30-4-2014 1:00 PM
The Toronto Blessing: Key to Evaluating Recent Revivals
The charismatic revivals of recent decades have sparked as much controversy as they have revival fires. Pentecostal and charismatic churches generally embraced the revivals at Toronto (1994), Pensacola (1995-2000), Lakeland (2008), and Mobile (2010) as genuine works of the Holy Spirit, but non-charismatic Christians are often unsure of what to think. On the one hand, Christians do not want to be so gullible that they believe any miracle report or legitimize any manifestation as authentic. On the other hand, Christians do not want to attribute the work of the Holy Spirit to the flesh or to the devil. Evaluating any revival movement is therefore a serious undertaking, but conclusions must be drawn after close inspection. This paper argues that the Toronto Blessing, from which the subsequent revivals were spawned, was not a genuine revival of God because of its promotion of signs and wonders (in place of repentance and salvation), its misguided emphasis upon the Holy Spirit (in place of Jesus Christ), and its counterfeit manifestations which are not from the Holy Spirit. This paper examines the theological background, the key leaders, the revival itself, and the legacy of the Toronto Blessing before offering a critique of the movement.