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Introduction

INTRODUCTION/RODNEY HOWARD-BROWNE

My earliest exposure to the Laughter Movement was in the latter part of 1994 when I read a feature article on Rodney Howard Browne in Stephen Strang's Charisma Magazine. The so called "outbreaks of revivals" drew my interest and attention but the manifestation of Laughter in these meetings sounded unscriptural to me. So I put the matter off my mind for a season, so to say. My interest was rekindled some time later when there was a local outbreak of laughter among people I personally knew but again I shrugged it off as perhaps something "of the flesh" and something having no spiritual significance. Then one fine day it dawned upon me that a thing of the flesh cannot possibly spread from Toronto to the United Kingdom and to Australia and New Zealand and even to our shores here in such a short period of time. Certainly there could not have been that many actors and actresses acting out their parts in so many cities of the world at the same time! Since then the burden in my heart has been to delve into the root of this phenomenon using God's Word as my spiritual lamp. The notes appended below and following are the result of months of critical analysis and research through the Bible, books, magazines, articles downloaded from the Internet, videos of Rodney Howard Browne, personal observation and testimonies from many different sources.

RODNEY HOWARD BROWNE-THE FOUNDER AND ORIGINATOR OF THE LAUGHTER MOVEMENT
The basis of our Christian Faith is in the person of Jesus Christ. We are christians because we believe what the Lord says in the Bible. So likewise we have to know something about the founder of the Laughter Movement and the kind of things he says so that we can decide whether to put our faith in him or not. Who then is Rodney Howard-Browne and what are the things he says?

"In July of 1979, at eighteen years of age, Rodney M. Howard-Browne of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, reached a crossroads in his life....... while at an interdenominational prayer meeting with about eighteen young people at this time, he cried out to the Lord, `God, either you come down here tonight and touch me, or I'm going to die and come up there and touch you.' He began shouting, frightening nearly everyone who was present. He shouted for twenty minutes......"(1)

Now the first thing to note is that Rodney Howard-Browne reached a crossroad in his life. There is nothing wrong with a crossroad provided you take the right turning. A wrong spiritual turning could be disastrous!

If you analyse Rodney's prayer carefully you will notice the following points:

*THIS PRAYER SAYS LET MY WILL BE DONE INSTEAD OF LET THY WILL BE DONE

*THIS PRAYER VIOLATES THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.
God's Word says that we can only receive what is given [to us] from above. In the spiritual realm, God initiates sovereignly; our duty is to align ourselves to His Will and purpose.
John 3:27
27 To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. (NIV)

*THIS PRAYER IS NOT HEARD BECAUSE GOD ONLY HEARS PRAYER THAT IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS WILL......
I Jn 5:14
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (NIV
)

Notice that Rodney Howard Browne threatened to commit suicide if his demand was not met.

When we try to arm-twist or demand something from God, we are in essence asking for something OUT OF HIS WILL. So according to the above Scripture, when we ask out of HIS WILL, God does not hear us. On the other hand, someone else will hear and answer us. We must be aware that there are other spiritual forces at work in this universe.

"In a 1994 interview on TBN with Paul Crouch, Rodney Howard-Browne said.....while he was preaching.... `People began to fall out of their seats...rolling on the floor. The air was moving. People began to laugh uncontrollably while there wasn't anything funny....."(2)

So began the so-called Laughter Revival in the United States. Now if you look carefully at Figure No.1 you will notice that this "laughter anointing" passed down from Rodney Howard-Browne to Randy Clark (who apparently came close to a nervous breakdown in 1993) and from Randy Clark the "anointing" passed downwards again to John Arnott, the present pastor of the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church. John's church was apparently in a "hospital mode", (presumably spiritually sick), before the outpouring of the Laughter anointing. Later, John himself described this anointing as `highly contagious and transferable."(3) The services in this church are reputed to have gone on for six nights a week since January 1994. From Toronto, this Laughter Movement has spread to many parts of the world. The ultimate source of the Laughter Movement therefore is still Rodney Howard-Browne.

Now let us analyse some of the things Rodney Howard-Browne says and whether his sayings have any Scriptural validity. The sayings of Rodney Howard-Browne (in italics) below are compared with Scriptures which are in bold.

