Friday, July 14, 2017

The Next Great Awakening

Donald Trump has surrounded himself with some untrustworthy figures.

Among other people one could mention, his administration is full of globalists:

two of whom (McMaster and Ross) attended one of the premiere globalist confabs, the Bilderberg meeting:

His main ‘spiritual advisor’, Pentecostal megachurch pastor Paula White, seems to be as interested in showing off her body as she is in selling her version of the heretical cotton-candy prosperity gospel:

And now we have another controversial Charismatic megachurch pastor, Rodney Howard-Browne, laying hands on Donald Trump and praying for him, together with a host of other Evangelical pastors and leaders (so much for the good sense of the ‘reliable Evangelical’ VP Mike Pence, who is joining right in with the rest of crowd):

One might ask, What is so bad about that?  The answer is that ‘Pastor’ Rodney is a major figure behind the ‘holy laughter’ movement:

A South African-born televangelist based in Florida has brought his ministry to Washington for a three-week event he is calling “Celebrate America.” Rodney Howard-Browne is calling for a religious revival in the United States. His preaching style, though, is far from mainstream.

All it takes is a touch from Howard-Browne for his followers to collapse and roll in the aisles with laughter. He is a pioneer of what is known as the "Holy Laughter" movement, which began in the 1990s in New York state and across the border in Canada.

Now based in Florida, the self-described patriot has brought his ministry to Washington for a three-week event called “Celebrate America.”

Howard-Browne wants to lead a religious revival in the United States. But laughter worship, though it has spread, is far from mainstream -- even in Charismatic and Pentecostal churches, which account for about a fifth of American Protestants.

In an interview, Howard-Browne said the chortles, chuckles and guffaws are the work of the Holy Spirit.

“When Jesus touched people they went walking and leaping and praising God,” he said. “If your life has been touched and changed, then you’re not going to be quiet about it. So that’s the whole thing of the fervor of the Christian faith. ‘Joy to the World, the Lord is come.’

“So joy has a voice,” he added. “And it is laughter.”

 . . .

The preacher says his aim is to bring about a new "Great Awakening." That was the name given to the Christian revivals that swept the young republic in the 18th and 19th centuries.

“That is the only thing that is going to help America. Without a "Great Awakening," it’s over, it’s finished,” he said.

In the mornings, teams of volunteers from his church - Revival Ministries International - fan out across the city, to pray with people and invite them to the event.

For those who do come, the laughter is contagious. Jennifer Reed said she just can’t contain herself.

“If something’s funny, you just laugh, right? So this is like the Holy Spirit laughter," she said. "The Holy Spirit puts joy in my belly. And one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy. Isn’t that awesome? It’s supernatural joy!”

Laughter, the saying goes, is the best medicine, and some doctors even prescribe it to relieve stress. After the hoots and howls subside, some people at the revival lie on the floor motionless with their eyes closed. Others dance and shout with glee.

 . . .

More on the background of the ‘holy laughter’ movement:

 . . .

The Toronto Blessing (or TB, as it is now often called) is a worldwide spiritual movement within Pentecostal and charismatic churches. It is named after the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church in Toronto, Canada, where the movement first hit the headlines in January 1994. Its advocates claim that the Blessing is a "sovereign move of God", a new and glorious work of the Holy Spirit. Many of them call it a "revival." However, others, conscious that scarcely any unbelievers are being converted through this movement, do not call it a revival, but a "renewal" of the Church. Many of them add that this renewal of the Church is being done by God as a prelude to a revival. Others claim that this is more than a mere renewal of the Church; it is God bringing to birth a new super-Church for the end times—a view which fits in with the doctrine known as "Latter-Rain Restorationism," which has been around in Pentecostal and charismatic circles for some time. The claim is also made by many advocates of the TB that those who resist this great move of God will, if they persevere in their resistance, be guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and various dreadful things will happen to them. What exactly will happen is often left rather vague; the language used is that opposers will be "swept aside," "crushed," that sort of thing. On his video, The Coming Revival, Rodney Howard-Browne warns that opposers will be struck dumb and blind.

