Rodney Howard-Browne

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Rodney Howard-Browne
Born
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
ResidenceTampa, Florida, U.S.
NationalitySouth African
Spouse(s)Adonica Howard-Browne (nee Weyers)
WebsiteRevival Ministries International

Rodney Howard-Browne is a Charismatic Christian preacher and evangelist. He is a pastor of The River at Tampa Bay, a church which he and his wife founded in 1996, and heads Revival Ministries International. He was born in South Africa and has resided in Tampa, Florida since the mid-1990s. His revival meetings are known for congregants breaking into "holy laughter".[1][2][3][4][5]

Biography[edit]

Howard-Browne, along with his 3 brothers Mervyn, Bazel, and Gil, was raised in a Pentecostal family in the cities of Port Elizabeth and East London in South Africa. His father Frank Mervyn Derric Howard-Browne (1924-2005)[6] was a cleric, and Rodney became a Christian at age five.[2] In 1981, he met and married his wife Adonica (nee Weyers).[4] In the 1980s, he volunteered for Youth for Christ before doing a teaching stint with Ray McCauly’s Rhema bible school in Johannesburg.

In December 1989, the family emigrated from South Africa to the United States,[7][2] settling in Louisville, Kentucky, where Rodney soon after founded the Rodney Howard-Browne Evangelistic Association and in 1991, began holding revival meetings.[6][8][9] The family moved to the Tampa Bay, Florida area in 1994. Rodney's brother Gil[6] went on to operate Times of Refreshing Ministries, an online evangelical ministry.[10]

In 1996, Howard-Browne founded The River at Tampa Bay Church in Tampa, Florida and has since served as its pastor.[11] Howard-Browne and his wife also founded Revival Ministries International in 1997, as well as the River Bible Institute and the River School of Worship.[12]

Howard-Browne’s services are characterized by laying of hands and worshipers giggling with apparent drunkenness, speaking in tongues, making animal noises, breaking into uncontrollable holy laughter, shaking with mirth, dancing in the aisles, or falling to the ground.[1][2][3][4][5] He refers to himself as "God's bartender" and the "holy ghost bartender".[3][1]

Howard-Browne is credited with introducing holy laughter to Carpenter's Home Church in Lakeland, Florida during a series of revival services with Karl Strader in 1993. The holy laughter revivals later spread to nearby churches in Melbourne, Titusville, Stuart and Vero Beach, Florida.[13][14] He is also credited with bringing holy laughter to the charismatic Toronto Airport Vineyard Church (soon after expelled by its parent Vineyard Church) at a 1994 revival in Toronto, Canada with evangelist Randy Clark, known as the “Toronto Blessing," and a year later, to Assemblies of God (AOG) Brownsville Church in Pensacola, Florida with evangelist Steve Hill, at an event known as the Brownsville Revival.[13][14][8] Howard-Browne also ministered under pastor Mike Rose at the Juneau Christian Center (formerly known as the Bethel Assembly of God) in Juneau, Alaska, an AOG church that Sarah Palin later attended after becoming governor of Alaska.[15][16][17][18]

Howard-Browne first came to national prominence in the US in 1999 when his Revival Ministries organization rented Madison Square Garden in New York for six weeks. The event, called Good News New York, was described as “an effort to achieve a Billy Graham-style faith uprising”, but was “derided in local media as a giant flop”. It was estimated to cost up to $10 million but only 3,000 people were in attendance at the 19,000-seat arena.[2][3][1] Investigative journalists in his home town of Tampa reported at the time that since arriving from South Africa almost penniless in December 1989, his sudden wealth included a boat, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a home in one of Tampa’s exclusive gated communities and access to a private jet; however, they were unable to find evidence of financial wrongdoing.[2][1]

Howard-Browne’s daughter Kelly died due to cystic fibrosis in December 2002 at the age of 18. He then vowed that “since the devil has taken their daughter with this dreaded disease, he would pay with one million souls over the next ten years”.[19][20]

