The History of the Renewal Movement – Part 2

In Part 1 of the look at the History of the Renewal Movement, I posted the first half of my notes from my first talk at the Last Days Bible Conference, covering the pre-Renewal era as well as the first of four historic periods (1901-1947).  Now I’ll provide the rest of the notes, covering  the three remaining historic periods.


1947-1965 – Faith Healers and Prosperity Preachers

 1. The era started with many significant events:

a. World Pentecostal Conference.

i. This marked an increased time of organization, inter-denominational cooperation and Pentecostal recognition.

ii.  This also showed the world that the Pentecostal Movement was a vast and global force, not just some goofy little organization of sporadic North American and British churches.

b. The healing ministry of William Branham took off.


i. Branham was an uneducated fellow from Kentucky who struggled through 1946.

ii. His rise to fame came when in 1947 he hired Gordon Lindsay as his manager.

– Lindsay hired others to speak (i.e. well-known faith healing teacher F.F. Bosworth), but let Branham do the healing part.

– In 1951, despite the huge amount of money that he was making, Gordon Lindsay quit due to all the abuse he got from Branham.

iii. Once Lindsay left, people saw why Branham previously didn’t do the speaking at his own crusades:

– He pronounced himself to be Elijah.

– He taught annihilationism.

– He taught that women were sub-human.

– He taught that Eve had sexual intercourse with Satan and gave birth to Cain, and the offspring of Cain invented science and education (both of which were “evil”).

– He taught that denominations were the “mark of the beast” and anyone in a denomination was unregenerate.

– He taught that he was the messenger to the church at Laodicea.

– He taught that the Devil invented the doctrine of the Trinity.

– He taught that the second coming would be in 1977.

 c. The Latter Rain Revival seeds were planted.

i.  In Nov. 1947, some professors from Bethel Bible Institute in Saskatoon (Saskatchewan, Canada) went to see William Branham in Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada).

– Branham confirmed their suspicions that demons were behind every disease and also that the gospel should be accompanied with signs and wonders.

ii. They resigned from the college and moved to North Battleford (Saskatchewan, Canada), where they started a school.

– After several months of fasting and praying for the signs that they witnessed under Branham, in 1948 the students “fell under the power” and were slain in the spirit.

– They experienced healing, tongues, mass singing in tongues, healings, etc.

iii. They had some strange teachings.  They taught that:

–  Their movement was the “true Pentecost” since tongues, healing and also the 5-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers were restored.

– All denominations as apostate

– They had received a new “revelation” about impartation: Faith healers taught that they could transfer faith and/or healing by the laying on of hands, but the Latter Rain folks taught that they could transfer both spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit himself via the laying on of hands.

This was a distinctive change because previous to the Latter Rain movement, people would only get the gifts/the Spirit by tarrying (praying and waiting).  The idea of imparation was a shortcut to getting both spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit himself.  Instead of praying to receive tongues (or any other gift/manifestation) for weeks on end, a person simply had to be touched by someone else who had it.


iv. The Latter Rain revival spread all over North America rapidly.

v.  The Latter Rain movement was quickly opposed and suppressed.

– It was officially condemned by the Assemblies of God in 1949.

– The Assemblies of God put tremendous pressure on people to distance themselves from the Latter Rain movement.

– Though the movement essentially “went underground” due to denominational pressure, the practice of impartation via laying hands is definitely still around (in fact, it’s a rather explicitly mainstream Renewal practice). The Latter Rain proponents popularized the practice.

 d. Oral Roberts started his healing ministry in 1947.

i. Branham was the most famous faith healer of his era, but Oral Roberts was ultimately the most successful.

ii. Roberts is best known for a few things:

The Prosperity Gospel: He taught the principle of “Seed Faith”, where a person “sows a seed” to a ministry (i.e. gives money) in order to “reap” a blessing (with Roberts, it was health or answers to prayer…it quickly became money.)

– He is known for prayer cloths and direct mailing, but those were around before him (Smith Wigglesworth used prayer cloths and direct mailing was a technique adopted by Roberts for soliciting ministry funds)

iii. Oral Roberts also had more savvy than most of his other competitors in the faith healing circuit.

– He started the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship with Demos Sharkarian in 1951.

– When all the faith healers were discredited by negative press in the 1950’s (i.e. when “man of God” A.A. Allen was arrested for drunk driving in Tennessee in 1955 and then claimed that he was kidnapped by people seeking to discredit him and had alcohol forcibly poured down his throat), Roberts wisely distanced himself from the “faith healer” scandals by shifting his focus strictly to evangelism in the 1960’s.

