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Modern Day Holy Spirit Gifts


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#1 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 04:31 AM

In today's world claims to possess Holy Spirit gifts are very popular in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. In particular the gifts of tongues and healing are, say these churches, evident today just as they were in the first century.

But are these phenomena really the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Are the churches that make these claims simply deluding themselves?
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#2 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 04:37 AM

9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. 11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.


We read here that Simon the Sorcerer "bewitched" the people with his trickery. No Christian would claim that Simon's power was of God. Rather it was human deception that enabled him to wow the crowds.

The same Greek word for "bewitched" is used a couple of verses later:

13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.


Philip performed the true miracles of Holy Spirit possession. We see here therefore a distinction between what is genuine and what is false. Both may cause amazement but we need to learn to discern the spirits. We cannot fall into the trap of following a religion for supposed possession of Holy Spirit gifts or we may be "bewitched"!
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#3 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 04:42 AM

A few years ago in Canada a phenomenon started that became known as "Toronto Laughter. John Arnott, pastor at the Toronto Vineyard Church in Ontario, was the originator of Toronto Laughter. He claimed that people were being indwelt by the Holy Spirit at his church and that the laughter and falling down that they experienced, as pictured, was the result of them receiving the Holy Spirit.

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#4 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 04:45 AM

Toronto Laughter has got nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. Instead it is the product of human conditioning that it not new but has been around since men and women started deluding themselves. The following chart is the result of a study carried out to determine the origin of Toronto Laughter, called "The Genealogy of Toronto Laughter".

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#5 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 04:49 AM

As the chart shows John Arnott received the tradition of a man named Benny Hinn. He is a well-known charismatic preacher who claims to possess the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But Benny Hinn does not possess the Holy Spirit. Rather he is a very clever man who has utilised the powerful phenomenon known as the power of suggestion.

The photo below is a still from his TV show. Notice the way he stares at the camera, the position of his hands, and the words on the screen which were his words as he used the power of suggestion over his audience. This is nothing more than trickery.

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#6 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 04:54 AM

This same power of suggestion is used by people such as John Arnott to convince people that he and others possess the Holy Spirit. But it is not from God and is something that secular folk and pagans also utilise.

Benny Hinn is a self-confessed worshipped of another charismatic, Kathryn Kulhman. She used a phenomenon dubbed "Going under the power" to delude her followers into thinking they had received the Holy Spirit. But this "going under the power" was nothing more than the power of suggestion and the art of mesmerism.

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#7 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 04:59 AM

This is what The Skeptic's Dictionary has to say about Mesmerism:

Mesmerism is a bit of medical quackery developed in the 18th-century by Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer. It involves some social role-playing with the mesmerizer making suggestions and his clients becoming absolutely mesmerized by him. Mesmer used his extraordinary powers of suggestion to send people into frenzied convulsions or sleeplike trances. He was so successful that to this day we use his name to describe the exercise of such powers over others.


None of John Arnott, Benny Hinn nor Kathryn Kulhman have ever possessed the Holy Spirit. Neither have they imparted it to others. They are simply using mesmerism, hypnosis and the power of suggestion to win over the minds of their followers and delude them. They use the same techniques taught in secualr society to "mesmerize" the audience.

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#8 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:00 AM

The Charismatics of this world are not different from the circus performers of other eras.

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#9 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:01 AM

Again from The Skeptic's Dictionary:

“Mesmer also discovered that even though he didn't need magnets to get results, the dramatic effect of waving a magnetized pole over a person, or having his subjects sit in magnetized water or hold magnetized poles, etc., while he moved around in brightly colored robes playing the scientific faith healer, made for better drama and for larger audiences. He was able to evoke from a number of his clients entertaining behaviors ranging from sleeping to dancing to having convulsions. Mesmer did basically what today's hypnotists do in the showroom and the clinic, and what faith healers do in the circus tents and churches, only he did them together, making a great show out of his magnetic cures.”


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#10 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:05 AM

Perhaps the most intriguing source of Toronto Laughter and other charismatic phenomenon is Shamanism. This is what The Archaic Revival by Terence McKenna says of Shamanism:

Use of the archaic techniques of ecstasy that were developed independent of any religious philosophy—the empirically validated, experientially operable techniques that produce ecstasy. Ecstasy is the contemplation of wholeness.


Notice what he says - "independent of and religious philosophy". Shamanism is purely pagan yet the state of ectasy that its adherents enter is no different to that experienced by those in the churches of today when they supposedly receive the Holy Spirit.
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#11 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:08 AM

Jonathan Ott is a proponent of Shamanism and he gives us some insight into his "Old Time Religion".

