Toronto “blessing?” – A Warning Letter!

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I have decided to share publicly a letter that I actually wrote in 2005 to some of the Christians at that time that I knew and cared about.  It was, and still is, a very serious subject regarding strange things that were occurring within a “Christian church” that I had attended.  It took me nine months to discern and extricate myself from the said church, albeit the last weeks were simply to experience the leaders of the movement personally before exiting for good.

I have been greatly saddened of late, to discover that people who I had thought would be discerning Christians are in fact now, over a decade later, working alongside the very same leaders that I was warning about then, collaborating on projects in the basement, on the fringes of this other church, and the people are no doubt, unaware of the true nature of the spirit that works in their midst.  The church I write about in this letter is still stating on their website that “impartation” is one of their things!  If alarm bells don’t go off in your thinking at this word then you have some serious Bible reading, praying and research still to do.

My hope and my plea is for all Christian people to wake up from their trusting, somnambulant state and to pray and beseech the Lord God for true spiritual discernment and wisdom.  We live in days of increasing wickedness on all sides and tolerating it continually amongst the churches will only lead to a deadening of your own ability to hear the Lord’s true voice.

My Personal Letter from 2005 that I sent to various Christian friends

Dear Friend,

What I want to share with you is a little detail of what happened to me in X Baptist Church and my findings about the many ways Christians are being deceived these days. Yes, I have been through some very difficult times in my spiritual life since moving here but I am grateful to God for what he has shown me and how he is leading me now.

On arriving in my new home town last year, I went straight away to X Baptist church, that had been recommended by someone I met.  At first, I loved it, as it was lively, charismatic, great music, lots of people etc.  However, last Nov I went for the first time to one of their evening meetings and saw some very odd things happen when they “prayed” for one another in a “fire tunnel”.  This was something I’d never heard of or experience before and it was a very shocking experience for me, with exceedingly bizarre behaviours being exhibited.

Some people were running manically on the spot, others bending double and wobbling around as though drunk and collapsing over one another whilst giggling.  One woman was writhing on the floor as though demonised, but the minister didn’t even stop playing his guitar to come to help her.  When I went home that night I was very disturbed, as in 17 years as a Christian I had never seen anything quite so weird.  I prayed to the Lord, “Lord, what is the spirit behind this church?”  That night I was disturbed by a terrible dream that caused me to thrash about and cry out.  In the dream I was enjoying worshiping God in the church building when suddenly an evil presence was pressing me down in a manner that was suffocating and terrifying.   Let me add, at this point, that I do not currently suffer from nightmares, so this dream appeared to me to be a possible answer to my prayer.  In other words, the spirit behind this particular church was possibly an evil spirit that intends to snuff out true believers!

I was thoroughly shaken to my core!  I rang the church the next day and went to speak with one of the leaders.  I even had the minister and his wife round and told them my dream.  At that time, I accepted an alternative interpretation for it and pushed my concerns aside and continued going to the church.  Yet in the months that followed I discovered that the church was linked with the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship of “Toronto Blessing” infamy.  I learnt that the strange laughter-phenomena was started by Rodney Howard-Brown and I was appalled by his antics when I saw him on God TV.  By Easter this year I saw the leaders of the Toronto fellowship, John and Carole Arnott, on God TV and again was very shocked at some of the things they said and the manipulative stories that were used and other nonsensical testimonies.

I was still seeking the Lord’s will in all this confusion, as I needed to know whether to stay and pray for a change in the church or simply to leave it.  I was very much alone in this pursuit as I knew of no one else questioning this church.

By April this year I was again shook to my core about what the church was doing.  I felt in my spirit that they had truly gone astray.  Added to this was the minister’s reluctance to have any church prayer meeting.  In fact, he’d told me that he didn’t want intercessors, which I found very odd.  It turned out that they preferred to do what they call “soaking,” where they lie on the floor and relax or they “get the laughter” or other strange manifestation.  This isn’t a substitute for prayer and in fact seemed very weird and “New age spirituality” to me.  I attempted to start up a prayer meeting in the church prior to a “conference” they were holding, but only a couple of my friends came to it, even though it was announced in the church and I personally asked some of the church leaders if they would come.  In fact, the weeks when we actually met in the church to pray I felt under considerable spiritual oppression and stress – this was actually tangible to me.

