Now, consider the so-called “miracles” emerging from the “Brownsville Revival”. I have either witnessed all of the following myself (in person or on video tape), or heard reports of the following from eye-witnesses. People fall over (this is called “slain in the Spirit” or “prostration”), people laugh, people belch, people jerk, people bow at the waist, people vomit, people crawl on their hands and knees and bark like dogs, people scream and shriek, people dance, people jump off of platforms into an imaginary “river” flowing just off the platform, people tuck their hands under their armpits, flap their arms, and cluck like chickens, and so on ad infinitum. The overarching defining quality of the “Brownsville miracle” is this: things happen that can be duplicated by mere human effort. Note that in virtually all cases there is no practical reason for the supernatural event. Rather, people are pursuing experiences for the sheer sake of the experience. Next I contend that not only should these demonstrations not be called “miracles,” but they should not even be called “manifestations” of the Spirit.


A lot of things get counted at the Brownsville Assembly of God. It is the site of some fantastic claims and what has been called “the largest local church revival in the history of America.”

Since the inception of the so-called “Pensacola Outpouring” on Father’s Day 1995, grandiose claims have been made about the revival services hosted four nights a week, 48 weeks a year for the past three years. More than 2.5 million people reportedly have attended these services. The number of “decisions for Christ” is claimed to top 133,000.

All sorts of figures abound as a result of this purported “last days” revival and outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But these figures are quite selective and ambiguous. For example, the attendance total and number of decisions, in many cases, reflect the same person making repeated visits and decisions.

What is more disturbing is what is not being reported. Throughout the revival’s public relations campaign, little, if any, coverage has been devoted to the large amount of cash being funneled into the church’s coffers and into the key leaders’ independent ministries through donations and by way of the sale of videotapes, literature and revival paraphernalia. Once Pensacola’s local newspaper got involved, the public learned how lucrative the revival business is.

Beginning in the fall 1997, following several months of exceptional investigative work, the Pensacola News Journal released a series of award-winning articles challenging the questionable practices of the leadership of the Brownsville Assembly of God church. The paper revealed a carefully planned and orchestrated revival by the church’s leadership — the antithesis of the claimed spontaneous move of God — and has shown how some claims have been fabricated to enhance the revival’s reputation.

The Brownsville leadership’s financial benefits have become a focal point for the newspaper’s ongoing reports. PFO has long contended that the revival was more commodities and merchandising than biblical sanctification. (See “The Murky River of Brownsville,” The Quarterly Journal, April-June 1997.) The News Journal information only sustained in greater detail what PFO had already discerned.

For 1997, the newspaper estimated “the total revival revenue was between $4.3 million and $5.4 million for that one year.” These figures were based upon on-site donations and contributions, sales of books, tapes and other literature, and funds from two ministers’ conferences sponsored by the revival.

Offerings from the Friday night revival services are given directly to evangelist Stephen Hill. According to tax records secured by the newspaper, the Friday weekly evening offering averaged in excess of $20,000, and in 1996 (the first full year of the revival) these donations gave Hill’s ministry, “Together in the Harvest,” nearly $1 million. Some pastors do not receive $20,000 a year, let alone $20,000 a week! A representative for the church estimated that the average collection during each of the week’s other three services is $12,500 nightly.

Indeed, revival has been very, very profitable for the men overseeing this purported move of the Holy Spirit. Three of the revival’s principal leaders have all acquired large tracts of land by way of their independent ministries and have built or are currently building opulent homes.

The newspaper disclosed that “Feast of Fire,” the ministry of church pastor John Kilpatrick, bought “16 acres in Seminole, Ala., and constructed a combination bus barn, guest house and office.” The barn was built to accommodate the $310,000 deluxe motor coach (literally an apartment on wheels) to chauffeur the pastor on his revival-related travels. Also on the property, Kilpatrick has built a $340,000 luxury home. All of this comes despite the pastor’s hollow declaration that: “I have always strived to set an example by not living above the means of my people.” Kilpatrick’s salary from his ministry in 1996 was $100,000 (for which the newspaper claimed he worked 20 hours a week) and he received a $73,600 annual salary from the church.

