Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Revival

After Manasseh Came A Josiah

In 2 Kings 21:1-9 we read:

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places that Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem will I put my name.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6 And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 7 And the carved image of Asherah that he had made he set in the house of which the Lord said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever. 8 And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.” 9 But they did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel.

In our wicked world it is easy to look around at our wicked, sinful leaders and see the judgment of God.  I look around at my own culture and I see evidence of Romans 1.  People are full of sin.

However, my hope is in the Lord God and in His Word.  I have hope in the gospel.  I know that Jesus will triumph and He alone is King of kings and He alone is Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15-16).  Jesus reigns even now from heaven (Acts 3:19-21).  His reign includes all His enemies coming under His feet (Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26).  I look around at the wicked world and I can easily be full of despair but my hope is that the gospel will go forth and the reign of Jesus will never be stopped.

In 2 Kings 21:1-9 we read of the wicked king of Judah, Manasseh.  I have yet to live under such a wicked king.  We have had wicked men and women in the past but few compare to the wickedness of Manasseh.  Manasseh went so far in his idolatry that he built altars in Jerusalem in the temple of Yahweh to his false gods.  He offered his own sons on the altars to his false gods.  2 Kings 21:16 says, “Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.”

After Manasseh, his son Amon reigned as king over Judah and he followed in the footsteps of Manasseh.  Amon was a wicked king.

After Amon, however, comes Josiah.  2 Kings 22:2 says, “And he what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or  to the left.”

The Lord raised up a Josiah after the wickedness of Manasseh and Amon.  This gives me hope.  This encourages me.

In my own wicked nation, I see our leaders full of sin.  They are full of idolatry, greed, corruption, they support the murdering of millions of babies at the altars of the gods of conveyance and sex.  Our leaders are just like Manasseh in many ways.  They even shed innocent blood not just in unjust wars and wicked attacks on citizens but they support the abortion mill industries which murder innocent babies each and every day.  In my own state and in my own city I see the wickedness of our leaders even on a local level.  They give in to the sexually perverted who want their “rights” and they support the wickedness of racism and abortion on demand.  Yes it is easy to be discouraged.

But I have hope that God can raise up a Josiah.  My hope is not in politicians.  They are corrupt.  My hope is not in men.  They are corrupt.  My hope is in the Lord God who can turn the tide through His gospel.  My hope is in the gospel (Romans 1:16-17).  Josiah was a mighty man of God.  We need mighty men of God to turn not just my own nation but he nations of this fallen, sinful world to the Lord God.  This will not come through politicians or through political reform (though they will happen through the gospel) but will only come through a man of God being faithful to God.

My hope is that the wicked nations of this world (which is all of them) will turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.  The gospel transformed the Roman Empire and turned them away from idolatry to the truth of the gospel.  Over time, corrupt church leaders corrupted the gospel and turned the church in Rome away from the gospel to idolatry that we now see as the Roman Catholic Church but I have hope that Catholics will repent and be saved.  I have hope that the nations will be saved by the grace of God.

We read in many places that the nations will bow down to the Lord God (see Psalm 22:27; 86:8-9; Isaiah 2:3; Revelation 15:4).  Jesus has conquered the nations by His death and resurrection and He now commands us to make disciples in every nation until He reigns forevermore (Matthew 28:18-20).

May God send a revival of His truth!

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Is Patriotism Sinful?

I’ve been enjoying a lively conversation between myself and an Australian brother.  He often writes articles on the United States often attacking us for various reasons.  It got me wondering about patriotism and whether it is sinful.  This brother believes that too many Christians in the United States place Christianity and patriotism side by side and often blur the line between Christianity and the United States itself.

First, let me state that I believe it is not sinful to be patriotic provided your patriotism doesn’t get in the way of the gospel.  The United States is not the kingdom of God and some do struggle to see that distinction.  I confess that Jesus is Lord of all (Romans 10:9-13) and He is Lord over the nations (Daniel 2:44).  The nations are His (Psalm 2:7-9).  The gospel is going to triumph over all the nations including the United States of America (Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).  The United States, like Great Britain before her, like Spain before her, and like other nations will not matter in eternity.  The Lordship of Christ is what matters.

Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36) not meaning that His kingdom is not coming to this world but rather that its power, its source is not of this world.  Our power is from God (Acts 1:8).  No nation can defeat the gospel.  Whether it be the wicked Soviet Union or the wicked United States, nothing will stop the gospel.  The gospel is going to reign over the nations (Acts 17:30-31).  Revelation 5:9 promises that there will be people from every tribe under heaven in eternity.  People of all races, languages, nations, etc. will be in heaven.  What a joy that will be!

When it comes to patriotism, I know many look at the United States and wonder about this.  Why do Americans stand at the national anthem?  Why do churches display both the Christian and US flags?  Why do churches encourage patriotism?  Even by those who do not claim Christ, patriotism is often encouraged.  Even atheists rejoice in our freedoms and encourage a loyalty to the United States.

For those outside of the US, this can be misunderstood.  I was raised to be thankful for our nation.  I was taught by my Sunday School teachers, my public education teachers, and my college professors to love our nation, to rejoice in our freedoms, to pray for our leaders.   I look around at the world and I see poverty, I see political turmoil, I see religious restrictions, I see wars, I see the government taking away people’s rights to life, to liberty, to the pursuit of happiness (to quote the Declaration of Independence) and I thank God I live in the United States.  This is not a “Christian” nation though I fear that the secular left wants to wash away the Christian foundation that is definitely part of our history that we brought over from Europe.

According to the United Nations:

With a population of over 300 million people, the market value of all goods and services was almost $14 trillion dollars in 2007—equivalent to a staggering 2.5% of the entire world’s total output. Gross domestic product (GDP) data collected by the World Bank in 2007 indicated that the United States produced more goods and services than the next four economic–powerhouse countries—Japan, Germany, China and the United Kingdom—combined.

In the US, we can live anywhere we want, drive anywhere we want, eat whatever we want at all times, do whatever we want (provided it is legal).  I live in the South here in the US and we are called “the Bible belt” for good reason.  We have thousands of churches, Bible publishers, and missionaries.  It is not uncommon to go to a civic event and hear prayers. Our leaders often speak of what church they belong to.   The United States has sent out more missionaries than any other nation in the history of the world.  More money flows from the church here in the US to world missions than any other nations combined.

I have seen people rise through the Protestant work ethic engrained in the United States.  My uncle is now with Jesus but he was born with an eye problem that led to his blindness.  He could see up until near his death but he was legally blind.  When he dropped out of school in the 1940’s, blind people often were destined for poverty.  What could they do?  He worked at a broom shop making corn brooms at $10 a week.  He married his bride and they shared a one bedroom apartment.  Over time, my uncle got saved and Jesus changed his life.  The Protestant work ethic begin to flow.  My uncle worked hard and when he died, he had purchased three homes, multiple cars, and left behind a strong biblical work ethic.   All this while legally blind.  Of course, the biblical work ethic is not about just getting homes, cars, etc. but about working to the glory of God (Colossians 3:23-24).

Despite all this, the US is a wicked nation.  We have turned from our Christian foundation. I am not implying that our founding fathers were all Christians but they did have Christian heritage that came from mainly England.  The first pilgrims to the new world brought with them The Geneva Bible and sought out the new world for the purpose of worshiping God in freedom.  11 of the 13 colonies had a national church.  Yet the liberals today want us to ignore history, to ignore Christianity as what made Europe great and when Europe turned away from Christianity, it too has fallen.  Christianity will make Africa great as well as China and Korea.  I pray that other nations learn from the history of Europe and the United States and embrace the gospel and watch the blessings of God.