What then is this great blessing that God is allegedly pouring out on His Church at this time? According to its advocates, it is a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit which can be compared with the day of Pentecost. This outpouring happens when a leader, who has already received the blessing himself, then passes it on to others, usually in a meeting of a church or in a larger gathering of believers from various churches. These leaders, especially the more well-known ones, are often referred to as "anointed men," and the blessing itself is also often called the "anointing," or a "fresh anointing." Sometimes the anointed leader will simply call down the blessing on the entire gathering; more usually, people will be asked to walk to the front, where the leader and his team will lay hands on them, and transmit the blessing to them physically. A few of the leaders have stranger and more dramatic methods of passing on the blessing, e.g. blowing on people, hurling the blessing at people by dramatic hand gestures, or even transmitting the blessing into a tea-towel and then throwing the tea-towel at someone.

TB advocates claim that the blessing or anointing has two main effects on believers: (i) It brings them a fresh and overwhelming sense of God's love, which leads to wonderful joy; (ii) It lifts people up to new heights of spiritual life, so that they begin to walk much closer to God, praying more, reading the Bible more, evangelising more, etc.

If we look at what actually happens when people receive the blessing the immediate observable effects—we see the following:

(i) Almost without exception, people fall over onto their backs, sometimes gently, sometimes as if struck by a bolt of electricity. Those who fall sometimes black out. This phenomenon has of course been around for a long time in Pentecostal and charismatic circles, and is referred to as being "slain in the Spirit."

(ii) Often those affected are seized by a spirit of uncontrollable laughter. This laughter can last literally for days. On The Coming Revival video, Rodney Howard-Browne reports a man who (to use his language) got drunk on the Holy Spirit and laughed uncontrollably for 3 days. This particular phenomenon is referred to as "holy laughter," and it has been so widespread in the TB that it has sometimes been called "the laughing revival."

(iii) Often, but by no means always, when the blessing is imparted in a meeting, some will respond by making noises and bodily movements like various animals. In the early days of the TB, the most common of these animal manifestations was "roaring like a lion." However, this is in fact only one of many animal manifestations which have been observed. I myself have witnessed people gibbering like monkeys, barking like dogs, howling like wolves, and screeching like cats. Here is a description by a person who is in favour of the TB:

That room sounded like it was a cross between a jungle and a farmyard. There were many lions roaring, there were bulls bellowing, there were donkeys, there was a cockerel near me, there were sort of bird songs ... Everything you could possibly imagine, every animal you could conceivably imagine you could hear. [1]

There are other physical phenomena, such as holy drunkenness (staggering about as though drunk), dancing in the Spirit (tap-dancing, ballet dancing), running on the spot, and bouncing up and down like a grasshopper. However, these three—falling over, hysterical laughter and animal manifestations—these are the main physical manifestations of the blessing or anointing.

 . . .

Source:  Dr Nick Needham,, opened 12 July 2017

All this is quite out of line with the teachings of the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church.  Blessed Fr Seraphim Rose of Platina writes in Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future:

ONE OF THE COMMONEST RESPONSES to the experience of the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" is laughter. One Catholic testifies: "I was so joyful that all I could do was laugh as I lay on the floor" (Ranaghan, p. 28). Another Catholic: "The sense of the presence and love of God was so strong that I can remember sitting in the chapel for a half hour just laughing out of joy over the love of God" (Ranaghan, p. 64). A Protestant testifies that at his Baptism, "I started laughing... I just wanted to laugh and laugh the way you do when you feel so good you just can't talk about it. I held my sides and laughed until I doubled over" (Sherrill, p. 113). Another Protestant: "The new tongue I was given was intermingled with waves of mirth in which every fear I had just seemed to roll away. It was a tongue of laughter" (Sherrill, p. 115). An Orthodox priest, Fr. Eusebius Stephanou, writes: "I could not conceal the broad smile on my face that any minute could have broken out into laughter - a laughter of the Holy Spirit stirring in me a refreshing release" (Logos, April, 1972, p. 4).