Evangelist Hill’s ministry has also flourished since the revival’s inception. “Together in the Harvest” reported an increase in its land assets from no property in 1994 to over a half million dollars’ worth two years later. In 1996, it bought 40 acres of land in Lillian, Ala., and, according to the newspaper’s account, has subsequently paid to “refurbish a house for Hill and his family, remodel an existing barn into living quarters and build a distribution center, duplex house and an office building” on the property just across the Florida state line. The cost of the Alabama parcel was listed at $887,931.

While Hill’s ministry did use nearly 10 percent of its 1996 income for “specific assistance to individuals,” a sizable percentage went to those directly connected with the revival or with Hill, including Kilpatrick, theologian Michael Brown, singer Charity James and others.

Hill has also told revival attendees about an orphanage in rural Argentina that “Together in the Harvest” has supported. Following assistance from the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, the Pensacola newspaper located the orphanage. The paper stated, “A spokesperson at the orphanage said Hill had been in a mission group that helped build the orphanage in the 1980s. But she also said the orphanage had not heard from Hill for about 10 years, and she asked the News Journal for Hill’s address so the director could write Hill and ask for a donation.”

Michael Brown, theologian for the revival and president of the Brownsville Revival School Ministry, has followed the lead of Kilpatrick and Hill and is also moving west. Brown’s organization, “ICN Ministries Inc.,” recently purchased an 11-acre tract in Alabama. The paper reported that “Brown and his wife are building a house, which their building permit estimates at $727,360 construction cost, on a portion of the land that his ministry ICN purchased.” Brown was quick to point out that “ICN is not paying for construction of any house anywhere,” the newspaper said. Brown, in a letter to the editor, challenged the paper’s report and said that “My wife and I are not building a home valued at $727,000. … Actually, the official appraisal sets the value of the house and its three surrounding acres of property at less than $425,000, equal to the value of our home in Pace [Fla.].”

Brown’s home in Pace was purchased in 1996 for $419,000 and is located at a gated subdivision on a golf course. Reporters from the newspaper told PFO that they stand by their original figures for Brown’s new home.

Despite the News Journal’s exposure of the dramatic upsurge of the revival leadership’s lifestyles, a lack of financial accountability remains. After three full years, the revival leaders still have not gained certification from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), although two of the three, Kilpatrick and Hill, have formally applied, Brown has not.

The vigorous pleas for donations continue unabated. “Let us give joyfully, for the need is so great” is an anthem heard as revival leaders sometimes spend as much as 20 minutes of the services asking for donations. The appeal for funds has also gone beyond the church walls. Hill’s “Together in the Harvest” ministry made a recent solicitation by way of a mass mailing from names acquired at the revival. The newspaper said that “Hill tells his letter recipients that Jesus has informed him that He is coming back in the near future, and He won’t tolerate sinners.”

Hill even pretends to have God speaking: “Let them know My warm season of grace and mercy will soon turn to a chilling winter of judgment and wrath. … The warm days of My wooing will be exchanged for the fiery days of My vengeance,” he wrote in his funds appeal letter. To encourage the need for donations and their urgency, his accompanying newsletter said that the cost of saving souls was mounting. Evidently, so is property and its upkeep in Alabama.

As the fiscal fortunes realized in the past few months set the future standard for these men and their ministries, more time and energy will be devoted to the raising of funds. They will soon find, if they have not done so already, the ministry, its needs, and their lifestyle will take on an existence of its own. Expenses will be the machine that relentlessly drives them. During dialogue about the large sums of money being invested into the personal fortunes of these men, one Brownsville staff member recently asked PFO director G. Richard Fisher, “Does that offend you?” You bet it does, and it does because of the following.

The mounting greed has perhaps caused these men to be blinded to what they are doing to people — and if it is not their desire for fortune, then it may well be born out of an appetite for fame and power. Reports are now being heard that people have come to the revival services with dead babies — hoping and praying for the resurrection of the deceased children. The men responsible for the revival have long contended that the day is coming when raisings from the dead will be commonplace within the Church. And they have even claimed reports of resurrections. How appropriate Peter’s words apply here: “In their greed these [false] teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up” (2 Peter 2:3).

