures and in so many varied people, that I’m sure anyone would be shocked by something we encounter that sounds “beyond the pale” of true Christianity. Yet the proof of the seed is in its fruit.

    A story that Randy Clark tells (Randy was responsible for “starting” the outbreak at Toronto, in January 1994): early in the renewal, an Indian pastor was sent by the churches he oversaw to Toronto, to experience – whatever. He received prayer ministry numerous times, from Randy and others. He didn’t fall down, didn’t shake, didn’t cry or laugh. He got on the plane to home, convinced from his lack of physical manifestations there was something in him preventing God from “touching” him.

    Back in India, he assembled his fellow pastors and told his story. Then they began to pray. To his amazement, all the pastors surrounding him were knocked flat on the floor, weeping and laughing just as the people he’d been with in Toronto. He was left standing – but revival broke out among the pastors’ churches after that day.

    If you read accounts of past revivals – especially the First and Second Great Awakenings here in the USA – this “transference of anointing” was common. Revival spread from one place to another, simply by people in revival traveling to another church or town and telling of what God was doing in their hearts and leading the people to pray. People who didn’t even know what physical manifestations were occurring in the revival suddenly began experiencing them.

    Regarding SGM – good to hear you mention the superiority. At the time, I think the leaders, and many of us, believed the renewal was just the latest gift from God for our ministry, which had all the right answers and, once again, had power!

    Now, I think the reason for the renewal hitting PDI churches was the same as anywhere else: we had a woefully inaccurate view of both the intense love, and the intense holiness, of the living God whom we claimed to know. The renewal was a gift, not a reward, for a smug, self-satisfied yet spiritually exhausted people described by Jesus in Revelation 3:17-21 (“wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked”). (I think there was some understanding of this, however, among the leadership — see the statement by Brent Detweiler that I’ve quoted below.)

    The most remarkable thing to me, however, is that it was C.J. Mahaney who really “transferred the anointing” to PDI! He was present at Terry Virgo’s Newfrontiers International (NFI) congregation in Missouri in the May 1994, as holy laughter broke out as he attempted to deliver a serious message about Solomon’s late-life idolatry. He showed us the videotape of that day – of him trying to start and continue speaking, as people spontaneously began laughing and finally falling into the aisles.

    C.J. also traveled to the UK to attend the NFI Stoneleigh Conference in August 1994, at which any Toronto Blessing person would have been at home. It was after C.J.’s return that he described the Stoneleigh experience, and his experience, and had CLC worship with the same Stoneleigh songs and begin prayer-ministry times after worship and teaching. That’s when the bodies began to fall, and weeping/laughing ensued.

    I remember him telling us, one Sunday in 1994, about a pastors’ meeting he’d recently been to in suburban Virginia. They’d all ended up on the floor, unable to move. C.J. said that after a period of resting there, he became aware of some motion to one side. Turning his head, he could see another man desperately trying to get his attention, but having difficulty making any part of his body work. C.J. said the guy was able to say: “I’m a Baptist pastor – and I can’t move!” (Obviously, this was outside his seminary and pastoral grid.) At the time he related this to us in CLC, this was something quite funny to C.J., and quite glorious regarding the love of God to visit us in such power.

    For a time, C.J. was so committed to the renewal that the November-December 1994 issue of People of Destiny Magazine was dedicated to “Times of Refreshing: Overwhelming Encounters with the Spirit of God”. Brent Detweiler wrote an article in which he stated:

    “We as an apostolic team fully believe there is a genuine and wonderful move of God taking place. We desire it for all the related churches because we are convinced by the godly fruit is is producing: [list of 16 types of good, spiritual fruit the leaders had noticed occurring]
    “I have seen and heard of countless lives changed and positively affected for the kingdom of God. This should not surprise us. Indeed, the kingdom of God is ‘righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’ (Ro 14:17).

    “We should pursue the power of God out of a sense of profound personal weakness. God wants to show us afresh our desperate need for him and fill us with his precious Holy Spirit.”

    C.J. never did explain to CLC – or to me, when I asked him personally – what made him turn away from the renewal in 96-97. There have been many guesses made, over on SGM Survivors and SGM Refuge, ranging from fear of the loss of control, to fear of the loss of tithes from members leaving offended at the renewal. It’s a mystery to me. But I’m thankful I was there at that time, and thankful God led me out a few years later, so I could continue to grow in the grace and freedom Jesus purchased for all of us.