Shamanic ecstasy is the real "Old Time Religion," of which modern churches are but pallid evocations. Shamanic, visionary ecstasy, the mysterium tremendum, the unio mystica, the eternally delightful experience of the universe as energy, is a sine qua non of religion, it is what religion is for! There is no need for faith, it is the ecstatic experience itself that gives one faith in the intrinsic unity and integrity of the universe, in ourselves as integral parts of the whole; that reveals to us the sublime majesty of our universe, and the fluctuant, scintillant, alchemical miracle that is quotidian consciousness.


The ectasy of Shamanism is "what religion is for". What a thing to say, yet for many in today's charismatic and pentecostal churches that is exactly right. It is the religious experience, the possession of the Holy Spirit, that is the be-all and end-all of their religion.
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#12 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:11 AM

What is this "ectasy" of Shamanism? The proponents tell us:

Literally: the withdrawal of the soul from the body; mystical or prophetic exaltation or rapture characteristic of shamanism and visionary states, originally and naturally catalyzed by entheogenic plants; also, such states artificially induced by breath control, fasting, meditation, drumming and other shamanic and yogic practices.


These are the same feelings brought on by receiving the Holy Spirit in today's churches, a feeling of esctasy, a feeling of rapture and visionary state. But just as is true for Shamanite ectasy so for present day claims of Holy Spirit possession - it is artificially induced. The magicians of the churches use breath control, fasting, meditation, drumming and other practices to produce a feeling of ectasy in their followers, and the power of suggestion takes over.
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#13 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:14 AM

Three levels of ectasy are described by proponents of Shamanism:
  • The physiological response, in which the mind becomes absorbed in and focused on a dominant idea, the attention is withdrawn and the nervous system itself is in part cut off from physical sensory input. The body exhibits reflex inertia, involuntary nervous responses, frenzy.
  • Emotional perception of ecstasy refers to overwhelming feelings of awe, anxiety, joy, sadness, fear, astonishment, passion, etc.
  • Intuitive perception communicates a direct experience and understanding of the transpersonal experience of expanded states of awareness or consciousness.
This is no different to those who experience Toronto Laughter or any other form of so-called Holy Spirit possession. The same feelings of joy and passion, the same reflex inertia. It is nothing more than a sham!
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#14 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:16 AM

Shamanism, mesmerism and the power of suggestion. They are all evident in the Holy Spirit churches of today.

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#15 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:19 AM

Thinking more specifically of modern-day claims of Holy Spirit gifts, this is what Dr. William T. Samarin, professor of anthropology and linguistics at the University of Toronto, has to say about "speaking in tongues", the phenomenon of glossalalia:

Glossolalia consists of strings of meaningless syllables made up of sounds taken from those familiar to the speaker and put together more or less haphazardly .... Glossolalia is language-like because the speaker unconsciously wants it to be language-like. Yet in spite of superficial similarities, glossolalia fundamentally is not language.


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#16 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:20 AM

In fact Glossalalia is an ancient practice.

Uttering gibberish that is interpreted as profound mystical insight by holy men is an ancient practice. In Greece, even the priest of Apollo, god of light, engaged in prophetic babbling. The ancient Israelites did it. So did the Jansenists, the Quakers, the Methodists, and the Shakers.


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#17 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:21 AM

A study on faith healing has concluded:

Faith healers and quacks always have "successes." In some cases, they create the illnesses themselves through their power of suggestion and the receptiveness of their subjects. These iatrogenic diseases may or may not have painful physical manifestations. These "diseases" can be as serious as demonic possession or as trivial as excessive giggling. They can present dramatic manifestations such as convulsions or soporific manifestations such as a sleeplike stupor.


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#18 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:23 AM

From The Skeptic's Dictionary:

Good magicians are good tricksters and good tricksters can fool the wisest of men. They can amaze people with their ability to seemingly move objects with an act of will, suspend objects in space, view objects which are remote, read your mind, predict the future, identify the content of hidden messages or drawings, etc. What is amazing is that they don't amaze people by winning the lottery or finding a cure for cancer. Why don't they bypass airports and paranormally transport themselves to their next gig? Why do they take their cars to a mechanic when it breaks down? Why do they waste their time moving a wire in a glass bottle instead of moving a waterfall over a forest fire? The answer is obvious. Such useful feats would require more than distraction and legerdemain. Why do the parlor tricks convince even very intelligent people that they have witnessed a paranormal event rather than a bit of magic? Because most really intelligent people are too foolish to realize that they are not so intelligent as to be beyond being fooled. One really intelligent person who would not be fooled was Richard Feynman, who met Uri Geller. Feynman said "I'm smart enough to know that I'm dumb." Feynman was intelligent enough to realize that a good magician can make it seem as if the laws of nature have been violated and even a great physicist couldn't figure out the trick.


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#19 Adanac

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Posted 01 September 2004 - 05:24 AM

Don't be fooled. There are those who claim to possess the power of the Holy Spirit today, and promise to give it to you as well. They will sound appealing, they will do wondrous things, but they are charlatans and no better than the magicians, hypnotists and circus performers of this world.
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