Peter also advised that elders not be in ministry for gain (1 Peter 5:2-3). Brownsville leaders are setting their faithful, gullible and desperate followers up for even bigger disappointments and horrendous grief.

Perhaps the money lust has inured the Brownsville leaders to the bizarre and pathetic. In July, they were featuring David Hogan, who claimed 300 raisings from the dead in Mexico. Of course, no evidence was offered and details were sketchy. An e-mail message to Brownsville from PFO produced no documentation, just a fax number for David Hogan. Brownsville leaders did not seem to want to stand by what goes out from their pulpit. They would offer no documentation or names and places for Hogan’s claims.

Two requests were sent to Hogan’s fax number asking for his credentials for ministry and the names and locations for the raisings. PFO’s request for the specifics have also gone unanswered by Hogan or his ministry.

Even more regrettable is how all of this has taken the revival even further away from the moorings of Scripture. The apostle Paul, in establishing the qualifications for Church elders and overseers, states that he should not be “a lover of money” and “not pursuing dishonest gain” (1 Timothy 3:3, 8). Temperance must be held by the Church leader in many areas of life, including his finances and material possessions. The Evangelical Commentary on the Bible notes: “The overseer must be respected for his behavior. He must open his life to others and be able to communicate God’s truth” (pg. 1105). No doubt the communication spoke of by the Commentary addresses not only oral expressions, but also a lifestyle which testifies to the Gospel.

Paul further writes to Timothy that an elder “must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap” (1 Timothy 3:7). According to statements from the Pensacola News Journal’s writers to PFO, the reputation of the Brownsville leadership regretfully lacks the good standing in the community that Paul insisted on. They are viewed as money changers in the temple.

The revival leaders charged the newspaper’s reports contain “factual errors and distortions.” In spite of their reaction (laced with measures of intimidation), the News Journal cannot be so easily dismissed. A good degree of responsibility and a desire for change must be demonstrated by the Brownsville leaders. Certainly they cannot give an unequivocal “silver and gold have I none.”

If there is not serious change and repentance, the revival and its leadership will drift into even greater perversion. They may have fat bank accounts and fat wallets but in the end that does not impress God. The leadership in Brownsville has forgotten the words of the Savior: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth. … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). When a river turns green, it means it’s polluted and in the end the green river of Brownsville may well be its downfall. Christ came to make us right, not rich.