  18. It seems like every time God chooses to show up in all His glory and splendor, the pharisees get all stirred up and attack what God is doing.
    I was not at Toronto.
    I was at Rodney Howard-Brownes meetings getting changed for ever.
    I do know when there is a move of God there is always going to be excess.
    Why? Because we are human.
    If we focus on the excess and all the weirdness of some individuals, we will totally miss what God is doing.
    We can’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
    We must keep our eyes on Jesus.
    I had rather see excess than lack doubt unbelief and people having a form of godliness(religion) but deny His power therefore deny God and end up living for an eternity in hell.

  19. Cheryl,

    Thanks for your comment. Just out of curiousity…would you label John Wimber as a pharisee for disfellowshipping Arnott’s church in Toronto?

    I am glad that we are sisters in Christ.

  20. I feel like it’s not my place to label anyone specifically.
    I just meant the spirit of the Pharisees in general.
    As afar as I know both these brothers are mighty men of God and how they handle their ministries is between them and God.
    If we look at what did or didn’t happen, then we lose focus on Jesus.

  21. Cheryl

    Could you expand on your statement “if we look at what did or didn’t happen, then we lose focus on Jesus?” What other way is their to focus on Jesus than to look at what does or does not happen?

  22. Looking elsewhere

    The deeper problem is this: CJ tells you something is good. Let’s say, “I am an apostle.” or “Do Toronto” Then, a few years later, “don’t do Toronto” and “We are not longer Apostles” These guys are chameleons and appear to be opportunists. This is not fair to those who thought they knew what they were getting.

  23. Dee said:

    “This is not fair to those who thought they knew what they were getting.”

    Yes, I really feel for those who invested in one type of ministry (charismatic) only to discover that it morphed into a very different one (reformed).

    Truly, it was so dishonest!

  24. Dee and Deb,

    There’s a lot I could say in response to your most recent statements (and I will say some!), regarding my painful process of discovering that the theology had, indeed, been changed without any overt statement from the pulpit. Certainly, there was no overt statement anywhere close to the weeks-long teachings through which C.J. Mahaney announced his rejection of “the therapeutic movement.”

    Looking back, one had to be like a Kremlinologist to put together the pieces of change, which were slowly and quietly introduced. One would’ve had to carefully track things like these:

    – which authors C.J. & the other pastors began to quote (and no longer to quote)
    – which books were promoted and/or removed from the bookstore
    – the cessation of teaching on our identity in Christ and the introduction of repeated teachings on the cross and suffering of Christ, and
    – the ultimate change from “People of Destiny International” to “Sovereign Grace Ministries” – which occurred after my departure.

    I think the closest thing I ever heard C.J. say publicly, which should’ve made me realize that a door had been completely slammed on everything CLC/PDI-related going back to 1973, was that Sunday in the late 1990s when he stated, “We never move beyond the cross of Jesus Christ, only into a deeper understanding of the cross….”

    I should have realized that this statement represented a denial of the actual gospel of Jesus Christ.

    The full gospel, according to scripture lovingly taught to me by C.J. Mahaney, Larry Tomczak and others in the 1970s and 1980s, includes his death but also his birth, his walking and teaching on earth, his burial, his resurrection, his ascension, his gift of the Spirit to men, his completed teaching (via his Spirit) to the first-century saints as given us in the gospels & epistles, his being seated on the throne of heaven as the Lamb and Lion of Judah, his continual intercession for the saints to become the spotless Bride who will disciple all nations and present them to him as his inheritance from the Father, and his eventual return to earth as an avenging King of Kings who answers the many prayers of martyred saints by killing all those who stubbornly oppose him (read Revelation!) — all the while holding all things in the universe together by the power of his spoken Word.

    While I understand what C.J. is trying to get across in focusing on the death of Christ, the simple truth is that the death of Christ is only the gateway to full joyous relationship with the Trinity, and all the Trinity intends for us to enjoy as we live and work in harmony with God to accomplish the “restoration of all things” (Acts 3) he plans on the earth. That event was a one-time occurrence in the history of the universe.

