I’ve Come To Realize ‘Charismatic’ Substitutes
I believe in divine healing, yet sadly, numerous ‘charismatic’ substitutes have filtered in to ‘christian circles’ over the years, for various reasons.
Having researched and examined the ministries of Kathryn Kulhlman, Benny Hinn, William Branham, John G. Lake, Marie Woodworth Etter etc., I have no problem now, considering the possibilities of nefarious substitutes for healing, signs, wonders, miracles, ‘falling down’ and other phenomena.
What is Mesmerism? Franz Anton Mesmer
“Mesmerism was formulated by Franz Anton Mesmer, a physician and healer who achieved remarkable cures. Preoccupied with the health of his compatriots and concerned about the various diseases afflicting mankind, he developed a method to relieve the pain and suffering of his patients and followers. He believed in an invisible, curative fluid or energy pervading the universe that might influence the human body. Some kind of an “anointing” if you will. According to him, an unbalanced supply of that fluid in the body would make the difference between health and illness.
Therefore, he spent a great deal of effort in trying to master that “invisible fluid.” He succeeded in developing a method, which is defined as follows: The capacity of raising the emotional state of an individual, or a crowd, to an abnormal, but controllable intensity. Music, which plays a role in the control of the mind and nervous system of people, is a tool in raising this emotional state. The verb to mesmerize means: to hypnotize, to spellbind. Its action results in a bondage that might be mild for some but total for others. The verb entered the language of the West as a synonym for “to throw into a trance.” The phenomenon is better known today as being “slain in the spirit,” or “falling under God’s power.”
Read these Similarities
FRANZ MESMER put together ideas like suggestion, auto-suggestion, the laying on of hands, and stroking medicine in a scientific, systematic method, then popularized his concept. Mesmer is considered the early pioneer of modern hypnotism. He performed his healing practice in the same manner faith healers operate their ministries today, achieving similar results and perhaps even more extraordinary. Though this method has its benefits, keep in mind that it is far from being inoffensive and harmless.
Once people are mesmerized, they can no longer analyze.
He exercised the laying on of hands by touching or making passes with his hands close to a body. In his view, cures were induced through “magnetic passes” of the operator’s hands. Yes, the pain would go away and people believed they were cured. He would point at a patient standing sometimes many feet away from him; the next instant, the patient’s body would lie on the floor in convulsions. He had an ability to throw his subjects into a state between sleep and wakefulness, and became a master of it. His disciples used his technique and accomplished the same feats. Some even “improved” or modified it with stunning results.
BENNY HINN emulates his idol Kathryn Kuhlman and has copied her style and method. The only difference I’ve been able to observe is that Miss Kuhlman wore a white dress and he wears a white suit. He claims his anointing comes from God. Isn’t it strange that he cannot produce biblical healings? In over 25 years of ministry there’s never been one single leper cured, or a person raised from the dead! He has an ability similar to Mesmer to throw his followers into a state between wakefulness and unconsciousness. His theatrics and emotional crusades take pain away leading his admirers to believe they’re healed. From what? Asthma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, blood and heart conditions, etc. How about the paraplegics, children with Down’s syndrome, those who’ve suffered terrible burns or have been left crippled after a serious stroke? Do they all lack faith?
Benny Hinn’s “anointing” is selective and quite limited.
He regularly uses his staff members – like his lead-singer Steve Brock – to set the example for those unfamiliar with the “slain in the spirit” phenomenon. They all fall down giving the impression that an anointing emanates from Benny Hinn. I have numerous video clips showing individuals stretching their arm out to break the fall or bending their knees because the men behind them failed to catch them in the usual manner. Isn’t it strange? Surely they know they fall safely into the waiting arms of catchers. Remove them from the scene, and I guarantee you his show will lose some of its punch. Occasionally, he calls his own family on the platform. I have seen his wife Suzanne pull her jacket back down over her stomach as she “fell in the spirit.” If she had been “slain in the spirit” would she have cared about her appearance?
FRANZ MESMER was renowned for his musical knowledge and refined playing. In his séances, he used an elaborate arrangement of music, lights, and other paraphernalia as stage properties to set the mood and relax his patients. Not only did he cherish music, he was also convinced that it intensified the communication of “universal fluid” – the anointing. Medical men of his days already understood the relationship between mood and cure. Under his commands, musicians shifted from stormy to soft music to induce the mesmeric state through the music’s sharp penetrative tones and vibrations.
