“Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
(2 Cor 2:11)
The Toronto blessing, a term coined by British newspapers, describes the revival and resulting phenomena that began in January 1994 at the Toronto Airport Vineyard church, a neo-charismatic evangelical Christian church located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Pastors John and Carol Arnott founded the Toronto Airport Vineyard church around 1988. It met in various rented locations throughout Toronto until the early 1990s when the church found a more permanent home near the Lester B. Pearson Airport. On 20th January 1994, Randy Clark, a Vineyard pastor from St. Louis, Missouri, was invited by TACF’s pastor, John Arnott, to lead a local church revival.
The rest, as commonly said, ‘is history’.
In 1995 the church joined John Wimber’s Vineyard Movement and became known as Toronto Airport Vineyard Church, now known as the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship or TACF, a multi-site church with campuses meeting in various venues throughout the Greater Toronto Area. TACF Airport is the primary and largest campus.
After the break with Wimber and the Vineyard in 1995, the church founded “Partners in Harvest”, a group of churches that shared similar beliefs. Their website is: http://partnersinharvest.org/about
The “Toronto Blessing” represents the latest phase of the larger pentecostal/charismatic movement, an approach that even in 1995 (Cox) was said to account for one out of four Christians worldwide. Beginning with the Welsh Revival (1903-04), escalating with the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles (190607), and rekindled through the Latter Rain Movement (1948), the Charismatic Movement in the 1960s and 1970s, the Third Wave in the 1980s, and now the “Toronto Blessing” (1994), the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 20th century America may be characterized as a religious movement struggling against the forces of institutionalization. [From: The Spirit and The Bride – The “Toronto Blessing” and Church Structure by Margaret M. Poloma, The University of Akron Department of Sociology]
John Arnott heard that Clark had attended a conference with Rodney Howard-Browne and had been greatly impacted by Howard-Browne’s ministry. The revival started during Clark’s two month visit but continued after he left. Some Christian leaders criticized the church and revival because of the teachings and manifestations that occurred. Wimber initially defended the Airport Vineyard saying “Nearly everything we’ve seen—falling, weeping, laughing, shaking—has been seen before, not only in our own memory, but in revivals all over the world.”
Nevertheless, the church withdrew or was expelled, according to some, from the Vineyard. Wimber explained the circumstances surrounding the split in a Christianity Today interview, saying that the revival at Toronto was “changing our definition of renewal in Vineyard” and that “the [Vineyard’s] decision was to withdraw endorsement; [TACF’s] decision was to resign”.
Wimber passed away in 1997 but worked for many years before his death with Mike Bickle and the Kansas City Prophets and later with C. Peter Wagner, both of whom have proved to be adept at mainstreaming their ideology.
Catch the Fire [Wikipedia]
In 2006, the Arnotts resigned as senior pastors of TACF to pursue a new ministry, ‘Catch the Fire’. In 2010, Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship was renamed to “Catch The Fire Toronto”, to reflect the ‘fire’ of God spreading to other congregations around the world, unifying them, to go along with its new international church planting vision. (TACF) is a non-denominational neocharismatic Christian church in Toronto, Canada. It is affiliated with Catch The Fire and with Partners in Harvest group of churches. The church is famous as the birthplace and centre of the Toronto Blessing, a prominent religious revival and phenomenon in charismatic Christianity during the 1990s.
Participants in the conferences and meetings sponsored by TACF have reported healings, incidents of personal transformation and a greater awareness of God’s love. It has also been referred to as the Father’s Blessing, the Anointing, the Awakening, the River, the Outpouring and the Fire.
The blessing has become known for ecstatic worship, including what is known as falling or resting in the Spirit, laughter, shaking, and crying. “Holy laughter” was a hallmark manifestation and there were also instances of participants roaring like lions. Another “manifestation of the spirit” encountered at these meetings was a gesture commonly called “crunching” consisting of a vomit-like heaving to “cleanse” and “release” negative experiences. Leaders and participants claim that these are physical manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power. One TACF teaching, the golden Spoon prophecy, has been spreading among charismatic churches.
Some Christian leaders were enthusiastic about what they saw as a renewal in North Wales Christianity, while others saw it as hysterical and spiritually dangerous. Critics referred to it as “self-centred and evil” and cited the strange manifestations as warning signs. Others defended the blessing as historically rooted in earlier revivals and as having positive effects in the lives of participants.
The New Apostolic Reformation [Wikipedia]
The New Apostolic Reformation is a movement in Protestant Christianity largely associated with the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. The basic thesis asserts that God is restoring the lost offices of church governance, namely the offices of Prophet and Apostle. The New Apostolic Reformation has Pentecostal and Charismatic origins, with those traditions’ interpretations of the nature of the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit within each believer. Unlike some parts of Protestant Christianity, these include the direct revelation of Christ to each believer, prophecy, and the performance of miracles such as healing. Although the movement regards the church as the true body of saved believers, as most Evangelical Protestants do, it differs from the broader Protestant tradition in its view on the nature of church leadership, specifically the doctrine of Five-Fold Ministry, which is based upon a non traditional interpretation of Ephesians 4:11.
