There are two distinct messages in this article: One, the first time I preached at Westminster Chapel, London, in the year 2000, and its role in the later development of the Word, Spirit, Power, Conferences, with Jack and R.T.
Jack Taylor and I first met in 1985 when we were speakers at a Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. We bonded immediately and Jack quickly introduced me to Ron Phillips, pastor of the huge Hixon Baptist Church near Chattanooga, Tennessee. This church annually hosts the "Fresh Oil, New Wine" Conference which welcomes the gifts and power of the Spirit; I became a frequent speaker at this annual event. It was here, in the year 2,000, I met R.T. Kendall when we shared the pulpit. I will never forget that day. R.T preached first and his message excited me tremendously. I followed, preaching on the subject of "Intercessory prayer," Romans 8:26, and the Holy Spirit fell on the congregation in an astonishing way. Scores of people were overcome and found themselves in the grip of "groaning-intercession." Unknown to me, R.T. followed me around the auditorium that day, staying at my back, watching, as I laid-hands on the people.
Reformed Theology is my background; first from my family, then my church, and finally, Columbia Theological Seminary. In 1977, however, I experienced the "baptism in the Spirit" and began ministering in the Holy Spirit's charismatic gifts. R.T. knew my Calvinist-history and wanted me to share my "Renewal" message with Westminster Chapel, London, where he was pastor. This congregation was strongly indoctrinated in Reformed Theology–but not in the charismatic work of the Holy Spirit. Dr Kendall wanted that vacancy filled. He is American born, an Honors Graduate in the United States, and received his Ph.D. from Oxford University in England. There he met Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Pastor of Westminster Chapel. Both were confirmed believers in Reformed Theology and soon after Dr. Lloyd-Jones' retirement, Dr. Kendall became pastor of this world-renown congregation. At that time Westminster was probably the "Flag Ship" for the Reformed Movement worldwide. Though unrealized by many, Dr. Lloyd-Jones was not a cessationist but a devoted believer in spiritual gifts for today.
In August, following our Chattanooga meeting, R.T. and Louise came to my home in Florida and we made plans for my visit to London. He had only one date available–I had only one date available. Thankfully, it was the same weekend. David Rhea accompanied me on that historic trip. After leaving the U.S. a man on the plane had a heart attack and we were forced into an emergency landing in Newfoundland. There, a mechanical problem delayed us another five hours. We arrived in London late and travel-weary. Even so, the Friday night service was richly anointed, many had dramatic encounters with the Holy Spirit. To the shock of staid Englishmen, the floor was soon covered with those fallen under the power of God. Someone even crashed into the cymbals and drums in the orchestra pit. Two ladies whom I called forward were simultaneously "blown" backward to the floor without being touched. The Kendall’s daughter, Melissa, who had left the church because of another abusive member, returned, experienced the power of the Spirit, and was permanently restored. Most in the congregation had never witnessed "signs and wonders" – though they knew of them in English history. Puritan Churches in the 1500's experienced "signs." So did John Wesley, George Whitefield, others, in the mid-1700's. In the 1950's Duncan Campbell’s preaching brought the miraculous power of God to Great Britain. Those displays are now common-place across England. Holy Trinity Anglican Church is a leader.
The first night at Westminster Chapel, a large German woman in the ministry-line suddenly began growling dog-like and threatening me. The demon in her recognized its danger and tried to defend itself. David and Louise Kendall rushed her to the church vestry where–after a noisy battle–she was set free. During the struggle they learned her parents had operated Nazi death-camps in WW2 and she had been sympathetic with their evil. Her demonic-stronghold was not a small one. Thankfully, she was delivered as were many others in the main sanctuary.
Saturday morning, Chapel members happily crowded together–but it was a horrific time for me. There was no anointing on my preaching. The words were flat-line, no spiritual breath or pulse was in them. I was terrified as I struggled to speak. The Queen Mother’s personal physician, Dr. Davies, sat a few feet away, expectantly waiting. Some of London’s intellectual elite–PhDs–others, were crowded into the Lloyd-Jones Hall, anticipating they would hear something worthwhile. I didn’t have it. In desperation I turned to David and whispered in his ear, " Pray!," then laid my hand on a man nearby. As I touched him the Holy Spirit exploded in the room. The man fell jerking, vibrating, to the floor. Everyone experienced the surge. A woman in front of me, a PhD, sprang to her feet and began shouting ecstatically "He is here! He is here!" Someone else broke into tongues while another cried-out the interpretation. People dropped to their knees. This was new to the Chapel and a moment impossible to describe. In that historic instant the direction of the church was changed forever. The Holy Spirit had come in Acts Two fashion. The ice was broken. The Flag-Ship made an "about face" midway in the channel. From this point, I will let R.T. tell the story as it was printed in the Westminster Chapel News. This is what later began our Word, Spirit, Power, Conferences. He said:
"In my twenty-five years at Westminster Chapel, there are only three or four men who have impressed me so much that I was willing to put my reputation on the line in order to have them speak for us. Charles Carrin is one of those. I met him at a conference where both of us were speakers in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was deeply moved when I heard him speak. It had been years since such an impact had been made on me by anyone. I asked to spend time with him, and an instantaneous relationship developed. I immediately began to think of how I could have him at Westminster Chapel.
