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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 11:49:13 -0700
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------------------------------------------

"The TORONTO DECEPTION"
-by former Toronto Vineyard Pastor Paul Gowdy.

[ED NOTE: Please see the link at the end of this article to read
the "Toronto Drinking Song" - which some of their main leaders
put out. -Amazing! But first, to this pastor's article...]

It has taken me nine years to actually come to the place where I
would write this story. Part of the reason was because I was not
fully convinced that it is appropriate to speak out against
weaknesses in the body of Christ publicly. Another reason is
because it has taken years of soul searching to become
convinced that what happened in the Toronto Airport Church was
actually all bad or at least more bad than good!

For the past number of years I have called it a mixed blessing. I
think James A. Beverly called it this in his book Holy Laughter and
the Toronto Blessing 1994. Today I would call it a mixed curse
concluding that any individual good that came from this experience
is far outweighed by much harm and satanic deception. I suppose
that therein has been my dilemma. I have tried to live my life in the
fear of the Lord and Jesus told us that the unforgivable sin was the
blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Attributing to Satan what was in fact
a work of God. If pressed as to whether or not the Toronto blessing
is all God or all Devil I will still be hedgy, but I am convinced that
Satan has used this experience to blind people to the historical
doctrines of God, to produce fruit in keeping with repentance, to
failing to test and discern the spirits and failing to test prophecy.

After three years of being in the thick of the Toronto blessing our
Vineyard assembly in Scarborough ( East Toronto) just about self
destructed. We devoured one another, with gossip, backstabbing,
division, sects criticism etc. After three years of ‘soaking,’ praying
for people, shaking, rolling, laughing, roaring, ministering at TACF
on their prayer team, leading worship at TACF, preaching at TACF,
basically living at TACF we were the most carnal, immature and
deceived Christians that I know. I remember saying to my friend
and senior pastor at Scarborough Vineyard Church in 1997 that
ever since the Toronto Blessing came we have just about fallen to
bits! He agreed!

My experience has been that the manifestation of spiritual gifts
mentioned in 1st Corinthians 12 was much more common in our
assembly before January 1994 (when the Toronto blessing
started) than during this period of supposed Holy Spirit visitation.

During 1992-1993 when praying for people we would experience
what I believe was genuine prophesy, deliverance and much grace
and favour from the Lord. After the Toronto Blessing started, all
ministry time changed, the only prayers were ‘More Lord MORE’,
the shouting of ‘Fire’ the jerky shaking of the body with the ‘ooh
ooh OOH WOOOAAH’ prayer. (I kid you not!)

On January 20th 1994 about 15 people from our church traveled
over to Toronto Airport Vineyard in order to listen to Randy Clark,
a Vineyard pastor from the USA. John Arnott had called our senior
pastor to invite us. He communicated that Randy had been to the
Rodney Howard Browne meetings and that the stuff had broke out
in his church in the following weeks. John was hoping that
something might break out with us too. We were only too happy
to travel over. We were a church plant out of the Toronto Airport
and we started in 1992. In those days there were three Vineyard
Churches in Toronto. One Down Town church, Scarborough
vineyard church to the east and the Airport Church. We were one
big happy family. Because we were small in number we did
special meetings, conferences etc, together.

