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Biblical OR Mysticism?

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by Todd Tomasella

    “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Ephesians 4:14-15

What is now called “soaking” is the experience whereby people gather to sort of marinate before the LORD. Like the so-called “revivals” of the 1990’s, they will lay and seek to conjure up the presence of God which is an experience foreign to the biblical revelation revealed in the 27 book canon of the New Testament. There were prayer meeting in the NT for specific purposes, but never a soak till we get something meeting (Acts 12). While “soaking” this they think they are being filled or saturated with the LORD’s presence, yet there are some strange things associated with this type activity as we saw in the false revivals of the recent past. What is now being called “soaking” is simply a repackaging and re-entry of the strange fire experiences we saw in the Toronto and Brownsville “revivals” which did not align with what we see in the Word, so are to be exposed as such.

The following should give some insight into the origins of this experienced-based (not truth-based) movement that we see now see. Here is an excerpt taken from an article entitled What is really going on in the church?:

    “It was Benny Hinn who inaugurated Rodney Browne into ministry at one of his meetings in the early 90's from there he went to Hagin and then Copeland's church, then TBN and the rest is history.
    Browne says this much Chaos must be from the holy ghost. This is clearly double-talk . The Holy Ghost of the bible does not create chaos he turns chaos into order. Browne describes the spirit he calls holy as a force like electricity running out of his fingers bouncing off and deflecting to others. Is this describing the holy ghost of the scripture or a power that is running amuck in their services. He's got everyone under his spell of laughter thinking that anything that goes on at these meetings even if they are clearly unbiblical is of the holy Ghost. This is the new order of

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    another spirit not the Holy Spirit of God. He (Rodney Howard Browne) states : "I'd rather be in a church where the devil and the flesh are manifesting than in a church where nothing is happening because people are too afraid to manifest anything... and if a devil manifests, don’t worry about that either. Rejoice because at least something is happening." One could write several volumes chronicling the errors in the above statement. A revival of the Spirit does not manifest the flesh. God says clearly that if one walks in the Spirit, that he will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. (Gal. 5:1 6). These are contrary to each other. The works of the flesh will never compliment the workings of the Spirit. If the devil and the flesh are manifesting in a meeting, I would hope that it was an exorcism and the devil would be leaving rather than staying and participating! Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, not to put him on display.”

Did you catch this? Rodney Howard Browne states: "I'd rather be in a church where the devil and the flesh are manifesting than in a church where nothing is happening because people are too afraid to manifest anything... and if a devil manifests, don’t worry about that either. Rejoice because at least something is happening." Is there any doubt that Browne here invited and brought in demons to the body of Christ? Woe to those gatekeepers (shepherds, pastors) who allowed this abomination and used the name of the LORD in vain by attaching His holy name to this wickedness!

Is there any remotely similar experience seen in Holy Scripture as today’s new “soaking” movement and experience? Or, is this yet another fad movement spawned from so-called “revivals” of the no-too-distant past? Is this “soaking” phenomenon another of the latest “winds of doctrine” blowing through the modern church world? Should such be weighed in the balance against Holy Scripture to see if it is of God OR just blindly received?

    “The simple (naive; undiscerning) believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” Proverbs 14:15

    “Prove (test) all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

    “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

In God’s economy, being gullible is a curse and not a virtue. Being a nice little, easy-going and agreeable Christian is not the goal of Christ for His disciples and is completely inconsistent with the lives of the apostles and early church.

It is incumbent upon the last day saints of the LORD to look very closely at new fad experiences and doctrines blowing through the church world, especially in light of the predecessor “revivals” of the 1990’s, where men and women rolled around on the floor barking and roaring like animals. For this writer such activities are not hearsay - I was there. These “revivals” we know bore not the fruit of a true biblical revival.

How naive shall we be? Shall we again buy into that which has no connection to biblical Christianity?

The following 3 points on Gnosticism are taken from

And yes, incorporates three key tenets of Gnosticism:

    • 1. Faith and knowledge based primarily on personal or mystical experience rather than the Word.
    • 2. Emphasis on self-knowledge and emotional well-being or healing, rather than Biblical knowledge of God and His freedom through the cross and cleansing through His blood (already accomplished).
    • 3. Illogical and feeling-based interpretations of His Word.