    What we experience now is what Jesus called taking up our own cross — i.e., continual dying to self (Mark 8:34-35) in order to achieve true freedom in Christ by obedience in the power of his Spirit, and gradual transformation into “little Christs” through this Spirit-led/empowered obedience/transformation (Rom 12:2, 2 Cor 3:18).

    There is nothing to be gained by torturing redeemed saints with detailed descriptions of the agonies of Christ on the cross and claiming he was there (as if forced) because of their sins, and repeating this sequence week after week – which is what C.J. did in my presence at CLC in the late 1990s. This is a sermon for unbelievers who are unaware of their need for repentance and salvation, not for the redeemed who have already washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb!

    The hideous end of this line of “teaching” is the “scream of the damned” teaching that you highlighted here:

    In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian dropped his heavy backpack of sin at the cross of Christ and then, unencumbered forever by that load, began his journey to the Celestial City. I don’t remember Bunyan writing of Christian having to make his way back repeatedly to the cross of Jesus Christ, to be reminded in gut-wrenching detail of what Jesus suffered for Christian’s sake.

    Nor do I recall reading in the Bible that Jesus, after his resurrection, ever used his death as a guilt-inducing means of whipping the saints into obedience and worship. In all the visions of Jesus recorded in the Bible — was the cross in any of them? Was Paul given a vision of Jesus on the cross, or of Jesus as the Prince of heaven? Was the heavenly vision afforded John, of the Lamb freshly slain, given to induce guilt in him and emotional torment — or lavish, joyous worship along with the rest of the saints surrounding him? Indeed, where is the cross in heaven? You can’t find it there — only the resurrected God-man, with indelible scars on his glorious, resurrected body.

    Am I denying the cross? Of course not. I’m denying the validity of the statement C.J. made in my presence, that “you never get beyond the cross of Jesus Christ.” Apparently Jesus has gotten beyond his cross, and desires us to focus on him as our living salvation — as we work out our salvation in fear and trembling before a holy, righteous and all-powerful God who empowers us to become just as Christ is today.

    I could talk about this all day, obviously, but I’ll shut up now and continue worshiping Jesus in private.

  25. Don,

    I really enjoyed reading your comment and agree with it.

    Have you seen the two-part book review I wrote some time ago about Mahaney’s Living the Cross Centered Life? Here are the links:

    Living the Cross Centered Life — A Deficient Gospel

    What’s Wrong With Living the Cross Centered Life?

    Glad you read my rant called “The Scream of the Damned and The Last Straw”. I still get angry when I watch that trailer for the Resolved conference. How dare they use such crude terminology about Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord! Hollywood sensationalism at its worst!!! Thanks for providing the link to this post for the benefit of those who don’t have a clue what we’re talking about.

  26. Deb,

    Thanks for the 2 links! (I just came back to WW a few days ago, after a long time away, and missed those posts on the “CCL.” If I’d known you had written so incisively on that topic, I could’ve just written “what Deb said here [links]!” as much of my above comment.)

    Your highlighting of the full-stop, rather than the comma, in 1 Cor 15:3 summarizes my whole problem with this teaching. It’s simply not the full gospel of Jesus as revealed to the first-century apostles and prophets.

    SGM’s recent, near-refusal to address the full implications of Jesus’ resurrection, ascension and dispatching of the Holy Spirit to LIVE INSIDE and EMPOWER US is scandalous — especially since these things were, at one time, the cornerstone of C.J. and Larry’s teaching ministry!

  27. An attendee at a TAG meeting once presented Larry with, not a cross necklace, but a throne necklace as a response to Larry’s teaching the week before. Jesus is no longer on the cross, He is on the throne.

  28. I remember that evening clearly, Vivi! When did you start attending TAG? When I started in late 75, it was at Kennedy HS.

  29. Vivi,

    That’s very interesting. I love the cross (which I view as a symbol of the Christian faith) and have a collection of beautiful cross necklaces. I would usually wear one every day to honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the saving work He did on our behalf.

    Sadly, after discovering how Mahaney has misrepresented Christianity by focusing STRICTLY on Jesus’ death, I find myself not wearing those cross necklaces as much as I used to.

    Now that I have publicized my outrage about Mahaney’s book Living the Cross Centered Life and harped about his awful prooftexting by disconnecting Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection, I think I’ll get back to wearing that magnificent symbol of what our Savior has done for us.

    I am so in love with Jesus Christ!