The “Pensacola Revival” is the directly linked to the TB (Toronto Blessing i.e Toronto Curse) , as the fateful 1995 Father’s Day outbreak. Both Steve Hill and the leadership of the Brownsville Assembly of God had gone to Toronto to receive the “anointing” personally.
“Strange, unusual and wonderful things started happening after Brenda Kilpatrick came back from the Vineyard church in Toronto, Canada . . . signs of early revival started manifesting in the spring services . . . What had been seen in Toronto started happening among the people of Brownsville . . . Brenda explained how she had a drastic change in her prayer life. ‘I could never be the same again after I returned from Toronto.” (The Source of “The River” By Pastor Bill Randles) Brenda then proceeds to tell one of these ‘wonderful things’ – being frozen in one position for over two hours! This is the very same occurrence in RHB at Carpenters Church in Florida.
“The time had come for God to allow His move at the Pensacola church. [Brenda explains] ‘We had a friend named Steve Hill . . . He called us about his impartation that he had received from England. He was just on fire with a new anointing of what God had given him. We were so excited and said, ‘Maybe this will bring revival when Steve comes . . . ‘”
Pentecostal preacher Joseph Chambers wrote in The End Times Newsletter, (March-April 1997, p. 8). “For several weeks leading up to this time [the beginning of the manifestations in Pensacola], some changes had been taking place, and some of the members of Brownsville AOG had been traveling up to Toronto meetings, even taking carloads and vanloads of members along. Mrs. Kilpatrick [the pastor’s wife] made two trips accompanied by the wife of one of the church officers. Rev. Kilpatrick [pastor of Brownsville AOG] started to drive up there one time, but his trip was interrupted and he returned to Pensacola without making it to the Toronto airport vineyard meeting. I saw no mention of this in his book. When this series of meetings began in Pensacola, a lot of organization had to be done in a hurry–namely, the formation of ‘prayer teams’ and how to deal with the people who came forward. The order of the day was: ‘That’s how they do it in Toronto’” (Dr. Herb Babcock, former member of Brownsville AOG, “That’s How They Do It in Toronto!”
“Our pastor’s wife went to Toronto in February or March of 1994, I don’t remember when for sure, but when she got back…without even telling of any of the manifestations she had seen…a few started that very Sunday she returned. She came back healed of things…so changed that Pastor was jealous of the refreshing touch God had given her!
“Then Lindel Cooley became our new worship leader. Our other one was anointed but Lindel brought something more….He, too, had visited Toronto right before he came to Brownsville.”
Kilpatrick showed the congregation a video of a Toronto Blessing service, in which people fall to the floor, “slain in the spirit,” as they feel the Holy Spirit taking over them.
Kilpatrick had followers of evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne attend a Brownsville service, where they functioned as an example of highly expressive worship. Howard-Browne, a dramatically energetic evangelist who calls himself the “Holy Ghost bartender,” is known for promoting the “holy laughter” phenomenon in which people succumb to hysterical convulsions. His followers did that at Brownsville.
It was at HTB that Hill was to receive the “impartation” that he’d transmit to the BAG church, which would become the basis for the “Pensacola Revival.” Hill had first read about HTB in an article in Time magazine titled Laughing for the Lord, August 15, 1994.
Hill said in an interview with Don Nori in the Destiny Image Digest, “We’ve received a lot from the Toronto church on how to pray with people and care for folks. We model a lot of what’s going on here from them.”
Hill had been to Toronto to receive the “anointing.” But sought another anointing in a Anglican church in England, Holy Trinity Brompton.
Hill’s recounts how he received the “impartation” at HTB. Reading the Time magazine article titled Laughing for the Lord, August 15, 1994 lit something in him. He asked his hosts, “Where is the Holy Ghost moving in England?” His hosts were members of HTB and loaded him down with literature concerning the “revival.” Hill began to read, “testimony after testimony” of lives changed and of faith renewed, his hunger increased, and he made an appointment with the pastor of HTB, Sandy Millar.
Hill arrived at the church during the prayer meeting, amazed at the sight of it: “I stepped over bodies to get to the pastor. When Sandy touched me, I fell to the ground . . . I was like a kid at Toys-R-Us . . . Then, I got up and ran to a couple and said, ‘Pray for me, man, this is good!’ They touched me and WHAM! I went back down. Some of you, God is going to hit in a powerful way. If you are hungry, get prayed for a dozen times.” (From the Father’s Day video, June, 1995.)
I guess if it doesn’t work the first time be opened to eleven more. Pensacola has become famous for its palsied “chicken walk,” or shake, jerk and fall manifestations. Even the prayer teams themselves were manifesting some form of the jerks, twitches.