George Parker writes:

    I have witnessed two prayer soaks, and each time my spiritual antenna began to blink.

    I believe that all it is, is a form of new age mysticism, that has come about by the new age gospel that has infiltrated the Body of Christ since Eugene Peterson's perverted and watered down version of God's Inspired Word, which is nothing more than a new age perversion. And Rick Warren's new age gospel of having a purpose-driven life.”

“Soaking” is at its premise self-serving and may yield what occult practices do - a false peace and a false joy. I think it appropriate to compare this “soaking” experience movement with the occult practices of Yoga and other world religions which do not honor the one true God by acknowledging Jesus Christ as the only LORD and Savior. Do pagan world religions not incorporate this same mindless meditation? Aren’t people instructed to wait and conjure up things? Doesn’t this seem consistent with what we see in the “soaking” experiences we see coming into the church world? The object of worship in false religions is ultimately self. “Soaking” is waiting and basking with self-help (helping self) at heart, not worshiping God in Spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:23-24). Is this not all a vain endeavor to better our depraved selves? This sound familiar? Look at what Lucifer did just before being eternally condemned by God (note the 5 “I”’s of the devil):

    “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Isaiah 14:12-15

Self-exaltation forever severed Satan from the Almighty. This movement seems to follow the pomp philosophy of Lucifer while cloaking itself as a Christian experience, yet with no biblical grounds.

At the heart of the divine economy is the worship of God and elevating of others above self (Matt. 22:37-39).

To show just how widespread this “soaking” phenomenon is becoming, here below is an excerpt from John Arnott, pastor of the Airport Vinyard in Toronto where the laughing revival started in the 1990’s. During this “Toronto Blessing” movement, people roared and did many strange animalistic things under the circus leaders of this movement who had no Scripture to justify such wierd and unusual, unnatural manifestations.


"Let's get back to supernatural church" by John Arnott

    • · "...we hear the term, 'church without walls' but what does this mean? While it can mean sending teams from a local church outside the church’s walls to minister in homes and in the marketplace, I believe it is much more than that. If we are going to reach this world for Jesus, we need a completely new model of doing church ...
    • · "I believe the vision God gave us here in Toronto for Soaking Prayer Centers all over the world is a great response to the Great Commission. In just over one year, we have had over 4,000 people order our 'Soaking Kit' and begin a small group of 'called out ones' in their homes....
    • · "Why the interest? Because it is a quick, simple way to get involved into the supernatural ministry of Jesus and start helping people receive healing, deliverance and freedom, to come into the joy of the Lord and be filled with the Spirit. The Soaking Kit includes all the basic information you need to start your own 'soaking center' in your home or business."

Much could be said about these words of Mr. Arnott. Notice these words from Arnott concerning “soaking”: “Because it is a quick, simple way to get involved into the supernatural ministry of Jesus and start helping people receive healing, deliverance and freedom, to come into the joy of the Lord and be filled with the Spirit.” Sound smooth? Sound biblical? Since when is walking with Christ and doing ministry “quick”? Is there a “quick, simple way to get involved into the supernatural ministry”? Is “soaking” a “supernatural ministry” of the Holy Spirit or “another spirit”? (2 Cor. 11:4) This is the false premise for this whole “soaking” movement - a “quick, simple way” to get around a true walk with God which requires Jesus increasing and we decreasing - the crucifixion of the fleshly nature with fastings, prayer, repentance and obedience (2 Chronicles 7:14).

In Psalms 51 we see a divine sequence: first purging then filling, and then ministry. Real ministry is not a “quick” fix, but rather a relationally-based preparation that requires that the believer humble himself under the mighty hand of God for purging and cleansing that he might be “a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”

    “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:19-21

Tell-Tale Fruit

    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-23

From personal experience in this 1990’s “blessing” movement (and study of it), this writer has concluded that there was very little fruit of the Holy Spirit produced in those supposed “revivals”. The fruit of the supposed “revivals” of the 1990’s was not “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness...” If such is true, do we conclude that it was a blessing or a curse? When God really moves (revival), there will be deep repentance, total trust, praise, Holy Ghost filling, water baptism, doctrinal purity, and a deep hunger for the Word! Read Acts.