The year before most of our leadership teams joined and had
headed to Nicaragua for a short term missions trip. We had
genuine love and fellowship with each other. Since leaving the
Vineyard churches I have read a fair bit of analysis from the critics.
Some make out that the Toronto Blessing was one huge
conspiracy to lead the body of Christ into heresy. Heresy and
apostasy I suspect may well be the result, but none of these
destinations were intentional. I am honestly convinced that the
leaders in the Vineyard churches are genuine born-again
Christians who love the Lord, but have fallen into deception. They
have not loved the Lord enough to keep His commandments. They
have failed to obey the scriptures and have been led astray by our
longing for something bigger and brighter and more exciting and
dynamic. I am guilty of this sin also. I have preached renewal in
Korea, the United Kingdom, the USA and here in Canada. I am
genuinely repentant and in writing this story I would ask you the
bride and body of Christ to forgive me. Especially the Pentecostal/
Charismatic Christians among you, for you are my immediate
family theologically. I am an evangelical Christian, I always have
been but I do not believe in the cessation of the spiritual gifts at
the end of the apostolic era. I believe that it was my evangelical
roots (my family are Baptists and I was born again in the
Presbyterian Church.) that started to open my eyes to problems
with this so called renewal. In hind sight I look back and think
how could I have been so blind? I laughed at people acting like
dogs and pretending to urinate on the columns of the TACF
building. I watched people pretend to be animals, bark, roar, cluck,
pretend to fly as if they had wings, perpetually act drunk and sing
silly songs. How I thought that any of this was from the Holy Spirit
of God amazes me today. It was loud irreverent and blasphemous
to the Holy God of the Bible. I suppose in my mind I reasoned that
as long as they did not teach any thing in direct violation to
scripture then it was what we called the exotic. This is a buzz
word for manifestations that could not be justified from a biblical
perspective. I was taught from the pulpit that we had two options.
The order of the nursery full of life and messy or the order of the
graveyard, very orderly but dead! As a young immature pastor I
wanted life with mess. I failed to remember that God wants us to
become mature and grow up in him. I became disconcerted by the
prophetic words that came forth especially one by Carol Arnott in
which she had her bride experience where she was taken into the
very presence of Jesus and said that the love that she experienced
was even better than sex! I was shocked in my spirit and thought
how can one compare the love of God with sex? When we
suspected that demons were running riot in our services John
Arnott would teach that we should ask are they coming or going.
If they are leaving then that is ok! John would defend the chaos by
saying that we ought not be afraid of being deceived, if we have
asked the Holy Spirit to come and fill us then how could Satan
come and deceive us? This would make Satan very strong and
God very weak! He said that we needed to have more faith in a
Big God to protect us than in a Big Devil to deceive us. This
sounded very convincing but was totally contrary to scripture for
Jesus and Paul and Peter and John all warn us about the power
of deceiving spirits and especially so in the last days. Again we
did not love God enough to obey His Word and the result was that
we opened ourselves up to lying spirits. May God have mercy upon us!

Finally the penny dropped for me as I was rolling around one night
‘drunk in the Spirit’ as we would say. I started singing and as I
rolled around the floor the Nursery Rhyme ‘Mary had a little lamb
its fleece was white as snow.’ came to mind. I sang this in a
mocking spirit and instantly my heart told me this was a demon.
Instantly I repented and was in total shock. How could a demon
get into me? Did I not love God? Was I not zealous for the things
of God? Was I not nuts about Jesus? I knew that an unclean spirit
had just manifested through me and I was guilty of great sin. After
this experience I stayed away from TACF. I did not go back there
any more. I did not possess the conviction to denounce the whole
experience but thought that we where failing to pastor the Blessing
well enough.

Even after I stopped going over to TACF, I had to pastor the fruit of
it. One example was when some of our people returned from a
meeting there asking us if we had all received the golden sword of
the Lord? I asked them what they were talking about thinking that
it was some prophetic reference to the Holy Scriptures but they
said, ‘no, it's not the Bible, it’s an invisible golden sword that only
the really pure can receive. If taken in an unrighteous fashion then
the Lord would kill you. But if you are holy enough to receive it
then you can wield this sword and it will heal AIDS, Cancer etc.
and bring salvation. How one wielded this sword was by
pretending to have this invisible sword in your hand and motioning
to strike people with it when in prayer! I thought while even in
deception at this time that the TACF had become Looney bins!
This was purportedly first received by Carol Arnott and then given
to the ones holy enough to receive it! Another thing was the
golden fillings in the teeth. We had people in our assembly
peeping down one another’s throats looking for the gold fillings
that God had placed there to show how much he loved them! In
all my time there I only heard one message on repentance given
by a visiting speaker from Hong Kong named Jackie Pullinger. It
went over like a lead balloon. We were not there to repent, we
were there to party in the Lord! After one year into the blessing I
spoke out at a pastors meeting and said ‘guys we have shaken,
rattled, rolled, laughed cried and bought the tee-shirt. But we have
no revival, no salvation, no fruit and no increased evangelism so
what’s the deal?’ I was soundly rebuked - who was I to expect to
see fruit when the Lord was healing his broken people? We had
been legalistic long enough and God was spending this time
restoring his wounded and freeing us from legalism I was told not
to push the Lord and the harvest would come in his time.’

