A New Wave of the Spirit?

Revival or Satanic Substitute?


Early in March 1995, Dr. Andrew Evans—senior minister of Paradise Assembly of God in Adelaide, South Australia, and the current National Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Australia—published a booklet called “A New Wave of the Holy Spirit.”
SPECIAL NOTE:
That booklet was slightly reworked and published in the Australian Assemblies of God Minister’s Bulletin in April 1995, and then reprinted in Renewal Journal #7, which was also published on the Internet.

At the time of last updating this web page, Evans’ booklet—now retitled
as “A Fresh Wave”—could be located at:

http://www.pastornet.net.au/renewal/journal7/evans.html

Fortunately, the page is annotated: “Reproduction is allowed as long as the copyright remains intact with the text.”

Which gives me licence to preserve a copy for posterity at this site,
just in case…


This publishing event has been welcomed by many Australian Christians because it finally provides a written explanation of the beliefs and teachings of Australia’s strongest supporter of Rodney Howard-Browne. (At a morning meeting on Tuesday 14 February 1995, Dr. Andrew Evans described Howard-Browne’s presence in Adelaide as the long-awaited coming of “Revival.”)

Rodney Howard-Browne’s visit to Adelaide, associated as it was with outbreaks of bizarre behaviour amongst otherwise sane people, has been the cause of much controversy. Dr. Andrew Evans acknowledges this concern on page 2 of his booklet.

“What has marked this new wave has been the unusual manifestations, such as falling, shaking, drunkenness, weeping and laughter. Perhaps the latter has caused the most concern amongst traditional Pentecostals.”

From this point in his booklet, he moves to an exposition of his understanding of the Scriptural basis for the bizarre behaviour under a group of four headings:
Falling, Shaking and ‘Drunkenness’, Weeping, and Laughing.

In the pages that follow I will reproduce each of his four teachings and examine them in a little more detail.


Falling
Dr. Evans writes on page 3 of his booklet:

Falling

* Saul fell when meeting the risen Christ (Acts 9:4).
* John fell at his feet as though dead (Revelation 1:17). Ezekiel had a similar experience (Ezekiel 1:28), and so did Daniel (Daniel 8:17-18; 10:9).
* Once, a whole company were overcome by Jesus and fell back (John 18:6).
* The disciples evidently needed Jesus to ‘touch them’ after they fell down on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:6-7).

“Encourage them to stay down”
The impression given by this passage is that the presence of Christ in the every-day lives of believers will cause them to constantly ‘fall over’. Dr. Andrew Evans develops this idea further on page 10 of his booklet under Helpful Advice.

“ 7. When people fall over, be open to keep praying for them. Encourage them to stay down and continue to receive from God. It is not unusual for people to stay down for several hours.”

Does the Bible really teach that Christians should be constantly falling over and lying on the ground “for several hours” at a time?

Let’s take a closer look at the Biblical references that Dr. Andrew Evans mentions.


Just get up!
Saul of Tarsus - “Now get up”
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
(Acts 9:3-6).

Lessons from Saul of Tarsus

1. When Saul fell down, he was not a Christian.
2. Jesus answered a question, then gave Saul His first command: “Now get up.”

Apparently Saul—a freshly converted murderer and persecutor of Christians, a man who was in desperate need of the grace of God in his life—wasn’t required to “stay down for several hours.” Nor is there any record of him laughing uncontrollably, rolling on the ground, or barking like a dog.

Had Saul of Tarsus not obeyed the command of Jesus, “Now get up”, and not gone on to become Paul the Apostle, but rather obeyed the teaching of Dr. Andrew Evans to continue falling down “for several hours” at a time, the world would be a much poorer place today.

3. There is no record of Saul of Tarsus or Paul the Apostle ever falling down again.


Don’t be afraid
John of Patmos — “Do not be afraid”
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid” (Revelation 1:17).

John fell down—appropriately—out of fear. He did not enter into a condition of hysterical laughter. Nor did he roll on the ground, run aimlessly around the island, or growl like a bear.


Stand up!
Ezekiel — “Stand up on your feet”
This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell face down, and I heard the voice of one speaking. He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me (Ezekiel 1:28-2:2).

Lessons from Ezekiel
1. The first command given to Ezekiel was “Stand up on your feet.” The alleged value of falling down for ‘several hours’ at a time was obviously lost on both Ezekiel and the Lord.
2. Ezekiel fell down through fear. He was instructed four times in the message that followed: “Do not be afraid.” This was very different to falling down in uncontrolled laughter, rocking back and forward on the ground for several hours, or braying like a donkey.


He raised me
to my feet
Daniel (1) — “Then he raised me to my feet”
As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. “Son of man,” he said to me, “understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.” While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet. (Daniel 8:17-18).

Lessons from Daniel
1. Daniel fell to the ground through fear, not from suddenly remembering some incredibly funny story.
2. Daniel fell face down, as did Ezekiel. This speaks of a reverential awe of God, not a belly-laughing session.
3. The angel could see no value in Daniel staying “down for several hours.” Rather, it was so important to have Daniel stand up, that the angel physically raised him to his feet.