“God is love” and those who truly know Him serve Him according to His Word which includes lifting up others above self (rather than self-seeking). See 1 John.

Where is the love? Are these revivals producing true Christian, Christ-like love, where people lay down their lives for their LORD and the brethren? This “soaking” phenomenon is to be weighed no different than when we are in our local gatherings and sing, clap, dance and shout to the LORD in praise and yet never reach out with Christian love to commune with and bless the brethren of the LORD. Such deficiency of Christ-like love clearly reveals an empty outward religious exercise void of the true substance of worship. In the 1990’s and today, the same people who lay on the floor for hours “soaking” seem to get up without exhibiting greater fruit or evidence of the Holy Ghost. Where is the love that is always characerized by loving one’s neighbor? No, instead it seems to be just another selfish experience where people come to get blessd instead of being one, just like the rich woman who lives to be pampered by others giving her massages, pedicures and facials. Those involved in these fad modern church and self-seeking “revivals” still seem to lack the love, real joy, and peace always consistent with the work of the Spirit of God. Such fruit will only come to those who sincerely worship from the depths of their hearts and are doers of the Word and not those who are sitting around doing little or nothing and waiting to be further pampered and fattened by “soaking”.

Do you really want to know how to judge or test this movement or any movement for its authenticity or lack thereof? Jesus commanded: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) The LORD also said “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19 The book of Proverbs says “He that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov. 11:30) True revival brings repentance and preaching of the Good News - the Gospel - from all truly touched by the LORD. Any other fruit other than that shown in Holy Scripture reveals that a so-called move of God is not biblical, and points to deception and not true revival. Read these following words of Jesus carefully:

    “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another.” John 15:9-17

Obedience to the LORD Jesus and His Word in the laying down of one’s life and preferring others above oneself is the fruit of true revival. Anything short of this clearly reveals a false revival.

Who truly loves Jesus? Want to let Jesus answer this question?

    “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him…Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” John 14:21, 23

According to Jesus, those who follow and obey Him are blessed with His presence. The presence of the LORD is in and with those who are following Him and therefore in motion expanding His kingdom - doing His bidding, not their own (self-seeking).

“Charity...Seeketh not Her Own”

    “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Doers or Deceivers?

    “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” James 1:22

Abiding in His Love:

    “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” John 15:9-14

The LORD is looking for those who will abide in relationship with Him and obey His Word from a sincere heart of worship. Beloved, bringing your pillow to church to lay on the floor and “soak” is a farce and a fable at best. This is not what the church needs - more coddling while doing little or nothing to obey Jesus. The true church is being called to fasting, prayer, seeking His holy face and obedience to the Word of God and not to be further pampered and fattened, and deluded with more strange fire experiences brought into the church world by the promised false prophets of the last hour (Matt. 24:4-4,11,24; 1 Tim. 4:1-6; 2 Tim. 3:7; 2 Pet. 2-2; Jude 3-4, etc.).

Remember what Christ told us about the believers at Laodicea?

    “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:14-17

Does the already overfed, overweight, do-nothing western world church need even more spoiling? This may sound harsh on the surface, yet I think the question has merit, all things given. Do you?

Have you noticed the pleasure-seeking craze and emphasis of the last few years which is usually cloaked behind some spiritual veneer? Paralleled with the advent of the day spa explosion across the western world, the indulgence and excess of those in the church world has come of age as foretold by the apostles of our LORD - “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud...heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim. 3:1-7)

It seems that today people will do anything but what Jesus told us to do and find “biblical” justification for it. But God sees the heart motives and intents of men and will bring these things to the light on that Great and Terrible Day of Judgment.

Concerning soaking, George Parker wrote us and says:

    “...prayer soaking and they use all sorts of Scriptures, but I believe that all they are doing is what writers call ‘proof texting’, using Scripture to back up to unproven truth.

