Very Bizarre 'Holy Laughter Annointing' Theology at Sarah Palin's Juneau Church
Mike Rose is the senior pastor of Juneau Christian Church, where Governor Sarah Palin attends when in residence in Juneau. The Alaska Update of the Alaska Assemblies of God featured a story on Palin's attendance at the 2008 Alaska District Council and stated that "Superintendent Ted Boatsman, who was Palin's junior high pastor at Wasilla Assembly of God, along with Pastor Mike Rose of Juneau Christian Center, where Palin presently attends church when in Juneau, laid hands on the Governor and led the Council in Prayer."
Watch Bruce Wilson's video - Palin's Churches and the Holy Laughter Anointing:
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Rose is well known as far away as Australia for his participation in the "new wave" of the Holy Spirit. Former General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Australia, Dr. Andrew Evans, has also been a supporter of the "new wave" and its manifestations which he lists as falling, shaking and drunkenness (in the Spirit),and uncontrollable weeping and laughing. (He has been a controversial figure for his belief that these manifestations would aid in church growth in his denomination in Australia although these activities have been repeatedly denounced as Deviant Behavior by the U.S. General Council.) Evans writes about Rose's ability to manage these manifestations in his church without excessive disruption of services. He also notes that Rose had been an advisor to Rodney Howard-Browne's Revival Ministries committee and had "sat in over 110 of Rodney's meetings." Andrew Evans went on to found the Family First Party of Australia.
Rodney Howard-Browne is one of the most controversial and publicized figures of the Third Wave movement. While many of the leaders have been almost invisible in the mainstream media, Howard-Browne and his Holy Laughter anointing have been covered by CNN , Time, Newsweek, PBS, and numerous British media outlets. Howard-Browne refers to himself in many of these articles as the "Holy Ghost bartender."
He is also one of the most controversial figures in the Evangelical world and is the subject of many hundreds of internet pages from other Evangelical and Fundamentalists discernment groups who view his unusual revival manifestations such as uncontrollable laughter, weeping, shrieking, and animal noises, as cultic. Other conservative Christians also find fault with Howard-Browne's end time belief that a unified and purified church is currently being restored through a "great awakening" that is manifesting itself through these "signs and wonders." Howard-Browne, like the other leaders of the Third Wave, believe that they are raising a great end time army that will take control of the world through spiritual warfare, and triumph over Satan before the millennial reign of Jesus. Many in the movement, such as C. Peter Wagner believe that the Apostolic age began in 2001. John Bevere, author of curriculum for the Master's Commission of Wasilla Assembly of God, believes that he is teaching the final generation before the Millennial which he calculates will begin in 2028 or 2029.
Rodney Howard-Browne and his family moved from South Africa to the United States in 1987, and settled in the Lakeland/Tampa area after having a successful revival at the church of Karl Strader, Lakeland's first Assemblies of God, Karl is father of Stephen Strader of Ignited Church and the current Lakeland Revival fame. Howard-Browne and his wife continued to lead revivals around the world and often worked closely with the late John Wimber of the Vineyard movement and the the Kansas City Prophets. They introduced hyper-charismatic activities in widely publicized revivals in both the United States and Great Britain including the Toronto Airport Blessing which began in 1994, and drew people worldwide to experience the phenomenon. Howard-Brown is also credited with a role in the Brownsville Revival, 1995, and more recently, the 2008 Lakeland Healing Revival with Todd Bentley.
Additionally Howard-Browne has been instrumental in the introduction of these "signs and wonders" all over the world including Brompton Holy Trinity, a high-profile charismatic Anglican church in May, 1994. The resulting Holy Laughter and other unusual manifestations at this prominent church and others in London shocked the British press and was the biggest story covered by British Christian media in 1995 and 1996. Brompton Holy Trinity is now primarily known as the source of the ALPHA course.