Stand up
Daniel (2) — “I stood up trembling”
I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless.
Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.
He said, “Daniel, you are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he had said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel.”
(Daniel 10:7-12).

Lessons from Daniel
1. Neither Daniel, nor the other people with him, found the presence of God a cause for mirth. Their experience is described using the words ‘terror’, ‘no strength’, ‘deathly pale’, ‘helpless’, and ‘trembling’. I find it extraordinary that Dr. Andrew Evans would use a passage of Scripture like this to try to justify the lunatic asylum-type hysteria that occurs at Rodney Howard-Browne meetings.

2. Daniel is repeatedly told not to be afraid.

3. There is obviously no thought that it would be an advantage for Daniel to go on lying on the ground for hours. Quite the reverse. He is physically set on his hands and knees by the angel, and finally manages to stand.


Only the non-
Christians and
the fake Christians
fell down!
"A whole company" — With Judas the traitor
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground
(John 18:5-6).

Lessons from Judas and company
1. Who fell to the ground? Judas the traitor — an unbeliever who succeeded in passing himself off as a very important disciple of Jesus for years [he kept the purse — John 13:29], before eventually betraying Him into crucifixion — as well as the crowd of unbelievers who had come out at night to arrest Jesus.

Only the non-Christians and the fake Christians fell down.

(From the earliest days, it has been true that a total unbeliever could rise to great heights in the church. Jesus said that He would allow the wheat and the tares to grow up alongside one another until the time of the harvest [Matthew 13:29-30], lest the wheat be harmed along with the tares. It fascinates me that Dr. Andrew Evans would use such a verse to explain why he supports the Rodney Howard-Browne show. Is there a coded message here?)

2. There is nothing in this passage to suggest any level of humour, amusement, or hysterical laughter. Nor is there any suggestion that it might have been an advantage for these people to go on lying on the ground “for several hours”.


Get up!
Mount of Transfiguration — “Get up”
When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid” (Matthew 17:6-7).

Lessons from the Mount of Transfiguration
1. As with Daniel and Ezekiel, the manifest presence of God caused them to fall ‘facedown’ — something not seen at Rodney Howard-Browne meetings, where they conveniently fall backwards so they can be caught.

2. And, as with Daniel and Ezekiel, the major concern of Jesus was to see them stand up again. He displayed no interest in having them roll about on the ground for several hours, cackling uncontrollably, ‘for their spiritual well-being’.


The Bible does
not support the
teachings of
Andrew Evans.
Summary
After taking a close look at the verses that Dr. Andrew Evans suggests will illustrate the “Falling Down” experiences at Rodney Howard-Brown meetings, we find that the Bible does not support — really, is totally opposed to — the practices of Rodney Howard-Brown and the teachings of Dr. Andrew Evans.

The true presence of God brings a sense of awe. “Falling down” in Scripture is always associated with a reverential fear of God, not with some form of cheap and foolish entertainment.

There is no instance in Scripture of people falling onto their backs in the presence of God. Even when the Philistines placed the ark of God in the temple of the idol Dagon, they came in the morning to find that Dagon had “fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord” (1 Samuel 5:1-4).


Shaking and
‘Drunkenness’
Dr. Evans writes on page 3 of his booklet:

Shaking and ‘Drunkenness’

* When the Holy Spirit came upon a praying company, the whole building began to move (Acts 4:31 cf 2:2; 16:26).
* The Old Testament speaks of trembling in God’s presence (Daniel 10:7; Psalm 99:1; Jeremiah 5:22).
* The prophets experienced such shaking (Habakkuk 3:16; Jeremiah 23:9).
* Jeremiah’s ‘drunken’ experience was echoed corporately at Pentecost (Jeremiah 2:9; Acts 2:13-16).
* Paul exhorts ex-drunkards to drink, instead, of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

The impression given by this passage is that the presence of Christ in the every-day lives of believers will cause buildings to move, people to tremble or shake, or otherwise experience some form of non-alcoholic ‘drunkenness’.

Is this really a Bible teaching? Let’s take a closer look at the references that Dr. Andrew Evans mentions.


And they
all spoke…
Acts Chapter Four - “And they all spoke…”
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly (Acts 4:31).

Lessons from Acts Chapter Four
1. Rodney Howard-Browne meetings are characterised by his insistent command that no-one speak at the meetings, except himself or someone chosen by him. When a man insisted on reading a passage of Scripture about false pastors at an evening meeting in Adelaide on February 16, 1995, Rodney Howard-Browne ordered the people present to “boo” the man. Such was the measure of his control over the crowd that they largely obeyed him, hissing and booing a solemn reading of Scripture!
The reverse happened when a real manifestation of God took place in Acts Chapter Four: all those present “spoke the word of God boldly”.

2. All the Scripture says about ‘shaking’ is that “the place where they were meeting was shaken”. It says nothing about uncontrolled hysterical laughter, people being ‘glued’ to the floor, unable to speak normally, or any of the other bizarre manifestations that commonly occur at Browne’s meetings.