SAYINGS OF RODNEY HOWARD BROWNE

RODNEY HOWARD-BROWNE SAYS...
"As long as something is happening it really does not matter if it is of God, of man or of the devil." Personal Freedom Outreach Newsletter, Personal Freedom Outreach, PO Box 26062, St Louis, USA Pages 3, 4 and 5.

I Jn 4:1
1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (NIV)

RODNEY HOWARD-BROWNE SAYS.....
" ...if you are a preacher of the gospel and you [are] no longer able to preach, I tell you that's a miracle. To quieten any preacher is a major move of God." Sign and Wonders Camp Meeting USA Video #5, April 1994

Rom 10:14
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (NIV)

RODNEY HOWARD BROWNE SAYS.....
"...the very air was moving. People began to laugh uncontrollably while there wasn't anything funny.... The less I preached, the more people were saved." A History of the Revival by Richard Riss, Page 5

Mark 16:15-16
15 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (NIV)

RODNEY HOWARD-BROWNE SAYS......
"One night I was preaching on hell, and laughter just hit the whole place. The more I told people what hell was like, the more they laughed" Charisma Magazine, August 1994, page 24.

Luke 16:23-24
23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
24 So he called to him, `Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' (NIV)

"Zacharias was struck dumb for nine months........And somebody said, `well that was a curse'. But it really wasn't...." Video entitled "The Holy Laugh", United Kingdom 1994

Luke 1:18-20
18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
20 And, behold, THOU SHALT BE DUMB, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, BECAUSE THOU BELIEVEST NOT MY WORDS, which shall be fulfilled in their season. (KJV) Emphasis Mine

RODNEY HOWARD-BROWNE SAYS.....
"Let it flow like a river, let it flow like a river. GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE WAY. Let it bubble out of your belly like rivers of living water...." Video entitled "The Coming Revival", Carpenter's Home Church, Lakeland, Florida.

Luke 10:27
27 He answered:"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your MIND'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (NIV) Emphasis Mine

RODNEY HOWARD-BROWNE SAYS......
"I can see some of you praying.DON'T PRAY. Pray when you get back into the car....." From a tract entitled "The Toronto Blessing, No Laughing Matter, published by Old Paths Publishing House, PO BOX 126, Singapore 9155.

1Thes 5:17-18
17 PRAY CONTINUALLY;
18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV) Emphasis Mine.

As you can see from the above, the sayings of Rodney Howard-Browne are contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Are you going to believe Rodney Howard-Browne or are you going to believe the Inspired Word of God?

Nelson's Bible Dictionary defines a prophet as follows....

PROPHET
A person who spoke for God and who communicated God's message courageously to God's Chosen People-- the nation of Israel. Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers

A prophet is one who speaks God's Word. A false prophet is one who speaks God's Word falsely. He distorts the truth of God's Word. He also claims false revelation from God which is opposed to the Word of God. The verses below from Matthew Chapter 24 was spoken by Jesus to his disciples.

Matt 24:3-4
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"
4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. (NIV)

The disciples were believers. So, in essence, Jesus is warning the christians today to be careful `not to be deceived'. There is no point in warning the non-christians as they are already in a state of deception......

2 Cor 4:4
4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (NIV)

False Prophets operate through the process of deception. They lead christians into error (by distorting and twisting the Word of God). If it were possible, these false prophets would also deceive God's Elect by performing lying signs and wonders [and claiming these to be from the Holy Spirit].....

Matt 24:11
11 And many FALSE PROPHETS will rise up and DECEIVE and LEAD MANY INTO ERROR. (AMPLIFIED BIBLE-EMPHASIS MINE)

Matt 24:24
24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-- if that were possible. (NIV)

Remember that they will come IN HIS NAME and therefore mas-querade as "christian" ministers....

Matt 7:21-23
21 "Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, `LORD, LORD, DID WE NOT PROPHESY IN YOUR NAME, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
23 Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you EVILDOERS!' (NIV) Emphasis Mine.

Does the name Rodney Howard-Browne ring some bells now?

Go Back
Last Updated: Tuesday, 05 March, 1996

 





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