BENNY HINN has learned his routine from Kathryn Kuhlman who also widely used mesmeric power. Very often during the course of the service, Benny will order Sheryl Palmquist – the official organist of Benny’s ministry – to change the tempo of the music, and to quickly flow with him in the same spirit! His performance includes melodious whispers and fearful shouts. And he has some angelic music played by Sheryl whenever he prays to give a feeling of divine atmosphere. He puts on, we have to admit, a very entertaining performance. His stage show rivals a Broadway production. In the early days of his ministry, he even confessed to a Canadian reporter that he’s an artist, that he’s always been an artist…and that’s how you should consider him.
FRANZ MESMER achieved remarkable cures of functional disorders. Accounts of mesmeric cures are numerous. Thousands believed that such treatments were responsible for the recovery from back troubles, arthritis, paralysis, liver or stomach problems, epilepsy, stuttering, and even blindness. Scores of followers reported prickly sensations or tingling or some rush of energy going through them as the operator exercised the ritual. Isn’t that a perfect sample of testimonies in Benny Hinn’s ministry?
BENNY HINN is widely known for his Miracle Crusades. Thousands attend his meetings and testify of feeling some tingling, numbness or heat going through their body as a result of the anointing of a faith healer. In addition, Benny regularly tells his followers that they can lose their healing. He recommends that they should read verses to remain “healed.” If they get sick again, well…it’s not his fault. I suggest to you that they’ve never been healed in the first place.
The True Face Of The Fake Faith Healers By Yves A. Brault
|Behind The Scenes examines the deceit present in the innermost circles of today’s most popular charismatic ministries.Yves Brault gained his knowledge first-hand when he and his family moved from Montreal to Orlando to attend Benny Hinn’s church. Unexpectedly, he discovered the source of Hinn’s healing power; mesmerism.Behind the Scenes explains the technique and exposes his followers-Benny Hinn, Kathryn Kuhlman, and Aimee Semple McPherson. It also includes a number of popular preachers such as Morris Cerullo, Jim Bakker, Rodney-Howard Browne, and John Avanzini. Finally it examines a movement known as the School of Prophets whose main proponents are Bill Hamon, Bernard Jordan, Randi and Cathy Lechner.This book is an eye-opener that finally reveals the source of their power. It is a must for those who have been hurt, a red flag for those who are involved in these movements, and a road map for those who think they’ll never get caught or be deceived.|
Faith Healer Maria Beulah Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924) https://scribalwell.wordpress.com/2019/12/23/exposing-the-past-to-reveal-the-present-dilemma/
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.
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
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.
Kathryn Kuhlman and Her Spirit Guide?
“Is it possible for a person controlled by a spirit guide from Lucifer to actually believe that this controlling spirit is the Holy Spirit? I believe the answer is clearly, yes. Satan and his minions are master imitators. Hell will be inhabited with a multitude that truly believed that in life they were following God. In fact, Jesus told of the Day of Judgment when men would remind Him of prophesying in His name, but listen to His answer, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23).
I am personally convinced that Miss Kuhlman was controlled by a spirit guide masquerading as the Holy Spirit. There appears to be no other possible answer. Coming to this conclusion has been a very tough and heart-rending experience.” (see comments and explanation in link below) http://www.pawcreek.org/kathryn-kuhlman/
Healer or Hypnotist?
Benny Hinn, upon 1st observing Kathryn Kuklman ‘slay people,’ said to himself; “I can do that.”
Hinn’s selection process is—perhaps not surprisingly—virtually identical to that employed by professional stage hypnotists.
Hinn’s mentor, Kathryn Kuhlman, who performed in flowing white garments trimmed with gold (Spraggett 1971, 16), was apparently the inspiration for Hinn’s trademark white suits and gold jewelry. From her he obviously learned the clever “shotgun” technique of faith-healing (also practiced by Pat Robertson and others). This involves announcing to an audience that certain healings are taking place, without specifying just who is being favored. (Randi 1987,228-229).
In employing this technique, Hinn first sets the stage with mood music, leading the audience (as did Kuhlman) in a gentle rendering of;
“He touched me, oh. He touched me, And, oh, the joy that filled my soul!
Something happened and now I know He touched me, and made me
whole. . . .
Spraggett (1971, 17) says that with Kuhlman, as it was sung over and over, it became “a chant, an incantation, hypnotic in its effect,” and the same is true of Hinn’s approach. In time, the evangelist announces that
miracles are taking place.
Thus, instead of the afflicted being invited up to be healed (with no guarantee of success), the “shotgun” method encourages receptive, emotional individuals to believe they are healed. Only that self-selected group is invited to come forward and testify to their supposedly miraculous transformation.