The US is full of sin.  Homosexuality, abortion, murder, drunkenness, greed, lust, gambling, sports idolatry and other forms of idolatry, the worship of money, of power, of fame.  We live in a society that has lost its Protestant work ethic (that work is to the glory of God and is rewarded) but now I read that the younger generations favor socialism (stealing from the hard working to provide equality to those who do not work as hard).  This nation must repent.

So back to my original question.  Is patriotism wrong?  I believe that it should not become idolatrous.  It should not blur the gospel.  It should not rob Jesus of His reign over our lives.  We are not citizens of the United States first but we are disciples of Jesus first and foremost (Luke 14:25-35) and our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).

Paul the Apostle was not ashamed to say where he was from (Philippians 3:5).  Paul even used his earthly citizenship to his advantage for the gospel (Acts 22:22-29).  He did not boast over others through his Roman heritage but he used it.  I pray the same for my fellow Americans.  I pray that we use our freedom to preach the gospel.  I pray that we use our right to free speech for the glory of God.  I pray that we take our money and use it to spread the gospel around the world.  I pray that we use our religious freedom to preach the gospel in the open air, to witness to people, to gather with the saints of God to worship our true King, and to pray for our leaders to repent (1 Timothy 2:1-7).

If you do not live in the United States, I ask you to pray for the US to repent.  It is a blessed nation but a wicked nation.  May God have mercy on the United States of America.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/16/2016 at 6:02 PM

Brownsville Revival: 20 Years Later

On Father’s Day, 1995, Brownsville Assembly of God had a special speaker in Rev. Steve Hill.  Hill was scheduled to preach that night (in those days, churches still had Sunday night services even on Father’s Day) in lieu of the passing of John Kilpatrick’s mother the previous week.  Kilpatrick simply was tired and he asked Hill to preach the morning service as well.  Hill preached from Psalm 77:11-12.  You can watch the sermon online and there was nothing in the sermon that was incredible.  Hill simply preached from his life, from his own experience of longing for God.  The altar call is where the “revival” began.  The revival that started that morning would continue until 2002.

I attended the Brownsville Revival (as it became known) three times.  The first was in 1996, once in 1997, and again in 2002.  By 2002, the revival was not really a revival anymore and the church was trying to find its place again.

The Good & The Bad

I went to Brownsville in 1996 very skeptical of what I would see.  People at our local church were constantly going on and on about what God was doing in Pensacola.  I heard strange things were happening and people were going to Pensacola for experience above the Word of God.  I had had a friend go down there and he “fell under the power” for a few hours.  He said the event changed his life (more to that later).  Thousands of people were heading to Pensacola to the point that even the news program, 20/20, did an expose on the revival.  Newspapers reported on the revival.  The church sign out front had to be daily changed as they would put how many souls were being saved at the revival.  At our church, people believed this was the great final outpouring of the Spirit before Jesus would come.  They believed God was preparing the world for the end by reaching out to it one last time. I watched entire churches change their entire services to reflect Brownsville.

When I went down to Pensacola in 1996, I was very skeptical of what I would see.  I did not go there seeking a revival.  I did not go there to seek an experience.  In fact, I had no experiences.  However, I left hungry for God.  While I saw some flesh, I saw some good.  I saw thousands of people praying at the Tuesday night prayer meeting which was the highlight of the week for me.  I saw people weeping over the lost.  I saw people longing to touch God with their prayers for sinners.  That blessed me.

However, I also saw people in the flesh.  I talked to some teenagers (as I was only 21) and they focused entirely on experiences instead of the Word of God.  That said, I also saw the youth pastor (Richard Crisco or Brother Richard) exhorting his teenagers to get into the Word.  Brother Richard preached the best that week in my estimation.  He preached from 1 Samuel 14 about Jonathan and his armor bearer and how we need to be around disciples if we are going to war.