    Now if ‘Prayer Soaking’ is Scriptural, then how come it has take over a thousand years to become a force.”

How do you think the people of the world who do not know the LORD view those in the church world who are engrossed in seeking continual self-indulgence, treatment and excess?

The question must be asked: Why would the LORD further pamper people who are not being obedient and fruitful in His harvest as it is? Are we not a bunch of spiritual weaklings?

    “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” Jeremiah 12:5

While some misled Americans, claiming to be serving the LORD, seek to further pamper their poor little hurting buttocks (due to sitting too much), a large number of true believers in Christ across the world live in danger of martyrdom every day for their faith.


    “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

    “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Acts 8:4

Those who are authentically touched by the LORD are to be His ambassadors to advance His eternal coming kingdom and not be preoccupied with pampering themselves. The Gospel is moving and those who possess and are possessed by it are on the “go”. Those moved by the LORD from Heaven do exploits among the lost people of their world and the LORD gives His presence to bless and empower them. They don’t congregate to “soak” in more self-seeking, self-indulgent, and self-serving experiences.

    “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. …And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” Mark 16:15-20

The LORD who alone saves, has called all who believe to “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.” Because they are on the “go” in obedience to Him, the LORD says here that He will be “confirming the word with signs following.” Jesus is not going to confirm or bless laziness and self-indulgence with His presence or “signs.”

“I Told You”

    “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.” Matthew 24:24-25

While we pamper ourselves even more, we further lessen our chances of overcoming when the coming persecution hits within our borders. We have seen nothing yet. God help us in this hour to fast, pray and be broken while the light is still with us. Jesus warned “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” (John 12:35)

The persecutions that lie just ahead in this nation will be devastating to those who aren’t being prepared in this hour by exercising the Word - doing it. These who have bought into this latest of strange fire experiences, are being further blinded and deluded.

    “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:5-6

“They Have Cast Fire into Thy Sanctuary”

    “Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt. Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary. Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs.…They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground.” Psalms 74:2-4,7

Leviticus 10 issues forth the severe warning against false prophets who bring “strange fire” among the people of God. The false prophets came under divine judgment and were killed.

    “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.” Leviticus 10:1-3

In my estimation, this “soaking” movement/experience is yet another ridiculous scheme of the enemy to further embalm God’s people and keep them in bondage to self-serving experiences instead of the true worship of the LORD which leads one to love God supremely, deny self, take up the cross, and elevate others above self in truly following Christ. The sad thing is that so many today who are empty after walking through several supposed “revivals”, still go on blindly into yet another fad movement which has literally no biblical reconciliation. This movement will again leave them empty and vulnerable to the next delusion.

Think about it: Isn’t it easier to “soak” than to serve? Isn’t laying around doing “floor time” (their wording) the easy way out? Are these people not being led to follow the line of least resistance by vainly believing one is marinating in the presence of God while “soaking”? Is this in lieu of doing what the LORD told us to do in His Word?

How naive shall we continue to be? How long will we be led around with the enemies hand by the nose and think we are being led by the Holy Spirit? How long shall we take the LORD’s name in vain by labeling false movements like this as from Him? How long shall we refuse to judge and test everything against the Word? How long shall we be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive”? (Eph. 4:14)

Did the LORD ever instruct anyone in Scripture to marinate or “soak”? Or, did He instruct His people to mortify the selfish desires of the sinful nature? See Romans 6. Has the Almighty changed?

    “For I am the LORD, I change not.” Malachi 3:6

What is the unchanging LORD looking for? Can we allow God to answer this one for Himself?

    “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” Isaiah 66:2

    “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23

Whether they realize it or not, those who participate in this strange fire soaking movement are rejecting the Word of God and rebelling. If He didn’t tell us to do such in His Word, we are rejecting Him and His Word to do such.

Isn’t this “soaking” experience just another opportunity for western “Christians” to find another excuse not to deny self, take up the cross and truly follow Christ by doing the real work of the Gospel? Is this just another great escape from true repentance of life and brokenness before the LORD?

    “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

    What are your thoughts on this article?