There is even a further step in the selection process: Of those who do make it down the aisles, only a very few will actually be invited on stage. They must first undergo what amounts to an audition for the privilege. Those who tell the most interesting stories and show the greatest enthusiasm are the ones likely to be chosen (Underdown 2001).
(see comments in article re’ hypnotist’s application of compliance)
Once on stage, one of Hinn’s screeners announces each “healed” person in turn, giving a quick summary of the alleged miracle.
In each instance—after the person has given a little performance (running about, offering a sobbing testimonial, etc.), and Hinn has responded with some mini-sermon, prayer, or other reaction—the next step in the role-playing is acted out. As one of his official catchers moves into place behind the person, Hinn gives a gesture, touch, or other signal. Most often, while squeezing the person’s face between thumb and finger, he gives a little push, and down the compliant individual goes. Some slump; some stiffen and fall backward; a few reel. Once down, many lie as if entranced, while others writhe and seem almost possessed.
Along with speaking or praying in tongues (glossolalia) and other commotional expressions, this phenomenon of “going under the Power” is a characteristic of the modern charismatic movement (after the Greek charisma, “gift”), Also known as being “slain in the Spirit,” it is often regarded skeptically even by other Christians who suspect—by correctly,—that the individuals involved are merely “predisposed to fall” (BennHinn: Pros & Cons 2002). That is, they merely engage in a form of role-playing that is prompted by their strong desire to receive divine power as well as by the influence of suggestion that they do so. Even the less emotionally suggestible people will be unwilling not to comply when those around them expect it. In short, they behave just as if “hypnotized.”
One professional hypnotist said of Hinn’s performance: “This is something we do every day and Mr. Hinn is a real professional.”
Although popularly believed to involve a mystical “trance” state, hypnosis is in fact just compliant behavior in response to suggestions (Baker 1990, 286). One professional hypnotist said of Hinn’s performance: “This is something we do every day and Mr. Hinn is a real professional.” (Thomas 2001).
The powerful effects of suggestion.
Not only psychosomatic illnesses (of which there is an impressive variety) but also those with distinct physical causes may respond to a greater or lesser degree to “mental medicine.” Pain is especially responsive to suggestion. In the excitement of an evangelical revival, the reduction of pain due to the release of endorphins (pain-killing substances produced by the body) often causes people to believe and act as if they have been miraculously healed (Condren2001; Nickell 1993; Nolen 1974).
As these cases demonstrate, there is a danger that people who believe themselves cured will forsake medical assistance that could bring them relief or even save their lives. Dr. Nolen (1974, 97-99) relates the tragic case of Mrs. Helen Sullivan who suffered from cancer that had spread to her vertebrae. Kathryn Kuhlman had her get out of her wheelchair, remove her back brace, and run across the stage repeatedly. The
crowd applauded what they thought was a miracle, but the antics cost Mrs. Sullivan a collapsed vertebra. Four months after her “cure,” she died.
‘Proclaimed’ Healings End In Death!
(read such cases with Benny Hinn as well, from article above)
In the link below, many cases of ‘proclaimed’ healings ended in death weeks and months later. (The writer is secessionist, but reports are true.) This occurred with William Branham and others as well.
Nolen (1974, 101) stated he did not think Miss Kuhlman a deliberate charlatan. She was, he said, ignorant of diseases and the effects of suggestion. But he suspected she had “trained herself to deny, emotionally and intellectually, anything that might threaten the validity of her ministry.” The same may apply to Benny Hinn. One expert in mental states, Michael A. Persinger, a neuroscientist, suggests people like Hinn have fantasy prone personalities (Thoma s 2001).
Indeed, the backgrounds of both Kuhlman and Hinn reveal many traits
associated with fantasy-proneness, but it must be noted that being fantasy prone does not preclude also being deceptive and manipulative.
Ex-Faith Healer Explains the Tricks of the Fake Faith Healing Trade
Mark Haville’s is an extraordinary story. Converted into the Pentecostal/ Charismatic church he quickly came under the spell of the Word-Faith teaching of men like Kenneth Copeland. But things did not stay that way for Mark… Still in his mid-20’s, Mark became an itinerant minister travelling the country earning large sums of money through his ability to perform ‘signs and wonders’. Remarkably, he has renounced his former life, his beliefs, and his practices as a Word-Faith minister and is now speaking out boldly against the beliefs and practices of the current Signs and Wonders movement. (Note: In the text ‘EN’ refers to Evangelicals Now, and ‘MH’ refers to Mark Haville. ‘PG’ is Peter Glover)
EN: “How did you first get involved with Word Faith teaching?”
