I Experienced the "Pensacola
and Came Home Crying Tears and Praying
Shawn Paul Sauve
a charismatic Christian, I have had some interest in the doctrines and
practices being advocated at Brownsville. This has resulted in some on-going
dialogue with staff at Brownsville. I have also listened to many Brownsville
sermons that I downloaded from the internet, and read many statements
made by the staff at Brownsville.
One statement that has been repeatedly
made to me was, "Shawn, if you would just come and experience the
Pensacola Outpouring, all doubts about whether these doctrines
and practices are from God would go away!" "Shawn, its about
preaching holiness and people getting saved; the manifestations are peripheral!"
being able to afford to travel down to Brownsville, I did the next best
thing. John Kilpatrick and the "Pensacola Outpouring" visited
a church near me, and I went to the service to "experience first-hand"
this mighty move of God. This particular service certainly put everything
into perspective, and honestly, it shook me.
The rest of this article
describes the service, and you will have the option to listen to audio
excerpts from the service.I
arrived about 30 minutes prior to the service and sat in the second row
in front of the stage. As I read scripture and quietly prayed, I noticed
several themes in the conversations around me.
One theme was the Kilpatrick
prophesy about CRI, and how awful and outlandish Hank Hanegraaff is. The
other theme was their sense of expectation for the types of manifestations
that would happen that night.
service began with a time of praise and worship. These were standard Pentecostal
choruses, and I freely raised my hands and worshipped God. Nothing out
of the ordinary here. As the praise and worship closed, the worship leader
talked about his expectation for manifestations. The pastor of the church
then gave an introduction for John Kilpatrick, again, emphasizing his
expectation for manifestations. There
was no need to pull out a Bible because the "sermon" was basically
a string of anecdotal stories about esoteric and for the most part, undocumentable
In one case, John Kilpatrick was in school when God spoke
to him audibly. When the bell rung for him to move to a different class
where he states that, ". . . I got up to walk and I couldnt
feel my legs at all. I couldnt feel them . . . I couldnt feel
my feet or my legs moving at all. Now, I was moving . . . but it felt
like I was gliding up that hall."
interesting story was about the church that John Kilpatrick attended as
a child. The church had been having a revival for six to eight weeks when
the pastor shut the revival down. John Kilpatrick says that, "When
he did, he raised the ire and the anger of a group of people in the church
who didnt like it." During this time, Kilpatrick was at a midnight
prayer meeting when a couple of angels visited the group. John Kilpatricks
description of the experience was that it was "spooky."
John Kilpatrick and the other members of the prayer group went down onto
the floor unconscious until the following morning. According
to John Kilpatrick, those in the church that wanted the revival to continue
in the church were never seen again, ". . . there was never an
echo heard of them ever. They never, they never came back to the church,
they were just plucked up and gone. I believe it had something to do with
those angels being there."
found this story interesting for a couple of reasons. First, anyone who
has talked to Brownsville staff and asked difficult questions about doctrines
and practices at Brownsville will know that you are quickly labeled a "critic of revival."
One staff member at Brownsville even suggests
that these "critics" may be "wager[ing their] salvation"
by questioning Brownsville (See Michael Browns "Scorning the
Sacred" at http://www.eatel.net/~wsomers/scorning.html).
In John Kilpatricks story he appears to stand with the pastor who
opposed revival, and it was the people who wanted revival that were "plucked
up and gone." My second observation was that this is yet another
account being told by Brownsville staff that seems to have an intimidating
effect on its audience. After all, who would want to question or test
John Kilpatrick by Scripture if there is a possibility that they may lose
their salvation, or that angels may come and take them out.
anecdotal stories continued as John Kilpatrick told a story about he and
his wife riding in their car when they received a ". . . kiss
of Heaven. Just like God pulled us by the nape of the neck and gave us
a smoocher right across our soul [kissing sound]. You know, just kissed
the outpouring in Brownsville, John Kilpatrick acknowledges that he ". . . lost all of our best friends that we had in this world
over this move of God. We lost them all. As a matter of fact, one of our
best friends said to us in my office when I was trying to calm her and
her husband down, she said, But preacher, why do you want this Holy
Spirit junk in this church She called it Holy Spirit junk. She got
so upset, she started manifesting demons. Friend, Im telling you
the truth. Is it the truth Brenda? [Note: Brenda did not respond when
questioned] She started manifesting demons, these were our friends. And
I had to stop three times and pray and bow my head and pray, and say Jesus,
Lord, please Jesus, touch this woman, touch this woman Lord. She
was so violently angry, the devil was manifesting through her. She did
not want a move of God. She called it Holy Spirit junk and this stuff."
couple of questions about the account immediately jumped into my mind.
If John Kilpatrick had people in his church that he knew so well, and
they were not saved, why did he not minister to them the gospel message?
These are best friends of his and he did not know that they were demon
If they were in fact demon possessed, why did he not minister
to them by praying for them and casting the demons out of them? If you
are a pastor that is hungering for revival, why not reach out to these
unsaved friends in your own church? If as John Kilpatrick claims, the
revival is a sovereign move of God that caught his church by surprise,
why were they loosing all of their best friends over the move of God before
it even began?