I knew this was wrong because the Lord had commanded us to go
into all the earth and make disciples! Not that everyone should
take a sabbatical for who knows how long, while God does some
strange new thing! Ultimately I left over something as controversial
as the ordination of women. Personally I believe from scripture that
women should not be pastors/elders in a local assembly. I could
be wrong on this and there is much debate in the Church today but
that is my conviction and in the Vineyard churches they were
ordaining all the pastors' wives to co pastor with them. I am
certainly for women in ministry but believe that the Elder/pastor
role in a local assembly has been reserved for men. I did not write
scripture but God willing I will have the grace from now on to obey it.

So there is my story. I could go on and document much excess,
folly, sin and latter day reign teaching that manifest from the
prophetic end of this Blessing but others have already done that.
We sang about Joel’s army and the billion soul revival as if it were
one of the Ten Commandments, and as always it was just around
the corner. Next month, next year etc. Jesus said that when the
son of man returns will he find faith upon the earth? And if he does
not return when he does no flesh would be saved but for the sake
of the elect he comes. This is a far cry from the dominionism that
is being taught all through the vineyard/prophetic/ spiritual warfare
movement. I honestly think that they think they are going to take
over the whole world! While in the Vineyard I embraced a life verse
from the Apostle Paul the phrase do not go beyond what is written!

To finish I just want to say sorry for the damage, that I have
personally done by teaching things that are not correct biblically. I
repent before men as I already have before God. I will not excuse
my falling into deception. I did not bother to test things when the
scriptures commanded us to do so. Everyone who was there when
this thing started knows that what I write is true, they would just
come to different conclusions especially if they are still promoting
the ‘river!’

To those in the river I would say swim out, there are things living in
the water that will bite you real good! I love the people of TACF and
the Vineyard movement but I think that we have much to answer
for and may the Lord open your eyes sooner rather than later. I
suspect that when this letter goes online I will get bombarded by
emails from both camps, some damning me for still believing in
the ministry of the Holy Spirit and still walking in deception and
some old friends damning me for exposing dirt or being negative
about the Lords anointed! Well, the Lord knows my heart and by
his grace he will guide me into all truth as I seek to know Christ
and him crucified! If you believe that I walk in sin and error please
pray for me that the Lord would forgive me and open my eyes. I
will study the word to show my self a work man approved! I would
call on all who read this to pray that the Lord would open the eyes
of all who have been involved in this deception. Whether leader or
follower, we are loved and the Lord is a forgiving God. He says if
we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness. I believe we are like the
church in Laodicea, we think that we are rich, have prospered and
need nothing, we do not realise that we are wretched, pitiable,
poor, blind and naked. We must take the Counsel of Jesus and
buy gold refined in the fire (which is his suffering, not a false
spirit!), white garments to clothe our shameful nakedness and
salve for our eyes that we might see again. Jesus is calling us to
repentance and thank the Lord that he is, for it will lead us to
true restoration with our Father! If God has forgiven me and
opened my eyes then he can do it for all those caught in
deception too. I will finish with a warning from Paul, he says if you
think you are standing firm be careful lest you fall.

Sincerely Paul Gowdy.

~LINK to "TORONTO DRINKING SONG" - Put out by some of
their main leaders - it is absolutely amazing. Please click on the
heading "TORONTO DRINKING SONG" on the Forum at the
following website-
http://www.revivalschool.com

[Paul Gowdy's article - © 2004-2006. Discernment-Ministries Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
~ www.discernment-ministries.org/TheTorontoDeception.htm ]
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