MH: I was given lots of tapes and books by Kenneth Copeland which everyone was into at my church in North London. I believed that my Christian experience could validate my faith. It convinced me that what I was in was real. I was impressed by the numbers involved, their interest in the media, publications, the money and the general trappings of success – it bred the belief in me that biggest must be best.
EN: “What was the most appealing aspect of Word Faith teaching for you?”
MH: The Word Faith movement offered me power, what I believed to be a convincing testimony to the reality of God. It gave me support because I could show ‘things’ by preaching and performing. I was given numerous videos, audios and literature. All that I was given appeared glossy and successful.
EN: “How did you use what you saw in this material?”
MH: Basically, I copied it. I learned gradually to do what all these speakers like Copeland, Cerullo, Benny Hinn and others do. They manipulate audiences and individuals simply by the power of suggestion. They call the result ‘signs and wonders’. They are deluded. Gradually, I too had learned the process of controlling meetings and inducing hypnotic techniques through suggestion in churches. I did many of the so-called signs and wonders.
(PG: I was shown a video of a meeting held at a Pentecostal fellowship in Leeds being run by Mark. He explained the staged process of audience manipulation as things progressed. After a long period of singing what Mark described as ‘relaxing’ Spirit-focused songs, he appeared to be able to blow individuals over at will. They then remained on the ground for long periods – what is commonly termed ‘slaying in the spirit’).
THE RIGHT ATMOSPHERE
EN: “You maintain then that you were able to induce an atmosphere that was conducive to hypnotic suggestion?”
MH: Absolutely. The techniques are no different to those used by any practising hypnotist. First, the people in these meetings are already coming with high expectancy – they want it to be God. Second, you need to create the right atmosphere – hence the long periods of singing certain types of songs to make people feel relaxed and warm.
EN: “What kind of praise and worship?”
MH: It is very important to use songs and words that are focused on the Holy Spirit. This creates a far more mystical atmosphere. Songs full of Christian or Biblical doctrine work against people suspending their critical faculties. The effect is to create a mindlessness that will open your audience up to suggestion. Most people have no idea just how powerful suggestion can be. Let me add that all this is not necessarily done wilfully by leaders. This is something many of them have stumbled upon. It works, so they do it and call it “the Holy Spirit”.
EN: “Will it affect everyone at the meeting?”
MH: No, not at all. If you do not believe that it is God that is doing these things in the meeting, there is no way you will fall down. But remember, I am the one running the show. Just like any good hypnotist, I will be ‘working’ the audience. I can tell which ones are the more suggestive by asking certain questions. I can then bring people forward, having gotten them into a very relaxed and accepting state. You have to remember, people who come really want to believe that God is at work. By telling them to stand in a particular place I am strongly influencing their belief that by standing where I have told them – on that exact spot – something is going to happen. By telling them someone will stand behind them, because we wouldn’t want them to get hurt if they fall, it is all heightening the sense of anticipation and suggestiveness. The rest is easy.
EN: “You seemed to find it difficult to watch yourself on screen.”
MH: Yes, I find it very hard knowing how I unconsciously deceived good people into believing that the Holy Spirit was at work when it was common or garden hypnosis. But at the time I suppose I did believe, however incorrectly, that these things were the activity of God. But the reality is, I learned these techniques by watching others, and anybody can do them given enough training. They are psychological techniques – nothing else.
EN: “What caused you to look again at what you were doing and believed?”
MH: In a nutshell – the Scriptures themselves. I decided that I wanted to learn the Scriptures in the original Greek and I began to realise that what I believed didn’t match up with what the Scriptures actually taught.
A BIG RETHINK
All About Technique – Wimber Signs And Wonders
A former associate of John’s reveals the ‘hype’ behind some of the ‘signs and wonders.’
“John Wimber and others in this movement have employed and taught “techniques” on “how to impart the blessing.” In a manual called “Vineyard tips for Leaders,” eleven techniques are subscribed on how to prepare people, during a meeting, to receive the “anointing.” Does this sound like it’s a sovereign “move of God?” Mark Haville, who was one of the leaders and directly involved in this “move,” shares the following:”
“I had LEARNED to create the right atmosphere. I knew that the nature of the worship itself was vital to the `anointing’ falling. I knew it was essential to be personally in control of the service. THE ATMOSPHERE WAS EVERYTHING.