Many, many examples could be collected of this truly strange reaction to a "spiritual" experience, and some "charismatic" apologists have a whole philosophy of "spiritual joy" and "God's foolishness" to explain it. But this philosophy is not in the least Christian; such a concept as the "laughter of the Holy Spirit" is unheard of in the whole history of Christian thought and experience. Here perhaps more clearly than anywhere else the "charismatic revival" reveals itself as not at all Christian in religious orientation; this experience is purely worldly and pagan, and where it cannot be explained in terms of emotional hysteria (for Fr. Eusebius, indeed, laughter provided "relief" and "release" from "an intense feeling of self-consciousness and embarrassment" and "emotional devastation"), it can only be due to some degree of "possession" by one or more of the pagan gods, which the Orthodox church calls demons. Here, for example, is a comparable "initiation" experience of a pagan Eskimo shaman: Not finding initiation, "I would sometimes fall to weeping and feel unhappy without knowing why. Then for no reason all would suddenly be changed, and I felt a great, inexplicable joy, a joy so powerful that I could not restrain it, but had to break into song, a mighty song, with room for only one word: joy, joy! And I had to use the full strength of my voice. And then in the midst of such a fit of mysterious and overwhelming delight I became a shaman...I could see and hear in a totally different way. I had gained my enlightenment...and it was not only I who could see through the darkness of life, but the same bright light also shone out of me... and all the spirits of earth and sky and sea now came to me and became my helping spirits" (Lewis, Ecstatic Religion, p. 37).

It is not surprising that unsuspecting "Christians," having deliberately laid themselves open to a similar pagan experience, would still interpret it as a "Christian" experience; psychologically they are still Christians, although spiritually they have entered the realm of distinctly non-Christian attitudes and practices. What is the judgment of the Orthodox ascetic tradition concerning such a thing as a "laughter of the Holy Spirit"? Sts. Barsanuphius and John, the 6th-century ascetics, give the unequivocal Orthodox answer in reply to an Orthodox monk who was plagued by this problem (Answer 451): "In the fear of God there is no laughter. The Scripture says of the foolish, that they raise their voice in laughter (Sirach 21:23); and the word of the foolish is always disturbed and deprived of grace." St. Ephraim the Syrian just as clearly teaches: "Laughter and familiarity are the beginning of a soul's corruption. If you see these in yourself, know that you have come to the depths of evils. Do not cease to pray God that He will deliver you from this death...Laughter removes from us that blessing which is promised to those who mourn (Matt. 5:4) and destroys what has been built up. Laughter offends the Holy Spirit, gives no benefit to the soul, dishonors the body. Laughter drives out virtues, has no remembrance of death or thought of tortures" (Philokalia, Russian edition, Moscow, 1913: vol. 2, p. 448). Is it not evident how far astray ignorance of basic Christianity can lead one?

At least as common as laughter as a response to charismatic "Baptism" is its psychologically close relative, tears. These occur to individuals and, quite often, to whole groups at once (in this case quite apart from the experience of "Baptism"), spreading infectiously for no apparent reason at all (see Sherrill, pp. 109, 117). "Charismatic" writers do not find the reason for this in the "conviction of sin" that produces such results at Protestant revivals; they give no reason at all, and there seems to be none, except that this experience simply comes upon one who is exposed to the "charismatic" atmosphere. The Orthodox Fathers, as Bishop Ignatius notes, teach that tears often accompany the second form of spiritual deception. St. John of the Ladder, telling of the many different causes of tears, some good and some bad, warns: "Do not trust your fountains of tears before your soul has been perfectly purified" (Step 7:35); and of one kind of tears he states definitely: "Tears without thought are proper only to an irrational nature and not to a rational one" (7:17).

Besides laughter and tears, and often together with them, there are a number of other physical reactions to the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit," including warmth, many kinds of trembling and contortions, and falling to the floor. All the examples given here, it should be emphasized, are those of ordinary Protestants and Catholics, and not at all those of any Pentecostal extremists, whose experiences are much more spectacular and unrestrained.

 . . .