– He cultivated friendships with other powerful evangelicals who weren’t Pentecostals: namely Billy Graham and Carl Henry.

iv. He was one of the pioneers of televangelism.

– He started on TV in 1954 and was on 130 stations by 1958.


v. He started Oral Roberts University.

– ORU has become one of the most influential Christian universities in the World.

– The ORU board of directors & board of reference is a “who’s who” in the modern Renewal circles…as well as a “who’s who” in Prosperity Gospel/NAR circles.

 2. The era also saw new acceptance of the Pentecostals.

a. In 1958, Billy Graham said “The Pentecostal movement can no longer be considered a fringe group in Protestantism for it is the fastest growing movement in Protestantism today and must be taken within the fold of Protestantism.”

b. In 1959, Thomas Zimmerman, general superintendent of the AOG was elected the president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

– This may not have marked the full-blown acceptance of the Pentecostal Movement by broader evangelicalism, but Pentecostals were now in charge of the main organization of evangelicalism.

 3. This era also saw the overflow of Pentecostal theology and practice into non-Pentecostal denominations: The Charismatic Movement.

a. The Charismatic Movement ultimately began in August of 1959 when Dennis Bennett, a priest from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, CA spoke in tongues.

i. Bennett didn’t share his experience with his church until April 3, 1960.

ii. The outrage was so extreme that he resigned in the 2nd service.

iii. Bennett quickly moved to St. Luke’s Episcopal in Olympia, WA and that church grew from a few dozen to over 2,000.

iv. From St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Bennett shared his Spirit baptism with Lutherans, Presbyterians, and other mainline Protestants.

 4. The reason I selected 1965 as the closing year for this period was three-fold:

a. William Branham died in 1965, marking the end of the era of the Faith Healers.

b. Chuck Smith started at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, CA.

c. John Wimber spoke in tongues for the first time (Not that he influenced anyone at all).


1966-1982 – The Chapel plants a Vineyard

1. In Catholicism

a. In 1966 two professors from Duquenne University (a Catholic university) secretly attending Pentecostal meetings to learn about what happened.

b. On a retreat in 1967 the professors and students sought the baptism of the Spirit and received it: they spoke in tongues, were slain in the Spirit, got holy laughter and rolled on the floor.

c. That kicked off a series of revivals that grew exponentially in Catholic circles, including some huge Charismatic revivals at Notre Dame.

d. Oral Roberts, David DuPlessis and Vinson Synan were all instrumental in eventually gaining acceptance for the Catholic Charismatics in Pentecostal denominations.

e.  This is far more significant than one might think as approximately 1/5 of the global Renewal is Catholic (i.e. 100 million plus, including the current pope)

 2. In Pentecostalism

a. The Independent Pentecostals and the denominations all experienced tremendous growth in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

i. The televangelists built colossal empires worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  People like:

– Rex Humbard

– Pat Robertson

– Oral Roberts

– Jim Bakker and Paul Crouch (co-founders of Trinity Broadcasting Network)

– Jimmy Swaggart

ii. By 1971, the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship had grown to 300,000 members in 87 countries (all of whom were directly influenced by people like Oral Roberts).

iii. The Jesus Movement of the 1970’s was an evangelism explosion that led to millions of people joining churches in all denominations.

iv. This was the era where the main prosperity gospel preachers all got popular: Kenneth Hagin, Keneth Copeland, Oral Roberts, Frederick K.C Price, Jim Bakker, Paul Crouch, Jimmy Swaggart, Morris Cerullo, Robert Tilton, John Osteen, etc.

 3. In Calvary Chapel

a. Calvary Chapel started when Chuck Smith left the Foursquare church due to their charismatic excesses, started pastoring Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa (25 people), and started targeting the hippies for evangelism (with some rather amazing success).

Chuck Preaching

i. Calvary Chapel would be the beginning of a far more bible-oriented strain of the Renewal: tongues speaking without all the outlandish manifestations and craziness.

ii. Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, grew to be a gigantic church (10,000+) but also planted dozens of churches that grew to be monster churches.

b. In 1965, John Wimber first spoke in tongues as he was working at a Quaker Church in Yorba Linda, CA.

i. In 1977, Wimber joined the Calvary Chapel.

ii. After some preaching and study, Wimber realized that signs and wonders needed to accompany the proclamation of the gospel.

iii. Wimber soon had his first healing and in 1980, he had a revival where hundreds of people fell, shook, sobbed, spoke in tongues, etc.

iv. Within 2 years, Calvary Chapel, Yorba Linda, was several thousand people.

v. In 1982, Chuck Smith and other challenged Wimber on the wild practices going on in Yorba Linda.