However, I kept on going to the church until the end of April this year by which time I had attended several sessions of their “conference,” (this was in order to see and hear for myself the leaders of this movement – although I went only with much deep prayer for the Lord to deliver me from evil and protect me) with main speakers John and Carole Arnott and R T Kendal.  I have never seen so much weirdness in all my life as I saw amongst some of the people and leaders in X Baptist church this April!  People were behaving like lunatics and the place was filled with the many travelling “groupies” of this phenomenon!  People’s heads were twitching violently, unnaturally and repeatedly.  One of the leaders began to make an announcement and was unable to continue as he laughed and wobbled around as though drunk.  In fact, it turned out that they call it being “drunk in the spirit” and they spoke of “getting it!”  Another woman was lying on the floor, writhing about and making orgasmic noises continually for ages and no one mentioned it at all!  Church leaders were sometimes unable to read out the notices due to giggling and “something” interfering with their thought processes.

(Note the many scriptures on having self-control and sober-mindedness, eg, 1 Peter 1:13 & 4:7 & 5:8 also 1 Timothy 3:2 & lots in Titus).

My conclusion was, and still is, that they are seriously deluded and deceived by the enemy of their soul!

There was one piece of good advice one of the leader’s wives gave me though.  When I told her how confused I was and that I’d had a warning dream but accepted someone else’s interpretation, she suggested I ask the Lord for another dream to help confirm what I was concerned about.  That night, with great nervousness, I asked the Lord again the same question that I’d asked 5 months previously; “What is the spirit behind this church?”  Once again, I awoke from a terrifying dream of a murderous evil spirit squashing me.  As I had not had any such dreams in the intervening 5 months since I last asked the Lord this question I now felt more confident in what I was discerning.  Also, during these months of desperately seeking the Lord, He led me to various scriptures with a deeper understanding than ever before regarding the warnings about the apostasy that would come in the churches.

I told the minister, that I was leaving because there was no support for a prayer meeting and I didn’t like the “manifestations” of strange behaviour that I’d witnessed.  Even at this point I would have liked some answers to questions that I put to the minister but received none.  Instead he warned me that in questioning what was happening to people I had come very close to the “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit!”  An observer to this final conversation with the minister said that he was very arrogant and patronising to me.  He showed no love, care or concern for me.  Instead he was, even by his own admission, arrogant!  The bible has many severe warnings about arrogant, proud men.

In essence I felt, at this time, that my view of the Christian world was radically shaken by these changes to my theology.  I had previously not even used words like theology and doctrine and now they have become crucial. Phrases like “defending the faith” and being a “watchmen” now have great meaning.  For quite a few months after leaving X Baptist church I suffered from mild depression, which would cause me to cry easily and feel overwhelmed by the world church situation.  I have since found that this is normal in these circumstances.   I repented of all of my involvement with believing, practicing and teaching others anything that was not of God.  I cried over individuals and families that I knew who were still entrapped in these deceptions.  I asked God to heal my pain and teach me how to relate to him correctly.  I continuously asked my father God to sieve all my beliefs to remove/highlight those that were wrong.  My testimony now is that 6 months after leaving the “Toronto” church I feel free from the depression and am once again enjoying reading my bible and spending time in prayer with God, without fear.  I can talk to people about these difficult issues without filling up with tears, and yet it will always be a sadness to know that many millions around the world will continue in the devil’s end-time plan to deceive many.

I do hope that you will follow-up my warnings and read around these issues. Please pray, like I did, that God himself will reveal to you personally the truth about these things. I am fully confident that he answers those who sincerely want the truth.