"I returned to England and told our deacons about Charles. They were fascinated because they knew that I didn’t get excited about anybody all that often. I asked the deacons to listen to the tape of the sermon that had so moved me, and there was a feeling, that indeed, we should invite him to Westminster Chapel. We did. He came to us in October 2000, and he turned us upside-down–unlike anything we had seen in many years. He left a deposit of glory and of the presence of God that has made us a Spirit church as well as a Word church. I had been saying for years that the Word and the Spirit need to come together, and yet I knew in my heart that Westminster Chapel–up until then–was mostly a Word church.
"Perhaps I should explain. It seems to me that a silent divorce has taken place between the Word and the Spirit in the church ... The need of the hour is for a remarriage of both the Word and the Spirit. I am happy to say that Charles Carrin combines both simultaneously in his ministry, and I doubt there are many people on either side of the Atlantic who could have had the impact upon Westminster Chapel as he did ... During that time I remember announcing, ‘Westminster Chapel is now a Spirit church as well as a Word church’. It was pivotal for us and I felt grateful to God that he used Charles as he did.
"We had one of the greatest weekends in my nearly 24 years at Westminster Chapel. Someone told me that having Charles Carrin was the greatest risk I have ever taken, but all I know–we thank God that he came. He is such a gentle, humble man, but has power that flows from his lips and hands unlike many people I know. "What thrilled me most was the sense of God's presence and the way that people generally have received both the presence of the Lord and Charles Carrin's ministry. I don't think we have had anything like it in Westminster Chapel before! We had him all to ourselves on the Saturday morning and afternoon and all seem to agree that it was right to keep him to ourselves. It was just so wonderful–almost impossible to describe unless you were there ..."One of the Chapel’s members, Philip Evans, and editor of the Westminster Chapel News, explained a little more: "Sunday morning services at Westminster Chapel have continued largely unchanged for nearly 100 years; a teaching service encased in a traditional format. With Charles Carrin and his assistant, David Rhea, alongside R.T. in the pulpit, it ran much as usual for a while–except for an heightened expectation ... Charles departed from his prepared text to say a few words about tradition: 'Tradition is beautiful–but unfortunately tradition freezes us at our present level of achievement ...' Fifteen minutes into the message, he paused suddenly, as if overcome, gathered himself, and prayed, 'Father give your church in the earth that electric, earnest expectation–and God our Father we will not halt–we will not cease–until we have seen the power of God fall! ...'
"The traditional service was lost: The Sunday morning worship halted as abruptly as it had been by an air-raid warning on the day the Second World War was declared. Charles called forward people who felt the call to intercession and perhaps as many as one third of the congregation responded. As he prayed for them, some fell, some groaned ... I find myself unable to describe it; on one hand, I was hardly a dispassionate observer; on the other, words fail the intensity of the experience that filled the Lloyd-Jones Hall. Writing this, it occurred to me to turn to Jonathan Edward's narratives of the revivals in his church in 1735 and 1740-42 for help in describing what I saw ...I doubt the full story of Charles Carrin's visit can be told this side of Heaven–there are just too many stories of personal deliverance and blessing."
R.T. continues, "The next time Jack and I met was at the First Baptist Church in Ada, Oklahoma, in July 2000. Jack and I were invited to do a weekend ‘Word and Spirit’ conference there ... Jack reckoned we could work together doing ‘Word and Spirit’ conferences once I retired and moved back to America. I liked the idea but wondered if we could bring Charles along with us. Yes, Jack was all for that. Indeed, the three of us held a memorable ‘Word Spirit Power’ conference in Westminster Chapel during my final year there. I spent exactly 25 years at Westminster Chapel, retiring in 2002 ...
"Here’s the deal: I am the ‘Word’ man, Jack the ‘Spirit’ man and Charles is the ‘Power’ man, although the three of us equally believe in these three essentials; we are merely drawing upon our individual gifts. We work beautifully with each other and I thank God for our friendship and our ministry together. Never in my life have I known men for whom respect and appreciation has deepened and grown so much as with them...."