Sarah Diamond includes Howard-Browne's rise to fame in her book, Not by Politics Alone. After the introduction of Holy Laugher, Diamond states,
"he became a celebrity in charismatic circles. Charisma magazine published a cover story about him. Trinity Broadcasting Network aired many hours' worth of Howard-Browne's videotaped laughing services so that viewers could see exactly how ordinary-looking churchgoers look when they land on the floor and laugh hysterically. The TV images served as a form of role modeling for others who would eventually experience the Toronto Blessing."
Rodney Howard-Browne became a major celebrity on both TBN and in Robert Strang's Charisma Magazine. Strang is a director for John Hagee's Christians United for Israel and one of the approximately 500 Apostles of C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles.
Howard-Browne's role as the Holy Ghost's bartender has often been treated in a light-hearted and joking way by the mainstream media but Howard-Browne, like other Faith Healers who been shunned by many of their fellow evangelists for years, are deadly serious about their mission. Under the current and more coordinated organization of the Third Wave, they have seen a huge increase in the embrace of supernatural "gifts of the spirit" and the concept of spiritual warfare in churches across the world. They have been particularly successful in the organization of youth, such as the seminars and events at Morningstar Ministries and Lou Engle's "The Call."
Howard-Browne's bio on his ministry site, Revival Ministries International, states his driving motivation for continuing new crusades. He believes that his daughter, who died at 18 from cystic fibrosis, was taken by the devil. He has vowed to take one million souls back from the devil in return, and believes that this will take place through the "river" or outpouring of special gifts and powers. He further believes that anything or anyone who gets in his way or refuses to open themselves to this "river," are rejecting the movement of God and are therefore servants of the devil who must be defeated.
Howard-Browne's greatest opponents are other conservative Christians, even those from the most Fundamentalists segments of Evangelicalism. PBS Religion and Ethics News Weekly profiled Howard-Browne after his six-week long revival in Madison Square Garden in 1999. The article included a quote from Hank Hanegraaff , who featured Howard-Browne in his book Counterfeit Revival. Hanegraaf states,
"He is a classic example of a guy who works people into an altered state of consciousness, employs peer pressure, the expectations of people, the subtle power of suggestion, so that people become hypersuggestible, willing to believe virtually anything that enters their minds, no matter how mundane or outlandish."
Hank Hanegraaff is a former colleague of D. James Kennedy who went on to establish the Christian Research Institute, which researches and publishes on those groups inside of conserverative Christianity which they consider to be cults. (Kennedy later distanced himself from Hanegraaf and his work.) In his book Hanegraaff has even stronger words, claiming that Howard-Browne had threatened him when he attended one of Howard-Browne's revivals.
"I'm telling you right now," [Rodney Howard-Browne] hissed, "you'll drop dead if you prohibit what God is doing!" Dramatically he gestured toward the crowd and warned them that those like me, who would dare to question that what he was doing was of God, had committed the unpardonable sin and would not be forgiven in this world or the next." [Hank Hanegraaff, "Counterfeit Revival" (1997), page 22]
Howard-Browne has a great disdain for "dry" religion that rejects his very emotional and experiential style of belief. Yves Brault, a pastor from British Columbia began writing his countercult book, "Behind The Scenes; the True Face of The Fake Faith Healers," after a conflict with Benny Hinn, another famous faith healer. He writes about attending a 1996 revival in Vancouver to see Howard-Browne:
It came close to threatening when he accused the more conservative people by saying, "We'll cast the religious devil out of you." He did not miss an opportunity to put his critics down, "Some people have got more faith in believing the devil can come into this place tonight to touch people. How dumb can you get and still breathe!" Referring to North American theologians, which he named dead heads, he said, "Bunch of whitewash, full of dead bones, like a constipated mule."
While Howard-Browne has many opponents in the Evangelical world, he also has strong supporters who believe that his unorthodox methods will win millions of souls, drive demons from the sin cities of America, and perhaps trigger the third and last "Great Awakening."
Rodney Howard-Browne's ministry and promotional videos can be seen at www.revival.com.