According to Bishop Ignatius, the deception known as "fancy" is satisfied with the invention of counterfeit feelings and states of grace, from which there is born a false, wrong conception of the whole spiritual undertaking... It constantly invents pseudo-spiritual states, an intimate companionship with Jesus, an inward conversation with him, mystical revelations, voices, enjoyments... From this activity the blood receives a sinful, deceiving movement, which presents itself as a grace-given delight... It clothes itself in the mask of humility, piety, wisdom." Unlike the more spectacular form of spiritual deception, fancy, while "bringing the mind into the most frightful error, does not however lead it to delirium," so that the state may continue for many years or a whole lifetime and not be easily detected. One who falls into this warm, comfortable, fevered state of deception virtually commits spiritual suicide, blinding himself to his own true spiritual state. Writes Bishop Ignatius: "Fancying of himself... that he is filled with grace, he will never receive grace... He who ascribes to himself gifts of grace fences off from himself by this 'fancy' the entrance into himself of Divine grace, and opens wide the door to the infection of sin and to demons." "Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" (Apoc. 3:17)

Those infected with the "charismatic" deception are not only themselves "spirit-filled"; they also see around them the beginning of a "new age" of the "out-pouring of the Holy Spirit," believing, as does Fr. Eusebius Stephanou, that "the world is on the threshold of a great spiritual awakening" (Logos, Feb., 1972, p. 18); and the words of the Prophet Joel are constantly on their lips: "I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh" (Joel 2:28). The Orthodox Christian knows that this prophecy refers in general to the last age that began with the coming of our Lord, and more specifically to Pentecost (Acts 2), and to every Orthodox Saint who truly possesses in abundance the gifts of the Holy Spirit - such as St. John of Kronstadt and St. Nectarios of Pentapolis, who have worked thousands of miracles even in this corrupt 20th century. But to today's "charismatics," miraculous gifts are for everyone; almost everyone who wants to can and does speak in tongues, and there are manuals telling you how to do it.

But what do the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church teach us? According to Bishop Ignatius, the gifts of the Holy Spirit "exist only in Orthodox Christians who have attained Christian perfection, purified and prepared beforehand by repentance." They "are given to Saints of God solely at God's good will and God's action, and not by the will of men and not by one's own power. They are given unexpectedly, extremely rarely, in cases of extreme need, by God's wondrous providence, and not just at random' (St. Isaac the Syrian). "It should be noted that at the present time spiritual gifts are granted in great moderation, corresponding to the enfeeblement that has enveloped Christianity in general. These gifts serve entirely the needs of salvation. On the contrary, 'fancy' lavishes its gifts in boundless abundance and with the greatest speed."

In a word, the "spirit" that suddenly lavishes its "gifts" upon this adulterous generation which, corrupted and deceived by centuries of false belief and pseudo-piety, seeks only a "sign" - is not the Holy Spirit of God. These people have never known the Holy Spirit and never worshipped Him. True spirituality is so far beyond them that, to the sober observer, they only mock it by their psychic and emotional - and sometimes demonic - phenomena and blasphemous utterances. Of true spiritual feelings, writes Bishop Ignatius, "the fleshly man cannot form any conception: because a conception of feeling is always based on those feelings already known to the heart, while spiritual feelings are entirely foreign to the heart that knows only fleshly and emotional feelings. Such a heart does not so much as know of the existence of spiritual feelings."

Furthermore, RH-B is quoted as saying,

“I’d rather be in a church where the devil and the flesh are manifesting,” he stated, “than in a church where nothing is happening because people are too afraid to manifest anything. . . .  And if a devil manifests, don’t worry about that either.  Rejoice, because at least something is happening” (quoted by Hieromonk Damascene, ‘Epilogue to the Fifth Edition’, Fr Seraphim Rose, Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, 5th ed., Platina, Ca., Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2013, pgs. 214-5).

Again, hardly a Christian attitude toward good and evil.  And yet, what has the reaction been to this meeting of RH-B and Trump?  A lot of it has been very positive:

Thousands of people are sharing online a photo of a group of pastors laying their hands on President Donald Trump and praying over him Monday in the Oval Office.

Florida televangelist and megachurch Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne posted the photo to his Facebook page and his Instagram on Tuesday.

It shows the president, head bowed, surrounded by more than a half dozen people, including Vice President Mike Pence, their heads bowed, as well. A photographer is taking a picture of the moment.

 . . .

The photo of the pastors praying over the president has been shared more than 5,000 times and sparked more than 1,000 comments on the preacher’s Facebook page. Many of them are prayers for the president.

