Exposing The Past To Reveal The Present Dilemma

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Mat.24:24

If we do not realize that these days have indeed already been upon us for sometime, then we are already deceived and led astray!

May we seek the Lord to show us how and where this has been taking place, and respond properly.

etter

The “Trance Evangelist” – “Voodoo Priestess.”

“Faith healer evangelist MARIA BEULAH WOODWORTH-ETTER (1844-1924) had a vast influence in the early Pentecostal movement. The Dictionary of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements says that “she was a monumental figure in terms of spreading the pentecostal message” and notes that “most early Pentecostals looked at Woodworth-Etter as a godsend to the movement and accepted her uncritically.”

When she conducted a five-month healing crusade in Texas for F.F. Bosworth, “the list of influential Pentecostals who flocked to Dallas was like a ‘Who’s Who’ of early Pentecostalism” (Ibid., p.365). Her meetings were characterized by spirit slaying, prophesying, trances, and general pandemonium. “She often went into trances during a service, standing like a statue for an hour or more with her hands raised while the service continued” (Dictionary of Pentecostal, p. 901).

She was thus dubbed the “trance evangelist” and the “voodoo priestess.” She falsely prophesied that the San Francisco Bay area would be destroyed by an earthquake and tidal wave in 1890. She accepted an invitation from Mormons to preach in Nebraska in 1920.” https://groups.google.com/forum/m/#!msg/alt.fan.gene-scott/LDkQG4-cP-0/kjqfIiUgPpkJ

The Shakers (1770+)

To understand influences prevalent during Maria Woodworth Etter’s time we need to look at the Shakers and Quakers of her time.

https://www.understandingministries.com/docs/The%20Origins%20of%20Pentecostalism.pdf p.19 pfd

The Shakers are usually seen to be the followers of Ann Lee (1736-1781), the wife of a blacksmith in Manchester, but the movement really started amongst the Radical Quakers. Becoming a Shaking Quaker at 22, she married at 25 and had four children. After losing all her children in infancy, Lee’s distress was funnelled into religious enthusiasm. She agonised over her sinfulness and resented her marriage, subjecting herself to rigorous penance.
As a result of these exercises, in 1770 she was overcome by divine ‘revelation’ and received a new gospel, which was based upon a hatred of sex: human depravity was caused by the sex act. Eventually, she saw herself as the messiah, a second version of Christ and was known as Ann the Word or Mother Ann. This, and other doctrinal heresies accompanied her teaching on the restoration of end time spiritual gifts including tongues and healing, the most serious deviation being the rejection of the inspiration of the Bible.

In 1774, upon ‘divine’ command, she immigrated from England to New York State, near Albany, with 8 followers, and in 1787 her growing followers, many from Baptist churches, were organised into the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, a millennialist, perfectionist sect. As well as basic Quaker beliefs of simplicity, frugal living, equality, honesty and charity, they believed that the source of evil was sex, pride and greed. Salvation was by good conduct. God was a duality of the masculine and feminine, with Lee as the counterpart to Christ, commissioned to complete his work. Christ’s physical resurrection was denied. Celibacy was enforced along with communal property and strict regulation of ethics, including diet.
Their worship was a wild and exuberant spontaneity which included the shaking off of sin and vigorous dancing (hence the name ‘Shaker’). Visions, tongues, healings, revelations for guidance, prophecies, signs and other gifts attracted attention, many being convinced by Lee’s end-time restorationist message.

One source states that they danced together naked, whilst speaking in tongues, in order to mortify the flesh and learn how to control sexual temptation. They were the original Pentecostals in the States. The dancing later became more ritualistic, and tongue speaking was reduced after Lee’s death as Joseph Meacham brought order to the wild worship.
Numbers dwindled, but the movement later prospered in the wake of various religious revivals in America, especially in the West, particularly the Cane Ridge Revival. Lucy Wright had taken over from Meacham in 1796 and reinvigorated the movement, provoking missionary expansion on the Western frontier and re-introducing previous excesses like: singing, added dancing, hand motions and worship marches.

Mother Lucy’s reforms prospered the Shakers so that by her death in 1821 numbers had grown. In 1825 there were 6000 members, but by 1837 they had become steeped in occult spiritualism. As religious fervour faded, their numbers declined and only one active Shaker community remains today but the effect of their teaching and church life impacted many other groups and paved the way for the future pentecostal experience.

