The move of the Spirit in Argentina in the 90's
This is an excerpt from "A History of the Revival of 1992 - 1995" by Richard Riss
Karin Detert of Berlin, Germany, visited Argentina for three weeks, then later returned for another three months. While visiting King's Church in Thanet, U.K., in October of 1994, she reported [according to Peter Verral, New Wine internet list, October 19, 1994] that a new surge of spiritual power in Argentina had begun in 1992, bringing "a renewed hunger for God, a new emphasis on personal holiness, a new desire for prayer, and also demonstrations of the Spirit's power.... In my home church in Berlin we have had many visits from some of the leading men of God who are leading this Argentine revival; ministers like Omar Cabrera, Carlos Annacondia, Hector Gimenez and Claudio Freidzon. During these last three months, I have had the privilege of working in the church of Claudio Freidzon and I have been able to see and able to learn."
The prelude to these events was in the early 1980s, at which time God raised up Carlos Annacondia, a businessman turned evangelist. "Crowds gathered together to hear him preach because his ministry was accompanied by signs and wonders, healings (for instance, filling of teeth) and deliverances. In mass crusades thousands of people accepted Christ as Saviour. Virtually every church grew" (ibid).
Then, according to Karin Detert, "in 1992, a second wave of revival began with Claudio Freidzon, founder of a Buenos Aires church that in four years has grown to 3000 people. Pastor Claudio, who was very busy in all areas of his church felt a need to really come to know the Holy Spirit. Whilst he was seeking an encounter with God, the Holy Spirit touched him one day in a powerful way and his ministry changed dramatically. An unusual presence of the Holy Spirit started accompanying him in his meetings. During the services, as people entered into adoration and worship, some became drunk in the Spirit and could not stand up. Some had to be taken home by others because they could not drive or walk on their own. Others laughed in the Spirit or fell under the power of God. The services were very long (4-5 hours), many miraculous healings were reported. Other pastors came to see and to receive the same anointing. Claudio prayed for them and they received a fresh and new anointing and took it back to their churches. A hallmark of this revival is an emphasis on worship and praise. God's presence descends as we immerse ourselves in adoring Him. Some people weep throughout an entire service; others rejoice with laughter. Many are led to deep repentance, pastors and congregation.
"An emphasis on personal holiness has caused many to change their lifestyles. Less time spent watching television, for example. Critics have accused some of faking religious experiences. But the emphasis on holiness, the desire of the people to praise and worship, and increase in concern for reaching others with the Gospel are genuine. And although the revival started in Claudio's church, it has spread to hundreds of pastors and churches in Argentina. God has also opened doors for a world-wide ministry and, wherever he goes he ministers in this same anointing, which then remains in those places; and so this revival could be brought to many other places around the world, like for instance, also to my own church in Berlin, where God started moving in a tremendous way since September, 1993, when Claudio came to minister in our church.
"This new wave of the Holy Spirit started about two and a half years ago in Claudio's church and is still going on. I had the privilege of being part of their wonderful services where people were always caught up in a tremendous worship, sometimes weeping in the services, sometimes laughing. The presence of God was always very powerful. The people in the church are very healthy and spiritually strong in the Word. There is a bold emphasis on the need for balance between the Word and the Spirit....
"In my church in Berlin many people gave way to frustration because they had not, at first, experienced an outward experience (laughter, crying, falling under the Spirit). The work of the Spirit is much deeper. These manifestations should be the effect and not the cause, for God's work at this time is much deeper and has to do with matters of the heart. His Spirit is coming . . . in order to put the Church back on course, restoring a willingness and a desire to repent. He is putting his finger on sin and giving us the desire to let it go. But this all comes with an immense sense and realization of the awesome love that God has for us. Another aspect of this anointing is growing compassion and love for the lost. God is preparing us to reap the Harvest."
The January, 1994 issue of Charisma carried an article on Claudio Freidzon, which reported:
One recent evening in Argentina, 65,000 people filled the seats, aisles and most of the playing field at Velez Sarsfield stadium in Buenos Aires. For hours they sang, clapped and worshiped God. Thousands then streamed to the platform where a handsome evangelist named Claudio Freidzon waved his arms over those gathered near the stage. "Receive the anointing!" Freidzon shouted. In an instant, as if on cue, hundreds of people fell backward. Some laughed, others cried, some lay motionless on the ground. These people fainted, says Freidzon, because they were 'overcome by the presence of God.'...
What happened at Velez Sarsfield that night has been repeated on numerous occasions since the 38-year-old Freidzon launched his crusade ministry in 1992. An Assemblies of God pastor and former theology professor, Freidzon says he is consumed with seeing churches in his country filled with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. ...as many as 1,000 people have been converted in one evening in Freidzon's meetings....
Spiritual hunger has been evident in the South American country for a decade, ever since evangelist Carlos Annacondia encouraged local churches to unite in prayer for revival. But some observers say Freidzon has brought a new dynamic to the spiritual awakening that has jolted Argentina in recent years.
"The anointing on Annacondia is for tearing down demonic strongholds that keep the lost from coming to Christ," says one evangelical pastor from California who has visited Argentina many times. "Claudio Freidzon's anointing is for building up the church as it strives to minister to so many new converts."
Freidzon's own ministry was influenced significantly by Annacondia. In 1979, when Freidzon planted his first church in the Argentine capital, he found it difficult to win anyone to Christ....
The success of the Annacondia crusades and a personal meeting with Annacondia encouraged Freidzon to persevere through seven years of 'spiritual desert.' Then in 1986, Freidzon says, the Lord directed him to begin preaching in a nearby park frequented by drug peddlers. That was a turning point for his ministry. Freidzon's King of Kings Church grew to 2,000 members in four years."
But Freidzon still believed something was missing in his ministry. He says he discovered the lost ingredient when he read Benny Hinn's Good Morning Holy Spirit. That book -- and a subsequent meeting with Hinn in 1992 -- convinced him to pursue deeper intimacy with the Holy Spirit....
'Pastors in Argentina were seeking methods for church growth', he says. But after he decided to spend as much time as possible listening to the Holy Spirit in prayer, Freidzon began telling pastors that methods were not the answer.
His advice: 'There is no method. We must seek the presence of God.' It was after he met Hinn that Freidzon's church mushroomed to 4,000 members and his crusades began attracting huge crowds.... 'My message is simple. I'm emphasizing the presence of the Holy Spirit.'
© 1996 Richard M. Riss