“This picture made me cry as the Spirit touched my heart,” wrote one man. “The Lord's hand is upon this man, even though the world does not realize it and cannot realize it due to their spiritual blindness. A very special sight to behold God be welcomed in the White House once more.”

 . . .

Source:  Lisa Gutierrez,, opened 12 July 2017

The ‘spiritual blindness’ of those in the South and the other States has indeed gotten quite bad, but not in the way the man just quoted thinks.  Those who see God at work in this event at the White House with Howard-Browne are the ones who have fallen into spiritual delusion.  And with RH-B and others building anticipation for another Great Awakening,

 “Yesterday I was asked by Pastor Paula White-Cain to pray over our 45th President - what a humbling moment standing in the Oval Office - laying hands and praying for our President - Supernatural Wisdom, Guidance and Protection - who could ever even imagine - wow - we are going to see another great spiritual awakening #ovaloffice #westwing #whitehouse #washingtondc.”  [bolding added--W.G.]

Source:  Ibid.  [remember the quotes above in the VoA story as well--W.G.]

the delusion is likely to go from bad to worse in the short run. 

If there is repentance, however, a flowering of Orthodox Christianity will be seen in the world once more, as St Seraphim of Vyritsa (+1949) and others have prophesied:

But if Southerners and the other peoples of the world remain stiff-necked and hard-hearted, then they will perish in their delusion and their sin.  Again from Fr Seraphim Rose’s Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future:

THE HOLY SCRIPTURES and Orthodox Fathers clearly tell us that the character of the last times will not at all be one of a great spiritual "revival," of an "outpouring of the Holy Spirit," but rather one of almost universal apostasy, of spiritual deception so subtle that the very elect, if that were possible, will be deceived, of the virtual disappearance of Christianity from the face of the earth. "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) It is precisely in the last times that satan is to be loosed (Apoc. 20:3) in order to produce the final and greatest outpouring of evil upon the earth.

The "charismatic revival," the product of a world without sacraments, without grace, a world thirsting for spiritual "signs" without being able to discern the spirits that give the signs, is itself a "sign" of these apostate times. The ecumenical movement itself remains always a movement of "good intentions" and feeble humanitarian "good deeds"; but when it is joined by a movement with "power," indeed "with all power and signs and lying wonders" (2 Thess. 2:9), then who will be able to stop it? The "charismatic revival" comes to the rescue of a floundering ecumenism, and pushes it on to its goal. And this goal, as we have seen, is not merely "Christian" in nature - the "refounding of the Church of Christ," to use the blasphemous utterance of Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople - that is only the first step to a larger goal which lies entirely outside of Christianity: the establishment of the "spiritual unity" of all religions, of all mankind.

However, the followers of the "charismatic revival" believe their experience is "Christian"; they will have nothing to do with occultism and Eastern religions; and they doubtless reject outright the whole comparison in the preceding pages of the "charismatic revival" with spiritism. Now it is quite true that religiously the "charismatic revival" is on a higher level than spiritism, which is a product of quite gross credulity and superstition; that its techniques are more refined and its phenomena more plentiful and more easily obtained; and that its whole ideology gives the appearance of being "Christian" - not Orthodox, but something that is not far from Protestant fundamentalism with an added "ecumenical" coloring.

Those who bring Christian ideas to the experience assume that the "Baptism in the Holy Spirit" is a Christian experience. But if it can be given to those who merely seek a cheap, easy status experience - then there is no necessary connection whatever between this experience and Christ. The very possibility of an experience of a "Pentecost without Christ" means that the experience in itself is not Christian at all; "Christians," often sincere and well-meaning, are reading into the experience a Christian content which in itself it does not have.

Do we not have here the common denominator of "spiritual experience" which is needed for a new world religion? Is this not perhaps the key to the "spiritual unity" of mankind which the ecumenical movement has sought in vain?

The next Great Awakening could well be either another great flourishing of the Orthodox Faith, the Faith of the Holy Apostles and all the Holy Fathers, or a further initiation of mankind into communion with the devil and the demons, though, of course, this initiation will be presented as something very much the opposite.


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð!

Anathema to the Union!

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