Brenda explains one of those ‘wonderful things’ – being frozen in one position for over two hours! like Toronto they claim it was a spontaneous outpouring, just like Toronto they are frozen (which all comes from Rodney Browne). One is given the notion that, “Suddenly, like a rushing mighty wind,” the Spirit blew in on an unsuspecting Pentecostal church taking them by surprise, hitting the pastor in the back of his legs and knocking him over. But there was an anticipation that something was definitely going to happen.
[Brenda explains] ‘We had a friend named Steve Hill . . . He called us about his impartation that he had received from England. He was just on fire with a new anointing of what God had given him. We were so excited and said, ‘Maybe this will bring revival when Steve comes . . . ‘”
Rev. Kilpatricks statements reveal the his understanding of this move, “THIS IS NOT A PREACHING REVIVAL,” (Rev. John Kilpatrick Leadership Meeting Oct. 1996, Kerrville, Texas)
If not preaching then what? “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom. 10:17) Peter preached the Word, three thousand were added that day. We are told to preach the word, we are sent to preach, not to make them twitch and shake. But he is right it is not a preaching revival in the same way Toronto was not either.
Evangelist Steve Hill, a Pensacola’s Brownsville Assembly of God, interviewed on TV’s “20/20,” explains his experience “I didn’t believe in God, but…out of desperation…I said, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.’ I just began to say that name, and a power came through my body….” This same chant is seen at the services invoking Jesus. This is how he was born again, a highly unusual and non biblical way.
Well the church of Witness Lee (local church) does the same thing, just chant Jesus. The more you say his name the more power of his presence is there.
Steve Hill enthusiastically moving from one seeker to another at Brownesville touching the middle forehead yelling, “More, Lord!” this is thee same same as Toronto The result is always the same-the spirit is imparted and it causes seekers to shake, laugh, roar, fall out, etc. all the same things at Toronto.
Hill chants the name,” ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!’ A peace, a warmth such as I never felt before, flooded my body. This power rushed in like a river and took command of everything. I kept crying out His name, louder and louder: ‘Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!’ The more I said it, the greater was my deliverance.”( Hill, The Pursuit of Revival, 30. )
This is what the cults do to beckon the spirit to manifest. The repetition of words over and over is a New Age occultic technique called a mantra. as Hindu mantras “Aum” or “Hare Krishna”-invoke a spirit. The Gnostics said iii eee oooo and other such syllables to invoke the power.
When a willing subject is found in a passive state and a mantra is repeated, a demonic power overcomes the speaker. This is exactly how Hill describes his conversion! Where in the Scripture does it instruct someone to do such a thing?
Hill does the same , repeating “More, Lord!,” and “Fire! Fire! Fire!,” to summon and pass on the spirit at the Brownsville “revival.” For instance, the Brownsville prayer team, the group that prays for people at Hill’s altar calls, is instructed to impart the spirit only by touch and the repetition of words (cliche’s). Dr. Herb Babcock, former prayer team member explains, “While on the prayer team, we were instructed to NOT pray in Jesus’ name. We were told to NOT pray for the needs of people. The only thing we were to do was touch people on their forehead and say, “More, Lord!” and keep repeating that until there was an “impartation” of the spirit being promoted in these meetings.” Babcock continues, “If the person did not respond in a reasonable time, move on to someone else. Any deviation from the limited procedure would result in being removed from the prayer team, which did happen to a few individuals.” ( Dr. Herb Babcock, “That’s How They Do It In Toronto!,” The End-Times and Victorious Living, Vol. 11, No. 2, March/April 1997, 18.)
This is exactly what Rodney Browne states! Fill , fill, there it is , the fire etc.. Coincidence, not really.
Hill has stated in rebuttal to his critics, “The second mark of a God mocker is a fear of confrontation and change. They are so stuck in religious tradition that they are closed to new revelation. … (How anyone can come into a revival meeting in Brownsville and fail to feel Jesus is beyond me! I can’t imagine it.)” (Stephen Hill, The God Mockers, chapter 1)
This is similar again to what Browne states to his critics. “Pharisees, Saducees. wouldn’t sees.”…”You can’t understand what God is doing in these meetings with an analytical mind,’ he says. ‘The only way you’re going to understand what God is doing is with your heart.” (Holy Laughter, Albert James Dager, 1996)
In 1996 Steve Gray of Smithon Missouri went with is wife to visit Pensacola. He states he went not to get something but to see “as Moses went to o see the burning bush.” While he may admit he went not to get “it’ he certainly believed it was God he went to see, as the analogy tells all. After the revival services he says that God spoke saying “he wanted you to have revival.” This again shows me that this is man centered, because God would never say such a thing since it is by his spirit alone that revival comes from. He never tells anyone to ‘have a revival” but to repent and from this attitude he may or may not send one.