Forrest Wilder, an environment issues writer for the Texas Observer, describes the New Apostolic Reformation as having “taken Pentecostalism, with its emphasis on ecstatic worship and the supernatural, and given it an adrenaline shot.” Wilder adds that beliefs of people associated with the movement “can tend toward the bizarre” and that it has “taken biblical literalism to an extreme.” It has become increasingly involved with government and political activism.
Question: “What is the Toronto Blessing?”
Answer: The Toronto Blessing refers to the supposed outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the people attending the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship Church, which at the time was the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church. On January 20, 1994, a Pentecostal pastor named Randy Clark spoke at the church and gave his testimony of how he would get drunk in the Spirit and laugh uncontrollably. In response to this testimony, the congregation erupted in pandemonium with people laughing, growling, dancing, shaking, barking like dogs, and even some even being stuck in positions of paralysis. These experiences were attributed to the Holy Spirit entering people’s bodies. The pastor of the church, John Arnott, referred to it as a big Holy Spirit party. The moniker “Toronto Blessing” was given, and the church was soon in the international spotlight.
When this “blessing” is held to the light of Scripture, however, it can scarcely be called a blessing; abomination, maybe, but not blessing. Absolutely nowhere in Scripture can one find any precedent for what was happening at the Toronto Airport church, except, perhaps, the physical conditions demon-possessed people suffered. In fact, the Toronto Airport church became so embroiled in emotional outbursts and psychological displays that Pastor Arnott ceased preaching salvation, and instead preached about the party of the Holy Spirit. Experiences were being held in higher authority than Scripture. This was even too much for the already extremely charismatic Vineyard movement, which severed ties with the Toronto Airport church in 1995, prompting the name change to Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship.
A believer’s focus needs to be Jesus Christ, the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), not on oneself, one’s experiences, or even the Holy Spirit. The Toronto Blessing focuses on the last, to the detriment of biblical faith. Believers can have fun, dance, sing, even shout to the Lord. However, when a worship service resembles the dream of a demented schizophrenic and attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit, only one word comes to mind: heresy.
Just as it says will happen in the Last Days, there are now many false prophets and false teachers and many claiming to be chosen, etc. What has come to be known as “The Toronto Blessing” but is also known as “Third Wave” “covers a group of many people and groups of people linked to and rooted in the Vineyard, involving a network of Christian evangelists and churches and their followers which has now spread, through very different routes including the ecumenical movement, all over the world, and therefore merits special attention.
The false spirit (Satan) will focus on himself through signs and wonders and the Holy Spirit, these things being easy to manipulate, rather than Jesus and the Gospel. Scripture clearly states that the true Holy Spirit will NOT focus on Himself, but rather the Gospel and then primarily to glorify Christ:
“A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.” (Matthew 16:4)
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26)
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:7-15)
“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” (1 Tim. 6)
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Cor. 13-15)
Posted by JOB: So, the FAITHFUL who know well and good that God can perform miracles on the natural order … we praise and glorify God over those things true, but those are not the things that we focus on, not the least because evil spirits can emulate those. Do not be offended! Evil spirits emulated several of the signs and wonders of YHWH in Egypt during their contest with Moses. People follow false religions for a reason! And the Bible itself says that the antiChrist will deceive the whole world with his evil fantastic works, and that but for the grace of God even the very elect would be deceived by him also!
So no, those who truly believe in God are not after by angel feathers, gold dust, and jewels popping up out of thin air! We are not after new visions, revelations, and secrets. Why? The reason is that those things, while impressive to behold, have no lasting value. They are not the things that the kingdom of heaven is built on. So what true believers love to see and hear about are CHANGED HEARTS as evidenced by CHANGED BEHAVIOR.
Unbelievers hearing the gospel and getting saved. People confessing their sins and turning from them rather than using their works, church membership, background, or “anointing” to justify remaining in them. People overcoming the grief of losing a loved one. People forgiving those that have done them grievously wrong. The fearful becoming bold, the haters becoming lovers. THAT is what Christians should seek after and try to participate in. And those are what we Christians should be after.
For it is a certainty that demons can motivate tongues and private prayer languages. That goes on in Hindu temples all the time! I have no doubt that a demon can cure – or at least temporarily alleviate – physical ailments. Were that not the case witch doctors, rootworkers, medicine men and women, etc. would go out of business tomorrow. The same with the diviners, necromancers, fortune tellers, etc. People have been seeking out mighty wonders, strange works, new revelations, etc. ever since man rejected the knowledge of God as Paul told us in Romans 1:1832 for a reason! Not a few missionaries can relate dark spiritual happenings involving the demons that work through those false religions that would curl your hair even if you were bald! Check out “And The Word Came With Power” by missionary Jo Anne Shetler if you doubt.
But an evil spirit cannot save someone’s soul or change their heart! So why put all the emphasis on the things that Satan can imitate while ignoring the things that he cannot? I don’t know about you, but while hearing testimonies about people delivered from asthma personally touch me because I was healed of the same, what I really love hearing about is testimonies of God delivering them from selfishness, hate, pride, lying, meanness, sloth, lust, and irresponsibility, for those character flaws and many more I had them, and let me tell you they were much more destructive to me and those around me than my asthma was! [POSTED by JOB]