Not laughing
mindlessly…
Trembling in God’s presence
I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. (Daniel 10:7).

The LORD reigns,
let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake
(Psalm 99:1).

“Should you not fear me?" declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it” (Jeremiah 5:22).

Lessons from Trembling in God’s presence
1. These three passages certainly refer to ‘trembling in God’s presence’- a normal and appropriate response for a created, sinful being coming into the presence of the righteous Creator of all things. Indeed, the LORD demands of human beings: “Should you not fear me?”

2. Notice that the verses make no reference to laughing mindlessly in His presence - a completely inappropriate response, but one encouraged by Dr. Andrew Evans and demanded by Rodney Howard-Browne. (“If you’ve forgotten how to laugh, it goes like this: ‘Ha-Ha-Ha. He-He-He. Ho-Ho-Ho!” - RHB)


A (healthy)
fear of the
Lord…
Habakkuk - “My legs trembled”
I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us (Habakkuk 3:16).

Lessons from Habakkuk
1. This passage records Habakkuk’s fearful anticipation of the judgment about to befall Judah, a people who pretended to serve God, but who really just did their own thing. The judgment was going to come at the hands of Babylon, a ‘nation invading us’.

2. In selecting this verse to illustrate the kind of trembling that occurs at Rodney Howard-Browne meetings, Dr. Andrew Evans is revealing his ignorance of Scripture. Nonetheless, there is a meaningful parallel—people who are pretending to serve God, but who are really just doing their own thing, are soon to come under God’s judgment at the hands of the modern Babylon.


False prophets
at work…
Jeremiah - Lying prophets
Concerning the prophets:
My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble. I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the LORD and his holy words.
The land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land lies parched and the pastures in the desert are withered. The prophets follow an evil course and use their power unjustly.
“Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness,” declares the LORD. “Therefore their path will become slippery; they will be banished to darkness and there they will fall. I will bring disaster on them in the year they are punished,” declares the LORD.
“Among the prophets of Samaria I saw this repulsive thing: they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray.
(Jeremiah 23:9-13).

Lessons from Jeremiah
1. Dr. Andrew Evans asks us to notice the words “I am like a drunken man”, and accept the notion that Jeremiah participated in RHB-type meetings, staggering about in some absurd posture, cackling like a maniac.

2. But a careful reading of the context shows that Jeremiah was expressing his sense of devastation at the work of the false prophets and false priests “even in my temple”; a situation that is evident in the Church today. False prophets are now openly at work, leading “my people Israel astray”. But the path of the modern false priests is also becoming “slippery”. Their time to repent has passed, and God will “bring disaster on them” in the near future.

(Read the whole of Jeremiah chapter 23, and see what the Lord has to say about the ‘shepherds’ who have been scattering His flock.)


Speak to one
another…
“Be filled with the Spirit…speak to one another“
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:18-19).

Lessons from Being filled with the Spirit
1. The Scripture does not ‘exhort ex-drunkards to drink, instead, of the Holy Spirit’. There is no Biblical teaching that says: “Get drunk on the Spirit. Stagger up to Joel’s bar and fill up on some top-shelf spirits!”

2. The exhortation is in the form of a contrast; two opposite ideas are in view. This is not a question of giving up one thing in order to take up another, similar, thing. Our experiences with the Holy Spirit are not meant to reproduce the effects of excessive alcohol - whatever Dr. Andrew Evans may say.

3. Notice the immediate consequence of being filled with the Spirit expected by Scripture: “Speak to one another”.
Rodney Howard-Browne meetings are notorious for manifesting some power which prevents Christians from speaking! In fact, RHB often orders people not to speak; he just wants to see them rolling around, inanely contributing to a generalised sense of bedlam.


The Bible does
not support the
teachings of
Andrew Evans.
Summary
After taking a close look at the verses that Dr. Andrew Evans suggests will illustrate the “Shaking and ‘Drunkenness’” manifestations that occur at Rodney Howard-Brown meetings, we find once again that the Bible is totally opposed to the practices of Rodney Howard-Brown and the teachings of Dr. Andrew Evans.

The best Andrew Evans can offer when questioned on the subject is to say that the Bible talks about being “drunk, but not from wine” (Isaiah 29:9).

The context of this verse is that of Judgment Against Those Who Become “Drunk, But Not From Wine”.

All of which must bring very cold comfort to the people at his church w ho are trying to reconcile the sight of obviously demonic manifestations occurring at the hands of a group of leaders who claim to be Christians.

The question here is not:
Can God make people “drunk, but not from wine”?
But rather: Why would God vary His Biblical practice of making people “drunk, but not from wine” only when He is about to pass judgment on them?

Or, to put it another way:
Where does the Bible say that the experience of becoming “drunk, but not from wine” is a blessing, rather than the final, terrifying warning of judgment?


Continued on Next Page .

The Australian AOG Insurance Agency Scandal

Last update: 2 January 1997
http://www.oocities.com/HotSprings/3658/newwave1.htm
Copyright (c) Henry G. Sheppard 1995, 1996

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