I am so grateful to my Lord Jesus Christ that he loved me enough to lead me into all truth and that, however painful it has been, he has led me to be a much more discerning follower.  One of the prayers I was frequently praying during my days of decision about this particular church was for discernment and wisdom.  These gifts and characteristics are generally sadly lacking in the body of Christ.  We Christians are often a naïve bunch that believes that anything of a “spiritual nature” happening in a church must be God and that anything you can buy in a Christian bookshop must be OK.  I now believe neither of these things!

I will just add that in about July this year I also left an international women’s Christian group, that I had been involved in.   The realisation that many of their leaders also held pro “Toronto” and pro “faith/prosperity” views came as an extra shock.  That they appeared to ignore my warnings and feelings and were as such unsupportive in my search for the truth was an exceedingly heavy load on my already fragile state of mind.  However, I believe that God made it easy for me to leave, and in fact, I felt relief once I’d made the decision to separate from them.

I would like to add that I am still a believer in the power of the Holy Spirit to teach and guide me and still believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit being used but in a much more biblical and careful way.  Looking back, I am so very grateful to God’s wonderful mercy towards me.  He not only saved me all those years ago, but He also saw fit to protect me from the evil spirits that were manifesting all around me in this church and they were unable to influence me.  In fact, although in my naiveté, I did walk through their “fire tunnel” and someone there said to me, “Do you find it difficult to receive?”  At that time, I didn’t actually have a clue what he was talking about!  In my Christian view you didn’t “receive” but you prayed and obeyed the Lord and His word.  Looking back, I do in fact wonder if the Lord brought me to this town in order for me to discover this horrific, demonic deception that is masquerading as the Holy Spirit within a supposed Christian church setting.  And I am now very grateful that He has started opening my eyes to the true reality of the worldwide deceptions within Christendom, of which I had not been fully aware of before.

May God bless you greatly with wisdom and discernment.

With great love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour

from Helen

 

You may also be interested in another letter about this “Toronto spirit,” from a NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) church experience by Anna, from South Africa.

You can also find similar articles at, My Sheep Hear My Voice – Flee from the Hirlings or in 10 Ways false teachers ensnare people

Read more on this subject on Rob’s blog, watchman4wales.blogspot.com

 I welcome your input so if you would like to share any comments please feel free to do so in the section below.  Thank you.

You can find my full Comments Policy here.  Link Disclaimer: inclusion of links to other blogs/websites is not necessarily an endorsement of all content posted in those sites.

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15 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I too was alarmed in the 90s when my church in London decided to send someone over to Toronto to ‘catch’ the blessing. Don’t people realise God is everywhere? If the Holy Spirit wants to touch the world with a certain blessing, he doesn’t need pastors travelling around the world to find it. Plus, the laughter thing got really out of hand and I got to the stage where I was too embarrassed to invite my non-Christian friends to church. I escaped, and I am thankful that my current church are wary of such things.

    The saddest thing is, I think the initial manifestations were actually genuine, but we are too fleshly to handle it. Some people who fall over are really slain in the spirit but the rest of the 99% have been pushed or have just gone down because it’s the ‘thing to do’. Someone tried to push me over once and laughed when I refused to fall, like I had a demon or something. Yes, you are right – these churches are causing more harm than good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for your comment. Glad you were able to discern that we don’t need to go to a certain place to learn about the Lord Jesus Christ. We can read about Him in our Bibles right in our own homes and we can pray to Him there also. In fact, He taught us:-

      “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Mth 6:6

      I soon found out that “it” was NOT a blessing, as it was coined at the time! In fact, I personally refer to “it” as the “Toronto cursing,” as I discerned it was demonic transference. Some call it the Kundalini spirit. Whatever you call it, it is something to be avoided like the plague! If it ever crops up around you then pray that the Lord will “Deliver you from evil,” as He also taught us to pray.