In 2012, it was reported that Howard-Browne’s River Church had hosted political meetings for the Florida chapter of the Republican Party during the preceding two years, including a rally for then presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, at which Howard-Browne called for a national “rising” of Christian Americans “that will not sit idly by and allow the killing of unborn babies and allow Islam to take over this country”. At the same event, he described Mormonism as a “cult” that, in the 19th century, “had death squads that would go around killing everybody that was not a Mormon”. He later took the remark back, saying Mormons were “honourable people”.[2]

Howard-Browne's evangelical movement has been rejected as cult-like by many mainstream Christian organisations, and it has been described as "a combination of brimstone and fire about God’s power, sprinkled with hipster references and a conviction that church—like Disneyland—should be 'the happiest place on earth'."[2] The Christian Research Institute labelled his operation a “cult” and called the him “a good stage hypnotist” who has made millions from vulnerable believers.[2] According to the Tampa Tribune, critics have described him as "a manipulator leading followers into a cult; a circus ring leader making a good living."[1]

Statements and controversies[edit]

Diploma Mill "Doctorate"[edit]

Howard-Browne claimed to have earned a "doctorate of ministry degree" in 1992 from "The School of Bible Theology", a non-accredited Pentecostal correspondence school in San Jacinto, California, which has been described as a “diploma mill”.[1][21][22][19]

Multi-level marketing: Monavie and Jeunesse[edit]

Howard-Browne and his wife Adonica were top-ranking (“Black Diamond executive level”) distributors for Monavie, a multi-level marketing company that sold acai berry juice-based beverages until folding in 2014 subsequent to a $182 million loan default and allegations of pyramid scheming, fraudulent advertising, and patent infringement.[23][24][25] As of 2016, Howard-Browne also served as a "North America Emerald Director" for the multi-level marketing company Jeunesse.[26]

Allegations of plot to attack Donald Trump[edit]

In July 2017, Browne was one of 17 evangelical pastors who visited the White House to pray for and lay hands on Donald Trump.[27] In a video several days later, Howard-Browne claimed “There is a planned attack on our president and that’s all I can tell you about right now; I know what I’m talking about, I’ve spoken to high-ranking people in the government".[28] Howard-Browne later claimed that the Secret Service met with him to discover which congressman told him about the plot but he refused to say, citing pastoral privilege.[29] Browne praised God for giving America a 'Rambo'.[30]

In March 2016, Howard-Browne wrote a Facebook post titled “Donald Trump Is the New World Order’s Worst Nightmare,” where he detailed his choice to back Trump in the election as a check against a global conspiracy to destroy America.[31]

Hurricane Irma[edit]

In September 2017, Howard-Browne received media attention after referring to Hurricane Irma—a category 4 storm that caused the death of 50 people in the U.S. and Caribbean and resulted in power outages affecting 5.5 million people in Florida—as a "nothingburger". He further claimed that "prayer took the teeth out of the storm".[32]

Human sacrifice in Hollywood and Washington, DC[edit]

In an October 2017 sermon at The River church, Howard-Browne claimed that "They sacrifice children at the highest levels in Hollywood. They drink blood of young kids. This is a fact", continuing, "The human sacrifice and the cannibalism has been going on for years" in Hollywood and Washington, D.C.[33][34][35]

Arming of The River at Tampa Bay church[edit]

Howard-Browne drew attention for a social media post in November 2017, two days after the Sutherland Springs church shooting, claiming that his church was not a gun-free zone and that he and the church’s pastors “are all heavily armed” and would use “deadly force”.[36][37][38]

Conspiracy theories on InfoWars[edit]

In March 2018, Howard-Browne made an appearance on Alex Jones’ InfoWars program during which he claimed: that a string of bombings in Austin, Texas were used by “anarchist terrorists” who were attempting to bring “everything under control”; that churches and religious groups were being censored in the U.S.; and that “globalist gremlins” were attempting to thwart Donald Trump.[39]

Christchurch Mosque shootings[edit]

