Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Error of Pentecostalism Pt1 (My Testimony)

While there is no doubt in my mind that there are many, many children of our Lord that have come into the “Salvation of Christ” through the Pentecostal church body, I have come to believe that the Pentecostal church itself is not purely “representative” of what Christ desires for His church. I find in it many flaws that we as Christians have allowed to go unchecked or un-responded to for sake of peace or for the mighty dollar. This will not be a railing against Pentecostalism, but rather a historical and biblical comparison against that which is right.

Now before I continue, I want to say a few things. When I first came to Christ it was in a Pentecostal church. I had already known about Christ from what my mother taught me (we were never a devout Roman Catholic family, but Catholics none the less). So I knew that Christ died for my sins (I just didn’t understand the weight of my sins). At the age of 18 I went off to college and met many new people. One individual offered me a place to stay on the weekend. The family offered me an opportunity to go to church with them and I gladly accepted. That Sunday, I went down for the altar call (something I had become familiar with at a non-denominational charismatic church) for prayer (all college boys need it). As I was there a female minister asked me if I had accepted Christ and was “Saved.” I honestly answered “No,” so she continued with “do you want to be…” In my mind I knew I wanted to be saved…one day- just not today! And that was how I responded. However, all she heard was “yes!” With that, before I had a chance to explain myself- she ran off to tell the pastor and elders. When I was asked about it I didn’t have the heart tell them she had misheard me.

I was whisked away to the backroom to be lightly catechized before baptism. I distinctly remember that while I was being “dunked” I just knew I wasn’t saved. It wasn’t necessarily because I didn’t want to be saved, but because I had just gotten an earring two weeks earlier and in my mind that was the thing that made me “unholy”- not sin. I got out of the water with everyone cheering me on all the while second-guessing my salvation. I was then taken to the backroom again and hands were laid upon me to receive the Holy Spirit. I was then told to speak in tongues as evidence of the Holy Ghost. I didn’t “feel” right trying to speak in tongues (especially when I felt like I wasn’t saved), but I did for the sake of those around me (that and the fact I was hungry and ready to go). I was told to let it come forth and that it would just flow, so I babbled some inaudible words and as they encouraged me, I said more and more. I was a bit angry because I knew it wasn't right, but in order to not make mockery of salvation, I forced a smile and went on with my business.

I went back to school and continued in the same sins, mindset and actions I was doing before. However, I did feel that since I made the promise that I would at least attempt to live right (although I asked for forgiveness daily). I continued on this way for about a year when I left that school for another. I decided I would try harder at working out my salvation and ended up at a Black Baptist school to keep from getting into trouble (Morris College, anyone, anyone…). At this time, God started to bring up the desire to actually serve Him in a better a way and greater abhorrence for my personal sin led me to truly take my salvation seriously. I joined a local Pentecostal church (C.O.G.I.C.) and after a dream I had, I felt God was calling me to preach. Several months later, I preached my first message. I stayed with that same congregation for seven years. As I did so, I picked up some bad theology (as well as some God glorifying doctrine) along the way. Although I must take the brunt of the blame for not reading my Bible enough, there were many teachings that I received from different preachers that were not biblically right.

I say all that to show that I am not picking on Pentecostalism as a manner of being rude or saying that the Reformed Faith has it altogether. I do however, come against the falsehoods within the Pentecostal teachings in order to do what is right in God’s sight- rightly divide the “Word of Truth.” I also believe that there are many people still in the Pentecostal movement that I believe are truly “born-again” and will be welcomed in as faithful servants. However, a little leaven leavens the whole lump and I think there are enough problems within Pentecostalism to say that from the beginning (Azusa Street specifically) it never truly glorified God. In the next post on this topic I will deal with specific information regarding the Azusa Street occurrence and hopefully, by the grace of God some light can be shed concerning why it is wrong. Please pray for me as I write this because I truly am turning my backs on (so to speak) the very people who I started out with early in my faith. Nevertheless, I must not back down, but preach the gospel because I am not ashamed of it and I know for a fact it is the power of God unto salvation. And with that comes the responsibility to try every spirit to see if they are from God at all times contending for the faith once delivered!

In His Name,
This Lowly Servant

Friday, December 7, 2007

Charlie Brown Christmas

Sometimes, just sometimes, even a cartoon can get it right (well at least the scripture was quoted correctly without being blasphemed). The purpose of Christ being born was to be the "Savior"- to the world. He is Savior to those called in Him from before the foundation of the world. He is the only one who can. That is why He fulfills the Laws of Moses and the prophets. Salvation is in "Christ alone," not Buddha, Krishna, Muhammad, Allah, Confucius, or any other. Why? Because He is - the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE! and no one comes to the Father, but through HIM! Understand this, there is only one reason why we celebrate this special day called Christmas- that is to solemnly respect the fact that God prophesied long before that He would come into the world. This day marks the beginning of that promise. But not to be left undone, the fulfillment of that promise is eternally expressed to humanity in the resurrection of Christ on the 3rd day. So look at it this way, He starts what He finishes (I wrote it that way specifically). Please understand your need for the Savior then fall at His feet in mercy. You are a law breaker (see the Ten Commandments for clarification) in the sight of Christ (Jew or non-Jew). You are evil to the core, but God in His infinite mercy decides to deliver some of His own accord. That is why if any man (or woman) be in Christ, He is a new creature. Old things have passed away and you are all together become new. Now, to be in Christ you must be born-again. To be born-again you must be born of the water and the Spirit. In other words, He leads you to repent and He decides to show mercy and make you over (just like a potter with some clay). Christmas day is that day of remembrance. That day to remember His birth into a sinful world, to seek and save that which is lost(you and I) to the glory of the Father.

Christians Around the World!