Even a short look at their doctrine and practice is sufficient to show that it was blasphemous and Christ-dishonouring. Their prophetic words were given under ‘compulsion’ by a spirit (demon): ‘Those instruments who spoke by Inspiration would besuddenly seized by that mysterious power of influence, … severely disciplined, apparently to compel them to yield and to speak what was given by the spirit’. This contradicts 1 Cor. 14:32.
The occult ministry of Rebecca Jackson manifested all the revelation gifts practised by modern Charismatics and modelled by William Branham, including: the word of knowledge, word of wisdom and prophecy. Both claimed to be instructed by spirit beings, not Jesus! What is more, the Shakers openly practised spiritualism. Messages were regularly received from the dead Mother Ann, and other deceased Shakers, who conversed with the recipients who were called (by themselves) ‘mediums’ or ‘instruments’.

Furthermore, they willingly accepted the entrance of indigenous tribal spirits into their bodies (i.e. demonic counterfeits). In a willingness to embrace different peoples, they took on spirits of Eskimaux, Negroes, Chinese, Red Indians etc. in order to receive ‘light’ from their religious cultures. ‘The elders then urged upon the members the duty of “taking them in”, whereupon eight or nine of the Sisters became possessed of the Spirits of Indian Squaws and about six of the Brothers became Indians: then ensued a regular “Pow Wow” with whooping, yelling, and strange antics’. The results of such demonic manifestations and direction were the adoption of native songs, dances and visionary effects.

These people cannot be considered to be Christians in any sense but their contribution to revivalism and the holiness movement is very significant. They were considered to be heretical in their own day, and should be seen so now. In fact, one writer declares that the Shakers were the forerunners of modern spiritualism. (p.21-21 pdf file below)

Trances

Maria Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924) was a famous holiness preacher who embraced the Pentecostal bandwagon as it emerged after 1912. Unusual manifestations began to attend her meetings before the events at Azusa Street in about 1885. Her powerful spiritual experiences date from a Quaker meeting in 1879 when she renewed her commitment to God. Her experiences on stage were so unusual that she was once nearly put into an asylum by doctors present at a meeting in St Louis.

By 1912, Maria was Pentecostalism’s most popular evangelist. Her description of her call to preach is instructive. Apparently, she spoke to Jesus face to face and complained that she did not know what to say in preaching the Gospel, neither did she understand the Bible properly. The Lord is supposed to have told her that he would be with her and the answers would come, “Then a glorious vision of a large open Bible appeared on the wall, and suddenly the verses stood out in red letters. The glory of God shone around and upon the Book. I looked and I could understand it all…I saw more in that vision than I could have learned in years of hard study.” Marie Woodworth Etter https://books.google.ca/booksid=EoJrHDirVQUC&pg=PA417&lpg=PA417&dq=Marie+Woodworth+Ettera+glorious+vision+of+a+large+open+Bible+appeared+on+the+wall,+and+suddenly&source=bl&ots=zY

Often she would go into trances, remaining motionless with hands raised while the meeting continued without her. People were supposed to have been converted while approaching her in this sublime state. If she laid hands on people she was able to pass on the trance like experience; she also ministered healing and prophecy operated in her meetings. It was with Maria that the manifestation of being slain in the Spirit became more widely known in denominational meetings.

Up to 25,000 people at a time would flock to her camp meetings and she became known as the ‘trance evangelist’ because of her power to cause people to be slain in the Spirit. She was so famous that secular newspapers continually reported her exploits as one of the biggest news stories of the time.
Her life was not without incident, however, as she was charged, at one time, with obtaining money under false pretences, and at another with practising medicine without a licence. In fact she was derisively called, ‘the voodoo priestess’. Some prophecies associated with her was outlandishly false, like the claim that San Francisco would be destroyed in 1890 which caused thousands to flee to the hills.
She taught a post conversion experience called, ‘the power’, which was likely to involve a trance (altered state) and a vision; although tongues was not a major feature of her type of second blessing.” p.34-35 pdf below https://www.understandingministries.com/docs/The%20Origins%20of%20Pentecostalism.pdf

Reassuring Contact With Departed Ones

During the 1880s and early 1890s, Wood worth-Etter’s, ability to induce trances in revival-goers caused great wonder and agitation. Entranced participants would lay cold and rigid, with significantly reduced pulses, for hours on end; upon coming to, they often would describe glorious visions of heaven and reassuring contact with departed loved ones. Woodworth-Etter herself frequently went into trances. See, for instance, Trials and Triumphs, 187.Google Scholar For an example of the controversy caused by trances, see “Ring the Riot Alarm!” and “Flora Briggs’ Story,” San Francisco Examiner, 9 01. 1890, 1.Google Scholar https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/church-history/article/redeemed-bodies-the-functions-of-divine-healing-in-incipient-pentecostalism/46F1CE7B8B3A38D7F7465B5B29419F3C

https://www.harrisonhouseblog.com/2019/05/23/signs-and-wonders-in-the-ministry-of-maria-woodworth-etter/

In Mrs. Woodworth’s meetings, some individuals were so affected that they could be pricked by a pin or picked up and carried, without disturbing them at all. Those attending Woodworth’s meetings sometimes remained in the trance state for as long as eight days.