I saw the strange manifestations.  I saw strange people.  One lady asked to pray for me and I said she could.  I closed my eyes and waited for her to lay her hands on me to pray but she did not and all was silent.  I opened one eye to see what she was doing and she was doing some sort of charismatic dance in front of me while, I guess, praying for me?  It was truly strange.

Another girl asked if an Argentinean pastor had prayed for me.  I said no.  She said that if he prays for you, you fall under the power of God (slain in the Spirit in the charismatic world) for hours.  At that time, I was open to this so she went to get him to pray for me.  He prayed for me but nothing happened.  Steve Hill came by and just pushed me down (courtesy drop we called it).

I watched as people literally chased John Kilpatrick around the church.  He took off running and people were running after him for his “anointing.”

I stood in line to talk to John Kilpatrick and was going to ask where in the Bible does he find evidence for the revival.  I was right behind a lady when she asked the very question I was going to ask him.  His reply was bad.  He said, “Woman, lay aside your mind and just let God touch you.  I can’t answer your questions about where this is in the Bible but I know it is from God because I see Him all over this place.  Let go and let God!”  That was it.  She and I both walked away from him shaking our heads.

Back home,  I watched people try to copy Brownsville.  They would preach like Steve Hill or pray like Kilpatrick.  They wanted their praise team to sound like Lindell Cooley and the Brownsville team.  Prayer banners became popular.  The subjective experiences I witnessed at the revival were carried over to the churches with shaking and laughing.

My View 20 Years Later

Did God do something in Pensacola?  Hard to judge.  I have found people who were saved at the revival and still are seeking God today.  I praise God for that.  However, I know a few unbelievers as well who once were “on fire” at the revival but today are enemies of Christ.  When I visited Brownsville in 1996, the neighborhood was hardly touched at all by the revival.  I remember walking over to an African-American woman’s house and asked her about the revival.  She said that she use to send her children to the church before the revival but now avoided it.  She pointed to the lines and lines of people and said the revival was a white revival and not a black revival so she wouldn’t go.  How sad.

Today Pensacola still needs the gospel.  The church has had a hard time after the revival.  The expenses of the revival ran the church into major debt.  The church is still fairly large but nothing like it use to be. Before the revival, the church had 2000 members.  Today they have less than 800.  The lines of people are long gone.  John Kilpatrick left the church in conflict in 2000.  Steve Hill left in 2001 to go back to missions work.  Hill died in 2014.

Sadly, most churches I know who were touched by Brownsville have faded as well.  Today they are seeking to be like Perry Noble or like Rick Warren more than like Brownsville.  What I think Brownsville highlighted was the tragedy of seeking experiences above God.  The churches who adopted Brownsville tactics did so not because of the Word of God but because of experiences and pragmatism.  They wanted Brownsville crowds and not revival.

I know of few churches today that truly pray for revival.  The one blessing that came from the Brownsville revival was that the word “revival” was so common on our lips in the 1990’s.  The Assemblies of God even had a link on their website in those days focusing on revivals breaking out across the nation and the world.  I remember attending the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) camp meeting in South Carolina in 1998 and the entire focus was on revival.  The preaching evangelist had just got back from Brownsville and was on fire.  He wanted to see the Church of God folks go back to their churches with the fire of God. Sadly, those days seem to be gone.  I hear few churches speaking of seeking God earnestly for revival.  Revival seems to be only what we read about today and not seek.

The Brownsville revival did spark a hunger in my life.  After the revival, I went on to long for God more and study His Word more.  I am thankful that He has been faithful to me all these years later.  I love the Bible now more than ever before.  I love sinners now more than ever before.  I long to pray for revival like I use to.  I long to see the churches seeking God for revival yet again.  So I go back to Psalm 77:11-12 and I pray that God would touch His people.  I don’t want another Brownsville revival but I want a true revival of sound doctrine, of sound preaching, of sound praying, and of soul winning.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/20/2015 at 10:48 AM

Short Thoughts on Pastor Worship

One of the reasons that Calvinism has become popular in our day probably has a lot to do with pastor worship above Bible study.  I am convinced that many of the “new” Calvinists (the so-called “young, restless, and Reformed”) are convinced of Calvinism not because they actually read Calvin or Arminius and not because they actually took the time to seriously consider Arminianism but because of pastor worship.  Calvinism has a bunch of “cool” pastors and this has caught the eye of the young.

