This sermon, preached by one of the forerunners of the Toronto movement, and by a lady accepted by the TB supporters as a genuine minister anointed by the Spirit, should give some pause for thought among them – because Maria Woodworth-Etter disapproved of disorderly meetings and recognized some manifestations as demonic. Her response was to put a stop to them – not allow them to continue unchecked, as today.
Maria Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924) is one of the best known Holiness preachers of the pre-Pentecostal era. From around 1885 onwards she began to use the charismatic gifts in her meetings, and was known for healings, trances and visions. Indeed, her trances were called being “slain in the Spirit”. However, her emphasis never shifted from her call to preach the gospel to the lost – she reportedly saw around five hundred genuine, lasting conversions a week in her heyday. She never focused on power or manifestations, but simply preached the word of God, calling on men and women to repent of sin, and seek the Savior.
Most of the manifestations common in TE meetings were experienced in the Woodworth-Etter meetings, so much so that some critics of the current movement trace it back to this lady! Thus, she is a perfect role-model for the Toronto leaders, and her words of wisdom, coming from her experience of hundreds of revival meetings, ought to carry some weight. Notice how she identifies the work of the devil, and cautions people not to give nor receive the laying on of hands thoughtlessly. She recognized that the devil can counterfeit the work of God.