      I am not sure about initial manifestations being genuine, if I am honest. I also do not put it all down to mere psychological suggestion and physical pushing people. Those are maybe elements on some occasions, (yes, I had someone try to push me once too) but I do believe that the enemy of our souls, the devil, who masquerades as an angel of light, is at work in false signs and wonders in these meetings of mayhem. Jesus told us that major deceptions would occur before His second coming and this is all just part of that truth.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Scary indeed! And the trouble is that it just keeps on going in certain “church circles” and people keep on being undiscerning and getting filled to the brim with demons. Quite horrific and exceedingly sad at the same time.

      But we all have the ability to seek truth and freedom through Jesus Christ and our own reading of the Bible, so no-one needs to stay stuck in such deceptions for ever. I found Yvette’s letter (see link above) very interesting on this count, as she writes of coming under the influence twice to such dark spirits and then getting free of them. The “church folk” she was mixing with were rejoicing when she was tormented with the wicked spirits! How crazy is that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Having been involved with the ‘Toronto Blessing,’ ‘Being slain in the spirit,’ for some five years or more, and some eighteen years ago now, I sincerely believe the phenomenon to be the powerful deception sent (ALLOWED) by God, to cause those (within the church) who do not love The Truth, to believe the lie, that they may not be saved, but condemned. 2 Thess 2 v10-12.

    The church is being tested by God, the sheep and the goats being separated, the test itself, is this – will we, with sincere love cling to The Word of God, and adhere to the simple Truth of The Gospel – repentance, baptisms, and the renewing of our minds, hence the changing of our nature, behaviour, desires and actions, to live as children of God, our nature becoming as His Own.

    God is Love, and if we do not love, we do not know God (understand His Nature, and His purpose, His desire), and we are told what Love is ……………………1Cor 13.
    These fruits of Love are being corrupted within churches that have the phenomenon of ‘being slain in the spirit,’ and false doctrine introduced, how then can God ‘bless’ these churches as they claim, with this phenomenon, God would be dishonouring Himself.

    ‘Binding’ and ‘loosing’ is also false, opening people’s minds up to assault from Satan and his demons, it is so incredibly dangerous.

    Manifestations of ‘being slain in the spirit.’

    Hopping like frogs – The demons were like frogs. Rev.

    Charging like a bull – Baal.

    Roaring like a lion – Satan roams around like a lion, looking for someone to devour.

    Barking like dogs – The dogs return to their vomit.

    Slithering like a snake – Satan, that serpent of old.

    Even laughing in the spirit, may be little more than Satan laughing at us, through us.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank-you, Helen – I pray that God will clothe you with ever increasing wisdom as you continue to seek His Truth alone, and walk within it as a child of God.
    (Edited for length here)

    Whilst taking time out from the church I used to attend, I began first of all learning of the errors we had been making within the church – that is to say the minister and those he esteemed would say do this … only for me to discover within Scripture, that God says do not! That is where the confusion started, and when it became clear just how dangerous our errors, and disobedience had actually become!

    That was when the fear and condemnation began also – we have been told in Scripture that if someone accuses a person that brings The True Word of God, of being evil, or possessed, then in reality they are accusing God. It is His Word, as witnessed by His Spirit. Well, as is so common among the churches we are writing about here, our minister was constantly accusing anyone and everyone of having evil spirits within them. Including other born-again Christians from within the church, that had expressed any concerns or disagreement about doctrine – we were required to accept everything the minister said and did, without question. We were expected even to join in with his prayers against others, whilst never being told what the disagreement was about. Thus making us unable to decide for ourselves what was righteous or unrighteous, as led by Scripture and The Holy Spirit. Those were indeed frightening times, so frightening.
    (Edited for length here)

    And yet, dark days come, great difficulties – I tried to warn my friends against joining in with the minister praying against other Christians, that he may claim to have evil spirits within them, but I was now one of those people accused, and I couldn’t reach them!

    As I tried to reason with God, as to why, and how, He could bless the church with the phenomenon of ‘being slain in the spirit,’ when the church was tearing itself apart with all the unkind, unloving, nasty, belittling behaviour; that would see some in tears, many hurt, and the nervous-breakdown of the minister’s daughter, crushed by the nasty comments she had to endure almost constantly from her family, I eventually had to accept that, along with the inaccurate and false teaching, God simply cannot encourage us to believe that we are correct and proper in our doctrine and behaviour, by way of a phenomenon that has no Scriptural grounding at all. Except as a false sign and wonder, when we were so far removed from the Holiness that He has asked of us. God will not lead us into temptation; God cannot deny Himself; He chastises those He loves and accepts as sons.