The names of the pastors that Calvinists worship can be long.  John MacArthur.  John Piper.  RC Sproul.  James White.  Matt Chandler.  Mark Driscoll.  Tim Keller.  CJ Mahaney.  Joshua Harris.  Sam Storms.  Wayne Grudem.  Many of these men are godly men indeed and I am not attacking them.  I am attacking the worship of these men.  I often get asked to name top Arminian preachers and top Arminian theologians and we have had our John Wesley’s, our EM Bound’s, our Leonard Ravenhill’s, our Francis Asbury’s.  We have had our pastors that we elevated and we Arminians have been guilty of lifting up men as well.  Yet modern Arminianism doesn’t have the superstars that Calvinism currently has.  Perhaps that will change but for now, I am grateful that we don’t have superstar pastors.

Scripture does teach us to acknowledge godly men (see 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:7). Biblical leaders are to be servants (Matthew 20:26-27; 1 Peter 5:1-4).  Biblical leaders are not to be superstars.

In Acts 3 Peter the Apostle could have focused the attention on himself after the Lord used him to do a great healing.  Yet Peter cries out in Acts 3:12-16:

12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

The focus was clearly to be on the Lord Jesus.

In 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 Paul the Apostle wrote:

5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

Who is Apollos?  Who is Paul?  In our day, they would be superstars.  Yet Paul clearly wants the focus to be on God alone.  After all, it is God alone who saves!

I could name many godly men who have spoken into my life.  Some of them are godly Calvinists.  Some of them are godly Arminians.  Yet in the end my focus must be on the Lord.  Flesh will let you down (Jeremiah 17:5).  The closer I have got over the years to other godly men the more I realize that we all need Christ.  Not one of us have arrived.  We all still struggle to be like Christ.  Some of us are further up the road than others and we should rejoice in that but our focus must be on Christ.  Christ must be our gospel.  Pastors and church leaders will never save one soul.  All of them are just like us: sinners redeemed by grace.

If Arminianism does see a future growth, I pray that it will be because we proclaim Christ.  In fact, I don’t even want to make Arminians.  I want to make disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:19).  Arminius needed Jesus just as Calvin did.  Our faith is in Jesus and not in the doctrines of Arminius.  It is saving faith in Jesus that saves (Romans 5:1) and not faith in Arminius.

For my Calvinist friends, I pray that same for you.  I pray that your faith is not in Calvin or Spurgeon or MacArthur but in Jesus alone.  Jesus saves sinners and not Calvinists or Arminians (Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Timothy 1:15).  Jesus redeems those who call upon His name (Romans 10:13) and not merely those who use the term Calvinist.

Our faith must not be in men for they will fail.  Our faith must be in Christ alone.  He alone is our mediator before a holy God (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  Christ alone is the one who is praying for me before the Father (Hebrews 7:25) and not Arminius.  When I die, it will not be the names of great church leaders who will rescue me from the wrath to come but the Lord Jesus (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  It is the name of Jesus that alone saves (Acts 4:12).

Let us all pray, both Arminians and Calvinists, for the name of Jesus and His gospel to be proclaimed.  Let us declare that Jesus alone and not Arminius or Calvin or Wesley or Augustine is our Savior.  In the end, every knee will bow to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Psalm 110:1; Philippians 2:5-11).  I will bow my knee now.

The Hunger for Revival

From time to time my mind drifts back to the 1990’s when I first got saved and when it seemed everywhere I went, people were talking about revival.  I remember the Bible teacher that I sat under those early days of my salvation would often weep over the need for revival.  He would talk about the great revivals of Church history and then he would weep over the lack of revival in our day.  I remember hearing men of God like David Wilkerson or Leonard Ravenhill speaking on revival and how we needed a move of God.  We believed, in those days, that revival would make things right.