– Once Wimber wouldn’t budge on its focus on healing and spiritual manifestations, Yorba Linda was asked to drop “Calvary Chapel” from their name.

– Wimber’s church took the “Vineyard” name and started a new denomination when 30 other Calvary Chapels, and 8 other churches, joined the new “Vineyard” movement.

– The 1982 break with Calvary Chapel is the break of this era since when John Wimber was liberated from the restraints of the Calvary Chapel movement, he was free to pursue his own theological ideas without hindrance.

– Wimber had been previously working with C. Peter Wagner (both teaching at Fuller Seminary) for years, and they would move far away from the theologically cautious positions of their Calvary Chapel associates.

 1982- Present- Meltdowns, Fall Downs and Beat Downs

– The next 30+ years were marked by many scandals, growth, and an emphasis on revivalism that got out of control.

1. The Scandals. (Here’s a small sampling)

a. In 1987, Jim Baker went to prison for fraud, having sold tens of thousands of lifetime memberships for people to stay for at his 500 room hotel in Heritage USA (a technique previously used by Rex Humbard…though slightly more successfully).

i. Also, it was revealed that he had paid $279,000 in hush money to Jessica Hahn, a woman with whom he had an affair.

– I’ll never forget watching the news and seeing Jim Bakker, crying his eyes out, being taken into custody by US. Marshalls.

Jim Bakker

b. In 1988, Jimmy Swaggart was involved in a sex scandal involving a prostitute. He was removed from the Assemblies of God, but did it again in 1991.

c. In 1989, Oral Roberts’ medical school closed after he raised the money for it in 1987 by sharing a vision where Jesus threatened to kill him if he didn’t get the money.

 2. The Growth

a. The Calvary Chapel movement kept growing in the 1980’s, becoming the largest denomination in California.

b. The Vineyard sprouted off several church movements and continued to spread around the world.

c. The Renewal exploded around the world in this era as well, with the Charismatics in Africa, South America and the Pacific Rim growing to numerically surpass the Charismatics in North America.

i. Though Lakewood Church in Houston, TX. has around 45,000 members, there are several churches in other countries that are far larger.

 3. The Revivals

a. The Argentinian Revival (1982-? – I’m not sure when it “ended”)

i. After the Falklands War ended in 1982, an Assemblies of God pastor named Claudio Friedzon held some crusades and his church grew to 2,000 by 1986. Now, it claims to be over 100,000 people.

ii. Steve Hill worked in Argentina under Friedzon for 7 years during this time.

iii. The revival in Argentina was marked by healings, tongues, laughing, being slain in the Spirit, and weeping in the Spirit.

b. Carpenter’s House Revival in Lakeland, Florida. (1993-94)

i. Karl Strader was the host pastor

ii. Rodney Howard Browne was the visiting speaker.

iii. This was the “laughing revival” where people would laugh uncontrollably, as well as get “drunk in the Spirit” and get stuck to the floor with “holy glue”.

iv. After Carpenter’s House, Rodney Howard Browne went to Kenneth Hagin’s Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa where he imparted the laughing anointing to Randy Clark, pastor of a Vineyard church in St. Louis.

(Here’s a little glimpse into what exactly was going on: Howard Brown is the guy with the microphone telling jokes in tongues)

v. Randy Clark then took that anointing to Toronto, where he imparted it to John Arnott.

c. The Toronto Revival (1994-2000)

i. John Arnott was the host pastor.

ii. Randy Clark was the visiting speaker.

iii. After being prayed for by Benny Hinn (over 50 times, with no lasting effect), John Arnott went to Argentina in 1993 and had Claudio Friedzon lay hands on him. Friedzon got the impartation from Howard Brown and passed it on to Arnott, but it didn’t work.

iv. Arnott then heard that Randy Clark had Howard Browne’s impartation and invited him to bring the anointing to Toronto.

v. January 20, 1994 with meetings led by Randy Clark and that impartation produced the revival.

vi. The revival in Toronto was known for its distinctive elements: barking (at the start) and gold teeth/gold dandruff (at the end).