    It began to become clear, that the phenomenon seemed to always accompany error in doctrine, and behaviour; but it was frightening to be the one that seemed to be standing against everyone that I had once stood with, as my warnings were rejected, and I was accused more and more. I lost my friends, dear friends.
    It has been a very hard road. Tremendous fear and heartache. It feels like the dark days we have been told about; times in which no man can preach. There seems to be so much indifference within the church, (though I now accept that “Those who seek Me, find Me,” and we are told not to cast pearls before swine, or give that which is Holy to the dogs, lest we find ourselves torn to pieces).
    I always thought that the church I was attending would be willing to open their Bibles and study; seek to resolve any concerns, any errors, and love each other, and love God. But no, the minister was never to be questioned, he was to be obeyed in all things, unquestioningly!

    I have not lost my trust of God, Helen, but I have lost my trust of the church, and certainly feel like my own life has for a long time now been in a wilderness. A time of learning yes, but also a time of great spiritual loneliness.
    (Edited for length here)

    As a church, the Christian church, we seem to have lost so much; the simplicity of the Gospel that saves us. It has not changed. God is not sleeping, not tardy; but it would appear we are.

    May God always be your joy, Helen, and your strength, and His Wisdom (Scripture) your greatest treasure, may he guard you, keep you, and bless you as a beloved daughter – in Christ Jesus – may you always know His presence, and His leading in your life, never forget Him, as He will never forget you.

    As for the great joy that I have found in God’s Word, it seems so often quenched by the equally great sorrow of friends lost, and the corruption we see at work within so much of God’s church, yet I know there is a remnant, and I can rejoice in them.

    I pray, as I have in the past, that God might walk with me, and talk with me, and help me to be the man that He would have me be, that I might know Him, and recognize Him, and serve Him as He would have me serve Him, and produce good fruit, and fruit in season.

    The fight I seem to have been fighting over the last many years, Helen, has left me feeling tired, and heartbroken, and somewhat lost, your prayers would be much appreciated.

    God bless,
    David.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello David,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences of growing in discernment and following the True Good Shepherd. Yes, aloneness is part of the package of walking with the Lord in these days of “famine in the land” (Amos 8:11).

      I have prayed for you David and I appreciate your prayers likewise. So thank you for that.

      I pray that the Lord would continue to reveal the areas where there may still be any “love of the world/friendship with the world” dross in His people, that we may become aware and repent of such. I am keenly aware that in Revelation it states that the believers are overcomers by the following 3 means:
      -the blood of the Lamb
      -the word of their testimony
      -and they did not love their lives to the death.
      Serious stuff indeed.

      The Lord Jesus instructed us to “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36

      I can certainly echo your comment, “The fight I seem to have been fighting over the last many years, Helen, has left me feeling tired, and heartbroken, and somewhat lost…”
      I wrote a post about the division that following Jesus brings. https://grainofwheatblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/26/jesus-brings-division-not-peace-on-earth-2/
      I wrote there, “God is truth and there is no lie in Him. Since truth divides, then Jesus naturally divides His followers away from those who reject and hate God’s truth, even one’s own natural family members. We will no doubt feel some emotional pain and distress when this is happening to us. But the Lord is testing us to see who we love most.”

      I take much comfort these days in the letter to the “church at Philadelphia” where it says, “…for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” (Rev 3:8) I pray that God will increase our faith and give us just enough strength to stand.

      Many blessings to you in Christ,
      Helen

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    • I am so sorry this happen to you David! Sadly, you will be one of many. The Lord will heal your crushed spirit and revive you again. I pray he will strengthen you and guide you to a group of humble, people who fear the Lord.

