Why evangelism matters today!

In 1996, Pentecostal theologian Stanley Horton said the following about the need for evangelism in our generation,

The good news gives meaning to life today. We can still affect the world for Christ. We can still expect the Pentecostal outpourings and thousands saved and added to the Church, as is actually happening in many parts of the world even now.

These words are even more true today than they were over 20 years ago. Death has quieted the voice of Brother Horton but the words live on. The heart of the matter is that we do not have much time and the Lord could come for the blood bought Church at any moment.

The time is short!

The main reason that we evangelize is there is little time left before the rapture of the saints. While there are many people who have different ideas of just how much time there is, most hold that it is very limited. Even if the Lord tarries, we know that life is but a vapor and there is no promise of tomorrow.

Can we bring revival? : Response to David Sliker

David Sliker is a leader at the International House of Prayer and in 2020, he released a book called The Nations rage: Prayer, Promise and Power in an Anti-Christian age. I know that Sliker is faithfully seeking to declare what he believes to be truth. Many Pentecostals, including myself, would be disagree with his eschatology that is the basis for the book, we also would find common ground on the need for intercession in the last days of the age of the Holy Spirit. (Church age.)

Personally, I look past disagreement on the timing of the rapture in most cases. I have many friends on both sides of the discussion. As long as you are Pre-Mill, you are good to go in my book.

On page 96 he says,

There is an unknown and profoundly sovereign dimension to revivals of any kind. No one can make God move or pour out His Spirit upon a region or a people….

This raises a question about the nature of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believers and corporately in the life of the local assembly. Is God letting people go to hell and keeping freedom from the believer waiting for a “good time to send revival” or is the issue on our end? If the problem is on our end, we can change that. If it is on His end, we can not.

As a student of revival, especially American revival; I believe the bulk of the evidence would point towards revival is not a sovereign move of the Lord but it is a response of free will to do what the Spirit has purposed all along.

Considering the Revivalists of Pentecost

I have on my desk books of revival from Reinhard Bonnke, Rod Parsley, Stanley Horton, Alton Garrison, David Wilkerson, Steve Hill, Michael L. Brown, Cecil Robeck, and John Kilpatrick. (There is over 150 books in my library on revival!) All of them seem to hold a similar view that revival is man’s response to own our sinful state than God saying, “I better show up, there has been enough to go to hell now.”

The Holy Spirit is able to make the Word as successful now as in the days of the apostles. He can bring in souls by hundreds of thousands as well as by ones and twos. The reason why we are no more prosperous is that we have not the Holy Spirit with us in might and power as in the early days. (Oswald J. Smith, The Revival we need, p. 33)

Smith was not a Pentecostal but understood the need for the mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit. He spend much time with a prophet of his day, A.W. Tozer who lived for the outpouring of the Spirit. He knew that the problem with revival was on our end; not the Lord’s.

There has been many voices that contend the revival is a result of man’s hunger for the things of the Spirit, not the Spirit saying, “Enough is enough.”

 

The Azusa Street Revival testimony

William Seymour stayed with Edward and Mattie Lee while waiting for finances to return to Texas. It was here that the prayer meetings started until they grew too much that they had to be moved to Richard Asberry’s house on Bonnie Brae Street. After that, it ended up on Azusa Street thus, the Azusa Street Revival.

There is something fundamental about the Azusa Street Revival that is important. Prayer was the driver. Prayer is not about changing the will of God but about bringing our will into line with the will of the Spirit. Revival is not about the Spirit coming alive; it is about men becoming dead.

The focus was on dealing with the flesh and becoming sanctified (as the holiness movement understood it), not waiting on God to say “It’s time.” They understood that prayer was the venue to death of the self so they could receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The testimony of the people of the Azusa Street Revival is the same today. Prayer is about your death and coming into agreement with the will of the Father. Living in a place of prayer is living the repentance based lifestyle of denying yourself and picking up your cross daily.

The story of the revival on Azusa Street is the only example. Revival has come time and time again when people rend their hearts and not their garments (Joel 2:13) willing to die to themselves so the Spirit is come in them, on them and through them.

 

So is David Sliker’s book any good?

The simple answer is YES! I do not agree with the eschatology of it but I think he does a good service to the faithful but discussing the parrells of coming trouble with revival. Before the rapture, there will be some hard days ahead. It won’t be signs, wonders and miracles every day all day even in the final moments of the age of the Holy Spirit. Martyrdom will increase. Suffering will increase. Corruption will increase.
Since at least the 1970’s, we have been warned that we will see serious struggles in light of the great end time harvest. A prophet named David Wilkerson gave us the stories of his open visions as early as 1973 that come in agreement with much of what David Sliker has to say.

Trouble is ahead between now and the rapture. Revival will over take the trouble but there will be some of both. (There is ALOT more trouble after the rapture too!)

The focus is on revival and the the best has been saved for the last. The ending of the age of the Spirit will be the greatest outpouring we have seen in the history of the Church. It will be one billion souls harvest and healing and deliverance will be at the center of it all. No disease will stand against the anointed Holy Ghost baptized anointed ones.

It is coming. It is close at hand. So is purification.

Prophetic Community by Kim Maas (Book Review)

One of the circles I have moved in the past is Global Awakening with Randy Clark. The message of healing and deliverance that is connected to the gospel is something I believe biblically and spiritually. However, in the years I was away from doing anything with global, many people came and left. One of them was Kim Maas.