In 1995 Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida begin to say that revival had come.  On Father’s Day, evangelist Steve Hill preached to the large Assembly of God church and revival services began.  The revival would continue night after night from 1995 to about 2000.  The revival would slow and finally ended in 2002.  I visited Brownsville Assembly of God three times.  I first went in August of 1996 but I admit I went with a critical spirit.  Myself and a friend of mine attended for a week in August, 1996 and while I was not 100% on board with the revival, I did see many good things.  The gospel was preached with a cry to repentance.  Prayer was powerful.  The hunger for the presence of God was intense.  There were bizarre physical manifestations and there were folks there for experiences instead of hungering for Christ but I walked away believing that there was much good going on at Brownsville despite the claims of the detractors who hated the revival.  It was there also that I met Dr. Michael Brown for the first time and I was impressed with his knowledge and his zeal for the Lord.

I visited Brownsville two more times with teenagers in 1997 and in 2002.  By the time we came in 2002, the atmosphere had changed dramatically and the revival was nearly over.  Dr. Brown had left to start the Fire School of Ministry in Concord, NC and the revival days were over.

What I miss about all this is not the excess flesh.  I miss the passion for God.  I miss seeing teenagers crammed into a building on Thursday nights for the youth service and hearing brother Richard Crisco preaching the Word of God.  I miss the prayer meeting on Tuesday night that was packed with intercessors crying out to the Lord.  I miss the worship of God that filled your heart with joy.  I miss hearing of revivals breaking out in other places from Brownsville.  I do admit that not all of the revival was correct.  After all, we are talking about a revival among fallen flesh.  There is no such thing as a perfect revival.  Every revival will feature things that we don’t like or approve.  Thankfully God uses fallen people despite our sins and errors.

I can’t remember the last time I heard someone speak of being hungry for revival.  Gone are the days of Ravenhill or Wilkerson I fear.  Where is the hunger for God’s presence?  Where is the passion for God in prayer?  Where are the thousands of intercessors who would shut themselves in a room for a night of seeking God?  Brownsville was not perfect but I miss the passion.  I miss the zeal.  I miss the joy of the Lord in singing praises to our King.  I miss the reports of souls getting saved.  I miss the Friday night baptisms.  I miss the hunger for the Holy Spirit to be fully active in our lives.

Oh where are those who hunger for revival?  Oh God send the fire (Acts 2:17)!

For more information on Brownsville Assembly of God check out this article.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/12/2013 at 7:27 PM

Quick Thoughts on Election 2012

I will post a longer piece possibly tomorrow on my thoughts on Election 2012 but for now let me say some quick words.

First, I actually wrote a “political” piece that I was going to post before the election in which I called the election for Obama.  I saw so many holes in the Romney campaign and felt he would not win the electoral college votes needed to win the Presidency.  I actually wrote that I believed the race would be close but Obama would win.  On what basis he wins is beyond me.  No President with this unemployment rate has ever won re-election but Obama did.  Obama has been the most liberal, anti-God, anti-morality President we have ever witnessed.  He has sent more money to liberal programs such as abortion clinics and he has increased the size of the federal government not to mention the fact that he has taken the US into more economic debt than ever seen before but nonetheless he won the elections.  This is the judgment of God against our wicked nation.  I am firmly convinced of that.

Secondly, it is clear that the United States needs the gospel.  When a large percentage of evangelicals are found voting for Obama, something is wrong.  I didn’t think Romney was the best choice for President but felt he represented values that the Church should ascribe to much more so than Obama yet a large amount of “Christians” voted for Obama.  Stop and consider the fact that Obama is pro-homosexual marriage, pro-murdering the unborn, and he is anti-God in many of his policies.  Yet he won.  This shows me that the US needs the gospel.  We don’t need a political revival.  We need a move of the Spirit.  We are so far from God as a nation.