In some cases they did not fall at all, but simply became frozen in their tracks.

Then they might resist all attempts to bring them out of that condition. Oftentimes their eyes were wide open, while not a single muscle of their body moved.

https://www.iheart.com/podcast/966-the-long-for-truth-show-30189910/episode/tongues-before-parham-the-early-shakers-52784336/

Radio/video report on Woodworth- reading newspaper articles from the time, reporting on her meetings-one 17 year old girl went into a trance for 5 days and they tho’t she might die.

https://www.themessedupchurch.com/blog/etter-madness-maria-woodworth-etter-demonstrator-of-the-demonic

Angels Carried Her-Trances Connected Her To Her Deceased Children

https://www.academia.edu/40120460/Maria_Beulah_Woodworth_Etter_the_Trance_Evangelist?email_work_card=interaction_papeMeredith A Fraser

Before she began her ministry, Woodworth Etter claimed that angels regularly came into her bedroom at night and carried her over prairies, lakes, forests, and rivers, where she would long fields of waving grain that would fall into sheaves as she began to preach. She had many such dreams and visions, which she interpreted as a call to preach. At her revival meetings, people danced, laughed, cried, shouted, screamed, and fell into trances that sometimes lasted several days. 

Maria’s own grief for her children was obviously overwhelming, but *she resorted to seeking a supernatural experience of God to help her to overcome her pain:* When alone I missed my darling so much that I wept as though my heart would break. Then I would always pray and as I prayed I would forget everything earthly and soar away by faith to the Golden City, and there see my darlings all together shining in glory, and looking at me and saying “Mamma, do not weep for us, but come this way.” I would always end in praising and giving glory to God for taking them to such a happy place.  (Woodworth Etter , Diary 27)

Maria was frequently ill, however, often hovering between life and death, and a casual reader might ascribe her frequent trances and visions to delirium, or as a reaction to the loss of her children. She personally believed every occurrence to be genuine experience of God, however, and that she was called to an evangelistic ministry, so she asked God to baptize her in the Holy Ghost:

I want the reader to understand that at this time I had a good experience, a pure heart and was full of the love of God but was not qualified for God’s work. I knew that I was but a worm. God would have to take a worm to thresh a mountain. Then I asked God to give me the power He gave the Galilean fishermen—to baptize me for service. I came like a child asking for bread. I looked for it. God did not disappoint me. The power of the Holy Ghost came down as a cloud. It was brighter than the sun. I was covered and wrapped up in it. My body was light as the air. It seemed that heaven came down. I was baptized with the Holy Ghost, and fire, and power, which has never left me. Oh, praise the Lord. There was liquid fire and the angels were all around in the fire and glory. It is through the Lord Jesus Christ and by this power that I have stood before hundreds of thousands of men and women proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ. (Woodworth Etter,Diary 28)

During one of these mystical experiences, Maria surrendered her future to God. She promised God that if he would restore her health, prepare her, and show her the work to be done, she would try to do it. She began to recover immediately. It was 1880, she was thirty-five years old.
During the Second Great Awakening of 1858, many churches had allowed their congregations to “do their own thing.” There was a new cultural mood regarding spiritual manifestations. Revival meetings were often scenes of utter confusion. Because of such licensed disorder, many services were described as purely emotional displays, with little evidence of any genuine teaching or preaching.

Epilogue-The Restorationist Evolution View of Christian History

https://www.understandingministries.com/docs/The%20Origins%20of%20Pentecostalism.pdf -(pgs.121-125 pdf above)

What spurs modern charismatics on in their claims for revival, power and dominion? What is the source of their burgeoning optimism? Why do they fail to see Biblical statements about a coming global apostasy before the end? The answer is that they have a certain view of history, particularly church history, which fails to address some of the facts which we have looked at .

This idea goes back at least to A. B. Simpson (1843-1919) and Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), but it was a specific tenet of Latter Rain teaching. A quote from George Hawtin, his reaction to seeing Branham, will exemplify this.