Kilpatricks account of the start of the Brownsville revival indicated
that it did not start with preaching of the Word of God where people were
convicted. Rather, it started with Steve Hill prancing across the stage
like a gazelle repeating over and over again "
In a minute Im
going to pray for you." According to Kilpatrick, "[People] began
falling like someone was gunning them down in a battlefield, they were
just falling down." The distinct impression given by John Kilpatrick
was that, real revival is defined as people having manifestations and
Kilpatrick told a story from Brownsville where he "vomited"
up a "word of knowledge." When he "threw-up" this
word, a silver spear came out of his mouth and sailed across the church
and audibly smacked a woman in the chest. She fell over backwards and
John Kilpatrick thought that God had killed her because she was "scream[ing]
According to Kilpatrick the silver spear was the
Lords word, and that word healed her of an ailment from which she
the course of the evening the expectation and anticipation of the crowd
was built up as John Kilpatrick repeatedly reminded the crowd that he
was going to pray for them.
As he repeated for the sixth time in his message
that he would pray for the crowd, you could literally feel and hear the
sense of expectation and excitement beginning to peak in the crowd. He
exhorted the crowd, "Dont miss what God is doing in these days
. . . Friends, God is God. God can do what God wants to do [this is a
truism that no Christian would disagree with] . . . If Im gonna
err I wanna err on the side of the Holy Spirit rather than against the
Holy Spirit . . ." Earlier in the evening he had even told the congregation,
"If you dont feel it fake it."After
John Kilpatrick completed his anecdotal stories about manifestations,
things went from bad to worse. His "speaking in tongues" for
a long period without an interpretation was a red flag.
I guess that what
he was doing would have been labeled "speaking in tongues,"
but it sounded more like an Indian chant "Oo-ee-ah-oo-ee" (with
occasional "whoosh" and "shew . . . Holy Ghost" sounds
made into the microphone etc.). This "chanting" went on for
a period of over twenty minutes. During this time Brenda Kilpatrick was
the first person in the church to "manifest." With the background
of the "Indian-like chant" her hands shook as she rhythmically
moved them from her side to above her head and back down again. Over and
Kilpatrick prayed for Brenda first. One hand was on her head and the other
reached around her back as she stood in a "cowering" position.
Her legs were bent and she looked as though he were applying great force
to push her down. Occasionally he would slap her back in different places.
He would also wave his hand across her forehead like he was swiping something
out of the bangs of her hair. He made the same swiping motion along her
same style of prayer was applied to other people right in front of me.
Slapping the back, swiping motions, and pressure on the head (over and
John Kilpatrick even rubbed his hands all over a mans
chest at one point. At the same time that he prayed for people in this
fashion he would be chanting this "Indian-like chant."
also blowing on the people, and shouting "whoosh" or "shew"
as he had earlier in the evening.People
were shaking and jerking out of control, the sound of the crowd was peppered
with sardonic laughter (when people say "sardonic laughter"
I now have a frame of reference), and terrifying shrieking and moaning.
I thought to myself, "I am no longer in what could be rightly called
a "Church." During this prayer time Brownsville praise music
was played over the sound-system.
Though we sing many of the same choruses
in my own church, in this environment I could not feel free to worship
God (as I had freely done earlier in the evening). I needed to be extremely
I watched a husband and wife carry a newborn baby to the front of the
church (she wasnt even one month old). I was watching them and praying
for their safety, because they could very easily have been "taken
out" by one of the people next to them jerking and shaking out of
control. When John Kilpatrick prayed for them they surrendered their baby
to strangers, and went down on the floor shaking.
I watched the baby get
passed through the crowd wondering, "How does someone give up their
Godly responsibility to care for and protect their children so easily?"
As a new father I couldnt fathom it. I would protect my son to the
point of laying down my life for him. Even when the parents got up off
the floor they were shaking and clearly in no condition to hold a baby.
The baby was passed back to them, but they had to surrender her to someone
else because they were literally unable to hold her.More
could be said, but this is getting long.
Tragically, it appears that we
are moving to a new paradigm in the Church, from an age of expositional
preaching to an age of esoteric experience. The gospel has been reduced
to an "esoteric experience of enlightenment." As I sat in this
service, I was horrified beyond what I can adequately explain in words.
went into the service with an idea that perhaps there was a chance that
those who have been speaking out about Brownsville have been wrong. I
thought, maybe they are over-stating the dangers a bit. Seeing John Kilpatrick
work-up and encourage bizarre manifestations only a few feet from me put
those ideas to rest. "Shawn, just come and experience it, then youll
Oh yes, Ive seen. "Shawn, this isnt about
the experiences, they are secondary. Its about preaching the gospel, holiness,
and people getting saved."
John Kilpatricks entire sermon not a single Scripture was referenced,
the Gospel was not preached, and the bizarre manifestations appeared to
be the point of the whole evening.
John Kilpatricks description
of the beginning of the Brownsville revival seemed very similar to the
service that I attended. The gospel was not preached (a message was not
given according to Kilpatrick), and the evidence that revival had come
was not that people were saved, but because people fell down on the floor
out of control.
more I research Brownsville and ask difficult questions of Brownsville
staff, the more I find myself praying with tears, "Lord have mercy
on your Church. Lord, please send reformation, and begin with me.
* * * * *
self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around
like a roaring
lion looking for someone to devour." -- 1 Peter 5:8
otherwise noted, the citations in this article are taken from John Kilpatrick's
June 7, 1997 visit to the National Church of God in Washington, D.C.©
Shawn Paul Sauve, 1997
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