10 Megachurches that did not compromise Pentecost (mostly)

Pentecostals are known for megachurches. Of the top 10 largest churches in America, 7 of them are Pentecostal (or Charismatic). This is not saying anything about the largest church in the world that is also Pentecostal. There are a dozen countries that have less people that that one church does.

For the sake of this article, the questions that have to answered are as followed:

  • Do they value the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
  • Do they value praying in tongues?
  • Do they pray for the sick regularly?
  • Do they reach their community for the cause of Christ?

The list of churches that have exploded without compromise are in no order. Here they are 🙂

James River (Assembly of God)

When I was in bible college, I attended James River Assembly. They had just moved to the location in Ozark and they were quite a bit smaller those days.

Pentecostals of Alexandria

Family Worship Center

Sheffield Family Life Center

North Cleveland Church of God

Church of His Presence

Community Family Church

Times Square Church

First Assembly, Fort Myers

Angeles Temple

Is Acts 2:38 that important to Pentecostals?

People talk about Acts 2:38 a lot in Pentecostal circles. The question becomes how important is it really? There are people that discount it all together and those who claim the verse is the gospel itself. Most Pentecostals are somewhere between these two camps. However, the question remains… what do we do with the verse?

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

For some, especially the Pentecostals who are come from the “Jesus Only” camp, they hold most of what they believe is the gospel is in this verse: repentance, baptism by water and Baptism in the Spirit. They hold to an “all or nothing” view of baptisms. In the doctrine of the Oneness brethen, you have to be baptized in the Spirit with the initial physcial evidence of praying in tongues to be biblical saved.

Those of us that are Trinitarian Pentecostals, it has a different meeting. We hold that the Baptism of the Spirit with tongues following is for every believer but is not a condition for salvation. The same is true of baptism by immersion. Both are expected by every believer but is not a salvation issue in and of themselves. (Personally, I do not believe you need to pray in tongues to be saved but you may need to pray in tongues to stay saved!)

Understanding repentance

The first part of Acts 2:38 is found in “Repent.” What does it mean to repent of your sins? Let’s be clear on this: repentance is not just being sorry or doing “damage control.” It is much deeper than that. Many people want forgiveness without repentance but forgiveness can not happen until the other party truly repents of the sin.

At the center of this discussion, we have the Greek word, μετανοέω. This means to change one’s mind or purpose. It goes deeper than that and also means to change one’s inner man in relationship with the will of God. Simply put, repentance is changing how you see God, sin and yourself. If anyone these are not present, authentic repentance is not completed.

The gospel is rooted in a call to change your thinking about sin. It is not just an added layer of “fire insurance.” It started with a change is how one thinks about the action in question. The second step is the change in action that flows from the change in thought. You can’t just pretend you are changing by hiding your action. It starting in how we think about the sin and then flows to the other areas of life.

In many cases, the final step of repentance is asking forgiveness. If there is other people that you have wronged in the process of the sin, you need to humble yourself and ask for their forgiveness. While this might not be the cases every time (and sometimes not even possible), it is a critical part of the process of repenting for sin.

What about Baptism by immersion?

Almost every movement, including every Pentecostal group, believes in baptism by immersion just like Jesus had with John the Baptizer. We follow the Lord Jesus in being baptized in water. Most Pentecostal groups believe in an act of obedience after salvation. However, there is some groups such as the United Pentecostal Church International that believe it is part of salvation.

Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:5)

The word for baptized in Acts 2:38 is βαπτίζω. It means to submerge or to sink. This means anything besides baptism by full immersion is not the biblical model. There is 20 times the word is used in the Book of Acts and every time it means to be put under the water as a testimony to death to the old man and the coming forth of the new man. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

There these is some debate is if one is saved at conversion or if they are saved when they are baptized “for the forgiveness of their sins.” Many in the “Jesus Only” groups told to this view while more traditional groups such as the Assemblies of God and Church of God (Cleveland) do not agree.

This is the beginning of the disagreement among Pentecostals that really date all the way back to 1916 in St. Louis, Missouri. It was called the “New Issue.” It actually forced the Assemblies of God to lay out doctrine that became known as the Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God.

 

 

What is a Pentecostal?

What is a Pentecostal? This is a question that I was asked just recently. Is it part of being a denomination such as the United Pentecostal Church or is just a written statement of faith? This is an honest question and many people, even those in Pentecostal churches are not quite sure what a Pentecostal really is.

7 reasons that the Church will see the Rapture

There is a lot of talk about the end times and much of it is around the timing of the rapture. Some hold that we will go through the tribulation completely as Harold Camping did. Many believe in a Pre-Wrath position such as my former pastor, Mike Bickle does. However, I believe the most biblical view is the Pre-Trib view within the context of the Pre-Millenial view.

(more…)

Holy Spirit in the Pentateuch

From the first page of the scriptures, the Holy Spirit’s presence is known. In fact, it is in the second verse of the 31,102 verses that we see His introduction.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2)

It is important to understand the Holy Spirit was active in the creation process and He did not just “show up” in Acts 2. The truth is that the Holy Spirit is present in every book of the Bible and He is on the move in the Pentateuch. Psalms 104:30 says that when the Spirit is present, there is creativity and renewal of the ground. The transformation of the world or the creation process came because the Holy Spirit was present.

We also see the Holy Spirit moving in the lives of Moses and Aaron. As we read on in the Pentateuch, we also get to see move of the Spirit in the life of Joshua.