*All the great outpourings of the past have had their outstanding truths. Luther’s truth was justification by faith; Wesley’s was sanctification; the Baptists taught the pre-millennial coming of Christ; the Missionary Alliance taught divine healing; the Pentecostal outpouring has restored the baptism of the Holy Spirit to its rightful place. But the next great outpouring is going to be marked by all these other truths, plus such a demonstration of the nine gifts of the Spirit as the world, not even the apostolic world, has witnessed before.*

Many Latter Rain teachers state that Jesus cannot return, even if he wants to, until the
church has completed this work of restoration as a result of wrongly interpreting Acts 3:21.

The usual view is that after the initial burst of life in the early church, things went from bad to worse, ending up as a long period of dark ages prior to the Reformation. The Former
Rain had been and gone and we were left with a dry wilderness for 1400 years. Already
this is erroneous as it misses out long chunks of history where God did amazing things
e.g. the building up of the church under several church Fathers in various lands,
missionary expansion into India and China, revival amongst warlike pagans and the virtual Christianisation of much of Britain and Ireland under Celtic missionaries, which was only extinguished by a vicious Roman Catholic strategy.

After this dark age, Restorationists see the first gleam of light in the Reformation which
restored the truth of justification by faith, enabling later pioneers to build up more truth from this basis. Again this is inadequate as the Reformation restored much more than this and, instead of moving on to new discoveries today from this initial start, we actually need to rediscover the fulness of truth that emerged in the Reformation: sola scriptura (the Bible
alone), sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), solus Christus (Christ alone), soli
Deo gloria (to the glory of God alone), semper reformanda (the continual reformation of the church), and the priesthood of all believers so that a normal Gospel message becomes:
salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone
making me a priest to God.

What can we say to all this? Facile is the word that comes to mind first. This evolutionist version of history, supposedly leading towards a powerful charismatic super church ruling the earth, is woefully short of objective historical facts to support it. Frequently, historical movements are painted in glowing colours and less pleasant features are washed away with a reductionist stroke of the pen. If anything, history reveals a pendulum effect; first an emphasis this way, then the opposite way. All the supposed blessing which charismatics look for in a church have appeared at various stages of history already, without having the build up which supposedly came later.

There is no Restorationist evolution going on in history. If anything, there is a subtle plot of the enemy to gradually bring in a Trojan Horse of ancient occult experiences to pervert the true church.

Epilogue-The Restorationist Evolution View of Christian

https://www.understandingministries.com/docs/The%20Origins%20of%20Pentecostalism.pdf

“What spurs modern charismatics on in their claims for revival, power and dominion? What is the source of their burgeoning optimism? Why do they fail to see Biblical statements about a coming global apostasy before the end? The answer is that they have a certain view of history, particularly church history, which fails to address some of the facts which we have looked at.”

This idea goes back at least to A. B. Simpson (1843-1919) and Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), but it was a specific tenet of Latter Rain teaching. A quote from George Hawtin, his reaction to seeing Branham, will exemplify this.
*All the great outpourings of the past have had their outstanding truths. Luther’s truth was justification by faith; Wesley’s was sanctification; the Baptists taught the pre-millennial coming of Christ; the Missionary Alliance taught divine healing; the Pentecostal outpouring has restored the baptism of the Holy Spirit to its rightful place. But the next great outpouring is going to be marked by all these other truths, plus such a demonstration of the nine gifts of the Spirit as the world, not even the apostolic world, has witnessed before.*

Many Latter Rain teachers state that Jesus cannot return, even if he wants to, until the church has completed this work of restoration as a result of wrongly interpreting Acts 3:21.

The usual view is that after the initial burst of life in the early church, things went from bad to worse, ending up as a long period of dark ages prior to the Reformation. The Former Rain had been and gone and we were left with a dry wilderness for 1400 years. Already this is erroneous as it misses out long chunks of history where God did amazing things e.g. the building up of the church under several church Fathers in various lands,missionary expansion into India and China, revival amongst warlike pagans and the virtual Christianisation of much of Britain and Ireland under Celtic missionaries, which was only extinguished by a vicious Roman Catholic strategy.

After this dark age, Restorationists see the first gleam of light in the Reformation which restored the truth of justification by faith, enabling later pioneers to build up more truth from this basis. Again this is inadequate as the Reformation restored much more than this and, instead of moving on to new discoveries today from this initial start, we actually need to rediscover the fulness of truth that emerged in the Reformation: sola scriptura (the Bible alone), sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), solus Christus (Christ alone), soli Deo gloria (to the glory of God alone), semper reformanda (the continual reformation of the church), and the priesthood of all believers so that a normal Gospel message becomes: salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone making me a priest to God.

