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manifestations, toronto blessing, revival, renewal, third wave, pensacola outpouring, holy spirit



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Covers a wide range of practices currently promoted within certain renewal and revival movements. It is claimed that when a person is touched or influenced by the Holy Spirit, he or she will "manifest" - respond in a physical way. This can include: falling to the floor (so-called "carpet-time"), "holy laughter", producing animal noises (i.e. roar like a lion, cluck like a chicken, bark like a dog, etc.), uttering "warrior or war cries," wielding imaginary, "Golden Swords," doubling-over as if punched in the stomach (referred to as "doing crunches"), "birthing" (squatting on the floor and pretending to "give birth"), acting drunk, etcetera.

Despite claims to the contrary, manifestations are often seen by those who promote them as indications of a person's spirituality. Those who do not manifest are sometimes said to be "HTR" - Hard To Receive (i.e. it is said they do not easily accept or receive what God has for them.) Some people fake manifestations, either in an effort to appear "more spiritual" or to try and work something up.

Critics like Hank Hanegraaff claim manifestations are the result of mass-hypnosis, while Christian psychiatrist John White indicates some manifestations occur as "learned pattern[s] of behavior". Hanegraaff, the controversial president of the Christian Research Institute, is noted for his unbalanced criticism of the Toronto Blessing. John White, however, is generally sympathic to the Vineyard movement from which the Toronto Blessing evolved. While the Vineyard ousted what is now the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship over disagreements regarding, among other things, the way manifestations were handled, the movement itself is known for its emphasis on experience over doctrine. White's book, "When The Spirit Comes With Power," was written before the Toronto Blessing Movement emerged. But he does address some of the manifestations (laughing, shaking, etcetera) that were taking place in the Vineyard Movement.

Long-time observers of the Vineyard-, Toronto Blessing-, and Pensacola Outpouring movements agree that manifestations occur as learned patterns of behavior. People copy each other, with visitors taking the manifestations back to their own churches.

Manifestations often start or increase at the mention of certain trigger words or phrases. They also occur seemingly spontaneously. However, the published of Apologetics Index has interviewed numerous people who, after leaving certain movements, admitted to faking manifestations for a variety of reasons - including a desire to appear spiritual, receive a blessing, "experience God," "stand up against the enemy," "receive healing," etcetera.

Many of those who manifest assign spiritual significance to various manifestations. For example, those who squat on the floor, going through the motions of apparent child birth (a manifestation occurring in men and women alike), claim that "God is birthing something" in the spiritual world. Some see such manifestations as prophetics, while others believe they are actively participating in the creative process. Those who manifest by shouting "ughh!" while acting as if they were just hit hard in the solar plexus often claim they feel (evil) spirits leave their bodies. Less obvious manifestations also have meanings assigned to them (e.g. roaring = anointing for prophecy), though these explanations tend to vary from church to church and movement to movement.

Generally, those who manifest claim to feel spiritually refreshed after they have manifested, and see this as confirmation that manifestations are inspired by the Holy Spirit. Others point out that spiritual refreshment can be had without the aid of manifestations. Some suggest manifestations are as addictive - and as dangerous - as drugs, noting that many proponents have a tendency to gravitate toward increasingly bizarre manifestations.

Apologetists and other religion professionals familiar with Eastern occult religions bring up additional, serious concerns, comparing the manifestations of the Toronto Blessing and related movements with similar manifestations in Kundalini Yoga (See, for example, Comparison Between The Kundalini Practice And The So-called Toronto Blessing


Christian About Manifestations of the Holy Spirit Excellent article with a balanced approach to manifestations. By Robert Longman.
Aberrational, Heretical, Heterodox, Suborthodox or Unorthodox God's Manifest Presence - Understanding The Phenomena That Accompany The Spirit's Ministry One of many attempts at providing a Biblical basis for the manifestations taking place within certain renewal and revival movements. Article was written by Mike Bickle & Michael Sullivant. Revised in October '95, and thus does not address the increasingly bizarre manifestations sought after nowadays.
Aberrational, Heretical, Heterodox, Suborthodox or Unorthodox The Roaring Phenomenon An attempt at justifying the practice of "roaring" with Scripture. Note: the orginal URL for this article now leads to a porn site. The current URL brings up the results of a Google search. The article is listed there, under a new URL, but was unavailable when checked. However, you can still read the article by clicking on the ''cached'' version in Google's search results.
Christian Specific Manifestations A personal view of why they happen, and a short list of signs. By Robert Longman.


ChristianGrey Zone, Unsure, or Offkey When The Spirit Comes With Power Written before the "Toronto Blessing" came onto the scene. Christian psychiatrist John White takes a balanced look at revival phenomena such as manifestations. Chapter titles include "Has It Ever Happened before?" "Should We Fear Emotions?" "Are Revival Experiences Psychological?" "Are Revival Experiences Spiritual?" "Preparing for Revival." (NOTE: May be somewhat dated in that the author could not have foreseen the "evolution" of increasingly troublesome manifestations. Nevertheless, this books comes highly recommended for its excellent insights and balanced treatment.)


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First posted: Mar. 13, 1999
Editor: Anton Hein
Copyright: Apologetics Index
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