I knew that God needed those involved in such a service to `feel just right’ to allow the power to flow through them. The whole relationship between the minister and the congregation was another key factor. Those, for example, who believed I was `highly anointed’ automatically believed that I had a greater ability to `allow the Holy Spirit to flow’ through them. If you are `known’ to be `anointed,’ believers become more susceptible to phenomena …
I remember one of the most successful meetings I held. People in the congregation responded … and the resultant signs and wonders were the strongest evidence validating that what I had been taught about phenomena was real. Their responses were astounding. Some were experiencing ecstasies for some time on the floor. Others shook energetically … God’s calling on my life had truly begun in earnest. OR HAD IT? “(Ibid. P. 18 – 20)
“Mark Haville later started to question this as a true “move of the Holy Spirit” and after a long personal struggle and thorough Biblical investigation he came to the conclusion that it was not. After repenting of this error he returned to sound Biblical Christianity.”
“I had come to know that the feelings and experiences of the Signs and Wonders Movement are not the Holy Spirit. Clearly something supernatural often appears to take place … such things are the outworkings of dangerous shamanistic and hypnotic, mixed with strongly psychological techniques. They are validated by poor Biblical exegesis and a Christian name-tag. Those who are leaders in the movement dream of revival and mass evangelism that the Bible simply does not promise.
*Lonnie Frisbee, who, upon being invited to ‘minister,’ by John in 1980, initiated the ‘signs and wonders’ at Wimber’s Vineyard church, admitting later he could knock people down before his spurious salvation exp., while heavily practicing the occult.
The Signs and Wonders Movement: Exposed by Mark Haville
Wimber’s Pragmatism- Whatever Works Must Be God
Pragmatism shaped Wimber’s approach to healing. ‘What ever worked must be from God.” This included a mixture of Jungian psychology, shamanism, aura healing, alpha brain wave function, ‘power encounters with Holy Spirit’, deliverance from demonic oppression, experimentation, what ever produced seeming results, what was required to ‘produce’ atmosphere for the ‘anointing’ to work, and make people receptive to the ‘anointing.’
The pragmatic aspect of power healing came through as Wimber maintained that the key to the growth of Vineyard churches was their learning ‘to know when God’s unction or anointing had come for a task like healing in a particular situation, ‘ perceiving the timing and intentions of God.
Is there such a thing as healing by suggestion?
How can we explain all these reports of healings? André Kole has supplied interesting information on this issue. He is an illusionist, or master of illusion, as we call it. As he is also a believer, he has frequently investigated the claims of the healing evangelists. He first makes the statement that there are psychosomatic and organic illnesses. Regarding the characteristics of psychosomatic, functional and organic illnesses, he explains: Diseases can be categorized into one of two types: functional or organic... A functional disease is one associated with a change in function of a bodily organ or tissue without any tissue damage. An organic disease is one associated with a demonstrable change in a bodily organ or tissue. Therefore, in dealing with functional diseases such as high blood pressure, addictions, low back pain syndrome, or most headaches there is no demonstrable tissue damage, yet the organ or tissue is certainly not functioning as it should. By contrast, organic diseases such as broken bones, paralysis from severed nerves, congenital malformations or coronary artery disease evidence a very clear change in tissue. 7
As André Kole further explains, functional illnesses can be healed by practically anyone who practises the techniques of faith healing. These are principally universally applicable, regardless whether used by Shamans, psychic healers, medicine men, magicians, New Agers, etc. Faith healings can be performed by practically anyone – even a cat! 8 Divine healing, however, in which we also believe, cannot be practiced nor can it be manipulated. Also, in the highly festive and emotionally charged atmosphere of a faith-healing service, the brain can be stimulated to release endorphins into the nervous system... This is why people can honestly say “the pain is gone” and sincerely believe they are healed – until the effect wears off hours or days later. 9
7,8, Richard Mayhue, Faith-healing can be done by practically anyone. (Harvest House Pub., p. 49, 40). 9- Richard Mayhue, The Healing Promise, (Harvest House Pub., p. 53.)
Divine Healing Yes! + False ‘Charismatic’ Substitutes’
I believe in divine healing, yet sadly, numerous false ‘charismatic’ substitutes have filtered in to ‘christian circles’ over the years, for various reasons. Many will brush these observations off, as secular reasonings against Biblical healing. The proof is in the resultant observations, the real ‘fruit.’ The scenario’s presented are scientifically possible, and proven by observation. Weighing ‘healing’ ministries’ against Scripture, gives clear indication, that much practiced and exp’d today cannot be validated by Scripture, violating Scripture in many cases.
As Mark Haville said, “a big RETHINK is necessary!”