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Controversial pastor visits Dickinson: Rival pastor from Montana dragged from church after protesting

Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne. (Submitted photo)1 / 3
Worshipers surround Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne at Dickinson's River Church in the T-Rex Plaza mall in Dickinson. (Submitted photo)2 / 3
Howard-Browne blesses a member of Dickinson's River Church. (Submitted photo)3 / 3

Dickinson's River Church was packed on Monday night to see nationally known pastor Rodney Howard-Browne for an event called One Night Holy Ghost Revival.

Howard-Browne's teachings however did not turn out to be the most surprising event of the evening.

About halfway through the event a man in the crowd, Jordan Hall, abruptly stood up, pointed to the front of the room and yelled that Howard-Browne was a heretic and that female pastors, like the River Church's LaShawn Bedsole, shouldn't be allowed to speak in church. He and another man, Kyle Small, were then dragged from the church by several churchgoers and later asked to leave by police.

Since the event, the Press has learned that Hall, who often goes by JD Hall, is the Pastor of Montana Fellowship Baptist Church in Sidney, Mont.

However, it was not just the protest that held the attention of attendees of the event on Tuesday.

At one point during his sermon, Howard-Browne showed the crowd a video of a sermon he gave over a decade ago in Florida in which he picked out William and LaShawn Bedsole from the crowd, joking and insinuating that the two should meet.

The two were studying under him at Revival Ministries at the time and he said that LaShawn, who is originally from the Dickinson area, had previously introduced him to a few boyfriends that he disapproved of. In the sermon, William and LaShawn were sitting on opposite sides of the room but Howard-Browne kept looking from one to the other and eventually said that someone should introduce them after the service.

The match proved fateful as LaShawn and William eventually got married and moved back to Dickinson a few years ago to start The River Church.

Howard-Browne is a South African-born prominent TV evangelist and the leader of Revival Ministries International in Tampa Bay, Fla. He is currently on an 18-city tour across the United States giving sermons in churches from Washington state, Ohio, New York, Texas and many other places.

He also has traveled extensively around the world to spread his message and his website claims that nearly 18 million people "have come to Christ" thanks to the work of he and his wife, Adonica Howard-Browne.

He is a pentecostal preacher and perhaps most famous for being one of the modern leaders of the 'holy laughter' movement as his sermons are known for the blessings he gives at the end in which followers often fall to the ground in uncontrollable laughing fits.

"People fall under the power of God, people weep. We didn't invent these things. Obviously there is opposition to it," Howard-Browne told the Press in an interview before the show about the 'holy laughter' phenomenon. "But the gospel produces life when you preach."

In coming to Dickinson and his many other stops Howard-Browne said that his goal is to help America enter into a new 'Great Awakening.'

"I will talk to them about the next three years and seeing their city shaken," Howard-Browne said.

The Press was barred from recording Howard-Browne's sermon but was in attendance for an hour of Howard-Browne's preachings, before the event was interrupted by Hall.

The focus of Howard-Browne's sermon was as much focused on politics and political history as it was on religion.

During the sermon the pastor showed a short trailer about his book The Killing of Uncle Sam: The Demise of the United States of America to be released in May 2018. He said that the proceeds of the book will go the River School of Government, a degree granting program under the church that helps train people to run for political office, Howard-Browne said.

He also described visiting the Oval Office in July with a number of other religious leaders and praying over President Trump, which was made famous by a photo he posted online that went viral.

During the sermon, Howard-Browne also repeated an earlier claim he made that a top congressional Republican in Washington, D.C., told him there was a secret plot to take out President Trump. Howard-Browne also discussed an interview he had with the F.B.I. in which he refused to name the politician who told him of the plot.

Howard-Browne's claims could not be verified by the Press.

Before the show, Howard-Browne discussed with the Press his motivation for infusing his sermons with political messages.

"The church needs to be active, we can't sit and leave a corrupt government," Howard-Browne said. "How can a pastor preach a message that doesn't affect Monday through Saturday, it's not going to make a difference."

In a Facebook post on the event, The River Church said that they were happy with how it went even with the disturbance.

"What an awesome one night meeting with Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne!" the post reads. "People came from all over and were encouraged by the powerful message and were mobilized to win the lost and boldly carry revival into their city and state."

Grady McGregor

Grady McGregor is a city and state politics reporter for The Dickinson Press. He joined The Press in July 2017.

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