      (Edited here to remove positive ref to a false teacher and his book.)

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. The spiritual abuse you suffered was severe. But the Lord will take what was meant for bad and turn it around and use it for good. Sadly, many church leaders are insecure, jealous of other people’s giftings, have a Jezebel spirit and are blatantly dishonouring the name of the Lord. I wish you peace and complete healing.

      Like

  4. Thank-you, Helen – please do not feel too alone. We are not as alone as feelings can lead us to believe we are at times – we are part of a larger family, we just haven’t all met each other yet.

    I thank-you also for your prayers and fellowship, and I will continued to pray for you. And I covet your prayers also – hey, the prayers of a righteous man, and of course a righteous woman, avails much.
    (Edited for length)

    There is indeed a price to pay, Helen, faith challenges relationships, and I like you perhaps, have paid a price I never expected to – Truth does divide. It always will. In my mind, I had thought that the Word of God would draw us all closer together, indeed I had prayed for that, but it wasn’t to be. I had it all planned out so I thought, my friends would recognize my sincerity, and my love for them, and our friendship would grow and mature in Christ Jesus, as we came together to build upon that One foundation, Jesus Christ – but it wasn’t to be. God’s Word divides, and I had made my choice; I had stepped out of the boat, you might say, and for a moment I was walking on water. Now out of the boat, having made my choice, I need to maintain the faith that led me to step out when I did. The One who called me out, is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Nothing has changed; God’s promises stand true and steadfast.
    (Edited for length)

    God bless you.

    David.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi David,

      Thank you for your kind encouragement, once again.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your difficult past memories. I trust they may be of help to other readers in the future, when they realise that many of us go through such strange “church experiences,” and eventually come out the other side stronger and more discerning than we went into them.

      Many blessings to you,
      Helen

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  5. Don’t have much experience with the Toronto “blessing”. My conversion — being born again — was a long, but simple process. In my fifties I finally determined that I needed to read the Bible. When I did I was surprised to discover that I believed it. When I looked back on my life and what I had learned about the world, I saw that only with the Bible could I make sense of things.

    I started attending a United Methodist Church (UMC) not long after that. The pastor and the congregation were Biblical in their outlook, but I still had to quit the UMC. The upper management in the UMC leans too much towards supporting things like abortion and homosexuality. That is, they pay lip service to the Bible, but they don’t seem to wholeheartedly believe it. When the upper management of a church is sitting on the fence, there is not much point in giving them any money.

    So I looked around, and I joined a church devoted to preaching and studying the Bible. Over the years I have slowly come to understand why I was fortunate that our Lord guided me to switch churches. When Satan tempted Him in the Wilderness after His baptism, what did Jesus do? He quoted scripture to that Devil. I never want to encounter Satan as our Lord did, but I fear encountering his lesser minions is unavoidable. Therefore, when I must, I want to be ready, and only studying the Bible and prayer can prepare us.

    To obey God’s Word, we must know God’s Word. If the church we attend is not helping us to learn and understand God’s Word, it has no reason for being. When Jesus gave the apostles the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20), He told them to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”. When we do not use the church as our instrument for discipling, baptizing, and instruction, then it has no purpose.

    To obey the Great Commission, each of us must join with our fellow believers and further the spread of our Lord’s Gospel. When 2 or 3 or more of us gather in His Name, worship Him, and spread His Gospel, we have formed a church.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your visit and also for your comment. It’s great to hear your testimony of coming to “born-again” faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in your 50s. Good to hear that you discerned the need to leave a compromised “church,” and a blessing that you were able to find some other genuine believers. Many in the world today, in various places, find a dearth of any such faithful “churches.” I have come to realise that even one individual who belongs to, and obeys, the Lord Jesus, and His word (the Bible), that they are still “the ekklesia” or “church”. They are still His body, listening to, and obeying the Head. I have come to realise that the “body of Christ” can be separated by miles (or oceans) but if each part is doing what the Lord requires of them, that is what truly matters.
      Many blessings to you,
      From Helen

      Liked by 1 person

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