Dr. Teeth

d. The Brownsville Revival (1995 – 2000)

i. John Kilpatrick was the host pastor.

ii. Steve Hill was the visiting speaker.

iii. Started Father’s Day, June 17, 1995

iv. It was known for people jerking and quaking.

v. It lasted until around 2,000.

e. The Lakeland Revival (2008)

i. Steven Strader (son of Carl) was the host pastor.

ii. Todd Bentley was the visiting speaker.

iii. Started April 2, 2008

iv. Was known for Todd Bentley’s stories of him kicking and punching people.

(Watch it for yourself)

v. It was considered the first “internet driven” revival…and likely the most documented fraud in history.

vi. Claims were made galore, but not a shred of evidence was brought forth for any of it.

vii. Effectively ended August 11, 2008 when Todd Bentley left due to scandal.

4. The NAR

a. In 1998, C. Peter Wagner wrote a book on what he considered New Apostolic Churches.

b. He did a bunch of research into church growth both in North America and internationally, and invited those whom he considered influential leaders to share what was making their churches grow with such magnitude.

c. In essence, the N.A.R. is a combination of all the worst elements of Renewal theology:

i. The Shepherding Movement.

ii. Prosperity Gospel.

iii. Obsession with signs and wonders

iv. Willful ignorance of history.

v. Theologically Insane Spiritual Warfare.

d. In a telling move, Wagner moved his Wagner Leadership Institute headquarters to to New Life Church of Colorado Springs shortly before then pastor, Ted Haggard, was fired for doing crystal meth and “getting massages” (or so he claimed) from a homosexual prostitute for three years.

How’s that for an authenticating sign of C. Peter Wagner’s claims of being an apostle and prophet?


So right now, the New Apostolic Reformation is the big new “move of the Spirit.”  The NAR is composed of churches that unite old heresies in new packaging and there’s no shortage of Renewal celebrities & leaders that are either endorsing or conveniently ignorant of it.

Next to nobody is speaking out against it, and the next post will start to explain why.

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “Trying to be objective, but slipping up a few times near the end…” Unger


9 thoughts on “The History of the Renewal Movement – Part 2

  1. Great series, Lyndon. I cannot (but must) wait for the video/podcast.

    Have you ever met a ‘recovering’ charismatic or pentecostal? Have you ever tried to (patiently) persuade them of the bankruptcy (scripturally, historically) of their system?

    I have not nor have I ever been able to persuade someone. The reason (excuse) I run into every time is: I ‘SAW’ it happen! Or any version of ‘personal experience’!

    I was surprised at the number of Catholic charismatics, although I run into them from time to time.

    I do run into rabid independent fundies (the KJV Only kind) who used to hate the pentecostals and ‘Calvinists’ with equal rage but now are mellowing to the pentecostal experience…go figure, huh?

    I hope you are in full recovery, than God, fer sher!

    Waiting patiently for Part 3. (No I’m not but…!)

    M. Howard Kehr

    • Aklone dingo, You’ve met one now. I expect you will meet more in the future so please don’t give up on trying to help them. I personally came from Gateway Church. They previously kept their Pentecostal roots on the quiet side, but they are moving towards full Four Square mode. As a result many others are leaving as well. The same is true for other mega churches in the Charismatic circles. What you and Mennoknight say and write will help all of us exiles move forward in faith and not give up on God. We need to read stuff like the above in order to not make the same mistakes theologically in the future. May God bless you both richly for helping others. This series is just incredible!!!

      • LT, Dude! So great to meet you!

        I think my point was not that they are not ‘out there’ but more to their rarity.

        It is truly, truly, truly by GOD’s grace we ‘come out’ of some form of…something (here, in this conversation, ‘alternative’ christianity, for others, condemnation) to, and as I say over and over, the foot of the cross in utter humility and thankfulness (I’m a recovering Indie/Fundie/KJV only/Chafer-Scofield dispensationalist).


        M. Howard Kehr

    • Hi, I’m another one. It was the Lakeland revival that prompted my change. Half the charismatic world was following Todd Bentley, yet it was obvious to me that he was a fraud. I started to check things out in more detail and realised EVERYTHING continuationist was false. But remember that the vast majority of pentecostals and charismatics (not sure about catholic charismatics, though) are our brothers in the Lord – they are sincere born-again christians who have sadly been taken in by a massive deception.

  2. Pingback: The Fatal Flaws of the Renewal – Part 1 | Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely…

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