Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

The Toronto Airport Vineyard

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
"On January 20th, 1994, the Holy Spirit apparently landed with the force of a squadron of 747 jetliners at the Airport Vineyard Church in Toronto. Midway through a service, a power swept through the church that left people weeping uncontrollably or laughing hysterically. It continues to this day." It is called an awakening by some, and a revival by others. Pastors and lay-people from various denominations, not only from Canada and the USA, but also from Europe and Asia, have been there or are planning to go there to obtain their "Toronto Blessing," or "Catch the Fire." David Mainse, leader of '100 Huntley Street' is reported to have given his "unreserved endorsement and enthusiastic approval of 'the holy laughter revival.'" The editor of the Christian Courier (formerly Calvinist Contact) is "inclined to think well of the Toronto Blessing." But Ken Campbell, founder of the Ken Campbell Evangelistic Association, and a Baptist who calls himself a "non-tongue-speaking charismatic" expressed alarm at was is happening at the Vineyard. Campbell is concerned about "the un-biblical elements in the Vineyard renewal" as "tragically divisive to the Body of Christ, and needs to be noted and addressed by responsible spiritual leadership."

Meanwhile, "Fire Conferences" have broken out in other parts of the world through pastors who have returned to their own congregations after having received the "Blessing" in Toronto. One such "Fire Conference" was held in Edinburgh, Scotland, complete with people laughing hysterically, roaring like lions, and gibbering like monkeys. Nick Needham, a theological lecturer, has given an eye-witness report of this conference in the March 1995 issue of The Banner of Truth* magazine, entitled "Have We Gone Mad?" In this same issue Rev. Iain Murray gives a book review of "Catch the Fire: The Toronto Blessing." He points out that "it is not imagined prophesyings which can change present spiritual conditions but rather attention to the infallible truths which the Holy Spirit has given in Scripture... God may be pleased to grant much blessing to earnest Christians who may have comparatively small theological understanding, but we do not believe that the way forward for the church today is to take up the distinctives of Pentecostalism in the hope of revival." (Gleaned from Christian Courier, Faith Today, SCP Newsletter, The Banner of Truth). We thank Mr. Needham and Rev. Murray for the "responsible spiritual leadership" called for by Ken Campbell. *Editor's Note: For literature on revivals we heartily recommend the book and literature ministry of The Banner of Truth Trust which publishes an also heartily recommended magazine, The Banner of Truth, not to be confused with publications of this name produced by the Netherlands Reformed Congregations. Rev. Murray has made a life-long study of revivals and his most recent book, Revival and Revivalism is most helpful in distinguishing the wheat from the chaff. These and other publications may be obtained from The Banner of Truth Trust, P.O. Box 621, Carlisle, PA 17013, USA.

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