Thirdly, we are still a deeply divided nation.  It appears that same-sex marriages will now be allowed in four more states: Maryland, Washington, Maine, and in DC (though DC is not a state).  This is very troubling.  It shows that we are still a divided nation.  The South almost all voted for Romney and in the past have voted for the protection of marriage.  We are seeing a nation that is still divided on moral issues much like we were in 1860 with the election of Lincoln and the main issue was states’ rights and slavery.  Today the battle is traditional marriages and whether we will cast aside thousands of years of tradition for sin.  I pray that God will turn the tide by saving many homosexuals (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Lastly, the Church needs to pray.  We need to pray for our Government and for them to be saved (1 Timothy 2:1-6).  We need to pray for Obama to repent.  We need to pray for God to pour out His Spirit upon our nation so that our nation repents (Acts 3:19-20).  We need to pray for the gospel to go forth in power in our nation to bring sinners to Christ (Mark 16:15).  We need to pray for the Church to repent of not preaching the gospel and for the Church to rise up and cast off entertainment in favor of honoring God and His eternal kingdom that will never end (Daniel 2:44).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/07/2012 at 12:13 AM

Learning from the Early Pentecostals (Part 1)

Whether or not you agree with the Pentecostal movement and its theology is not the point of this post.  I really wanted to highlight the early days of the Pentecostal movement and the lessons we can learn from them.  Nearly every Protestant movement was born out of a desire to see the Church of Christ reform and restored to her glory days as we see in the book of Acts.  Beginning with Martin Luther and continuing even to today, the Church has always been reforming herself and seeking to glorify God in the process.  The early Pentecostals were no exception to that.  Sadly, much of what I see in modern Pentecostal churches is nothing more than hyped up evangelicalism with a strong emphasis on worship and personal experience.  While some Pentecostals may reject that, I believe the heart of the early Pentecostal movement is what is needed in the entire Church of God and not just the Pentecostal movement.

I first want to point out the early traits of the Pentecostal movement.  I gleamed these from my own reading of early Pentecostal works including Frank Bartleman’s Azusa Street: How Pentecost Came to Los Angeles and the sermons of William Seymour.  I also read Myer Pearlman’s Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible text and early Pentecostal writers such as Donald Gee.  The feelings I have are all mine from my readings.  From what I can learn from the early Pentecostals, I want to make these applicable to the modern Church at large.  Again, you might not agree with the Pentecostal movement down the line but we can learn from them nonetheless.

1.  A Praying Movement.

Frank Bartleman was a man of prayer.  After reading Azusa Street, I was struck by how much time the early Pentecostals had spent in prayer both before the revival in Los Angeles and afterwards.  Bartleman speaks of the Church learning to pray from the Welsh revival under Evan Roberts.  Roberts himself was a man of prayer.  He would spend hours alone with God crying out for revival.  His famous prayer was “bend me and break me.”  Bartleman and the early Pentecostals would pray for hours upon hours.  Bartleman writes about the early Pentecostals tarrying for hours, seeking God for revival in America.  They were longing for God to pour out His Spirit on all flesh (Acts 2:17, 38-39).  They were seeking God for more than what they were seeing in the Church of their day.

Most of the early Pentecostals were out of the Wesleyan-Holiness movement of the late 19th century.  They had heard the stories of the great Holiness revivals of the 19th century and how the Lord had raised up churches such as the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene.  Pentecostal language was a part of their culture.  Terms such as “baptized with the Spirit” or “seeking God for the Holy Ghost” were common.  Yet in the early Pentecostals view, the Holiness movement was dying out.  The Methodist at this time were beginning to turn liberal and move away from the core doctrines of Wesley.  Many from the “perfectionism” movement of the late 19th century were turning toward a social gospel that emphasized transforming the culture above preaching the gospel.  This disturbed these early Pentecostals and they wanted a fresh return to God and His gospel.  They wanted a genuine revival.  They wanted to see the Church rise up in the power of the Spirit and proclaim the gospel in the power of God (Romans 1:16-17).  They were tired of Church as usual.