Shortly after the Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019, Howard-Browne tweeted his opinion that it was a 'false flag' operation. "There is no doubt that what happened in New Zealand as horrific as it is, is a false flag that will be blamed on conservatives when it’s all said and done! Only a total nutjob lunatic, insane demonized freak goes into a building and kills people, it’s unacceptable on every level!"[40]

Publications[edit]

  • The Killing of Uncle Sam: The Demise of the United States of America by Rodney Howard-Browne and Paul L. Williams
  • How to Increase and Release the Anointing Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne-Word and Spirit Publishing (2018)
  • Manifesting the Holy Ghost To You, In You, And Through You Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne-Word and Spirit Publishing (2018)
  • How to Increase and Release the Anointing Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne-Word and Spirit Publishing (2018)
  • School of the Spirit Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne-Word and Spirit Publishing (2018)
  • The Touch of God: A Practical Handbook on the Anointing Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne-Word and Spirit Publishing (2018)
  • Seeing Jesus as He Really Is Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne-Word and Spirit Publishing (2018)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Bearden, Michelle (1999-06-28). "The Holy Ghost Bartender". The Tampa Tribune. Archived from the original on 2012-07-07. Retrieved 2019-02-23. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Philp, Rowan Philp (March 16, 2012). "God's bartender in good spirits". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Carnes, Tony. "Howard-Browne Takes New York." Christianity Today, August 9, 1999
  4. ^ a b c Ravitz, Jessica. "Up for Godly giddiness: Pastor spreads the joy of salvation 'anywhere the Lord opens a door.'" The Salt Lake Tribune, March 22, 2007
  5. ^ a b Socolovsky, Jerome (July 9, 2014). "African-born Pastor Brings 'Holy Laughter' Revival to Washington". Voice of America. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Frank Howard-Browne Obituary". Tampa Bay Times. September 2, 2005. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  7. ^ "Profile: Evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne." Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly, PBS, August 20, 1999
  8. ^ a b Ostling, Richard N (June 24, 2001). "Laughing for the Lord". Time Magazine. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  9. ^ "History of Campmeetings". Revival Ministries International. Retrieved April 6, 2019. Through the summer of 1991, we held revival meetings in Louisville, Kentucky, and all over the surrounding…
  10. ^ "Times of Refreshing Ministries:The Internet Ministry of Evangelists Gil & Loraine Howard-Browne -- About Us". Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  11. ^ Graham, Kevin (January 10, 2005). "Church's Hummer prize too worldly?". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on March 26, 2018. Retrieved April 5, 2019.
  12. ^ Howard-Browne, Rodney "About us" Revival.com
  13. ^ a b Pinsky, Mark I (September 1, 1996). "When Holy Laughter Starts, Some Find It Hard To Stop". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  14. ^ a b McMullen, Cary (May 18, 2008). "Florida Outpouring: Internet Draws Thousands to Lakeland Revival". The Ledger. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  15. ^ Wilson, Bruce (October 12, 2008). "Palin and the Holy Laughter Anointing". Huffington Post. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  16. ^ Bradley Hagerty, Barbara (September 5, 2008). "Examining Palin's Pentecostal Background". NPR. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  17. ^ Silverstein, Ken (August 30, 2008). "Palin and Her Pastors: "Those that die without Christ have a horrible, horrible surprise"". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  18. ^ Miller, Lisa (October 27, 2008). "What Are Sarah Palin's Religious Beliefs?". Newsweek. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  19. ^ a b Kambulow, Walter (June 1, 2003). The Best of the Kambulows. p. 879. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  20. ^ "Kelly Howard-Browne Obituary". Tampa Bay Times. December 28, 2002. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  21. ^ Kowalski, David (2012). ""Name it and Frame it" — Phony Doctorates in the Church". Apologetics Index. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  22. ^ Stokes, Jerry. Joseph Smith and Word of Faith Movement. p. 21. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  23. ^ "MV Three Sixty Five Magazine" (PDF). p. 86. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  24. ^ "Rodney and Adonica Howard-Browne MonaVie Black Diamond". Monavie Corporate. YouTube. March 18, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  25. ^ "Imagenetix, Inc. vs. Monavie LLC et al" (PDF). United States District Court for the Southern District of California. May 2, 2018. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  26. ^ "Legacy Powered by Jeunesse" (PDF). Jeunesse Global Holdings, LLC. 2016. p. 41. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  27. ^ Gutierrez, Lisa (July 12, 2017). "'Great spiritual awakening': Pastors lay hands on Donald Trump in the Oval Office". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  28. ^ Mantyla, Kyle (July 17, 2017). "Rodney Howard-Browne Prayed Over Trump In Order To Avert 'A Planned Attack On Our President'". Right Wing Watch. People for the American Way. Retrieved December 21, 2017. There is a planned attack on our president," he said, “and that’s all I can tell you about right now; I know what I’m talking about, I’ve spoken to high-ranking people in the government and this is being planned by people that hate God, hate America, hate our president and we have to stop this, in Jesus name.”
  29. ^ Mantyla, Kyle (July 31, 2017). "Pastor Who Claimed His Prayers Averted Anti-Trump Attack Refuses To Provide Details To Secret Service Because It's 'Not My Problem'". Right Wing Watch. Right Wing Watch. Retrieved 21 December 2017. Somebody reported me to the Secret Service, so they came over” he claimed. “Three guys, we sat and talked; very nice people and they wanted to know who the congressman was. I said, ‘I can’t tell you that, it was pastoral privilege.’ I said, ‘I prayed for him’ and he said, ‘So, it was like a confession?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I can’t tell you. I’m not going to tell you, I can’t tell you, it’s impossible.'” “If the Secret Service in Washington, D.C., don’t know what’s coming down, then why should somebody from Tampa?” Howard-Browne added. “This is a senior member of Congress. If he actually knew anything, he would inform the Secret Service himself. It’s not my problem.
  30. ^ "Rodney Howard-Browne Thanks God For Giving America 'A Rambo' In Trump". 18 May 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  31. ^ Weaver, Hilary (July 12, 2017). "Donald Trump's Oval Office Prayer Circle, Explained". Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  32. ^ Gaffey, Conor (September 12, 2017). "Hurricane Irma Was A Nothingburger, Says Pastor Who Prayed Over Trump At White House". Newsweek. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  33. ^ Justice, Jessilyn (October 20, 2017). "Rodney Howard Browne: Hollywood Execs Are 'Full of the Devil,' 'Drink the Blood of Young Kids'". Charisma News. Charisma Media. Retrieved December 21, 2017. They sacrifice children at the highest levels in Hollywood. They drink blood of young kids. This is a fact. That's why the next thing to be exposed will be all the pedophilia that is going to come out of Hollywood and come out of Washington, D.C. The human sacrifice and the cannibalism has been going on for years
  34. ^ Mazza, Ed (October 20, 2017). "Trump-Linked Pastor: Hollywood Is Full Of Satanists Who Drink Children's Blood". Huffpost. Oath Inc. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  35. ^ Macintyre, James (October 20, 2017). "Pastor who prayed over Donald Trump says Hollywood is full of devil worshippers who drink children's blood". Christian Today. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  36. ^ Eltagouri, Marwa (November 21, 2017). "This church has a warning for visitors: 'WE ARE HEAVILY ARMED — The Pastors'". Washington Post. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
  37. ^ Denker, Angela (April 18, 2018). "'We Are Heavily Armed. -The Pastors'". Sojourners. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  38. ^ Aaron, Charlene (November 20, 2017). "After Deadly Church Shooting, Rodney Howard-Browne's Church Warns 'We Are Heavily Armed'". Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  39. ^ Holt, Jared (March 20, 2018). "Rodney Howard-Browne Says Only 'Divine Intervention' Can Save America". Right Wing Watch. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  40. ^ Reed, Brad. "Megachurch pastor who was invited to Trump's White House declares New Zealand terror attack a 'false flag'". www.rawstory.com.

External links[edit]