January 7, 2006

A Sad Irony

In the current issue of Charisma magazine (January 2006), is an article called "No More Candy-Coated Gospel" by Steve Hill. In this article Hill laments that "pastors who were at one time filled with the Holy Ghost… now won’t permit God’s Spirit to move. They preach silly sermons instead."

I share Mr. Hill’s concern over the lukewarm condition of today’s church and the success of the "seeker-sensitive" services. But – with an emphasis on the "But" – some of the blame can be placed right in the lap of the same Steve Hill. This is the one and the same Steve Hill who brought the Holy Laughter movement to Brownsville Assembly of God Church in Pensacola, Florida ten years ago. The holy laughter craze chased untold thousands of people away from the Assembly of God denomination and subjected the church of Jesus Christ to ridicule in the media. One eyewitness at the time noted this of the evangelist Steve Hill:

"The evangelist came to the pulpit and read two verses of Scripture (Rev. 12:10-11). He spoke for approximately forty-five minutes. Every ten minutes or so he would say, ‘Don't leave me now ... just hang in there ... we'll get to the good stuff soon’ ("good stuff" meaning prayer time, when everyone would come up front to receive the "power" and be "slain in the spirit".) Isn't that pathetic? What could be more important than the word of God? Jesus said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matt 4:4)" (Revival ... or Satanic Counterfeit?, Jimmy Robbins, 1996) [See: "A DIFFERENT GOSPEL?" by Sandy Simpson at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/differ.html ]

How ironic that the leader of the old fad doesn’t like the new fad that is sweeping through Christendom. Now he’s preaching a return to the Gospel of repentance and faith in Christ? Too little, too late! Hopefully he now sees that the "good stuff" he dished out in Pensacola was a witches’ brew and the real good stuff is the truth of the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. But we don’t read anything about his repentance in this article, just a call for everyone else to repent. Read the following quotes from the Charisma article by Steve Hill and watch the pot calling the kettle black:

  • "I liken the truths that have become the main course of our spiritual diets to sugary sweets – tantalizing, but trivial." [Oh really? And how deep is the call for the power to shake and vibrate?]
  • (quoting scripture 2 Tim. 4:1-5, NKJV)) "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. . . and be turned aside to fables" The original Greek word translated fables here means ‘fiction’ or ‘nonsense.’" [The time came in 1995 when you threw out sound doctrine and stood on the platform laughing till your sides ached, unable to preach.]
  • Paul issued the same type of warnings to a group of believers in Corinth. False doctrine was slipping into this first century church…Can you hear the cry of the apostle as he cautions the new believers against this subtle satanic spirit?" [When the caution was voiced back in the late 1990s, you insulted those giving the warning.]
  • "People who need desperately to hear about the shed blood of Jesus… must first wade through piles of garbage and mucky polluted rivers before hearing just a morsel of truth." {How much truth was being taught when the speakers could only laugh or lay down on the platform as they called for the people to "jump in the river?"]
  • "We all know the dangers of a physical diet containing too many sweets… We should equally recognize the debilitating dangers of having our spiritual stomachs filled with junk-food jargon." [What was the jargon of the Holy Laughter movement? "Fill, fill, fill" or "fire on you!"]
  • The enemy of our souls has entered into the pulpits of America in our day and is serving up a diet void of any nutritional value – and we are consuming it." [Of course they are. Just like in Toronto and Pensacola the people are still going for the thrills.]
  • It is essential that we teach the whole counsel of God." [Why didn’t you do that at Brownsville?]
  • It’s as if everyone is lured to this gigantic, honey-laden beehive, with no fear of being stung. Why? There are no warrior bees watching the hive. It’s all sugar." [How many people got stung during the holy laughter faze when the lack of control caused accidents and recurring shakes in inappropriate places and times?]
  • "Rather than toiling to prepare some fresh bread from heaven…we are letting their desires determine the meals we serve." [Isn’t that the reason people filled the buildings in Pensacola and Toronto? I didn’t hear you complain back then.]
  • "As Christians, we have ‘turned aside to fables.’" [What bigger fable can there be than "holy ghost glue" or "miraculous gold teeth" or "pulpits splitting in two"?]
  • "We shouldn’t worry about being holy, holy, holy, God wants us to be happy, happy, happy." [You ridicule that message now, but encouraging people to let laughter spew out was sure a "happy, happy, happy" message.]
  • Let’s stop giving them a soft, sweet substitute. No more sugar. It’s time to start a detox program." [No doubt it’s for the same people who had to detox from your movement, Mr. Hill.]

Steve Hill calls for repentance throughout his article, but no mention of any repentance on his part for encouraging seekers to seek after signs and wonders instead of seeking after the Lord Jesus Christ and picking up their crosses to follow Him. Maybe I missed it. Perhaps if Mr. Hill reads this Commentary he will forward me a copy of his repentance letter to those he led astray. I won’t hold my breath.

On Another Note:

Congratulations are in order for John Weldon and John Ankerberg who came out victors, along with Harvest House, in the lawsuit filed against them by the Local Church.

The Court's Conclusion statement read:  "Because the allegedly libel statements are not defamatory, as a matter of law, we sustain the publisher and authors’ first issue on appeal. Accordingly, we need not address the remaining issues and decline to do so.
We reverse the judgment of the trial court and render judgment that the church take nothing from the publisher and authors."



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