So they begin to pray.  Bartleman is convinced from his book that prayer birthed the Church in Acts (Acts 1:14; cf. Luke 24:49) and it was prayer that sustained the early Church (Acts 2:42).  He notes how often we read of prayer in the book of Acts.  Bartleman is also convinced in his book that prayer must be the foundation for revival.  If the Church is to do anything that exalts Christ and brings sinners to salvation, it will be because of the Church at prayer.  He also writes that prayer brings revival, prayer sustains revival, and where prayer falters, faith will falter as well.  The manifested presence of Christ will not be found where they are not people seeking God in prayer.  He also writes a warning to early Pentecostals saying that if they don’t remain a prayer movement, the Spirit of God would depart from them as well.  The blessing of Pentecost is sustained through intercession.  I was convicted reading his words.  We in the modern Church especially in the West know nothing of true prayer.  We talk about prayer, write about prayer, and read books on prayer but we don’t pray.  Few churches I know truly pray.  They pray here and there but we are not a praying church.  I know none that are.  Sadly, few Christians today pray like Bartleman.  I think of Luther rising up and praying for 2 to 4 hours per day.  I think of John Wesley praying for hours upon hours even while riding his horse from town to town in England to preach the gospel.  I think of great saints like David Brainerd praying with fervency in his voice.  I read of John Bunyan being locked away in the London bridge and crying out to God for hours on end.  I think of great prayer warriors such as David Livingston (who died in prayer on his knees beside his bed) or E.M. Bounds or Leonard Ravenhill.  Where are the men and women of God who know how to pray?

2.  Intercession for the Lost.

The early Pentecostals fought their battles on their knees.  Few early Pentecostals were well-educated and most were poor.  Yet they knew how to pray.  Their churches were often shacks and few had any electricity but they had the power of God.  They would pray for hours upon hours.  Almost all Pentecostals in the early days had a custom of arriving at the church and praying for hours before they actually met.  The small shacks would be full of people on their knees in prayer.  Their voices would be found shaking the walls of the shacks and the broken windows.  They earned the nickname “holy rollers” from their emotional meetings.  Yet they didn’t care.  They sought God earnestly and drunkards would get saved.  Prostitutes would get saved.  Drug addicts would get saved.  Homosexuals would get saved.  Religious people who came to make fun of the early Pentecostals (such as David Wilkerson’s grandfather) would get saved.  Why?  Because the Pentecostals would pray.  They labored for hours for people to be saved on their faces.  They took seriously the words of Paul the Apostle in Romans 10:1 or 1 Timothy 2:1-6 and they prayed for the lost.  They prayed for the Holy Spirit to use them to convict these sinners to turn from their sins and be saved.

I have read countless testimonies from early Pentecostals they speak of their coming to Christ through the faithful praying of the saints of God.  Their passion for Jesus went beyond what they had.  They loved Jesus despite their poverty and their lack of education.  They wanted Christ more than life itself and their lives led to people coming to faith in Christ through their praying and through their walks with God.  They didn’t talk about God from a distance.  They knew Him.  They knew His power.  They knew that He heard their cries and He answered their prayers.  When they were persecuted by the religious, they went to praying.  When the KKK came to burn down their churches, they went to praying.  When the evangelicals blasted them and called them, in the words of G. Campbell Morgan, the “vomit of Satan,” they went to praying.  Prayer was all they knew.  They had no money.  They had no standing with men.  They had no formal education.  Many of them could not read or write.  They only knew how to pray and praying they did.  They would pray until God moved.  They would not stop praying for a drunkard until they repented of their sins and came to faith in Jesus Christ who alone could save them.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/30/2012 at 6:33 PM

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