Steve was depressed and couldn’t fathom the thought But God told him,”I didn’t say I want you to be a revival. I said I want you to have a revival.”
When he got back to his Church on the 2nd night God poured out his power, healing and restoration on the entire congregation. he describes “the air felt like a waterfall flowing with waves and waves of the glorious river of God. So was born the Smithton outpouring. There have been over 200,000 people from all over the world that have visited since Mar. of 1996.
Now where is the tie in besides Toronto look at what Pastor Kilpatrick says, “Brother Kenneth Hagin and Brother Kenneth Copeland have done an excellent job along with others on teaching us about the authority of the believer.” (Glory on Your House , John Kilpatrick) Where does the source come from? The common denominator is traced to the word faith movement. Hagin, Copeland, Hinn.
Personally I would like to believe this is genuine but when one knows of the trail that this all came from, how can something that came from Pensacola, that came from Toronto and came from Copeland, Hagin, Rodney Browne via Benny Hinn and even further back into the Latter Rain be authentic?
Well this has been quite a ride (though a short one) of tracking the spirit manifestations from its infancy to its current teenage state. As it spreads further it will mature into its real purpose.
The teaching of anointed ones who dispense the “it”. This spirit is localized and transferable from Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard Browne, and Toronto. Go to Toronto, Brownsville to “receive a fresh touch from God.” But you cannot receive this spirit unless someone that already has received it, gives it to you.
These are pilgrimages to “power centers” (anointing) where the spirit is in manifesting is exactly what Jesus warned about in MT.24 “When they say to you, ‘Look here is Christ or there he is’ go not after them . . . “(the newest one is to TB Joshua in Nigeria)
It is not, “Look here is Jesus,” but “Look here is Christ.” The word “Christ” means ” anointed one.” They go to Toronto or Pensacola for “the anointing” from an anointed one, not for the teaching of Jesus. In fact most of the people participating in these spiritual movements care little for teaching- they are there for an experience.
There are testimonies of a experience but How does God authentically change a life? The new model says that God changes people by “zapping them” and they have an immediate experience, he operates on them, they feel him. There is no such thing as this in Scripture except for the immediate born again experience of salvation. And more often than not people will not feel a thing.
Constantly the people are sent messages like “Some of you are going to feel a heavy sensation in your arms and legs. That’s God. You’re going to fall down, or you will feel numb and can’t move. Others are going to feel heat, or electricity and some of you will start to laugh or cry.” This is sensual feelings from the outside, true spiritual activity is from within if one possesses the new nature. this is no different than what the gurus gave to their devotees in shakti-pat.
We should be careful not to confuse the sensual with true spirituality. Certainly there are times God can be felt but feelings are to be ruled by the spirit of self control, which demonstrates true spirituality. One need not wonder what needs to take place for the church to be removed from the faith. Something must come to undermine the peoples objective discernment by either replacing it or changing it. Feelings and experience are a hard taskmaster to live by. Jude whose book is about contending for the faith and apostates in the Church warns us of those who are ” sensual persons.” they cause divisions (heresies) not having the Spirit. Those who do not have the spirit or are not having him work by them will often do gyrations to convince themselves and others they do!
I watched a baptism conducted at Pensacola on video and some people go wild, thrashing and fighting as they are dunked. They look like they need deliverance instead of officiating a welcome into the body of Christ. I thought baptism was to illustrate the old person is dead, in these they ( the old nature) becomes more alive.
Hill has said, “I’ve come home with wounds and bruises all over my body, friend. This is revival!” Power and activity = God, is a dangerous road to travel on.
Today’s revival is filled with dumbfoundedness, collapsing (slain), stammering, slamming, paralysis all kinds of acts of violence and one can act like a looney bird and blame it all on the Spirit. (just look at the Toronto video of John Scotland drunk and singing I shot the Sheriff to see the hard truth).
As of late Pensacola is now defunct as Steve Hill, Michael Browne and Kilpatrick have gone each their own ways and not peaceably. I guess you can sum it all up by the new wine turning to sour grapes

Unholy Laughter


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