I (Charles) continue: I will never recover from my astonishment that God assigned me to work with these men and be loved by them! We have repeatedly preached to the "Catch The Fire" Pastors Conferences in Toronto where thousands of pastors from as many as 60 nations have been present. R. T. Is not only an Oxford, PhD graduate and pastor of a church in the same neighborhood as Buckingham Palace, but is the author of more than 70 best-selling Christian books. Some are encyclopedic in quality. He flies almost routinely from the U.S. to England to South Africa to the Philippines to New Zealand to China to India to Australia to Dakar and back to the U.S., etc. He is a world-figure but is equally willing to preach to little congregations in out-of-the-way places. His concern is to "preach the Word" wherever God sends him. I admire that attitude and thank God for it!
Jack is the former Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention and for many years its best selling author. His book, The Key To Triumphant Living, sold more than 1,000,000 copies–exceeding all others published by the Convention. His other books include The Hallelujah Factor, Word of God With Power, Prayer–Life’s Limitless Reach, God’s New Creation, and more. Like R.T., he has traveled the world. The Convention loved Jack, promoted him and his books–until he experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. Once he acknowledged he had been filled with the Spirit and spoken in tongues they were finished with him. How tragic their loss!! Much of the American Church has yet to learn the ugly truth about its prideful self.
In England, the reverse is true; Charismatic or "Spirit-filled" churches are the mainstream of British Christianity. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who oversees some 70,000,000 Anglican Christians worldwide, prays in tongues and encourages his congregations around the world to exercise all the spiritual gifts. R.T. recently sent me a photo of him and the Archbishop together in an outdoor setting. What surprised me was that the Archbishop was wearing a casual, open-collar, short sleeve shirt. Nothing in his dress identified him or the enormity of his Church-of-England position.
The wealth of experience R.T. and Jack have to pour into our Conferences is astonishing. Few in the congregations realize how favored they are to sit under the wisdom and experience of these men. On the personal level, the beautiful fact is this: We are not three preachers on a platform: We are three brothers in Christ who love each other devotedly. We are more than mere supporters of one another–we are comrades and bonded-friends in the truest sense. Geographically, our Conferences have gone from London to Alaska, New England to the Southwest. I have lost count of some of the places we’ve been. I only know this: We are seeing Churches and Christians be changed for the glory of God. At a recent Conference a young woman who had made twenty-two suicide attempts on her life–but had received ministry from us–came to me and saying joyously, "I have been healed!" Not long ago, a young man approached me wanting deliverance from pornography. When I laid hands on him he began to growl–snarling dog-like–then started roaring angrily at the top of his lungs. The demon in him knew it was trapped. Had we been outside you could have heard him a block away. He then dropped to the floor, began whimpering puppy-like, and the demon was gone. If you have trouble believing that, read about this happening in the early church when "demons crying with loud voice came out of many and many that were lame and paralyzed were healed." Acts 8:7. Demons are still here on earth. They have not left. Nor has the Holy Spirit departed–as some foolishly claim. What happened is this:
The church has backed away from its responsibility and given demons and the devil freedom to reign. At the same time, the church is being forced into an awakening!
The host Church for out “Big 70" Celebration, is Christian Life Assembly in Columbia, South Carolina where we have been each summer for a number of years. This church has achieved an amazing impact in the community and is served by a staff of committed disciples. Hundreds of young people help make up its interracial and international congregation.
Jack, R.T. and I, feel very much at ease with each other and before preaching enjoy a minute of pulpit-humor. As he has frequently done, R.T. Invariably asks the congregation to be kind to me because I have “forgotten to take my pill today.” The last time he did that I told about another time he said to a waiter: “Be patient with my dad-he forgot to take his pill today.” After everyone laughed I whispered to the waiter, “He really thinks I’m his father.” —So it goes! The first night, Jack will explain to the congregation that we are 245 years old but none of us have retired-and never will. We do not minister in our own strength but in the power of God. We each preach 15 minutes at every service but pack into that opportunity an amazing amount of gospel. The effect is a 45 minute sermon out of three mouths. People relax when they realize they are not trapped in an all-night preaching-marathon by three old men.
Please pray for our Word, Spirit, Power, Conferences. We want to preach until God Almighty calls us home to Glory! Pray that we never lose the anointing or the ability to impart it! There are more churches like the huge “Winston-Salem First” or the small congregation in a rented room which we want to find! No church is too small, none too large. Regardless of one’s size, we all need the Word, the Spirit, and the Power!—