What can we say to all this? Facile is the word that comes to mind first. This evolutionist version of history, supposedly leading towards a powerful charismatic super church ruling the earth, is woefully short of objective historical facts to support it. Frequently, historical movements are painted in glowing colours and less pleasant features are washed away with a reductionist stroke of the pen. If anything, history reveals a pendulum effect; first an emphasis this way, then the opposite way. All the supposed blessing which charismatics look for in a church have appeared at various stages of history already, without having the build up which supposedly came later.

*There is no Restorationist evolution going on in history. If anything, there is a subtle plot of the enemy to gradually bring in a Trojan Horse of ancient occult experiences to pervert the true church.“*

>Daryl here– All progressive revelation of God, from God, is contained in His written Word, given to us. All thro’ church history, there have been those who, in earnestness for ‘more of God,’ more intimate knowledge of God, have succumbed to relegating the Scriptures, and the powerful truths of the gospel, to a place of secondary importance, pursuing ‘experiential knowledge,’ apart from the revealed truths of God’s inspired, established written Word.

George Fox established the Quaker sect in 1652, and William Penn, upon founding churches in the 13 colonies in 1700, had a tremendous impact upon many divergent ‘ christian streams’ thereafter, right up to the present time! A brief Quaker history provides insight.

Remember that the Shakers came out of the Quakers, and even they bore influence in America, along with the Quakers, all thro’ the ‘1st and 2nd ‘Great Awakenings’, including Finney’s ‘revivals right up to and beyond the Azusa St. ‘revival.’

The Society of Friends (Quakers, 1652+)

Founded by George Fox (1642-91) who had a profound experience of the ‘Spirit’ in 1652 during a vision. From this time he concentrated on the notion that God speaks directly toindividuals. The term Quaker was applied to him and his followers due to the trembling that came upon them when in the Spirit. It was their church practice to wait in silence for theSpirit to move upon a person, who often ‘quaked’ before speaking under the power. Fox was said to have exercised a significant healing ministry and his reputation for praying over the sick preceded his evangelistic travels to the States in 1672. In his journal and Book of Miracles he reported that many were healed through the laying on of his hands.

Though Quakers were people that lived austere, ‘holy’ lives, Quaker teaching is riddled with error: their final authority is not the Bible, but resides in the individual (the inner light), women are encouraged to be ministers (as they are in Pentecostalism), they believe in the universal brotherhood of all people, there is no creed or confession of faith, they are universalistic as regards redemption, and modern Quakers have become completely liberal in doctrine.

Quaker William Penn founded Pennsylvania as a holy experiment and by 1700 there were Quaker assemblies in all the 13 colonies. In 1827 the movement split; one group followed Elias Hick who believed that people should follow the inner light, the other group were more evangelical. Early Quaker literature records visions, healings, prophecies and a power from God similar to Acts 2. Some Quakers also spoke in tongues, but Fox suppressed this and the experience died out. From the very beginning, a more radical group developed whose following of the inner light resulted in the experiences of tongues and shaking in worship; they originally met to enthusiastically express mourning for their sins. These were called the Shaking Quakers whose first leaders were Jane and James Wardley.

Shaking Quakers often cried out warnings about Christ’s imminent return and cosmic catastrophes to fall on sinners. Shaker populariser, Ann Lee, became involved with the Shaking Quakers when she was 22 years old. The Shaking Quakers were very influenced by the French Prophets. Pentecostal historians are keen to look to the Quakers for encouragement and use some of their arguments regarding ‘life in the Spirit’. p.13 pdf

https://www.understandingministries.com/docs/The%20Origins%20of%20Pentecostalism.pdf

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Mat.24:24

If we do not realize that these days have indeed already been upon us for sometime, then we are already deceived and led astray!

Indeed, false signs and wonders have pretty much always been with us. The ‘more’ that is so often sought, is not found in mystical experience, nor esotericism, nor in a great sovereign move of God, not even in some spectacular ‘breakthro’ either personally, or in someone else’s ‘ministry, or ‘revival breakthro’ in various alternate settings, nor in some ‘prophesied season’ ahead! Paul Fahy – Understanding Ministries, sums this up well!

Instead of moving on to new discoveries today from this initial start, (the Reformation) we actually need to rediscover the fulness of truth that emerged in the Reformation: sola scriptura (the Bible alone), sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), solus Christus (Christ alone), soli Deo gloria (to the glory of God alone), semper reformanda (the continual reformation of the church), and the priesthood of all believers so that a normal Gospel message becomes: salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, making me a priest to God.

Exposing The Past To Reveal The Present Dilemma

Lessons learned from being burned.

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